Tuesday, April 9, 2019

EMPOWERED - A BOOK REVIEW

EMPOWERED - WHY WE NEED SPIRIT-FILLED CHURCHES, by Dr. Kie Bowman, Senior Pastor of Hyde Park Baptist Church (and the QUARRIES) of Austin, Texas is the best primer on the Holy Spirit, that I can remember reading. It comes in at 135 pages and I was able to read it through in just one night, it is such an interesting book.

Dr. Bowman does as masterful job in weaving a narrative direct from Scripture, in full context, while keeping the reader engaged through both some little known historical facts, as well as some personal humorous anecdotes.  Without giving away anything, all I can say is I have, myself, forgotten to put in a blank video tape in my camcorder one time, when I went to record one of my daughter's ballet dance recitals! Fortunately, there was a professional crew there too, and I was able to buy a copy. There I was recording all the angles, only to get home and find out I had not tape in the camcorder!

EMPOWERED will empower the Christian man or woman, of any stage of spiritual maturity, to be lifted to the next plateau of intimacy with the Savior, if we can just grasp the historical background of the Holy Spirit and how we can truly come into an effective prayer life, which will then enable that graduation to a higher plane. 

There are both practical steps, sometimes paralleled by the examples of the Early Church and how they prayed in tougher circumstances, than we experience today. Yet their ground-shaking prayer and evangelistic intercession led to a divine movement with over a billion Christians worldwide today. How did those early saints do it? They were filled with the Holy Spirit, remained "topped-off" and exploded from a sect in Jerusalem to take the world by storm.


Get your copy of EMPOWERED by Pastor Bowman, here. It is a great gift for the Resurrection Week ahead!

EMPOWERED is published by AUXANO PRESS.
Foreword by Dr. Ronnie Floyd, President of the Southern Baptist Convention Executive Committee and the National Day of Prayer Task Force. 

Monday, April 8, 2019

DEFINITIVE DOCUMENT TO IGNITE FAITH THAT INSPIRES

It is indeed an honor to announce the release of my new book – ONE ONE NINE – albeit almost three months behind schedule.  This book has been an absolute joy to write. It is designed to be, not just a fast read, but one flowing document on great faith, enthusiastic faith, joyful faith and solid bible-based Faith.


ONE ONE NINE’s platform for 90% of this book is its dynamic 21st century look at the longest chapter in the Bible – Psalm 119!  This is NOT a seminary book on the theology of the Psalms but a literal look at what God says and how it applies to our lives, almost 3000 years after His Spirit inspired King David to write it. Also, please do not let the physical length of the Psalm intimidate. On the contrary, this Psalm is an ongoing love letter to the Lord, for Who He is and what His Word, Precepts and Counsel should, would and could mean to each and everyone of us.

All twenty two sections of Psalm 119’s one hundred and seventy verses are kept the way which the Bible presents them. However they are examined in twenty two short fast moving modules  (or very short chapters) which take a deeper look at what God wants us to know, and what it means to us. God is a God of order and discipline. This book stays true to this fact and everything ever written on this site or in my books, will always reflect our Heavenly Father's unchanging attribute.

This examination of Psalm 119 actually begins in Chapter 5 because I thought it necessary to present an easily understandable look at the true definition of Faith. This is done in Chapters 2-4. This leaves us with Chapter 1 – The Signature of God.

Most Bible readers and most defitnitely, the vast majority of Christians, do not know that the Lord Himself left His Signature in the Scriptures, right from the Beginning in the Book of Genesis.  His “signature” is signified by the two well places letters –  אֵ֥ת (Aleph Tav) – in Genesis 1:1 and elsewhere which when translated into English, via the Greek Language, is the Name which Jesus called Himself – The Alpha and the Omega (or the Beginning and the End).  The various placement of these letters in the Old Testament leaves them untranslatable because they are only there for indentification purposes

My purpose for starting the book off with the Signature of God is to present the Author of the Bible and thus, the Author and Perfecter of our Faith.  This sets the springboard from which our Faith definitions plunge directly into THE most incredible Biblical work outside of the Gospels of the Lord Jesus Christ.

A lot of this work actually began when I prayed through every verse of this incredible psalm – twice – over a total of 5 months. The more you pray the Scriptures, the more alive they become. So is it with Psalm 119, and each of its eight-verse per – sections, all headed by every twenty two letters of the Hebrew Alphabet. 

May this book, a celebration of Faith in the Lord, through Jesus Christ, lead the reader into a closer relationship with Him. Amen

ONE ONE NINE CAN BE PURCHASED HERE (CLICK)

Sunday, March 10, 2019

UNCONDITIONAL SURRENDER, PART 3 - PASSION FOR THE MISSION

What are your motives for ministry? A good friend of mine was telling me recently how he went from unsaved skeptic to fired up leader for Jesus Christ, being now, on a variety of media just going full bore with the Gospel of Life. When he was in college, a well-known fire and brimstone evangelist at the time visited the church, to which my friend was invited. 

At this time, my good brother was close to giving his life to Christ, but if he was not at the very door of salvation, he would have walked away from the Church. This preacher proceed to hit him over the head with the Bible, telling him he would be going to hell now, if he didn't say "the Prayer". Obviously, if the preacher's tactics had worked, he would have a good story to tell at this next stop, to make HIMSELF look good to the people listening.

This is absolutely not biblical and wrong way for the surrendered Christian to evangelize and make disciples. Unconditional Surrender to the Will and Ways of God extend even to this aspect of our lives. When Christ rescued us from the pit and brings us into the right relationship with the King of Heaven, we want to tell someone....or a whole bunch of people. However we have to do according to Biblical principles, to be an effective witness for the Gospel, which would be pleasing to the Lord. Pride is an abomination to Him.

This is how the Lord teaches, through Paul. This is how it works, remembering at all times, to be mindful to Whom we belong and to WHOM we owe everything. Before reading this passage, please pray for the Lord to open our minds, give us wisdom and then give someone to whom to share the Gospel. 

1 Thessalonians 1:3-8 New American Standard Bible (NASB):
constantly bearing in mind your work of faith and labor of love and steadfastness of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ in the presence of our God and Father, knowing, brethren beloved by God, His choice of you;for our gospel did not come to you in word only, but also in power and in the Holy Spirit and with full conviction; just as you know what kind of men we proved to be among you for your sake.
You also became imitators of us and of the Lord, having received the word in much tribulation with the joy of the Holy Spirit, so that you became an example to all the believers in Macedonia and in Achaia. For the word of the Lord has sounded forth from you, not only in Macedonia and Achaia, but also in every place your faith toward God has gone forth, so that we have no need to say anything.

As we pray and commit current and future opportunities to witness to others for Jesus Christ, not the following methods God's Agent of Change the Apostle Paul used:
  -  In verse #3 always be aware of your surroundings and the people to whom we are ministering, or potentially reaching. Take nothing for granted. What worked in one place, may not work in another. Then pray this opportunity up to the Lord, give it to Him, and then go do the work in Love. 
 -  Reread verses 3 and 4 above and it will become evident to us, that the Power and Presence of God MUST be in present in our evangelistic opportunity for conviction of sin and turning to Christ to be the result. 
  -  Be not like that self-absorbed evangelist I mentioned at the beginning of this post who was just trying to get another notch in his belt. Be like the sold-out apostle of Christ here - Paul - who bore his burden for the people of God, with love.
  -  As we surrender the opportunity before us, into the Hands of the Holy Spirit of God, any pushback we get (and we may most likely get more pushback in the beginning, than a welcome sign). Verse 6 talks about tribulation. This world hates us, hates our Faith and are enemies of the Lord Jesus Christ. There will be more obstacles than welcome signs. But remember, this is not about us, but the One Who has rescued us. At the same time, be aware of the joy of being counted as one who is worthy to be persecuted for Jesus, just as all twelve of Jesus' real disciples were.

Wisdom, Godly wisdom, is allowing God to do His Work, through the Holy Spirit and His Word, rather than us attempting things in our own power, for our own satisfaction. Trust God with our evangelistic opportunities and watch Him work, for His own glory. This is the only pathway to pure Godly passion for the mission.

Wednesday, March 6, 2019

AUTHENTIC BIBLICAL LEADERSHIP NOT ALWAYS A GIVEN

The discipline of God is not a thing to be taken lightly. On a personal level,  His Elect – those who are saved and bound for Heaven – are saved, yes. However we are also to be tested and tried to be molded into the Image of Christ. Trials and tests take many forms. Just like a carbon coal-like substance is mined, and then pressed down into a diamond, the child of God must be pruned, molded and shaped into Christ-likeness.

This is the discipline for the personal, spiritual life of the true believer.

However, did you know that the Lord also will discipline a group of people? He will do so, whether it is a church which has strayed and most definitely, entire nations!. The Lord said so. He did it. He did it many times. He is and will do it again.

Most of the countries of the world have abandoned the One True God of Heaven – Yahweh. It is blatantly obvious from the daily news accounts for decades. After the Protestant Reformation and its spread west, Europe turn from God.  England, which gave us the great Christians of the 1700’s and 1800’s is now mostly Islamic. The Father of Missions  was the Englishman William Carey. The Wesley brothers broke away from the legalism of the Church of England and brought the Grace of God to both the Old and New Worlds. The Prince of Preachers is the great Englishman Charles H. Spurgeon, who is still studied and quoted by both English and American Christians.

But something happened, both in the U.K.; Europe and North America. After the prosperity of the post-World War the men of God became creatures of comfort, especially here in the United States. Good living; wealth; the loosening of solid Biblical standards allowed that generation and subsequent ones (Baby Boomers, their children and Generations W, Y and Z) to grow up under diminishing leadership which standard was set by God.

The absence of fathers (good and bad) has destroyed all American cities along with ungodly social policies. Now in all strata of society, we see the dearth of the authentic manhood in the homes.  When this has happened in the past, God removes His Mighty Hands and here is what happens:
ISAIAH 3:1-12
  For behold, the Lord [God of hosts is going to remove from Jerusalem and Judah
Both [supply and support, the whole supply of bread
And the whole supply of water;
2   The mighty man and the warrior,
The judge and the prophet,
The diviner and the elder,
3   The captain of fifty and the honorable man,
The counselor and the expert artisan,
And the skillful enchanter.

4   And I will make mere lads their princes,
And capricious children will rule over them,
5   And the people will be oppressed,
Each one by another, and each one by his neighbor;
The youth will storm against the elder
And the inferior against the honorable.

6   When a man lays hold of his brother in his father’s house, saying,
“You have a cloak, you shall be our ruler,
And these ruins will be under your charge,”
7   He will protest on that day, saying,
“I will not be your healer,
For in my house there is neither bread nor cloak;
You should not appoint me ruler of the people.”

8   For Jerusalem has stumbled and Judah has fallen,
Because their speech and their actions are against the Lord,
To rebel against His glorious presence.
9   The expression of their faces bears witness against them,
And they display their sin like Sodom;
They do not even conceal it.
Woe to them!

For they have brought evil on themselves.
10   Say to the righteous that it will go well with them,
For they will eat the fruit of their actions.
11   Woe to the wicked! It will go badly with him,
For what he deserves will be done to him.
12   O My people! Their oppressors are children,
And women rule over them.
O My people! Those who guide you lead you astray
And confuse the direction of your paths.

Why is this important in 2019 and beyond? It is significant because of the paucity of Biblical leadership in the home,  CHURCH, school, community, city, state and country.  It is blatantly flaunted by those who oppose God, via the corrupt culture, mass media, academia and in all levels of politics. Biblical leadership has been replaced by a confused, ungodly and dysfunctional "leadership" model, where the few real men of courage and Christ stick out like a sore thumb, and are called all kinds of unsavory names.

Still, though despised by the current culture of this perishing world, these authentic men - a remnant of God raise Godly families, follow the Word of God and remain in His grace and favor....and will continue to do so, until Christ returns.

Is there a solution for this? Yes – only when the Second Adam – the Lord Jesus Christ, returns on His White Horse in the soon-coming future and begins His 1000 Year reign on earth. Amen.

Tuesday, February 26, 2019

COLLEGIATE DAY OF PRAYER: THIS THURSDAY

This Thursday February 28 is the Annual Collegiate Day of Prayer across America. Many of us have signed up to pray for more than one college. As men and women of prayer, we encourage every praying Christian to take this challenge up to really pray hard for our young people in college.
  
If there ever was a time to pray for our kids in college and high school it is now. Everything ungodly and unwholesome is aligned against them. From indoctrination into the denying the existence of Creator God through Evolution, to deny the Commands of God for specific roles and functions of the human body in holiness, sexuality, daily and contented living, our next generation are being confused on purpose, while being taught that there is no such thing as absolute truth or one true God.
Facts:

  • 70% of college age kids who grew up in church, and/or Christian homes lose their faith in college (Campus Renewal 2017)
  • 47% of young people/millennials and college kids, think that sharing their faith is wrong! (Barna February 2019)
  • Only 33% of so-called “evangelical” young people (high school and college)  believe Jesus is the only way to Heaven! (Christian Post 2013)

What to pray for on the Collegiate Day of Prayer:
  • The salvation of the souls of these young people in our college. The majority are oblivious to the facts of the brevity of life or heaven and a literal hell, which will be overpopulated if they ignore the facts.
  • That campus ministries be allowed to flourish, even in some of the Midwest and friendly western states which still believed in the US Constitution of freedom of Assembly and Religious Liberty.
  • That churches around our campuses will invest time and effort and outreach to college age young people as is done in North West Arkansas.  Cross Church, formerly First Baptist Church of Springdale, invested in a campus pastor – Brian Mills – who has devoted his  home and his life to the current and next generations of college kids, not just from America but from ALL nations, at the University of Arkansas. Pray for more men like Pastor Mills.
  • Pray for mentors to step up and reach out to these young people - men and women, mentoring young men and young women respectively.
  • Pray for a renewed love of the Savior by those who grew up in church but walked away, as well as those who are yet to encounter Christ.
  • Pray for the Word of God - the Bible - to be distributed into the hands of every college student in America, and that they will read, comprehend and find comfort and salvation in God's Word

Saturday, February 23, 2019

UNCONDITIONAL SURRENDER, PART 2 - OUR PRAYER LIFE

Most praying Christians may disagree with this statement. However, in order to have a truly fulfilling prayer life, one must next, in this process of Spiritual Growth, surrender that life to the Lord.

Why should we do that? There simple answer can actually be found in one little verse from Romans 8:26. Please note every word in this verse "In the same way the Spirit also helps our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we should, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words".

The key words here for our discussion is directly from God, in context: 
     -  Weakness
     -  The Spirit helps us
     -  We do not know HOW to pray
     -  As we should
     -  The Spirit Himself intercedes for us

We may be the person who prays down heaven in the group prayer meeting at noon, or before church, or during a special prayer assembly.  But we are still mortal, weak and vulnerable to spiritual attacks humans who are completely dependent on Holy God, even if we do not wish to admit it. 

We may be in prayer ministry for 10-15-30-50 years, but we still must stay plugged into the Source and rely on Him. We must do this daily.

We may even write books on prayer, like I did, still - that means absolutely nothing if we are not, first acknowledging our weaknesses right now, and then surrendering to the Lord.

So what do we surrender? How do we surrender? Let us proceed to pray like this:
Father, in the Name of Jesus, I know I am a completely frail, weak and mortal creation, susceptible to the influences of world and noise around me, no matter how passive I may think it is. You said to concern ourselves about today, because today has its own evil. Help us to NOT gloss over that. Help us to not rely on the mountaintop prayer moments with you from the past. Help us not to jump ahead of today to the next thing down the road in the future, when the giant is in front of us right now. So Lord, I surrender, by that acknowledgement, my entire Prayer Life to You. I pray that Your Spirit - the Holy Spirit Who is God Himself - will not only assist me, guide me, direct me, protect me, but I pray that He shows me the way I should pray. Not in mindless repetition and chants like the pagans and the religious do, but in a humble, surrendered spirit, which confirms that You are my Helper, my Advocate and my all in all. I willingly give my prayer life to be directed ONLY by You now, in the Mighty and Strong Name of King Jesus, amen.

This prayer, or a similar one, doubles back to Romans 8:26. A winning strategy, for a successful prayer life, is one which blossoms out of a surrendered humble heart. Building on Praise and Scripture, this foundation can only grow us closer to the Lord, in the way which He would have us approach Him. If you add prayer and fasting unto this, on a regular basis, the resulting life of true Christian Faith, is one full of peace, joy and fulfillment in the Lord.

Monday, February 18, 2019

TOWARDS HOLINESS PART 3 - "UNCONDITIONAL SURRENDER"


When we think of the term "Unconditional Surrender", the image of Defeat comes to mind. When a nation is vanquished in war, as Japan was in 1945, the Emperor had to surrender without conditions to the United States of America. The terms of post-surrender are different from the actual act of giving up all weapons and rights to aggressive action. During World War II, for the guarantee of peace, the Japanese had to give up every aspect of any militaristic aggression. It was dropping all weapons PLUS.....a lot of current and future actions.

In the Spiritual Realm, which is not just important in the long run, but now, for life as a Christian. This is not just for adult men and women, but for every young person who is born again, even at the youngest age.  Absolute surrender to the Holy Spirit and the Will of God for us is imperative for the Fullness of the Lord Jesus Christ to work in us.

The question that we, who live surrounded by Cultural Christianity, must ask - if Jesus were to knock on the door of our souls, would He have access to every part, every nook and cranny, every compartment and every aspect of our lives? Are we the Fake News of Christians, living under the dignity and privilege of having the "Title of Christian" but being a practical atheist like the majority of people in this country, hemisphere or the world? Many who claim Faith in the God of Heaven do a really good job of walling off the most significant parts of their lives from the very Same God Who can deliver from all death, distress and despair. 

This kind of life is NOT what the Lord expects of His people. Motivational speakers posing as preachers present us a false picture, Sunday after Sunday on television, books, seminars, all over this country. None of that would first, get a person into heaven and secondly, even if a person is saved, help them to grow into the Christian, whom Christ would be able to say one day "well done, good and faithful servant".

The individualistic nature of the western is not the main reason why Christians, who enjoy the fruits of modern life, are afraid to acknowledge Jesus Christ as Lord. It basically the selfish nature of all humankind, who thinks more highly of self than anything else. Then, we note that the main goal of churches, pastors, altar calls, evangelists etc. is for those, to whom they preach, to accept Jesus as Savior....and HE IS YOUR SAVIOR AND MINE.

Unfortunately, this is where many stop. If a modern christian were to really study all 66 Books of the Bible, what would jump right out at them how many times the word LORD appears down to the final chapter of the Bible. The Lord Who forgives. The Lord Who gives. The Lord Who is patient. The Lord Who is kind. The Lord Who saves and the Lord Who judges in righteousness. Accepting this Jesus as Lord AND Savior is the only way to live and walk in His Ways. 

Therefore, here, for as long as it takes, we begin the process of a REAL COMMITMENT to Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit, item by item, a few at a time, so that the Spirit can begin to clean us up now. We do all of this not in our own power, but through His. 

BE AWARE THIS CANNOT BE DONE OVERNIGHT ALL AT ONCE. BUT IF THE PROCESS IS NOT STARTED NOW, CHRISTIAN - YOU WILL LIVE IN DEFEAT AND DISAPPOINTMENT ALL THE DAYS OF YOUR LIFE, ABSENT OF COMPLETE PEACE, JOY AND CONTENTMENT.

COMPARTMENT #1 OF MY LIFE TO SURRENDER TO GOD NOW:
-  Every aspect of my Faith Walk. This is of supreme importance. 

It matters not that a person goes to a "Bible-preaching church". It matters if the correct exposition of the literal Scriptures are presented in an orderly and simple manner, reflecting the fact that the preacher actually studied what he is teaching. 

To surrender every aspect of my Faith Walk with Christ, I will have to be VERY careful of the following, seeking the Lord for absolute discernment and wisdom in choosing: 

What translation of the Bible should I use? If your church is using the New International Version (NIV) or NLT (New Living Translation) or other paraphrase as the main text and even if the preacher is spot on, the Lord will expect us to NOT follow them but instead get a real literal and comprehensive Study Bible which is closer to the original text than the aforementioned paraphrases. The most literal, Word for Word translation of the Word of God is the New American Standard Bible (click).  The most fluent AND literal is the English Standard Version (ESV) and the Christian Standard Bible (CSB). There is absolutely nothing wrong with the King James Version (KJV) or the NKJV. Beware of preachers and teachers who use the Message Bible as their primary text. This may seem like a little thing, but the Word of God is the Plumb Line against which ALL humanity will be judge and the Lord is serious about it. Do NOT compromise on your own understanding and reading of the accurate Word of God, because another mortal human being, a preacher or teacher, reads from a weak version of Scripture. This is one thing we MUST give over to the Lord for His direction, so we can be Faithful to His True Word.

What kind of music are we listening to? It goes without saying, that we should not listen to death metal, gangsta rap that degrades women and glorifies violence or songs that promote immorality. Some of the so-called Christian Contemporary music around though, may sound good, but do not mention Jesus, or  even imply Him. Not all people are inclined to listen to hymnal music or Keith Green from the 1980's (a Christian musician). Here is  good place to surrender our lives to the Lord, in the music we listen to. There was some good clean secular music in the 1970's and 80's. Does it mean that a Christian cannot go to a Doobie Brothers' or Chicago concert? No, but do so in the knowledge that a concert is all it is and we are just as accountable to pray for the souls of those talented musicians as ever. Alice Cooper, who popularized outlandish (and scary) costumes in his concerts over 40 years, is a good example. He still plays his old music but as the born-again son of an Arizona preacher, his message is completely different on stage, according to those who have seen his act to whom I have spoken. Also, Alice Cooper (real name Vince Furnier) can be seen without his scary pancake makeup, in a local baptist church, every Sunday in the town where he has a concert, every time. At home in Arizona, he and his faithful wife of 43 years, are members of the Camelback Bible Church. 

These are two important parts of the Christian's Worship Life which MUST be under the full authority of God. There is no option or Plan B. The Word of God is too important to be treated with disrespect as is done today, in even good churches where the Bible is not carried into the building by congregants. Even if every church in town does not turn off the main reading of the Scriptures from the television screen, you and I....we walk with our Bibles. People will say the following "we have the Bible on our phones".  This is nice. However, most never open the Bible App and read.

Music has become significantly more important - even more so than prayer - in today's worship service. However, surrendering the nature of the music, the lyrics and the reaction to it, reflects the heart of the worshiper in us. The classic hymns will never go away. While they have been replaced by the modern worship song in the majority of modern churches in the West and Australia, the hymns with which we grew up, remain standard among the majority of Christians in the world (in the Third World and other persecuted lands). These hymns are the story of Jesus and are full of theology. None of us have control over the songs played in church, for the most part. We do have control over the next 99 % of our daily life, in our homes, cars and  offices. Let us then choose and select that which will considered appropriate, if Jesus Christ were sitting in the car with us (which He is)!

NEXT - PRAYER LIFE

Monday, February 11, 2019

TOWARDS HOLINESS, PART 2 - THE CURRENT STATE OF AFFAIRS

The current state of affairs is this -  we have a bunch of Lots running around Western Christianity, in a vivid display of “Cultural Christianity”. It is undeniable. In a sense, it is even defined by the Favorite Bible Verses of those of us in North America, compared to the rest of the World.

Now, there is absolutely NOTHING wrong with either scenario. In fact, the choices (of favorite bible verses) are not because of Sin, but due to Circumstances on the Ground. YouVersion is the most popular Bible App in the World. It was started by now Life Church Pastor Bobby Gruenewald from a church in Decatur, Illinois, not far from where we live, who was in line at a busy airport wishing he had a bible to read while waiting…..and waiting. YouVersion is the result and as of 2018, over 950 Million downloads of the Free Bible software. This is a worldwide total and could be up to one billion Bible downloads by now,  2019.

YouVersion can track searches on their App and their findings are very telling. In America, the most popular verse search is, of course – John 3:16 "For God so loved the world, that He gave His only beloved son that whosever believes in Him will not perish, but have eternal life". HOWEVER, in the rest of the world outside North America, the keyword searched in the most trackable Bible research in the world is FEAR! Not Love, as in the comfort of our beautiful air-conditioned churches, but Fear as in – Christians who are constantly under the threat of persecution.

In 2017, the most popular Bible verse in the entire world, outside of America was Joshua 1:9, which says "Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous! Do not tremble or be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”

In 2018, then, the most popular Bible verse which the world looked up was Isaiah 41:10, which says "'Do not fear, for I am with you; do not anxiously look about you, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, surely I will help you, surely I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.’".

Note the basic underlying themes here, in order of their occurrence:
  • Anxiety and doubt in the hearts and minds of God’s people
  • Combined with circumstances on the ground, this anxiety and doubt leads to Fear.
  • But, God ….God shows His love to His people under persecution and distress.
  • He does so by PROMISING to be with them wherever they go (Joshua 1:9)
  • He even promises to strengthen and hold them up, physically, emotionally and spiritually…with His Most Powerful and Righteous Right Hand (Isaiah 41:10).

It will serve us, as well as sober and alert us to what is really going on in our world.  The mundane things we do, which is called "doing life", are necessary. We must work, provide, pay bills, eat, sleep and go to church. But these are the things WE DO, so we can work on WE ARE.

Who are we, really? We are created in the image of God, for good works - absolutely. However, we are also created to glorify God, believe Him and live for Him.  Where we live has an impact on how we believe what we believe. While, we are not literally, yet, under the gun as our brother and sisters in Christ in foreign cultures and dangerous lands, are still accountable for the things we trust, put our faith in and pass on.


Let us, therefore, carefully consider, not just the reason the types of popular verses exist in different parts of God's world, but how we can grow and mature as Christians and then pass this legacy on to the next generation.

Friday, February 8, 2019

TOWARDS HOLINESS, PART 1: RIGHTEOUS LOT AND CULTURAL CHRISTIANITY

How does a believer stay faithful to our God, our Creator, in the midst of an increasingly hostile and pagan world? Over 3500 years ago, the nephew of the great patriarch Abraham, Lot, faced the same circumstances. Lot lived as one of the elders in Sodom and Gomorrah. When Jesus sent the two angels to completely destroy those two dens of iniquity, only Lot, his wife and two daughters were spared. 

Lot would seem a very unlikely person to be quoted by the Lord's first main shepherd - Peter - as "righteous Lot" in 2 Peter 2:7. The Bible says that "He (the Lord) rescued righteous Lot,  (who was) greatly distressed by the sensual conduct of the wicked..." While it did not seem so, when Lot offered his two virgin daughters to be violated by the perverted mob who were lusting after the two beautiful angels from heaven, Lot's faith must have been solid enough to be quoted in Scripture as "righteous"....which means, he believed God and was made right before God.

Before we start questioning God why He included Lot in the New Testament as a good man of Faith, it would behoove us to look into our own souls. This requires us to do a soul check ourselves. 

Sure, Lot, in a moment of greed, took the best when offered by Abraham, only to find himself in the middle of the biggest template of corruption in history - Sodom and Gomorrah. 
Sure, he prospered in those wicked and ungodly cities, while becoming one of their leaders. 
Sure, he cared so little for his own innocent daughters as to offer to "throw them under the bus" in front of a demonic mob. 
Sure, he got drunk in a cave, after trying to the end, before his flight from Sodom, to make a deal with God's angels.
Sure, he had to know his own first daughter engaged in immorality....and then again. 

What about us? Do we watch stuff streaming on Netflix, which are R-Rated? Even the PG and PG-13 stuff have inappropriate content in them which would have been unimaginable in our own owns, 25 years. go. Do we laugh when celebrities and others use words which blaspheme God? Do we engage in the culture by reading books which take liberties with the Holiness of God and all His Glory?

Sometimes, we are even casual during the most important corporate hour of the week - the Church service. The coffee cup has replaced the Bible, even in solid evangelical churches. Yet, even in all of this distraction and cultural infiltration in the House of the Lord, we can remain faithful. 

The Bible does not tell us how Lot made it into the Hall of Faith, after all his shortcomings, but it does tell US how what the Lord requires of us:
-  We must walk in Holiness
-  We must walk humbly before Him
-  We conduct ourselves worth of being called a Christian
-  We must not have fellowship with the sin, corruption and idolatry of this world
-  We must deny our own flesh, thoughts and sins and follow Jesus.

This is not an easy task. In the next post, we will go into series of practical steps to begin this intentional walk of Holiness with the Lord, rather than the current camaraderie too many Christians have with Practical Atheism, while fooling themselves that they are in fellowship with Christ.