Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Pure and Undefiled

James 1:27 Pure and undefiled religion in the sight of our God and Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their distress, and to keep oneself unstained by the world.

The Future of Evangelicals: A Conversation with Pastor Rick Warren (my review)

PEW Intro: The evangelical Christian movement historically has been defined by its members' distinctive doctrinal standards and practices.
Yet in recent years many Americans have come to understand evangelicals more by their political, rather than religious, identity. The Pew Research Center's Forum on Religion & Public Life invited Rick Warren, pastor of Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, Calif., to discuss how this political association has affected the evangelical movement, what evangelicals' most important concerns are today, and how the movement is evolving.

BW note: The above introduction clearly identifies the mentality of the biased liberal media, as well as the failings of our church mission when it states: “in recent years many Americans have come to understand evangelicals more by their political, rather than religious, identity.” As you read the full discussion, it is important to note that many of the journalists are not evangelical believers, but at the same time, might call themselves Christians. I have linked the entire discussion here, but I wanted to speak to a few points:

WARREN: A key issue - and I won't talk a lot about this - is what we call our Civil Society Initiative. I believe that civilization is losing its civility. I don't know if you've noticed it or not but the world is getting ruder. We're getting more crass. You may not demonize a person just because they're different, and differences do not demonize. Somehow we've got to follow that great theologian, Rodney King, "Can't we all just get along?" You don't have to agree with someone [not] to be disagreeable. You can walk hand in hand without seeing eye to eye. And the fact is, America is a democracy. In a democracy nobody wins all the time. I don't. You don't. Nobody does. That's called a democracy. It doesn't mean we pack up and leave the country because we don't win. We are Americans, and we must -
I believe in the "good news." I'm a Christian, I'm an evangelical, and I'm a pastor. I believe in Jesus Christ. But I also believe in the common good and that there are some issues that have to be dealt with everybody on the common good. I don't win all the time and neither do you, and so we have to learn to be civil. That's why I spend most of my time not speaking to Christian groups. In the last year I've spoken to atheist groups, secularist groups. I've spoken to the two largest Muslim conventions. I was the keynote speaker at the Reform convention of Judaism. I spend most of my time actually speaking to people who disagree with me, but I'm trying to build bridges because we're on this planet together promoting civility and the common good.

BW note: "But" … is where the pastor drifts off track. I don’t want to be critical but … I believe in Jesus Christ, BUT … raises a big red flag for me. I say: but … nothing.
When Christianity attempts to be politically correct or inclusive, it becomes lukewarm and we all know what Jesus says to do with lukewarm. There is a big difference between witnessing the good news of Christ to atheists, secularists, journalists and Muslims; and making politically correct talk at their conventions. Speaking at their conventions gives them a measure of credibility, which is counterproductive to the cause of Christ. I doubt that Pastor Warren was able to explain the good news of Christ at a Muslim convention. Jesus Christ is all that matters. Islam is not about civility and the common good. Islam is about forcing an evil doctrine on the free world. We cannot un-demonize Islam. It is worse than Nazism. We are called to be loving to all and live peacefully together ... but we should never in any way give credibility or validation to an evil religion. We must identify Islam for what it is: The enemy of Judaism and Christianity.

Warren: The P.E.A.C.E. Plan began in 2003. It's a global humanitarian effort to take on the five biggest problems on the planet: poverty, disease, illiteracy, corruption and conflict. P.E.A.C.E. stands for Promote reconciliation, Equip ethical leaders, "A" is assist the poor, "C" is care for the sick and "E" is educate the next generation. We believe that these problems are so big government can't do it alone; business can't do it alone; churches can't do it alone. Some problems are so big you have to team tackle them.

BW note: The PEACE Plan is great, but the problem here is that the number one biggest problem on the planet is not included: Where is the reconciliation between God and the lost world? And the conversion to Christianity of the unbelieving world? How can Pastor Warren leave this truth out of the plan? We are called as Ambassadors of Christ with a ministry of reconciliation. Our ministry is about reconciling the lost to Christ … not bringing the world’s false religions, atheists, and secularists together with Christians to present a convoluted message to these poor lost souls. That is like giving the sick … medicine mixed with cyanide.

Warren: Orphan care is a key issue. As I said, there are 146 million orphans in the world.
Whoever gets to those people first is going to get their hearts and minds - either madrassas or radicals or fundamentalists or whatever. And whoever loves them - that's anarchy waiting to happen, 146 million orphans growing up without moms and dads. We have to do that. I have been trying to convince both the Bush administration and the Obama administration - it's the only thing I actually have ever talked to - I don't talk policy ever with politicians - never. Never. And let me just say it again: never. But I do care about orphans. And the one issue that I have talked to them about is: it's just good foreign policy to help the sick and help orphans.

BW note: Pastor Warren is on point here. I wholeheartedly agree!

Warren: If you ever see me with a politician, it's - I have no political aspirations and I have no aspirations to even influence public policy. That's not my role as a pastor. My role as a pastor is I counsel leaders about stress, about family, about integrity, about generosity. It's all personal. I never, never, never counsel government leaders about policy.

BW note: As an ambassador for Christ, our mission is to represent Christ and to be used by Christ to reconcile the world to God. If that is not influencing public policy, I don't know what it is. What about the gospel of Jesus Christ. Without Christ, there is no lasting solution to the issues of stress, family, integrity, or generosity. Are you beginning to see the problem here? Barack Obama's religious and philosophical training includes heavy doses of Islam, Mengaji, Unitarian Universalist, Communism, Socialism, Radical professors, Liberation theology, Marxism, Maoism and Saul Alinsky. Nowhere do I find any training in Biblical Christianity. I cannot imagine Pastor Warren meeting with Obama, and not witnessing the good news of Christ to him. If not politics or Jesus Christ, what else would there be to talk about? On the core issue of ministering to orphans, Jesus Christ must be the foundation for the work to have eternal meaning. Pastor Warren had the opportunity to witness to these journalists as well, but he missed it.

Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world. BW note: Pastor Warren is right on in reaching out to widows and orphans. The challenge is to not become polluted by the world in the process. We must all be praying for Rick Warren that he will keep his mind focused on Christ and His purpose in all of this. Christianity is: Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you. That does not include the blending of Christianity in with false religions and secular atheistic beliefs. TO BE CONTINUED.

God bless you my friends, Bob
Pray to receive
Christ as Savior

Monday, June 21, 2010

Don't ... "Just do It"

John 16:12-15 “I have many more things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. “But when He, the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into all the truth; for He will not speak on His own initiative, but whatever He hears, He will speak; and He will disclose to you what is to come. “He will glorify Me, for He will take of Mine and will disclose it to you. “All things that the Father has are Mine; therefore I said that He takes of Mine and will disclose it to you.

Romans 8:1-8 Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in the law of sin and of death. For what the Law could not do, weak as it was through the flesh, God did: sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and as an offering for sin, He condemned sin in the flesh, so that the requirement of the Law might be fulfilled in us, who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit. For those who are according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who are according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit. For the mind set on the flesh is death, but the mind set on the Spirit is life and peace, because the mind set on the flesh is hostile toward God; for it does not subject itself to the law of God, for it is not even able to do so, and those who are in the flesh cannot please God.

Earlier today, a Christian friend asked about the Holy Spirit and what role the Holy Spirit should play in the church. His concern was that too much emphasis on gifts of the Spirit might take over his local church. "We need 91% more emphasis on the Holy Spirit, I replied."
"What do you mean; he asked?" I then quoted the research study I refer to in my post “A Hypocrite Under Every Rock” where 91% of Christians define themselves as self-centered. I am convinced that a primary problem in Bible believing churches is an over-emphasis (although critically important) on living a Christ-like daily life, and an under-emphasis on our position in Christ, abiding above, and the role of the Holy Spirit in guiding us moment by moment as we rest in Him.

I am convinced that all Christians are living their lives: ... one way or the other. The question is: where are you? Over 90% have received Christ as their Savior but have never been effectively guided to rest in the position that Christ has established for them at Calvary. Instead, they have followed the formula that has worked for them throughout their entire lives: education plus work or self effort. No criticism intended, but obviously, church leadership is often lacking here, also. From conversion on, we try the best we know how, to be the person that we believe Christ wants us to be, but unfortunately the teaching of the leadership of the Holy Spirit is for the most part left out. It is only natural for us to believe that we need to change and that we need to do it. “That’s how I’ve always done it” … so the joke goes. But in this case, doing it the way I’ve always done it, leads to frustration, increased sin, doubt, failure, a guilty conscience, separation from God, no peace, no assurance of salvation, and a Christian walk that is not leading others to Christ, but actually going in the wrong direction.

The truth teaches us: For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts. Isaiah 55:8-9. Do you really think that you, or I, or anyone else for that matter, are capable of being transformed by the renewing of your mind, by your self effort? No, of course not … it is beyond our comprehension or our human ability. And of course, without the Holy Spirit guiding us, step by step, our old self is easy prey for our enemy. Have you even considered your perfect position before God? That is his way. You are positioned with Christ, the perfect redeemer, and your sins are forgiven past, present and future.
You are perfected in Him, here and now … for eternity.

When we abide above, we are resting in our position in Christ. There is no such thing as a guilty conscience when we are resting in Christ.
That is because you are resting in the fact that your sins have been paid for by Christ once for all and as a result your conscience is cleansed. “Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” The natural thing for us to do is to pray for forgiveness, but not stand on the promises we have in Christ, but rather allow our guilt to convert our faith to doubt which leads to a downward spiral of more sin, guilt, and doubt. We become hopeless in our own ability against lust, pride and Satan. Wretched man that I am! Who will set me free from the body of this death? Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! But when He, the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into all the truth.

When you rest in your position, you are following God’s word, you are thinking His thoughts, and you are following His ways. You are walking under the guidance of the Holy Spirit. You are living the reality of who you are in Christ. He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on your behalf, so that you might become the righteousness of God in Him. You are still capable of sin in your flesh, but Satan’s power has been replaced by the power of the Holy Spirit, and your sin was forgiven on Calvary … and all of your sin was in the future. Jesus was fully aware of your failings when he chose to go to the cross for your sins. Therefore if you are in Christ, you are a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come … for the love of Christ controls you … so that you might no longer live for yourself but rather for Him who died and rose again on your behalf … so that you might become the righteousness of God in Him. Don’t misunderstand me; you obviously need to do your part in growing in the Lord. But, the advertising slogan “Just Do It” is NOT biblical, and although often effective in human achievement, God’s way is to follow the Holy Spirit and the Word and to humble all that you have learned in the world, all that you know, and all that you do, to Jesus and His truth. Your part is to listen to the Holy Spirit and to destroy speculations and every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God, and you are to take every thought captive to the obedience of Christ. 2 Corinthians 10:5.

I know you have heard it a million times, but “Just Do It” is a big lie of the world that leads you back to the worldly unconscious auto-pilot, that often results in bad decisions, and later on ... you are shaking your head, and asking yourself questions like: why did I do that, and how could I be so stupid? This is not a silly game of basketball. This is learning to live perfectly. The transformation of your mind and the moment by moment Christ-like walk that results in the promise of “His righteousness in you” becoming reality comes by way of the Holy Spirit … not good works, or just doing it better than the other guy. Transformation of your mind must precede good works in order for your works to be good in God’s eyes.

So … here is the key question for you: are you continually resting in your Christ-centered position, or are you striving in your self-centered condition? The first step towards never-ending peace and freedom in Christ is coming to the realization that you have a problem.
Okay, now … how can you move from your conditions in your flesh to your position in Christ … from self centered to Christ-centered? Pray for guidance, peace, and rest. Turn everything over to Christ ... out loud. Thank Him for all He has done for you, and for your forgiveness. Meditate on His word, especially on the positional truths, and all of His promises for you. Claim them as your reality, here and now. Pray for His power in overcoming your weaknesses. Claim His righteousness in you. Make note of all of the character qualities of Christ that are yours. Claim them here and now, in your daily walk. Declare victory over Satan and specific areas of sin in your flesh. Your role is to diligently catch yourself when your unconscious mind takes over, and you just do it the old way without thinking … instead, rest in your position … listen to the Spirit of Truth. Pray for His victory over your enemies. If your enemies win a momentary battle over you, have you somehow lost your salvation? Never … never … never! At every instant … Christ is interceding for you in the heavenlies, you have rest, peace, joy and grace in your position … from here to eternity.
Here is a Spiritual translation for you: Just Rest It!

I will call upon the LORD, who is worthy to be praised: so shall I be saved from mine enemies. Psalm 18:3
God bless you my friends, Bob

Pray to Receive Christ as Savior

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Indescribable Peace

John14:25-27 “These things I have spoken to you while abiding with you. “But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I said to you. “Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Do not let your heart be troubled, nor let it be fearful.

2 Peter 1:2 Grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord.

Here’s a question for you? Do you have this peace that Jesus talks about? Now I’m not talking about the peace that some have managed to achieve because they have figured out a routine, or been fortunate enough to find a peace of sorts in troubled times by achieving financial independence. Some have said jogging in the early hours settles their mind. Others read a book, play sports or practice a hobby. I'm not talking about any of these. We all have a different set of circumstances and different skills and ways and habits that we have developed to help us find peace throughout our day. I was listening to a very rich and successful man yesterday who said that he gets up at 5:30 every morning and reads for two hours. He also likes to listen to beautiful music. This has become his habit. He then went on to say he only put things into his mind that uplift him. I question if that is possible … with all of the noise in the world, that we are continually confronted with every day.

Paul gave similar advice when He said; “Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, let your mind dwell on these things. The things you have learned and received and heard and seen in me practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you. There is a big difference in Paul’s instruction, and the world’s method of having a positive attitude. The world would teach to think positive thoughts, to fill your mind with uplifting, encouraging and motivating ideas and information … basically anything that lifts your spirit. Paul on the other hand prefaces the above scripture with “Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice! Let your gentle spirit be known to all men.” Do you see the difference? The world’s solution has taken out the power. The power is in the Lord and His word. The more men talk and focus on themselves, and the less scripture that is referenced, the more the power is diminished. It is all about the Lord. the peace they are able to conjure up is counterfeit. I once had an associate that worked for me who told me about a book he read that had helped him greatly, so I went out and bought it. The premise was that the power is in your belief … that if we believed strongly enough, whatever we believed would become reality. I quickly realized that the teaching was absurd and defied reality and logic. A short while later the poor guy was hospitalized for serious mental problems. We do not have the ability to alter reality … only God can do that. Does that mean that I am saying that positive thinking does not work? No way … not at all. It is a proven fact that whatever we dwell on, positive or negative input, it somehow translates into our daily reality. Whatever we feed our mind will transform our thinking. That can be either good or bad. This principle is where the phrase garbage in … garbage out comes from also. “For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he” Proverbs 23:7. But our thought life won't alter gravity. Give a student enough Darwinian Evolutionary training, and the next thing you know, Darwin has become a religious dogma for millions of people. And today's Darwinian Theory is Global Warming.

Okay so what’s the problem? What keeps you from having the peace that your Lord and Savior promises you? The problem is multi-faceted. But in the online world, all of the stuff that you are bombarded with … that diverts your attention from your priorities is referred to as noise. This could translate into a hundred different things. So for the sake of this discussion, lets just for a moment, take all of the things that are diverting you focus off of Christ, and isolate these things and call them noise, and focus your thinking on Christ. Consider all of your diversions: noise. Take all of your problems, the world’s problems, your job, relationship issues, health issues, money problems, your worries, your fears, your sin, your failings, your guilty conscience, all of it … anything and everything; pray it all over to Christ. Now, meditate on your position in Christ. Consider yourself one with him in the heavenlies, a fellow heir with Christ. Memorize scripture, Read it. Ask the Lord to reveal himself to you. Meditate, read the word out loud to yourself in a silent place. Sit in silence. Do it again, over and, over. Look deeply for His voice. The Lord will speak to you … Maybe His voice will be silence but He will give you peace, not as the world gives. Peace that transcends all understanding.

This is the problem: “For My thoughts are not your thoughts, Nor are your ways My ways,” declares the LORD. Isaiah 55:8. We habitually and unconsciously revert to our old ways. We decide to become disciplined and then we meditate on positive books and stuff written by unbelievers and then we wonder why we don’t have the peace that surpasses all understanding that the Lord has promised us. This is why ninety percent of Christians admit that they are carnal or self centered Christians. They pray to Christ, and then they rely upon themselves and then in their old ways they sin which results in a guilty conscience and separation from Christ. Not much abiding above there, is there? Not much peace there either. The bad news is that sin is still in your old body, and its bad habits and its sinful ways are still able to throw you off track, and cause you to do or say or think things that result in a guilty conscience. You will come under attack and will lose some battles. Satan is very powerful and can easily win if he is able to choose the battlegrounds of lust and pride, and fight you without Christ and His word to defend and protect you. But the good news is, that although sin is IN you, you can be fully assured that there is no sin ON you. All of your sin past, present, and future, has been LAID ON the Lord Jesus. His sacrifice at Calvary sanctified you through eternity. Rest in your position. You are a co-heir with Christ … adopted into the family of the creator of the universe.

Jesus speaks of his time here, abiding with us, and sending us the spirit to abide with us, and teach us all things. This is the doorway to the peace that He then speaks about. Rest in His peace … your position. You are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ, once for all. Hebrews 10:10. You are not guilty, ever again … anymore. The savior paid the penalty, once for all. You are an heir with Christ in heaven, here and now. Experience the peace that transcends all understanding. Abide above the cares of the world. Rest in your position. This is the peace that he promises you. We are talking about peace that only God’s grace can insure, not your works or good deeds. They are never enough. Jesus Christ is your sufficiency. He will never forget you or forsake you. To Christ and Christ alone is the glory, forever more.

Philippians 4:6-7 Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

God Bless you my friends, Bob
Pray to receive Christ as Savior

Friday, June 11, 2010

Not of This World

John 15:18-19 “If the world hates you, you know that it has hated Me before it hated you. “If you were of the world, the world would love its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, because of this the world hates you. “Remember the word that I said to you, ‘A slave is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you;

Earlier this week, a liberal Christian friend emailed me the following article posted on CNN health; “Kids of lesbians have fewer behavioral problems, study suggests” I responded with the following question: “what do you think this tells us?” He replied; “Is raising a child in a gay household ideal? Of course not, for a number of reasons … it is not unlike raising a child with interracial parents. The child or children can be subject to teasing at school, etc., etc. It is just not a societal "norm." With that being said, Would it be better for the child to be raised by two parents who actually planned to have the child, have the money to properly provide for the child and provide a loving environment for the child by parents who happen to be gay or would it be better to have a child grow up with heterosexual parents but the household was abusive, the children were not planned (or even wanted), etc., etc. I think the study was saying that, lesbianism (I think that is a word) aside, in the households that were studied, the parents were more likely to have planned for the children, been able to provide for the children, etc., etc., and that was a more contributory factor to their well adjusted behavior than the sexuality of the parents. Hope that answers your question.”

I responded with: "I have clients that are lesbians that appear to be very exceptional parents, exceptional citizens, and are good friends. And I have asked myself this question many times. So anything is possible. But I would think the question for you and I, as Christians should be: Would raising a child in a gay home most likely lead the child towards or away from the saving grace of Jesus Christ, and towards amorality? In most cases, I am convinced it would lead away from Christ. So therefore, I would not advise it. Conditions could be better with the first group obviously, if the only consideration is raising a healthy child, but when the belief system of the child is considered, some things become more important than others. Should we promote the immigration of one group of people over another, is also a good question? It is never desirable for children to be with abusive or amoral parents, gay or straight. Unfortunately, we have little control over the second group in your comparison and society suffers the consequences. The comparison to an interracial marriage is not even a valid comparison, contrary to what gays would contend. Amoral = there is no right or wrong. A big problem in America today is that this idea of neutral morality (there is no right or wrong) has been pushed and validated by modern athiestic secular society."

My friend answered: I am not convinced that being raised by gay parents would lead a child away from Christ and toward amorality. I believe there are several references to homosexuality throughout the New Testament. They were referenced as Eunuchs as opposed to gay and lesbian. The subject is talked about extensively in Matthew 19:11-12 But He said to them, “Not all men can accept this statement, but only those to whom it has been given. “For there are eunuchs who were born that way from their mother’s womb; and there are eunuchs who were made eunuchs by men; and there are also eunuchs who made themselves eunuchs for the sake of the kingdom of heaven. He who is able to accept this, let him accept it.” God made us all and simply because you were born gay or lesbian does not automatically make you amoral.

To that I replied: This definition does not even come close to defining homosexuals. If this actually even remotely described the lifestyle as we know it, or the context of the verse you quoted was referring to gays, I would have to agree with you, since it is Jesus speaking."
But neither the dictionary or the Bible supports your conclusions:

WIKI: A eunuch is a castrated man; usually one castrated early enough to have major hormonal consequences. The term usually refers to those castrated (without their consent) in order to perform a specific social function, as was common historically in many societies. The earliest records for intentional castration to produce eunuchs are from the Sumerian city of Lagash in the twenty-first century BC. Over the millennia since, they have performed a wide variety of functions in many different cultures such as: courtiers or equivalent domestics, treble singers, religious specialists, government officials, military commanders, and guardians of women or harem servants. In some translations of ancient texts, individuals identified as eunuchs sometimes historically included men who were impotent with women, as well as those who were celibate.

On the other hand, the Bible can't get any clearer than this:

ROMANS: 1:18-26 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, 19because that which is known about God is evident within them; for God made it evident to them. 20For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse. 21For even though they knew God, they did not honor Him as God or give thanks, but they became futile in their speculations, and their foolish heart was darkened. 22Professing to be wise, they became fools, 23and exchanged the glory of the incorruptible God for an image in the form of corruptible man and of birds and four-footed animals and crawling creatures. 24Therefore God gave them over in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, so that their bodies would be dishonored among them. 25For they exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen. 26For this reason God gave them over to degrading passions; for their women exchanged the natural function for that which is unnatural, 27and in the same way also the men abandoned the natural function of the woman and burned in their desire toward one another, men with men committing indecent acts and receiving in their own persons the due penalty of their error.

(Be sure to note there is a huge difference between the terms amoral and immoral) To be amoral does not mean one is immoral. Amoral basically means there is no right or wrong morality ... each person must decide those things for themselves. Those who adopt this view usually have chosen to reject God and the Bible. At least verses like the one I have listed above and anything else that does not go along with what they decide they want to do. But unfortunately, many pick and choose and create their own belief system which includes the Bible when they agree with it, and discard what they don't like. In essence, they become the god of their own false religion and call it Christianity. Please make note, that I am not referring to my friend who sent me the above email, in this description.

My friend ended the conversation with: “This verse in Romans is pretty specific. Let me look a little more into it.”

So why do I bring this exchange to you? Because I think it clearly illustrates the challenges Christians face daily in today’s world. Some Christians, have chosen to ignore the verse above in Romans; and in a similar way, many have chosen to believe in the false religion of Darwinian Evolution, and many other false beliefs such as it doesn't matter which religion you follow as long as it teaches to love your fellow man. To stand with the clear truth of the Bible on this issue and many others, will often lead to you being branded a hateful bigot, and an ignorant fool. But in reality, it has nothing to do with hate, bigotry, or ignorance. It simply has to do with following the teaching of the inerrant Holy Truth of our Lord and Savior. I believe these conflicts we face are what Jesus was referring to when He said; ‘A slave is not greater than his master.’ I am convinced that I can love people even though I do not agree with their lifestyle. The hate and bigotry typically is directed towards Christians ... from the same group that labels Christians, and turns their secular form of reverse discrimination towards the alienated traditional majority. Many who have been educated in our public school system would say that I am narrow, close-minded, legalistic, judgmental, not inclusive, and politically incorrect. For sure I have no desire to be politically correct. More recently I was told that I was brainwashed as a child, by my parents. When I explained to the person that my parents were not particularly religious, did not attend church regularly, or read the Bible; and that I became a Christian through my own study, twenty-nine years ago. He did not know what to say.

So my question is: … What do you say about these issues? Gays adopting? Gay marriage legalized? Is it possible to be a Christian homosexual? Should we be teaching our kids about homosexuality in our public schools?

“Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Do not let your heart be troubled, nor let it be fearful.
God Bless you my friends, Bob

Pray to receive Christ as Savior

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Victory In The Wilderness II

1 Corinthians 10:12-14 Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed that he does not fall. No temptation has overtaken you but such as is common to man; and God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will provide the way of escape also, so that you will be able to endure it. Therefore, my beloved, flee from idolatry.

When the love of Christ compels you, although you are free in Christ, you become a slave of sorts to others. Their needs, concerns, and problems have now become your priorities, as well as your own. You must keep in mind that as a leader, others are watching you closely, and it is important for their sake that you show self-control in all things. The more others look up to you, the more you must keep this truth in mind. You must be disciplined so that your actions will not cause you to lose credibility with those you love, and who also love you and look up to you. Do not be a hypocrite! Not long ago, at a church men's retreat, a fairly new believer told me that his father-in-law, Paul, was the wisest man that he had ever met. That is how we want to be viewed by those that the Lord has brought into our circle of influence. The things you say today, and the things you do today, will be repeated and done by your brother, your son or daughter, or your grandchild tomorrow.

The Israelites who were delivered from the Pharaoh of Egypt were under the protective cloud of the Lord, and passed through the sea and were baptized, and they all ate manna from heaven and drank the same cool, clear, living water, from the spiritual rock, Jesus Christ, that followed them, wherever they wandered in the wilderness. “Nevertheless, with most of them, God was not well-pleased; for they were laid low in the wilderness. Perhaps, more than anyone besides the disciples, they were walking in the presence of the Lord’s provision and instead of following Him, they chose to follow false idols, their sinful lusts, and their pride of life, as they stumbled about in the wilderness.

Why do we often choose to live the old way; rather than to “Abide Above” or to say; “Not I … But Christ” I suppose it is just the way our basic human nature has been developed since the fall of Adam and Eve. The story of the Israelites wandering in the wilderness was given to us so that we can understand their weaknesses and foolishness, and not repeat their mistakes. If you would like to be victorious and call upon the Lord as your strength, a good first step would be to meditate on 1 Corinthians; Chapters 8-10; and also, read and meditate on the entire book of Exodus. Pray for the Lord Jesus to speak to you through His spirit and His Word, as he has to me. Have you chosen to follow the foolish ways of the Israelites in the wilderness? “THE PEOPLE SAT DOWN TO EAT AND DRINK, AND STOOD UP TO PLAY” That sounds like they were just following the leading of their basic human nature to me. They went wherever and did whatever that happened to come their way, just like most people today ... on auto-pilot. I've got a strong suspicion, that this is not what God is looking for in you and me. What do you think? We are told to flee idolatry ... remember Joseph, when tempted by Potiphar's wife? Remove yourself from the temptation. Run from it! Are you testing the Lord, going and doing whatever without thinking, acting immorally, grumbling in the midst of His deliverance? No, no, no … do not open yourself up to the judgments of the Lord. These things were written for our instruction in how to overcome our sin and bad habits. Don’t just read it … meditate on it, rest in it, stand on it, consider your position … experience the victory!

Be careful my friend, if you feel confident in your walk, and content in the circumstance of your everyday life. Pay close attention to God’s word. Listen closely to all that is written, meditate on the word, and consider how it applies to your daily experience so that you do not fall for the schemes of the enemies of Christ. Listen to the Holy Spirit speaking to you. Your God is faithful, and His overwhelming victory over all of the challenges of the world is complete and absolute, and he has reserved this victory for you as well. All that worries you is nothing new to him, He has dealt with your petty problems a million times before. And he will empower you and provide your way of escape. Identify idolatry in your life and flee from the temptations the evil one has put in your path.

Rest in the Lord Jesus and He will give you a refreshing drink of His Living Water, and His cloud will protect you from the heat of the day, and the attacks of your enemy, the devil.

For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh, for the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh, but divinely powerful for the destruction of fortresses. We are destroying speculations and every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God, and we are taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ, 2 Cor 10: 3-5 Your part is to renew your mind and rest in the Lord ... only the Holy Spirit can defeat your evil enemy, the devil. He will transform you! The weapons of your warfare are divinely powerful ... do you really believe this truth? Where are these fortresses that need to be destroyed? They are the sinful positions that the evil one has established in your life, wherever and whatever they are. Your points of weakness are where the evil one builds his strongholds from which to attack you. You know what they are. Turn them over to the Lord ... NOW. Command Satan ... You have no power over me, in the name of Christ, Begone! Say it, repeat it over and over against each and every sin, bad habit, bad attitude, wrong thinking, or seed of bitterness. And the evil one will depart from you. At first he will most likely keep up his assault on you, but if you follow the example of the Lord in the wilderness and use the sword of the spirit, over and over, calling on the power of Christ ... you will win, in any area of your life. The devil will flee you and Christ; just like he fled Jesus when he tempted Him in the wilderness. Jesus was victorious over the lust of the eyes, the lust of the flesh, and the sinful pride of life. And angels came to minister to him. And when you stand with Christ ... against Satan, you also have certain victory, every time. Rest in Christ ... rest in your heavenly position, standing on the truth of the Word. The Holy Spirit will guide you, and provide your way of escape ... a certain path to victory over your old ways, your bad habits, your areas of sin, and your enemy the evil one. Your Victory is secure in Christ.

All things are lawful for me, but not all things are profitable. All things are lawful for me, but I will not be mastered by anything.
God Bless you my friends, Bob
Pray to receive Christ as Savior

Victory In The Wilderness

1 Corinthians 10:12-14 Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed that he does not fall. No temptation has overtaken you but such as is common to man; and God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will provide the way of escape also, so that you will be able to endure it. Therefore, my beloved, flee from idolatry.

Have you ever made resolutions and then not followed through with your plans … not even for one month? Of course you have … we all have. It might be a diet or a new exercise plan or maybe you plan to stop losing your temper, or to quit gossiping. Which is it? What is that habit or temptation that always seems to bring you down? Is it spending money that you don’t have? Maybe you watch too much TV; or is it procrastination? Or here is a destructive problem for some: pornography on the internet. Did I miss anything? Do you have a big one I didn't think of? No problem … write it down. Okay, what if I said there is a solution for each and every one of these problems? Am I getting your attention?

But wait a minute; you say … Bob, have you been able to overcome every one of your bad habits? Are you saying you’ve got this all figured out? No, no, no … not by a long shot. But there is a better question. The question is not whether I have overcome all of these bad habits … but rather: has God overcome them all, and has He provided the solutions for us to solve each and every one of these problems in his word? And the answer is: yes, absolutely. Well hold on … I must admit that I have painted myself into a bit of a corner, I’m not sure where this is headed. It sounds good though … don’t you think. I better stop and pray in order to see where God will lead me.

Okay, I’m back a day later, and the Lord has brought much to my mind, that I would like to share with you. The key verse that I have been led to is: “No temptation has overtaken you but such as is common to man; and God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will provide the way of escape also, so that you will be able to endure it. 1 Corinthians 10:13. Isn’t that an exciting promise? In my search to better understand the context of this verse, I meditated on chapters: 8-10.

Here’s what I found:

There is a danger that you might become arrogant in your knowledge … and that the knowledge of the world can actually work against you. If you think you have the solution to overcoming the habits listed above, and think that you can overcome them with worldly solutions, “you have not yet known as you ought to know.” But the love of Christ edifies and builds you up. His love will encourage you and give you strength, and establish you. He will give you the steps to overcome any and all of the problems that are common to man. In Him you can have confidence and rest and great success. He has already been victorious over any and every sin, bad habits, and challenges that you might come up against. If you love God and obey Him, you are known by Him, and He will deliver you at the appropriate time.

You must be careful not to worship false idols because they will cause you to take your focus off of God, opening you up to attack, sin, and bad habits. As Christians, we know that there is only one true God, but the world and its false teachings such as: “many gods lead to heaven” and “everyone’s beliefs are equally valid” and “as long as we practice the truth principles, it doesn’t matter how or where we got them” … these and many others are all traps set by our enemy. Be careful lest you fall into a pit. Seemingly innocent things such as: food, cars, homes, TV, books, movies, your career, the internet and a thousand other things can easily be your undoing. Anything that diverts you from God’s purpose and plan for your life can easily become a false Idol that distracts you and works against your success in overcoming your bad habits.

Your God is the one and only true God, your heavenly Father, the creator of all things, and you exist for Him. He is the One and only Lord, Jesus Christ, by whom all things exist, and we exist through Him, and are here and now, spiritually positioned with Him in the heavenly places, as a fellow heir to His eternal kingdom. He has bought and paid for you at a great price. He has promised you a helper, the Holy Spirit, who will guide you in overcoming your sins and bad habits. Is your conscience hindering your ability to rest in the Lord Jesus? You only need to focus on Him and His word. The answers to your questions are right there … for all to see.

But we must all take care, because the liberty and freedom that you have been given, as an heir with Christ, could possibly become a stumbling block to a friend who looks up to you, and who is following your leadership.
You must be so focused on loving others more than yourself, that if anything causes your brother to stumble, you will take care not do that thing again, even though it is not a problem for you. Although you have needs and are called to work, be careful you do not become obsessed with your work, and all of the things that your efforts can provide. There are traps here that can throw you off course. Our purpose on earth is to lead and disciple our brothers in the love of Christ. Use your resources to that end, not to build your own personal worldly kingdom, and the lord will reward you greatly. Although there is honor in being rewarded for your efforts, you are compelled to do the mission God has for you. Your mission is to share the gospel, disciple, and reconcile others: “for woe is you if you do not talk to others about the good news of Christ.” To Be Continued ...

All things are lawful for me, but not all things are profitable. All things are lawful for me, but I will not be mastered by anything.

God Bless you my friends, Bob
Pray to receive Christ as Savior

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Resting In Dark Caves

Psalm 18:1-3 A Psalm of David, the servant of the LORD, who spake unto the LORD the words of this song in the day that the LORD delivered him from the hand of all his enemies, and from the hand of Saul: And he said, I will love thee, O LORD, my strength. The LORD is my rock, and my fortress, and my deliverer; my God, my strength, in whom I will trust; my buckler, and the horn of my salvation, and my high tower. I will call upon the LORD, who is worthy to be praised: so shall I be saved from mine enemies.

"I will call upon the Lord" is without a doubt one of my favorite Christian songs.
One of the best ever to sing at the beginning a church meeting, and also to help get your mind focused on the Lord and His word. Have you ever meditated on this Psalm? As true with all scripture, this verse is inspired and for me, it brings my faith to life. I picture David, hiding in a cave from the hundreds of soldiers who are searching for him, wanting to capture or to kill him. His only hope is in the Lord. He has come to the end of his personal resources and cannot save himself. Only the Creator can save him. When you think about it, this is similar to where Jesus stood also, when he went to the garden of Gethsemane to pray. Have enemies surrounded you as well? They certainly have surrounded me. The names and faces have changed, but they are the same enemies, controlled by the forces of darkness. Like David in his cave, and Jesus in the Garden, when we are surrounded by our enemies, we must call upon the Lord and he will always deliver us.

The servant of the LORD … As we look further, it is important to note that David was not favored by God because he served God; but rather, he served God because he was selected and appointed by God, in His sovereign mercy. David calls upon the Lord not because he deserves God’s deliverance as a result of his good deeds; but rather because he is God’s chosen one and David knows it. God has instructed David to trust Him, and to call upon Him for help in times of trouble. Those of us who have received Christ as our Lord and Savior come before God with all of the same rights, privileges, and instructions as David.

Positionally, we are heirs to the kingdom along with Christ. Our home has been prepared for us. You have been stationed here temporarily as an ambassador for Christ, with a ministry of reconciliation. You are in the middle of God’s will. You are positioned in his rest but you must acknowledge this fact. His plan is for your victory, not defeat. The larger the number of enemies standing against you ... the more mighty the deliverance God has planned for you. Your deliverance and your victory in the face of great peril will be used by God to draw others to His Son through you. You need to keep these facts, always at the front of your mind.

You must continually acknowledge Him, and His power, and His deliverance, in order to see the positive end result. Otherwise, you will likely get confused, and the next thing you know, you will be giving yourself credit for the deliverance that the Lord has provided you. You must make sure that your mind is clear on the facts: you got yourself into the darkness of the cave … the Lord Jesus Christ, and only Jesus will lead you to victory, and walk you step by step out of the darkness of the cave, and into the light.

Now this is tricky, because oftentimes God will give you the steps in your mind, or use someone else, or a book, to give you the steps or ideas for deliverance, and during the transfer and implementation of the information, it will unconsciously become your idea … but make no mistake about the source of your deliverance. The only way you can keep these truths straight in your mind, is to continually keep your vision focused on the source of your strength.

When you get down or are under attack, your natural tendency is to focus on your problems rather than on the Lord and His Word. Think about how foolish that is. If you are hungry, what do you do? Do you dwell on your hunger? Do you think ... maybe I ought to sit around and meditate on my hunger? Do you worry about how hungry you are? No way! First, you unconsciously start thinking about what you might like to eat. Maybe you look at your watch to check the time. And then when the time is right, you go get something to eat, and of course you thank the Lord for the food that He has provided. Some are so self sufficient, that even thanking God for their food takes effort. You need to develop this habit of giving God the glory, with all of the challenges that you face every day. When you are hungry for a solution to a problem, and the reality of it is confronting you, or your mind is unconsciously causing you to worry, or if you are consumed with fear because your circumstances are overwhelming, and you don’t know what to do …
Call Upon The Lord. He will always deliver you. He will never desert you, or forsake you.

This post is about resting in dark caves. David begins with; “I will love thee, O LORD, my strength”. And Jesus says; “he it is who loves me, will obey my commands”. So, this verse leads me to conclude, if we are praying for God’s deliverance, we must “obey His commands”. I have found that this is usually why God does not come to my rescue more quickly. You can’t be delivered by God, and deliver yourself at the same time. You need to stop trying to get it done your way, and trust in His guidance and His deliverance. It is hard, but sometimes you just need to stop and rest in Him ... in the dark. No fear … no worry; focus on the deliverance, meditate on His promises.
As a teacher of mine has often said; “The Lord is seldom early, but He is never late.” Harold Sala

When you meditate on these truths: “The LORD is my rock, and my fortress, and my deliverer; my God, my strength, in whom I will trust; my buckler, and the horn of my salvation, and my high tower. I will call upon the LORD, who is worthy to be praised: so shall I be saved from mine enemies” He will encourage you and give you courage. You are a son of the most high, an heir to the kingdom of the world … what can man do to you? “The LORD liveth; and blessed be my rock; and let the God of my salvation be exalted.” He will always deliver you!

God Bless you my friends, Bob
Pray to receive Christ as Savior