Tuesday, September 19, 2023

Communism ... in the United States of America!

THEY want to silence US!!  That may sound like a bold, even provocative and divisive statement ... but it is simply the reality of life in the United States of America today.  "THEY" are many in the Democrat party, secular/non-religious people in our society, and even a large number of people in what we call the "visible church," those who claim to be Christians, but do not believe much of what the Bible, the Word of God, teaches.  THEY want to silence "US."  The "US" is those who DO believe the Bible to be the Word of God and who desire to live in obedience to God's Word in all things.  "THEY" want to silence "US!"

Jesus told His disciples, "If the world hates you, know that it has hated me before it hated you.  If you were of the world, the world would love you as its own, but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you.  Remember the word that I said to you, 'A servant is not greater than his master.'  If they persecuted me, they will also persecute you.  If they kept my word, they will also keep yours" (John 15:18-20).

JESUS divided the world into two groups:  those who knew, loved and obeyed Him, and those who didn't.  In fact, Jesus said, "Do not think that I have come to bring peace to the earth.  I have not come to bring peace, but a sword.  For I have come to set a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law.  And a person's enemies will be those of his own household.  Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me, and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me.  And whoever does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me.  Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it" (Matthew 10:34-39).

All of this comes to my mind as the Michigan legislature considers the "Reproductive Health Act," which would remove virtually every restriction on abortion in the state.  It is Governor Whitmer's earnest desire to get it passed, as she continues to appear to be a "rising star" in the Democrat party.  Being PRO-abortion in the Democrat party gets votes.  And many in the Republican Party are ready to compromise on "exceptions" and drawing a line when abortion is "acceptable."  They do not want to hear our voices ... and honestly, there are not many voices to try to silence any more.  If politicians thought the majority of voters were adamantly against things like abortion and LGBTQ+ rights and an open border and an education that includes indoctrinating our youth and changing our history they wouldn't do it, but polls show that most Americans don't seem to care all that much.  The "bait" has been cast and swallowed by the unsuspecting who just want to live their own lives and have everyone "get along."

Preparing for a study on the persecuted church, I read the following concerning the Russian takeover of Romania and their silencing of the pastors and other leaders in the Romanian church:  "The Russian agenda was to silence the influence of God's people in the culture, and there was no limit to the brutality and cruelty they would inflict to achieve their objective."  Richard Wurmbrand, founder of "Voice of the Martyrs," was a Lutheran pastor who voiced his opposition to the hostile takeover and spent many years in prison being tortured for Christ.  It made me think about what I would have done in the same circumstances, and what I am doing NOW in our present circumstances in this nation that was once, but is no more, "the land of the free and home of the brave."

Have no doubt that communism/socialism/godless government is the goal of those currently in power in the United States of America, and at every turn it is their desire to silence the voice of anyone who speaks contrary to their hostile takeover.  THEY want to eliminate any talk of God from the public square, unless it promotes their agenda.  Their goal is to make more and more people dependent on the federal government in order to be able to control what we say and what we do.  For years they have threatened churches and pastors with the loss of our "tax exempt status" if we speak in favor of a political candidate, while at the same time speaking in churches and promoting their agenda of government "oversight" over every activity.

How can a young woman like Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez rise to such popularity in the Democrat party unless she has the support of its leadership?  Why is an invasion of our nation being allowed, indeed, promoted, except to recruit more voters and to turn Texas and other states "blue" in the foreseeable future so that it will be virtually impossible for anyone to be elected President without agreeing with their agenda?  Some have said, "We are losing our country!"  There is a reason behind the reality of that statement:  We are losing our voice!!  Afraid to speak out for Biblical truth, Biblical morality, and for the Gospel of Jesus Christ, the majority of those who claim to be Christians are tolerant of "a woman's right to choose," are supportive of all religions working together "for the common good," and are more concerned about the economy than about obedience to God.  Most "religious people" are tired of the battle and are willing to lay down their arms, literally and figuratively, if it will "bring our country back together."

But it's not about our country!!!!  It's about the kingdom of God and the deception of Satan, and all those who do evil who are trying to lure in the unsuspecting to take their side on the issues of abortion, education, climate and the rest.  And to do that, they must silence our voices ... "OUR" voices ... those who will stand in opposition to their takeover of every facet of our society.  THEY want to own the "public square," attempting at every turn to form public opinion to fit their agenda.  How many of you who are reading this have at least thought, and perhaps said, "It doesn't do any good to speak ... no one's listening!"  Could it be that you are speaking the wrong thing??

God has given us a message to speak, and it is found only in His Word.  People must hear the truth about sin and judgment, and then they must hear the good news of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  WE must declare that JESUS is Lord ... over EVERYTHING!!  Jesus IS the Christ, the Messiah, God's anointed King!  And He is coming again to judge the living and the dead.  His CHURCH, the true Body of Christ, is called to speak to power, to speak to the oppressed, to speak to the helpless and the hopeless that no matter what the world may do to them, or what the condition of their lives may be in this world, there is HOPE, JOY and PEACE to be found through faith in Jesus Christ!

Socialism, government control over our lives, has been and is being adopted by an increasing number of people ... some intentionally, and others by their silence and their naive desire to get along and work together with those who have evil intentions.  Too many believe WE must "be nice," show tolerance, compromise where we must, and be silent ... showing God's kingdom by our love.  Love does not remain silent in the face of evil.  Love speaks truth!  Communism is the rule of "the party" to the exclusion of other voices.  The seed of communism exists in the United States of America today.  Remember the quote from above:  "The Russian agenda was to silence the influence of God's people in the culture."  Ask yourself if you see that happening all around you today!

You must decide now, before we go any farther down the road toward the judgment of God and the destruction of our nation, whether to go silently or to be engaged in the battle by the power of Christ who is at work in His people for His glory.  The cost may be high ... it already is for many in different places of the world.  Should it be any different here?  Will it be any different here?  Only God knows what the future holds, and He has told us in the words of Jesus.  Pray earnestly for wisdom, for strength to persevere, and for the courage and boldness to speak!  May all who come behind us find us faithful!!

Monday, September 11, 2023

"Don't Muddy the Waters!"

 On a rainy Monday morning so many thoughts for the week ahead run through my mind.  Monday is supposed to be my "day off," but even after celebrating my 73rd birthday on Saturday, I can't seem to convince my brain to take some time off from the Lord's work.  Instead, on this anniversary of the tragic events of 9/11/2001, I find myself looking at our nation and the world and grieving over the lack of leadership from our President and others in government.  But that's not the worst of it.  I am appalled at the level of compromise from some Christian leaders and others in the Christian community when it comes to taking a stand for the truth of the Gospel and the application of Biblical truth to our culture. At every turn, it seems, churches and leaders compromise the truth and give in to the voices around us that demand inclusion, tolerance and the all-encompassing "love" that approves of what God says is evil.

Isaiah wrote, "Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter" (Isaiah 5:20).  It is said that for the Republican Party to win elections, we must compromise, especially on abortion, LGBTQ "rights" and many other social issues in order to get more votes.  What does God say?  Listen to this verse from the book of Proverbs, chapter 25, verse 26:  "Like a muddied spring or a polluted fountain is a righteous man who gives way before the wicked."  What a clear picture of what God thinks of those who compromise in the face of opposition.  Visualize a muddied spring or a fountain that spews brown-colored, foul-smelling water.  So is a righteous man who backs down, who refuses to speak, who gives way to the voices that demand compliance.

The "abortion issue," according to some, will cost Republicans votes, and possibly elections, if we do not compromise.  And there are other issues ... so many of them.  What many in the Christian community fail to understand when they say, "We must focus on preaching the Gospel and leave politics to the politicians," ... what they fail to understand is that Jesus Christ is Lord OVER politics and HE speaks to every issue in the political realm today.  While we proclaim our hope in Christ alone, we who are His disciples are called to be salt and light in the world by declaring that HE is KING!! HIS "position" on abortion must be ours, and we must proclaim it and stand upon it.  

"Like a muddied spring or a polluted fountain is a righteous man who gives way before the wicked."  If pastors and other Christians refuse to speak the unfiltered truth of God's Word, compromising in order to avoid offending someone ... anyone ... we are like a muddied spring or a polluted fountain ... whether speaking about abortion or LGBTQ rights or transgender issues, or other things like alcoholism, gambling, and pointing out the idols in people's lives that distract them from the truth of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  Too often leaders "tiptoe" around the truth, rather than declaring, "Thus says the Lord!"  Loving people demands exposing the darkness.  Otherwise we will be found muddying the waters, calling evil good and good evil.  Such a "position" is actually the refusal to take a position.  

We must be like Elijah on Mt. Carmel, when he said to the people, "How long will you go limping between two different opinions?  If the LORD is God, follow Him, but if Baal, then follow him" (I Kings 18:21).  It's time to stand up for Jesus Christ, for the truth of His Word in every matter.  To do less is to be like a muddied spring or a polluted fountain!!  I don't want to be either.  How about you??


Saturday, April 1, 2023

Escaping the Corruption

 II Peter 1:3-4:  "His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us to His own glory and excellence, by which He has granted to us His precious and very great promises, so that through them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped from the corruption that is in the world because of sinful desire."

Today is known by many as "April fool's day!"  It has been said that this is the only designated holiday for atheists, as the Psalmist writes on two occasions, Psalm 14:1 and Psalm 53:1:  "The fool says in his heart, 'There is no God!'"  But it is not only atheists who foolishly reject the one true God, our Creator.  The religions of the world have imagined their own "gods" and billions follow them with great passion and commitment.  Many who claim to be Christians use "religion" as a "get-out-of-jail-free" card, imagining they can avoid the coming judgment of God when Jesus returns by giving Him mere lip-service.  They are not the first to attempt such a thing.  Isaiah wrote the word of the Lord in his day, "Because this people draw near with their mouth and honor me with their lips, while their hearts are far from me and their fear of me is a commandment taught by men, therefore, behold, I will again do wonderful things with this people, with wonder upon wonder; and the wisdom of their wise men shall perish, and the discernment of their discerning men shall be hidden" (Isaiah 29:13-14).

As we approach the celebration of Jesus' resurrection following His suffering and death on the cross, many will observe a "day," but will display no devotion to Jesus Christ or to His Body, the Church.  The Gospel remains unknown by many because they do not know the depth of their sin or the judgment they deserve from the Holy God.  Instead, they imagine that "God loves everyone" and all is well.  Their celebrations are a mockery of the cross!

Peter wrote his second letter "to those who have obtained a faith of equal standing with ours by the righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ" (II Peter 1:1).  He assured these of God's power at work within them and of the hope that was theirs as they lived, believing in the grace of God in Christ, trusting their sins were forgiven, covered by His blood, and who continued to grow in the grace and knowledge of Jesus Christ, seeking to produce the "fruit of righteousness" in their lives.  Peter wrote, "Therefore, be all the more diligent to confirm your calling and election, for if you practice these qualities you will never fall.  For in this way there will be richly provided for you an entrance into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ" (II Peter 1:10-11).

The corruption of the world around us is obvious.  As we celebrate Palm Sunday tomorrow, God's Word points us to another moment, even more powerful, because as Jesus was praised as a "King" when He entered Jerusalem, the people had no idea who He really was.  When He returns, there will be no question!  EVERY knee will bow and EVERY tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.  But for most it will be too late.  They will meet Him as Judge rather than Savior and Lord.

Do you know Jesus Christ today?  Have you escaped the corruption that is in the world today because of sinful desires?  Turn your heart and mind toward Jesus and know that new life is God's gift!  As we see new life spring up around us in the coming weeks, until Jesus returns there is time to discover this new life as the Spirit of God works through His Word to convict people of sin and of the perfect righteousness needed to stand before God ... a righteousness that can be received only by faith in Jesus.  

THIS is the good news we proclaim every day!  May God give you ears to hear!!  And for those who know Jesus as Savior and Lord, seek Him, love Him, worship Him and give thanks to the Father for His grace to YOU!!  

Monday, May 3, 2021

Our Nation Needs the Gospel!

Godlessness destroys nations.  History records the demise of every civilization, no matter how powerful and indestructible it may have appeared.  The United States is no exception.  Listen to what the Apostle Paul spoke to the men of Athens concerning the "unknown god" that was among their objects of worship:

"The God who made the world and everything in it, being Lord of heaven and earth, does not live in temples made by man, nor is He served by human hands, as though He needed anything, since He Himself gives to all mankind life and breath and everything.  And He made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined allotted periods and the boundaries of their dwelling place, that they should seek God, and perhaps feel their way toward Him and find Him.  Yet He is actually not far from each one of us, for 'In Him we live and move and have our being', as even some of your own poets have said, 'For we are indeed His offspring.'  Being then God's offspring, we ought not to think that the divine being is like gold or silver or stone, an image formed by the art and imagination of man.  The times of ignorance God overlooked, but now He commands all people everywhere to repent, because He has fixed a day on which He will judge the world in righteousness by a man whom He has appointed; and of this He has given assurance to all by raising Him from the dead!"  - Acts 17:24-31

The "man," of course is Jesus, the Christ, the Messiah, God's anointed King, true God in human flesh!  We live in what the Bible calls "the day of salvation," (II Corinthians 6:2), the time between the first and second coming of Jesus when Christ has sent out His ambassadors to proclaim the message of "repentance for the forgiveness of sins."  Jesus said, "Repent! For the kingdom of God is at hand."  He said, "Repent, or you shall likewise perish (in your sin)."  Jesus did NOT accept people as they were!  He gave them His Spirit and performed heart surgery and then they "came as they were" outwardly, with a new heart, a new mind and a new will, and became followers of Jesus, now seeking to obey HIS Word and God's commands out of thanksgiving to God for His amazing grace.

A false gospel has replaced the true Gospel in our nation and around the world and it is leaving people in the depths of their sin and deceiving them by telling them that "God" (whoever or whatever they believe to be "god") loves them and all is well.  This "gospel" presents no standard for righteousness before a holy God and no need to repent or confess sin.  This "gospel" is like poison water and it is 100% fatal to those who "drink the koolaid!"  It leaves out Jesus and it leaves out the cross!  Jesus now becomes just another "religious leader" who can be quoted ... albeit from a book that you can't trust because it starts out by saying that God created everything ... a fact those without the Spirit of God must refuse to accept because it makes them accountable to their Creator!!

Every true Christian should be speaking out against this false gospel.  Remember what Paul wrote to the Galatians:  "I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting Him who called you in the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel - not that there is another one, but there are some who trouble you and want to distort the Gospel of Christ.  But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach to you a gospel contrary to the one we preached to you, let him be accursed!" (Galatians 1:6-8).

Some were perverting the Gospel by saying that you could earn salvation by your own works.  Today's perversion is even worse, because it declares that God loves everyone, everyone goes to heaven eventually, and you can believe in ANY "god" or even no god at all, and you are still OK.  Deception works because those being deceived don't know they are being deceived!  So we worry about people dying of physical disease and argue about which lives matter when literally ... yes, literally, billions of people around the world and millions in our own nation face the wrath of Almighty God, the one true God, for eternity!  Shame on pastors and other Christian leaders and those who stay in churches where this false gospel is being proclaimed.  Interfaith dialogue and the acceptance of all kinds of sin are rampant IN the visible church today!  It is a disgrace and a slap in the face of God!!  He will not be mocked!

Do you know what would fix our cities and schools?  The Gospel!  Do you know what could transform our jails and prisons?  The Gospel!  No, not everyone is going to believe.  God knows those who are His and He gives new life to all whom He has given to the Son.  How?  Through the Gospel.  Where the Gospel is proclaimed and believed even by a remnant of people lawlessness decreases, for the power of the LIGHT displayed by obedient Christians bears fruit and influences society.  While some pray for "revival," I pray that preachers and teachers would turn back to the Gospel because it is the only message that carries with it the power to bring revival, which begins among God's people.  The "lukewarm church" will be vomited out of Jesus' mouth!!  It's time to FIRE UP!!!

If you or anyone else is attending a "church" that does not call people to repent and trust in Christ alone what are you doing??  The lawlessness we see around us is because the true Gospel is not being proclaimed in churches and communities around our nation ... the Gospel that confronts people with their sin and offers God's grace and forgiveness through faith in Jesus Christ.  Where people are allowed to remain in their sin undisturbed the Gospel is not being proclaimed.  I tell people that I preach to myself because I need to hear God's Word every day.  Paul wrote to Timothy that, "All Scripture is breathed out by God and is profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction and for training in righteousness, that the man (and woman) of God may be complete (mature), equipped for every good work" (II Timothy 3:16-17).  Did you hear that?  The Word of God is profitable not only for teaching but for reproving and rebuking and correction and training in what is right in God's eyes.  You and I NEED to know what GOD says in His Word.

If people really wanted to offer the possibility of change for communities and our nation, they would call in Gospel preachers and fill auditoriums and stadiums and preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  That would mean declaring all other religions to be false and confronting people with the reality of their spiritual condition apart from God's grace in Christ, and that most certainly would offend people.  Those who are preaching "social justice" in place of the Gospel in our cities are a huge part of the problem.  The true Gospel calls people to be obedient citizens, submitting to rightful laws and willing to face the consequences when they break them.  Where is that message from pastors and other Christian leaders?  Instead, they justify criminal behavior in order to promote "victimhood" and shout "racism" from the mountaintops in order to actually produce rebellion without control.  It is like starting a wildfire, knowing it will spread and having no plan to put it out!!

Our nation needs the Gospel!!  Jesus Christ is Lord!  It is not up for a vote.  One day soon every knee will bow and every tongue will confess that truth ... and for those who have not believed in Him there will be eternal judgment from the God they did not know.  So long as I have breath, I will proclaim the one and only true Gospel, the only message that IS "the power of God for salvation to those who believe!"  What will YOU do?  What ARE you doing?  Every believer is called to testify!

We are now in the fourth week of a series of messages entitled, "You Are My Witnesses," here at Lighthouse.  Go to our website at lighthouse-ministries.org and listen to God's Word.  Find hope for yourself and for others to whom God may be sending YOU!!  No one and no thing can deliver you from God's just judgment against sin ... only Jesus ... when you repent and believe.  The Spirit of God may even be using these words to call someone today!  It is not MY Word that has the power to change human hearts, but GOD's Word.  And "how can they hear unless someone tells them?"  

"Is there hope for our nation?" some ask.  Barring a sudden reversal brought about by the preaching of the true Gospel of Jesus Christ the unequivocal answer is, "NO!"  Yet it is our responsibility not only to pray but to proclaim the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, so help us God ... because we who believe are witnesses for Jesus Christ and our nation needs the Gospel!

Saturday, April 10, 2021

"Live as people who are free ..."

"Live as people who are free, not using your freedom as a cover-up for evil, but living as servants of God.  Honor everyone.  Love the brotherhood.  Fear God.  Honor the emperor" (I Peter 2:16-17).

These verses appear in the context of God's call to His people to "be subject for the Lord's sake to every human institution, whether it be to the emperor as supreme, or to governors as sent by him to punish those who do evil and to praise those who do good.  For this is the will of God, that by doing good you should put to silence the ignorance of foolish people" (I Peter 2:13-15).

In our present circumstances we are being told that the Bible commands Christians to submit to government ... period.  Whatever the government says, we are told, we must do ... unless it directly comes into conflict with a clear command of Scripture.  This has led to churches closing and Christians being restricted in some places from even gathering for prayer or Bible study in their homes.  It began with mask mandates and is now moving to vaccination cards.  These topics are even dividing Christians as some believe Scripture demands an almost absolute obedience and submission to government, while others believe there are limitations but do not know where to draw the line.

First of all, the Bible does NOT teach total or absolute submission to government, because to do so would place the government above God. There are times when we must say, as Peter and the apostles did, "We must obey God rather than men" (Acts 5:29).  Romans 13:1-7 and I Peter 2:13-17 are being used in Canada AGAINST the pastor who refused to agree not to preach at the church he is serving and so was placed in jail.  The authorities just placed a fence around the church this week to keep people out!!  Who is using these verses to condemn him?  Other pastors!!!  These two passages do NOT give the government authority over the Church.  They instruct Christians to live as good citizens, obeying the laws of the state ... where the state has rightful authority over its citizens.  When governors and rulers break the laws of the government itself, or made demands that are contrary to God's Word, Christians have no God-mandated command to submit to the whims of a person simply because they have a position of authority.

So what did God mean when the Spirit inspired Peter to write, "Honor everyone.  Love the brotherhood.  Fear God.  Honor the emperor"??  Read it a few times and realize that God is not saying, "No matter what the 'emperor' does or says, you must honor what he/she does or says."  That would be to approve of evil, which we must never do.  As followers of Jesus we must show "honor," respect, to everyone, so far as possible ... EVEN to the emperor.  But we must LOVE the brotherhood (fellow believers), and we must FEAR God!  Do you see how people have twisted this by pulling out the words, "honor the emperor," as though that is what God is telling us to do in every circumstance.  We must show honor to the position because the position is ordained by God.  Christians are never commanded to honor evil people or evil actions.  Nor are we called to submit to every dictate of those who are in authority over us if it is contrary to law and to conscience.

I hear people say that they can "get used to wearing a mask."  "What's the big deal?" people ask.  The answer:  your God-given freedom as a child of the King!  "Live as people who are free!"  Free from what?  Sin and its consequences.  I have to answer to my Father in heaven and I am subject to my Lord, Jesus Christ.  Since it has been shown that all people wearing a mask does little if anything to "slow the spread" of this or any other virus, we are free before God to decide for ourselves if it is healthy for us to wear one.  I speak for those who are forced to wear one at work all day and for children who are forced to wear one in school, and for passengers on airplanes and other places where people are not being asked to wear one, but forced to wear one.  The consequences of wearing a mask all day for some of these is both physical and psychological/emotional.  But it is more than that.  It is an acknowledgment of governmental authority that goes beyond that given it by God.  And you should be aware that human nature will always take more and more and more power if given the opportunity.

All Christians, and especially Christian leaders, are supposed to seek wisdom from God.  To concede such authority to government is not wise and is not mandated by Romans 13, I Peter 2 or any other passage of Scripture.  Jesus said that we should give to Caesar what is Caesar's and to God what is God's.  My health and well-being belongs to God, not to government.  The same is true with the vaccine.  I have never seen, in my seventy years of life, such a concerted effort on the part of people from every walk of life, including the religious community, to shame and guilt people into getting a vaccine that may or may not be good for your health, either in the short-term or in the future.  This should be your choice.  The arrival of a "vaccination card" is the next step in robbing people of the free exercise not only of religion, but of life in God's world.  Travel, activity and even purchasing (buying and selling) are being targeted as being restricted to people who have "complied," who have submitted to government mandates.

I believe one of two things is going to happen over the next year or few years:  either we will move past this and return to a time where we will be free to make these decisions for ourselves once again ... OR the restrictions will become more severe, there will be another virus or another disease, or some other reason for government to "clamp down" on the freedom of its "subjects."  And this will lead ultimately, in a short amount of time (5-10 years??), to the worst time in human history, as economies collapse, lawlessness continues to increase, poverty, shortages and starvation become virtually worldwide, and the governments of the world unite in a global attempt to produce "stability," with the arrival of a one-world government, headed by the Antichrist.  Yes, people are ready.  The world is waiting with open arms. 

And they will arrive at a place where they believe they have succeeded.  Finally, "there is peace and security," they will say.  And "then sudden destruction will come upon them" (I Thessalonians 5:3).  But notice verse 4:  "But YOU are not in the darkness, brothers (believers), for that day to surprise YOU like a thief."  Surely, you can see this day coming.  But listen to God's call in verses 5-6:  "For you are all children of light, children of the day.  We are not of the night or of the darkness.  So then let us not sleep, as others do, but let us keep awake and be sober."

Perhaps you believe it is loving others to wear a mask and submit to other governmental dictates that go beyond their God-given authority to punish those who do evil and to reward those who do good (read I Peter 2:13-14 and Romans 13:3-5 again).  But is condoning the removal of personal freedom really "loving your neighbor"?  Is going along because you have been made to feel that you must really what God is calling His people to do?  It has already led to shutting down churches and eliminating Christian fellowship and corporate worship, things that God commands His people to do.  All in the name of "safety."

My comfort, and I pray yours, is that my God reigns!  By His grace and strength I will stand, and I pray you will, too, upon the unchanging truth of His Word, looking to Jesus for wisdom to navigate these waters and to be faithful to Him.  Do not be blind to the attempts of evil powers and people to take control of your life.  "Live as people who are free, not using your freedom as a cover-up for evil (for doing what is contrary to GOD's commands), but living as servants of God."  

Monday, March 29, 2021

"Putting an end to RACISM!!"

"We need to do SOMETHING to end the 'systemic racism' of our society and to promote 'equity' for all people!"  That's what we're being told.  Yet the very people who want us to "do something" are doing everything they can to make matters worse by refusing to see their own racism!  You don't combat racism (if that's really what you want to do), by declaring that everyone who doesn't agree with you is a racist.  You don't fight racism by jumping to the conclusion that because some "white people" are racist, the majority of white people are racist ... if not all.  You don't fight racism by judging the thoughts and motives of those who have different political views than those you have.  You don't defeat racism, prejudice, abusive treatment, and more, by attempting to treat the symptoms, by showing favoritism, by demanding reparations for past sins on a national level, by convincing people they are victims, by handing out money, by talking about "social justice," as though passing a few laws can effect the kind of change that is needed in our society.  So what do we do??  "We need to do SOMETHING!"

As a white, Christian, male (strike three in some people's eyes), some would probably tell me I need to just be quiet because until I confess my own "privilege" and take a knee before the American flag and admit that "black lives matter," I am part of the problem.  Saying that I believe that ALL lives matter isn't good enough, even though I believe that is what the Bible says.  I have never doubted that black lives matter.  Why?  Because I know that all men, women, boys and girls are spiritual beings, created in the image of God.  GOD is the Giver of LIFE, and HE alone determines the value of life.  As a pastor (strike four to some people), I long for people to know the freedom that comes only from knowing Jesus Christ.  I know that God sent His Son to gather to Himself "a chosen race," a remnant, from every people, tribe, nation and tongue.  I have neither the right nor the desire to discriminate between one race or another.  God tells me there are two groups of people in the world:  those who know Jesus and those who don't.  Those who know Jesus have, by His grace alone, been redeemed by the blood of Christ shed on the cross, and by faith have received forgiveness and life.  Those who do not know Jesus will perish in their sin unless they hear the Gospel and, by the power of the very Spirit of God, are born again and believe in Him.  Thus I labor to share the Gospel and support the work of sharing the Gospel of Jesus Christ around the world, to every people, tribe, nation and tongue, because "there is no other name under heaven, given among men by which we must be saved" (Acts 4:12).

By God's amazing grace we live in a nation of opportunity.  Those who have gone before us fought for freedom for all, and there is a reason why people from all over the world want to come to our country:  because they see opportunity for a "better life."  They USED to believe they could come here and work hard and make a good life for themselves and their families.  But those who demand we must do something about racism are now working to take that dream away from them and from many who have lived here all their lives, because they want to GIVE them everything for free and so give a "minimum" standard of life away to EVERYBODY ... and then leave them "at the bottom" of our society to "work for us," so long as they vote a certain way.  "Government will take care of you" has now been offered as a substitute for "the American Dream."

You see, the original "American Dream" had something that the current "American Dream" that is being offered doesn't have:  belief in the God of the Bible, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.  Because He is the Creator of the world and of human beings (a fact now denied in our schools and in many "churches"), God knows what people need and what makes them free.  He even knows what will change human hearts from their sinful selfishness to godly love that offers a "hand up" to people, not just a "hand out."  If you really want to "do SOMETHING" about racism (which most people don't), you must begin here, with the spiritual problem with which every person, no matter what their race, is born:  DEATH ... spiritual death that leaves us in such a state of selfishness that no one matters but ME!!  Those who are spiritually dead don't honestly believe that ANY life matters, because they refuse to acknowledge that THIS life is not all there is.  It is "the blind leading the blind."

As we enter into what some call the Christian "holy week," few will grasp the reality that knowing the one true God, believing in His Son Jesus Christ (eternal God in the flesh), and living by the power of His Spirit, is the only hope for putting an end to racism.  When you know your own sin and believe that God sent His Son to save all who believe in Him, you understand that you are not better than anyone else.  "All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God" (Romans 3:23).  And "the wages of sin is death ... BUT the gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord!" (Romans 6:23).

Jesus came to reconcile to the Father a remnant from every people, tribe, nation and tongue.  How do you put an end to racism?  There is really only one way:  "Preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ!"  Those who are truly followers of Jesus are not racists.  We are not "bigots," we're not prejudiced.  We believe everyone should have equal rights under the law.  Yet here again, people are not crying out for "equality," they want "equity."  Nowhere in the Bible or in God's plan is there anything about everyone having the same "stuff."  It isn't in there!!  Those who demand "equity" are teaching people to hate this nation, to hate their neighbor, to feel oppressed, and to live like victims, instead of people who are created to be what God calls them to be.  Having no identity in Christ, they have no power to overcome because they remain spiritually dead, unable and unwilling to do for themselves what others cannot do for them: trust God, love others, believe He is with them, work hard, and live to praise the One who gave them life.  This is what all churches ought to be preaching and teaching because this is what God says in His Word.  "Stop feeling sorry for yourself.  Get up every morning desiring to serve the Lord.  Look for the opportunities He has placed before you and use the gifts He has given you to serve HIM by serving others.  He will provide and He will make a way.  Give thanks for every blessing and trust Him for tomorrow" (Read Matthew 6:19-21, 25-34).

You know your life matters when you know that God paid the highest price possible to "purchase" you to be one of His blood-bought children through the sacrifice of His Son on the cross.  You know your life has meaning when you are living for Jesus and you start living like a "victor" rather than a "victim."  You find joy and hope and peace every day when you trust your Father in heaven to walk through this life with you, no matter what your circumstances, and you know your future is in His hands, both in this life and in the life to come.  

By now you probably realize that WE will never put an end to racism. The best we can do as followers of Jesus is live godly lives in obedience to the God who has shown US mercy and grace, and then pass it on.  We must live to encourage those around us to do the same, and where we CAN speak, even in the political realm, we must speak God's truth, even though doing so will be seen by some people as being "hateful or bigoted," because we must point out sin in order to lead people to repent and believe in Christ.  It's who we are.  It's why we are here.  "You are the light of the world ... let your light shine before others, so they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven" (Matthew 5:14,16; see also Ephesians 5:1-21).

I will rejoice this week in remembering the sacrifice of Jesus Christ on the cross for all who believe, and I will thank God that by His grace alone I am one of them.  I will rejoice in knowing that my Savior rose from the dead and ascended into heaven, where He is now seated at the Father's right hand, reigning over all things until He comes again to gather His Church to Himself, and to bring true justice to all by carrying out God's judgment upon the nations, upon all those who have rejected Him and His Father and the testimony given by His Spirit for almost 2,000 years.  And yes, I will grieve that so many do not yet know the love of Christ, and so as long as God gives me breath I will do my part to tell another one, or two, or ten, or a hundred.  

Will you join me?  All who believe in Jesus will one day live in a world without racism.  Until then, may our Father in heaven give us wisdom as we set our hearts on Jesus and live to honor Him in all we say and do.  Pray for those who know Jesus Christ as they labor in every area of life, including politics.  Pray for those in law enforcement, who deal with the worst of human nature, with people who often are living without hope and without God in the world.  Pray for the true Church, those who stand upon God's Word, to stand firm on the truth, as many around us declare our call to repent and believe in Jesus Christ is itself "hate speech."  

And finally, celebrate Jesus' resurrection every day by rejoicing in God's love, praying for all He has promised, and giving thanks for every blessing ... for He really is GOOD ... ALL the time!!!

Thursday, March 25, 2021

"The Mark of the Beast"

Jesus Christ is returning to earth to gather His people and to bring judgment on the rest of mankind.  The entire history of mankind, recorded in the Bible, the very Word of God, reveals God's plan step by step.  Human history goes back approximately 5500-6000 years.  Evolution is a lie.  Creation by the Word of God is true.  Before God said, "Let there be light!" He saw the end from the beginning.  Nothing surprises God ... nothing!!

That means 2020 was not a surprise, and neither is 2021.  The above paragraph includes several statements of truth, and yet many of those statements are rejected by the majority of the human race alive on the earth today.  Deception is found at every level of human existence.  If you don't believe this, you are being deceived.  Jesus Christ is Lord ... yet another fact rejected by the great majority of people on this planet. People will believe in UFOs before they will believe in Jesus.

And we have now been presented the evidence that people will do virtually anything to "feel safe."  So cruise lines will now REQUIRE vaccinations ... and that will be only the beginning.  Over the past few years several thousand people in Sweden have received microchips implanted in their hands/wrists with all of their personal information recorded in it.  They can use them to purchase anything.  No more credit cards, passwords, etc.  How convenient can you get?!!  And the technology is being used to some degree in Spain, France, Germany, Japan and China.

But wait, here is the best part:  if you are ever in an accident, or you have a medical emergency and cannot communicate, the chip will communicate for you!  This is for your good ... REALLY!!  This is for your safety ... REALLY!!  There is so much fraud and identity theft going on that you would be foolish not to protect your finances.  The answer??  A microchip.  Still think this sounds far-fetched??  Are you sleeping?

The Antichrist will have a "Vice President," a helper to oversee the earth's population.  This "false prophet" and the system around these two evil personages will cause all, "small and great, both rich and poor, both free and slave, to be marked on the right hand or the forehead, so that no one can buy or sell unless he has the mark, that is, the name of the beast (the global economic system) or the number of its name" (Revelation 13:16-17).

It will happen, perhaps sooner than most imagine ... and truly, there is nothing you or I can do about it.  "How close are we?" I am sometimes asked.  God knows.  We who believe God's Word to be true are told to be ready and to be living for Christ and proclaiming His kingdom until He comes.  So what do we do?  We tell people about the one true God, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.  We study God's Word so we know what to expect as we see these things unfold before our eyes.  We preach Christ and Him crucified and live as followers of Jesus Christ, gathering with those who believe in Jesus and encouraging one another.  We stand firm in our faith, believing the Bible to be God's Word and growing in our knowledge and understanding of God's will and purpose.  We reach out to others in the name of Christ, showing God's love and sharing the Gospel, calling people to repent and believe, trusting God to bring new life to those whom He has chosen to be His.  Jesus knows His sheep and His sheep will hear the Good Shepherd's voice.  This is no time to stop testifying, to be quiet, to panic, to give up!

We are not here to save the planet or to change the world.  We are here to preach Christ, the One who is the Way and the Truth and the Life.  NO ONE comes to the Father except through Him.  Jesus entered into Jerusalem on the colt of a donkey ... last time.  The next time He will come on a white horse from His throne in heaven.  The first time He was crucified ... according to God's plan to redeem His chosen ones through the sacrifice of His Son.  The next time every knee will bow and every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ IS Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

What will happen next?  You can read it in His book.  You NEED to read it in His book.  What will the "mark of the beast" be?  Watch.  We may already know.  God DOES know.  To those who know Jesus, He says, "Fear not!  I am with you!!"