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 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!!"


Friday, March 12, 2021

"Stop Lying to People!!!"

 Listening to many around me, including many politicians and the news media, I often feel like screaming, "Stop LYING to people!"  They can't hear me, of course, and even if they did they would ignore my pleas because in their current spiritual state they cannot "see" the truth or know the truth.  They are spiritually blind and unable to discern what is false from what is true.

What is worse is when the lies come from those who claim to be Christians, and even from those who claim to be pastors and teachers ... and professors and others.  A local university was on the news because some students on campus dared to state that LGBTQ is sin and to invite someone to enter into dialogue with them and try to convince them that they are wrong.  Of course the news media fully embraced the story and interviewed those who rallied to support "the LGBTQ community."  The president of the school quickly declared that while sexual intimacy is for a man and woman in marriage, he wants to make sure all of his students know they are loved.

It always comes down to this:  Love.  "We must love everyone because God loves everyone."  But what does "loving" someone mean?  Do you show someone you love them by lying to them?  Do you avoid telling them the truth because it will make them feel bad?  Is that really love? And what if the truth could actually set someone free from the deception in which they are living ... a deception that could have horrible consequences??

When it comes to LGBTQ being sin, the truth is that it is sin, that all sexual immorality of any kind is sin.  There are many heterosexual sins, including lust, pornography, abuse of various kinds, adultery and more.  The sin of those who "identify" as LGBTQ is not greater than any other kind of sin ... but it is sin.  To say otherwise is a lie and it leaves people to live IN their sin, rather than to turn from it.  Every person has temptations and all too often we act on them.  That's why God calls all people to repent, to turn from sin to righteousness.  And He tells us what righteousness in His sight looks like throughout His Word.

Following His resurrection Jesus sent His disciples out into the world to preach "repentance and forgiveness of sins" to all nations (Luke 24:47).  Earlier in Luke's Gospel he records Jesus saying, "Unless you repent, you will all likewise perish" (Luke 13:5).  To "repent" is to turn around.  It requires acknowledging your sin, seeking God's forgiveness through Jesus Christ, and desiring to live in obedience to God's commands.  God says a LOT about sexual immorality of all kinds in His Word because He knows it is one of the biggest temptations for many.  What God created to be beautiful and good as an expression of love between a man and a woman has been twisted and perverted because of the sinful nature within each one of us.

Love demands that we call people to repent and point them to the grace of God in Jesus Christ that offers forgiveness to the "worst sinner" ... which is ME!  Paul wrote in I Timothy 1:15-16:  "The saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am the foremost.  But I received mercy for this reason, that in me, as the foremost, Jesus Christ might display his perfect patience as an example to those who were to believe in him for eternal life."

There is good news here!  No one is beyond God's grace ... if and when they are convicted by the Holy Spirit of their sin and by the power of God they repent and believe.  God is more than able to save "the vilest offender who truly believes!" 

We in the Church must be willing to face the ridicule of those who accuse us of being unloving and hateful in order to expose the lies of the enemy and proclaim the truth that is able to set people free.  We will be persecuted, as the students were who stated "an inconvenient truth" on campus.  But we must speak, for we have been sent into the world to be light in the darkness.  Jesus says to us, "You are the salt of the earth, but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltiness be restored?  It is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trampled under people's feet.  You are the light of the world.  A city set on a hill cannot be hidden.  Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house.  In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father in heaven" (Matthew 5:13-16).

There is no greater "good work" than to love God because He first loved you, to stand upon His Word ... and to declare the truth concerning sin, righteousness and judgment (John 16:8), pointing people to the one source of forgiveness and life:  Jesus Christ!!

Wednesday, March 3, 2021

"So you want 'equality'??"

"Equal rights" has long been an issue, in our nation and in the nations of the world.  Those with power and money (the two almost always go together) have often sought to oppress those without power and money.  Yet, our nation, from the beginning, proposed a different template, one based on the unchanging Word of the one true God.  Understanding that government is not "above" God, or even above those being governed, our forefathers wrote "The Declaration of Independence," a document all but forgotten in this age of "ME first!"  

Many quote the idea that we have certain rights given by God, namely,  "life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness," but few know the context of this statement.  Let me share it here:

"When in the course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the power of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness. -- That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, -- That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness."

I share this quote from "The Declaration of Independence" for two reasons:  first, to point out the necessity of a standard that goes beyond the mere judgment of men to impose upon all mankind.  The writers appealed to "the laws of nature and of nature's God."  They then refer to our "Creator" as the one from whom our "inalienable rights" are received.  These rights can only be granted or taken away, therefore, by this God.  Truly, He is the God of creation, who alone established the "laws of nature."

My second reason for quoting these words is to point out what is missing and how inadequate human intentions and documents are to accomplish that "safety and happiness" that only God can provide.  What is missing in "The Declaration of Independence" and what is missing from the conversation of our Congress in the discussion of "The Equality Act" is the truth of man's condition and the need for confession of sin, repentance and faith in Jesus Christ!

Of course, one should not expect a society of men to have either the desire or the ability to establish the Kingdom of God.  The best we can hope for in this world is a nation where the majority of the people know their Creator, humble themselves before Him, and confess their DEPENDENCE upon Him.  That may have been the United States of America at one time, but it most certainly is not our nation today.

"Equality" is just the latest word to be redefined by those who foolishly imagine that the God our forefathers wrote about does not exist and that there are no consequences to their actions.  They do not realize that by their actions they are assuring the judgment of God upon this nation, and that the only possibility of even temporarily avoiding this sure and certain judgment is the cries for mercy from those of us who have been given LIFE and LIBERTY and HAPPINESS by God's grace through faith in Jesus Christ, whom we acknowledge as LORD!!  How long the Almighty God will withhold His judgment we do not know, but it will come.  It must come.

How then should we respond to such attempts by government to change the standards of "the Laws of Nature" that have been established by "Nature's God"??  We must not only speak out, but we must also point people to our Creator and to His Word, calling them to confess their sin, to repent and to believe in Jesus Christ.  We must speak of the coming judgment and urge people to "Repent! for the kingdom of God is at hand!!"  

When Isaiah saw the vision of God recorded in Isaiah 6, God sent Isaiah to a people who would not see and who would not believe.  Like Isaiah, we who believe today share God's truth among a people who are hostile to God and to His Son Jesus Christ and to His truth.  Apart from the Spirit working in them, they are spiritually dead and will remain so until or unless God Himself opens their eyes.  God knows those who are His and when the last one has placed his or her hope in Jesus Christ the trumpets will sound and the judgment of God will come, not only upon the United States, but upon the nations of the world.

Much must yet happen until that day ... but we are drawing closer with each passing hour.  It could be years, it could be months, it could be weeks or days before the countdown of the last seven years leading up to Jesus' return begins.  "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 17:30-31).  

Jesus is coming!  Are you ready???

Tuesday, February 23, 2021

"So many people ... so many needs ..."

People need the Lord!!!  And oftentimes, they need you and me!  All around us there are people with needs.  If you have a family, there are days, weeks, months when those in your immediate family and extended family keep you busy praying and trying to help in any way you can.  If you are part of a church family, the number of people with health needs, and a variety of other needs is almost endless ... and often many of the needs remain unspoken, so we pray for God's protection and guidance for our brothers and sisters in Christ as they navigate the waters of life.  And then there are the countless number of people we know in our communities and in other places around the world whose needs are at times hidden and at other times urgently on display.  In a moment when you or I may become overwhelmed by all the needs around us, someone may say, "I don't know how God does it!"  Which, of course, is a silly statement.  He IS God, after all!!

I have been "thoughtful" over the past week or so ... reflecting on the many people around me and the truth of my/our inability to meet even most, let alone all of those needs.  As someone said to me just today, "Men like to 'fix' things."  It's true, most of us do; and sometimes we can even make things worse by trying too hard to fix something that is beyond our ability to do.  After all, we are NOT God.  To be fair, women like to fix things, too.  At times we just go about it in different ways.  Sometimes people just need a listening ear and the knowledge that someone cares; that they are not alone in their struggle.  But even then, what people really need is HOPE!  Everybody needs hope.  You cannot live long without hope.

Most people, however, live without true hope.  Actually, most people fake it.  They pretend.  People "hope" they will avoid the worst of the many BAD things that can happen in any given moment, and when faced with real trials, sufferings and struggles of various kinds, they "hope" things will get better.  Despair sets in when people LOSE hope ... when they think things can't or won't get better.  That's where God comes in.  That's where faith in God comes in.  That's where faith in the one TRUE God comes in.

Sadly, many people (actually, MOST people), do not KNOW the one true God.  But for those who do, the words of the prophet Isaiah are exactly what you and I need to hear, and what we need to share, in those moments when life and the needs all around us seem overwhelming.  Listen as God speaks to those who needed hope through the words of the prophet Isaiah, in Isaiah 40.  Isaiah speaks of comfort for those who are God's people, who believe in Him, who know that He is the Creator of the heavens and the earth.  He points out the greatness of God that is beyond measure.  And then he asks a whole list of questions exalting the wisdom and power of God.  Read through Isaiah 40 until you get to verse 25, as God begins His conclusion with the following words:

"To whom then will you compare me, that I should be like him? says the Holy One.  Lift up your eyes on high and see:  who created these?  He who brings out their host by number, calling them all by name; by the greatness of His might and because He is strong in power; not one is missing. ...

Why do you say, O Jacob, and speak, O Israel, 'My way is hidden from the LORD, and my right is disregarded by my God'?   Have you not known?  Have you not heard?  The LORD is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth.  He does not faint or grow weary; His understanding is unsearchable.  He gives power to the faint, and to Him who has no might He increases strength.  Even youths shall faint and be weary, and young men shall fall exhausted; but they who wait for the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint" (Isaiah 40:25-31).

There is the hope every person needs, but most will never find, because they do NOT know the Holy One, the God of Israel, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, the Creator of the heavens and the earth ... YOUR Creator and mine!  As one who by His grace and the work of His Spirit knows this God, my burden for people is lifted by knowing that everyone I talk with needs one thing:  Hope in the Lord!  And what they NEED to hear, whether they know it or not, is that this almighty God has made a way for sinners like you and me to draw near to Him, to be adopted into His family and to live this life without fear, no matter what the need, the trial, the struggle we or they may be facing.  JESUS, the Christ, God's promised Savior and King, is the way to the Father, and when by His mercy He calls you to believe in Him, to confess your sin and your need, and to trust in Jesus for forgiveness and life ... when by grace you are adopted into HIS "forever family," HOPE is born; a hope that stands firm in the midst of every trial, every need.

People need the Lord!  And they need you and me to tell them about the God they don't know, or to remind them of the Savior they have received.  This is the "fix" they need.  It's the hope you and I need ... every moment of every day.  And GOD is able.  HE can handle what you and I can't.  Be an instrument of healing and hope by pointing people to Jesus and through Him to our Father in heaven.  Trust His Spirit to do the rest, according to the Father's will.  Sleep well ... Jesus is on the throne and the angels are still singing!!