Spiritual Warfare Prep

Spiritual Warfare Prep
We Are In The Lord's Army

Monday, November 6, 2017

Playing The Ignorance Game With God

"Jesus said, “For judgment I came into this world, that those who do not see may see, and those who see may become blind.” Some of the Pharisees near him heard these things, and said to him, “Are we also blind?” Jesus said to them, “If you were blind, you would have no guilt; but now that you say, ‘We see,’ your guilt remains."

This is from John 9:39-41 ESV. 

When I was a child, one of the clever things I did was to make it a point to not ask my mom for permission to do something, if what I wanted to do was in question of right or wrong. That way, when I did something without her permission, and if it would have been something that she would have said 'no' to, I would reason that I just didn't know it was wrong. In a sense, I would not be accountable for the wrong action. I would have played ignorance in it. I would have been blind in my wrong doing and therefore not accountable.

It would be like my saying to my mom "Well, you didn't say I couldn't do this" because she didn't say I couldn't do that particular thing, because I never asked.

I think sometimes we play that game with God. Some of us would rather not know what God says about His boundaries, simply because we don't want to give account of those things we want to hold onto. 

But, regardless of our intentions, we are still accountable. If there is a question of what we want to do as being right or wrong, then we know the possibility of it being wrong is there. If we can carry out an activity and are 100% sure that it is ok with God to do this, then we are probably on safe ground. But deep down inside all of us is a conscience, and our conscience works 24/7. There are some things we intuitively know whether they are right or wrong. 

As soon as I blamed my baby brother for the spilled milk that I poured onto the floor, I knew I had done wrong. My conscience told me that I was overstepping my boundaries. And I was only 3 at the time. 

We will not be able to play the ignorance game with God. We can shun His word and reject His rules, but we all know some things concerning right and wrong, and we know we have violated them at times.

That's why we need a Savior.

Monday, September 25, 2017

All Of Us Belong To The Same Race

All of us belong to the same race, but we all come from different nationalities.

So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.
And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moves upon the earth.
Genesis 1:27, 28

"And he made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined allotted periods and the boundaries of their dwelling place, that they should seek God, and perhaps feel their way toward him and find him."
Acts 17:26, 27 ESV

We are all in this together. Let's get along and stop fighting. The Bible tells us that we are to love one another.
In the Bible, there is only one race, the human race. Different shades of skin doesn't mean we aren't related to each other.
We are all very much related to each other, and for those who know the Lord, we are all together in the family of God as well as in the human race. 

It's time to stop fighting and separating ourselves from each other. In places where someone is hating another because of skin color, that is never justified. It is wrong to do that and if someone has done a crime, that person doesn't represent everyone in that group. We need to be careful to penalize the bad guys and not everyone who is associated with the bad guy because of job description or skin color. 

Our common enemy is the devil and he wants us to be divided with each other. He is setting us against each other. We need to stop listening to his voice and in unison, we need to work together using the spiritual weapons against him, not people.

Friday, September 22, 2017

Salvation Is The Free Gift Of God That Will Cost You Everything

Do we really believe in Jesus, and if so, are we willing to pay the price for our belief?

In years past, it was *easy* to believe in Jesus. There was no cost involved. In our country, we were free to believe in whoever or whatever we wanted to. No one challenged what we professed to believe in.

But today it is different. For if one really believes in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, that belief system entails more than mental assent and agreement.

For example, a woman in the state of Washington, believes that the Bible is true, and that God means what He says. She believes marriage is made up of one man and one woman. When a customer who was gay, asked if she would provide the flowers for his wedding, she said that she could not do that in good conscience. The ACLU came after her and the state of Washington is suing her because of her conviction. She will likely lose her business that she had built for many years. But she is remaining faithful to her convictions, even though it is costing her dearly.

Another example is Chick-Fil-A. The head guy of Chick-Fil-A wrote a statement saying that he believes marriage is made up of one man and one woman. The Gay community went nuts and now this man is accused of hate crimes. As far as I know, he stayed true to his belief system in spite of all the opposition.

But what about the rest of us? Will we stay true to our convictions? Do we even have convictions, or do we just kind of go with the flow?

If we call ourselves Christians, then that should mean that we not only believe in Jesus, but that we believe in everything Jesus said and stood for.

Are we trying to change the word of God to accommodate our desires? Do we even know what the Bible says, and if we find out, will we still be true to Jesus?

“No one can be a slave of two masters, since either he will hate one and love the other, or be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot be slaves of God and of money." Matthew 6:24 HCSB

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Encouragement, Edification, Or, Flattery?

Do you think that sometimes, when we encourage others, that we might be using flattery? I have wondered what the difference is between flattery and encouragement.

Flattery is sometimes referred to as 'buttering up' someone. The motive is to get the recipient to respond in such a way as to get what you want from them. It's kind of like bribery.

The reason why I am thinking about this so much now, is due to the fact that I have received criticism from some of my Facebook friends concerning my posts.

I posted my complaint about this to my friends, and one of them had a great point. He recommended that we encourage one another. 1 Thessalonians 5:11 says "Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing."(ESV).

Encouragement and edification go hand in hand. We encourage one another and build one another up to help the body of Christ. The goal is for the church to be healthy. There must be spiritually healthy people to make up a healthy church.

The world uses flattery to gain friends. The world uses money to win people to themselves. The motive isn't based on love and wanting the best for others.

But flattery looks a lot like encouragement. That is why I am concerned. I want to be an encourager to people, but I don't want to be flattering them. How can I know the difference?

First of all, I will pray that God makes me an encourager. I want to think of others and encourage them to grow and develop in the areas where God has given them strengths.

Encourage means to give support, confidence, and hope to someone. Edify means to build up morally or spiritually. Note: Sometimes, people take a word out of context and use it in a wrong way, that ends up with a wrong meaning. An example of this is the word 'edify'. Some would erroneously teach that this is associated with building up someone's ego. That is definitely not what the Bible is talking about when it talks about edifying or building up. 

For the church to be 'edified', those who are in the body of Christ need to be edified. Encouragement helps people to be edified. Discouragement keeps people from growing spiritually and will keep the church from being spiritually healthy. Discouragement is a tool of the devil. We need to be aware of his tactics.

So they went out of the prison and visited Lydia. And when they had seen the brothers, they encouraged them and departed.
Acts 16:40 ESV

Saturday, September 2, 2017

God's Boundaries Do Not Indicate Hate

Any good parent knows that when their children are born and as they start to grow up and develop, boundaries have to be formed to protect the child.

Sometimes, children hate the fact that parents put boundaries around their children. Think of this scenario: a child sees some candy that he wants. He lets his parents know that he wants the candy. They tell him he is not allowed to have that candy. At least at that moment, the candy is not permitted. So, the child throws a temper tantrum and tells the parents that they 'hate' him. They hate him because they have placed a boundary around him and he wants to go beyond that boundary, but because of his age and lack of power, he concludes that his parents 'hate' him.

Now, maybe it is simply because he is using manipulation. He is immature and doesn't understand the reasons why a parent would say 'no' to candy, especially since it is a strong desire for him to have that candy right now.

People are very much like that. We intuitively know that there is a God who is bigger than us. Normal people have a conscience that tells what is right and wrong. Even very young children have some idea of what is right and wrong.

Whether we like it or not, God has placed boundaries around us. When we go outside those boundaries, we become trespassers. Problem is, by our own sinful nature, we are always going outside of God's boundaries. When we do that, it is called, 'sin'.

Many do not like to be inside God's boundaries. Some of these people try to deny God's existence. Others put down the word of God, as if it were a fairy tale. God says that His word will stand forever. His boundaries will never change.

In our culture today, we have many who think they are free from God's laws (boundaries). They want everyone to think that people who still believe in God's boundaries are people of hate. Now, this is a stretch. Believing God is true and His word is still effective does not mean a person hates. But people are insistent that those who hold God's word in high honor, and believe what He says is true, are people of hate.

How are we supposed to look at that? For one, it is a form of manipulation. We can't manipulate God. We can't twist God's arm to make Him change His standards. God will always be God. He is on the throne and what He says is still effective today, and will always be true.

Does God hate? God hates sin. Does God hate us? The Bible says that God loved us so much, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him will not perish, but will have everlasting life. In fact, God loved us even when we are sinners (see Romans 5:8).

God loves us enough to give us a way out of hell. God's love does not change His boundaries. He does not make exceptions for anyone who breaks them. But the remedy to resolve this problem is found in the Cross of Jesus Christ.

People want to believe that God is all-loving and all-forgiving, meaning that we can still continue to live in sin without being penalized. That won't work though. God gives us a way out. We must choose to get out of our sins. We must respond to God. We come to God on His terms, not ours.

Friday, August 25, 2017

Are We Supposed To Judge?

Are We Supposed To Judge?

“Judge not, that you be not judged. For with the judgment you pronounce you will be judged, and with the measure you use it will be measured to you."
Matthew 7:1,2 ESV

One of the biggest objections we get when sharing our faith comes from using this verse. But let's look a little deeper into this passage.

The passage tells us to not judge. Let's look at this in context.

First, let's take an example of a real life situation. Let's say a person goes to a doctor, and the doctor gives his diagnosis. The person has such and such a disease, and, there is only one cure for it, a specific type of medicine.

What if the sick person goes home angry because he thinks the doctor has judged him. The doctor made a judgment call on what was physically wrong with him. Then he prescribed the cure for this sickness, which was another judgment call.

Was the doctor wrong in giving a diagnosis and prescribing the medicine that will help him get well?

We make judgment calls all day. Some of our judgments are off. Sometimes, we make mistakes. But some things are clear cut.

If we run a red light, and hear the sirens screaming behind us, are the cops 'judging' us for running the red light? Or could it be that we did something wrong that was clear-cut, not just someone's opinion?

This part of judging comes partly from Postmodern thinking. If one person has one truth for him, and another person has another truth for her, and if these truths do not agree, then the only conclusion we have, is that each person decides for himself or herself what is truth.

If we think like this, there can be no outside boundaries that are common to everyone. It's hard to decide what is true or not, if truth is different for each person.

Let's look at the end of the Scriptural passage. "You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother's eye." Vs. 7:5

This verse actually, in an indirect way, is telling us to judge. The only thing it is asking is that we judge ourselves first, before we judge other people. That way, our judgment of the other person will be fair.

When we see God in His glory and splendor, we don't see ourselves as great as we think we are. When we see how small we are before a holy God, we see others who are sinners as objects of mercy, instead of people to make fun of and put down because of their sins. We see sin as a spiritual disease, not as a measurement to compare ourselves with how well we are doing compared to others. 

"We are just beggars, telling other beggars where to find bread".

"We are sinners, telling other sinners where to find salvation".

I know the diagnosis is serious, but,
I don't want to judge you, so, I will
not prescribe any kind of medication.
I don't want you to accuse me of
judging you.

Thursday, August 17, 2017

When The Last Person Comes To Christ, Jesus Will Return

I don't know how long it will be before God's says 'enough' and the world as we know it, comes to an end.

The first time God judged the world, He destroyed it through a global flood. The next time He destroys it, it will be through fire, according to the Bible.
While we look forward to the Lord returning to earth, we mourn and grieve, knowing that many will experience God's wrath for eternity.
This is exactly why it is taking a very long time. One day, God will destroy the earth completely, and everyone on it will be destroyed as well. But God is patient and not willing that anyone will perish. He wants all to come to repentance and faith. He wants every person who will, to come to Him and be reconciled back to Him.

He will take whatever time is necessary for those who will come to know Him to respond. Some may not even be born yet.
When that last person comes to Christ, the end will come. The question is, will we go with Jesus when He returns to earth, or will we be destroyed and face God in eternal judgment?
This world is so evil right now. God has every right to come and destroy it all.
We need to be ready, because it could be any moment when God will return to earth to collect those who are His, and destroy the earth in order to bring the New Heaven and New Earth.

God is not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance. People are quick to note that God is not willing that any should perish, but, they leave off the last part about repentance.

Monday, July 31, 2017

Don't Judge Other People?

  One of the biggest objections that vocally appears when we are sharing the Gospel message with someone is that person telling us to not judge her, or him.

Here are Jesus' words on judging; “Judge not, that you be not judged.  For with the judgment you pronounce you will be judged, and with the measure you use it will be measured to you.  Why do you see the speck that is in your brother's eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye?  Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when there is the log in your own eye?  You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother's eye." Matthew 7:1-5 ESV

What is He saying? Here He is calling people 'hypocrites' because they have a log in their eyes.

What does it mean to 'judge'? In this case, it means to pronounce a judgment on someone else. It also involves the expectation to receive that kind of judgment in return on oneself. It is a form of looking down on others.

God has standards. No one, except the Son of God has kept those standards. Everyone else has failed them. The rules have been broken by us. And we reap the consequences for our wrongdoing.

In the passage above, a tendency we might have would be to see someone else who is in sin, and place condemnation on him or her. The problem is, we have our own sin issues that we have to deal with first, before we point out the sins of others.

But notice at the end of the passage. We are instructed to take the log out of our own eyes. That means we have to deal with our own sinful hearts before we do anything else. After that, we will be able to see the sins of others, and instead of using their sin against them, we will be able to help them out of their sin.

When people use this as an excuse for rejecting the Gospel, they misunderstand this whole section of Scripture. It is really a mask to protect themselves from hearing the hard truths of the Gospel message. Instead of being honest with themselves and wanting to deal with the sin issues in their hearts, they turn the tables around and accuse the person sharing the Gospel message with them of 'judging' them.

There is a difference between helping people see what God's word says about sin and judgment, and actually personally judging a person for their sins.

On Judgment Day, I am not going to be in front of the person I am talking to about the Gospel message. That person will be standing before God, not me. All I am expected to do is to help people understand what God says in His word. I am not God. I am not better than they are. If they don't see that, then I can't do anything about their response to the Gospel message.

Making people aware of God's standards is not judging them. They are already judged by God.
"Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life; whoever does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God remains on him." Our job is to tell others what God says about their condition and to offer the hope of the Gospel message. God is the One who does the work in the heart.

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Man In Hell Pleads For His Family To Not Go There

“There was a rich man who was clothed in purple and fine linen and who feasted sumptuously every day. And at his gate was laid a poor man named Lazarus, covered with sores, who desired to be fed with what fell from the rich man's table. Moreover, even the dogs came and licked his sores. The poor man died and was carried by the angels to Abraham's side. The rich man also died and was buried, and in Hades, being in torment, he lifted up his eyes and saw Abraham far off and Lazarus at his side. And he called out, ‘Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus to dip the end of his finger in water and cool my tongue, for I am in anguish in this flame.’ But Abraham said, ‘Child, remember that you in your lifetime received your good things, and Lazarus in like manner bad things; but now he is comforted here, and you are in anguish. And besides all this, between us and you a great chasm has been fixed, in order that those who would pass from here to you may not be able, and none may cross from there to us.’ And he said, ‘Then I beg you, father, to send him to my father's house— for I have five brothers—so that he may warn them, lest they also come into this place of torment.’ But Abraham said, ‘They have Moses and the Prophets; let them hear them.’ And he said, ‘No, father Abraham, but if someone goes to them from the dead, they will repent.’ He said to him, ‘If they do not hear Moses and the Prophets, neither will they be convinced if someone should rise from the dead.’"

This man did not escape the eternal flames
Photo credit: Arabs for Christ/FreeBibleimages.org

This event was told by Jesus around 2,000 years ago. 

There is a lot we can learn from what happened here. So many things we can learn. 

One is that it is not necessarily wrong to have riches or to be wealthy. But almost always, wealthy people have a hard time understanding their need for God. If they do get the message of the Gospel, they have a hard time responding to it because they will not be willing to part with their riches.

On the other side of the coin, poor people are not automatically added to heaven. But being poor does have a good advantage, for, the poor person does not struggle with having to let go of his riches. He won't be worshiping his money, for he doesn't have much money to worship. That idol struggle will not be there.

Hell lasts forever. Once a person is there, he or she will always be there. It is a terrible place to be and no one should ever take the subject and reality of hell lightly.

People who are in hell cannot cross over to the other side. There is a big gap that is uncrossable between heaven and hell. Those in heaven also will not be able to cross into hell. 

Those in hell are wishing they weren't there, but, they are also wishing that their family members would not be there as well. They would do whatever they can to warn their family members about hell and how to avoid it.

There is one thing we will not have the opportunity to do when we are in heaven. There will be no need to preach the Gospel message and do evangelism, for everyone who is in heaven already knows the Lord. 

We should love people enough to tell them the good news of the Gospel. If we ourselves are saved, it would seem like our hearts would want everyone to come into a relationship with God through the Cross of Jesus Christ. If that desire is not there, something important is missing in our lives. 

Many professing Christians think that anyone who believes the facts about Jesus is a true Christian. But there is more to it than that. Some seem to think that God is all loving and wouldn't send anyone to hell. While God is love, according to what the Bible teaches, God is also just. He does love. He loves us so much that He gave His only Son to live a perfect life, and die a horrible death to pay for our sins. We must repent of wrongdoing and selfishness, and trust in what Jesus did for us on the cross, 2,000 years ago. He not only died to take our punishment, but He also rose from the dead on the third day after he was killed.

If we could obey the commandments perfectly, we could go to heaven. But even with one sin that had been committed during our lifetime, that sin would send us to hell. We can look at the commandments and see how we have failed. Looking at the commandments reveals the condition of our hearts. 

No good work that we could do can take away any of our sins. Even if we lived a life where we continually serve people, we would still have to pay for our sins, even if we only commit sin occasionally. 

But we commit sin on a regular basis. That's why we need a Savior. We need someone who can cleanse our hearts from sin. But we also need a new heart that will produce good fruit. If we repent, and trust in Jesus as our Savior from sin, God gives us a new heart, and also the power to live a life that is pleasing to Him.

Life has many choices. Eternity has only 2! 

Sunday, July 9, 2017

God Is Sovereign Over Global Warming And Overpopulation

God calls the stars by name
“He determines the number of the stars; he gives to all of them their names.” Psalm 147:4 ESV

God knows the number of hairs on your head.
“But even the hairs of your head are all numbered.” Matthew 10:30 ESV

There are at least 6 billion people on earth today.
“So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.” Genesis 1:27

“And God blessed them. And God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it, and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth.” Genesis 1:28 ESV

God holds all things together

“And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together.” Colossians 1:16,17 ESV

Sometimes, we worry about the earth being overcrowded, or that there are too many people here. God knows the dilemma. He has a way of working through this situation. His ways are higher than ours.

People worry a lot about global warming and its affect on us. But many forget that God is still on His throne. In fact, God will always be on His throne. He has this thing all figured out already.

We can either trust Him and ask for His wisdom, or we can try to solve the problems on our own. Either way, God commands us not to murder.

We are only on this planet for a short time. Then each of us goes to one of two places; heaven or hell.

Jesus will be reigning in Heaven. Hell will be a Lake of Fire to punish those who do not trust in God, and haven’t repented of their sins and turned to Jesus as Lord and Savior.

God is sovereign over all the events in the world. God was kind to send Jesus to pay for our sins by His death on the Cross.

Our response is to turn to Him and trust in what He did for us on the Cross to pay for our sins.

Out of the 6,000+ billion people on earth today, all will die.

Life has many choices. Eternity has only 2!


Saturday, July 8, 2017

Your Sin Is No Match For The Power of God

"Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God." 1 Corinthians 6:9-11 ESV

There are going to be two groups of people who will be especially affected by these verses. One group will be those who are struggling with same-sex attraction, and who want to change. The other group is made up of people who don't want to have anything to do with God, and will probably think I am a bully for sharing these verses.

The first group actually has hope. Whether we have same-sex attractions or not, we all have our share of sinful tendencies that we struggle with. That is why we need a Savior.

Many think of a Savior as someone who just takes away our sins so we can go to heaven. While it is true that Jesus died to pay for our sins, so we could be forgiven and cleansed from sin, and be made ready for heaven, there is so much more depth to this. 

When Jesus died, the Powers of Darkness were disarmed. Satan tempted Eve to sin in the Garden, and she fell for the temptation. Adam joined her and he knew better. After that, a death sentence was pronounced on mankind. Every person born since that time has been born in sin, and has a sinful, selfish nature that can only be cured by the blood of Jesus Christ.

The second group of people who will see these verses and be angry with them, will not appreciate the hope that is given in the Gospel message. Many in this group are perverted, which simply means that, because of their rejection of God, God has turned them over to their wicked desires. They see things that are good, and from God, as 'evil', and things that are evil that God will eventually destroy, they see as 'good'.

Many of these people actually profess to believe in God. I think many of them are in our churches today as well. In reality, they don't believe in the God of the Bible. They have made up a 'god' that they worship, which is a god that is ok with their living in sin. These are the people who fight the hardest against truth when it is presented. 

If those who are in the first group listed here actually hear the Gospel message, and rightly understand it, they receive hope. The second group doesn't want hope. They will continue in their sin and living in their world of lies. 

God can save anyone no matter what kind of sin struggle they have. Their sin is no match for the power of God. 

But God also says that His Spirit will not always strive with men. In the book of Revelation, God gave Jezebel 'space to repent', but she never did repent. 

To those who do repent, and place their faith in Jesus Christ, God gives them a new heart. It is a heart that wants to do good. Not a heart that does good because it has to. There is a desire for Godliness in the new heart God gives.

God also gives the power to resist sin and to work through sin issues. He gives us the power to say 'no' to sin. He also gives us the power to say 'yes' to righteousness. 

Another thing God gives us is new eyes to see with. When we read the Bible, it makes sense to those who have turned to God in repentance and faith. A new understanding is there. We can also see into the spiritual realm and operate using the spiritual weapons God gives us to overcome sin and the Enemy of our souls.

Maybe you aren't a practicing homosexual, but perhaps you struggle with stealing or being greedy. God can change your heart and give you a new meaning in life. No one has to stay in bondage to greediness or stealing. No one has to stay in bondage to the world of lies we live in today. We can love the truth and be set from from deception and lies. 

The traits in the verses above show what those Corinthians were like before their conversion. But now they were washed clean because of the blood of Jesus Christ. Their sins were cleansed and they now had new hearts.

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.  All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation;  that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation2 Corinthians 5:17-19 ESV
Yes, your sin is ugly and evil, but it is no match for the power of God. Turn to Him now in repentance and faith, and trust in what Jesus Christ did on the Cross for your sins. 

Thursday, June 8, 2017

Lack Of Fearing God Results In Perverse Thinking and Decision Making As Well As Doubting God's Word

The whole question lies in the authority of God's word. Is God's word authoritative, or, is God's word just someone's opinion on whether it is true or not?

Back in the Garden of Eden, the devil entered a snake and talked to Eve (perhaps animals did talk to humans back then). The snake tried to reason with Eve, and he was successful in getting Eve to doubt what God said as being true.

Did God really say?????

Today, the situation is really no different. People don't know how to separate the truth from the lies. Neither do people know how to separate the fine lines of an argument or cause.

Take for example, the recent decision made by the White House. They are not going to celebrate this month by recognizing the LGBT at the White House. Two things will happen as a result of this.

One is, that believers in Jesus Christ, who hold to the Bible truths as valid for today, will rejoice. The other is that the Left will be angry. That's understandable. But the Left always goes further. They will use this against our current president and those in the White House. They have already labeled the president as a bigot. This incident will confirm their false belief that the president is a bigot. But why?

It is simply because they don't know how to separate the truth from the lies. They don't know how to separate the fine lines in an argument. Or maybe, they just don't want to. By doing this, it would upset their narrative.

I don't know how many times I have to make this clear, but people who truly know the Lord, for the most part, are not prejudiced against homosexuals. No one hates individual homosexuals. Where the division is, is holding onto what the Bible teaches about homosexuality, and not promoting the cause of homosexuality.

The Bible is very clear that homosexuality is sin. Sin is bad for anyone, not just homosexuals. Homosexuality is just only one manifestation of sin. There are thousands upon thousands of types of sins human beings do every day. Some are not noticeable, or at least to the public. Other types of sins are worth punishment, as they hurt other human beings. Some sins are against God alone. All sin is the result of heart issues that we haven't worked through or repented of.

Every person has to repent of his or her known sins, whether those sins be sexually related or of some other nature. The reason homosexuality seems to be being picked on is because, for many years, in our country, people were basically God-fearing. That means that people knew there was a standard of right and wrong, and that wrong, when found out, will be dealt with. But today, we have a perverse society, with perverse judges and governmental leaders.

So, we have a country led by people, who, in many ways, have disregarded what God's word says. Not just about homosexuality, but about everything else. We have a society where evil is called 'good' and good is called 'evil'. This is primarily because the people who live in America, for the most part, do not fear God, nor do they believe that they will be called to account one day for their actions.

So, for example again, we look at the homosexual situation. There are still God-fearing people in this nation who believe what the Bible says about God judging homosexuals. They fear God, and many fear for the people who embrace homosexuality because they know that Judgment Day is coming. We need to be ready.

The Bible says there will be scoffers in the last days. People will laugh at what the Bible says. The ACLU will continue to plow over people who hold Biblical convictions, accusing them of 'bigotry' when the issue has nothing to do with bigotry at all.

It makes it hard to help the homosexual who wants to leave the Gay life. If a person struggling with homosexuality wants to be free, it is hard to find a church which will help them. And legally, in some states, counselors, even Biblical ones, are not allowed to help the person struggling with homosexual tendencies. Because the issue, they would say, is bigotry and hatred. How sad. What a lie from the Enemy we believe in today.

We need to pray for God's help.



Did God really say?????

Monday, May 29, 2017

Are These People Scammers, Or, Are They People With Great Needs? How Would We Know?

I am torn about writing this article, but, I believe I must do it, and do it soon.

Let me start with an episode of something that happened to me about a year and a half ago. I will try to make a really long story as short as possible.

I will actually share a couple of stories, hoping you will understand the point I want to make from one of them.

About a year and a half ago, I was on my Mac computer, and a screen came up saying that my computer was infected with a virus. The warning looked like a typical Apple message, so I heeded. There was a phone number to call and someone would help me fix it.

Stupid me calls the number (I found out later on that I should have just called Apple first). After spending a couple of hours with 'Alex' looking inside my computer and fixing the virus that I supposedly had, and about $500 in cost, I wondered if I did the right thing.

I contacted my Mac group through email, and they told me I had been scammed. I put a post about it on Facebook and my friends said that they thought I had been scammed. I called Apple and they said I was scammed. I was also told that Mac computers do not get viruses.

The man named 'Alex' had a deep Indian accent. I contacted my credit card company, and disputed the charge. They said I had to personally try to work it through with the company (BrainBro). I called and got about half of the money back.

Brainbro insisted that they were not scammers and that my computer did indeed have malware (they changed the condition to 'malware' since I informed them that Mac computers did not get viruses).

Since that time, I have gotten phone calls from 'Alex' and other people with Indian dialects. They would let me know that they were aware of my computer having more malware. I remember one time they actually hung up on me when I told them that they were scammers.

More recently, I have gotten phone calls from this company or an associate company, saying that they are going to refund me all the money. So, I stayed on the phone, talking with a woman with a deep Indian accent this time. She did not speak good English. She had me download something called 'Team Viewer' which made it possible for her to look inside my computer.

If someone is going to refund your money to you, why would they need to look inside your computer? I couldn't even use my mouse because she was using it. Not sure what that was all about.

The phone call was disconnected. She kept trying to call me back. She would send messages through Team Viewer asking me to take the call. Meanwhile, I called Apple and was able to disconnect from her on the computer.

The phone kept ringing. I did not answer.

Today, the phone rang again. The person had already called before but no one answered. This time I answered. It was a man with an Indian accent telling me that the company was going to refund my money. I told him he was a scammer, etc. I hung up on him.

(The only caller I.D. on these phone calls was that one was from Kissimmee, Florida, and the other one was from New York).

Last year, our credit card was hacked. It would have been the same credit card number I gave to Brainbro. They used the card in New York to buy groceries and gas with.

We have had our credit card number changed several times since then.

But what I want to really share with you is something kind of sad and disappointing. And puzzling too.

People know how to play on your sympathies. People also know that others are especially sympathetic toward children. Plus, people know that if you are a professing Christian, then you will give money to the poor, especially children.

Here's where the story gets tricky.

Months ago, I made a new friend at church. We exchanged our names so we could find each other on Facebook. I had a hard time finding her, as there seemed to be a couple of people with her name. She told me that she tried sending me a friend request but it would never go through.

I checked my settings and found that I would only receive friend requests from people who have at least one mutual friend in common. I wondered why I did that. So, I changed my settings to receive any friend requests from people, so that my new friend could send me a friend request and I would get it. I left the setting open and it wasn't long before I realized why I had it set to receiving only friend requests from people who had mutual friends with me.

During that short time I had the settings open, I received some friend requests. The first one, I checked over the profile page. It looked innocent. It was from a lady in India. I thought to myself, 'no harm' here, so I confirmed the friend request.

Immediately, the woman contacted me. It was around midnight, and she called me on Facebook. I couldn't answer because people were sleeping at my house. She sent me a ton of pictures. She told me about her life. Not too long after this, then it happened.

The requests for helping to meet the needs for the orphanage were being brought to my attention. What was really puzzling was that this woman never seemed to sleep. No matter when I was on Facebook, she would find me. She would send me a nice message. She would 'like' a lot of the things I posted. But I found it strange that she was always on Facebook. I thought people in India do not have much in the way of technology and the Internet, but maybe I am wrong.

The personal messages continued. And they still continue along with pictures and requests for donations. And I am puzzled.

My mom would have said, 'You are too nice'. I would just hate the thought of not helping this person if she really is in need, not that I am in a place where I can help financially, but, if something needs help, I will be glad to at least be praying for it.

I have asked what others thought about this. Some believe this woman is a scammer. I just don't know. I would feel terrible if she is just a lonely person who lacks material things and wants a little bit better life. But, on the other hand, I do know that scammers can really talk like nice, caring people.

The other friend request I got was from a woman in Africa. It seemed similar in some ways. I did not respond to her request. She also gave me her telephone number as if I should call her sometime.

I wonder if I would have 'confirmed' the friend request, if this woman would have also had financial needs for orphanages and children's health care situations that the lady from India had.

Do people in these other countries think that Americans are rolling in dough and just waiting to find a place where they can donate their money? Or, could they really be scammers in disguise? I really would like to know!!

There is a guilt feeling you get when they bring needs to your attention. But when you are supporting many people in other ministries, you only have a certain amount of money to delegate to everyone. And new needs come up everyday.

We have places we pour money into, but they are around here. We have poor people in America that we would like to help get back on their feet. Are we obligated to give to someone we really don't know, in a faraway country before we give to those who live here in this country who have great needs?

I am aware of the understanding that other parts of the world have concerning our Western World here. They would think that everyone should be equal and that those who are wealthy, which are the Americans, should give up what they have so that others in their countries can equally have their share of material goods. I think it ties in with the 'Yin and Yang' theory. (For every boy who has video games, and lots of toys, there is a boy suffering who has nothing). In other words, it is American's fault because of the wealth that's in our country. That means, to them, that an equal amount of people in another country, such as the one they live in, will be poor. If we have 50 boys with video games, bikes, computers, etc., then in India, there will be 50 boys without anything, according to their theory.

I also understand that our former president believes that people who do well (like those in America) should be forced to give to others who do not have, because everyone has to be equal. We are all equal in value, but we are all different because God made us all unique and gave us giftings and talents (skills) to use to serve in our communities and to make a living to provide for ourselves and our families. The former president believes that those who achieve and work hard have become successful, not because of their hard work, but because they 'stole' their success from others. (Kind of like the Yin/Yang theory).

Anyway, I do not want to offend any of my friends who are from India or Africa. This is not an assault on them. This is just a question of wanting wisdom to know who are the scammers and who are those in need, and how can we best help those in need. Sometimes, we think we can help people, but we end up doing more harm than good. Sometimes, we even get scammed.

Feel free to comment on this article or share your own experiences here.

Saturday, May 13, 2017

What Lessons Can We Learn From An Abused Woman?

Here is a very sad story about a woman who had a relationship with an abusive man. While there is a sadness for this woman, to a degree, I want to carefully help us to look at this situation in the light of what the Scriptures say. What can we learn about this? How do we look at this situation and similar ones without acting like we are 'casting the first stone'?

We are all in a mess as long as we live in this darkened world. Many people suffer at the hands of others. There are many unfair situations. But could some of these difficult situations be avoided by having the wisdom of God and by walking in the fear of the Lord?

Again, I want to make sure that no one thinks I am judging this woman or casting the first stone at her. We all get ourselves into messes like this at times, and we should be grateful when someone helps pull us out. Does everyone who is in a mess like this want out though? Has everyone heard of the way out and the only ultimate answer to our difficulties?

The story:
A woman who lives on the West Coast, describes her relationship with a man who abused her. After she was able to leave him, she saw him on the street. He did come after her, and although he did not actually meet up with her, sent her a note saying he would like to reconcile.

The woman was beyond terrified of this man because of what he had done to her. She had a restraining order to protect her from him. Whatever things ended up happening, this woman was affected mentally and needed medical help for her mental illness.

The article describes many things she went through. The man had already destroyed 3 relationships with other women whom he also abused terribly. He was even an actor and acted out a scene of abuse, which should have given a clue of his potential for harm.

The woman got pregnant by him and had to get an abortion. She went to Planned Parenthood and couldn't imaging having the baby who was the son or daughter of the man who tried to kill her.

Now, the woman complained about the GOP. I had to wonder what connection the GOP would have concerning this abusive relationship. So, I went through the whole article and it simply said that she had now a 'pre-existing' condition (her mental illness because of the abuse) and there would be no money to pay for her insurance because, according to her, the new insurance act that was recently passed, would not cover pre-existing conditions or would make the cost of her insurance too high.

The woman also lived on the West Coast, and seemed to identify herself as a Liberal. There was some bad language in the article, and God's name was taken in vain.

There was nothing in the article that indicated that she was married to this man. She also mentioned her relationship with men as 'partners' not husbands or boyfriends.

You can find this article here: https://medium.com/@kivabay/men-who-try-to-kill-me-703a526ee152

It is sad when women have to live in fear and experience the agonies that go with being abused. I don't want to make light of that, but I am not going to focus on that now. I want us to look at cause and effect in this article. We could save ourselves from much anguish if we learn from other people's experiences.

Here are my conclusions on how to look on this article:
* People today are ignorant of the Scriptures, and what God is saying to us.
* Many in our society have no fear of God.
* In the olden days, there was a standard of right and wrong. Today, much of that standard is gone.
* God tells us to be pure sexually, for good reasons.
* When we live in sin, our sins multiply and have consequences.
* The Bible tells us to stay away from angry people.
* We get wisdom from the word of God. If we don't know God's word, we will make foolish decisions.

Application of the story:
* The woman chose to live with an abusive man, even though she wasn't aware of his abusiveness at first.
* Choosing to live with someone and have intimate relationships outside of marriage is forbidden by God. We can see some of the ramifications of this in this story.
* There is always a foolish woman waiting for some man to love her and give her attention. A man who has had three abusive relationships should never be accepted by another woman in a relationship. That person is unmarriageable.
* Having an abortion, and especially expecting the state to pay for it is like trying to take 2 wrongs to make a right. Carrying and delivering a baby is part of the responsibility of having a sexual relationship. She had no right to kill her baby over this.
* The woman was steeped in believing the lies of the Enemy to her. She totally bought into his lies, and is continuing to do so.
* I guess it is easy for woman to just make a decision to live with a man vs. marrying him. And even doing that without really knowing the man's background first.
* The woman even bought into the lie that the GOP is going to enable her ex partner in continuing to harm her. She is looking for someone to blame because she believes she won't be able to get medical help.

Friends, this is what life looks like for those who are living in darkness. They get into the wrong kinds of relationships, then they get hurt, then they look for someone to blame.

The answer to all of this is found in the message of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Gospel means 'good news'. That implies that there is 'bad news'. The bad news is that we have been listening to the voice of the devil for so long, and we are in darkness. We need to be delivered. But, here's the problem: we have to be delivered on God's terms, not our own. Society teaches us to do things our way. Society teaches us to be selfish, and then when things go wrong, blame others. God never intended for women to live (or die) in abusive relationships. But God never intended for women to live with men outside of a marriage relationship either. God never intended for women to have abortions. God does not want people to live homeless either.

We make choices. When we choose to live against the principles in the Bible, there will be consequences. God doesn't have rules just to make us miserable. Our parents didn't give us rules to be mean. The rules protect us and keep us safe. But if we spit in God's face or reject Him, what else should we expect?

I am not saying here though that everyone who has been abused or is homeless is not following God. What I am saying is that God will take care of us, but we must be under His umbrella of care. We cannot be sleeping around and getting abortions, and expect God's blessings on our lives.

Maybe you have lived through all this hellish type of living, and maybe you want out. It is a cycle. If you are an abused woman, you have to break off with your man. God can help you.

You cannot consider getting an abortion, even if you believe in 'a woman's right to her own body' (which is another lie of the Enemy). You can put the baby up for adoption. There are many who would love to have your baby in their homes.

You also cannot blame others for the outcome of your decisions. You must learn how to take responsibility for your actions. God can also help you with that.

For more information on the Gospel message, please go to http://thegospelconversation.blogspot.com or http://test4gp.wordpress.com

Please, I urge you to get help if you need it. Find a friend or church that you can trust. It is of utmost importance.

Friday, May 12, 2017

Lost Angels Cannot Be Redeemed

The Bible has a lot to say about angels. They are created beings, like humans are. The Bible doesn't say that the angels are created in God's image though. They are full time worshipers of God, and they serve Him continually.

Did you know that there was a time when all angels were good? At some point, if we understand the Bible correctly, the devil rebelled against God and fell to the earth. In the book of Revelation, it talks about the angels who followed the Dragon were also thrown to the earth.

The devil came to Eve in the Garden of Eden, and lied to her. He basically led her to believe that she should not trust God. So, she followed the devil's advice and the whole human race was plunged into sin. Read Genesis 3 for more information on this.

God promised to send a Redeemer. Throughout the Old Testament, there were clues about this coming Redeemer. When God sent His Son to earth, around 2,000 years ago, Jesus fulfilled the clues that were given concerning the coming Redeemer.

God was gracious to mankind in sending a Redeemer. But in an interesting way, the angels who sinned do not have a Redeemer. Jesus didn't die for angels, only for people.

Here is what the Bible says about the angels who sinned:

For if God did not spare angels when they sinned, but cast them into hell and committed them to chains of gloomy darkness to be kept until the judgment; if he did not spare the ancient world, but preserved Noah, a herald of righteousness, with seven others, when he brought a flood upon the world of the ungodly; if by turning the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah to ashes he condemned them to extinction, making them an example of what is going to happen to the ungodly; and if he rescued righteous Lot, greatly distressed by the sensual conduct of the wicked (for as that righteous man lived among them day after day, he was tormenting his righteous soul over their lawless deeds that he saw and heard); then the Lord knows how to rescue the godly from trials, and to keep the unrighteous under punishment until the day of judgment,  and especially those who indulge in the lust of defiling passion and despise authority.

2 Peter 2: 4-10 ESV

But the fate of human beings will be the same for those who do not repent of their sins and put their faith in Jesus Christ as their Redeemer and Savior. 

This is the fate of the devil and false prophet:

And they marched up over the broad plain of the earth and surrounded the camp of the saints and the beloved city, but fire came down from heaven and consumed them,  and the devil who had deceived them was thrown into the lake of fire and sulfur where the beast and the false prophet were, and they will be tormented day and night forever and ever.

The fate of human beings:

And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. Then another book was opened, which is the book of life. And the dead were judged by what was written in the books, according to what they had done. And the sea gave up the dead who were in it, Death and Hades gave up the dead who were in them, and they were judged, each one of them, according to what they had done. Then Death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. This is the second death, the lake of fire. And if anyone's name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.

Revelation 20: 9,10, 12-15 ESV

We have the opportunity to be redeemed and saved from our sins. We can receive a new heart that will love instead of hate. We can love what God loves and hate what God hates. God will give us the power to change and to overcome the struggles we have with our sinful natures. But, we must respond to God. We don't get saved by just believing facts about God. We must let go of our desires to live for pleasure and selfishness. God will help us to turn to Him, but we must respond to Him. 

For more information on how to be made right with God, please go to http://test4gp.wordpress.com

Does Having Standards Imply Bigotry or Bias?

Where do I begin? Today, I posted on Facebook an article having to do with Target promoting Gay Pride Line, which is a line of clothing catering to homosexuals.

Last year, Target came up with the bright idea of allowing men to have permission to use a woman's restroom if the man feels like he is a woman and prefers to use the woman's room. This allowance could lead to a lot of different problematic situations that I will not go into at this time. After that incident took place, I made a personal decision to not use Target anymore unless someone either gave me a gift certificate or if someone was registered there for their wedding or baby shower.

What is wrong with Target allowing men to use women's restrooms and vice-versa? Well, starting with the Bible, the whole way of thinking that homosexuality is right and normal is covered. The Bible has a whole lot to say about how we are to use our bodies, and there are boundaries in what we can do with our bodies, or what we can do to other people's bodies.

A note about the Target issue: Although we don't agree with Target's policies, and we know the Bible teaches that homosexuality is wrong and will be punished, in no way do we reject people who are homosexuals or transgenders. They are people who are created in God's image, and, like all of us, are slaves to their sins. They need the Gospel message, just as we do, for the sins we have committed. We are all subject to the temptations and trappings of sin, and we all need a Savior from sin.

The Bible is very clear that marriage is made up of one man and one woman. God designed men and women to marry and have sexual relations. That is a good thing. It is a beautiful thing when used correctly. But when it is used in any other form, it is wrong. It will be punished by God.

The problems we have today in our society stem from wrong thinking, and a philosophy that tells us that whatever is truth to us, that is our truth. In other words, truth is subjective. So, if the Bible says that being immoral is wrong and God will judge immoral people, if I believe that it is ok for me to be immoral, than I have a 'right' to immorality. Somehow, God's standard gets left out or is subject to our standard.

So, if I have a standard that wants to protect my privacy in a restroom, that standard actually becomes subject to a greater stander, that of one which says that a man can come into the restroom I am using because his feelings of desiring to be a woman and use a woman's restroom to express his feelings, I must be subject to that.

If I put a post out about this on Facebook, people will call me a bigot. They did today. How does one live in their boundaries when someone else's newly created boundaries cross over theirs?

One of the comments expressly said that I didn't know the Bible because it is a book of God's love. So, that brings up the question which is the title of this article. Does having standards imply that a person is a bigot if they have standards? A more intense question is, is God a bully because He has standards? Do His standards violate His characteristic of love?

The person who wrote the comment on God's love was correct. The part that is hard for us to understand is that although God is love, and God loved us so much that He sent His Son to die for us, in our place, is that God has standards. If God didn't have standards, then He wouldn't have had to send His Son to die in our place. We could never measure up to God's standards, but Jesus did. That is why He was the only one qualified to die in our place, to take our sins away.

I think this post-modern thinking has messed people up so much. The second commandment says that we cannot make for us a graven image of God. We cannot make a god to suit ourselves. That is why it is so hard for a post-modern person to understand the message of the Gospel. They don't understand that God has standards, and if they do understand that God has standards, they call Him a bully.

They want to take the shortcut to escape hell. They want to believe that God is all-loving and all-forgiving, and that all they have to do is mentally accept the facts that are true, and they are good to go. They don't want to understand that God does love us, and that His love is so great that it provided a way for Him to make for us so that we could be redeemed from our sins. When it involves a personal response from the person in order for salvation to take affect in the person's life, they say, 'forget it'.

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

God Wants Us To Commune With Him

     God wants to converse with us and have a relationship with us. When He first created man and woman, He communed with them. But that relationship was destroyed when Eve listened to the voice of the Serpent instead of obeying God. Ever since that time, people have been born with sinful hearts and are separated from God. They do not hear God's voice any more.

“If you love me, you will keep my commandments. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper, to be with you forever, even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, for he dwells with you and will be in you." John 14:15-17 ESV

"Jesus answered him, “If anyone loves me, he will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him." John 14:23 ESV

God wants to have a relationship with us, and as you can see from these verses, He wants to commune with us. But there is a problem.

   Sin comes between us and God. But 2,000 years ago, God remedied that problem when He sent His Son, Jesus Christ, to earth. He lived a perfect life, without doing wrong, yet, He was punished as if He were a criminal. He was given the death penalty and paid a high price for something He was not guilty of. But He did this so that we could live. He did this in our place, because of our sin. When we turn to Him in repentance and faith, we are completely forgiven of all our sins, and, we are reconciled back to God the Father. 

   The reason why I am writing this is because there are many today who put too much stock into their understanding of theology. Many are theologically astute, which, in itself, is great. But, there is a tendency to replace our knowledge of the Scriptures for our relationship with God. We downplay many things that God wants to do in our lives, because we are trusting that our relationship with God comes through the Scriptures. Simply speaking, we are replacing the Scriptures for the Holy Spirit.

   First of all, please do not misunderstand what I am saying. The Scriptures are so valuable to us and help us to understand who God is. The Scriptures tell us what God is like and why we have this problem of sin and being separated from God. The Scriptures are also a spiritual weapon against the Enemy of our souls. We need to feed on God's word each day to nourish our souls. We can't live without the Scriptures. 

  But our knowledge of the Scriptures, which should be helpful to us, sometimes gets in the way of our relationship with God. For example, God wants to commune with us. He wants to individually work in our hearts. He wants us to know Him and learn how to hear His voice. But if we don't believe that God can speak to our hearts today, because He only speaks through Scriptures, we are missing something important. 

  For example, God used a man who was an evangelist, to share the Gospel with someone named Orlando. (This is a true story). God revealed to this man that he would meet a man that night named 'Orlando' and he was to give a message to Orlando. Orlando was to get ready to meet God. I can't remember the words that were used, but the evangelist went out that night and met Orlando. He gave him the words God showed him in his heart. The evangelist also shared the Gospel message with Orlando, and Orlando came to Christ. The evangelist went to pick up Orlando to bring him to church on Sunday morning. When he arrived at the place where Orlando lived, there were sirens and emergency vehicles and he couldn't find Orlando (Orlando lived in an area where homeless people lived). Someone told him that Orlando went on his bike to get something for breakfast, and someone hit him with the car. Orlando was killed. But Orlando was alright, because he knew the Lord Jesus Christ and met Him a couple of days before that.

   Many times, God helps us to connect the Scriptures so we understand the bigger picture of who He is and who we are in His plan. God's word has wonderful principles He wants us to learn. But, unless His word is activated in our hearts by the Holy Spirit, they will not have meaning. 

   The devil knows God's word inside and out, backward and forward. It is important to know the word to do battle against his plans against us. But we must listen to what God says to us. We cannot replace our knowledge of the Scriptures for hearing God's voice. The Holy Spirit makes the word of God come alive to us.

   Everything God says will be based out of His word. Nothing He tells us in our hearts will ever go against Scriptures. They will work with Scriptures. 

  Another example would be similar to the situation in the book of Acts where an angel of the Lord tells Philip to go on a road that goes from Jerusalem to Gaza. He met the Ethiopian Eunuch there. The Ethiopian Eunuch was probably seeking after God, (God had prepared his heart), and was reading the book of Isaiah, which today would be chapter 53 (this was before the Bible was divided into chapters.) Notice in chapter 8 verse 39 where it says that the Spirit said to Philip, "Go over and join this chariot." Philip didn't argue and say to himself, 'That isn't in the Scriptures and God only speaks through the Scriptures, so I guess it really wasn't God speaking because I can't find this direction to join this chariot in His word.'. Some might argue today that since the command to preach the Gospel to every creature is in Scriptures, that means that there isn't a need for a voice to tell us to go to specific people. But here it is in Scriptures, and we see what happened when the evangelist (described in a paragraph above) heard God's voice and obeyed. 

   The point is, God wants to have a growing relationship with us. He wants to commune with us, and I wonder if we stop short because that violates our thinking of God only being able to speak to us through Scripture. God can't give individual instruction through Scripture. We must never neglect the Scriptures or go against them. But we need to wait upon God and listen to what He tells us, which will always be in accordance with His word.

"My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me." John 10:27 ESV

Monday, February 27, 2017

Will "But I Didn't Know Any Better" Be An Acceptable Excuse Before God On 'That Day'?

   When you were a child, did you ever want to do something, yet, you knew if you asked your mom or dad if it were ok for you to do that activity, they might say, 'no'?

  I played that game when I was a kid. I never wanted to risk hearing the words, 'no, you may not do that', so, I never asked. I thought that I could play ignorant if I got caught, and if what I were doing was wrong. That way, I wouldn't be charged with wrongdoing if I got caught or if something bad happened to someone else, or at least, so I thought I could plead ignorance and get away with my crime.

  Can we play that game with God, though? He sees right through our hearts and motives. Would He forgive us if we 'conveniently' didn't look at the rules or if we 'forgot' to seek Him on certain issues?

   Here is a summary of my thoughts on this:

* People like to play ignorant
* We are not ignorant of God
* Our ignorance of God will not excuse us on that Day

Today, people like to play 'ignorant'. If they hear the rules, they just 'ignore' them. Perhaps they were never taught the rules. In our society today, many have not even heard of the 10 Commandments. A large amount of people, for example, have no idea that God will judge those who are sexually immoral.

We really are not ignorant of God. At least, not as ignorant as we think we are. Deep down inside all of our hearts we do have a knowledge of God. We have an awareness of Him, and we do have some idea of the difference between right and wrong, and good and evil. We can deny this and turn to Atheism, if we want. But we are not going to be playing the game of ignorance on that Day.

Our ignorance of God will not excuse us on that Day. It is our responsibility to seek after God. The problem comes when God's will crosses our will. Who will win? Usually, we do. We are not really interested in hearing God's voice on anything. We believe the lie of the Enemy of our souls, who would tell us that if we seek after God and desire to know His thinking on something, that God will take all our fun away. God is not out to take our fun away. That is not the point of why God has boundaries.

Finally, here is what the Bible has to say on this. It comes from Romans 1:18-23  ESV

"For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse. 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. Claiming to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and creeping things."

   You might have been able to fool your parents as a child, but God will never be fooled. We will all stand before Him on that Day, and none of us will be able to say that we didn't know better. 

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

Sunday, February 26, 2017

Freedom From Sin Or Freedom To Sin?

When Jesus died to pay for our sins, He also provided the way for us to be free from the entanglements of sin. But many see it differently.

Some think that Jesus came to set us free, but not from sin, but from the limitations that sin puts on us as well as from the consequences of sin. In the minds of some people, their understanding leads them to believe that we are free because the limitations or boundaries of sin around us are removed. But is this what the Bible teaches us?

What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin that grace may abound? By no means! How can we who died to sin still live in it? (Romans 6:1,2 ESV)

For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery. (Galatians 5:1,2 ESV)

So Jesus said to the Jews who had believed him, “If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples,  and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”  They answered him, “We are offspring of Abraham and have never been enslaved to anyone. How is it that you say, ‘You will become free’?”
 Jesus answered them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, everyone who practices sin is a slave to sin. The slave does not remain in the house forever; the son remains forever.  So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.
(John 8: 31-36 ESV)

   So did Jesus die for us so we could do what we want, but without the boundaries and consequences? Like the verse above says, 'By no means'. 

   We live in a 'free' country. What does that mean though? Are we free to do whatever we want? Are the boundaries taken away so we can do anything that pleases us? What exactly are we free from?

   If you look down through History, you will see that it is extremely rare that people lived in countries that were 'free'. People did not elect kings. People had to do whatever the authorities said to do. That was how it was.

   Before our country came together, the king also presided over the church. There was a combination of royalty and clergy. No one could vote on this, whether they wanted to or not. There was no voting option. That is a big reason why our country got started in the first place.

   Throughout History, women did not have rights. Women, in many cultures even today, are considered like second class citizens. We have the privilege in America to vote. Voting is not only for white males either. Citizens who are of age can all vote. This is unheard of in most countries, at least the way it is carried out here.

   One reason people misunderstand freedom is because they feel 'entitled' to whatever they want or think they need. Freedom is costly for some. Think about the Cross. Jesus died on the Cross so that we could go free. It cost Him something, and He paid a grand price for our freedom. 

   There are boundaries with freedom too. We have freedom of religion in our country. But our freedom cannot violate someone else's freedom. For example, if our religion tells us to kill people who won't submit to our religion, then we cannot carry that action out. It would be like saying, 'I have rights but you don't, because your rights will end when I kill you, and I can kill you because we have freedom of religion here and my religion says I should kill you unless you submit to my religion."

   So the answer to the above question is, not freedom to sin, but freedom from sin. Sin traps us and is the weapon Satan uses to destroy us. We can't see all that is involved in sin, but we can see the affects of sin in the lives of many people, including ourselves, many times.

   We don't have freedom to sin, but we can be totally set free from the slavery of sin!

We so easily get tangled up in sin. Sin is a snare and will trap us

Sunday, February 12, 2017

The Gospel, The Only Cure For All Our Evils In Our Society Today.

Have you noticed how many evil things are going on around us? There are angry people marching in different places. There are people getting killed because they are cops. An angry man surprises a class room and shoots everyone in the room. Name calling. Back-biting. And it's not only on the streets and in buildings. Even the church has been affected by this kind of evil.

We can talk about these issues all day long and we certainly can write about them in our blog posts, and we probably should, but, we could also become consumed and overwhelmed by the amount of evil that we see around us. We could talk about these situations the whole time we are awake until we go to bed. But is there a solution? Or better yet, is there some kind of preventive measure we can take that will help stop this evil momentum from continuing?

In David Wilkerson's book, The Cross And The Switchblade, Wilkerson talks about a situation he found himself in when he was new to New York City. As he was becoming acquainted with the gang members (whom they fondly called Wilkerson, Davey), he was realizing how serious the problem of heroin was becoming. When a person is addicted to heroin, it is hard to break that addiction and it will cost that person his or her life, at some point. Wilkerson studied the situation and learned the growing statistics of heroin addiction in New York City, and became overwhelmed and was ready to give up the call to 'help those boys' who were in the gangs on the streets of New York City and Brooklyn. But the Holy Spirit reminded him of an incident that happened when he was a young boy.

   There was a boy named 'Chuck' who was a bully. Wilkerson's family just moved into this town and the kids warned him of this bully named Chuck. Chuck was especially fond of picking on new kids in town and preacher's kids, of which Wilkerson was both. Wilkerson pondered this potential problem in his mind, and the verse 'Not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit, says the Lord of Hosts'. Well, the day came when the encounter with Chuck the bully met Wilkerson. Chuck poked fun at Wilkerson, and for a moment, Wilkerson forgot all about the Bible verse. After a couple of minutes of picking on Wilkerson, the verse came to his memory again. Not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit says the Lord of hosts. So, as the bully started in with bodily force, Wilkerson repeated the verse to himself. He continually reminded himself of what the Bible said. The bully then punched him but it didn't hurt. Then something really strange happened. The bully gave up and walked away. Not only that, but whatever happened from the bully's perspective, the bully looked at Wilkerson as some kind of fighter. In reality, God did the fighting for him.

The Cross And The
Switchblade - David

   God will do the fighting for us. We have to follow His principles and it is of utmost importance, that we are filled with the Holy Spirit. We have to use the spiritual weapons as discussed in Ephesians 6 and other parts of Scripture.

  The reason we are in this situation with our country, to begin with, is that we dropped the ball when it comes to holding the things of God as precious. We began that process when we allowed a woman to go to the Supreme Court in the 1960s to take prayer out of our schools. Then the false idea of 'separation of church and state' came in as meaning that any governmental facility or association could not have Bibles or religious content in them. This is definitely not what our forefathers had in mind! As a result of all this, people are not familiar with the word of God. Americans today do not understand that the God who created us is holy and has standards. We don't know what His standards are because they have not been taught to us. Some of us older people know, but many do not treasure God's word and have not stored it in their hearts, and as a result, it never got passed down to the next generation.

   I think we have a weak view of who God is, in our churches today. Could that be the reason why only 2% of those who are members of Christian churches do the work of evangelism? If we genuinely had an encounter with the true and living God, would we still continue to live self-centered lives like so many of us do today? If we understood the grace of God, and what a debt we owe because of our sin, would we be indifferent about sharing the Gospel message with others?

   The Gospel will bring light to a darkened world. God is light. The god of this world is Satan. He masquerades as an 'angel of light' but is really and angel of death and works in deception. Could it be that if we preach the Gospel message, people will be reconciled to God, will have a new heart, and will help society to experience more light, and with this light, expel much of the darkness that is here?

  Can we bring back the 'fear of the Lord' again? Can we bring to people the knowledge that, the works they do in secret will be known by God? God will expose everything, one day. But if we know God is watching and keeping record, maybe we will think twice about our actions and the decisions that we make every day. Maybe we will be able to look at our selfish hearts and exchange them for a new heart that loves God and people. Maybe society will look different and people will be able to see God for the first time. Maybe many will come to know the Lord and experience healing here, and eternal life forever.

(For a good course in learning to do evangelism, please go to the link for the Proclaim Course - http://www.proclaim.typepad.com/proclaim/
Also, Living Waters has some excellent videos, audios, courses and tracts. Visit them at http://www.livingwaters.com).

This article contains affiliate links.

Thursday, February 9, 2017

God Holds All The Atoms In The Universe Together

Here is a pic of what an atom looks like.

CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=295612

Atoms are very small. Imagine all the atoms around us and in us. Imagine all the atoms in the Universe. God knows each one and He holds everything together.

Here is what the Bible says about Jesus:
"He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him.  And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together."*

So, according to those verses, Jesus is holding everything together. A person might be proud of his or her accomplishments or who he or she is, but the person is not really the one holding himself together. Every breath that we have comes from God. He gave us our first breath and will give us our last breath. 

Atheists, like everyone else, die. We are all appointed to die one day. After we die, we will face God in judgment. We will face the One who holds everything together and give account of our lives. Will we be found in Him, or will we be covered in our sin and shame?

For more information on this subject of where we will spend eternity, please go to http://thegospelconversation.blogspot.com

* Colossians 1: 15-17 ESV