Spiritual Warfare Prep

Spiritual Warfare Prep
We Are In The Lord's Army

Monday, May 19, 2014

The Issue Of Homosexuality - Again

  I am bringing this issue up again for many reasons, but mainly, because I want Gay men and women to know that God does love them and He really does want to save and deliver them.
  Currently, I see a whole bunch of side issues coming out of the homosexual movement. If we don't separate the issues, we will be wrongly addressing some of the issues. We could miss the whole point and end up confusing ourselves and others about what the issues really are.
  Here are some of the interweaving, but separate issues:
1. Same sex attraction is not the same as practicing homosexuality.
2. God hates sin and will judge it. Every person has sin issues to be dealt with, not just homosexuals.
3. Homosexuals are human beings created in God's image; The LGBT is a community based on a false religion.
4. Not every homosexual is a Romans 1 reprobate; A Romans 1 reprobate will probably have some, if not all homosexual (and other sexual perversion) tendencies.

  I have seen the signs. I have heard the reports. Homosexuals are doomed to hell. Homosexuals are to be treated like people with cooties. And on and on. But what does the Bible say?
  First of all, all homosexual people are people created in God's image. Like the rest of fallen mankind, God's image in them is distorted because of sin. I don't believe every homosexual person is the way he is because God has turned him over to his sinful lusts, as in Romans 1. Obviously, some homosexuals are turned over by God, and they are continuing to blossom in their sinful desires.
  In case you haven't figured it out yet, human beings tend to have trouble in the area of sex. There are a lot of issues that have gone wrong besides homosexuality. In the beginning, God created man and woman, and after His creation, God said that His creation was 'very good'. God also gave human beings the desire to reproduce. God said, 'Be fruitful and multiply'. Animals were to reproduce as well as human beings. God gave the desire for sexual relationships to human beings before they fell into sin.
   There came a time when Eve listened to the voice of the devil and believed his lie. She stopped trusting in God, and believed she could call the shots, once she ate the forbidden fruit. Adam didn't stop her and the whole human race, which was created as 'good' was now distorted. People began killing each other. All kinds of sexual deviances came about as well. Everything that was once beautiful, was now distorted. It looked like Satan won.
   By the time we get to Genesis 6, the Bible tells us that mankind was so wicked, that God was going to destroy everyone. Of course, God gave the people a period of time to repent, but the only ones who were spared were Noah, his wife, and their sons and daughters in law. A certain amount of animals were spared as well.
   It is interesting to note that, as soon as all the water receded, and it was safe to go on land again, the family got out and settled in the area. But not too long after this, problems began. Sexual problems began in Noah's family and they continued down the road to those who descended from Noah and his wife.
   Sexual problems are nothing new. Throughout History, all kinds of sexual perversions took place. God placed rules in His Law concerning sexual relationships. In the beginning, God created a man and a woman to build the family unit. They were to enjoy a sexual relationship in marriage. But so many things were wrong with human beings. Some wanted to have sex with animals. Some created orgies. It is not really any different today. We have new technology we can use to express our sexual desires in, that Noah and all throughout History, up to this point, never had.
  There are some who struggle with porn. They are drawn to the internet and to adult stores. We have easy access to all this stuff now. This is not just something a few people are addicted to. It affects multitudes of people today, both men and women. It is like these people cannot be pulled away from their addiction.
   Taking cocaine is hard to be free from the addiction. There are places to go that can help a person 'detox' in order to get off the drug. It is so painful and hard that many don't go through with the detox program. I think sex is like that. It is hard to not look at porn, if you are used to doing that and getting gratification from pornography. You just can't quit. It would take a miracle to be free.
  There are many today, who struggle with 'same-sex attraction' and feel guilty because of it. They don't have a sexual partner but would be tempted to want one. Many choose to remain celibate and keep their struggle hidden.
   Here's where the problem lies though; a case in study based on a true story- There once was a man who was a 'Christian' counselor. He was probably a pastor as well. He was very successful and well liked as a counselor. One would not have known the struggles he had with homosexuality though.
  The man did not really want to be Gay. He went for help in different places. He even got married, though the marriage didn't last. After years of wanting help and deliverance, he decided to go back to his Gay lifestyle.
  Up to this point, it seems like he deserves some credit. He tried to get help. Nothing happened. But here's what went wrong; he went back to his Gay lifestyle, which involved having several young men live in his house. This is more than just a same-sex attraction. This is a full blown choice and even one which involves other people.
  I don't know the details of this man, but his story is interesting. I see some evidences of modern American culture in this. In our society, at present, we think we deserve certain things. We expect great things. We expect to have things go our way. We live in a society that caters to our wants being fulfilled. We can't handle the word 'no'.
  In the olden days, people worked hard, and went through many hardships. Many did not see things that they would have liked to have. Life was hard. But people worked with the system. They didn't cave in because they didn't get what they wanted. They were grateful for what they got and made the best of what they had. (I know this isn't true for every person who lived in Early America. This is generally speaking).
  The Bible tells us to 'put off the old man' and 'put on the new man'. God's word also tells us that we must die to ourselves every day. We cannot afford to be selfish.
   Basically, if we want something bad enough, we don't have a right to expect to get it. It may come. It might not. If we are an adult male, and we really want to have sex with young boys, we don't have the right to do that. God does not give us permission to do that. It's as simple as that. But yet, it seems hard. Too hard.
   But God can help us. I believe that most, if not all, Gay people, would rather be straight than Gay, if they had a choice. But I also think that many see it as an impossibility to be free from homosexuality and its desires. God is bigger than those desires. It takes a willing heart and a lot of time and patience in working with a homosexual who wants to be free. That is what the church should be getting ready for.
  If I patron a store, and the manager or cashier is Gay, I will respect that person, because he or she is created in God's image, though the image is distorted. I will continue to go to that store if I need the products sold there. But if the store owners use the money they make to support the homosexual agenda, I will not go to that store anymore. This is more than a person struggling with homosexual tendencies. The homosexual agenda is really a religious movement. It may have sprung out of the reaction from seeing 'Christians' hold up signs saying that 'God Hates Fags'. Whatever it is, it has a strong momentum and is pushing forward its agenda to change the fundamentals of our nation. It is pressing into the government to produce laws that will allow for Gay people to marry and adopt children. It is based upon a religion that is constructed of twisted Bible verses. Some of the beliefs are that God made some people with a homosexual orientation and that they must live out their lives as homosexuals because that is how they were created, and that the Bible is outdated by science. In other words, God did not know ahead of time what science was going to reveal about homosexuals and their validity. Science is more real and accurate than God is, and what the rules were in the Old Testament (or even the New Testament) are not applicable for us today. It was just for those people during that time period.
   Before we get too angry with them, let us consider some things. Perhaps, the church did not know how to handle those who were 'coming out of the closet' and reacted in hostility to Gay people who were being honest. I wonder how many Gay people actually went to a church or pastor to get help, only to be rejected by the Christian authority?
   Do we, as a church, really understand the deceitfulness of sin? I wonder if we really do understand the depth of our own sins? Maybe if we took a good, hard look at our own hearts, it wouldn't be so hard to help a Gay person to come to Christ and be ministered to. This is not just a homosexual problem. This is a problem in the modern day church.
   Many mainstream denominations are really made up of behaviorists. They are people who are focused on learning how to be good and do good things. It is a belief system that doesn't seem to be aware of the sinfulness of each individual heart. Bank robbers, whores, rapists, and homosexuals do not fit well in a church that is based on behaviorism. No one really does well in this kind of church, because it is easy to not see one's own sin. Jesus died for sinners, not for behaviorists who do well (not that there is any such thing). Rephrased, it goes like this; 'The Son of Man came to seek and to save that which was lost'. Behaviorists do not see themselves as lost. They are much like Pelagians in their thinking. But they will be surprised on That Day, when there sins will be revealed.
   The Pharisees and scribes of Jesus' day were like the behaviorists of our day. They thought they could trap Jesus one time, and brought to Him a woman who was caught in the act of adultery. Jesus asked the group of people who brought the adulteress to Him, to cast the first stone at her, but, only if they were without sin. No one was able to cast any stones at her. Although they may have never realized before this time, they now had some idea of their sin.
   Let's conclude with a couple of statements that hopefully will help. Homosexuals are people who are created in God's image and need to be respected as fellow human beings. The Bible has no directives for homosexual relationships. In marital relationships, it is always a man and a woman, a husband and a wife, a male and a female. God does not make certain people with a sexual orientation to be Gay. Homosexuality is not proven scientifically. The LGBT is an aggressive movement to establish specific rights for homosexual people, which goes against Scriptures. God is well able to save and deliver homosexuals. The church must be made ready to minister to homosexuals who want to be saved and delivered. The individuals in the church must look at their own hearts and deal with their own sins first. Biblical counselors, pastors, and those in an authoritative position in the church will have to be patient and work with and walk with the Gay man or Lesbian who wants to be free. Many homosexuals want to be free but cannot free themselves, and as a result, many give up or assume that God made them Gay. Homosexuals are not going to be delivered in a day. It may take months or years for complete freedom. Same-sex attraction is not the same as practicing homosexuality. Homosexuals, liars, angry moms, lustful men, greedy people, abortionists, haters, slanderers, backbiters, manipulators, thieves, arrogant people, tyrants, rapists, gluttons, abusers, parent haters, lovers of money, selfish people, adulterers, connivers, hypocrites, cheaters, mockers, immoral people, pedophiles, pornographers, and a multitude of other types, are all sins that God will punish. God did punish our sins when He sent Jesus, His Son, to die for our sins. We should die for our sins, but God loved us so much that He came to earth and willingly took our punishment for our sins.
   Homosexuality is out of God's order. God is a God of order, but there is not an order in homosexuality that follows God. But that is why Jesus came. He came to restore us. He came so we could be reconciled back to God.
'Father God, please be with those who read this blog. Let it minister to people. Please save many Gay people and let them be set free. Let them know Your love for them. Lead them to people who will minister to them. Set homosexual men and Lesbians free. Let them not listen to the lies of the Enemy of our souls. Let many turn to You and be saved. Let them be placed in Bible believing churches and let them grow spiritually and become spiritually healthy. In Jesus' name.'
  For more information on the Gospel and how to respond to God, please go to http://thegospelconversation.blogspot.com , or, http://test4gp.wordpress.com

Protection From the Bullies and Some Thank Yous To Those Who Helped Support Me During The Battles

   I wasn't planning on writing anything this morning, but something did come to my mind as I was remembering my childhood years and a group I belonged to called, 'Tri-Gray-Y'. Tri-Gray-Y was a group for girls grades 4-6 at the time, and it was sponsored by the YMCA. The meetings were held after school on the school campuses.
  The reason I am writing is because of the subject of bullying. I moved down to Florida when I was 9 years old, and obviously was the 'new kid on the block'. As I figured out not too long after living here a couple of months, kids who were new on the block were not usually welcomed.
 Fourth grade was not very good. One girl, who wasn't even in my class, took it upon herself to be my bully. She managed to successfully turn all the children in my class against me. She took the design of the X in the box, and every child in fourth grade put one on their arm. It was called a 'Susie-Cootie shot' in case they got near me.
  My brother was in Boy Scouts, and we would go to the pack meetings which were also held at the elementary school I attended. After the meetings were over, the boy scouts would run around and have a good time. I joined them but my mom said I wasn't allowed to. Bummer. She explained that if I were a Boy Scout, then I would be able to run around with them. I asked her if I were to join a club, would I be able to run around like that, and she said that I would. So, that was incentive for me to join Tri-Gray-Y.
  I joined Tri-Gray-Y and it was a pretty safe place for me to be. The instructor was either named Pat or Patty, I can't remember. We did a lot of fun activities at the school building as well as on field trips. We went horse-back riding one time, and I got the smallest horse, but probably the most wild one!
  If Pat or Patty were to read this, I would like to thank her for being our instructor. She was a nice person, and probably really not much older than I was. I would think she was in high-school or maybe college at the time. She took an interest in me and I learned a lot from her.
  People can make you feel worthless. Even teachers can make you feel like quitting. I have had a few teachers who were like that. These teachers had their favorites and their unfavorites. I was one of the unfavorites. But, I also had some really good teachers I am thankful for.
  Mrs. Straight and Miss Goebbel who were my first and second grade teachers were excellent. They treated me with respect and hollered out me when I did things wrong (or when they thought I did something wrong like stealing the toilet paper out of the bathroom when I really didn't!). I had a wonderful, excellent teacher in fifth grade but can't remember her name. I know it began with a G. During the second half of the school year, a group of children who were misfits in the class I was in, got pulled out and put into MRS. G's class. She was so kind and encouraging. I would like to thank her if I were to ever see her again. We need more teachers like this one. In eighth grade, I had a History teacher named Miss Humphrey. I almost failed her class in the first semester because I wasn't paying attention. After the bad report card, I decided to work hard so I could get caught up with what I lost. One assignment we had was to do a report. I did mine on the U.S.S. Constitution. I worked really hard and got it done. My folder was on the top of the pile, when I noticed a bully (not the same one as in fourth grade) picked it up and walked out of the room with it. I told the Miss Humphrey right away and she went after the girl. She didn't find the bully, but, we worked together to get the folder back. It did come back, but not without vengeance from the bully. The bully had a lot of friends. A couple of months later, one of her friends beat me up. I had no idea why, but later made the connections that the bully hired her somehow to beat me up for reporting her stealing my book report. The friend then threatened to kill me a couple of times. God protected me though.
   I have to inject a couple of things here though. I was not a believer yet in Jesus Christ. I had never heard the Gospel message although I always wondered what it was. I can see how God protected me even during those times. The day I got beat up by this girl, I did not wear earrings, which was very helpful in this situation, for she would have ripped them off. That would have been a nasty mess. I lost hair for days after she beat me up. Somehow, my eye caught the bully taking my report off. I could have easily missed this, but didn't. God was very merciful to me during that time, even though I did not know Him yet.
   I would like to thank the teachers that took an interest in me. I would like to thank Pat, the Tri-Gray-Y instructor. In a world where everyone around you makes you feel worthless, these people stood up for me. I would also like to thank my friends Christine and Adrianne. I am sorry I was not a good friend to you if you by any chance are reading this. They found out about a bully who was at another school but now transferred to the school I was at, and this bully was going to find me and cause me trouble. My friends were going to beat her up if they found her bothering me.
  I hope my readers can understand how serious the issue is of bullies. Bullies can be life threatening. They can also destroy a person by ripping apart their dignity. People have committed suicide because of bullies. It is not enough to tell your children to just ignore them or sass them back. I believe the devil is behind them (though they don't understand that). Bullies have enough problems on their own and need help in seeing their need for a Savior. They are trying to take control over people, possibly because their power is being threatened by someone else.
  Parents need to help their children understand about bullies, but they also need to protect their children from them. Sending your children to a Christian school is not necessarily going to solve the bully problem though, for bullies are in Christian schools as well as in public schools.
   Teachers don't really understand what is going in with the students. The teacher I had while I was being beaten up thought that we were just wrestling and she didn't intervene. Teachers need to love and support (and discipline when necessary) their students. Unless the teacher has a relationship with God through Jesus Christ, he or she may not understand all that goes into teaching, which includes encouraging (not flattering) and patiently working with a student. That is an incentive for all of us to get to know students or children in our classes.
   So, I wrote this to explain the seriousness of the subject of bullying, but also to thank those who did just the opposite. Please take seriously any indications of your child being bullied. Don't ignore it or tell your child to ignore it. It needs to be dealt with and the parents need to become involved.
  Here is my special thank you list:
* Pat, the Tri-Gray-Y instructor
* Mrs. Straight, my kindergarten teacher
* Mrs. Goebbel, my first grade teacher
* Mrs. G. , my fifth grade teacher (second half)
* Mrs. Bone, my sixth grade teacher
* Mrs. or Miss Humphrey, my eighth grade History teacher
* Adrianne, my friend
* Christine P., my friend

Thank you all for being my friend and supporting me when others were bullying me around. If any of you are reading this, I would love to hear how you are doing. Thanks.

Friday, May 16, 2014

The Sin Within - How Garden Plants Are Like Us

  So many times, we think of our sin as something to blame on others. Adam blamed his sin on Eve, and Eve blamed her sin on the Serpent. Somehow, if it weren't for other people, we wouldn't sin, or at least that is how we think.
   In the way olden days, monks used to live alone, far away from people, because they didn't want the influence of sin around them. But surprise! The sin was like a Trojan Horse as they sadly figured out, sin was with them, not just outside of them!
   Garden plants are like that too, especially tomato plants. I have tried to grow plants in the garden outside, only to have them destroyed by wild animals who think that the garden is a restaurant for them. After years of battling with the animals, I decided to grow my plants upstairs, in a balcony. That way, the wild animals won't be able to get to them. My idea worked for a couple of weeks. Then it didn't work anymore, for the enemy was within the plants themselves, or, at least the soil in the containers. How disappointing.
  The same things that happened to my tomato plants in the garden were now happening to my nice, pampered, protected, isolated tomato plants. I looked at the plants and realized that the leaves were being eaten. Not only the tomato plants, but the pepper plants as well. Even though I escaped the plant's enemies that attacked the garden, I could not escape the plant's enemies that were in the soil in the pots that are on the balcony.
  Now I have to meticulously check over the plants and pick off any fruitworms I see on them. If the enemy is not wild animals visiting the garden, it is fruitworms that are enjoying the leaves of the plants. The fruitworms come in the potting soil that goes into the containers that hold the plant. Of course, I could take care of the tomato plants perfectly and still have problems because of blight or other tomato diseases. There is no escaping tomato plant problems whether they are in the garden (the world) or on the balcony (separated from the world).
  Sin is like that too. We could pull away from the world (and sometimes, we have to) and be isolated, yet still we will have to deal with sin in our hearts. Sin is not just 'out there'. It is within. Some of the  monks were surprised when they realized this. We are surprised too, for when we think we are above sinning, we let our guards down.
  We need to inspect ourselves and pull off the 'fruitworms' too. The Bible tells us to put sin to death. We can look at other people and see their sins, and want some kind of judgment on them, but we don't see our own sins, so many times. And sometimes, we figure it out too late, after the Enemy of our souls has eaten away at us until there is nothing left but a stem.
Fruitworms enjoying a tomato plant

"You might be able to protect your plants from the outside elements by putting them in containers on a balcony, but you will never be able to escape the critters that live in the soil in the pots, wherever you put your garden (unless you do hydroponic gardening which doesn't require the use of soil)."

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Is Setting Boundaries A Form Of Abuse?

  I find this question interesting because I think many believe there is a loophole they can get away with. You are probably thinking, 'This is a real stretch', and you are right! It is a stretch, but not in the minds of the people whose functional religion is such.
   If I understand this story correctly, a man went over to Scotland to preach the Gospel there. Some people tried to pull out of him, his beliefs on homosexuality, to which he replied what the Scriptures taught. Well, he ended up in prison for his crime of 'hate speech'. His telling what the Scriptures said ended up being labeled as hate speech, and he ended up in prison. In the minds of his listeners, he was 'abusing' them.
   Another scenario, which is quite common with teenagers, was a young girl who was in rebellion. The mom was a single mom and had the boundaries already set in place. The young girl did not want to live by the rules, so she left home. Then she wiggled her way into other people's homes by saying that her mother 'verbally abused' her. Of course, people felt sorry for her and took her in. They also tried to reason with the mom about her supposed 'abuse' of the daughter.
   Today all a person has to do is live by the word of God, and others who are close will see the person's boundaries as a threat to them. Deep down in their hearts, they know God is true. They want to make God 'untrue' by believing a lie. So, all it takes is a person who knows what the Scripture says and live it out, and when an unbeliever comes by, while in a conversation together, the unbeliever can see that he, himself, is violating Scripture. The person who is living within the boundaries of Scripture will be accused of abusing the other person.
  So, do not be offended when people do this to you, especially when sharing the Gospel with them. Your boundaries will be different than the other person's, and he may not like it.
  But not every person responds this way. Boundaries provide security for us. If we know God, He places the lines of the boundaries around us, and they are placed in places of grace. Lost people think they know better than God, and they want to go against the boundaries that God has for them. If they only understood that the boundaries are good. God isn't trying to make us miserable.
   You know how many times I have written about the devil's schemes. One of his lies to us, is that God wants us to be miserable. Many times, we believe his lies, and we turn away from God. But God wants us to draw near to Him. He wants to give us a new heart, with new desires. He wants to give us the power to live a Godly life, a life that will point to Him.
   We want to set up our own boundaries, but we are not wise enough to do that. God's boundaries are laid out before us in His word. We might be able to go outside of God's boundaries while living our short life on earth, but ultimately, we will find ourselves in God's boundaries throughout eternity. We will either be bound in hell, or bound in heaven.
  People can call any kind of hardship, 'abuse'. There is so much focus on child abuse that we have taken off with this concept and think that when we don't get our way, we are being abused. If we haven't figured this out yet, we will eventually figure it out; Life is hard.
   If you are a person who knows God and have a relationship with God's Son, Jesus Christ, there are going to be hardships for you. But God promises His grace through the hard times. If you are a person who doesn't know God, and you don't have a relationship with God's Son, Jesus Christ, there are going to be hardships for you, as well. You won't have God's grace through them and will suffer many serious consequences for going over the boundaries.
    There are no shortcuts to escaping boundaries. Boundaries provide protection from the devil and his tricks. Boundaries keep us safe in God's refuge. Boundaries help us see danger ahead. There is no kind of abuse in having these boundaries. If we break them, we give ground to the devil, and then he could abuse us. He certainly will deceive us.
Psalm 16:6
"The lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; indeed, I have a beautiful inheritance." ESV

Friday, May 9, 2014

Radically Saved!

   I think sometimes people get saved, yet it is more like following a formula that will work to get us into heaven. Sometimes, God really does work in that. Other times, I am not so sure.
   Take for example, children who are brought up in Christian homes, and live in a Christian environment all their lives. At some point, they understand that God is holy, and that they aren't, so they put their trust in Jesus Christ as their Savior from their sins (probably more like the Savior from the penalty of their sins). From that point on, they live a 'good life' and they think they are good to go. And maybe they are. But possibly they aren't. It's hard to say.
   But here's a true story of someone who got radically saved.
   Years ago, when Jesus was living on our planet, there was a man who had several demons living inside of him. The man was tortured by these demons and was made an outcast. He lived in the cemetery among the tombs. I can't imagine how horrible this was. This man was somebody's little boy at one time. Maybe he was once a husband and father. How this man ended up with all these demons inside is not known. But he had to live in seclusion, for he was dangerous to other people.
   I don't know how long he lived in the cemetery, but when Jesus came along, I'm sure he was relieved. Maybe he prayed for deliverance. Perhaps he didn't even know there was such a thing as deliverance. God had mercy on this man though, for one day, Jesus came his way and cast every demon out of him.
   The man was so relieved and thankful. But when Jesus got ready to leave, he wanted to go to with Him. Can you blame him? I would want to go with Jesus too, if I had just gotten delivered from something so horrible as demon possession.
  What was really neat about this story, is that Jesus told the man to go back to his town and tell the people what God had done for him that day. He did. And the people marveled.
  You can read this event in Mark 5, the first 20 verses. This is what happens when people have radical conversions. But every conversion should be radical! Conversions are radical when we are desperate for God to save us from our sin, and from His wrath.
   Being a Christian is not just going to church on Sunday, turning our tithe check in, praying every day, and reading our Bibles. We do those things because we have eternal life in us. But if we don't see God for who He is, we will remain unaffected and everything we do will just be a 'form' of godliness, but without the power of God.
   It seems like, more times than not, that those who come to Christ from a non Christian background, are the more radical Christians. They are the ones who are filling the prayer rooms, and evangelizing. Many of these people realize the ugliness of their sin. But in reality, all of us have ugly sin. We seem to see it better when we come in from the outside.
  I guess the only answer I can come up with, is to study God's attributes, study sin from the Bible's perspective, and ask God to search your heart and show you your heart. Be willing to let God show you things that are evidence of sin in your heart. When you have enough conviction of sin, you will understand the meaning of the Cross, and how sin affects your relationship with God. Those who have been delivered from sin and addictions even have a greater appreciation of the Gospel of hope. When we have this hope in us, we can share it with others. Then other people will begin to experience freedom from sin, not just forgiveness of sin in order to get into heaven. He whom the Son sets free, is indeed free'! That makes for a radical conversion!

Biblical Counseling, or Is It Really Biblical?

  I really do have to write this but not sure on which blog it would be most appropriate. The church is at a place and time where she doesn't really even see the need for counseling, yet, it is so necessary for Christians to be doing Biblical counseling.
   We need Biblical counseling because humans are complex beings. Salvation is not as easy as just wanting to go to heaven and asking Jesus to forgive you for your sins, and then your good to go. We must first of all understand the big picture of everything. We know the Bible describes God as holy, perfect, loving, all-knowing, omni-present, eternal, judge, all-powerful, and many other things can describe Him. Man was created 'good' at the beginning of time, but with the temptation of the devil, Adam and Eve fell, and plunged mankind into a world of darkness. Human beings are now born spiritually dead and will live lives which will bear the fruit and behavior of sinful hearts. Now, human beings will have no desire whatsoever, to know God, or to care about spiritual things. The Enemy of our souls also is a big factor in keeping us in darkness because he lies continually, and when we believe those lies, we fall into a trap. We could fall into a trap that we cannot get out of.
   People genuinely come to Christ with all their baggage and chains they have built for themselves. They need someone to help take all the baggage off and to help them become unchained. That is where Biblical counseling comes in. Working with people is not as easy as finding a formula to fix their problems with. If a person is a new believer and is left alone, the devil will most certainly feed him or her lies. The new believer doesn't have enough foundation in his or her life yet, to begin to tear down strongholds. Many new believers grow into old believers who have lived defeated Christian lives because they were never properly trained, nor were they discipled.
  When a woman has a baby, she doesn't take the baby home and expect the baby to take care of himself. A baby has to be fed and trained. One day, he or she will be an adult and will have been taught how to function properly in life. The same is true spiritually. If we have the mentality that the only thing that matters in life is not going to hell after we die, we have missed the boat. God created us to worship Him alone. If we use God as a means to solve our problems or keep us out of hell, we are going to be defeated and deceived.
   All of this ties in with Biblical counseling. You have to have some understanding of what is going on in the church today, and also the history of Biblical counseling. Until the mid 1800s, people were ministered to by the church. In other words, people were counseled by the church. But in the mid 1800s, either the church abdicated her responsibility in counseling, or, the secular society took over the area of counseling, and the church was indifferent to this action. Whatever the reason, Biblical counseling was now put into the secular realm and it was being redefined as a medical category. At first, it was given to those who practiced neurology. By the turn of the century, there was a new category formed called 'psychology', which was supposed to be the 'cure for people's souls'. Since God is the only One Who can cure people's souls, psychology was only a substitute for the real thing.
   There was a lot of disagreement among psychologists, and they really could never come up with the absolute cure for people's souls. They shuffled things around a lot. The main psychologists (Freud, Rogers, et al) formed their own religions, even though they claimed that psychology was neutral. Freud was the pastor of his own church, which consisted of his patients whom he discipled. Others followed this example with their own religious bents, whatever those were. Mental hospitals were established and the pharmaceutical companies got on board. New organizations and professions were started. The church stood silent, until, the mid 1900s, when a man named Jay Adams saw what was going on. This man gave his life to bring back Biblical counseling to the church, and he fought a good fight. Others picked up the ball after him and ran with it.
   Today, we are considered the third generation of Biblical counseling, and we still have a long way to go to get it right, for, one of the unfortunate things that have happened was, 'Christian' psychologists today want to bring in methods and thinking from secular society, and add Bible verses to it. Many trust in science as if science dictated everything that was or ever will be true. In other words, science has more power than Scriptures. Some would say that the Scriptures are outdated, now that new science methods have come along. Part of the problem with the science situation is simply that much of the research that comes up with supposed 'proven' facts is biased. For example, there was research done to determine if homosexuality is genetic or not. A flimsy test was given and the results were out; homosexuality is genetic. Now, we know if that were true, then God's word is false. Since God's word is true, this test result must be false. And it really was, for if homosexuality were truly genetic, then, identical twins would either be both straight, or both gay. Since that doesn't usually happen, we know that this test was not valid. Yet, those who want to defend homosexuality will insist that science is on their side. Plus, if homosexuality is genetic, then there must be an ancestor who was gay, and if he were gay, then he would most likely not have fathered children. The family line would have stopped long ago.
   Today, sadly, we have Christian counselors who believe when culture and Scripture don't agree, then Scripture must bow to the culture. This is seen in the situation with Amy Grant, while she was having an affair. She went to a 'Christian' counselor and he or she recommended a divorce. The counselor believed that God created marriage so each one could enjoy the other to the fullest. If someone is not happy in the marriage, then it is best to get out of the marriage. Does this sound like good counsel? There is no where in the Scriptures where you will find this thinking. But again, this is a case where Scripture must bow to the culture, for, Scripture is outdated. God didn't realize that people were going to be having problems like the do today, in America. That is how far away we have gotten from reality.
  We don't fear God today. We have made 'gods' in our image and likeness. We've made a god that is supposed to make us happy. Is it any wonder that the divorce rate in the church is so high?
  We need to get back to the Bible. We need to get back to Biblical counseling. The church needs to bring back the Gospel, which is the heart of Biblical counseling. We can put a bandaid on people's problems, but only God can cure their souls. God wants the church to be equipped and ready to serve those who will come in, baggage and all. Are we ready to do intercessory work? Are we ready to love other people, even those who are ungrateful or ugly? Are we ready to become part of another person's life? Can we lay down our lives for others? Can we let go of our successes so that others can succeed?
   If persecution comes to America, we will be getting ready quickly. Right now, life is too easy for us. We have so much from God, yet, we still live so much for our pleasure and relaxation. Can we get ready to take on one another's burdens? If we don't take the time to do it now, we will do it when things get hard. Which one is the better choice?

Thursday, May 8, 2014

My Mother's Day Wish For All Moms

   When women get pregnant and have a baby, their lives are changed forever. This little baby has captured her heart. Through God's common grace to all mankind, moms seek to protect their little boys and girls, and want the best for them. Moms will do anything to help their children succeed in life. As Christians, Moms are concerned also about the spiritual state of their children.
  Every mom who knows the Lord wants each of her children to come to know Him too. Moms and Dads take their children to church meetings, and activities, hoping that at some point the children will start seeking the Lord on their own. They also faithfully pray for the salvation of their children. But how disheartening it is, when the child goes astray, or, never comes to faith in Christ.
   Here is the story of one mom who prayed for her son to come to know the Lord. In fact, her husband lived a wild life and the son followed in his dad's footsteps. This mom prayed fervently for her household to come to Christ. God heard her prayers.
  It was around the mid 300s, when Monica prayed fervently for her son, Augustine (pronounced Augustin). She was given in marriage to a man named Patricius, who was not a believer. Monica had been brought up in the Christian faith by her maidservant. Patricius was also brought up in the faith by this maidservant, but salvation did not take root in his heart yet. Monica sought to win Patricius with her actions rather than words, based on 1 Peter 3. Because of this, her mother in law came to Christ and eventually Patricius did as well, although it was at the end of his life.
   Augustine was given an excellent education, which Monica hoped would position him to respond to the Gospel, but instead, he continued in his wild ways. He continued in rebellion, while Monica continued in fervent prayer. At some point later, Augustine left to go to Italy, and Monica followed. It was there, in Milan, where she attended a church pastored by Ambrose. Ambrose befriended Augustine and that was when Augustine became converted.
  Although it is not in this article, I have read that Monica died shortly after Augustine came to Christ. Little did Monica know the impact her son would have for the cause of Christ, as she prayed daily for his salvation.
  Read the full article here: http://www.christianity.com/church/church-history/timeline/301-600/augustine-couldnt-outrun-mothers-prayers-11629656.html
  God heard Monica's prayers. She prayed for those in her household to come to Christ, and they did.
My wish for all moms, including myself, is that every child that is born to a God-fearing mom, will come to Christ. My wish is for genuine conversions as well as for radical conversions. I pray that we will all live lives that reflect the true and living God, and that there would be nothing in the way of the view of God, for our children to see Him clearly and to want to know Him.
                       Happy Mother's Day!
God will hear the prayers of praying moms

Prayer - A Privilege or Duty?

   I have to admit, I get weary in well doing sometimes. When I hear of prayer meetings, sometimes I am guilty of thinking of the event as just one more to add to my collection of events to attend. I know mentally, that God wants us to pray, and I believe God answers prayers. So, what is my problem?
   Many years ago, I had encounters with God and my life was severely affected. I spent a lot of time in prayer and enjoyed talking to God. I also noticed older Christians seemed to have an attitude about prayer that seemed to be saying something like, 'Been there. Done that'. We attended prayer meetings because we were supposed to. It is the right thing for a Christian to do. But is something missing?
   One thing that happened to me, I believe, is that as life went on, I got more and more busy. I had children and then homeschooled them. I tried cooking from scratch and organic gardening. I was so busy and had so many appointments that it became hard to find time to pray, although I always did. It became more like a chore than a pleasure though.
   In the parable of the sower, the seeds that came up and were choked by the cares of the world (everyday life, for me) came up and choked out anything else I wanted or planned to do. Everything was done out of discipline. I read my Bible faithfully and prayed every day, even if it were the same prayer compacted into a shorter period of time.
   I began to pray more seriously, when issues came up in our home that had to be dealt with. As time went on, I began to pray for myself more than anyone else because I needed God's help the most. In the olden days, I used to pray specific things for other people, but I never prayed them for myself. Now, I do. I'm the one that needs to be changed first, then I can watch others being changed.
  Time is still tight, but I have more reasons for praying than I did before, or at least reasons that I am aware of. The devil doesn't want me to pray. It became obvious when I became glued to Facebook and the Internet. As soon as I would get off, the devil would tempt me by giving me more reasons to be on Facebook, and sadly, I followed those for a while. But then, especially on days when I would be fasting, I realized that all the time set aside for praying was being taken up by my reading Facebook. So, now I have one more reason to spend time praying.
  I think many of us really don't see a need to pray, and here's why; We know God is in control, we know God is all-powerful, we know God knows everything, and we know that He is working all things for the good of those who love Him. If we take that at face value, we might not see any reason to pray. And we might also think of praying as legalism. Or, we might pray out of duty, because we know we should pray.
  All of those reasons for our praying out of duty or legalism, are due to a lack of understanding the Gospel. When we really do understand who God is, and we see our need for Him, we will pray. But if we are self-sufficient or legalistic, we might pray, but it is with wrong motives. Also, if we don't understand the Gospel, we could be praying to God, as if He were an idol. We could be praying to Him so we can get good things, and not experience bad things.
   I think we need to have the mind of God, and we do this by spending time with Him. When we have the mind of God, we will see the things we need to be praying for. We also will be in awe of who God is and will worship Him and want to make His name known. That is not legalism either. That is responding to God out of a heart of love and obedience.
   The devil doesn't want us to know what can happen when we pray. He wants us to live defeated lives that don't bring glory to God. But God does respond to our prayers. Praying is one of the best means to get to know God better. It is a response of worship to God from our hearts.
   Next time you are tempted to not pray, ask yourself why. Is it unbelief or is it a misunderstanding of being legalistic? Is it a wrong understanding of thinking that God will just do everything and that we can just sit back and watch? Everyone who encounters the true and living God is changed. Maybe its time to wait on God and meet Him again.

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Fighting With Spiritual Weapons

   Today, I was reminded that we are in a spiritual battle. We are not fighting against people, per se, but the spiritual forces behind them. I have some friends who are involved in the hardest parts of the battle, which is dealing with those in the field of practicing abortions.
   Abortion is not a simple method of birth control, like many would want us to believe, but it is an organized method of murder, of which those who are skilled in using the implements of death are payed a lot of money. For them, the goal is making money. Love of money is their focus. In their darkened minds, nothing will get in the way of their making money this way.
   In the hearts of the average young woman or man, they have been given the lie that abortion is a form of birth control. It actually is a form of birth control, but it involves murdering a person to control the baby from being born. Nothing will interfere with their idol, for women are slaves to their desire for love from a man, and men are enslaved to their sexual lust. A baby would interfere with all this. If a baby is born, the woman who is looking for security from a man, would lose her man. And the man would lose his sex object. Two very powerful strongholds in the lives of people that need to be torn down.
   Many, if not most, of these people are not even able to reason. They have been turned over by God to their wicked desires. They will ultimately receive the worst of punishment in hell, one day, unless something happens to intervene for them.
   Where do we go from here? We have no choice but to use the spiritual weapons God has given to us. I believe it is in Isaiah 58. where God tells us that the kind of fasting He desires, breaks the chains of bondage over people. When Jesus was being tempted by the devil, He was fasting and praying. One time, when Jesus was casting a demon out, the disciples were unable to cast the demon out. Jesus explained that those kind come out only by prayer and fasting. I am also aware that this passage may not be in the originals, but it still may have happened that way.
  What are the targets the devil attacks? They are our faith, our trust in God, our believing and knowing what is true, and tempting us with idols and other sinful temptations.
  God anticipates our spiritual battle, so He gives us weapons to fight with. Here is what Ephesians 6 tells us: "Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might. Put on the full armor of God, so that you will be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places.…" ESV, verses 10-12.
  When people are turned over by God to their own wicked hearts, their consciences are seared, and they become puppets for the devil. At one time, they did know the difference between right and wrong, good and evil, but they have chosen to get rid of the apparatus (the conscience) in order to enjoy their wicked desires. The devil controls them now, and they are in his hands. We pray for God's mercy to be upon them, and we pray for the Powers of Darkness to be held back. We can't afford to be defeated by their lies, or discouraged. We must press on, and make sure we are not listening to the devil's lies, ourselves.
  The devil would try to shatter our faith. The devil would love for us to be divisive against each other (united we stand, divided we fall) and he would love to render each one of us powerless against his schemes. He would love for us to doubt God's word (Did God really say?) and he would love for us to not trust God (ex. what kind of a cruel God would let 3,000 children starve every day?). When our opposition looks overwhelming, we can either be overwhelmed by the opposition, or, we can be in awe of an all-powerful God, who will not let any person get away with sin, ultimately.
  God is very clear about our need to pray. Pray without ceasing, should be the mode we are in. The word of God helps us to know God better, and as we grow in our understanding of Him, our trust in Him grows, and our faith in Him will grow.
   When Jesus died on the Cross, His death provided the way for the works of darkness to be undone. He triumphed over the devil that day. In Revelation, 12:11, the Bible says of those who were undergoing severe persecution, 'They overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony". Jesus blood will overcome the Enemy of our souls. Our faith in God will be a shield against him too.
Here is an excerpt from Matthew Henry's commentary:

6:10-18 Spiritual strength and courage are needed for our spiritual warfare and suffering. Those who would prove themselves to have true grace, must aim at all grace; and put on the whole armour of God, which he prepares and bestows. The Christian armour is made to be worn; and there is no putting off our armour till we have done our warfare, and finished our course. The combat is not against human enemies, nor against our own corrupt nature only; we have to do with an enemy who has a thousand ways of beguiling unstable souls. The devils assault us in the things that belong to our souls, and labour to deface the heavenly image in our hearts. We must resolve by God's grace, not to yield to Satan. Resist him, and he will flee. If we give way, he will get ground. If we distrust either our cause, or our Leader, or our armour, we give him advantage. The different parts of the armour of heavy-armed soldiers, who had to sustain the fiercest assaults of the enemy, are here described. There is none for the back; nothing to defend those who turn back in the Christian warfare. Truth, or sincerity, is the girdle. This girds on all the other pieces of our armour, and is first mentioned. There can be no religion without sincerity. The righteousness of Christ, imputed to us, is a breastplate against the arrows of Divine wrath. The righteousness of Christ implanted in us, fortifies the heart against the attacks of Satan. Resolution must be as greaves, or armour to our legs; and to stand their ground or to march forward in rugged paths, the feet must be shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace. Motives to obedience, amidst trials, must be drawn from a clear knowledge of the gospel. Faith is all in all in an hour of temptation. Faith, as relying on unseen objects, receiving Christ and the benefits of redemption, and so deriving grace from him, is like a shield, a defence every way.....
  So, don't be discouraged in your battle against the Enemy of our souls. We cannot fight him in our own strength. We must fight using spiritual weapons. I know the context I wrote about his to do with the issue of abortion, but, there are other spiritual battles that all of us will face, if we belong to Jesus Christ. If we do not learn how to fight, we will become casualties. If we are just nominal Christians, we are no threat to the devil, so he would leave us alone. If we are serving the true and living God, we will be in this battle, but He will be in there with us. Let's put on the whole armor of God and fight the good fight of faith, for the kingdom of God's sake. 

“Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen:
to loose the chains of injustice
and untie the cords of the yoke,
to set the oppressed free
and break every yoke?
Is it not to share your food with the hungry
and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter—
when you see the naked, to clothe them,
and not to turn away from your own flesh and blood?
Then your light will break forth like the dawn,
and your healing will quickly appear;
then your righteousnessa will go before you,
and the glory of the Lord will be your rear guard.
Then you will call, and the Lord will answer;
you will cry for help, and he will say: Here am I. Isaiah 58:6-9 NIV

"And Elisha prayed, and said, LORD, I pray thee, open his eyes, 
that he may see. And the LORD opened the eyes of the young man; 
and he saw: and, behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots 
of fire round about Elisha." 2 Kings 6:17

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Advocate Or Adversary? - It's Either One Or The Other

      When a person comes into this world, he or she automatically has 4 enemies. The devil, the world, and the flesh and all contending to enslave a person in sin. But there is another enemy. It is God. Most people don't see God as an enemy, because they think He is all-loving, kind of like a Cosmic grandfather who likes to spoil his grandkids.
   The devil continually tempts us to sin and lies to us, especially about God and His character. He wants us to believe that God is not good and God does not want the best for us. He knows that God must punish sin, so, the devil tempts us to sin on an ongoing basis.
  The world is the system we live in. It operates in deceit and pride. Although we live in this world, and in this world's system, those who have put their trust in Jesus Christ are no longer 'of this world'. We are here as representatives of the true and living God and we bring light to the darkness of the world.
   The flesh is our sinful hearts. The devil tempts us to sin, and our hearts want to sin. That is because we are born with sinful hearts that want to be autonomous from God. The autonomous feature is even prevalent in toddlers as they pull away from mom or dad and want to be on their own. We do this with God, because we have believed the devil's lies and we want to control our lives instead of having God control our lives.
  God is our enemy because we do not want Him in our lives. God is holy. We are selfish. We don't love God. In fact, we love sin, and that results in our hating God. We might not think we hate God, but when we look at His standard and come up with excuses why we don't agree with Him, we are showing that we hate God. We are elevating ourselves above Him.
   On That Day, the day when we will stand before God, one of two things will happen. Books will be opened and we will be judged out of what we have done in this life. If we have trusted in Jesus Christ, God's Son, as our Savior from sin and Redeemer, then He will be our Advocate. But, if we have rejected Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior, we will experience Jesus as being our Adversary.
  Which one will it be for you? For many, Jesus will be their Adversary, because they will not turn to Him in repentance and faith. For others, Jesus will be their Advocate before the Father, because they have trusted in Him and know Him.
   For more information on the Gospel, please go to: http://thegospelconversation.blogspot.com , or, http://test4gp.wordpress.com 
Will Jesus be your Advocate when you stand
before God on Judgment Day?

Will Jesus be your Adversary when
you stand before God on
Judgment Day?

Monday, May 5, 2014

What Or Who Are We Dealing With Anyway?

   You know, the Bible talks about the law of God as being written on our hearts. Because we are all created in God's image, we do intuitively know the difference between right and wrong. We also have consciences, which tell us when we are doing wrong. But there is something strange in the environment today. We have people who seem to have no conscience. How does this happen, and can it be fixed?
   Let me throw out a couple of thoughts first. I know there are people who have been in places where those who are experts in the mind control business have basically ruined people's minds. One particular thing that happens to children is that they could end up with multiple personalities if they experience some type of trauma. If it is ongoing trauma, they could end up with many different personalities. Some adults deliberately traumatize children in order to put mind control programming into them. That way, when the child is older, if the mind control programming is going to be effective, the child, possibly as an adult, will respond to a 'key word' which will cause him or her to take on one of the personalities that developed because of the trauma. For example, there are people who look like robots and just get into a bus or go inside a building and blow it up. That is most probably caused by a key word the bomber heard, and with the mind control programming that was put into him or her, he or she also received detailed instructions on how to build a bomb. This person acts like they don't have a conscience. The reason is because they have had their mind destroyed and rebuilt by those who wanted to make them robots.
  But this is not primarily the problem of a conscience that doesn't work, that I am referring to. I am fortunate to have lived through many changes and have observed some drastic changes in our culture over the last 50 years. One of the things I noticed is that in our society, the fear of God has disappeared. That was the beginning of our spiritual problems as a church in America. For example, when I was in elementary school, we said the pledged and sang songs with God's name in them. I could be wrong, but I think we even had prayer every day in school. Our television was black and white. An interesting thing was that when a man and a woman were married in a television show, when they went to bed, they had separate beds. If a person ever said a bad word on television, they were fired. When I was a teenager, if a girl got pregnant, she was taken out of school and stayed somewhere else, probably with other family members. It didn't happen too often, but it did occasionally. Divorce was rare. Women stayed at home when they had babies and nurtured their children while they were in the home. People didn't have a lot of money to spend. Although I don't remember this, my mom told me that some nights they had cream of wheat for dinner! Neither set of grandparents had money. But we all stayed together as a family. So, what happened? How does this tie in with not having a conscience?
   In the 1970s, Madeline Murray O'Hair was successful in getting prayer and the 10 Commandments out of school. Someone else took out 'Americanism vs. Communism'. Instead of standing up to young lustful men, now women just gave into them and gave them what they wanted, even though we used to know that doing that was very wrong. Women were getting pregnant out of marriage and it became apparent that something needed to be done, because society believes the lie that says that the earth is over populated and we need to stop populating the earth. Doctors came up with the idea of abortion. It used to be called a 'D and E' in which they sucked a baby out of the womb in the early stages of pregnancy. But today, a baby is cut up in the womb with a sharp knife because, by law, it has to die inside the womb, or else the abortionist will be charged with murder. If the baby survives the abortion, legally, the abortionist cannot touch the baby.
   Once the 10 Commandments were gone, people started shacking up. Guys would butter up a girl and stay with her for sex, until she got pregnant. Now she just goes down to the clinic and gets rid of the baby. She doesn't care about the baby and that the baby will be sliced up in her womb. She just wants to do anything to keep her man around, and if that means killing a baby, she will pay the price. Instead of trusting in God, she wants to be in control of her life.
   The standard of right and wrong is long gone. You can talk to young people about the Gospel and they just give you a blank stare when they hear that living together outside of marriage is wrong. Yes, the conscience of many people is gone. Their idols are set in place now. Nothing will be able to move them, not even the Gospel, and if you get in the way of their idols, you will experience the brunt of their anger. We are dealing with perverted people, people who have been turned over to their wickedness by God.
   The question I have is, what happened in the church, that the church allowed all of these things to happen in our society? Wasn't the Gospel precious to Christians? Or did church members start making their own idols up? Why did we stop fearing God? Why do so many today believe that when culture and Scriptures don't agree, then Scripture must bow to the culture? Since when did culture get to call the shots? When did we start listening to the voice of the Enemy instead of the voice of Truth?
   I don't have the answers to the questions above, but I know all this has happened. I also know that there are still people who do have a conscience. They can still be reached with the Gospel.
   We can bring the standard back. We need to bring the standard back. We might not ever be able to reach those who are perverted, but we can spend time ministering to those who are humble. Many have seared their consciences because they are bent on doing wrong, but, that hasn't happened to everyone. We need to preach the Gospel and not be discouraged because of those who have been turned over by God to their own lustful desires. Others need to hear and they will be changed.
  All I know is, if my ancestors knew what is going on today, they would turn over in their graves! Even though many feared God, they were not necessarily believers in Jesus Christ. But they did know the difference between right and wrong, good and evil, light and darkness, truth and error. When people can separate the good from the bad, the Gospel can make sense to them. That's why we need to pray for the church, pray for our country, and preach the Gospel to those who are around us.
Pray for revival in our hearts. Pray for the healing of our land.
Pray for God's mercy on us. Pray for the church to become
strong in faith and holy.


Josiah was eight years old when he began to reign, and he reigned thirty-one years in Jerusalem. His mother's name was Jedidah the daughter of Adaiah of Bozkath. And he did what was right in the eyes of the Lord and walked in all the way of David his father, and he did not turn aside to the right or to the left.

Josiah Repairs the Temple

  In the eighteenth year of King Josiah, the king sent Shaphan the son of Azaliah, son of Meshullam, the secretary, to the house of the Lord, saying,  “Go up to Hilkiah the high priest, that he may count the money that has been brought into the house of the Lord, which the keepers of the threshold have collected from the people. And let it be given into the hand of the workmen who have the oversight of the house of the Lord, and let them give it to the workmen who are at the house of the Lord, repairing the house (that is, to the carpenters, and to the builders, and to the masons), and let them use it for buying timber and quarried stone to repair the house. But no accounting shall be asked from them for the money that is delivered into their hand, for they deal honestly.”
  And Hilkiah the high priest said to Shaphan the secretary, “I have found the Book of the Law in the house of the Lord.” And Hilkiah gave the book to Shaphan, and he read it.  And Shaphan the secretary came to the king, and reported to the king, “Your servants have emptied out the money that was found in the house and have delivered it into the hand of the workmen who have the oversight of the house of the Lord.”  Then Shaphan the secretary told the king, “Hilkiah the priest has given me a book.” And Shaphan read it before the king.

Hilkiah Finds the Book of the Law

  When the king heard the words of the Book of the Law, he tore his clothes.  And the king commanded Hilkiah the priest, and Ahikam the son of Shaphan, and Achbor the son of Micaiah, and Shaphan the secretary, and Asaiah the king's servant, saying,  “Go, inquire of the Lord for me, and for the people, and for all Judah, concerning the words of this book that has been found. For great is the wrath of the Lord that is kindled against us, because our fathers have not obeyed the words of this book, to do according to all that is written concerning us.”
  So Hilkiah the priest, and Ahikam, and Achbor, and Shaphan, and Asaiah went to Huldah the prophetess, the wife of Shallum the son of Tikvah, son of Harhas, keeper of the wardrobe (now she lived in Jerusalem in the Second Quarter), and they talked with her.  And she said to them, “Thus says the Lord, the God of Israel: ‘Tell the man who sent you to me,  Thus says the Lord, Behold, I will bring disaster upon this place and upon its inhabitants, all the words of the book that the king of Judah has read. Because they have forsaken me and have made offerings to other gods, that they might provoke me to anger with all the work of their hands, therefore my wrath will be kindled against this place, and it will not be quenched. But to the king of Judah, who sent you to inquire of the Lord, thus shall you say to him, Thus says the Lord, the God of Israel: Regarding the words that you have heard,  because your heart was penitent, and you humbled yourself before the Lord, when you heard how I spoke against this place and against its inhabitants, that they should become a desolation and a curse, and you have torn your clothes and wept before me, I also have heard you, declares the Lord.  Therefore, behold, I will gather you to your fathers, and you shall be gathered to your grave in peace, and your eyes shall not see all the disaster that I will bring upon this place.’” And they brought back word to the king.
The Story of Josiah, an 8 year old king, who found a copy of the 'book of the law' and had it read to all the people. Taken from 2 Kings 22 ESV

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The 'God' Who Wants To Make Us Happy - Breaking The Second Commandment

   The Apostle Paul warns us of not trusting in other Gospels (see Galatians 1). There really only is one Gospel, at least one that is true. The rest are false, but they are very evident. They were evident in Paul's day, and they are still circulating around today. Many of them are the same ones, but recycled and repackaged.
   We hear references today, from prominent 'Christians' about God wanting to make us happy or fulfilled. Authoritative 'Christians' will even tell us that. Here are the words from a counselor of Amy Grant, while she was going through the process of wanting to get a divorce from her husband: "God made marriage for people. He didn’t make people for marriage. He didn’t create this institution so He could just plug people into it. He provided this so that people could enjoy each other to the fullest." This is what is being taught as Gospel in many places. Problem is, you won't find this anywhere in the Bible. God did not create marriage so that people could enjoy each other to the fullest. God created marriage because it was the first institution on earth. It is a foundational block that societies were to be built upon. It is also a vivid picture of Christ's relationship to the church. If marriages crumble, then societies will fall apart. 
  We cannot use God as a means to an end. God is the End. Our relationship with God is the goal He has for us. We are so tempted to believe that our marriage (or something else important to us) is the goal of our lives. If only we could have a happy marriage... 
  Relationships are hard because we are all born selfish. We, by default, do not really love others like we should. We can't, because we are depraved. We are born in sin. Only a redeemed person with a new heart from God can love others. We will not love our spouses the way God intends for us to, until we are born again and growing in our love for God. 
  None of us are going to be truly happy regardless of whether we are married or not. We might have seasons of happiness during our lifetimes, but it will only be temporary. Happiness is not our goal though. God is. What God wants us to have is so much richer and deeper than happiness. God wants us to be filled with His joy. But only those who know Him will have this joy. Those who are still living for themselves cannot have the joy of the Lord. It is not even in their realm.
   Trying to serve the 'god' who makes us happy is violating the Second Commandment. The Second Commandment says that we are not to make for ourselves any graven images of God to worship. That simply means that we are not to come up with ideas of what we want God to be like, then trust in whatever this 'god' is. People in America worship this 'god' who wants to make us happy. He is talked about in churches throughout our land. But he is not the true and living God of the Bible. Only the God who is described in the Bible is to be worshiped. And only the God of the Bible knows what is best for the people He created. Anything else is a false substitute that will ultimately betray us.

Thursday, May 1, 2014

I Overheard A Woman Recommend 'Love Wins' - How Should I Respond?

I Overheard A Woman Recommend 'Love Wins' - How Should I Respond?

May 1, 2014

   Before you read this, please note that I am not bringing these names up to cause people to slander. I only bring them up because there is much concern for what Rob Bell teaches and whatever those who attend 'Status' are learning. It is one thing to rake someone over with coals, but it is another thing to bring up issues that need attention. That is what I am hoping to do here. 

      I was out today and I overheard a woman who was being asked questions about where she attends church. The woman was young and her answer was that she went to 'Status'. I already encountered a few young people from 'Status' a couple of years ago and figured out what this 'church' stood for rather quickly. 
  The college age students who went to Status were upset because I was doing evangelism. They claimed that Jesus doesn't want people to do evangelism or use tracts and that people who use tracts give them out so they can check off the box on their list of good works. The students went on and told me to read a book by 'Rob Bell' called, 'Velvet Elvis'. 
  I wasn't overly familiar with Rob Bell, but I had heard negative things about him, so I investigated. I read a critique on 'Velvet Elvis' and easily understood why the college students didn't think evangelism was a good idea. I'll make it simple and clear: Rob Bell hates evangelism. He hates evangelists. You don't have to do too much research on Rob Bell and his teachings to see this. For example, Bell has done a video called, 'The Bullhorn Guy' in which he blasts evangelists who preach openly using bullhorns. But before you get too angry with Rob Bell, take a look at what he is angry at first, and you just might have some sympathy on him. Let me explain.
  There are those who do evangelism using bullhorns, or, maybe better known as megaphones or amplifiers. Sadly, there is a group of them who yell at people and call names. For example, Micah Armstrong, who goes to colleges to 'preach' whatever it is he is preaching, saw a young woman going past, and he called out to her, 'Hey whore'. He is not the only one who does this. There is a whole group of them, and they way they come across is very much like Westboro did. These people do not show the God of the Bible, and we should be angry at what they do. But they are not the whole story.
   Just as there are those who use bullhorns and resort to name calling, there are those who really love God and do evangelism out of that love. Many Christians really do want to make God's name known in truth and bring glory to Him in their lives. Rob Bell doesn't seem to understand this though. He throws the baby out with the bath water. 
  The god that Rob Bell believes in is the 'all-loving', 'all-forgiving' god of his own imagination, and in the imagination of many other 'Christians' as well. The Bible says that 'God is love', so, in part, Rob Bell is correct. He knows that the 'god' of Micah Armstrong and his ilk are not the God of the Bible. But sadly, Bell does not know the God who is holy and just. Nor does he understand our sinful, deceitful hearts which need to be redeemed.
   As I was in the room listening to the conversation with the two women, my heart was breaking. The woman who asked the original question said she may attend, at the other woman's invitation and recommendation of Status. I'm glad I didn't react, but I would have loved to. 
  The conversation continued. The woman who went to Status also mentioned the book, 'Love Wins'. Of course, this only confirmed my theory of this 'church' and its ideas and worldview. It draws a lot of young people and I am only guessing, but, I think, from what little I know already, that this church is build upon catering to young adults. I can't imagine whoever preaches in this church, his preaching the Gospel message, or even talking about sin and redemption. 
   I didn't respond to the woman and I'm glad because God wasn't leading me to do that. But I have an urgency to tell my friends about this particular 'church'. Yes, we will win people with God's love if it is really in our hearts, but as someone said, 'God's love is not a pampering love'. God's love can make our lives challenging and uneasy at times, but it is for our good. As we become conformed to the image of Christ, we will experience hardship and pain. It is all part of growing. God never intended us to have a life where we could just sit back and do whatever makes us happy and whatever is easiest. Life, by nature, is hard. All of us need God's grace and help. 
   If you are a young person and if you go to Status, please consider the reasons why you would be part of this kind of church. And if you enjoy reading Rob Bell's book, ask yourself why. This kind of thing does not line up with the Bible, and we need to be careful of what we get involved in. I care enough about you to want you to consider what is best for you and your friends and family. Please take what I have written into consideration.
God never had a beginning. He
has always been in existence and
He always will be. Eternity will have
no ending either. It will continue for
eons and eons and eons more.