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

Showing posts with label Our Culture. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Our Culture. Show all posts

December 17, 2023

"Resist The Devil"... Do Not Be Fearful or Deceived! Take A Stand!

How many times have you heard that when we are struggling in this world, we are to just "resist the devil and he will flee from you"? But are you ever told what that means and how to do it? More often than not, in the churches I have attended, I heard James 4:7 quoted over and over, but never received Biblical instruction on what that looked like. Instead, I often heard that we have nothing to fear from the devil because he "is bound and chained" until Jesus returns to destroy him forever in the Lake of Fire. 

But that leaves a lot of details out, and if you seriously study the Bible, the timeline of events just doesn't jive with that explanation. And how are we to reconcile the Scripture that says "our adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour"? Furthermore, how do you explain away the fact that so many Christians are struggling with sin and demonic attacks? And whether the Church wants to admit it or not, the attacks are real and they are demonic.

As hard as it is to contemplate, it all adds up to deception because Christians are confused and ignorant of the ways in which Satan works in the world and in the lives of Believers. I can't tell you how many wonderfully saved Believers we have seen in our ministry who had no idea that Satan was behind all the sorrow and struggles in their lives. They were more likely to believe that God "allowed" their struggles. That is a lie from the pit of hell, and it is shameful that our seminaries have failed to correct that misconception. Instead of teaching church leaders how to Biblically "resist" our Enemy, they usually preach the message to try and "ignore" the devil and "hope" he will flee.

In addition to the denial of the truth that resisting the devil is anchored in spiritual warfare [another subject matter that has been neglected in the curriculum in our seminaries], we find that the understanding of the power of the Holy Spirit in us has also been undervalued. Believers must come to realize that just because you have been Saved, it does not mean that the devil will quit trying to stalk you. Salvation does not guarantee a devil-free life. You are not transported into the magic Kingdom of God, where the devil has no access. 

On the contrary, you are now behind enemy lines, because "the whole world lies under the sway of the wicked one" (1 John 5:19).  In fact, you can expect that you have become an even bigger target for him, and he will use all the tricks and schemes that worked before you accepted Christ to cause a crack in that new foundation. What's more he will lie to you and tell you that you are still that sinful, evil person. And because you haven't been equipped to recognize the power of the Spirit or that the weapons of spiritual warfare can defeat the devil, you will struggle to remember and declare that you are a NEW creation! 

Do you know that resisting the devil means "to stand firmly against"; to "withstand"; to "oppose, battle against; fend off, and stand up to"? The Western religious system has done a wonderful job in understanding the fundamentals of how to preach Salvation. But it does not do well when it comes to protecting the flocks from the schemes and deceptions of the devil. How many times, growing up in the Church, did you hear sermons on the strategies of Satan in the world, or how to defeat the demonic strongholds in your life? 

It's sad to say this, but the Western Church has largely ignored the very real presence of Satan and his tactics in our culture and in our nation. And we are even unawares that the ancient deceptive gods of Egypt and Babylon have been resurrected and are flourishing on their altars across our land. By now I'm sure you have heard about the Navy Reserve Officer, Michael Cassidy who decapitated the statue of Satan erected by The Satanic Temple in the Iowa State Capitol building. Citing "righteous indignation" and "Christian civil disobedience", he stated he was offended that this blasphemy was allowed to be displayed. And I found it interesting that his lawyer stated the primary reason our laws don't stop this kind of irreverence against the Lord, is because "they fear taking a stand against Evil". 

So, as we have seen time and time again, our government has NOT resisted the devil and his efforts to corrupt not only our nation, but our faith. It makes me sad to say this, but the Church has not done much better in taking a stand against Evil. In fact, it has compromised with it, instead of resisting it. Can we say that the Church has taken a definitive stand against adultery, fornication, sodomy, idolatry, murder -- because taking a stand is what "resisting the devil" would mean? Or have we trivialized our sins by resorting to deceptive lies and softened the significance of these sins by calling them "an affair"; "safe sex"; "gay love"; "veneration"; and "pro-choice"? Sounds like the Church also has a healthy fear of taking a stand against Evil.

But it's far beyond the time to recognize that we can no longer play it safe in this war we are in between Good and Evil! And yes, we are in a war for our nation and our faith! We are in a spiritual war, fighting with God's angelic army against the angelic forces of Satan in the spiritual realms. We are in an informational war with the media sources and financial backers of the godless world elite. And we are in a very real earthly military war between the world's super powers. The question is, who are you listening to and following? Do you recognize that Satan and his demons are not myths? Do you understand the truth of the Bible that depicts a battle between God and Satan -- between Good and Evil -- from the serpent in the Garden in Genesis, all the way through the Bible to Revelation, when Jesus throws His Enemy in the Lake of Fire? That's the tension that runs throughout the entire Word of God, and it's the same tension that is at war this very day!

It's time that we see that Jesus is not only the Lord and power behind our Salvation experience, but He is also the Lord over our nation, our culture, our faith, our families and everything in our lives. He is the Lord over the spiritual battles -- and the war of words/information -- and the military conflicts that are threatening to topple this world. But we also need to see that Satan is active in all these realms, too. And we need to grasp the truth that it is our responsibility and duty, as obedient followers of Christ, to resist our Enemy's advances. And having no fear, we are to go forth in defense of God's Truth, His Goodness, and His Sovereignty! Amen!

#deceptioninthechurch #satansdeception #falseteaching #warbetweengoodandevil #evilinourmidst #resistthedevil #thedevilwillflee #thedevilsliesanddeception #james4:7 #spiritualwarfare #demonicstrongholds #jesusversussatan

2 Corinthians 11:3       But I am afraid that as the serpent deceived Eve by his cunning, your thoughts will be led astray from a sincere and pure devotion to Christ.

November 29, 2022

How The God-Shaped Hole In Our Culture Birthed Wokeism & Will It Lead to Religious Persecution?

As so often happens when I'm praying and listening for the Lord to show me what I should write about, I will receive a thought and then find myself working backwards to a surprisingly different concept for the post. At the time it appears incompatible with the original idea, and then the Holy Spirit starts connecting the dots for me, and I begin seeing how they are truly connected.

This time, the Lord put it on my heart to contemplate how wokeism has affected our culture; specifically in terms of the absence of God. And that led to how this social philosophy could lead to religious persecution if we do not remain alert to the tactics of our spiritual Enemy.

Religious persecution is a topic that I have written about since I began this blog 11 years ago. At that time, the world was focused on the growing emergence of Sharia Law across the globe and the consequences of those who did not bow down to the strict rules of worshiping that god -- and that god only. But in the America of 2012 we were steeped in our national normalcy bias ... nothing like that would ever happen here! Here in America, we are free to worship whomever we wish, and it's even written in our country's Constitution, right? We don't have a thing to worry about!

But we've been lulled into complacency over at least the last half-century. There have always been Americans that didn't adopt faith in God as a guiding principle in their lives, but there didn't seem to be rancor and malice towards those who did. Then, along came Madalyn Murray O'Hair, an atheist who protested the reading of the Bible and any form of prayer in our public schools. The US Supreme Court agreed with her, and school-sponsored prayer was declared unconstitutional. Constitutionally protected Atheism would result in a spiritual door that was opened by that legal decision, and Satan took advantage of it.

With that one ruling, the Enemy of God found many who were willing to change their definition of "religion". Those who rejected Jehovah God of the Bible found faith in a social philosophy known as Secular Humanism. Instead of believing in a Supernatural God who created the Universe and everything in it; who created us with a purpose according to His will, secular humanists doubt this Biblical worldview [and ultimately deny it] in favor of believing in the greater ability of humans to make this earth a better place and to enact justice, and a safer, more pleasant world. Rather than prayer and a belief in a supernatural God that can heal our diseases and lead us in a supernatural spiritual relationship to make moral decisions for the good of mankind, secular humanists choose to rely on science, man-made social policies, and a collective moral relativism to ensure that the world is equitable and fair. After all, they tell themselves, why would you want to believe in a "God" who can't do a better job than rational, intelligent men can?

And that moral relativism? It has led us directly to this generation's culture of wokeism. Moral relativists believe that different values exist among different people and cultures, therefore morals are relative to different people --- there is no absolute Truth (as in what God has established in His Ten Commandments); only your truth as it pertains to your personal experience. The bottom line is that each of us gets to choose what is true for ourselves.

But now we have moved beyond Atheism, Secular Humanism, and Moral Relativism to Wokeism. Like the social philosophies before it, Wokeism has become its own religion to those who reject the One True God. This movement, like those who came before it, presents itself as humane and compassionate, just and virtuous; and anyone who disagrees with its disciples is to be eliminated from the cultural dialogue. The Enemy has hijacked any moral sense of ethics, and has taken the anti-God argument to new levels. Now, it's not enough to disagree with Christians, but it's time [wokeists declare] that Biblical values be condemned as oppressive and enslaving. Faith and belief in the statutes of the One True God is a power structure that enslaves. This structure must be dismantled to make way for a more "enlightened" alternative interpretation for what society needs to perpetuate relative truth, social justice, and the newest buzz word, equity.

So, where will this lead? Atheism, Secular Humanism, Moral Relativism, and now Wokeism have all tried to accomplish the same thing ... fill that hole of human need that God once occupied. While the adherents of Wokeism see themselves as inherently more just and compassionate than "judgmental" Christians, they fail to see the most important fundamental difference ... the God of Christianity sees all men through the same lens. He created them and all are worthy to be redeemed. The religion of Wokeism attributes a person's "redeemability" based on their group identity. The color of your skin or your gender, or your particular political identity matter.

The Christian identity is based on a relationship with God, the Father, and mercy, goodness, and love are its hallmarks and its goals. But power is the goal in the religion of Wokeism, because power is how they believe corrupt structures are torn down. Therefore, the definition of justice becomes whatever it takes to destroy the structure. And if in the process, people are harmed, then that is the cost of fulfilling the goal. But remember the saying, "Absolute power corrupts absolutely". 

It then follows to ask this question ... will this latest social philosophy [that exists to fill the vacuum vacated by kicking God out of our culture] grow into the final attempt by Satan to destroy God's redemptive plan for mankind? Are we getting close to the religious persecution here in America that Christians around the rest of the world have been experiencing for some time? And is our comfortable, easy, casual American faith equipped to endure the persecution of which the Bible speaks? 

I know that this country's progression from "founded in faith" to the denial of God is nothing new. The Bible is full of generations that abandoned God and suffered the consequences of their repudiation. And there were always consequences. But the Bible also tells the stories of the faithful remnant that stayed true during the days when the Godless vacuums were filled with anti-Christ persecution and tyranny. Are you prepared to follow in the footsteps of the remnant?

My purpose is not to frighten or panic you; it is to prepare you. None of us know the day or time when the final and decisive Days of Evil will descend upon us, but this I do know: those who are not secure in their faith, or don't know what they believe, or who don't have the strength to stand in defense of faith in God, will quickly give in [and go along] to avoid persecution and oppression. 

Maybe Wokeism fades away, and we return to our Godly senses ... we must pray that it doesn't transform into the next stage that takes us further from God. I believe we're already seeing the consequences of how far down the rabbit hole we've already descended -- just in my lifetime! So, join me in praying that our faithful God hears the petitions of the True Church and defeats His Enemy one more time. Let us see His glory reign over this nation and the Gospel of His righteous Kingdom spread over the world!

#wokeism #secularhumanism #moralrelativism #abandoninggod #lossoffaith #endtimespersecution #endtimes #godlessvacuum

 2 Timothy 3:12   Yes, and those who decide to please Christ Jesus by living godly lives will suffer at the hands of those who hate Him.

November 15, 2022

Thoughts On The State Of Our Country and The World

I have been waiting for the dust to settle after the recent election before making any kind of comment -- although it looks as if the final outcome is still days away. And don't worry ... this is anything but a political post. In fact, what I have to say is this: I think it's about time for Christians to face the fact that the solution(s) to what ails our country doesn't lie in politics. Our troubles are spiritual, not temporal, and until this nation repents for its unrighteousness in all spheres of influence, and changes its soul and spirit, we are only going to continue to degrade the quality of our lives and the heart of this country.

We Christians need to come to terms with the Biblical truth that we cannot serve two masters. We cannot effectively serve both political ideologies and God. We cannot serve earthly goods, property, and riches and still adequately serve God. We cannot promote social causes with the same passion that we advocate for the Kingdom of God -- one or the other is going to suffer. Please understand that I know the motivations and intentions of Christians in these areas is only for the good of us all. But we need to begin thinking about this from God's perspective. That is what true repentance looks like. 

Just as Jesus explained to the Pharisees in Mark 12, it's okay to give to Caesar (or any other authority) what is due them, just be as diligent to give God His due. And if we find ourselves out of balance in making choices as to which will receive our heart, then our culture, our nation, and the world will suffer the consequences. You see, the condition of the human heart is at the center of the state in which we find ourselves. God looks down upon us and sees all the ways that our fleshly hearts have reduced His presence in our daily lives, and sees how that has affected our human condition. And He has seen it happen over and over since the Garden of Eden. How mankind's repetitive history must cause Him pain!

And it is such a recurring and predictable theme. I am reminded of a quote from Marine Combat Veteran and Author, G. Michael Hopf ... "Hard times create strong men. Strong men create good times. Good times create weak men. And weak men create hard times". That is a cycle that has repeated itself throughout history. It is because at each turn of the cycle, men's hearts either embrace or reject God. 

We see it throughout the Bible in the history of the Israelites and the Jewish people ... The entrance into the Promised Land was fraught with danger and afflictions, yet Joshua rose up as a strong warrior that followed God's leading and the Israelites gained ground in the land God promised them, and they prospered. But weak men ruled after Joshua's death, and there was no one to point Israel to YHWH, and the Enemy was able to divide and conquer the people. Sound familiar? We also see this play out in the kings of Judah, where the good times were a result of kings who chose to be strong in their faith and repudiate the pagan gods that the people had turned to. But it wasn't long before those good times led the people to become lax in following God's statutes and they returned to their wicked ways. And these weak men led to God's judgment and hard times for the Jews until a new king rose up and again battled to tear down the altars and the high places, resulting in God's favor and the good times and prosperity returned. And so the cycle continued.

We need to take a serious step back and ask ourselves if this country is not repeating those times of prosperity followed by days of destructive courses of action. As long as God is removed as the governing spirit of this nation, what can we expect? He is either the central purpose of our efforts and His ways are what we seek first, or we take our eyes off Him because we think we've found a different direction that will make the world a better place. But that keeps us tied to the world and its systems!

As for me, I am truly at the stage in my life when I understand at the deepest levels of my flesh, soul, and spirit that I do not want to live in the systems of this world. I want to live in God's Kingdom systems. I don't want to be affected by the cycles of men who go from strong to weak, depending on their faith and reliance on God. I also totally understand that because we live in a sinful world, and as long as I am in this temporal body, I am going to be at the mercy of mankind's cycles. But I am no longer going to rely on those cycles to define the condition of my life. 

Whatever befalls our nation or the world, I will seek God's wisdom, not men's; God's will, not men's. And if men will align themselves with what God reveals to me, then I can support them as they become the Joshua's and the King Josiah's  and the Disciples of Jesus that we so desperately need today. I will only be too happy to praise them as we come together and see righteousness return to this nation. Until then, I can only pray that God hears the fervent prayers of His remnant and heals our land. 

#stateofthenation #politicsisnottheanswer #returntorighteousness #hardtimes

Romans 12:2     And do not be conformed to this world [any longer with its superficial values and customs], but be transformed and progressively changed [as you mature spiritually] by the renewing of your mind [focusing on godly values and ethical attitudes], so that you may prove [for yourselves] what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect [in His plan and purpose for you].


August 9, 2022

Is Satan "Beguiling" Our Children?


I hope that you will take the title of this post seriously, and continue to read what I have to say. Before I get to my point about our children, I want to take a little detour. I need to explain why I deliberately used the word beguiled in the title of this post. It is the word that Eve used to describe to God what the serpent did to her when she sinned in the Garden. According to Strong's Concordance, that word means either "to mentally delude" or "[morally] to seduce". Now, if you grew up going to Sunday School, you know the story of the serpent in the Garden of Eden, and you were most likely taught that the serpent tempted Eve to eat the apple off the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil. I am not denying that there was temptation going on, but I do not believe it was about eating an apple.

What if the temptation was of a sexual nature? What if "the fruit" was a pregnancy resulting in the birth of Cain [who would have been the fruit of Eve's womb]? Remember, the punishment from God was that the serpent would be cursed and "crawl on his belly and eat dust all the days of his life"; that there would "be enmity between the serpent's seed and the woman's seed" [again suggesting sex]; that Eve would suffer pain during childbirth [as a direct result of her specific sin]; and that Adam would be kicked out of the Garden where everything was provided for him, and would now endure painful toil, by the sweat of his brow, to produce the food he would eat... 

This interpretation is so far off base of normal Christian understanding, but when you do a deep dive study, it's not out of the realm of possibility. And in consideration of this alternative understanding, I want to now explain why I think Satan is beguiling our children. Here in Texas, I personally know of two separate counties where Christian citizens are standing up and protesting children's books that are in their local libraries; books of a highly sexual nature. In fact, their protest before their town's County Commissioner's Court has become a lightning rod for people who view the challenge to the books as an attempt to indiscriminately ban books. The outcry has been loud and has surprisingly brought factions of the community together that are usually politically divided. And all it took was for the media to highlight the words "censorship" and "banning books", and the flames were fanned for misinformation.

But here is what I want you to understand, because I have no doubt that the same concerns that parents and members of the community have here in Texas about our public libraries, is the same issue you should be investigating in your own community. The concerned citizens are not targeting books that represent a different opinion about lifestyles, but rather the sexually explicit and pornographic material in the books that is not suitable for the age groups the books are targeting. If we, as adults, don't protect the innocence of our children, we are going to have to answer to God for failing to safeguard them against suggestive material that makes them more available to pedophiles, perverts, and ungodly behavior.

When this debate surfaced here locally, I had to carefully explain to mothers who are strong Christian women, that their fears about undue censorship were being distorted and unfounded. Some expressed worry about where the line would be drawn. After all, classic books like Huckleberry Finn and To Kill A Mockingbird have been on "banned books" lists. And allowing any governmental body to decide what books can be allowed in a public library might even one day lead to the Bible being removed. I understand those fears and I agree -- it is a tightrope that we walk. But there are controversial books like "Black Flamingo" by Dean Atta, a coming-of-age novel about a mixed-race gay teen who becomes a drag artist. This wouldn't be my suggestion for a middle school-aged child, or early teens. And it is the concern of those who protested that there are openly pornographic books aimed at under-age children, in an attempt to indoctrinate them into various sexual lifestyles before they are mature enough to decide for themselves. These books are entirely inappropriate for the Juvenile section of the library (ages 7 to 10), nor the Young Adult Fiction section (ages 12 and up). Not to mention the fact that they would not be approved by God.

I want to give you a link where you can check it out for yourself. I'll give you a couple of examples of the books that the concerned parents felt would be robbing children of their innocence, and I warn you... they are salacious and suggestive. You can go to http://booklooks.org and look up the title Red Hood. It was rated 4 out of 5 for its obscene sexual activities, violence, and profanity. Yet the book appeared in the Young Adult Fiction (ages 12 and up) section. I know I grew up in a different era, but there is no redeeming value for a 12-year-old to be allowed to read a book which is so sexually graphic. To say that this book is rated R, is an understatement. Then there's Sex is A Funny Word, which was found in the Juvenile section of the library (ages 7-10) which was so obviously written to mold and instruct children in sexuality and alternate gender ideologies; containing graphic illustrations involving sexual nudity and sexual activities. 

The book includes many illustrations of exposed male and female genitalia, along with "how to" illustrations regarding masturbation. And then there is this bit of encouragement: "But having a penis isn't what makes you a boy. Having a vulva isn't what makes you a girl. The truth is much more interesting than that! When we are born, a doctor or midwife calls us boy or girl because of what we look like on the outside. They choose a word or label (usually boy or girl, or male or female) to describe our bodies. But that's based on our outside, our cover, or who they think we are. What about our whole body, inside and out? What about who we think we are?" 

Can you imagine how confusing or scary that would be for a 7 year-old? I'm all for different opinions, and adults have free will to do or think whatever they want [and there are consequences for those decisions], but our children should not be subjected to such deceptive and duplicitous methods of indoctrination. Reading books was one of the great joys of my childhood; a time when my innocent mind could imagine myself in the stories I was reading. And I learned what it looked like to be courageous and overcome challenges; to travel to interesting places; the thrill of solving mysteries and the joys of new discoveries. But it is the sad state of this world that we must now stand guard over our children's minds and their innocence. Just as Satan beguiled Eve to sin and transgress God's commandments, so is the devil trying to lead our children down paths that God does not approve of and which they are not equipped to travel. Jesus is not far from returning to deal with the evil in this world, and we know what He has in store for those who would harm children. 

So, this is what we are dealing with here in Texas. I suggest you make a point of finding out what books are in your local libraries. Because if these books are not on your shelves yet, they are coming to a library near you soon.

Matthew 18:6      Whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in Me to stumble and sin [by leading him away from My teaching], it would be better for him to have a heavy millstone [as large as one turned by a donkey] hung around his neck and to be drowned in the depth of the sea.

October 23, 2019

We Need To Pay Careful Attention to Genesis 6:5-7!!

     I know there will be those who scoff at my Old Testament reference in the title of this post. And they will say, "That has nothing to do with us". But need I remind you that Malachi 3:6 gives us this quote: "For, I the Lord, do not change...?" Or, that Hebrews 3:8 says, "Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever?"
     I feel led to bring this immutable character of God to your attention, along with the Genesis 6:5-7 warning because of the evil I see man perpetuating on the earth. Before I lay out this depravity for your consideration, let's focus on what the Word of God says in Genesis. This particular passage [in the Amplified version] reads "The Lord saw that the wickedness (depravity) of man was great on the earth, and that every imagination or intent of the thoughts of his heart were only evil continually. The Lord regretted that He had made mankind on the earth, and He was [deeply] grieved in His heart. So the Lord said, “I will destroy (annihilate) mankind whom I have created from the surface of the earth—not only man, but the animals and the crawling things and the birds of the air—because it [deeply] grieves Me [to see mankind’s sin] and I regret that I have made them.” 
     If you are a student of the Bible, then you know that these verses refer to the Fallen Angel incursion of Genesis 6:4, and the subsequent defiling of the human DNA, as created by God. But with the following snippets of news that I read just today, I believe that God may be just as grieved in His heart in 2019 as He was nearly 4400 years ago.
     Let me begin with this headline: The Ghastly, Ghoulish Practices of Planned Parenthood, an article written by Michael Brown for the WorldNetDaily website. And I do not relish reciting the macabre and grisly details of what is revealed, but I also do not want to diminish the evil being committed.
Child Sacrifice to the god, Molech
     In the article, Mat Staver, founder and Chairman of Liberty Counsel, reports that Planned Parenthood clinics "were taking babies and intentionally aborting them so they could harvest intact organs, some of which were born alive while the hearts were still beating. Hearts were being removed while they were still alive." He continued, "Brains were being removed while the hearts were still beating, and we have evidence where they sliced the baby's face in two with a scalpel and then extracted the brain while the baby was still alive."  
     But that isn't all! This same article reported that companies like Stem Express had full menus on their website where you could make customized choices when ordering your baby parts. "You could actually go on the website and select … that you wanted a certain heart at a certain gestation at a certain size, intact. Then Stem Express would take that to Planned Parenthood that day. They would fulfill that order from those babies that were brought in, never telling the parent, the mom, what was happening with her child in the room next door."
     The Liberty Counsel website carried the headline, Selling Baby Scalps, stating that, "A former board director for the Center for Medical Progress testified during [a] civil trial in the San Francisco Federal District Court that the scalps of babies provided by the abortion industry are being harvested for research in treating baldness."
     Does this sound eerily familiar to the ancient pagan practices of child sacrifice? Apparently Pastor Robert Jeffress of Dallas, Texas thinks so. After he made a similar comparison during a recent interview, referencing Moloch, the ancient god of child sacrifice, this century's pagans responded with sarcastic glee. One tweeted, "ALL HAIL MOLOCH HIS WILL BE DONE." Another wrote, "DON'T MESS WITH OUR GOD, MOLOCH." While, they may have thought they were being clever, they don't realize they are the mouthpiece for the Ruler of this dark world.
     Now, let me take you to another article as presented on TheBlaze.com. This article was titled, Texas Jury Rules Against Father Trying To Protect 7-Year-Old Son From Forced Gender Transition. According to the article, a Texas jury returned a verdict on Monday that will prevent Jeffrey Younger from protecting his 7-year-old son from a forced gender transition by the boy's mom, Dr. Anne Georgulas. Younger had petitioned the court to grant him sole custody of his twin sons, James and Jude. But on Monday, a Dallas jury — by a vote of 11 to 1 — granted Georgulas, his ex-wife, sole custody of the boys, making her the sole decision-maker concerning the medical and psychological care of the children.
     In court, Younger argued that Georgulas was forcing James to undergo gender transition. With the jury's decision, Georgulas is free to give James puberty-blocker medication that results in chemical castration and, ultimately, hormone pills to complete James' female transition to become "Luna."
     As for you, do not pray for this people, or lift up a cry or prayer for them, and do not intercede with me, for I will not hear you. 17 Do you not see what they are doing in the cities of Judah and in the streets of Jerusalem? 18 The children gather wood, the fathers kindle fire, and the women knead dough, to make cakes for the queen of heaven. And they pour out drink offerings to other gods, to provoke me to anger. 19 Is it I whom they provoke? declares the Lord. Is it not themselves, to their own shame? 20 Therefore thus says the Lord God: Behold, my anger and my wrath will be poured out on this place, upon man and beast, upon the trees of the field and the fruit of the ground; it will burn and not be quenched (Jeremiah 7:16-20".
The goddess, Luna
     Does anyone else find it curious that this precious child is now going to be named after the Roman moon goddess, Luna, whom the Roman poet Horace called the "two-horned queen of the stars". Along with her consort, the sun god, Sol, this imperial duo represented the magnitude of Roman rule over the world, with the aim of guaranteeing peace. Could she be the infamous "Queen of Heaven" that the Lord speaks to the prophet Jeremiah about? He says, "
     Have we become so depraved in our culture that Feminism has taken mothers to the point where they try to change their sons into daughters?!? How much longer will the Most High God of the Universe suffer His creation to destroy His children?? I'm sorry, but the actions noted in these two articles are not being done by people who are made in His image! They do not have the mind, heart, or Spirit of the Lord in them!
     And consider the Museum of Man in Balboa Park, in San Diego, California, who in 2016 hosted an exhibition entitled Cannibals: Myth & Reality. Built "to inspire human connections by exploring the human experience", the guides didn't describe cannibals as freaks, but as warriors from many cultures, European kings and queens, American and European sailors, American colonists, accident survivors, the sick, and more. In fact, one newspaper review said this: Cannibals: Myth & Reality is a poignant and beautiful experience, the type that you hope to get at a museum. It deftly guides you from one emotional place to another, revealing connections across time and cultures, until you reach a point of deeper understanding. Through history, art, films, interactive displays and games, visitors confront what seems, at first, to be an unthinkable choice. By the end, you might realize that it’s far more nuanced and complicated.”
     I would like to add a postscript to that altruistic review. It is Lamentations 4:10-11, which says, "The hands of compassionate women have boiled their own children; they became their food during the destruction of the daughter of my people. The Lord gave full vent to his wrath; he poured out his hot anger, and he kindled a fire in Zion that consumed its foundations".
     All I have to say about each of these stories is BEWARE! Whether you believe in God or not, there is judgment coming against mankind for these evil acts. Ignorance or lack of knowledge will be no excuse.... we will perish for the lack of it! I used to pray that these depraved people would be able to see the error of their ways and repent, but I'm not so sure that I think that is possible anymore. I believe we may have crossed the spiritual line from which there is no return; only irrevocable commitment and ultimate destruction. Lord, I appeal to the same spirit of justice You rendered to Abraham when he interceded for Sodom ... "I am but dust and ashes; Will you indeed sweep away the righteous with the wicked?" I would not blame You, Lord! And my heart, too, is deeply grieved.

Ezra 8:21    Then I proclaimed a fast there at the river Ahava, so that we might humble ourselves before our God to seek from Him a safe journey for us, our children, and all our possessions.

September 25, 2019

When "The Church" Does Nothing, Someone Else Will Write Our Laws

     I wish I could take credit for the title of this blog post today, but this is actually a statement made by Dutch Sheets, a pastor and Executive Director of Christ for the Nations. And, oh, how prophetic is this statement becoming. It has never been made more clear than in the proceedings surrounding the AISD (Austin Independent School District) Board of Directors and their proposed curriculum for middle school students.
     Texas Values is a website whose purpose is to preserve and advance a culture of family values in the state of Texas through Biblical, Judeo-Christian principles by ensuring that Texas is a state in which religious liberty flourishes, families prosper, and every human life is valued. But when they exposed Austin ISD’s plans to adopt a radical new pro-abortion and pro-LGBT sex-education curriculum for grades 3rd-8th, it was time to take a stand.
     Texas Values reports that the curriculum, called "Get Real", was created by Planned Parenthood, the nation's largest abortion provider and encourages students to engage in "role-play" scenarios that would then be graded by a teacher. One situation includes two girls who act out as lesbians having oral sex; another situation encourages students to pretend to be drunk. Here are some other proposed scenarios:
     Students engaged in this curriculum are discouraged from using words like "mom and dad" or "male and female". The curriculum promotes the use of "Gender Inclusive Language", saying "It is important to avoid terms which refer only to "male" or "female" identities as this can limit their understanding of gender into binaries and can exclude children who may not identify within these identities. For example, when discussing family members or adults they may have in their lives, try not to only use terms like "mom" or "dad". Try integrating terms like "parents" or "guardians" to include children whose parents might not fit into "traditional" concepts of family structures. Additionally, when discussing topics such as unsafe touch, try not to use gendered examples. Instead of saying something like, "If a man tries to touch you", use the gender neutral term "person", or even "someone you may know".  Can you believe this?!?!
     The proposed curriculum also suggests that students be given a sexual orientation vocabulary test on words like "pansexual", "bisexual", "asexual", and "homophobia". Texas Values also highlights some of their other concerns regarding this disturbing curriculum:
•  It teaches children how to enter into romantic relationships with adults
•  Promotes homosexuality and "gender fluidity" as early as elementary school
•  Teaches children that not having a crush in life means that their sexual orientation is questioning and indoctrinates them to choose a “sexual orientation” before they develop romantic attraction.
     I have to say that as alarming as this proposed curriculum is, it is equally disturbing that we have even come this far in perverting our culture. I can remember back in the 1990's listening to Dr. Laura Schlessinger warning on her radio program that the North American Man/Boy Love Association (NAMBLA) was trying to infiltrate our public libraries with their pedophile and pederasty agenda and activism. And as morally offensive as that organization is, I am also deeply distressed over the lack of safeguarding and protection offered by "The Church".
     Don't get me wrong, I am deeply proud of efforts by the Austin group calling themselves "Concerned Parents", along with Texas Values, and my Kingdom-of-God-minded friends at Luke 4:18 Ministries in Austin who showed up to protest these curriculum changes at the AISD hearing a couple of days ago. I praise the Lord for your faithfulness in representing the Kingdom of Heaven on earth! May He continue to strengthen your resolve as you battle against this "Beast System".
     But I have to ask ... how did it ever get this far? Where has The Church been? And why isn't the Church standing toe-to-toe with these concerned parents? Oh, yeah .... there's that nasty 501(c)3 designation, isn't there? They can't get involved with anything that is aligned with State Government, such as school curriculum, due to the supposed separation of church and state.
     So, can you see how serving two gods has allowed moral depravity to enter into our culture; and now our schools? But you see, Jesus never called for "The Church". He said He would build His "Ekklesia", which is supposed to be the righteous governing body of believers on the earth to promote and protect God's style of government -- His Heavenly government. But instead, The Church protects its own interests while our children are exposed to ever-expanding un-Godlike ideas and practices. How do you think our Father in Heaven feels about what our/His children are being introduced to? We will be held accountable!
     So, I just want to finish by expressing this simple prayer: Father, I pray that You will strengthen Your remnant who have answered the call to rise up to their responsibilities as Kingdom citizens and stand for the innocence of these precious children. We see the agenda of the Enemy and we oppose it in the spirit and in the Board Room. We bind the spirit of Baphomet who yearns to ensnare children in his depravity and wickedness. We decree and declare that Austin and the state of Texas will be the forerunners in defeating this evil curriculum across our nation, and that the heavenly host will join Your remnant in this important battle. Furthermore, we plead the blood of Jesus upon the Board meeting next month. And in the power and authority given to all believers by our Lord and Savior, we bind the lies, propaganda, and money sourcing behind this curriculum, and loose the power of the Holy Spirit to reveal Your Truth and Your strategy to defeat this evil scheme. Thank you, in advance, Father, that You go before us in this battle in the state of Texas. We are trusting You in this important matter. Amen!

Mark 9:42     But if anyone abuses one of these little ones who believe in Me, it would be better for him to have a heavy boulder tied around his neck and be hurled into the deepest sea than to face the punishment he deserves!   

February 10, 2019

The Seven Mountains of Influence ... Biblical or Not?

     I guess I am still puzzled by faithful Christians who deeply love the Lord, but struggle with seeing the inestimable and immeasurable depth of His Word. As I continuously exhort to all who will listen, everything in the Bible is about God. But everything about God is not in the Bible. By that I mean that there are an infinite number of concepts of the greatness of our God and they cannot all be contained in one book. And He delights in us gaining new understanding and revelation [by the Holy Spirit] of how we can partner with Him to bring knowledge of Him to the world -- to the unbelievers who don't know Him, and let me be frank -- to my fellow believers who could benefit the world from getting to know Him more.
    So, today, I want to tackle a concept that can be construed as controversial within the Body of Christ -- the Seven Mountains of Influence. I say controversial because there are many Christians who will dismiss an aspect of God's authority and character if they are unable to find a concept mentioned in the Bible that is word-for-word, chapter and verse. But if you've read the last few days of this blog, you will be able to see just how important our Christian influence is to be. Ultimately, it will affect our very survival in the Tribulation to come. But let's take a look at why this particular concept is such a lightning rod in the Christian community.
     Just what does the Seven Mountains of Influence mean? Very simply, it is an understanding that in order for the Church to impact the world for Jesus Christ, it would be necessary for the Body of Christ to influence the Seven Mountains of society. What are those seven mountains? They are Education, Religion, Family, Business, Government/Military, Arts/Entertainment, and the Media. Here's where the controversy begins ... there are those who have taken this simple concept and declared that those who are in agreement with it see it is a Mandate from God; that before Jesus will return, the Church must take control of these seven spheres of influence. I will be honest with you; from everything I have read, the original proposal of this concept was not presented as a prerequisite for Christ's Second Coming. And perhaps there are denominations who have corrupted the idea and declared it is as mandatory from God. And then, on the other side of the controversy, perhaps there are those who unable to accept any idea that is not listed Chapter and Verse [in the Bible] and, therefore, declare such concepts anti-Biblical.
     Those among the Body of Christ who tend towards legalism or a religious spirit don't like terminology like "occupying" the mountains, "invading" the culture, or "transforming" society. They will also state that those who see the value in influencing these seven mountains perceive a duty of all Christians to create a worldwide kingdom for the glory of Christ. They will tie the theory of the seven mountains of influence to what they label as "dominion theology" or [taking back the dominion of the earth that was ceded to Satan by Adam and Eve in the Garden]. They will then take it a step further and declare that the principal goal of dominion theology and the seven mountains mandate is political and religious domination of the world through the implementation of the moral laws—and subsequent punishments—of the Old Testament. Whew! That's quite a stretch from the original presentation.
     I'm sorry, but to me, this is just an example of a religious mindset! It reminds me of the Pharisees who were only able to conceive of God by a narrow set of standards derived from Rabbinic laws and teachings. Jesus comes with a new and broader understanding of the will and sovereignty of God and is declared to be blasphemous! The difference is that Jesus had a spiritual mind; the Pharisees had a literal mind. Jesus was opening a gate to a new perception of the Kingdom of God, but the Pharisees refused to move off their familiar track of tradition in the world. 
     Does Jesus or the Bible ever say, "As followers of Christ, you are to have influence over these seven mountains of the world"? Of course not! But we are called to be "salt and light"; distinctive roles in the world. We are to be salt, as in preserving the world from the evil that is inherent in a society controlled by ungodly and unredeemed men steeped in their sin. And we are to be salt, as in a flavor enhancer; standing out from the crowd and increasing the taste for a world living under the guidance of the Holy Spirit and in obedience to Christ. We are to be light, as in letting our good works for the Lord shine forth as a "city set on a hill"; and letting our "light shine before men in such a way that they may see our good works, and glorify our Father who is in heaven". I don't know about you, but that sounds like influencing the world, doesn't it?
     Furthermore, in addressing the criticism of "occupying" the spheres of Education, Religion, Family, Business, Government/Military, Arts/Entertainment, and the Media, doesn't Jesus tell us in Luke 19:13 to "Occupy til I come"? Another translations reads, "There was once a man descended from a royal house who needed to make a long trip back to headquarters to get authorization for his rule and then return. But first he called ten servants together, gave them each a sum of money, and instructed them, ‘Operate with this until I return.’" Still another translation instructs us to "do business with this until I return". It is clear to me that we are to "occupy" and continue the business that Jesus clearly came to do for the Father ... establish the Father's claim to this world and establish His Kingdom on earth; reclaim, if you will, dominion of the earth from Satan ... "Then the devil, taking Him up on a high mountain, showed Him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time. And the devil said to Him, “All this authority I will give You, and their glory; for this has been delivered to me, and I give it to whomever I wish". You can label that "dominion theology" if you want, but the Bible clearly says that Satan acknowledged he had authority over all the kingdoms of the world. And the last time I checked, the Bible said that God gave dominion over the world to Adam. So when Jesus says, "The Kingdom of God is at hand, [or is near]", He is announcing that the government of Heaven will be implemented upon the earth and that people should repent, believe the good news that He brought and put that message into action, changing their lives to reflect their belief and commitment, and thereby change their communities, cultures, and countries.
     That's why I don't agree with the critics who have a problem with terminology like "invading the culture". Just consider Romans 8:37, "Yet even in the midst of all these things, we triumph over them all, for God has made us to be more than conquerors, and His demonstrated love is our glorious victory over everything!" I think we can agree if we invade the culture of Arts, Entertainment and the Media, we can conquer the seeds of sin. The success of Christian-oriented movies such as "I Can Only Imagine" and the PureFlix Film company are just a couple of examples. Think of the influence for Christ we can have when we invade the movie industry and the media.
      And when it comes to "transforming society", the Bible is quite clear as to how we Christians are to live: "Stop imitating the ideals and opinions of the culture around you, but be inwardly transformed by the Holy Spirit through a total reformation of how you think. This will empower you to discern God’s will as you live a beautiful life, satisfying and perfect in his eyes". And what do you think happens when we are transformed? We become that salt and light that influences those around us! 
     So, can we please try to look beyond our Church traditions and doctrines and understand that the Holy Spirit can bring us "divine concepts" that may not be word-for-word Biblical translations? Demanding literal accountability to the Bible is no different than the Pharisees inability to understand Jesus's statement, " I tell you the truth, no one can see the Kingdom of God unless he is born again." They totally missed the boat, so to speak! When they responded, "How can a man be born when he is old? … Surely he cannot enter a second time into his mother’s womb to be born!" it showed their unwillingness to accept anything other than their entrenched traditional thinking. 
     Remember, Jesus used parables, metaphors and veiled meanings that did not correspond to the "letter of the Law" that the religious leaders demanded. Do we not think that we Christians can present the foundation of Jesus's teachings in a new dialogue, yet with a synonymous message? I have no problem with saying that, as a follower of Christ, and an ambassador of God's Kingdom ["on earth, as it is in Heaven"], that I am committed to influencing those around me in the spheres of education, my faith, my family, our business, in the government of my country, in the movies/tv/books/internet that I choose to endorse, and in how I participate on social media -- all for the sake and glory of God! 
     So, can we agree to un-harden our hearts, take off the veils of tradition that diminish our spiritual sight, and discover the hidden glory of God? And then let's go out and influence the world for Jesus and the Kingdom of God! Future generations of believers will profit from your faithfulness to influence whatever "mountain" you are called to. For that influence will reverberate throughout the days of persecution. Know that you are a royal priest of the Kingdom and you have been given the authority to administer the Kingdom wherever you go. Praise God for His faithfulness!

1 Peter 3:16    "Having a good conscience; that, whereas they speak evil of you, as of evildoers, they may be ashamed that falsely accuse your good conversation in Christ."

May 4, 2018

The Enemy Has Stolen God's Omnificense!

     I know what you're thinking.... she has spelled the word wrong. Doesn't she mean God's Omnipotence, or His Omniscience, or perhaps she meant to say His Omnipresence. No, I want to talk about Jehovah God's Omnificense. You've never heard that word, let alone heard it used to describe God? Don't worry. I hadn't either until I listened to a teaching by Pastor Henry W. Wright, who is also a Doctor of Christian Therapeutic Counseling. The teaching was on the spiritual roots of Disease and Illnesses, but it was his use of that word Omnificense to describe God's Nature that intrigued me and has taken me on a path of discovery.
     You see, it is his assertion that this word was once included in Christian doctrine among the familiar characteristics used to describe God -- His Holiness (He is separate from all moral defilement and abhors it); His Righteousness (He will not tolerate sin); His Sovereignty (He is supreme above all things); His Eternal Nature (He is infinite and had no beginning; His existence will never end);  His Omniscience (He is all-knowing, all-wise, and all-seeing); His Omnipresence (He is present everywhere); His Omnipotence (He is all-powerful); and His Immutability (He never changes; He is always reliable and trustworthy). And there are many more desciptors of our Father in Heaven: Incomparable, Just, Divine, Faithful.... the list goes on and on.
     But when I discovered the word Omnificense and its meaning, I cannot ignore its implications for our Father in Heaven. It means "creating all things; having unlimited powers of creation".  Isn't that an appropriate description of our Creator? And although my research could find no instance of its use in English translation Bibles, I could find reference as it pertains to our God in -- of all places -- a website discussing the Super Powers of Marvel Comics! And if you're unaware, the superheroes of Marvel Comics have captured the imaginations of our children with box office megahit movies featuring Spiderman, Captain America, Guardians of the Galaxy, Black Panther, X-Men, Fantastic Four, the Avengers, and antagonists like Doctor Doom, the Red Skull, the Green Goblin, Thanos, and Loki. Furthermore, according to the Super Powers website, these "superheroes" even have their own universe, and the characters that possess Omnificense "can create anything without limits, including concepts, existence, reality, and even the totality itself. They can also create from nothing or even create one thing from another, such as manifesting an image from a comic book, creating life from the dead, and duplicating anything. The user can create basically anything they choose on an unlimited scale".
     It is astounding to read what this counterfeit image of God as Creator in this counterfeit universe is believed to be able to do: create dimensions; generate energy; create life and matter; create portals, create universes; create weapons. There is even an ability called Omnificense Genesis, which is "the power to create an unlimited amount of anything from the user's own essence." By now, you should be seeing that the Enemy has found a way to capture the imaginations of our kids with images of false gods (euphemistically called super-heroes) by imitating the very nature of the One True God.
    And if you think I am taking this way too seriously, let me give you a run-down of the "Users" of Omnificense power in this false reality... at the very top, in the number one position is God, as noted in the Abrahamic Religions! In the number two position is The Dragon, followed by The-One-Above-All, Presence, Michael Demiurgos (in Gnosticism, Demiurge is a heavenly being, subordinate to the Supreme Being, that is considered to be the controller of the material world and antagonistic to all that is purely spiritual); God (as represented in Bruce Almighty - a human version); Haruhi Suzumiya (a popular female character in Japanese animation who possesses unconscious god-like abilities to change, destroy, and reshape reality to her desires); Users of the True Word; and the Choushin (a trio of super-dimensional deities responsible for the creation of the multiverse and all of the higher dimensions of existence. They are essentially Omnipotent, Omniscient, and Omnipresent, only surpassed by Kami Tenchi. The Choushin consist of Washu, Tsunami, and Tokimi -- also Japanese animation). I could give you more names such as Demon Lord; Snake of the Festival; Spawn, the Mother of All Things; and Doctor Monty of Call of Duty and Black Ops III. But I think you get the idea.

     Is this giving anyone else the creeps? And can you see the design the Enemy has on our impressionable children? What kid, in this technologically advanced world where everyone is just trying to be seen, doesn't want to identify with a super-hero? The sad thing is this generation is totally unaware that the only authentic "User" of this super power of Omnificense is actually represented in this false universe -- the God of the Abrahamic Religions (Judaism and Christianity) is real. All the others are false. But unfortunately, the One True God has been reduced to just one of a couple dozen false gods. 
     The fact that the Omnificense of YHWH has been lost to our faith, while it has been resurrected in a false universe and reality, should give us all pause -- as well as alert us to the danger of this rise in popularity of Movie Superheroes. It shouldn't surprise us that the devil has found a way to imitate the very essence of YHWH as Supreme Creator, and repackaged Him in a plethora of tempting and exciting superheroes to feed our culture's addiction to entertainment.  
     Besides the obvious counterfeiting of and fraudulent imitation of YHWH's unique power, these movie characters are providing a door into the supernatural for those kids (and adults) who are looking for ways to escape their "boring" existence. Little do they know, that is a portal into the demonic realm. So I caution you to be aware of what may seem like a harmless movie or cartoon to stimulate the imagination. We must be ever vigilant to see the transparent schemes of our Enemy, and return the title of OMNIFICENT GOD to its rightful owner.

1 Chronicles 29:11    Yours, O Lord, is the greatness and the power and the glory and the victory and the majesty, for all that is in the heavens and in the earth is Yours. Yours is the Kingdom, O Lord, and You are exalted as head above all.

January 16, 2018

How We Christians Judge

     I'm going to talk about what will be a debatable subject among Believers ... our capacity to judge others -- especially our fellow Christians. This topic has surfaced after watching a new series of videos by Darren Wilson called Questions With God, where he asks hard, often thorny questions about God and faith.  Yes, it is that Darren Wilson who produced the highly controversial Holy Ghost series of films, where he took viewers to locations around the world to see if the Holy Spirit could truly lead a film. [In full disclosure, I loved the Holy Ghost series].
     I am also interested in this subject matter due to a recent question posed to me by one of the members of our Home Church.  Claire is an intelligent and passionate seeker after the Lord, and she was asking mine and Mark's opinion on an article she had seen regarding Bethel Church and "Destiny Cards".  In short, there was a barrage of articles appearing across Christian websites condemning Bethel Church for promoting occultic practices at a New Age festival.  It involved the use of "Destiny Cards", which were likened to Tarot Cards. 
     I read several of the articles, and knowing the sources were ultra-Conservative sites and not prone to "coloring outside the lines", I decided to write to Bethel and see if I could get them to clarify. [NOTE: It goes without question, that I do not approve of anything resembling Tarot Card readings or what could be classified as fortune-telling.  But I have seen too many instances of deliberate distortion against fellow Christians on some of these sites to believe their condemnation without further research].
     I reached out to Bethel by sending them an email which read, "We are a small Home Church in South Texas who is teaching from Bill Johnson's book, When Heaven Invades Earth.  One of our members is concerned after reading an article on The Christian Post's website that Bethel is confirming the use of Destiny Cards.  Could you please explain to me if this is true --- and if so, explain your reasoning for approving this method of providing a prophetic word to believers. We have been encouraging our group, who are coming out of strict legalistic doctrines and battling spirits of religion ... Stories like this make it difficult to keep them from sliding backwards.  Thank you for your time".
     I was pleased to receive a reply within a few days.  It read: "Thank you for reaching out to us to ask about this issue directly. We appreciate your effort to know the truth and value the opportunity to bring clarification to this recent conversation. We’ve compiled our thoughts and perspectives in a statement on [the ministry known as] Christalignment and the supposed “Christian tarot cards,” as well as points of clarification that we feel are necessary from our leadership". 
     They went on to include an official statement from Bethel concerning the subject of "Christian Tarot Cards", and Christalignment, the ministry that was under attack.  Bethel made it very clear that Christalignment was not affiliated with Bethel, although the son of the ministry's founders is involved with Bethel. The leaders at Bethel reached out to the ministry to make sure they understood what they were doing, and what they have been accused of doing.  And they made it clear that Christalignment stated that they stand in agreement with the Scriptures that all occult practices (like tarot cards) have no place in the Kingdom and should not be used.
    The long and the short of it can be explained in this section of Bethel's response to me: "Reaching people where they are with the truth and love of God is our job as believers. Many people will not come to our churches, yet they are in great need of a personal encounter with Jesus. The leaders of Christalignment feel called to share the Gospel with a people group that most of us would feel unsure of how to approach. We value their efforts to minister to unbelievers in the ways they can more easily receive it and in the places they are going, like New Age festivals... This ministry is a form of outreach meant to share Jesus with those who have never met Him, or think they hate Him, or worse, that God hates them. This practice is not what the ministry leaders do in their church, in their devotional lives and Bible study, when making major life decisions, or when discipling people. It is not taught as the next great way of maturity, a secret new thing for young Christians, or an easy syncretism. This ministry is a way of getting people to stop and engage with fellow humans so that they might encounter the love of the Father and the truth of His Son Jesus Christ. If one of our sons or daughters was away from the Lord and looking for truth at a festival, we would be praying for them to meet believers like this ministry, who know the love and truth of God".
     I have to tell you, that I value the honesty and the sincerity with which this response from Bethel was presented.  They didn't give me a canned [or short] answer.  They provided a well-thought-out statement, addressing what they had discovered when they took the time to research the issue and talk to those involved.  I wish we could all follow that example! Which brings me back to Darren Wilson's Questions with God series.  I was particularly struck by some statements presented by Chad Norris, the lead pastor at Bridgeway Church in Greenville, NC. 
     He said that it had been his experience, early in his Southern Baptist faith background, that his Christianity was defined by the 5 or 10 things he couldn't/didn't do.  When it came to having discussions with other Christians about debatable topics it was often characterized by "seeking to understand without listening".  In other words, his mind was always going through his mental roladex looking for ways to dispute what his Brother or Sister in Christ was trying to explain... which always lead to misconceptions about their faith practices or beliefs.
     He said his paradigm looked like this ... You are either in or you're out [in eternity], based on what you believe. And if you happen to believe incorrectly, then everything is at stake.  So ... [please get this, because I believe this is the crux of why so many Christians are terrified of considering any new concept of God] ... Pastor Norris says the pursuit of his life became having the perfect theology, and if anyone [or any theology] threatened that, it threatened his eternal security. Heaven and hell are on the line, here, and we're going to fight! Because if I'm wrong, I can lose it all! 
     How many of our fellow Christians can identify with this thought pattern?  How many would be honest enough with themselves to admit that this is their belief system?  And sadly, Christians who fall into this category will absolutely condemn anyone who strays outside the "acceptable pattern" of what gets you into eternity with God. 
    But for me, it comes down to this... are we not all called to preach the Good News of Jesus Christ to all the world?  How are you going to do that if you're not going out into the world, including all the ugly and unholy places?  That includes New Age festivals and Heavy Metal concerts, and means consorting with prostitutes and drug dealers and gang members on their terms! They're not going to listen to you, if you don't.  
    Do I always approve of the methods or the language or the actions of my fellow Christians who approach sharing Jesus in these unorthodox manners? No. But if the love of Jesus is their baseline, and there is fruit on that tree they've planted, then I believe they are doing God's work and those other matters are between them and God.  
     There was another portion of Bethel's response to me that I think fits this subject.  They wrote, "At times, some of the efforts of a particular ministry may not be wise risks or best practices, and may need to be addressed. If someone is doing something a fellow believer is concerned about, that believer should go to them directly and privately share their concerns, seeing if they can build mutual trust and value for one another. Perhaps, an explanation will bring understanding, or they can adjust to protect their connection in Christ. But even if they must ultimately disagree about the validity of the belief or practice, they have built a bridge for ongoing dialogue and possible change. One might end up saying, “I don’t appreciate the way they are doing such and such and think there are dangers, but I value their priorities and look with generous eyes to see what they are trying to accomplish.” 
     Isn't that where our hearts should be aimed?  Shouldn't we be encouraging those who are being obedient to the assignments God has given them -- even if they fall outside of the mainstream Christian activities, or are something we would never consider? Isn't that what Jesus did?  He, too, upset the religious boundaries of His day, and was condemned for "not following the rules". 
     As for the Christalignment ministry team, here in their own words is how God has told them to share His Kingdom through "Destiny Cards": "Our aim at Christalignment is to attract tarot reading clients, people who are fully into new age practices, psychics, and witches. All of these people can immediately recognize that our cards are not tarot once they sit down at our tables. Card sets, including cards we made named “Psalm cards” with scriptures on them, address the gifting in a person’s life. The color God is showing the person in a prayer encounter will speak to the person through the prophetic image on the front or meaning on the back. It’s the same as when we give someone a prophetic painting, just much smaller. They are all non-predictive, but we call them Destiny Cards, as we believe that giftings and callings given by God for people are certainly part of their destiny. All cards contain beautiful paintings by four different world renown prophetic artists and these paintings alone have deep meanings that have led to salvation and healing for many clients.
     The team is trained not only to be able to release deep encounters with the Spirit of Truth to clients but to also release words of knowledge and healing. For clients to see Jesus standing before them in an encounter is not uncommon, and many of them get born again.  The prophetic word given over us four years ago was that we would see hundreds of witches come into the kingdom, thousands of people turn from darkness, and that tarot cards would be disabled. Praise God this is happening!! As a deliverance ministry, we are able to stop clients ever going to a psychic again and this is our aim".
     This ministry will not be for everyone. And I will be honest with you, it's outside my comfort zone. And that's okay. They are filling a need to reach the New Age community in this lost world; and they are instrumental in implementing encounters with Jesus. So, where are you being called to serve a lost world? Because if you're not in the world and you are limiting yourselves to serving fellow Christians, you may be sharing the love of Christ, but how much fruit are you producing for the Kingdom? May all of us be led to serve and focus on the assignment the Lord has for us to preach and live the Gospel, make disciples of nations, and build the Kingdom of Jesus Christ. 

2 Corinthians 4:5-6    "We don't preach ourselves, but rather the Lordship of Jesus Christ, for we are Your servants for Jesus' sake. For God, who said, 'Let brilliant light shine out of darkness' is the One who has cascaded His light into us -- the brilliant dawning light of the glorious knowledge of God as we gaze into the face of Jesus Christ".

October 12, 2017

Am I Following the Lord's Commandments ... Or Tradition?

     Yesterday, I made a couple of statements that have set me on a path of much contemplation. I'm pretty sure that there are many of you who have struggled with this same concept, so let's just have an honest discussion, OK?  What I'm about to talk about has been a challenge to me in my Christian walk, and I simply want the Body of Christ to grow together in love and understanding over this issue.  So, here it is ... I wrote that there are Christians becoming dissatisfied with being "in the box", but not yet comfortable enough to let go of their traditions.  I also said that Jesus did not come promoting man's religious traditions.  And I have to tell you that there is one tradition that has never settled well in my soul or spirit, and I just want to share what I think Scripture is revealing to me.  It is the tradition that Christians are to be in a church setting every Sunday, or they are failing a Scriptural mandate.
     Regardless of the fact that Sunday worship was never part of the early Church, and it's origins are derived from Emperor Constantine's worship of the Sun god, I can tell you that I have felt frustrated while sitting in Christian circles and hearing comments like "Well, at least they were in Church on Sunday" -- as if that one act fulfilled some Christian checklist of what makes a righteous person. And never mind how they behaved the rest of the week!  Plus, where did the every Sunday come from? Shouldn't our greater consideration be whether that person was fulfilling the Commission Jesus gave every Christian in Mark 16 and Matthew 28?  And didn't Jesus say, "You will recognize them by their fruits"? Nowhere do I see Him saying that His followers will be recognized by their Church attendance, or that Church attendance guaranteed a saved soul.
     I would like us to consider that perhaps this is a man-made tradition and not a commandment from Jesus or the Father. Yet there are many Believers who cling to this tradition, and they always go to a corrupted use of a partial verse in Hebrews 10 as the foundation of their argument ... they will quote it as follows, "Let us not forsake the gathering together as is the habit of some".  So I decided to take a good look at this Scriptural reference. FIRST OF ALL, there is a whole important segment of that verse between "Let us" and the "not forsake gathering together" part.  SECOND OF ALL, I believe we need to consider the context of the entire chapter of Hebrews 10.  Let me try to summarize my understanding of it as concisely and accurately as I can.
     In Chapter 10, the writer of Hebrews is juxtaposing the religious system of the Old Covenant with the freedom from sin [offered by faith in Jesus] in the New Covenant. The Old Covenant was characterized by ceremonies and traditions that could never completely deliver one from sin.  The New Covenant completes the atonement of sin [through Jesus's sacrifice] and cleanses those who are being sanctified and brought to spiritual completion and maturity. Righteousness comes by faith in Christ, not any Law. Yet how many Christians don't think they can live a righteous life if they are not involved in some kind of structured, organized religious practice?  [For the sake of argument, we are just considering Sunday Church attendance, but I'm sure you are thinking of other rituals that have taken on un-Scriptural significance]. 
    The writer of Hebrews goes on to say that there is a new and Living way to live life; and we can receive a full assurance of faith by believing [with a true and convicted heart] the promises made by Jesus.  THEN comes Hebrews 10:24-25, from which the fragment of Scripture is used to validate man's tradition ... And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.  
     Now, I know I'm probably not going to convince someone who may be struggling with their religious traditions, but I ask all to seriously study these two verses. One cannot simply extract the middle of that sentence [to prove their argument] and ignore the significance of the entire precept.  The idea of not neglecting to meet together is for the purpose of stirring up one another to love and good works. It is not about Church attendance!  It's about loving our fellow man and doing good works!  And what are those "good works"? I would propose to you that Jesus came as our model of how to do "good works".  He says in Matthew 5:16In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.  He says in John 14:12Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever believes in me will also do the works that I do; and greater works than these will he do, because I am going to the Father.
     I contend that the "good works" are the works that Jesus did; His ministry to the sick, those dying in their sin, Deliverance and Healing [both physical and spiritual]. So the Scripture actually says don't neglect to meet together to stir each other up to do these works, and then goes on to say that meeting together is to encourage one another, and all the more as we see the Day of the Lord drawing near.  The other part of doing the good works of Jesus is to preach the Gospel of the Kingdom; and to go out and make Disciples of others to spread the Word so that no man may be dead in his sins -- because the rest of the Chapter goes on to say that there will be a Divine Judgment and It is a fearful and terrifying thing to fall into the hands of the living God [incurring His judgment and wrath]. And that's why we don't need to neglect to meet together -- to bring people to a saving faith in Jesus; teach them about Kingdom living; and then send them out as Disciples to teach others.  That is what the "encouraging one another, and all the more" is about!
     So, I can't help it.  When these two verses are reduced to an argument for Sunday Church attendance, with no regard to the exhortation to do the good works that Jesus commanded us to do -- which by the way, does not get accomplished sitting in a pew -- then I can't help feeling that we have just exchanged the Religious System of the Old Testament for a new System that is just as ineffective for saving souls and advancing the Kingdom!  In both systems, it is Jesus, and Jesus alone, who accomplishes the cancellation of our sins -- not the traditions of the systems! I can't help recalling Mark 7:13 ... "Thus you nullify the word of God by your tradition that you have handed down. And you do many things like that."  We need to honestly ask ourselves if our traditions really confirm and advocate for the Word.  Or are they part of our own standards for worship?
     Back to Hebrews 10 ... I am NOT saying that you have to separate doing the good works and loving your fellow man and encouraging Disciples from Sunday church attendance.  And I am not saying that there aren't Church congregations, both large and small, who are bearing much fruit for the Kingdom! God bless you if that is your mission! But if you are one who needs that tradition of structured gathering, honestly ask yourself this question ... Do I see my Church/Home Church doing the good works, saving souls, and making Disciples? Or are we telling ourselves that's what we're doing as we meet together, listen to a sermon, teach a Sunday School class, have a meal together?  Are we encouraging each other to go out into the world [as Jesus and His Disciples did] to display the power of the Holy Spirit to change lives? Or are we content to gather together and "talk" about partnering with Jesus and the Spirit?  Are we substituting the study of Jesus's model for actually doing what He did for the glory of His Father?
     I will admit that these are questions that Mark and I are asking ourselves.  We feel as though God is finishing up a season of downloading His knowledge about His Kingdom and the part we play in it, and He's about to take us into a new season ... one that demands we walk out what He's taught us.  And I will also admit it's hard to make these transitions in our service to Him and our fellow man.  It's much easier to study and discuss -- and, yes, to "meet together" and declare these new revelations -- and it's harder to put them into daily practice.  So, I empathize with you, if what I've presented is difficult for you to swallow.  And if you disagree, then can I, in love, challenge you?  Can you at least accept that there is no clear Scriptural mandate that Sunday Church service is obligatory to serving God and His Kingdom? I am not condemning those who do.  I simply ask that you do not judge or condemn others who see a different calling upon their lives as to how they worship and walk out their faith. The important thing is that our lives serve as a light to shine upon the glory of God - every day! 

Colossians 1:9-12    And so, from the day we heard, we have not ceased to pray for you, asking that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, so as to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to Him: bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God; being strengthened with all power, according to His glorious might, for all endurance and patience with joy; giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in light.