Tag Results

...and pray for those who persecute you

LOVE YOUR ENEMIES

The greatest teacher of all time, the God-man Jesus, taught this timeless truth in Matthew 5:43-48:

“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.  For He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust.  For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have?  Do not even the tax collectors do the same?  And if you greet only your brothers, what more are you doing than others?  Do not even the Gentiles do the same?  You therefore must be perfect, as your Heavenly Father is perfect” (ESV).

As we reel from another seemingly senseless slaughter of human life in recent days, questions swirl in our hearts and minds.  It may arise as anger in our hearts, or sometimes in guilt of our own making, taking responsibility for the evil that we witness as a way to feel as if we can then exercise control over it.  As Jesus tells us, we cannot control evil, only our response to it.

What was perpetrated by those who followed their own devices or the orders of those they represent, should not elicit a desire for a personal vendetta toward the individual.  Ultimately a human is not our real enemy; Paul the apostle wrote these words to the church in Ephesus:

“For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, again the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places” (Ephesians 6:12, ESV).

We are witnessing a spiritual battle and it must be seen with spiritual eyes.  Unfortunately, many will not see it this way.  What tragically happened in Orlando, FL will be politicized from every direction and the main point will be missed in the resulting fog.

Evil is real, and it comes from outside flesh and blood, yet is prevalent in our society as evidenced by many recent world events.  Yet, this man who laid out so much carnage is not an enemy of a Christian nor are Muslims.  Christians also must remember that homosexuals are not our enemy and there is no room for hateful words or actions.

God is the ultimate Judge in the universe and not mankind.  When man was created he was placed in a perfect world.  Yet, man thought he knew better than God and wanted more, following instead the temptations of the serpent in the perfect garden.  The result was ruin of all mankind for all time, until Jesus’ presence upon the earth as the ultimate Savior from evil in the world.

What Adam and Eve thought was a good thing ended up as ruin for the history of man, yet God had an eternal plan that neither man nor Satan could set aside.  Apart from God, life is a prison, but with God, through belief in Jesus Christ is perfect freedom.  Perfect freedom is following the Scriptures in both Old and New Testaments.  Jesus is the fulfillment of all God’s promises to mankind; Adam and Eve or Satan could not thwart what was planned in eternity past.

Christians are to love God and our fellow man.  We are not to do offensive injury in any way to those we do not agree with, whether Muslim or one who designates themselves as homosexual.  It is true that much hurt has been initiated by those who call themselves followers of Jesus but when one would look at what Jesus did and what He taught it would be clear that revenge or anger or physical injury of any type is not appropriate for a Christ follower.

We must pray for those who oppose us, due to our belief, but never strike a vengeful blow.  In closing, the words of Scripture are extremely appropriate in this day and age as we see anger and spite in our world.

“Let love be genuine.  Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good.  Love one another with brotherly affection.  Outdo one another in showing honor.  Do not be slothful in zeal, be fervent in spirit, serve the Lord.  Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer.  Contribute to the needs of the saints and seek to show hospitality. 

Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them.  Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep.  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.  Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, ‘Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.’  To the contrary, ‘if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals on his head.’  Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good” (Romans 12:9-21, ESV).

This is how a person who claims to be a follower of Jesus is to act towards fellow Christians and those who are not.  Before a Christian goes on a verbal rampage, or worse, go to the Book to find out how to respond to the evils of the world in which we live.

The only true answer to the evils of this world is Jesus Christ!  To begin following Him all one needs to do is believe that God raised Him from the dead and to confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and you will be saved.  Pretty simple, but life-changing.

Bypass Everything and Go Directly to Jesus (Part 1)

By Bill Freeman

One of the greatest lessons we learn in our Christian life is to bypass the entire realm of the flesh and go directly to Jesus and make contact with Him. When we go directly to Christ, we are free from the flesh. We are free from our self. We are free from self-preoccupation. We are free from self-condemnation. We are free from anxiety. We are free from interacting with the impossible realm of the flesh (Rom. 8:8). Our relationship to the flesh is that we died to it and our life is now hidden with Christ in God (Col. 3:3).

Bypass Everything and Go Directly to JesusOur interaction is not with ourselves – with self-effort and self-reformation. We bypass the self. When we bypass, Christ becomes our joy. Christ becomes our encouragement. Christ becomes our faith. Christ becomes our living (Phil. 1:21). We interact with Him in everything in our lives. We interact exclusively with Him. We enjoy Him as our righteousness (1 Cor. 1:30). He is “all and in all” to us (Col. 3:11).

When we receive Him, it is our spirit that is born again. Our dead spirit is begotten of the divine Spirit and comes alive (Eph. 2:1). Indeed, our newly-born spirit becomes the source from which we live as believers. It is into our regenerated spirit that Christ comes to dwell. From this place we contact Christ Himself and bypass the flesh. Thus, our relationship with the flesh is Jesus Christ as He lives in our spirit and as we walk according to spirit (Rom. 8:3-4).

When we bypass the flesh, Jesus Christ becomes the Christian life. We look away to Him. Look away from yourself. Look away from your failure. Look away from your bad mood. Look away unto Jesus. Christ is the centrality of everything in our Christian life. He is the Christian life itself in every aspect.

The new birth bypasses man’s flesh

Our new birth teaches us from the very start that God intended to bypass the flesh. In other words, our initial salvation is not a matter of expecting anything to come out of the flesh. God doesn’t save man by any works of the flesh, including improving it, upgrading it, or remaking it (Gal. 2:16). No. God bypasses man’s flesh altogether and starts by leaving the flesh untouched except to terminate and crucify it (Gal. 2:20; 5:24).

In John 3:6 the Lord Jesus said, “That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.” By using the Greek perfect tense (signifying a present, permanent state) for the word “born,” He conveyed two important facts: first, the realm of the flesh never changes; and second, the realm of the Spirit never changes. The Lord wanted to convey at the beginning of our Christian life that we should not expect any change from the source of our flesh, but always bypass it and go directly to Jesus. The new birth begins a lifelong process of bypassing the flesh, both the good and bad, to go directly to Jesus.

Bypass the “bad” flesh

There are many aspects of the flesh – the lusts of the flesh (Gal. 5:16), the will of the flesh (John1:13), the mind of the flesh (Rom. 8:6-7), and the works of the flesh (Gal. 5:19), to name a few. The flesh has feelings and reactions, as well as deeds; and many times we are intimidated by these things.

Concerning his own flesh, Paul had to admit, “I am (present tense) fleshly, sold (perfect tense, indicating a present state) under sin … For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh) nothing good dwells” (Rom. 7:14,18). This statement clearly reveals that the flesh is incorrigible and must be bypassed. Also, in Colossians he warns the believers that if they relate to the evil flesh with a religious flesh they will encounter certain defeat (Col. 2:18-23).

How then can we be related to our flesh, if the flesh cannot overcome the flesh? The answer to this question is found in Galatians 5:24-25: 24 “And those who are of Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. 25 If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.” The phrase, “those who are of Christ Jesus,” tells us how we are to be related to the flesh. It is simply by our belonging to Christ Jesus that the flesh is crucified.

To be of Christ Jesus means that you do not have a separate life from Him. You are wholly identified with Him. This means you do not have a separate relationship with the flesh. Because you are of Christ Jesus, you own His relationship with the flesh. His relationship with the flesh is not a long, drawn-out battle with it; rather it is a onetime crucifixion to it. The word “crucified” in Galatians 5:24is in the aorist tense in Greek, indicating that a blow was dealt to the flesh in the past that was decisive, complete, and final. That blow was dealt to the flesh on the cross of Calvary two thousand years ago.[1]

To bypass the flesh is wrapped up in the answer to one question – Are we of Christ Jesus? That is all we need to answer. We don’t need to examine whether or not we have any potential to overcome the flesh. Neither do we need a good record or a string of victories that we can boast in. Nor do we need to look at our condition to see whether or not we feel like a crucified person. We just need to answer one question: Are we of Christ Jesus? If so, we have crucified the flesh. Paul says it – if we are of Christ Jesus then we have crucified the flesh.

In Galatians 5:24 bypassing the flesh is an established fact in Christ Jesus. Then verse 25 shows us the application and experience of this fact: “If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.” To “live in the Spirit” in this verse is equivalent to being “of Christ Jesus” in the preceding verse. Thus Christ, in the realm of the Spirit, is our bypass route. But for this fact to become our experience over and over again in our daily life, we need to walk in the Spirit.

The Greek word for “walk” in Galatians 5:25 is a specific military word, rather than the more general word for “walk” used in other places in the New Testament. It has the sense of “keeping in step with the Spirit.” This could be likened to a group of soldiers marching down the street, keeping in step with the cadence of the drummer. Their steps are very deliberate and specific. It is the same when we walk in the spirit. Christ is dwelling in our spirit. He has already dealt a blow to the flesh. Now we must keep in step with Him whenever our flesh rises up to be fulfilled. This means we take a deliberate and specific step in spirit at the moment our flesh manifests itself. When we keep in step with the Spirit, we allow the Lord Himself to become our relationship with the reacting flesh. We just say, “Amen, Lord, I love You!” Or, call out His name, “Lord Jesus!” Or, take the Word of God as the sword of Spirit and declare it!” By interacting with Him in this way, we keep in step with the Spirit and execute the crucifixion over our flesh.

The main point in dealing with the flesh is to not interact with it. We do not dare to handle it on our own. There is only One who is qualified to handle it, and He was incarnated to do so. He became flesh (John 1:14) and lived a victorious life in the flesh (Rom. 8:3). And now in resurrection He has become a life-giving Spirit in our spirit to supply to us His victory over the flesh. All we need to do is keep in step with the Spirit – pray a little bit, call “Jesus” a little bit, shout to God a little bit, sing a little bit. Just keep in step with the Spirit, and bypass the flesh.

You may say to me, “I can’t overcome my flesh. I have already tried over and over again and failed.” I will respond by saying, “That’s right! Of course you can’t!” If you and I have a relationship with the flesh based upon ourselves, we are finished. We all must come back to Christ – learn to bypass the flesh and then just keep in step with the Spirit.

RISEN

Christ the Lord has risen!  Alleluia!  This truth is known, shouted and rejoiced over, worldwide.  This momentous fact of history, that Jesus Christ rose from the dead, is either celebrated or despised; few are merely ambivalent.  Those who don’t follow Jesus, but say they don’t despise Him, will ultimately come to despise Him.  You cannot serve two masters.  You will love one and hate the other; this is also truth.

Resurrection sets Christianity apart from all other religions.  The others were founded by men who desired worship, but Christianity has the God-man as its founder!

How do we prove this?  It begins at the beginning – with the Bible.  Christians must always start here.  To do otherwise risks misunderstanding Scripture, and what it teaches about Jesus and His blessed resurrection.

Paul the apostle teaches us: “All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work” (2 Timothy 3:16-17).

Peter echoes this truth: “No prophecy of Scripture comes from someone’s own interpretation.  For no prophecy was ever produced by the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit” (2 Peter 1:20-21).

So these two giant Christians from the past ought to grab our attention and move us to celebrating the veracity of God’s word; standing firm in our confidence in the same.  Why would we ever shy away from the truth in the midst of misguided cultural antagonism?  Let us stand sure of our beliefs, and shout our convictions of the risen Christ.

Jesus Himself said: “The Son of Man is about to be delivered into the hands of men, and they will kill him, and he will be raised on the third day” (Matthew 17:22b-23a).  While He walked the earth, told His followers that the resurrection would take place.  Though the apostles were distressed by His words, they chose to deny and ignore until the day He was crucified.  They thought as men think, not as God does, and it led them to the wrong conclusion.  They were overcome with grief and fear until the third day, as Jesus had foretold.

Again in Matthew 20:17-19 we read these timeless and truthful words: “And as Jesus was going up to Jerusalem, he took the twelve disciples aside, and on the way he said to them, See, we are going up to Jerusalem.  And the Son of Man will be delivered over to the chief priests and scribes, and they will condemn him to death and deliver him over to the Gentiles to be mocked and flogged and crucified, and he will be raised on the third day” (ESV).

This truth was in the mind of God in eternity past, to send Jesus to be our substitute criminal on the cross and then show the power of God to overcome that which seems impossible to overcome.  Our sin was a curse that was impossible for humankind to overcome.  So Jesus came to earth motivated out of love for His created beings to stand in our place before the Judge and reconcile us to His Father.  Hallelujah, what a Savior!

In First Corinthians 15, Paul states the very foundation of the Christian faith is that Jesus did live, die and rise again as the Old Testament foretold through prophecy.  In the first eleven verses Paul teaches the four foundational pieces of the gospel, Christ died, was buried, raised and seen by His followers.  The rest of the chapter teaches that Jesus did rise from the dead; if He could not, then His death would have been for no reason.

But if we believe what the Scripture teaches as “evangelicals” then we must believe all of Scripture.  We cannot believe certain parts of the Bible, but all of it or none of it.  There are parts of the Bible that are hard to understand and swallow but we must come under God’s rule and not have God come under our rule.  We are made in God’s image; He is not made in our image.

Two major differences in religions and Christianity: first, God came to man, when we had strayed away from God.  Second, Jesus rose from the dead; in any other religion the founder, whoever or whatever it is, either died or never lived.  Jesus Christ came from heaven, became a man, died a cruel death and rose again for eternity.

One remaining fact; Jesus is coming again.  The question for the one reading is “What do you say about Christ?”  It is the most important question you must ask yourself because your answer determines your destiny.

Christ the Lord is risen today!  Alleluia!  Happy Resurrection Day!

THE LAW CAN’T HELP YOU!

What good is the law if it cannot help a person? The law referenced here, are the 10 Commandments and in keeping them, one might enter heaven. It might help if we insert a text of Scripture here to clarify any possible confusion.

Paul the apostle wrote in Galatians 2:16, “…a person is not justified by work of the law…” He writes about the same thing to the church at Rome “For by works of the law no human being will be justified in his sight, since through the law comes knowledge of sin” (Romans 3:20, ESV).

The law is unable to help us, the Ten Commandments are there to let us know when we sin. Sin is defined as missing the mark, as an archer would have their arrow fall short of their target. It can also be defined as rebellion toward God, which began in Genesis chapter three when Adam and Eve went against God and chose their demise.

Jesus, in talking with the rich young man who asked Him, “Teacher, what good deed must I do to have eternal life?” (Matthew 19:16, ESV) The rest of the conversation goes like this: “And He said to him, ‘Why do you ask me about what is good? There is only one who is good. If you would enter life, keep the commandments.’ He said to Him, ‘Which ones?’ And Jesus said, ‘You shall not murder, You shall not commit adultery, You shall not steal, You shall not bear false witness, Honor your father and mother, and, You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ The young man said to Him, ‘All these I have kept. What do I still lack?’ Jesus said to him, ‘If you would be perfect, go, sell what you possess and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me.’ When the young man heard this he went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions” (Matthew 19:17-22).

As you read this exchange between the rich young man and the Lord Jesus, it is apparent that the young man is “doing” things to keep the law that each Jewish man would keep. On the outside, by keeping the Jewish Law he was doing what he was taught and how he thought best to get to heaven.

Jesus’ response of selling all his goods and giving it to those in real need, did him in. The young man showed his true colors by showing that what he was counting on for eternal life was “doing” things to please God. It was as if he was attempting to do more good things than bad things to be accepted by God.

The bottom line is that you cannot earn eternal life by what you “do” but it is what you believe. John 3:16 shows us very clearly that “God so loved the world, that He gave His only Son, that, whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have eternal life.” But Jesus gets more specific in John 6:29 about what the work of God is, “Jesus answered them, ‘This is the work of God that you believe in Him whom He has sent.” (Emphasis mine)

Jesus says nothing about the law getting you in good with His Father and heaven but it is an issue of the heart. It is all about “belief” or “faith.”

Paul the apostle has one of the strongest statements to this issue of “doing” verses “being” and how one receives eternal life. In Romans 1:16-17 the apostle writes some of the most famous and important of the New Testament; “For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith, as it is written, ‘The righteous shall live by faith.’” (Emphasis mine)

To enter the kingdom of heaven or eternal life is not a result of works but of faith in what Jesus Christ did on the cross. And how that is done is clearly outlined in Romans 10:9-10: “If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved.”

So those who “keep” the law or try to be good by good works apart from Christ cannot enter the kingdom of heaven. The law can’t help you in this case but only by trusting Christ or by faith in Him.

It comes down to one way to get to God and that is through faith in His Son, Jesus Christ. The shortest way from point A to point B is a straight line; Jesus is the straight line. Are you tired of trying to keep the law or “doing things” to earn God’s favor?

Let us make it easy, you cannot do enough to earn God’s favor but you can receive His favor through believing in His Son. Take the straight path through Jesus to enter heaven. Don’t delay do it today!

New Year, new hope…

Every year brings its triumphs and its failures; 2016 will be no different.  What is unique for this turn of the calendar is the confluence of perils threatening our way of life.  Not since WWII have we seen such pervasive global violence and unsettling societal disruption.

The world has always struggled to maintain peace – between nations, peoples and religions – with history recording the outcomes of countless paroxysms of conflict, at all levels of human experience.

Yet…we fail to take the lessons to heart, condemning our posterity to repeat our mistakes, just as we echoed the missteps of our own ancestors.  Again, we herald the arrival of a New Year, hopeful in aspect but troubled in practice.

The Golden Rule is tarnished by those charged with upholding and propagating it.  Some even declare it void, valuing justice with qualifiers over justice for all.

Our Constitution, the single greatest secular bulwark against man’s proclivity for oppression yet devised – is flouted with impunity and “honored” with false piety by those whom it was written to restrain.

The corrupt and despotic have been with us always, and will remain at our sides until God Himself grasps the fabric of reality and shakes it out like a post-dinner tablecloth, ridding it of the detritus of our appetites.  Until then, we must guard against these impulses in others and ourselves by adhering to the rule of law, and insisting others do the same.

I’m reminded of a scene from a movie that has again become particularly relevant to our times, A Man for All Seasons, the story of Sir Thomas More.

Roper: So now you’d give the Devil benefit of law!

More: Yes. What would you do? Cut a great road through the law to get after the Devil?

Roper:  I would lay every law in England flat to get at the Devil!

More:  And when every law was down, and the Devil turned round on you — where would you hide, Roper, the laws all being flat?

Our foes worship at a different altar, valuing principles that further a vision of existence that is anathema to our own.  Their world and ours cannot occupy the same space at the same time any more than chains can accommodate free will and gazelle-like leaps.

Compromise is the heart of politics, but when compromise strays from method to principle, it becomes instead the rotten core which poisons the entire system.  So it is with all things worth believing; a reliance on objective truth is our only hope of getting it right.

Much fear is wrought by the major media when referring to a supposed monolithic block of “right-wing Christians,” seeking to “impose our beliefs” on others.  Every election cycle includes the tiresome, but obligatory, stories about how “un-American” it is to bring one’s religious beliefs into one’s choice of candidate, or judgment of policy.

It has been said that you “cannot legislate morality,” but as Judge Robert Bork famously wrote “We legislate little else.”  I challenge you to cite a law that doesn’t have morality as its foundation.  Our laws against theft, violence, fraud, etcetera all derive their legitimacy from the simplest statement of morality – the aforementioned Golden Rule – “do unto others as you would have done unto yourself.”  The very rule contravened by the concept of “justice with qualifiers.”

The idea of “hate speech,” the nonsense of “micro aggressions” and the repulsive usurpation of equality known as “white privilege,” spawn hatreds and division where none were intended or, in most cases, existed at all.

All this while an enemy empowered as never before – Islamic supremacism – outmaneuvers the western powers at every turn.  The most powerful military force in the history of this planet is hamstrung by a demented fealty to a politically correct worldview that seeks to “impose its own beliefs” upon all of us.

There is a desperate and dangerous fantasy being peddled by the Left; one that pretends to solve problems by merely “raising awareness” about them.  A fantasy world where grievances aren’t measured by legitimacy, but rather by the group to which the aggrieved belongs.  A fantasy world where groups of people can segregate themselves by race, declare their lives more valuable than all others and, most distressingly of all, find people willing to pander to them, legitimizing their circus-mirror reality.

The New Year ahead of us will surely be challenging and frustrating for those who love liberty and revere truth, but it doesn’t have to be disappointing.  We have our faith, our values and God’s aid in times of strife and confusion.  No matter how dark the day, take heart this next year secure in the knowledge of how this story ends…God wins.

Happy New Year to you and yours.

quotes-collection-on-new-year

 

 

Perfect Timing

When I was young I loved to watch Figure 8 racing on Wide World of Sports every Saturday.  If you have never heard of this type of racing, it is a mixture of NASCAR and Demolition Derby.  The cars race on a track that is, of course, in the figure of the number eight.

If the driver of a car gets the timing right they will never be hit and have a great probability to win the race.  But if he does not time it right he will be T-boned by another driver where the track intersects at the middle of the eight.  However, another driver and many fans may say that perfect timing is when you get to hit someone in another car slowing them down so they are unable to either finish or win the race.

Personally, not getting hit seems the wisest of the two possibilities.  Perfect timing in any area of life allows for reduction of stress and more efficient completion of an activity or chore.

In Scripture, God is always on time, still is today, and will be tomorrow.  In three different time periods God has been and will be perfect in His timing.  That is what we will see from only three passages from the Bible.

The first time period is the birth of Jesus Christ upon the earth.  In Galatians 4:4-5 Paul teaches the church of his day and ours that God’s timing is the beauty of perfection.  “But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth His Son, born of woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons.”

What Paul the apostle and author of this letter is telling his readers and us is that at just the right time is history God shows up in the person of Jesus Christ.  And He came to deliver mankind out of sin and misery.  He did not come too early or too late but at just the right time!

God knew from before the earth was ever created that Jesus would come humbly on the world scene in the stable and be born to a couple of teenagers who were of no worldly account.  He did this exactly as He had planned in eternity past and as He proved all of this true throughout the Old Testament.  And at just the right time Jesus comes to fulfill all of the promises that God made to Israel from Genesis to Malachi.

The second time period where God shows His perfect timing is the crucifixion of His beloved Son upon a cruel cross.  Sin has devastating effects and nothing shows it more grotesquely than that of a Roman crucifixion.

Acts 2:22-24 Peter the apostle describes the perfection of timing according to God’s standards and time-table.  “Men of Israel, heart these words: Jesus of Nazareth, a man attested to you by God with mighty works and wonders and signs that God did through him in your midst, as you yourselves know – this Jesus, delivered up according to the definite plan and foreknowledge of God, you crucified and killed by the hands of lawless men.  God raised him up, loosing the pangs of death, because it was not possible for him to be held by it.”

Jesus’ death was pre-planned by God to take place a just the right time in history for the good of the world.  The Father sent the Son into the world because of His love for the people of the world because He knew that they could not and would not pay the penalty for their own sins.  Sin is incurable apart from Jesus and the perfect remedy for the fatal disease of sin is the person of Jesus being born at the perfect time in history and then dying at the perfect time in history.

Finally, the future time is planned perfect in God’s ultimate wisdom and foresight.  “The Lord is not slow to fulfill His promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance.  But the Day of the Lord will come like a thief, and then the heavens will pass away with a roar, and the heavenly bodies will be burned up and dissolved, and the earth and the works that are done on it will be exposed” (2 Peter 3:9-10).

The reason, according to these verses, that Jesus has not come back yet is that the time is not quite right.  When the perfect time arises God the Father will send the Son to the earth a second time to claim the church.  Not everyone that is to become a follower of Jesus or Christian has become one yet.  God is so very patient with humankind.  He still desires for people to come and believe in His Son and His death, burial, resurrection, ascension and eventual return.

Now it’s in your ball court and the timing is perfect.  It is the perfect time for you to believe in Jesus and receive Him as your Savior and King.  Do it today for there is no time like the present and its perfect timing.

 

Merry Christmas from the Founding Fathers!

Many modern commentators routinely declare that the Founders of our nation were not particularly religious, going so far as to describe them as “deists,” if they had any spiritual inclinations at all.

Like most of the Left’s shibboleths, this one is based on entirely cherry-picked phrases and in some cases, invented statements.  In the spirit of this glorious season, I thought it appropriate to let you hear from the Founding Fathers themselves, just what they thought about God, Christ and Christianity.

Merry Christmas!

ff-john-adams

 

 

John Adams –

“The general principles on which the fathers achieved independence were the general principles of Christianity. I will avow that I then believed, and now believe, that those general principles of Christianity are as eternal and immutable as the existence and attributes of God. … The Christian religion is, above all the religions that ever prevailed or existed in ancient or modern times, the religion of wisdom, virtue, equity and humanity.”

ff-samuel-adams

 

 

Samuel Adams –   

“I [rely] upon the merits of Jesus Christ for a pardon of all my sins. … I conceive we cannot better express ourselves than by humbly supplicating the Supreme Ruler of the world … bringing in the holy and happy period when the kingdoms of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ may be everywhere established, and the people willingly bow to the scepter of Him who is the Prince of Peace. … We may with one heart and voice humbly implore His gracious and free pardon through Jesus Christ, supplicating His Divine aid … [and] above all to cause the religion of Jesus Christ, in its true spirit, to spread far and wide till the whole earth shall be filled with His glory.”

ff-john-hancock

 

 

 

John Hancock –  

“That the spiritual kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ may be continually increasing until the whole earth shall be filled with His glory.”

ff-patrick-henry

 

 

 

Patrick Henry –  

“Being a Christian … is a character which I prize far above all this world has or can boast. … The Bible is a book worth more than all the other books that were ever printed. … This is all the inheritance I can give to my dear family. The religion of Christ can give them one, which will make them rich indeed.”

ff-john-jay

 

 

 

John Jay –  

“Condescend, merciful Father! to grant as far as proper these imperfect petitions, to accept these inadequate thanksgivings, and to pardon whatever of sin hath mingled in them for the sake of Jesus Christ, our blessed Lord and Savior; unto Whom, with Thee, and the blessed Spirit, ever one God, be rendered all honor and glory, now and forever. … The Bible is the best of all books, for it is the word of God and teaches us the way to be happy in this world and in the next. Continue therefore to read it and to regulate your life by its precepts. … Providence has given to our people the choice of their rulers, and it is the duty as well as the privilege and interest of our Christian nation, to select and prefer Christians for their rulers.”

ff-thomas-jefferson

 

 

 

Thomas Jefferson –  

“I am a Christian in the only sense in which He wished anyone to be: sincerely attached to His doctrines in preference to all others. … I am a real Christian — that is to say, a disciple of the doctrines of Jesus Christ.”

ff-james-madison

 

 

 

James Madison –  

“I have sometimes thought there could not be a stronger testimony in favor of religion or against temporal enjoyments, even the most rational and manly, than for men who occupy the most honorable and gainful departments and [who] are rising in reputation and wealth, publicly to declare their unsatisfactoriness by becoming fervent advocates in the cause of Christ.”

And these closing words from perhaps our most accomplished and brilliant Founding Father…

ff-benjamin-franklin

 

 

 

Benjamin Franklin –  

“How many observe Christ’s birth-day! How few, his precepts! O! ’tis easier to keep Holidays than Commandments.”

May God bless you and keep you!

Thoughts of Christ at Christmas

As we approach another Christmas season, I feel that too often the one left out of the festivities is the One for whom the holiday is named: Christ.  There is a reason it is called “Christ”mas and now so many want to do away with His name and fame.  This may spoil the schemes of many, but try as you might, one cannot “do away” with Christ.

The holiday may end and the decorations come down, but the reality of the person of Christ as a true historic figure remains.  He is not the imagined person that some would like Him to be, but rather a living breathing man who walked this earth.  And there is a day when we will all stand before Him to answer what we did with Him.

There is an eternal life of bliss and joy, and it is found only in Jesus Christ.  Soon after Jesus had ascended into heaven to be with His Father, Peter the apostle said the following words: “And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved” (Acts 4:12).  This is a timeless truth and a message the desperately needs to be heard in this world, especially at this time of year.

Peter was echoing Jesus’ earlier statement; “I am the Way, and the Truth, and the Life and no one comes to the Father, except through Me” (John 14:6).  Even Christians at times balk at this truth, but think for a moment, the shortest distance between two points is a straight line.  Jesus merely illustrated that He was the straight line from where they were, to God the Father.

The Christmas message is summed up by Paul the apostle in Galatians 4:4-5; “But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth His Son, born of woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons.”  At just the right time in human history, Jesus arrived on the scene so that mankind could be rescued from the wrath of God against evil perpetrated by mankind’s  most dreaded enemy – themselves.

God is holy and perfect and good, and when sin entered into the world, He had to judge sin, as it is the polar opposite of all the He is.  Humans are carriers of this dreaded disease called sin and if nothing is done to stop it the end result is certain death.  But Christ Jesus was born so that we might be delivered from the inevitable and deserved penalty of sin.  He came at the right time.

So this Christmas season, be reminded why Jesus came.  Let your thoughts rest on the eternal hope of salvation purchased for you with the precious sacrifice of God’s own Son.  No one wants to be forgotten at Christmas, no one wants to experience the sting of embarrassment at realizing everyone is opening a gift except you.

Might not Jesus feel that way when we become so entwined in the wrappings and symbols of Christmas that we forget the greatest gift ever given?  Hold Him close this Advent season; embrace Him as you would the most beloved member of your family.  God desires only one gift from us.  To love Him as He loves us.  Merry Christmas.

 

RADICAL CHRISTIANITY

RADICAL CHRISTIANITY

The primary season is about to officially kick off here in the United States, inaugurated by the Republican Party debate this month.  Remember, it is still more than a year until the actual Presidential election.  One of the topics is sure to be radical Islam, a term that has been tossed around and denied by different sections of the populace.

As one listens to talking heads throw around the term “radical” like parade candy, one can be forgiven for suspecting they do so in order to make the message of mainstream Islam appear more tolerable.

When one talks about being “radical,” negative images come to mind and the issue denigrates into assertions that every religion has its “radicals.”

And they would be right, except for the negative characterization.  For one to find what is radical in Christianity, a good place to begin is in the gospel of Matthew, Ch. 5.  Here we find what is called the beatitudes; really they can be called the characteristics of Jesus.  If one is to follow the example of the most perfect person of their respective religion then you have to look to the best example.

For Islam one would look to the person and nature of Muhammad, just as you would look to Jesus and His nature to fathom the ideal within Christianity.

Jesus spoke to His disciples and the crowds in the Sermon on the Mount; “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 5:3, ESV).  This is likely not what the crowd was expecting to hear, immediately after seeing the mighty miracles done by Jesus.  They may have been expecting a crash course on how He healed all the people and how they too could draw huge crowds around them.

But no, Jesus taught them to completely depend on God for all things in their life.  Wait, what?  Totally deny yourself, is that what radical following of Jesus is?  In short, yes.  “When you lose, you win; that’s the way it is with Him,” (Thanks Rez Band for those lyrics!).

Jesus said it of Himself in John 5:19; “Truly, truly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of His own accord, but only what He see the Father doing.  For whatever the Father does, that the Son does likewise.”  And later on in the same chapter Jesus says this; “I can do nothing on My own.  As I hear, I judge, and my judgment is just, because I seek not My own will but the will of Him who sent Me” (John 5:30, ESV).

Jesus was completely focused on the Father’s will for Himself.  If one would read the Christian Scriptures of the New Testament, they will find that Jesus never did any wrong/sin, and as a worthy and pure sacrifice, would die in our place so that the person who believed in Him would have eternal life.

So radical Christianity is not taking vengeance upon those who you consider your enemy, but following Jesus and focusing upon His perfect life.  And when someone slaps you on the right cheek then turn to him the other also (That’s also from Jesus).

In coming to faith in Jesus and believing in His name, we have the peace of God and peace with God.  Vengeance is not for us to take because we are flawed human beings. We are to trust God because He is faithful and perfect in all He does.

How should a Christian look upon Islam?  Just as Jesus did:

I
Sincerely
Love
All
Muslims.

Reflexive compulsion among Americans

Eventually, you have to clean under the furniture as well…

The aftermath of the murders in Charleston South Carolina last week has revealed a dangerously reflexive compulsion among America society – one that seeks to remedy real problems with symbolic solutions.

Not unlike the slovenly bachelor who, rather than clean up a spill on the carpet, simply moves a piece of furniture over it, many Americans are scrambling for some way to rearrange the national furniture to cover the mess made by decades of a parenting flaw we used to call “permissiveness.”

The “permissive” parent came into their own in the early 1970’s, seeking to understand their child rather than to guide them.  A premium was placed on kids finding their own way through difficult moral and ethical dilemmas rather than feeling the strong hand of a parent (who presumably had already mastered these essential social skills) keeping them on the straight and narrow path to successful adulthood.

“Do your own thing,” became more than a t-shirt slogan; it became a club used by a chaotic minority to batter century-old societal norms until they retreated, bloodied and broken, into the mists of irrelevance.

The rules lost meaning as parents increasingly abandoned hard-won societal wisdom in favor of the latest educational fad, or psychiatric-based child rearing method.  An industry of charlatans – whose only bona fides were a pathological need to discredit anything that came before the date of their own birth – was born, spawning a decadal hegemony over our educational, psychiatric and penal systems.

Simply put, every idea was equally valid, as long as said idea was sufficiently counter-cultural.

Now, out of this self-wrought maelstrom, comes a fourth generation of children raised with minimal attachment to indelible truths.  Unmoored from the concept of an extant morality, these rudderless youths drift through a roiling sea aboard a raft made from the plasticized detritus of a society where even the unborn are disposable.

It is just such a mind, pickled in the bitter spices of relativism that sees the horrific murder of 9 innocent people, and immediately searches for the objectionable flag that surely inspired it.  You see, to them, the carpet isn’t dirty… unless you move the couch.

It cannot be that we have raised successive generations of unprepared children.  It cannot be that we have tossed our offspring into a real world equipped with only the tools of fantasy; political correctness, hyper-sensitivity to any offense, and a firm belief that each of us are Gods unto ourselves with impenetrable self-esteem.

This is the sadness we see behind the eyes of the twenty and thirty-somethings when their insanely expensive college degrees prove to be as meaningless in real-world application as the counter-cultural curriculum behind them.

This is the sound we hear when the brittle shell that surrounds our little darlings finally cracks under the strain of a car breakdown, a missed bus or (God forbid!) an objective assessment of their marketable skills.

No… it is easier to blame flags and events now centuries old, than it is to face up to the reality that the norms we so blithely discarded decades ago were actually the very things that held this whole damn experiment together.

Dylan Roof is a harbinger.  People like him are more common than any of us want to believe, because we made them.  Not because of the prejudice of racism or the oppression of economic displacement or even the latest boogeyman of social evil, “white privilege.”

No, Dylan Roof is the product of a society who refuses to hold anyone accountable, for fear of being held accountable ourselves.

There is a nasty, disgusting something lying on the carpet underneath that couch.  Our counter-cultural elites spilled it; no one cleaned it up, and now it is spreading spores that infect us with a disease of unknowable strength.

Demanding the removal of the Confederate battle flag from public view will not stop the next Dylan Roof.  It will however distract us while the moonbats keep the couch in place, covering the spill, denying the truth.