A Modern Woman's Perspective On The Kingdom of God on Earth

Showing posts with label Call to Repentance. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Call to Repentance. Show all posts

July 22, 2024

Can America Turn Back From Its Sins and Return to the Ways of God?


I don't think anyone can deny that, in so many aspects, we are a divided country. It took only a couple of days before the vitriol began [again] after the near-assassination of a former President. The horror of that moment [and its implications for the nation] were lost in a rapid response of conspiracy theories, hate-filled speech, and the effort to cover up vital facts of exactly how this could happen.

The truth is that, no matter which side of the aisle you find yourself on, we as a people, increasingly don't trust those who govern us... or each other. I believe what has contributed to this division is that we have traded worship of our Holy God for the worship of a false god of politics. Too many, on either side, have put their trust and hope in people who pursue perversion, personal gain, and war. That being said, there is a spark of divine hope that is beginning to ignite a flame of Liberty, and bring us together [once again] as unified citizens, and I pray we fan that flame so that our nation can be redeemed for the Lord. 

But as we have seen throughout the history of mankind, we have a spiritual Enemy that promotes his agenda, tempting those who seek to separate themselves from their Creator, and resulting in God turning the rebellious over to reprobate minds. But first, let us properly understand what Romans 1:28 tells us: And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient [what ought not to be done]. That word, reprobate, comes from the Greek word Adôkimôs, which means "unapproved; rejected; worthless". Other meanings that have been attributed to it in our modern English are "morally depraved; unprincipled; bad". Ultimately, a reprobate mind is one that is given over to irrational thoughts and actions that are destructive not only to themselves, but to people around them. 

Additionally, it is important to note that it is God who gives them over to what they desire! This is a dangerous position to be in, yet time and again, the history of man has shown us that people have rejected their knowledge of God [who is Truth] in favor of succumbing to the tempting lies of Satan [for their own benefit]. They know the truth, but they willingly reject it. And God, in His sovereignty, casts them away, allowing them to reap the consequences of their choice to sin. We see it in the opening chapters of Genesis, and throughout the Bible, even to the closing chapters in Revelation -- from Abel, to the wicked kings of Israel, to those who, at the return of Christ, will still choose to side with Evil. It is important to recognize that although God gives these people over to their reprobate minds, He is not choosing to send them to hell -- they are sending themselves.

That's why it's important to recognize what is at the root of our national division. And let me be clear, I do not wish to condemn my fellow citizens with whom I disagree. On the contrary, it is my prayer that they recognize the lies they are believing and end their separation and isolation from God and His Truth. Let the scales fall from their eyes, and their hearts be transformed from stone to flesh! And remember, the consequences of the lies and idols they've chosen to put their faith in are not a foregone conclusion! The Good News of Jesus Christ is their hope to escape the repercussions of their false ideology.  We must continue to pray for our country!

Right now, I can see evidence of outbreaks of Revival in the souls of Christians across the land; just as I see strongholds of Rebellion rising up in response. We are definitely in a battle for the Spirit of this nation! So many are still blinded to their stubborness and pride. They certainly don't have a lack of information nor do they lack evidence that God is real, yet they will still choose to rebel and reject Him. And that inevitably results in God turning them over to their godless desires, and they will be declared unapproved, rejected, and worthless in the Kingdom of God.

So, how do we change the hearts and minds of our determinedly rebellious fellow citizens? Why are we Christians not able to turn the spiritual environment of our country around? In September, 2020, Evangelical Pastor Franklin Graham and Messianic Pastor Jonathan Cahn held an event on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., called "The Return". Tens of thousands attended and prayed for the spiritual and moral state of our country. Hopeful Christians declared that the fire of Revival would soon sweep our land. Millions of Americans were aware of 2 Chronicles 7:14, commanding us to humble ourselves, pray and seek the Lord's face, and turn from our wicked ways, which I have no doubt that millions were doing. Yet, here we are four years later, and we are stunned by the complicit actions of evil people to topple our nation.

What is the answer? I deeply believe that God hears our prayers. I know there are God-centered Churches, yet I am also well aware that far too many churches are filled with golden calves, and God and the Holy Spirit have left those buildings. What are we doing wrong? Are we truly walking in His ways, or has the institution we call "the Church" bowed down to the culture and been led into deep-seated idolatry by following man's selfish heart? It's hard to ignore the warning God gives to the prophet Ezekiel regarding the nation of Israel, His chosen nation .... Israel rebelled against Him; they did not walk in His statutes, nor were they careful to observe His ordinances, which, if a man keeps, he will live; they profaned His Sabbaths and set their eyes on the man-made idols of their fathers (Ezekiel 20:21-24). Even though God withdrew His hand from executing His wrath against them, they continued to rebel. 

He has done the same for us; He established this nation, delivering us into the freedom and liberty of self-determination, blessing this nation for its faithfulness, and showing the pagan nations how He rewards a country that is willing to follow His statutes and ordinances. But we have responded the same way ancient Israel did; profaning His Sabbaths by subscribing to the unholy ordinances of the culture. And what exactly does God command from us? It is really very simple. He tells us in Matthew 28 ... Go and make disciples of all the nations [help the people to learn of Me, believe in Me, and obey My words], baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe everything that I have commanded you. 

But in order to teach and share what we've learned about Him and how to observe everything that He commands of us, we have to study His Word, first and foremost. Everything we need to know to receive God's blessings begins with His Word. But how many people have truly studied the Word? Instead, how many rely on their religious leaders [or better yet, those who proclaim themselves to be mouthpieces for God] to receive their knowledge of the Lord? I am not denying that there are Godly men and women that fulfill the requirement of accurately teaching God's laws and ordinances. But we have become a society fueled by self-promotion and vanity. Jesus never called for the proliferation of self-contained buildings of worshippers, or non-profit organizations to represent Him. He and the Father have always wanted personal relationships. Yes, we can gather together to worship Him, but it should always be with the intent of nurturing and maturing followers in their faith so that they might help others to learn of Him, believe in Him, and obey His words.

So, in conclusion, we stand at a crossroads. I'm celebrating the new winds of patriotism, restoration, and seeking God's will for this nation. And at the same time, I am actively involved in the spiritual war to return this nation to God's agenda and His biblical statutes. If we are truly going to humble ourselves and seek His face, we need to pray and turn from our unbiblical acceptance of abortion, homosexuality, moral and spiritual debasement, pagan holidays and beliefs, and entrenched man-made doctrines that keep us separated from the true, personal intimacy that God desires with us. I know that sounds harsh, and again, I am not speaking out of condemnation, but out of love -- for I know the heart of God for all His creation. He doesn't want to lose anyone, and as an ambassador for His Kingdom, neither do I! We must not rely on [or trust in] the stature of our religious institutions while not demanding true justice for the poor, nor caring for those members of our society that are hungry, homeless, and deprived. 

For far too long, we have hidden behind a corrupted image as a God-fearing nation. That very Mall in our national capitol is supposed to showcase our monuments that bear the Name of God. Yet the Supreme Court [whose carvings of the Ten Commandments adorn its structure] sanctions abortion, the corruption of our children's sexual identity, and banning God and the Bible in our classrooms. As citizens of Heaven on earth, and representatives of God's Kingdom to our fellow men, we are all accountable to Almighty God for walking truthfully in His ways. Do you know the message of what Jesus has commissioned us to share? Are you willing to search the Scriptures to fulfill your purpose here on earth? 

While the upcoming election is an important event for our nation -- and it appears to be free-falling on the Democratic side -- we must not lose sight of the fact that the Enemy will be working his power agenda to control the hearts of men. Do you know where your power comes from? Do you know the authority you possess from your Savior? There's no doubt these election results will have momentous consequences over the future of our nation. Yes, we hope our nation turns its attention and focus back to pleasing God instead of our own pride, power and greed. But I hope you hear this last admonition ... it's time for every person in America to write God's laws on their heart, break the bonds of our false idol worship, learn to love and support our neighbor, and repent for the ways we have sinned against Him. It's time we raise new generations who will walk in His Light and Glory. Contemplate the following verses and pray that we can accomplish what God asks of us!

Jeremiah 7:5-7.     For if you truly amend your ways and your deeds, if you truly execute justice one with another, if you do not oppress the sojourner, the fatherless, or the widow, or shed innocent blood in this place, and if you do not go after other gods to your own harm, then I will let you dwell in this place, in the land that I gave of old to your fathers forever.

June 25, 2024

When Religious Leaders Serve Themselves (As It Was in the Days of Jesus)

It is with a heavy heart that I find myself contemplating the state of religious leaders throughout the centuries. From the time of the Levitical priesthood [in the Old Testament] to the scandalous headlines concerning pastors in these past few weeks, there have been incidents of flagrant rebellion and overt sinfulness among those appointed to act as shepherds of God's believing followers. 

I'm not interested in calling out anyone, or naming names. I'm more concerned with the hearts of those who claim to represent our Holy and righteous God, yet disparage His character through their self-interest and unrepentance, thus leaving room for doubt and confusion among those who become discouraged from ever seeking Him. But even more than misguiding those whom they are commanded to equip and train up in the ways of the Lord, I think I am more disturbed by the fact that the religious leaders seem to lose sight of the purpose of Jesus's Kingdom mission and their role in it. 

Jesus, Himself, experienced the mistrust and doubt from the First Century Religious leaders regarding His authority. The Pharisees, Sadducees, Herodians, Essenes and other religious leaders questioned His mission and the motives of His teachings. Unlike today, when our society has lapsed in the intentional teaching of Scripture and Biblical history to our young, the Jewish tradition placed a heavy emphasis on teaching their children about the Torah, the Prophets, and the Writings [the Poetic books of Psalms, Proverbs and Job; the Festival scrolls of Song of Solomon, Ruth, Lamentations, Ecclesiastes, and Esther; and the Historical books of Daniel, Ezra-Nehemiah, and Chronicles]. 

The Jewish people in general, and especially the Sanhedrin, [who held high positions in the religious and political spheres of the Jewish nation] knew the prophecies of the coming Messiah. The prophets of old spoke of a King who was fit to rule Israel like King David, returning them to a time of power and prosperity over their enemies. At the moment of His birth the wise men from the East came seeking the Messiah, "the one who was born King of the Jews". Those that Jesus healed at the beginning of His ministry hailed Him as "the Son of David". 

When John the Baptist joined with Jesus, proclaiming that the Kingdom of God was at hand, it's not hard to see the expectation that was placed upon Him. Even His Disciples saw Him in that light, expecting Him to take on the mantle of restoring the kingdom of Israel to its former glory under the Davidic dynasty. They believed the signs and miracles He performed, which were greater than the historical prophets, was clear evidence that He was the prophesied Messiah. But His mission was misunderstood and that led to the religious leaders feeling threatened by His teachings calling for a life of service and humility toward others; the willingness to suffer on behalf of your fellow man.

The priestly rulers simply could not understand the authority He possessed among the people. His teachings stressed loving your enemies, turning the other cheek, and sacrificing yourself for the benefit of others. He proclaimed that if one followed Him and His teachings, you were following the Law of Moses. And His ways challenged the strict boundaries of the Law as imposed by the religious Jews. Put in a very simplistic manner, Jesus's mission did not meet the expectations of the religious system that governed the Jews of the day. The Kingdom of Heaven, represented by Jesus, was in conflict with the kingdom of Israel, as administered by the religious leaders [in agreement with the political leaders].

Looking back, we see that Jesus came with a very clear mission and purpose: to establish God's righteous Kingdom on earth, making a way [through His sacrifice, death and resurrection] for all people to receive forgiveness for their sins, and be restored to a relationship with God. The goal was that this salvation from eternal death into eternal life would become the entry point into the Kingdom of God on earth (John 3:1-5), thereby changing the hearts of men and ultimately defeating Satan's kingdom on earth. Righteousness and Justice would rule the world and Evil would be defeated. 

Those leaders of the Jewish faith should have stood in righteousness and holiness, encouraging the people to believe in the prophecies of the Messiah, and welcoming Jesus as the true Son of God. But they were too caught up in their own reputations, arrogance, pride, and power to submit to a life of service, humility, and sacrifice. They exchanged God's laws for their own strict and binding rules that hindered an intimacy and connection with the Father. They missed the mission of the One they were waiting for.

And that brings me to the current state of religion and faith in the modern Christian world. Are we and our religious leaders following the same misguided path towards Jesus's goal and mission for His Second Coming? Are our modern shepherds too caught up in protecting their lofty positions of fame, money, and performance standards to understand the purpose of His Second Coming? Like the Pharisees, are they after self-importance and validation above those they are called to serve? And if the accusations of immorality that are currently being reported are true, then the community of Christian leadership needs to take a good hard look at itself. 

We need to take to heart Jesus's woes that He directed to the scribes and Pharisees, comparing them to the outside of a cup that looks clean, but is filthy on the inside [full of extortion and robbery and self-indulgence]. "You spiritually blind Pharisee [leader]; first clean the inside of the cup and plate [examine and change your inner self to conform to God's precepts] so that the outside [your public life and deeds] may be clean also". The Jewish religious leaders of old looked pious, God-fearing and devout servants of YHWH on the outside. But on the inside and in their private duties within the synagogues, they were back-stabbing, power-hungry, and oppressive hypocrites. They never held themselves accountable, and the celebrity environment within the 21st century Church has lent itself to the same temptations among our shepherds.

And that reality could have some mighty serious consequences for the spiritual maturity of the Christian brotherhood as we look forward to Jesus's Second Coming. Will we see the same kind of misunderstanding about what it's going to look like? He wasn't recognized or accepted the first time He came. Will He be the second time? The First Century Jews were expecting a King that would crush the Roman Empire and return them to prosperity and leadership. How many Christians are expecting to be removed from the earth before the Tribulation and "Time of Sorrows" covers the earth? Are they expecting that Jesus will announce that His Kingdom now rules the earth and Peace will exist across the globe? Are they going to be equally disappointed [as the Jews were] if what they've been taught doesn't occur?   

Will they be as lost and confused as the Disciples were when their hopes and dreams of a restored Kingdom of Israel didn't instantly materialize? Just as the religious leaders had not accurately interpreted the Scriptures and prophecies of Jesus's First Coming, I'm afraid that the Church has misconstrued and miscalculated the timing of events regarding His Second Coming. How are we to rightly understand His revelations that His return will mark "the great day of His wrath", or that the kings and leaders of the entire inhabited earth will "gather to do battle on that great day of God, the Almighty". Jesus prophesies in Revelation 19 that He is One who "judges and makes war"; He will "strike the nations" with a sword and tread "the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God".

These passages clearly show us that the world will not greet the returning Messiah with open arms. In fact, the world and its leaders will be as hostile towards Him as they were the first time. Are our current religious leaders serving their flocks by preparing them to accept Jesus in His true identity? Sadly, the First Century religious administrators were consumed with serving themselves and did not recognize the truth of Scriptural prophecy when He was in their midst. And I'm not that sure the modern Church has adequately raised up mature Leaders who can move past their desire for celebrity, popularity, and the need to compete for notoriety in order to be ready to receive Jesus and accept the mission and purpose of His return ... to establish the Kingdom of God once and for all and to usher in the the New Heaven and Earth. 

So, it is absolutely imperative that the Body of Christ rise up and join together in praying for our Pastors and Religious Leaders. Pray for repentance, clean hearts, a new movement of righteousness and holiness in the spirits of those God has called to shepherd in this time of world history. I pray for divine discernment; that they will seek the truth of Jesus's mission on His return; that they will seek the Holy Spirit's guidance and counsel in ways to equip and train the Body to prepare the faithful for Christ's victorious return. I pray that the temptations of Satan and this world will be removed from before their eyes as they focus their physical and spiritual eyes on the Heavenly realm from which He will appear. I know there are good, faithful, righteous and Godly men who serve our Lord in the role of Pastors and Church Leaders. I pray for their protection and their emergence as holy representatives of God's Kingdom on earth. I pray that all men will prepare their hearts in Truth and Spirit for King Jesus's return... help us to prepare the way for you, Lord! 

Mark 13:23, 37     But be on your guard: I have told you everything in advance... What I say to you, I say to everyone, 'Be on the alert (stay awake and be continually cautious'.