Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Fervent Prayer

 Back to the Basics 

The Church has seen some amazing works and miracles of God throughout her history, from the book of Acts on through many persecutions, revivals and awakenings and missionary activity. 

During these times, the Church did not have a lot of the physical trappings that we enjoy in modern times in Western Nations. They didn't have computers like the one I am typing on and they didn't have as many commentaries and books necessarily, and they didn't have a lot of the facilities and media than many have access to today. 

What kind of resources did they have? What kind of methods or education did they avail themselves of? 

In my own reading, and research on many of the old timers-it seems that there was almost nothing more emphasized and exercised in the man of God's life that Prayer. 

When you ask someone for counsel on something that weighs heavy on your heart and their answer is 'Pray more'  it is very easy to think...well, I already have......but if you take a look at the prayer lifestyles of people like David Brainerd, George Mueller, John R. Rice, Jonathan Edwards,...people like that, not to mention the Apostles and Christ Himself-what we think is a lot of hearty prayer may not be as much in quality or quantity as we have previously estimated.  

When it comes to "Getting Back to the Basics" Prayer comes to my mind first. There are other fundamentals too, but for today I'm just going to meditate on my prayer life.  

Thursday, December 18, 2014

What is a Christian?

I think Christians in the USA are constantly misunderstood, misrepresented and, often-misguided. 

As far as the raging, radical leftist is concerned-we are nothing but political ideologues pushing the agenda of the religious right. And as far as many average Americans are concerned, we are out of touch, judgmental hypocrites. 

Part of the problem is that we are letting the world, the flesh and the devil make the rules. We're allowing the secular media to push their own narrative and falling right in line with it. We're religiously accepting the left versus right dynamic that so many in America have come to define themselves by. 

But as citizens of Heaven, as ambassadors for Christ. We are not supposed to be defined or confined by the identities and definitions and priorities of the world. We are NOT here to be moralists, we are not called to preach a moral code or to promote a culture.(No, that doesn't mean that we should exclude ourselves from any type of political contributions or that we have no right to have an opinion) but those things are not what define us, they are not our faith, they are not our mission and they certainly aren't our identity. IF, for example I am pro-life, I'm not pro-life because of party affiliation or political persuasion, I am pro-life because God loves everyone and every human being is made in His image and God has given His own Son to save each individual. BUT my mission in life, the reason that God has put me on this earth as a vessel for the Spirit of Christ is not so that I may end abortion but so that I can proclaim the Gospel. 

My point is this-the root word of "Christian" is "Christ." Our message is Jesus. Our purpose is Jesus. We are not here to promote ourselves or even our ministries. We are not here to appear to be more righteous than others or to enforce morals and righteous living on other people. We are not here to condemn or put down anyone. We are simply hear so the message can be proclaimed that ALL men and women are sinners,and that Jesus Christ can save us so we can have fellowship with our Creator.  

The world is constantly distracting us with fights and debates that are endless and fruitless so that the real reason we are here will be neglected. I can tell a sinner all day long what they already know, that they are broken. But it's more important that I admit that I am just as much in need as they are and point them to the only one who can make our broken-ness whole, Jesus Christ. 

I'm not talking in the least bit about compromising anything that we believe. I am simply saying that we need to have our focus where it belongs because any cause that is not the cause of Christ, will end up being a waste of time. 

And if we as "Christians" are defined by anything other than "Christ" than just what kind of Christians are we? 

Thursday, January 23, 2014

The World Teaches Self-Esteem but All It is Is Narcissism, the Golden Rule is The Real Solution

 We have three direction in which we relate, we relate to our Creator, we relate to other people and we relate to ourselves. Having the right perspective about all 3 of them is extremely important. We need to have things in the proper balance and organized as God would want them to be.

#1, God simple has to be number one. If we are disciples of Christ, we have to deny self and take up our cross so we know we cannot put ourselves first, but Jesus also mentions how we must not love mother or father or brother more than Him so others must also find themselves UNDER God on our list of priorities. If there is a conflict between your neighbors will, and God's will-you need to choose God's every time!

#2, Our perspective on our own Self must be appropriate. We must realize that we are valuable not only because we are created in the image of God but also because we are redeemed by a high price, the blood of Jesus Christ and we are His possession. Therefore being a good steward of your own self, is simply taking care of a prized possession of God. So having dignity and being responsible isn't selfish, it is respecting your owner, God. 

And when we do not respect ourselves, that bad perspective usually leaks into our relationships with others. In other words, those who don't respect themselves usually don't respect anyone else either, and we know, according to the Scriptures we are supposed to be kind, courteous and charitable to others. 

#3, Others. We are to love our neighbor. We are to esteem others better than ourselves. A godly life is a life of service, kindness, hospitality, mutual respect and love. We need to treat others as we would like to be treated. We need to be honest with others. We need to be gentle with others. We need to be considerate of others.

If you realize that God is of the utmost value and worthy of all worship, that we are valuable because we belong to God and that others are valuable because they are His creations and He loves them, then all of our relationships, our self-image and our daily interactions in this world, will be what they are supposed to be. 

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Christians, what they were, what they are.

2 Timothy 3:5 Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away.

 There have been times that I've wondered why Christians in America seem to argue so much. 

Now don't get me wrong here, I don't think debate and conflict are good things and I desire to see more unity, I truly do. But I had a thought tonight. One of the reasons for a divide among Church-goers and self-proclaimed Christ-followers in our nation is this--there is some serious confusion in postmodern America about the nature and definition of Bible-believing Christianity.

 The early New Testament Church was marked by suffering and sacrifice. The Christians we read about in Acts face torture, imprisonment, execution, extreme poverty and war. Yet never do we find in the book of Acts any theologian tackling the 'problematic topic' of the suffering of the Church. That's because it was not viewed as problematic, it didn't need to be explained away, on the contrary, the early Christians thought it was a duty as well as a privilege to suffer for the name of Jesus Christ.  They witnessed the power of God, they saw Him working miracles, yet they were not put out by the fact the our Lord did not always do a miracle to deliver them from persecution. When He did-they rejoiced and praised God and when they were counted worthy to suffer, they also rejoiced and praised God.

Now, sadly, I must compare and contrast. Today's American Church considers not persecution as a sign of God's truth but they instead consider health, money and status all to be signs of God's favor. Now there is nothing wrong with good health, there's nothing wrong with money and there's nothing wrong with being a respected member of society as long as you didn't have to sell your soul for it. But none of those things are sure signs of godliness. If physical prosperity was a tell-tale sign that you were right with God, than Christ would not have been right with God. 

The history of the Church, the true Church, the faithful followers of the Apostles doctrine, has been predominantly traced by the shedding of blood. Much like God's Chosen People, the Jews, Bible-believing Christians have been pretty consistent targets of persecution. From a worldly perspective, all of the physical suffering of our forefathers could be taken as a sign that we are not the true people of God and that God has not blessed us, but quite the contrary--God has counted His people worthy to suffer for His name and they will receive a crown and reward for their testimony and witness. Some of God's most powerful witnesses have gone to the stake, and to the lions of the coliseum, and to prison camps and death camps. We look to these people as heroes of the faith-heroes not failures. They may not have ever worn an expensive suite, or signed someone's Bible or held a crusade that was aired on television but they are our heroes, the true worshipers of the true God. 

So, to make this clear-the Christianity that Chinese Christians are practicing secretly in house Churches, and that Pakistanis are practicing in hazard to their own lives....may be a little different than the nominal Christianity being practiced by huge amounts of people in the United States. And it is for this reason that some of us Preachers may seem a bit cantankerous and argumentative to you. It isn't that we are mean people, looking to start a fight, It is that we are preachers of the true Christian faith not a form of godliness that denies the power thereof. And we are trying to speak the truth openly, to open eyes to the difference between cultural, nominal, no-conviction Christianity and Scriptural, historical, Spirit-filled, authentic Christianity. 

We are living in a Nation that has been over-run with unclean spirits and doctrines of devils. Where MANY MANY people are two-fold children of the devil. You can't hold hands with Jesus AND Satan, regardless of what Hollywood, celebrities, famous preachers and popular opinion may have to say. If the world once found us so offensive they threw our families to lions and wild beasts for entertainment, what makes you think our faith is compatible with popular culture today? If your faith is compatible with the filth, and abomination and deamon-worship that we see in popular culture, then you have been deceived into thinking you are practicing the ancient faith of our forefathers, but you aren't. 

Come out from among them and be ye separate.

Now I know there are probably some reading this, who are concerned about 'legalism.' That is a perfectly legitimate discussion for all of us to have together as Christians, but I assure you, realizing that we should not worship devils or participate in the occult and in immorality, is not legalism.  

Thursday, September 19, 2013

The Road To Apostasy

 The PRESSURE put on Christians who desire Holiness to conform to the contemporary Church is really something. It's a form of godliness that denies the power thereof. It's a bunch religious platitudes dressing up a religion of worldliness and carnality and popularity and sensationalism. 

It's a Church service where people may often use the term "Spirit" yet the Holy Ghost never leads them to go ONE MINUTE over their allotted time. The Holy Ghost doesn't seem to convict very much or cause change or rock the boat? 

A Preacher is not only not ALLOWED to raise his voice or offend the sensibilities of the sensitive congregants but he can't even name a single sin or do his God-given duty without being persecuted. Are we not supposed to be BIBLE -BELIEVERS?

Popular Contemporary American Christianity does not seem to measure up against BIBLE Christianity. DO you think the Apostle Paul was a rock-star, dressed in the latest trendy garb of the area and that he would rely on technology and stage-presence to convey the message of the Gospel? 

Contemporary Christians seem to feel they are so evolved and enlightened that they understand things that the old-time religion just didn't get. But what are the RESULTS? The old time religion brought about 2 great awakenings, prohibition, the Constitution, worldwide missions, families healed and reconciled, crime rates dropping etc. Has the new-fangled religion done any of that? When Billy Sunday came to town there were bars and saloons that went out of business! When D. L. Moody came to town, there were catholic clergy shaking in their there any such impact when Joel Osteen comes to town....his people will attend his service AND attend the local bars....the fruit isn't there. But oh the attendance is there so they must be right!? 

Everybody just GUSHES about the 'worship' but where there is worship there is devotion and love and since you can't say ONE single word of instruction or rebuke to these folks and find repentance, on the contrary they get offended, seems to me that no matter how jealously and passionately and nastily that they defend it-it is false fire. 

If this form of Christianity can't even take a loving rebuke or instruction from a man of God, how on earth could it be equal with the Christianity of the folks in the book of Acts who faced savage persecution and tribulation? If we cannot SUFFER through a long CHurch service how on earth can we suffer through tribulation? 

If WORSHIp was nothing more than a 7/11 song that repeats itself over and over than why did the folks in Israel have to worship through SACRIFICE and giving and devotion? This NEW faith is shallow, carnal, worldly, physical and full of false promises and fake smiles. 

Elijah wasn't popular. Jeremiah wasn't popular. John the Baptist wasn't popular with King Herod. Billy Sunday wasn't very popular with the liquor crowd. But we think if a preacher isn't popular with God's ENEMIES> that he is out of the will of God and needs to grow out of his old school fundamentalist ways> 

I lack the words to express my feelings on this subject. The more that I walk with God, the more I see His holiness and that I do not love Him enough, yet I see a huge host of my brethren that seem to think we need to TONE IT DOWN a notch?!?!?!?! Tone it down? We have toned things down quite enough folks. If the contemporary Church tones it down any further they'll have no message LEFT! 

I am absolutely convinced that this NIV toting, a-doctrinal, holiness-hating, unscrupulous 'church' will end up accepting the antichrist because they have no love for the truth. they love popularity. they love psychology, they love money, they love shiny suits and recognition and being trendy, but the love of the Lord Jesus Christ and reverence for God and His Word seems to be lost. 

And in this pursuit of popularity and keeping up with the new times---this evangelical train-wreck should not be too surprised when one day, like her mother-the catholic church, their leaders, as the 'pope' just did will also declare that folks who don't even BELIEVE in Jesus Christ will go to Heaven. 

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Christ Transcends Culture

 There are a thousand years of Irish ancestors who would be ashamed of me because I have rejected the Catholic faith even though I believe in Jesus Christ. But I don't let that bother me for a second, my identity is not found in my Celtic blood or even in my American citizenship but in the Lord Jesus Christ who I am crucified with and risen in His likeness. I am one with Christ. I am indwelt by the Spirit of Christ. 

But though I understand that much, and though I identify with God and am fiercely loyal to the Good Book before any other philosophy or opinion of man, I have often found that without realizing it, I have adopted and adapted myself to ideas and pressures from my the culture and peers I am surrounded with. And the truth of God's Word is completely untouched and untainted and unaffected by the opinions, fads and trends of man. 

How many things that we find acceptable in our culture because they have been accepted that would in fact be considered and are considered abominable according to Scripture. 

Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever. He does not change who He is or what is right and wrong according to the opinions and popularities of mankind and culture. 

There is so much wisdom that we miss out on because we are blinded by our own cultures, our own background and our own habits and we do not/will not take a step back and examine our lives through the objective eyes of the Scripture and the Spirit of God. 

Some Asians think they have to be Buddhist, some Natives think they have to be Longhouse, some Europeans think they have to be Catholics, some Southern Americans are convinced they are born 'saved' but the fact is ALL of us have to embrace the truth of Jesus Christ regardless of our background. Jesus is not the God of the white man, or the God of the Jews, or the God of westerners, or easterners, He is GOD. 

Monday, August 26, 2013

Perspective on a Wicked Culture

 You ever consider what it would be like to live as a Christian in Corinth? Or to be one of the Christians living in the Roman Empire at the time when they were putting Christians to death for refusing to burn incense to the emperor? New Testament Christians lived in a time of many gods, much paganism, surrounded by occultic practices and sorcery and idol-worship. They had to be careful to refuse these evil influences and remain faithful to Christ.

If we were to look at a Christian in one of those cities in the New Testament, we would expect them NOT to take the local idols and unholy practices into their homes. We would be shocked if one of the people who Paul addressed his Epistles to was involved in the heathenism and idolatry of the wicked, pagan cultures that they lived in! 

Now here is the jump-----We Live In a wicked, pagan, idol and demon-infested Nation in these last days! And as Christians, we are not to partake or participate or be polluted by the evil influences and practices surrounding us. 

There are just as many, if not more, idols and unclean spirits in the country we are living in as there would be in the pagan societies that Christianity's earliest converts lived in. 

For some strange reason, we think that because we have re-labelled things, called them by different names, and categorized them differently, that something has changed but Nothing is new under the sun.

Let me try and spell this out.......We have re-named paganism and we now call it "Entertainment."  We now call idol-worship "Recreation." 

Talk about witchcraft---we turn on a little box in our homes and allow it IN OUR OWN CHRISTIAN SANCTUARY to swear at us, display and talk filthy and blaspheme and curse God and take His name in vain. 

We turn on another little box and let it play drums and chants that are exactly the same as the pagan beats that were used in the past to bring people into trances & call on evil spirits.             

I went to read the news today to hear about what is going on in Syria and was repeatedly confronted by advertisements, comments and pictures concerning the vile, immoral 'entertainment' performance by Miley Cyrus. So, all day long, millions of people have been repeatedly exposed to the immoral activity of one young lady through all different repetitive forms of media. How sad and how unprecedentedly evil. Hundreds of years ago an immoral act happened once, but now-with the help of media it is played over and over and over again so that scores of other people can partake in the sin. 

Let me say, I have ZERO interest in seeing what kind of foolish things Miley Cyrus or any other out of control celebrity is doing. I do pity her and pray that she gets saved. But I can't help but wonder how many people who have talked about her, gossiped about her and even ranted about her lack of morals, also took the time to stop and look at the pictures and footage...........hmmm. well guess what? If you did, you defiled YOURSELF too. 

Somehow we just seem to have forgotten that we can be defiled. You wouldn't draw pentagrams all over your walls or build an altar to some guru but yet you allow nakedness, perversion, cursing, idolatry and all sorts of other abominations and unclean things into your home and into your heart through the gates of your eyes! 

How can we be filled with the Holy Ghost if we are too full of the filth of the world? 

This is not legalism. This is perspective, which we have lost. We think as Americans we are somehow different and immune from the exact same battle that all of our forefathers had to face in EVERY culture and nation in which they lived. 

Wake Up! Wake up to WHERE we are. USA, 2013 is a Country that is over-run with immorality, abominations and foul spirits. So you have to be sober and vigilant if you want to stay clean and have victory! We aren't in Heaven yet folk, we are in Babylon, we are in Corinth, we are in Egypt, we are not in Heaven. and the 'entertainment' altar that these heathens worship at should not have a place in our lives! 

God help us!