Spiritual Warfare Prep

Spiritual Warfare Prep
We Are In The Lord's Army

Friday, December 30, 2016

Will Heaven Have Memorials Of Missing People There?

In the book of Acts, there is an interesting event that happened. Peter was going up to pray and he fell into a trance. He had a vision of all kinds of animals, and God told him to rise, kill, and eat the animals. Peter refused at first, but then God reveal to him that He had cleansed the animals and that Peter could eat them. God had prepared Peter, along with other men, to meet a man named Cornelius, whose heart God was also preparing for receiving salvation. Cornelius was an outsider, a Gentile, whom Peter was not supposed to have anything to do with, but like the wild animals that God had cleansed, Cornelius was one who God was preparing for salvation.

"At Caesarea there was a man named Cornelius, a centurion of what was known as the Italian Cohort,  a devout man who feared God with all his household, gave alms generously to the people, and prayed continually to God. About the ninth hour of the day he saw clearly in a vision an angel of God come in and say to him, “Cornelius.”  And he stared at him in terror and said, “What is it, Lord?” And he said to him, “Your prayers and your alms have ascended as a memorial before God.  And now send men to Joppa and bring one Simon who is called Peter.  He is lodging with one Simon, a tanner, whose house is by the sea.” When the angel who spoke to him had departed, he called two of his servants and a devout soldier from among those who attended him,  and having related everything to them, he sent them to Joppa."*

What was interesting was that Cornelius was a man of prayer and also a man who was charitable. What he did actually reached heaven! His prayers and alms ascended as a memorial before God. Yet, this man was not yet a believer in Jesus Christ. 

I was reading a book called 'Revealing Heaven' by Kat Kerr. First, I do not have a final evaluation of this book. She claims to have seen heaven in visions and describes what she saw. Secondly, as I read through the book, everything she wrote in this book points to the Lord, and seems very Biblically based. She covers the Gospel clearly, so I am not going to criticize this book. I will continue to evaluate it in my mind, but at this point in time, I do not have a final opinion on it. 

In this book, she covers many things that she saw while she was having these visions. One was very interesting. She saw memorials of people who did wonderful things for God, but they were not in heaven themselves. They never came to know the Lord. They were missing from heaven, but the memorial of their work was in heaven.

Kat Kerr brought up the story of Cornelius in this part of the book. The point I would like to make with all this is simply that we can be very moral people, and even prayer warriors, but we could still miss salvation because we have not repented of our sins and turned to the Lord. 

There were a lot of God fearing people who were the founders of our nation, but it is hard to say if they actually knew the Lord. We pray that during their lifetimes, the connection was made. But many of them did not have the kind of fruit we would expect from a true believer in Jesus Christ. I wonder if there will be memorials in heaven with their names on them, but with their presence missing in heaven?

I am sure many people have a level of the 'fear of the Lord' but perhaps they don't know Him yet. We need to check our own hearts and see where we are at in our relationships with God. It would be very sad for any of us to have a memorial in heaven recognizing our work, yet still be missing from heaven.

For more information on the Gospel and our need for salvation, please go to The Gospel Conversation

* Acts 10:1-8 ESV

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Are Special People Groups Entitled to Entitlements?

This whole thing of entitlement really bothers me. I remember growing up and my dad would make references to certain people, usually young ones or college age, and would say, 'They need to go in the army'. My dad was in the army and the Korean War ended the day he landed there.

Years ago, people worked hard for what they got. There was a lot of suffering and difficult challenges that we don't have today. We do have suffering and challenges today, but they take a different form because we have so much more, and much of what we have has created more problems for us.

My dad did not get to go to college after he graduated from high school. First of all, his parents did not have the money to send him to college and he was drafted in the war. He got a job and got married when he got back. Then he went to college. He graduated with honors and ended up with a good career many years later.

Another thing my dad would say is that certain people, usually the younger crowd, think that they are born with a silver spoon in their mouths. Something else interesting to ponder.

My dad had a lot of good common sense and could make connections in life situations. Today, the thinking of the younger generation in my dad's day is the prominent way of thinking in our culture. And it is disturbing.

Everyone thinks they have special rights today. And this is very confusing to me. In America, we live in a free country where we do have rights guaranteed to us in the Constitution. It is true that some have not acknowledged these rights when it comes to other people or groups of people, and that is unjust.

For example, if two people are applying for a job, and both have good qualifications for that job, but only one gets it because of the color of their skin or their gender, then that is unfair. We know that that has happened.

God made everyone unique. He made all the people groups and cultures. Although each one has their own characteristics, none is better than the other, and no one group should receive privileges that the other groups do not get.

Now, I will make an obvious exception here 😀. Because men and women are different in form and function, men don't have babies. They cannot go to a hospital and get the privileges extended to a woman who has just delivered a baby! On the other side of the coin, men who do combat in battle get medals and awards for their acts. They deserve those rewards. Women should not even try to do those feats (although I am sure some women think they can do them!).

Today, I am confused. I think it is because people have the mindset that everyone else owes them a living. There is this 'entitlement' attitude that comes from people, mainly the younger group but not always.

I am confused on this whole thing with the Black Lives Matter situations. Of course, black lives matter. So does everyone else's life matter. I am looking at this situation and it isn't making sense. In some cases, black cops kill black suspects and then the black people are angry and feel discriminated against because they suspect that the cops were against them because they were black? Confused here.

But today, I am even more puzzled except that I have taken this whole entitlement concept into consideration. In a conversation on Facebook, one person, obviously black, has complaints about our new president elect because she says Trump (in response to someone else's question) is pro-life, but not for Muslims, blacks or Latinos. Not sure what that meant until I read further. Someone was trying to explain to her that color doesn't matter. All races are equal in value, and if they are not, that is racism. The black person responded by saying that one should recognize her color and don't hold it against her. So far, this makes sense in itself. But in another statement, I am seeing an angle that I didn't see before. One the one hand, she is saying to not hold her skin color against her. But in another statement she is saying that he (Trump) should see her skin color. Her skin color tells a lot about who she is and where she is from. Then she makes this statement: 'Being color-blind is just as dumb as being racist'. OK. Now I think I see where she is coming from a little more clearly. It is not an issue of being discriminated against because of her skin color, but it is an issue of thinking she is being treated unfairly because her skin color is not recognized by Trump. In other words, I *think* she is saying that she (and all other black people) should be treated in a special way because she is black. Black people, according to her, should be recognized for their specialness. Perhaps they should be given special rights because they are black. Doesn't this tie in with this whole subject of entitlement? She is not accusing Trump of being racist. She is accusing him of not focusing on the special rights that she thinks belong to black people, Muslims, and Latinos. That is a whole different subject for another blog sometime.

I personally believe that many people voted for Hillary simply because she is an enabler. She will cater to the special groups and give them entitlements that Trump doesn't give out. She is not discerning and would even see homosexuals as a minority group of people, as if they were some kind of special race of people, rather than a group of people who live by a different standard than others.

I have one more example of this happening in the election. A while back someone was explaining why they were supporting Trump. It had to do with Trump's stand in supporting what the people want vs. what big government is doing. The specific example given was Monsanto. Monsanto is a group backed by the government, that is recreated food and changing the whole food industry. This could end up being a disaster and it could affect the whole world. This person was explaining that Trump would stop Monsanto (I don't know much about this but it wouldn't surprise me). We know that Hillary supports Monsanto, even if it is just with words. She supports everything that will end up harming us as a people ultimately. But, she will also support Planned Parenthood and groups like the LGBT. She will see to it that laws will be passed to help these continue.

On Tuesday, I was going through my email and one of many which pertained to natural health was interesting. This man explained in his email, that he voted and encouraged others to vote. He voted for Hillary because of her supposed stance on natural health issues. He said that Hillary is supportive of the things we hold dear concerning our food freedoms. Here is a part of the email he sent:

"But whatever you think of the candidates – this election really does matter. And as someone who wants healthy, sustainable, humane and delicious food for everyone – I know that my vote counts.

So I’m voting. I’m voting for healthy people, and for a healthy planet. And the best way that I know to do that, is to vote for Hillary Clinton – even with all her considerable faults.

Now some of you might be furious to hear me say that. And before I go on, let me be very clear that I love our democracy and I honor and respect that everyone should vote their highest conscience.

And I fully recognize that Hillary Clinton has historic and disturbing ties to Monsanto, Walmart, Tyson Foods, and other companies whose practices I find at times abhorrent."*

But here is the interesting part of this; he recognized that Hillary has ties to these places which oppose what we believe in, concerning food. And that doesn't matter to him. Here is another part of this email:

"if you want a president who eats a mostly plant-strong and healthy diet and will be a role model of healthy eating to our population... Then, based on their positions, their party platforms, the policies of the people they’ve chosen as their closest advisors, and their own personal lifestyle choices – this isn’t even a close call.

In my view, Hillary Clinton is a vastly better choice."

Here is what I want you to see; he is choosing Hillary in spite of the sharp disagreements he would have for her because of her ties to Monsanto, etc. The reason he is willing to sacrifice all this is simply because of the entitlements Hillary offers, if she had won the election. This man is an avid homosexual (who claims to have a 'husband') and if you didn't catch that in his introduction on a webinar, you might misunderstand why he is so strongly urging people to vote for Hillary. It all goes back to entitlement. Hillary gives entitlements to people who she deems worthy (like homosexuals and transgenders). Notice the words 'lifestyle choices'. That is very telling.

The Bible is very clear that we are to love all people. We are to treat people with respect and honor. But the Bible is also clear about boundaries. Having boundaries does not contradict loving people. You and I can love people and still have boundaries. Entitlement removes those boundaries. It takes away freedom from some people and gives it to another group. It is unjust. 

God loves the people He made, no matter what the color of their skin is, and no matter what the culture is or gender. But He does not give special favors to people who are in certain groups. He does not give special privileges to certain people because they had a bad rap in life. He does not make exceptions for certain people groups to sin or continue in sin. However, God does break chains that hold people down and keep them in bondage. 

The Enemy of our soul tempts us to sin or believe a certain way that is wrong, then we end up in bondage. But we stay in bondage because we think we are experiencing freedom. The Enemy has lied to us and we need to separate the truth from the lies. To hate someone or treat them in a less than human way because of their skin color, culture, or gender is wrong. At the same time, to treat people with special entitlements because of their skin color, gender, or cultural background is wrong. 

We need to grow up spiritually and see things from God's perspective. If you are a white male, you are not better than anyone else. If you are a black woman, or a Muslim or Latino, you don't receive special favors from God because of your status. God wants us to help the poor and educate those who need training for a lifetime career. He never intended for us to live on handouts from the rich, nor be beggars. God has a special plan for each one of us. Each person is unique and given special skills and talents to use for his or her lifetime vocation. We need to encourage each other and love one another so each person can be everything God wants them to be. 

* Ocean Robbins (Food Revolution)

Thursday, September 29, 2016

God Is The Great Physician

I am writing this because we really do need to know what God is like and what His characteristics are. So many times, we have some idea of what God is like, but we finish our belief system based upon what we think He is like or how we think He should respond to us. Then when the real times of testing come, which they will, our faith fails, or we just turn to another god to believe in. We do this without even realizing it.

So, it all started when I was a toddler. My parents and grandparents were big on going to the 'seashore' as they called it back then (today it is called the beach). Although I loved the beach, I hated the car ride that we had to take in order to get there. I would get sick to my stomach every time, and the car had to be stopped many times. The adults would try different things to make my stomach feel better such as orange juice, tea, and one time, spearmint.

Well, we didn't go too many places once we moved down to Florida, but after I got married, my husband and I would make trips to where his relatives lived, which was about 2 hours away. I don't remember what it was like at first, but then as I began to have children, I couldn't be in the car anymore, without getting sick to my stomach. I blamed it on being pregnant, but then after many trips to Georgia or other far away places, I had car sickness, even without being pregnant. Memories of having car sickness flashed back into my mind and after many of these trips, I gave into the fact that I still had motion sickness, for which no one yet had found a cure for.

About two years ago, I noticed that I was feeling sick to my stomach in the mornings. The stomach sickness became every morning, and it wasn't morning sickness this time! I am not sure what it was, but when we went on a long trip, it really was not fun.

When we were in Georgia that December, I was still feeling sick and having car sickness as usual. I prayed for God's help with all of this. The thought of going back in the car was sickening in itself. I prayed to get well from it all. I committed the situation to the Lord. If God were to not help me, this would be a trip most miserable!

I didn't have the car sickness on the way home. The sick stomach I had went away during the day. I have been on several trips since then and have not struggled with car sickness. It is great. I am thankful to God for taking it away!

The reason I want to write this is because I think that our faith is so small. We want to believe God is there and is for us, but we gauge our understanding of Him based upon our life's experiences instead of on His word. We pray for something and it doesn't come to pass, so we give up on praying. We need a bigger picture!

Here is what Jesus says about prayer:
"If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.  By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be my disciples." John 15:7 ESV

Here is what James says about this:
"You desire and do not have, so you murder. You covet and cannot obtain, so you fight and quarrel. You do not have, because you do not ask. You ask and do not receive, because you ask wrongly, to spend it on your passions." James 4:2 and 3 ESV

And here is what the psalmist says about it:
"Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart." Psalm 37:4 ESV

The key is to abide in Christ. Let His word dwell in us richly. Our hearts' desires will be in line with what God wants. If we aren't abiding in Christ, then we are acting independently of God. 

God still heals people today and brings glory to His Son by doing so. God still reveals Himself to people to and invites those who see their need for Him to come to Him. If you have not come to know Him yet, this is the time. If you are interested in responding to God's invitation, and if you would like more information on that, please go to http://thegospelconversation.blogspot.com

Thursday, September 22, 2016

What Is A Racist?

There is a lot of talk on the Internet about racism, and many are being called, 'racist' due to the problems we are facing in our country today.

But what exactly is a racist, and why do people call others 'racists'?

Another word for racist would be 'bigot'. It has the connotation of superiority over another group or bias toward a group or race of people.

Here is the dictionary definition of racist:

rac·ist ˈrāsəst/ noun 1. a person who believes that a particular race is superior to another. synonyms: racial bigot, racialist, xenophobe, chauvinist, supremacist More adjective 1. having or showing the belief that a particular race is superior to another. "we are investigating complaints about racist abuse at the club"

What we are facing today has to do with the question of boundaries. Is it wrong to have boundaries? If one does have boundaries, is he or she a racist?

The implication is, if we have boundaries (which everyone should have and use properly) then it means we are separating ourselves from another group. By default, according to many, that means we are superior to the group we are placing boundaries around.

What I really think this means though, is that, if we don't have boundaries and if we don't use our God-given boundaries, then we can be 'tolerant' of others and they can take advantage of us, if they choose to do so. In other words, we have to give up our boundaries in order for us to be 'tolerant' of others. Does God want us to be a doormat and let others walk all over us? Did Jesus have boundaries while He was on earth?

This whole idea of separating ourselves from others and being superior is quite interesting. I am not sure that separating ourselves from others means that we think we are superior to others. But that is exactly what our culture teaches. If we are inclusive, then we are bigoted. At least, according to the culture.

Why is this though? Well, could it be partly due to what the culture believes about truth? Our culture today will tell you that truth is what you want it to be. If you believe you are a dog, then, that is your truth and your truth tells you that you are a dog. If you are a male, who wants to be a female, then your truth is that you are a female. That is what culture believes. So, if Jesus says that He is the only way to heaven, people will say that that is His truth, and whoever want's to believe in Him, it is their truth. At the same time, the culture will say that Jesus is being bigoted because of His claim.

Listen, this goes on and on. Young adults who profess to believe in Jesus being the only way will say that that is true for themselves, but it might not be true for a Muslim, for example. They believe that when a Muslim dies, and if that Muslim never turned to Christ, that he or she will be ok before God because that is their truth. Do you see the dilemma here?

It goes back to having no absolutes. If there is nothing concrete, then we can believe whatever we want to. But what if something is concrete? What if God is concrete and His word is final? Whether that is truth to us or not, we will all stand before Him one day and give account of our lives. Now that is truth!

Back to the culture. Years ago, I helped out with a business phone book that was being put together. It was for Christian businessmen (or women). You would not believe the reaction of the world concerning this upcoming phone directory. We were looked at as bigoted and bias, and of course, inclusive. People assumed that because it was a phone book for Christians, that it was excluding everyone else, and they didn't think that was fair.

If a Muslim group were putting a business directory together for Muslim business men, I would have no desire to be listed in it. Why should I feel like they are bigoted against me because their phone directory was only for Muslims? I would have no right to complain about that. They have every right to put together a phone directory for their community.

So, why is it that a person who has standards and one who sees danger and warns others is called a bigot (or racist)? It's making a stretch out of something that doesn't necessarily exist. It's creating a 'straw man' or a false theory that is taken to be fact.

We can't judge what is in a person's heart. We don't have the right to say, so and so did that action because they were ............ (fill in the blank). That is why we have court systems. The judges try to figure out the motives of the person who did the crime. But we think we know people's hearts. Our hearts are so deceitful that even the person who does wrong doesn't necessarily understand why he did what he did.

We have a presidential candidate who is being called a 'bigot'. I wondered why, for a long time. But then I remembered, it was because he wants to put up a wall in our country, separating us from Mexico. I also remember that it is because he doesn't want to have tons of refugees pouring into our country with no accountability on them. But I have to ask, is that really bigotry?

Maybe the whole thing goes back way deeper into another belief system. Perhaps some really believe that people are good. Maybe some have overlooked the incident at the Pulse night club in Orlando, Florida. Maybe some have forgotten about 911. Could this be why people believe that the Holocaust never took place?

This may truly be the reason why people think those who have set boundaries around them are bigoted. Because, it is like saying, people really aren't that bad. You don't need to lock your doors at night. You are judging people. It's ok that pedophiles are in our neighborhoods. They probably don't mean to hurt our children. What are you so down on them? Most people are trying to be good and nice.

I like the Bible verse that talks about how Jesus did not entrust Himself to man, for He knew what was in man. There were times when Jesus hid Himself from people who were trying to kill Him. Was Jesus wrong in doing that? Wouldn't that be assuming that people are bad and dangerous? Hmmm.

Yes, we need boundaries around us. We need protection from other people. That doesn't mean that we can't get to know people and learn to trust them. Trust has to be earned. You wouldn't trust your newborn baby with someone walking down the street that you don't know, would you? You wouldn't trust your 10 year old with the car keys, and you wouldn't leave your children at the beach or an amusement park all day by themselves. We all know what could happen when we do such things.

Everything must be done with humility. When we point out a wrong or potential danger, if we have a superiority about it, then those who don't appreciate boundaries will accurately accuse us of being superior. We are to be like one beggar telling another beggar where to find bread.

The truth is, all of us are on the same plane. We are in the same boat (excuse the puns!). There is a God who is way bigger than we are, to whom we will all give account of our lives. We are small and flawed. We all need Someone to rescue us from our sins. There is no race or group that is an exception to this. To believe in the One who can rescue us is not an act of bigotry. God is inviting all to come to Him. When someone rejects the invitation, he is excluding himself from the kingdom of God. He or she will have no one to blame but himself/herself on that Day.

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

False Teachers Or Ignorant Teachers?

I was reading an article by one of my favorite Bible teachers and example. I liked what I read, but there was something troubling in this article.

In much of my reading on Facebook, I see a lot of posts that lead to articles describing false teachers. It is an interesting dynamic, however, I personally think this has gotten way out of hand. For example, CARM wrote an article on a woman Bible teacher, and the evaluation was that she was a weak Bible teacher (for reasons I am not going to cover here). Well, because so many trust and respect the ministry of CARM, this object of evaluation ended up being a false teacher on the websites of many who are hunting down false teachers. Many have ripped her to shreds and the poor woman may not even have any idea of all those new haters of hers that she has out there now.

Back to the article, the person who wrote the article that I am explaining about, I greatly respect. However, any of us can be wrong. Not just that we are not perfect, but we live in a darkened world and we see through a glass dimly. We are all (hopefully) growing together in love and truth.

The article mentioned a well known Bible teacher who has said that regeneration precedes faith. In other words, there is no faith available until regeneration has taken place in the person. When I read the quote, I did not agree with it. The person who wrote the article did not agree with it either. Up to this point, it is not a big deal. That is, until I read the next paragraph.

The following paragraph made a reference to the well known Bible teacher and others who were teaching error in some form. But it also made a reference to those people as 'false teachers'. You have to understand what a false teacher is.

First of all, a false teacher, or heretic, is one who appears to be on the same page as everyone else, but secretly has an agenda that will pull people away from God. A false teacher is not one who is preaching a watered down Gospel, necessarily (although a false teacher may indeed preach a watered down Gospel). There is a lot of ignorance in the body of Christ. Some really think they are serving the Lord with their teaching. But they haven't been discipled properly or they haven't learned correct doctrine.

We have to ask ourselves, what is the goal of the person preaching something erroneous. Is the goal to win the people over to another cause or is it just basic stupidity or ignorance on the part of the speaker? Could it be that the person sees something in the Bible in a way that we don't see?

We are not all going to agree on everything in the Bible. We need to be on the same page when it comes to the Gospel, salvation, God, Jesus, Holy Spirit and the authority of Scriptures, but when it comes to other things that are not the main issues, we aren't going to see eye to eye. That is ok.

Sometimes, people miscommunicate, or even worse, they are bad communicators. They might even say things that sound heretical, without realizing the seriousness of what their words sound like! Yes, they need to be confronted and helped. That is where good relationships come into play. But that doesn't mean that they are in there to bewitch people into believing another Gospel. This happens a lot and we need to be gracious. It is not wrong to let the person know that they are communicating in a bad way.

So, how do we treat people we disagree with? Should we call them false teachers? Have we judged them and decided that they are definitely in there to lead people astray?

Here is a link to a message taught by Ligon Duncan concerning whether the church fathers got the Gospel right. The early fathers had many different views on things, but the one thing they did agree on was the message of the Gospel. That is much like us today. We have a lot of different views on things, even in the Bible, but all who know the Lord will agree on the Gospel message.

So, I have to disagree with my respected Bible teacher on calling this well known Bible teacher a 'false teacher' because he said that regeneration precedes faith.

How do you handle well known Bible teachers who teach things that you don't agree with? Do you call them a heretic or false teacher, or, do you see them as men who have been enlightened by the Lord, but are in the process of growing and changing continually in the ways and knowledge of the Lord?

Here is an article I wrote yesterday on this subject. It goes a little deeper concerning how to treat those whom we do not agree with.

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

How Are We To Treat People We Disagree With Or Who Have Wronged Us?

"Tolerance isn't about not having beliefs. It's about how your beliefs lead you to treat people who disagree with you." Tim Keller.

You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven." Matthew 5:43-45a ESV

"Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor." Romans 12:10 ESV

"Live in harmony with one another. Do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly. Never be wise in your own sight. Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all. If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all." Romans 12:16-18 ESV

"Owe no one anything, except to love each other, for the one who loves another has fulfilled the law." Romans 13:8 ESV

"A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” John 13:34, 35 ESV

"As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God's varied grace:" 1 Peter 4:10 ESV

Each of these verses tells us how we should treat one another. We are told to love our enemies. We are told to live in harmony with one another. We are commanded to love one another. God's word tells us to serve others. 

How do we treat people who we disagree with? We can have all knowledge of what we know to be true, but does it lead us to treat others properly? Do we slander other Christians who we don't agree with? Do we tear down those who hate us and misrepresent us? The way we treat others indicates how we ourselves have been affected by God's word. Is God's word something just stored in our memories, or is it alive and working in us to change us so we can become conformed to the image of Christ?

Saturday, September 10, 2016

God Is Love - But - His Love Has Boundaries We Might Not Like

We hear about how much God loves us, and that is true. But God's love is not a love that allows us to stay in our sins.

People today use God's love as an excuse for not repenting from sin and turning to God. But is that what God's love is all about? The Bible says that 'God is love' but it also talks about turning from our sins. Is there a contradiction?

People love ice cream. Some love Chinese food. There are people who love big, beautiful houses. But is that kind of love the same as loving a person? When we are infatuated with someone, we say that we love them. But if we truly love them, then we would be willing to make sacrifices for their good. Can we make sacrifices for the well being of ice cream, Chinese food, or big beautiful houses? The sacrifices we would make would be for our enjoyment and benefit, not for the sake of ice cream, Chinese food, and big houses.

Here is a description of love that comes right out of the Bible:

Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

1 Corinthians 13:4-7 ESV

Love involves sacrifice. It involves sacrifice for the sake of the object of love. Love is not allowing people to do whatever they want in order to be happy. 

I once remember my mom explaining discipline to me. I was probably between the ages of 5 and 7, and I hated being disciplined. I thought my mom was too strict. I wanted to explore, so I would do things with the door locked or somehow I would be out of her sight so I could 'explore' and learn. It 'seemed' like to everything I wanted, she would say 'no' to. My mom tried to explain boundaries to me. It made sense but I did not agree with it. She said that children feel safe with boundaries around them. When children break those boundaries, they need to be disciplined. It was an act of love on the part of the parent. 

There was a true incident that happened in a school yard. There was no fence around the school yard and when children went out for recess, they always stayed close to the building. A fence was put up around the school yard and after that, children played in the school yard. The only explanation was that children felt safe because there was now a fence around the school yard. 

I did not want to stay inside the boundaries my mom set for me and I certainly did not see how it could be loving of parents to discipline their children. Of course, I was immature and thought that I could do things to make myself happy, and that Mom was getting in the way of that!

In my opinion, it seems like many people see God this way. God has boundaries. Inside His boundaries, there is no sin. We think that by being allowed to sin, we will be happy, and we think that if we are inside God's boundaries, we will not be happy because we can't do what we want to. So, alternatively, people come up with the idea that God loves us and that means we can do whatever we want. That makes sense to people, but it is just the opposite of what Scripture teaches. 

"The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; surely I have a delightful inheritance.
Psalm 16:6 NIV

We will never experience God's peace until we know Him. We will not know Him until we repent of our sins, and trust in what Jesus did on the Cross to pay for the penalty of our sins. When we do come to Him in repentance and faith, then we will have the insight to see that God does know what is best. God is not out there to make us unhappy. But the devil lies to us in order to get us to not trust in God. We all have a distrust in God because we do not know what the Scriptures say about who He is. Because we are ignorant of what Scripture teaches us about God, we will fall into the trap of the Enemy of our souls, and listen to his lies instead of listening to the truth about God. And we will not trust in God because we have fallen prey to the lies of the devil. 

Yes, God does love us. He loves those who do not know Him yet. He loves those who have trusted in Him and turned from their sins. But God's love will not keep people from going to hell if they do not repent of their sins and turn to Him. God's love provided a way for us to be reconciled to Him. He provided a way for us to be free from having to be captivated by sin. We all have struggles with sinful issues, and now, because of the Cross, we can be set free from sin. 

Sin is our enemy. Satan uses sinful temptations to cause us to fall and to be under God's wrath. The devil cannot make anyone sin, but he can reason with people about sin and make it look plausible. 

For more information on how to be made right before God, please go to http://thegospelconversation.blogspot.com 

Friday, September 2, 2016

Is Our Tragedy Due To God's Judgment On Us Or Is It Due To A Consequence Of Our Actions?

Although suffering consequences for things done and suffering God's judgment because of bad decisions we have made appear to be very much alike, they are two different things.

For example, if I drink something poisonous, I will get sick or die. The result is a consequence for my action. But if I choose to rebel against God and reject His authority in my life, I will be under His judgment (see John 3:36).

We are in a time when God is extending His mercy. Many times, we can get away with doing sinful activities, and seemingly we can get away with it. But in doing so, we are storing up wrath for the Day of Judgment. God is merciful in order for us to repent.

Sometimes, we think that someone is experiencing God's judgment when the person or group of people is suffering a consequence for their wrongdoing. We have to be careful and discern whether the result is a consequence or is God's judgment on him or her for their actions.

In the Old Testament, there were acts of judgment that God allowed to be done to His own people. Other nations were also destroyed under God's judgment as well. Remember, these Pagan nations did have the truth at one time, but turned away and received God's judgment on them. The world-wide Flood in Noah's Day was an act of God's Judgment on the people who rejected Him.

The point of what I am saying is this; we have to be careful in how we interpret a person's suffering. Is he or she experiencing tragedy or pain because God is judging him or her? Or could it be that the person is suffering the consequences of bad decisions that were made?

One other thought; Could it be that when we choose to pull away from God that we suffer the consequences of not being under His umbrella of safety? I am not saying that anyone who is a victim of being harmed by accident or danger of any kind is not under God's safety net. But, what about those who do not know the Lord? How can they be under the safety net of the Lord if God is not their Strong Tower?

What about those who have been part of a church, who have left the church because they want to go back into sin? Or those who have chosen to believe that God is ok with His people continuing in sin, because of the belief that says that God is all-loving and all-forgiving? When we choose to sin, no matter what excuse we give, we are opening the door to Satan in our lives, and we give the Enemy a foothold which could turn into a stronghold that will keep us in bondage to sin. How can we think we are under God's safety net if we regard some kind of sin in our lives? We can't live in the kingdom of Light and the kingdom of Darkness at the same time? If we continue living in sin, then we will suffer the consequences of not living under God's safety net. If we don't repent in this life, we will experience God's judgment after we die.

Those who trust in the Lord are under God's safety net. Everything that happens to them is under God's sovereign control. But the promises of God to His people of safety and protection do not apply to those who do not know Him. It is a dangerous thing to be outside of God's safety net.

God promises to take care of His people. He gives the invitation to all to come to Him. We must let go of our sinful paths and ways, and we must turn to Him in repentance and faith. God sent His Son to take the punishment for our sins so we can be forgiven. The death of Jesus Christ also provided the way to have victory over sin and the Enemy of our souls. The resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead shows the power of God that we can have to be forgiven of sin and to be free from the hold of sin.

For more information on this, please go to http://thegospelconversation.blogspot.com

Sunday, August 28, 2016

Apologetics Is Not Evangelism

I love to do both evangelism and apologetics, and many times, they go hand in hand.

But are they the same thing and do they have the same end? The answer is 'no'.

The Bible tells us to preach the Gospel to every creature and make disciples of all nations. The Bible also tells us that we are to defend the faith, and give an answer to every person who asks a reason of the hope that is in us.

Don't get me wrong. We can use apologetics in evangelism, and some times we need to do so. But here is the problem; we tend to think of them as the same thing. Let me explain in more detail.

I am in a lot of different circles on the Internet. I am in several apologetic groups and at the same time, am also involved in evangelism groups. I have friends who are also in these same groups. It is like one big fellowship on the Internet. But there is a  problem.

The problem appears to be that we use apologetic skills when we should be preaching the Gospel. For example, there are people who want to defend the faith (or at least their theology) when they should be presenting the Gospel message.

I am not sure I agree with this apologetic tactic, but there is a large apologetic group that explains Catholicism as a false religion. In fact, those who head up this group will go to Catholic churches and give out tracts which explain what Catholicism is wrong. If they believe that Catholicism is wrong (and I am not making a case here for whether or not Catholicism is right or wrong at this time), then wouldn't it be better to actually do evangelism with these Catholics instead of giving them literature telling them why they are wrong?

There are certain instances where I believe that apologetics can lead to evangelism. For example, if a Jehovah's Witness comes to your door, explaining why you should become a Jehovah's Witness, this is a perfect time to explain what the Bible says about salvation, God, Jesus, etc. One can use the Bible to help the Jehovah's Witness to see where he or she is in error. This is the time to defend the faith. The true faith which was delivered once to the saints, is being challenged in this case. The conversations we have with Jehovah's Witnesses could lead to sharing the Gospel, if the Jehovah's Witness is open to hearing the Gospel message.

Put yourself in the other person's place. If you were coming out of a non-mainstream Christian church, would you want someone handing you literature telling you that you are wrong? Does this show humility to the lost person? Yes, at some point if the Gospel is shared and received, the person will know that the doctrine he or she believes in (or thinks they believe in) is wrong. Many people just go to church for the sake of going to church. They are not really aware of the depths of whatever the church holds to in their doctrine. They typically go to some kind of church to earn a brownie point with God. And then imagine if someone who really does know the Lord, gives them a tract telling them that they are wrong? Do you think they will have the humility and grace to receive the message of the tract? Wouldn't it be better to share the Gospel with them instead of pointing out where they are wrong, doctrinally?

With anything we do for the kingdom of God, we must demonstrate as well as declare, the Gospel. People will look at our lives and how we live them out determines how people interpret who God is and what He is like. The Bible says that 'God is love', and if that is true (which we know it is) are we showing God's love by serving others and ministering to them, or do we think we are showing people God's love by telling them that they are wrong in what they believe in?

Some of the early church fathers had to stand up for the truth. They had to defend the faith, and we are glad that they did. They stood up for what was true, in spite of the cost they would have to pay for defending the truth. They did apologetics and God used them to make sure that the church continued in truth. What they did was not necessarily evangelism though, so we can't mix the two and blend them into one. There were vicious attacks against the truth, from various people who took their stand for what was false. Someone was needed to fight for the truth. The truth did prevail. It was a good thing that they stood up for what was true, when the truth was being challenged.

Throughout church history, there were those who did evangelism as well. One good example was St. Patrick, who converted many in Ireland, to the Christian faith. Others were Saint Nicholas of Myra (although he also was an apologist) and in later years, George Whitefield. They had love for people in their hearts.

The bottom line is, when sharing the Gospel, we don't tell them that they are 'wrong'. At some point, if they understand the Gospel message, they will know that they are wrong. It is not up to us to do the work of the Holy Spirit in their hearts. God will help make the connections for them as He works in their hearts.

We have to see those who we are doing apologetics with as lost souls. We can't have an 'I'm right, You're wrong' mentality. That is not showing kindness to anyone. We must show the grace of God and pray for the recipients to be able to receive God's grace. It's God's loving-kindness that draws people to repentance, not His displeasure. And remember, we are sharing Someone with them. We are not sharing our 'theologically correct belief system'. There is a difference.

So, how do we know the difference? When do we use apologetics and when do we do evangelism? If the message of the Gospel is being attacked, we use apologetics. If people attend a church where something other than the Gospel is being preached, then we use evangelism. However, if this church is aggressively attacking the truth, use apologetics. Apologetics are used to defend the faith. People who are sitting in a dead church are not attacking the Gospel. They need evangelism. If someone is knocking on your door to try to convert you to their religion, then use apologetics. Hope this makes sense!

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Was God Fair To Destroy Groups Of People Who Were In Idolatry? Did They Know Better Than To Worship Idols?

They knew better. They were not that far away from the knowledge of God.

I am amazed as I read through the Bible, at how many immediately turned from God to idols.

I hear comments from people, especially skeptics, who think that God unfairly judges people. Their reasoning seems to say that people should be warned before they get destroyed. After all, it's only fair and right that people are told about the punishment that will come to them when they do wrong.

Let's look at some examples from the Bible. We have Adam and Eve, who had a close relationship with God. They were the first created human beings, and we know that Adam walked with God in the Garden. We can conclude that God told Adam not to eat of the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil, for Eve knew that was wrong and was hesitant at first to eat the fruit while being tempted. We also can tell that God had shown them about animal sacrifices, as they knew they were to do that after they had sinned.

We really don't know all that God spoke to Adam about during his lifetime, but we know it was enough to give him spiritual insight into his life. We also know that whatever he learned from God was passed down in the home. Abel understood about sin and the animal sacrifices, and his sacrifice was pleasing to God. Cain, on the other hand, came from the same home, but did not offer animal sacrifices. He also had a wicked heart and did not fear God. Out of anger and jealousy, he killed his brother Cain. He knew what God had said, but chose to go his own way instead.

Then there was Noah. He was 10 generations from Adam, and he still had much information stored from what he learned from his father and grandfather. He did what was right and was God fearing. After the Flood, Noah, his wife, and the three sons, and their wives got out of the Ark. Almost immediately we see one of the sons going astray. Ham's son, Canaan, did not follow the ways of the Lord. What went wrong? Whatever it was, we still see this pattern today, even in our own country!

Canaan was the father of the Canaanites, the really evil people. They turned to idolatry and turned away from the true and living God. Not too long after that, the whole land was filled with people who were in idolatry and who were worshiping false gods. Where did the fear of the Lord go?

Then you have all the kings of Israel. You had one good king, then he had a son to replace him after his death, and the son was an evil king. Then somewhere down the road, there sprouted up a good king who feared God. Then his son would be king and he would be an evil king. God had to let this nation go in exile, and be subject to other nations until they repented.

The point is, it is not like the people who are evil were never told about right and wrong, or even about God and His standards. It is more like, they knew better, but they chose to not go the way of the parent or ancestors. The message that God was giving to them was not distant from them. They had the information, and they chose to disregard it and do their own thing instead.

There was a time when people in our land knew better. There used to be a standard of right and wrong, good and evil, etc. Those who broke the law were penalized. Today though, people can break the law and not be penalized. But people who preach the Gospel at a shopping center are in danger of being arrested and even put in jail! People can deal drugs and not get caught. Certain people can get away with embezzlement, while others are threatened because they told someone what the Bible says about homosexuality.

We live in a perverse society where good is called, 'evil' and evil is called 'good'. People are stiffly fined for hurting a special kind of turtle, yet we kill thousands of children every day under the reasoning of 'convenience'. Something is wrong with this picture.

And we know better. It was not that long ago when everyone practically knew John 3:16. Everyone was familiar with the 10 Commandments, and if anyone wanted to commit adultery, or even live in a relationship with someone outside of marriage, they would do it secretly, because they knew it was wrong, and they didn't want to be caught.

Today people live together outside of a marriage relationship as if it is nothing. Not many even know the Commandments today. If a woman gets pregnant and doesn't want the baby, she just goes down to an abortion clinic where her baby will be sliced up inside her body. She doesn't even care. The only thing that is important to her is to get rid of the inconvenience.

So, the next time you hear a skeptic say that God is not fair to wipe people out, remember that the people who were wiped out did know what God said. They just disregarded it and did what they wanted to do. The fear of God was lost, and the people suffered.

"For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened......

For this reason God gave them up to dishonorable passions. For their women exchanged natural relations for those that are contrary to nature; and the men likewise gave up natural relations with women and were consumed with passion for one another, men committing shameless acts with men and receiving in themselves the due penalty for their error..... Though they know God's righteous decree that those who practice such things deserve to die, they not only do them but give approval to those who practice them." Romans 1:21, 26, 27, and 32 ESV

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Situational Ethics In Real Life

   I have been thinking about the two candidates we have available to choose from in this current presidential election. Both of them are labeled as evil. We know one is evil, and we can see why. The other one is labeled evil for a variety of reasons, but most of them are not very credible. So, we have a choice of voting for one who is evil in a perverted way (right is wrong, truth is lies, etc.) and we have the other one who needs to put a guard over his mouth.

  People say that they cannot vote for either one so they will either write in a candidate or not vote in this election. Either way, that guarantees the 'Greater of the two evils' to win.

  Let's take some other situations that have come up that bring up questions and even cause divisions because of the way some Christians view the situations. I think of Living Waters, my favorite evangelism ministry out there. They have great tracts and wonderful, Biblical teaching on evangelism. I've learn quite a bit from them. Probably more than anywhere else, have I learned how to do the work of evangelism.

   But Living Waters does something that some Christians think is ethically wrong. They have a television show called, 'The Way Of The Master" which depicts scenes of their doing evangelism and reaching the lost. The show is broadcast on a station called TBN. TBN is known for having Bible teachers who do not teach the Bible accurately. So, people have turned away from Living Waters because they are associated, in a sense, with TBN. What do you think? Should Living Waters be chastised for using TBN to broadcast their program, or, could there be a better good coming out from this way of doing things?

   Another issue people seem divided on, and handle in different ways is the area of college. Some would say that Christians have no business going to college. We all know that colleges and universities have professors who gladly teach evolution. If you are a Christian who wants a degree in biology, let's say, you will either have to agree with evolution, or, at least answer the tests in the right way (meaning give the right answers that you know are really not right). In a sense, it is like lying your way through college to get the degree that you need to have. But is that really the case? Could this be part of a bigger picture?

  How do you handle these types of situations? Could something appear to be an evil act, but in reality be something used to promote a greater good in the end? Can those who are in the body of Christ work together in unity in areas of disagreements when it comes to handling situations such as the ones in this article? I have seen situations where people unfriend people on Facebook because of such disagreements. I have also sadly seen where Christians resort to name calling other Christians because they do not agree on these issues. We are called to work together in unity and love, and work out our disagreements amicably.

Monday, August 8, 2016

Our Enemy; The Government Or Islam?

For a couple of months now, I have been totally puzzled. I have friends who actually believe that those who were killed at the Pulse nightclub a couple of months ago**, actually acted out the whole scene. All the cops involved as well as the emts, employees of Pulse, and those who supposedly got shot that night were all playing out an act. It didn't really happen, according to my friends and some places on the Internet.

So, after hearing a few people who actually did lose family members or friends, I wondered. Why would people believe this lie? One website said that it was to put fear of Islam into people. They also believed that it was the government that did it. Still, it makes very little sense.

I know that some people believe that 911 was a whole different scenario than what we saw. Some people would say that it was a government scheme and that Bush was behind it the whole time (ever hear those people who hate Bush? This could be one reason why).

After studying some websites on this Pulse theory, I conclude that there are people out there who believe that the government is totally spying on us, and that things that happen (like the situation at Pulse) are really caused by the government, not those who are Terrorists. Then, after all is said and done, the blame and focus goes to Terrorism and off the real culprit, the government.

Let's talk about the 'Shadow Government'. The Shadow Government is just what the name implies. There are people who are in the government who are puppets for Satan, doing his bidding without really being aware of what is going on. We know that and everyone can see that. For example, there are people who are part of the FDA and also involved in a large corporation called 'Monsanto'. Monsanto, as you may have heard, produces genetically modified seeds, which are designed to be protected from the weed killer also produced by the companies which support genetically modified organisms. The seeds are called, 'Round-up Ready' and they have been genetically modified to resist being killed by a weed killer called 'Roundup'. Monsanto has patented their seeds and no one can use their seeds or plants unless they buy the patent. So, what has happened is that some of the seeds gave off pollen, and infected plants grown by farmers who aren't using Monsanto's patented seeds, and their seeds were found by authorities, and the farmers are penalized. The farmers were innocent and did not intend to use those plants, but because the pollen spread or somehow their plants were infected with the genetically modified organisms from plants in nearby farms, they got in trouble legally and were penalized.

One of the chief heads of the FDA is Michael Taylor. Incidentally, Michael Taylor has also been an attorney who works for Monsanto. Those who support genetically modified plants stand up firm against those who have done research who found through their research that genetically modified plants and everything that goes with them is not all that Monsanto would like you to believe. But because the FDA and even Monsanto have governmental support, guess who wins?

What does this have to do with Shadow Government? If I understand correctly, I see the government as a big organization. It is filled with some good people and some bad people. Those who believe in conspiracy theories believe that the whole government is bad. There are top secrets in the government and the government is spying on you. Everyone in the government is working together to fulfill their plan of taking over the world by their creative plans using their technology. I do not see it that way. Although there are bad people in government, and those who are in groups backed by the government, the government itself is not scheming to control every single person around in this country.

Take also the situation with the CIA and mind control programming. If you can google it, find the interview that Carol Rutz has done. Carol Rutz was brought as a little girl to seemingly far away places where she didn't recognize. Her father took her to these places and she was left there. The people there would take these little children, and older ones too, and put mind control programming in them. They used torture on these children to make them comply. It was an unbelievably horrible situation that went on during the late 50s through the early 70s.

Children who came from homes where they were brought to these 'safe houses' as they would call them, are all now adults, and many of them are older adults with mental problems. If you talk to some of them, they will tell you the same thing about the government that those who believe and hold to conspiracy theories say. They believe that the CIA is totally corrupt and that it is part of the Shadow Government. But if you read Carol Rutz' interview, you will understand that in reality, only two people at the top level of the CIA knew about this. It was not a governmental scheme. It happened after Nazi doctors in Germany came (were invited) to America to relocate (because America feared that the Soviet Union would take these Nazi doctors and that would make them more powerful). It was the one man in charge of the CIA who is to blame, and no one else. It doesn't make the CIA bad because one man oversaw this evil and allowed it to continue.

My point is, there are evil people in the government, as there are evil people in every group. That is why we need to pray for our country. But some evil people being in an organization does not make the whole organization corrupt. Not everyone in the government is working in unison to destroy people or to spy on them.

We really do need to be praying for our country. The problems here are bigger than we are. We need to repent and turn back to God, individually, and as a nation.

I have noticed that some people involved in Satanic cults believe the Conspiracy Theories. On the one hand, you can understand why they would. After all, when they were children and at a vulnerable age, they were thrust into the care of Monster like 'doctors' who used them for experimentation and mind control programming. Because the main guy involved was the top guy in the CIA, in the eyes of a person victimized by one of these Nazi doctors, they didn't know that most of those in the government had no idea what was going on. Thank God for those who were aware of what was happening and who have come to the rescue.

The whole point of this article is simply that the Conspiracy Theorists believe that when a terrorist attack happens, it was well planned out as well as acted out by the government and those cooperating with the government. But this would take thousands of people who would have to agree to never let the secret out. Imagine some of these people going to an event like Pulse, leaving their houses without telling anyone where they were going that night. Unless even the households of the supposedly killed people were also cooperating with the top secret scheme, it would appear suspicious to many. Imagine the workers in a hospital who had to cooperate with the plan. Would everyone who works at those hospitals be on the same page to keep this a secret? Who could you trust? What about those who were not in on the scheme? Wouldn't they be suspicious as well? How would the police department keep everything top secret, and what if they chose to tell one of theirs about the plan, but he or she would not want to cooperate? Do you see how hard this would be to keep a secret? So many would have to be involved, and if one person changed their mind or had a slip of the tongue, then the secret would be out.

I think the whole problem with the Conspiracy Theory is that it is a theological issue. From what I can tell, those who hold to the Conspiracy Theory who believe the government can control people by spying on them or even destroying them and then blaming Islam, really do not believe that God is all powerful. They believe that the Enemy power is equal to God's power. They believe the Enemy is all-knowing. Don't get me wrong. Satan has power, even supernatural powers. He is way more powerful than we are, and will take advantage of us of we let him. But, compared to God, he is nothing. And he is very different than God is. God is omniscient, omnipresent, omnipotent, and holy. The devil is not. Plus, when Jesus died on the Cross, the devil and his workers were disarmed. So compared to God, the devil is nothing. Compared to people, the devil is much more powerful. But, God gives His power to His people to overcome the Enemy of our souls.

So, when someone comes out from being in a Satanic cult all their lives, they fear for their lives. They have seen other betrayers killed. They know it can really happen to them if they are caught. They are also assured that they will be found and killed if they betray the cult. The question is, is God big enough to protect them? The answer is obvious. God is able to keep people from being caught and killed by those who held them hostage all their lives.

* There are bad people in government as well as good people.
* There is no unified, harmonic plan to spy on everyone and find whatever information is available on each person from the government.
* The government is not planning out evil activities and then making it look like an act of Islamic terrorism.
* God is all powerful; Satan is not, although he does have supernatural powers, greater than man does.
* Islamic Terrorists are a serious threat to the United States as well as the rest of the world.
* We need to be one step ahead of the Enemy to protect ourselves and our country.
* We need to pray for the church in America, and for our nation. May God have mercy on us and help us turn back to Him.

Remember, the ball is in our courts right now. All that is necessary for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing.

Here is a recommended book. The book gives information on working with those who had been affected by the work of Nazi doctors on children in the 1950s - 1970s. This is an affiliate link. Thanks for your support.

**For information on the Pulse event that happened in Orlando in the middle of June, 2016, please go here: http://www.orlandosentinel.com/news/pulse-orlando-nightclub-shooting/os-orlando-pulse-nightclub-shooting-timeline-htmlstory.html

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Some Thoughts On Homosexuality

   Without wanting to sound like I am humiliating or judging homosexuals, I do want to ask some questions. I have some thoughts and would like to know how homosexuals think on these issues.

   I also understand that there are differing homosexuals. Some are gay activists, while others struggle with same sex attraction. I'm sure it feels normal to homosexuals to have same sex attraction desires. At the same time, there are upcoming groups of professing Christians who are now admitting being gay. It is mainly this group that I would like to understand where they are coming from.

   The atheist or post-modernist who is gay doesn't surprise or puzzle me. Atheists can be people who have turned their backs on God completely, and where there is no remedy for them. Post-modernists pretty much believe whatever they want to. They believe in whatever is 'right for them'. But I have seen Scriptures taken out of their contexts to make them sound pretty much the opposite of what they really mean, by those who are professing Christians who are gay.

   But all that aside, I am wondering what a homosexual thinks about God's creating one man and one woman to have a relationship where they can procreate? What I am really wondering is where is it found in Scripture that God created some people with a same-sex orientation while others are created heterosexual? If God created some people with this special sexual orientation where the person is sexually attracted to someone of the same sex, what is God's purpose for that? Why are there no directives in the Bible for same-sex relationships, like there are for marriage relationships? How are children to relate to families where there are 2 dads and 0 moms? Why can't we find any information on this in the Bible?

   If you or someone you know is gay, and is struggling with same-sex attraction, please understand that I know this is a hard, very difficult thing to be struggling with. If you want help to be able to begin the process of change, first of all, pray about it. Pray for God to help you find someone who can help you with this struggle. Sadly, much of the church is in ignorance about how to help people struggling with same-sex attraction and it can be a challenge to find someone you can trust to open up your heart to. Be honest with yourself. Don't play games with this issue. There is hope. It is the same hope offered to people who are not homosexuals. The hope of the Gospel is for every person, whether they understand their desperate need for a Savior or not. God can save and change the hardest person's heart. God can do the impossible because of the death of His Son, around 2,000 years ago.

For more information on this, please go to; http://thegospelconversation.blogspot.com 

Monday, July 18, 2016

Are You Praying For Me Or Are You Rebuking Me?

Are you praying for me or rebuking me? The answer is important, for, however you answer could show if you are under legalism or grace.

In our relationships with those whom we are close to, we can become critical of them if they don't reach our expectations, especially if we are able to reach a certain standard ourselves.

Wouldn't it be more helpful if we prayed for those around us instead of criticizing them? If your child continually struggles with a bad habit, instead of rebuking him for his wrongdoing, how about praying for him? Let's say that your husband struggles with using coarse language, and he knows its wrong and seems to not want to do it again, how about praying for him instead of correcting him every time he opens his mouth like that?

There are thousands of areas where we can be praying for our spouses, children, relatives, and friends. Many of those we have relationships or friendships with will have weaknesses that will drive us crazy. Yes, there is a time for rebuking. There are times for correcting. But there are also times for praying for one another instead of offering criticism.

Most of the time, those who we would criticize know that their weaknesses are there and would change them if they could. Sometimes, they are not aware of their weaknesses though, and we can bring those gracefully to their attention.

I am not talking about outright rebellion where they opposing person does not care. I am referring to those kinds of relationships where we are growing in love with one another.

How about the next time your wife doesn't have dinner ready on time, or the wash done when you need clean clothes, instead of showing irritation or anger toward her, pray for her. Pray that God will help her get the housework done or wash the clothes you need for work. God can help her in a way that your criticism can't.

One final thought; when we dole out criticism instead of praying, it could mean that we ourselves are under the bondage of legalism. We could be placing our children or spouses under that same standard. They could even already be free in Christ, yet we are putting a yoke upon them when we heap harsh remarks due to their failure to meet our desired standard. Are we helping or hindering them as we react to their weaknesses or even their sin?

Gracious words are like a honeycomb, sweetness to the soul and health to the body. Proverbs 16:24 ESV

I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called,  with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love,  eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. Ephesians 4:1-3 ESV

Thursday, June 30, 2016

The Orlando Shooting Was A Hoax?

I am just puzzled. Don't even know which blog to post this on.

It started when I read a post posted from a Facebook friend. I see so much slander on Facebook, and I had to wonder if this was slander or just plain craziness.

A couple of weeks ago, there were 49 people who were killed in a nightclub in Orlando, Florida. This was one of the worst criminal activities committed in American History. People are very sad in Central Florida right now. I also know that those who have liberal political views will take advantage of this trying to persuade people to have strict gun control.

The post had a link to a page that was called 'Top 13 Holes In The Official Orlando Narrative"

This article completely wipes out any idea that 49 people were killed by a gunman on that fateful June morning in Orlando, Florida. The article claims that all the people who were shot were actors, acting out the part of being harmed or killed. The article even said that some got up and walked after they were being carried out.

I can't wrap my head around this. But hey, didn't this happen another time? I can't believe that people don't believe that the Holocaust ever happened. Try telling that to a Holocaust survivor though. Unfortunately for that situation, there are almost no surviving people who were involved in the Holocaust today.

I picked one of the names, did a search, and found info on him, and here is a tribute to him:


Here is an excerpt on the page I am describing. The article was written by someone who believes that this whole event was staged:

Orlando Narrative Hole #6: No Bodies, No Blood
"We were told that Mateen supposedly killed 50 and injured 53, yet we were not shown any real bodies or blood of the incident. We were however shown scenes of people carrying “victims” … who could suddenly walk normally again right after they thought they were off camera."

I have a friend who told me that her second cousin was one who was killed during the shooting. How can someone think this was staged when there really were people who died?

I talked with someone who works at a hospital in Orlando, and asked him about it. The hospital which took care of most of the victims was ORMC, but Florida Hospital did take care of 10 of those patients. He couldn't speak for ORMC, since he worked for Florida Hospital, but he was aware of those who were being treated at Florida Hospital.

What is wrong with this picture? This article is written to make people think that there is a conspiracy behind the shootings, and it is not necessarily brought on by Islam. Here is another excerpt from the article:
"The official Orlando narrative spun by the MSM (Mainstream Media) on behalf of the US Government is yet another brazen piece of propaganda designed to fool casual onlookers who haven’t investigated the matter fully. Now that it has been over 2 weeks since the incident and the dust has somewhat settled, it’s clear to see that Orlando was another blueprint false flag operation to spread fear, stokeIslamophobia, promote gun control and strip your rights. Orlando was the latest in a long string of false flag operations that have gained significant publicity in recent times, starting with 9/11 (the grand daddy false flag attack) and including the Aurora Batman shooting, Sandy Hook, the Boston Marathon bombing, Paris I, Paris II and San Bernardino among others. "

What is puzzling to me is, who do they think is the culprit behind all these episodes? The answer is, in their minds, the government. Everyone in the government is working together to secretly destroy our nation and take our freedoms away. I will admit that there are obviously those in the government who are doing this, but, it is not the government, per se, that is behind this crime. This is something I think we need to be aware of because if we don't, we will start giving more power and credit to our government, whether it is due to them or not.

The government is not like God. The government is an agency appointed by God to protect us. Unfortunately, our nation has turned away from God, and wants to live life apart from God. God is sovereign over the government and we are beginning to reap what we have sown. But the government is not where the problem lies. The problem lies in the hearts of wicked men and women, and sometimes these wicked people are those who are leading our country. They are trying hard to strip us of our freedoms. Many in the government are simply puppets for Satan. Those who are perverted will be used by the devil for his plans.

My point is, though, that if we want to be credible, we have to write credible articles. If we write articles that are based upon conspiracy theories, and if we present them as if they are true, how will people believe us when we try to share the Gospel with them?

If there are documented people who died, how can someone say that the event was staged? This was a very sad time for people who live in Orlando. They are suffering great loss. Yet, there is someone who wants everyone to believe that those deaths never took place. How cruel to think that people who are grieving are looked at as if their son or daughter never went through the horror that they did. 

What can we do in response to this tragedy? We can pray. We can also pray that God will reveal His truth and will use His word to minister to many who are affected by this sad situation.

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Can God Save People Like Obama And Trump?

Today, I am really troubled by some posts people make on FB or Twitter, or whatever means of communicating on the Internet one has.

I am talking specifically about the observation that certain people are evil. The Bible does say that we all are evil. But what I am seeing is a trend that seems to divide up people into different groups of evil.

For instance, some would think that Trump is evil. According to the Bible, Trump is evil. But according to the Bible, I also have an evil heart, left to myself.

The question really isn't 'are we evil?'. We already know the answer to that question. Instead, it should be, have we responded to the Gospel? Have we received a new heart from God? Did we truly come to Christ?

What I notice about this response that Trump or Obama being evil, is that it seems to imply that we aren't evil. Didn't Jesus die for evil people? Or did Jesus only die for people who were a little bad?

Does Trump need God's grace? Can we extend God's grace to him? Some would say that Trump doesn't deserve God's grace. Do you and I deserve God's grace? Or did God look down on us and see how hard we were trying to reach Him and credit us with that?

The Bible says that no one seeks God on his or her own. The reason we came to Christ, if we do indeed know Him, is because He revealed Himself to us, and we saw our sins in the light of God's holiness, which resulted in our seeing a need for a Savior. We turned to Him in repentance and faith, and He saved us.

If we came to know the Lord on the basis of our sins being like mistakes, or if we really do not think that we are not that bad, then we need to be concerned. Did we really understand the Gospel message? Did we truly see the seriousness of our sin before a holy God? Do we really believe God can save those who are terrible sinners, or do we think that people have to prove themselves to God before He will accept them and give them His grace?

Think about this please. If you think that Obama is too hard for God to redeem, please consider the fact that, in God's eyes, you and I are just as hard for God to save. If Jesus died only for those who were not bad sinners, then there would be little hope for those who are in the depths of sin. Grace would not be amazing to us, and we would be hypocrites for singing 'Amazing Grace' in our church services (or anywhere else). If we are little sinners, and Jesus paid an extremely high price to pay for our sins, do we credit ourselves partly for our salvation?

One last thought: If Trump did have a genuine conversion in his life, he will bear fruit for God's glory. But remember, bearing fruit is not necessarily something we see in great proportions immediately. If he did come to Christ, we will begin to see evidence of it, over a period of time. He will not be perfect though, and will probably make decisions we won't agree with.

We look at people like Trump and Obama and doubt that they would ever be saved. Well, they will never come to Christ on their own. But is God's arm too short for Him to save wretch, wicked people like Obama or Trump (or you and I, for that matter)? Maybe if we prayed for people to come to Christ, God would save more people. But even more than that, we need to have faith and believe that God can save wicked people and stop doubting what God can do, especially in situations that look impossible to us. We need to stop believing that wicked people will never get saved.

Monday, June 6, 2016

Questions and Insights Into the Body of Christ Today - The Activation Of The Holy Spirit In Our Hearts

     I have been involved with social media for the past 6 years or so, and have learned a lot. I have collected a lot of new recipes. I have learned how to take care of animals and plants. Added up together, I may have even had access to learning as much as if I went to college (if I had the time to do all the research on my studies!) In fact, I did go to school and took college credit classes.

  Not everything has been good though, that I have learned. One thing that I constantly see is professing Christians tearing others down. It is one thing to expose false teachers when we see them. They are dangerous, and need to be exposed. But it needs to be done properly, if it is going to be effective.

    The other concerning thing I see is professing Christians who limit the power of God. It kind of ties in with the activity of those professing Christians who are on a hunt to catch the false teachers. Many of those who are exposing false teachers, also are those who seem to limit the potential for God interacting in the lives of His people today.

   While we have to expose false teachers as the opportunity presents itself, the Bible does not actually talk very much about this. We find Paul mentioning the names of a few, but the Bible does not put a strong emphasis on doing this. We are to expose the works of darkness, and furthermore, we are to bring light and truth to those in darkness.

   One thing we can do, is to spend our time teaching people how to be discerning. But instead, we are trying to do the discernment for them, ourselves. We do this by picking out a person we don't like (Benny Hinn, Joyce Meyer, Beth Moore, for examples) and we tear them apart on Facebook or Twitter, thinking we are doing a service for others, when in reality, we are practicing sanctified slander. We think it is justifiable to slander people we don't agree with and we call it, 'warning' people about their evil.

   The other problem that ties in with this is that many of these people who slander other well-known Christians, is that they (not all though) are also practicing Christian Deists. What I mean by that is simply that these people are the same ones who do not believe God can speak to our hearts today. They accuse Pentecostals and Charismatics of hearing God's voice outside of the Bible. This is just not true though. When God speaks to our hearts, everything He says will be based upon His word.

   The spiritual gifts are for today, and they are not adding to Scripture when they are in use properly. But if we believe that God's power is not available today for us, or that God does not work through the gifts anymore today, (even though God always showed His power in the Old Testament and at the beginning of the church age, as well as in eternity), we are going to be powerless Christians and will end up defeated or deceived. Christians can be deceived as well as those who don't know the Lord. If we put God in a box, (a box of our own making and belief system) then when He is at work, we will miss Him because He does not fit into our ideas of who He is. We don't even know how to interpret His word, because that takes the revelation of the Holy Spirit, and that is considered, by many, to be extra Biblical.

   The way this works is that God reveals Himself to us through His Holy Spirit. The word of God comes alive in our hearts by the Holy Spirit. God opens up our hearts and minds to the Scriptures by revelation of the Holy Spirit. God quickens our dead souls and makes them come alive by the power of the Holy Spirit. He guides us into all truth by the Holy Spirit. By God's Holy Spirit, we can learn to separate the truth from the lies. We can grow in discernment. This is where the crux of the matter is, I believe.

   Bottom line is, at least from what I see, is that we are tending to replace the work of the Holy Spirit, by our own understanding (or what we think we know about) of the Scriptures. We are rendering God powerless and we are not experiencing the relationship with Him that He desires, simply because we are trying to find everything personal (if there is anything) right out of the Scriptures. Everything God is, is written in Scriptures, but you will not find your name in the Bible! The Bible tells about who God is in relation to who man is, and how man can be reconciled back to God, and how people can have a growing relationship with Him. But it is not a step by step instruction book for that with our names in it. That is the work of the Holy Spirit in our hearts. The Holy Spirit activates God's word in our hearts and makes God real to us. The Holy Spirit makes the word of God alive to us. The Holy Spirit reveals the power of the Cross to us, and helps us to overcome the enemies we have (sin, the world, the devil, evil).

   We cannot just learn the word of God and think we have arrived. We put our trust in our theological understanding and knowledge, but the Holy Spirit helps us apply God's word to our hearts. If we don't apply God's word to our hearts by the Holy Spirit, we are useless in the kingdom of God. When the word of God is only knowledge to us, and not applied to our hearts, we will be defeated and deceived! (Of course, if we are deceived, we will not know it because that is the nature of deception)!

"But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks intently at his natural face in a mirror. For he looks at himself and goes away and at once forgets what he was like. But the one who looks into the perfect law, the law of liberty, and perseveres, being no hearer who forgets but a doer who acts, he will be blessed in his doing." 
James 1:22-25 ESV

Just remember; the same power that rose Jesus from the dead lives in us! He can be trusted.

"What father among you, if his son asks for a fish, will instead of a fish give him a serpent;  or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion?  If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!”
Luke 11:11, 12 ESV

Saturday, May 21, 2016

If The Gospel Is The Power Of God Unto Salvation, Then Why Are We So Powerless Today?

I was reading this morning the story of when Solomon died and his son Rehoboam took over his reign. Rehoboam was an unwise man. He sought counsel from those who gave counsel to Solomon, and asked how he should treat the people. The wise counselors told him that if he were to treat the people with kindness and servitude, he would have their allegiance forever. Instead of following this advice however, Rehoboam chose to treat the people with a heavy hand. Many decided to leave Israel and live without a king over them, at least for a while. The ones who stayed faithful to Rehoboam were the ones who lived in Judea.

I was thinking of how we as Americans might respond to the evil that is now being manifest in our country's top leaders. We live in a country where there still are people who want to do what is right. I remember the incident a couple of years ago when the owner of Chick Fil A wrote a letter saying that he believed marriage was made of one man and one woman. The uproar was amazing. Those who stood on the right side decided to encourage those who believe marriage is made up of one man and one woman to support Chick Fil A by visiting this restaurant. The Chick Fil As were flooded the next day. But the other side also was angry. They decided to protest Chick Fil A by going there the next day and showing support from their side (not by ordering food, but by being on the property and causing a rukus). The next day, there were very few who turned out.

But why do the righteous seem so powerless? Why do the evil seem so strong? Why does a judge who has the 10 Commandments on his courtroom wall get removed from the bench? Why do florists and bakers who will not bake a wedding cake or provide flowers for a gay wedding be penalized? Why do companies like Target continue their aggressive pursuit of providing restrooms where people can choose to go into, based upon their sexual preference instead of their genitals, without relenting their stand while losing an enormous amount of money and customers?

There are probably a lot of answers to this question, and we cannot tackle them all here, but, regardless of the reasons why evil is so successful, is primarily due to the fact that we have not been fighting well in the spiritual battle we are involved in.

Many professing Christians come to Christ by asking Jesus into their hearts. They think it is ok to continue to live selfish lives and have not been told that they need to repent and turn to the Lord, as well as trusting in Him for salvation. Many aren't really trusting in Jesus as their Savior from sin because they don't really know what sin is and how it affects their relationship with God. Their trust is in the fact that they have asked Jesus into their hearts, and now they think they are good to go, or at least they think they will be in heaven one day. Many do not realize that they are in a real spiritual battle, and they need the power of God to fight the Enemy with. If we don't get this right, we will lose. The Enemy is too powerful for us to fight against on our own. We must be empowered by the Holy Spirit and use the weapons God has given us to fight with. One of those weapons we can use is prayer.

We think, many times, that we really are praying. But what are we praying for? Do we look at God as some kind of Genie in the Bottle? Can we push the right buttons and make Him do what we want? Or, is there a bigger picture of our lives that we are missing, which includes prayer as a spiritual defense? There's nothing wrong with praying for our needs, as long as we are abiding in Christ. God promises to take care of us, and we should ask for what we need. But if we are living for ourselves instead of for Him, then how can we pray and expect God to hear our prayers?

We need to pray that God will unravel the network of evil-doers who are planted in our government. We need to stand up for what is right and true, and defend those who are standing up for the truth. New laws are being written and the basic laws that our country was founded upon are being rewritten. We need to promote God's word and do the work of evangelism, so our country can be saved, and so we can continue the work of the ministry here in our country, to serve us, but also to serve those in other countries around the world.

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Meditation: Good Or Bad?

  I have to admit, I am not an expert on meditation, chakras, and other such things in this category. Many articles are written about meditation, and how to meditate properly and get the most benefits from doing so.

    Much of this stuff seems to be tied in with Eastern medicine and medical practices. For many, this is a way of life, and this is what the gurus teach in order to help them function well.

  One time, I was listening to a coach teaching us how to do business selling essential oils. Well, I have to be honest, there was not much about the essential oil aspect. She wanted us to get a candle out first, then empty our minds and meditate on something particular, having to do with our greatness. These people really do trust in a higher power. It doesn't appear that the higher power is the God described in the Bible. The coach taught us to have a focal point, which (she says) could be Jesus, or the universe. So, what or who are we trusting in to change us?

   Why do we need change? The symptoms of needing help are revealed in the fact that we don't get along with each other. We usually think the other person is to blame for the difficulties in the relationship. Because each one of us has a fallen nature (see Genesis 3), we are, by default, self-centered. Self-centered people do not get along with others.

   I remember looking into getting fish a long time ago. We learned that Siamese Fighting Fish do not get along with each other. They have to be alone or they will hurt each other. We are much like the Siamese Fighting Fish. We need help so we can stop loving ourselves and start loving others.

   The greatest command is to love God with all our hearts, souls, minds, and strength. The next greatest command is to love our neighbors as we love ourselves. We can only do that if we have the power of God living in us. We can only have this power when we are born again. Otherwise, we will continue to live in darkness and think we are really good and loving when we are really only selfish and self-seeking.

   The practice of meditation seems to focus on what's inside the person. It doesn't look at sin, and it looks for good things inside us. Meditation will supposedly bring out the good things and make us feel good about ourselves. This is sad. It is a deception.

  My concern is that this teaching on meditation seems to be all over the Internet. I get several emails a day from different health groups, and there are a lot of articles out there on meditation. I went to one tonight to try to understand what meditation really is all about. I don't want to assume I know everything about this, so I looked at a couple of articles as well as the testimonials. Many seem to think this is the answer to problems such as insomnia or bad relationships. Doesn't the Bible have any answers for problems like these?

   Listen carefully to what I am writing here. The Bible actually tells us to meditate. But we are not to meditate on lies about ourselves. We are to meditate on the truth of God's word. That is our only help and hope for life's problems and dilemmas.

   Meditating on God's word (and actually thinking about what it says to my heart) is how we grow spiritually. This is entirely different than meditating on certain assigned things dictated by a guru on the subject.

   While we do not intend on making fun of people who do wrong things, we do have to show others what they are doing and why it is wrong. Here is an excerpt about a man named Charlie Noles. See if you can see the problem here, looking through Biblical eyes:
Charlie Knoles is a Vedic Meditation teacher and the director of The Veda Center. He was taught Vedic Meditation at age 4 by his father, Maharishi Vyasananda Thom Knoles. Following in his father’s footsteps, Charlie‘s has devoted his life to innovative teaching. He studied at the Australian institute of Music, The Sydney Conservatorium of Music, and attained his degree in Biology at Maharishi University of Management, where he helped create their multidisciplinary degree in Sustainable Living, now one of their most popular programs. In his decades of teaching, Charlie has helped thousands of people learn the practical steps necessary to become the change that they wish to see in the world. He has worked with people from all over the world, in a wide range of professions, and his clients include teachers, nurses, A-list actors, and Fortune 500 CEOs.*

This is not a practice to bring us closer to God. It appears to be intended to find answers within ourselves. 

Here is another excerpt from a woman named Suzanne Heyn. Again, we are not making fun of these people. We are pointing out that there is nothing that they are doing that points us to the Cross and our need of a Savior. 

I typically practice my signature technique, the Feeling Awareness Meditation. It’s a process of focusing my awareness on my heart center and tuning into whatever emotions or energy is present, entering any areas of density or heaviness as if they were a fine mist.

It’s commonly said you’ve got to feel it to heal it, and the Feeling Awareness Meditation is a powerful way of feeling objectively, without the story that keeps so many people trapped in pain. It’s also a powerful way of heightening your intuition and amplifying the whispers of your heart, making them easier to hear.**

We do need to be careful in both the Eastern medicine studies and religions that seem to be infiltrating our land and churches. Some churches have picked up on using meditation, yoga, and the like. Whenever we see these things pointing to an 'energy' or inner power, we need to back off. The word of God needs to be incorporated in everything we do. If God's word does not fit into the practice, then don't practice whatever it is that is so highly recommended. Let's learn to discern!