Tuesday, December 24, 2013

CHARLES KRAUTHAMMER NEEDS OUR PRAYERS - PROGRESSIVE REVELATION AT WORK

I read an article on Charles Krauthammer that saddened me to a certain degree.  Charles krauthammer is, according to Wikepedia "a Pulitzer prized winning... journalist, a political commentator and a physician."  Undoubtedly, Mr. Krauthammer is very intelligent.  The fact that he is a conservative commentator shows that he is a man who derives his ideas from facts and not merely emotion. The part of the article that saddened me is Krauthammer's views on God.  Charles Krauthammer acknowledges that there must be some grand designer  as the universe is ordered and must have been created intentionally.  Krauthammer goes on to say that to think the universe made itself is foolish.  Krauthammer is right on up to this point, but he then goes on to explain that he feels inadequate to define God and does not hold the "accepted accounts" of who God is.

In the Bible, we see a concept called progressive revelation.  Romans 1 tells us that all men are without excuse when it comes to matters of faith, because God has revealed Himself to us in nature.  The road to faith begins with the acknowledgement of a creator.  When a person comes to the belief in a creator, God reveals more of Himself.  There have been accounts from the mission field of remote tribes greeting missionaries with enthusiasm because the people of theses tribes acknowledged a creator and God began to reveal Himself to them, finally sending missionaries to share the truth of Christ.  Charles Krauthammer has acknowledged a creator in his personal theology but he has apparently rejected the further revelation of God in his life.

When I consider a man of brilliance like Charles Krauthammer, I get terribly frustrated by his unwillingness to embrace true faith.  The Bible says that the truth of scripture is foolishness to the wise.  The Gospel, in it's simplicity, is not easily grasped by intellect, it requires a high degree of faith.  Once a person comes to faith, it is hard to imagine that others cannot see the logic behind the Gospel.  For those outside of faith, Christian truth is one of many voices competing for prominence and acceptance.  The fact that Christianity is one of the only voices that claims exclusivity, intellectual minds reject the notion with out a fair hearing. That is why we need the power of prayer.

The church can come up with all sorts of slick programming and packaging but the truth is, prayer is still the most powerful tool in our spiritual tool box.  As we pray for the lost, we begin to love them and as we love them our feelings will transform into actions and love will be a verb in our lives, not just a concept or emotion.  My prayers will be with Mr. Krauthammer and others like him, those whose intellects hinder their faith.  I will pray that they will experience true acts of love from believers in their lives and that love and faith can overcome the intellectual mind's natural tendency to reject the simplicity of the Gospel message.

Charles Krauthammer has acknowledged a creator, pray that he will embrace the next revelation God shares with him about Himself. Pray that Charles Krauthammer will embrace Christ as his savior, recognizing that not only does it make sense, but it is the only theological model that works.


Friday, December 20, 2013

FIRE BREAKS OUT FROM GOD - DISTINGUISHING BETWEEN THE HOLY AND THE PROFANE

In Exodus, we read the account of Moses consecrating his brother Aaron, and Aaron's sons, to the position of High Priest over Israel.  God gave Moses and Aaron specific instructions on how to prepare for the ministry and how to direct worship and sacrifice.  As the new priests are making offerings to God and God is responding in full sight of the people, we read that two of Aaron's newly ordained sons present an unauthorized fire before the Lord and are killed with fire from heaven.  This seems to be a very harsh reaction from God, when, after all, the young men were offering worship to God.  God's reaction is justified as He is establishing a separation between what is holy and what is profane.  The fire the sons of Aaron were offering was not prescribed by God but was most likely part of pagan practices back in Egypt.  What should have been a sacred day of celebration was made very somber by the fact that the sons of Aaron chose to bring the old unacceptable practices and combine them with that which was holy.

God took the Israelites out of Egypt for the specific purpose of creating a nation of people set apart to proclaim His name in the earth.  The religious practices of the Egyptians were detestable to God as the Egyptians worshiped a multitude of false deities.  The people had attempted to incorporate some of those practices at the foot of Mt. Sinai a few weeks earlier and it ended very badly for them as God brought a plague upon the nation that killed thousands.  Now, it appears that the newly anointed priests are once again attempting to bring a little of the old sinful practices into the worship experience.

God's reaction is swift and definitive.  There is no doubt about how God viewed the son's of Aaron introducing pagan practices to a holy worship service.  God commanded Aaron and his other sons to not mourn for their loss and to let it be a lesson for them to distinguish between the clean and he unclean.  Today, so many churches and ministers feel compelled to mix the unholy with the holy in an attempt to make the church more comfortable to unbelievers. Church should not be comfortable to unbelievers, it should be a place where they are convicted of sin and see God as a judge who wants to forgive and restore them.  The emerging church movement, the seeker church, or what ever you choose to call it, purposely brings the world into the church, referencing popular culture as a means to make a point. Unfortunately, these references are often to songs, movies or television programs that are not appropriate in any way. In an attempt to win the lost, these references are used without any disclaimer, leaving the congregant to believe these songs, shows and films are acceptable to the believer.  When the church begins to open the door to cultural references that glorify sin and do not condemn that sin, a mixed message, at best is presented.  The biggest danger is leading people away from holiness.

God has given us many examples in His word in reference to how He wants us to worship, behave and interact with others.  Some of those lessons are sated emphatically and some are demonstrated by the real life events recorded in scripture.  The question we must ask is, "why did this happen and why was it recorded in the Bible." Every word in the Bible serves a specific purpose, ordained by God, to teach us valuable lessons.  

God has shown us over and over again that He wants His people to be holy and separate from the culture of sin.  The Israelites were commanded to not mix with the pagan nations in the promised land.  The Church is commanded to "be holy as your Father in heave is holy."  Holiness is not a suit we put on for church once or twice a week but a daily lifestyle choice.  The church should be in the business of encouraging and promoting holiness, not bringing the unholy in to make a point.

Using popular culture to find relevance will only lead the church to further irrelevance, as there will be little to distinguish the believer from the unbeliever. The mixing of the profane with the holy pollutes the holy and dishonors God.  The role of the Church is to honor God and equip the saints to works of service.  The job of saints is to make disciples.  Nowhere does the Bible call us to blend in with sinners or employ cultural references that endorse sin to bring sinners to Christ.  In attempting to make Christianity cool the church becomes lukewarm and a lukewarm church leads people to the fires of hell.


Wednesday, December 18, 2013

POPE FRANCIS -FRIEND OF THE WORLD...

In the book of James it says:   James 4:4  You adulterous people! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God. 
Pope Francis has worked very hard to be a friends with the world.  The Bible states that you cannot serve two masters as you will hate one and love the other.  Francis clearly desires the approval of the world over the approval of God.  In the past two weeks, the pope has been named the Person of the Year in two separate magazines, Time, a liberal propaganda machine disguised as a news magazind, and The Advocate, a homosexual activist magazine.  Last month atheists Bill Mahr and Richard Dawkins gushed over what a great pope Francis was because he was so progressive.  Meanwhile, conservative Catholics cringe every time Francis opens his mouth.

The Advocate, an extremist homosexual publication, condemned both Pope Benedict and John Paul II for their stance on homosexuality.  The two most previous Popes both referred to homosexuality as intrinsically evil.  The current Pope seems to shrug his shoulders and say "eh.." when asked about his feelings on homosexuality.  Yes, Francis currently holds a stance against same sex marriage, but so did both Clintons a few years ago, this year, both Bill and Hillary Clinton came our in favor of gay marriage, people's view change with the political climate.  I am positive that if the new pope felt he could get away with it, he would preform a same sex marriage on the Vatican steps for all the world to see.

James, the half brother of Jesus, wrote in the above passage that friendship with the world makes a person an enemy of God.  Pope Francis is the most recognized religious figure in the world.  For many, the Pope represents the face of Christ's church.  Christ gave the church a mission, to go into all the world making disciples.  Jesus commanded His followers to carry the Gospel to the lost all over the world. The last time I checked, the Gospel message is man, separated from God by sin and Jesus Christ sacrificing Himself on the cross to forgive our sins. Man needs to repent and believe in the person and work of Jesus Christ in order to be saved.  The gospel of Pope Francis is if you live according to your conscience, even if you are an atheist, you will go to heaven.

This Pope may be a so called nice person, he may have great compassion for the poor and the downtrodden, that is all good and well, he should care about the needy as all who call themselves Christian should.  The problem with this Pope is he does not understand that the helping of the poor also should include the sharing of the Gospel of Christ.  Jesus condemned the religious leaders of His time because they missed the point of their service.  During Christ's ministry, He told the religious leaders that they were right in tithing and giving to the poor, but that they did not teach Godliness and repentance,  Jesus told them that they should be doing both things.  The religious leaders then were more concerned with notoriety for themselves than promoting the true things of God.

This Pope is behaving in a most heretical manner.  Francis has chosen to promote the policies of Satan by not standing up for the Gospel truth and issues of morality. Pope Francis has bought into the new morality, a social justice with no other agenda.  Social justice should be a by product of faith, and should be a catalyst to sharing Christ. In the new morality, God is not necessary nor welcome.  In the new morality, the end justifies the means, no matter no matter how evil the means may be.  In the new morality, the only moral choice is choice itself, choice to kill the unborn, choice to have sex with whomever and wherever one desires, choice to follow ones own conscience despite the clear teachings of God, and choice to reject God completely.

The world has turned a corner in the past few years, a corner that has led far from God.  Churches have traded the Gospel for so called social relevance.  Ministers have allowed worldly methods of church growth to overshadow the true Gospel message. There is very little call to holiness in today's church.  The Pope and many so called ministers like him have traded the truth for popularity.  Friendship with the world is enmity with God, it cannot be stated with any more clarity. Millions are dying and going to hell but the new Pope is cool, so whoop dee doo.





Tuesday, December 10, 2013

TOUGH TIMES REQUIRE JOSEPH-LIKE FAITH

                        TRUSTING GOD THROUGH DISCOURAGING TIMES


As I studied the story of Joseph yesterday, I was struck by his faithfulness in the midst of horrible circumstances.  As we go through life, we often find ourselves in less than optimal situations, these are the times that we must remain faithful to God, just as Joseph did.  We start life with many expectations and often these expectations go unmet and we face discouragement.  Too often, we allow discouragement to give way to poor decision making or retaliatory behavior that can be self destructive.  Joseph remained faithful to God and his faithfulness paid off in a big way.

Joseph spent the first 17 years of his life like a pampered prince.  He was the favorite son out of 10 before him and his father gave him special treatment.  This led to the resentment of his brothers and at the age of 17, Joseph's brothers sold him into slavery.  This could certainly have led to Joseph becoming discouraged.  Joseph's life expectations were to grow up in a life of privilege and to rule over the rest of his family.  Joseph did not allow discouragement to determine his behavior.  As a slave, he did his best and remained faithful to God.  Soon, he found himself the head slave in wealthy man's home.

Joseph now had a new set of expectations, he should now expect a life of responsibility and honor over his fellow servants and trust and respect from his master.  Joseph's master, Potiphar, trusted Joseph over his entire household.  Unfortunately, Potiphar's wife also took a strong liking to Joseph, but Joseph demonstrated his faithfulness to God by not allowing his master's wife to seduce him.  Joseph did what was right and the result was he was falsely accused of rape and imprisoned.  Once again, Joseph did not realize the expectations he had for his future and, once again, Joseph had seemingly legitimate cause to become discouraged.  Joseph did not become discouraged, but instead, he remained faithful to God and was given responsibility and honor within the prison system.

For 13 years, Joseph was enslaved or in prison, undoubtedly wondering what God's plan could possibly be for him.  For 13 years Joseph, instead of becoming discouraged and self destructive, made the best of his situation and trusted God.  When the opportunity came for him to interpret a dream for Pharaoh, Joseph gave glory and honor to God.  God blessed Joseph's faithfulness and elevated Joseph to second in command over all Egypt and 9 years later, reunited him with his family in the land of Egypt.  Joseph did not get instant gratification, many years went by before he was able to see the blessings of God through his faithfulness.

We sometimes find ourselves in a place we do not want to be.  Life sometimes goes left when we think it should go right.  When we think we deserve something and we do not get it, our expectations go unmet.  These are all situations where we are ripe for discouragement and all the negative behavior and thinking that goes along with it.  Bad choices and behavior are often the cause of life not going as expected.   Whether those bad choices or behaviors are our own or that of someone else is irrelevant in the grand scheme of things, we are still responsible for our response to that situation.

Discouragement, if allowed to take root, will cause irrational thoughts to seem rational and allow for unproductive and sometimes destructive thoughts and behavior.  When we rebel against our circumstances, we are really rebelling against God and demonstrating that we no longer trust His judgment over our lives.  Had Joseph not encountered a series of unmet expectations, he would not have been in position to rule the land of Egypt and save his family from starvation.  I can attest to the fact that when I find myself in a scenario that I would not have chosen, it is usually a vehicle which God is using to move me into a particular situation that is better than the situation I was in originally.

Brother or sister, if you are in a place that you would not have chosen, if you are currently living in the middle on unmet expectations you had for life, if it seems nothing ever goes right for you I encourage you, God encourages you, to remain faithful.  God has a plan for you and a desire to bless others through you.  God loves you tremendously as demonstrated by His sacrifice on the cross.  You are precious to God and He will lead you to the place of refreshing.  The LORD has preserved for us the account of Joseph that we may see His faithfulness even when it seems we are abandoned.  Joseph did not receive instant gratification, it took 22 years before he was elevated and restored to his family.  The key is that he was lifted up and did experience restoration.  Whatever you are suffering, God is in the midst of it with you.  The Bible tells us to "Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understandings, in ALL YOUR WAYS acknowledge Him and he will direct your path."

God loves you and is with you even when you feel the most alone, fear not for God is with you!

Sunday, December 8, 2013

AS A CHAPTER TO LIFE ENDS ANOTHER BEGINS

     OUR FAMILY SAYS GOODBYE TO BOY SCOUTS OF AMERICA AND HELLO TO                                                                       TRAIL LIFE


Last night, our family said a very painful goodbye to the Boy Scouts of America.  My father was as scout, I was a scout and my 2 eldest sons were scouts.   Last night my middle son crossed over from Webelos to Boy Scouts.  During the ceremony, the Scoutmaster told each boy, as they made their transition from Cub Scout to Boy Scout, that they were now on the trail to Eagle.  All the boys were told this except my son because he is no longer on the trail to Eagle.  Instead, we will be joining an organization called Trail Life.  It is a bittersweet decision for our family.

The Boy Scouts of America have seen fit to make a major policy change beginning January 1, 2014 in which openly homosexual boys will be permitted to participate.  The BSA formerly banned homosexual boys and leaders from the organization.  It was only a few years ago that the BSA spent millions of dollars to uphold this policy and fought all the way to the Supreme Court.  Financial and leftist social pressure have led to the BSA abandoning it's Biblically based standard and making a mockery of the Scout Oath which calls for a scout to be Morally Straight.

For more on this please check out my blog BOY SCOUTS LIFT THE BAN AND LOWER THE LID.

BSA made the policy change fearing the loss of corporate dollars.  Ironically, the corporations BSA was trying to appease still pulled support, citing the new policy did not go far enough as openly gay leaders are still banned.  What the BSA has accomplished is marginalizing the families who hold Biblical standards, losing of support from one of the  largest faith based organizations in the country, the Southern Baptist Convention, and the losing of millions of corporate dollars.  The only winner in this matter is the liberal left which seems hell bent on subverting and destroying any vestiges of morality and Godliness in this country.

The loss of corporate support was so great that the cost of scouting has risen from $16 to $24 per registration.  Membership in the state of Texas alone has dropped by more than 50 percent.This is will only be the tip of the iceberg as every event and outing will soon cost a great deal more as more families drop out and no corporate money is flowing in.  The social ramifications of this misguided and destructive decision is yet to be realized.  What happens when an openly gay Eagle Scout turns 18 and is told he can no longer be part of Scouting?  Will he go away quietly or will the rabid homosexual lobby groups make a mad dash to the New York Times and flood the media with the terrible injustice of "banning someone based on who he chooses to love."?  It is only a matter of time before openly gay men and women are granted unrestricted access to boys in scouting, actively shaping and guiding them for the future.

Great Briton's scouting organization has welcomed homosexuals years ago, both as scouts and leaders.  this past year has seen the British Scouts holding gay pride events and endorsing the homosexual lifestyle.  America is only a few years away from this reality.  The camel's head is under the tent, and the fanatical gay rights groups will not rest until scouting not only allows unfettered access by gay leaders but endorses and celebrates their perverted lifestyle.

The Bible clearly states God's view on homosexuality in Romans chapter 1.

Rom 1:21  For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. 
Rom 1:22  Claiming to be wise, they became fools, 
Rom 1:23  and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and creeping things. 
Rom 1:24  Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves, 
Rom 1:25  because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever! Amen. 
Rom 1:26  For this reason God gave them up to dishonorable passions. For their women exchanged natural relations for those that are contrary to nature; 
Rom 1:27  and the men likewise gave up natural relations with women and were consumed with passion for one another, men committing shameless acts with men and receiving in themselves the due penalty for their error. 
Rom 1:28  And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them up to a debased mind to do what ought not to be done. 
Rom 1:29  They were filled with all manner of unrighteousness...

The blessing in all this is a group called Trails Life that will be offering a similar experience to boys and young men while holding on to the Biblical concept of morality.  We are looking forward to being part of this new organization.  If the homosexual agendaists, as I believe they will, make a big noise next year causing disruption of scouting, many more parents will take their children and leave.  Thankfully, there will be an established program in place to welcome God fearing families who want to be part of an organization that honors the Lord.

As one door has closed, it is apparent that God has opened another door. Time will tell what the fate of the BSA will be but it is absolutely certain that the organization can no longer expect the blessing of God, despite the fact that every boy swears to do his duty to God and country. The BSA has abandoned God by endorsing a lifestyle choice that He has clearly condemned.  My prayers are with the Godly families who stay to make a difference and to be a light that they may fulfill the call God has placed on their lives to remain and be a difference.  I also pray for the new organization, Trail Life, that it would provide quality experiences and moral  guidance for the youth of America.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

YEHOVA YESHUA - OLD TESTAMENT PROOF OF THE DEITY OF CHRIST

In the book of Genesis, we see that God(YHWH) comes and speaks to Abraham.  God tells Abraham that he will have a son by Sarah in one year and that He is about to pronounce judgment on Sodom.  In this account, God appears to Abraham as a man.  We are told that 3 men show up to speak to Abraham.  Two we know are angels as they go off to Sodom and warn Abraham's nephew Lot about the impending destruction of the cities of the plain. The third man is clearly identified as YHWH(YEHOVA) by Moses, rendered as LORD in our English translations.  This account, together with the words of Christ Himself prove that Jesus appeared to Abraham and that Jesus is indeed God.

Abraham worships the man who visits and the man accepts the worship, proving that the man is God.  When Moses spoke to God in the burning bush, Moses asked God what His name was.  God's response was, "I AM that I AM , YHWH is my  name."  Moses, who wrote the Genesis account, identifies the man who came to Abraham as YHWH.  So we can connect the dots that Moses identifies God as I AM and YHWH.  We also see that God has appeared to Abraham as a man.

Christ, during His ministry, walked the earth as a man.  Jesus specifically taught the disciples that the Father is Spirit.   Abraham met God in the form of a man. When the religious leaders began to question Jesus about His authority He responded by saying, "you claim to have Abraham as your father... before Abraham was I AM."  The religious leaders knew exactly what Jesus was saying as they picked up rocks to stone Him because they considered His words blasphemy, that a man should claim to be God.

Moses emphatically demonstrates that the third man who came to Abraham was God in human form.  Moses also ensures the reader understands that I AM and YHWH are one and the same. When Jesus declared "before Abraham was, I AM" it leaves no doubt that Jesus is the man who appeared to Abraham.  


God's plan of redemption was always in sight.  Back at the Garden of Eden, God declared His plan to save mankind and to destroy Satan in Genesis 3:15.  As Jesus appears to Abraham and reveals to him that he will be a blessing to all nations, He has the cross in sight.  God began laying the groundwork for man's redemption as soon as man sinned in the Garden.  God continued to reveal His plan throughout Israel's history and pre-history in the case of Abraham.  That is the love of God that He became a man to die for men who rebelled against Him.  That's how much God loves you!

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

FROM NOAH TO BABEL - 300 YEARS

As I study the book of Genesis, I am ever intrigued by the account of Noah. From the Nephilim prior to the flood to the Tower of Babel after the flood, the account of those events never ceases to capture my attention.  The stubborness of man and our insistence to go our own way, away from God, is highlighted in this record.  From the time of the flood to the great rebellion against God at the tower of Babel, 300 years had passed.  While 300 years may seem like a long time, one has to take into account that Noah lived 350 years after the flood.  NOAH WAS STILL ALIVE WHEN NIMROD REBELLED AGAINST GOD!

The flood was not some tale of antiquity that people wondered about,, at the time of the building of the Tower of Babel all the people who experienced the flood were still alive and giving personal testimony of God and His destruction of mankind.  Imagine the rebelliousness of Nimrod's heart as he set out to build a tower to heaven.  What motive could he have had except to defy God to His face.  Nimrod was the great grandson of Noah, descended from Noah's son Ham.  Ham sinned against his father shortly after exiting the ark and was cursed by God.  As an act of defiance against God Nimrod rose up to lead people to build a tower that was so high that "God could never flood them out again.(according to the Epic of Gilgamesh)

God stopped Nimrod's great endeavor and thwarted his plans to rise up against Him.  This is a lesson for all of us.  Man can devise plans against God, be it the lie of evolution or false religions designed to steer men away from the truth of God, but the fact remains, God will not be defeated or mocked.  Every plan of man devised to remove God's authority over the earth has failed.  Ultimately, these failed plans are the handiwork of Satan who has been in opposition to God since the Garden of Eden.

Soon, one last ditch effort will be made by Satan and the evil men who would rule the earth and deny God.  That effort will also fail and usher in the final kingdom.  Every man and woman must choose whom they will serve and which side they are on.  The choice to serve God is far easier to make now that it will be when the last rebellion takes place.  Like Joshua, after entering the promised land, I too proclaim,  "as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD (YHWH)."  I hope you also choose the same.

Monday, December 2, 2013

SAYING FAREWELL TO TWO VERY DIFFERENT CHRISTIAN LEADERS

Last month the Christians of the world said a fond farewell to Pastor Chuck Smith, an iconic leader of the Jesus movement and founder of Calvary Chapel.  As a former Calvaryite, I learned a great deal from Pastor Chuck.  Chuck Smith impacted not only American culture but had an incredible impact on global missions.  The Word For Today radio broadcast still reaches millions each day.  Undoubtedly, Pastor Chuck will be remembered among the great names of the faith such as Moody and Wesley.  

Pastor Chuck Smith taught the word of God pure and simple.  Calvary Chapel has many critics, and I am one at times, but the legacy of Bible teaching that Chuck Smith left behind is par none. Pastor Chuck taught expositorily, verse by verse, line by line, the full counsel of God.  I have found that this is the most effective method of teaching the Word as it does not allow a teacher to focus on favorite passages or ignore difficult truths.

     In stark contrast, another well known name in Christian circles passed away today, Paul Crouch of TBN.  Crouch built a radio station into a worldwide empire which broadcasts to every continent on earth except Antarctica.  Paul Crouch's message was one of prosperity for the faithful.  TBN gave enough of the Gospel message to keep believers donating, but the real message of TBN was that believers had a right to health, wealth, and prosperity and the only thing keeping anyone from experiencing the good life was lack of faith.  Paul Crouch lived a decadent lifestyle from donations sent in by those who believed they could sow a faith seed and reap a financial windfall.  

I feel a sense of loss to the Christian world as Pastor Chuck moves on to his reward in heaven. I personally benefited from his ministry and still listened to his live call in show each night that I was in the car when he was on.  On the other hand, Paul Crouch's death seems no loss at all.  When you take into account the scandals he has been involved in and the lifestyle he lived and the shameless way he enriched himself from the donations of his viewers, it is hard to mourn his passing.

Chuck Smith modeled servant leadership while Paul Crouch modeled greed and corruption.  The legacy of Pastor Chuck Smith will live on and continue to touch the world for Christ.  The legacy of Paul Crouch will promote others of his ilk like Creflo Dollar and Benny Hinn.  Pastor Chuck fed the sheep, Paul Crouch fleeced em. 

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

GOD REVEALED THE NAME OF JESUS TO ISRAEL

In the book of Zechariah, God plainly states the coming Messiah's name. Early in the book, God speaks to the high priest Joshua (Yeshua in Hebrew) and tells him that in the future He will bring the Branch and the Branch will establish a holy kingdom in Israel and remove all sin and iniquity from the people. It is evident to Joshua and students of the Old testament that God is referring to the Messiah (Christ in Greek) when speaking of the Branch. Later in the book, God commands a crown be made for the head of Joshua and that he represented the Branch and that one day Joshua (Yeshua in Hebrew - Jesus in Greek) would rule over the house of Israel and sit on the throne as priest and king. Joshua the high priest never wore the crown on a throne, the crown was commanded to be kept in the temple as a testimony of what would be in the future. God declared, prior to the building of the second temple that one day, the Messiah would come, would sit in the temple on a throne in the position of Priest and King and His name would be Joshua (Yeshua in Hebrew and Jesus in Greek) God could not have made His plan of salvation any more plain, from Genesis 3:15 through to the book of Revelation.

Monday, November 25, 2013

THE AFTERMATH OF A VERY BAD DEAL - DID WE ABANDON OUR ALLIES?

    In my last blog, I wrote about the very bad deal that was made with Iran concerning it's nuclear weapons program.  Today, the reaction from America's friends in the Middle East would suggest that they feel betrayed and abandoned.  Never before has the United States made such a deal with a nation so blatantly hostile to American values and freedom.  Iran is run by a fanatical Islamic regime that would put the entire world under Sharia law if given the chance.  Human rights atrocities in Iran are normal practice and women are relegated to property status.  Everyone of America's allies in the region opposed this deal yet America, seeming to work against it's own interests, has allowed Iran to gain access to billions of dollars.

      Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu scolded President Obama during a private call Sunday, telling him that if he wished to remain the most powerful man in the world he had better change American policy towards Iran.  Israel will send a lobby group to the U. S. in order to convince the Federal government that it needs to dismantle Iran's nuclear enrichment program.  Israel has also stated that it will do what needs to be done to prohibit Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon, including a unilateral military strike.

  Saudi Arabia feels that the U. S. deceived them by purposely not briefing them in the developments and possible outcome of the deal.  Saudi government has declared it will now follow an independent foreign policy.  While refusing to admit to an open relationship with Israel, Saudi Arabia has agreed to lend support to an Israeli military strike against Iran.

   Even more disturbing about this deal is the loophole that was created that allows Iran to do work off site and then bring the completed components to the reactor site and install them.  Iran has become financially able to accomplish it's wish to gain preeminence in the region through nuclear strength.  The Ayatollah's response leaves no room for doubt about what Iran's true intentions are, he declared victory over the United States through the nuclear agreement passed in Geneva.

    Iran has been nothing but hostile towards America and the rights and freedoms enjoyed by the American people.  The fanatics that have taken over the Iranian government have expressed it's desire to destroy America in the name of Islam.  Iran sent soldiers into Iraq to kill American soldiers.  The fact that there is no obvious benefit to the United States to enact such a deal, which leads one to wonder what not so obvious benefit has Western leaders so anxious to empower a rogue nation.      

Sunday, November 24, 2013

THE DAY THE WORLD MADE A PACT WITH THE DEVIL

DID IRAN'S NUKE PROGRAM JUST GET AN UNINTENDED GREEN LIGHT?


Today, the world made a deal with a proven devil, Iran.  Iran now has access to billions of dollars that they can squirrel away for nefarious uses in the future and in return, Iran has to be good for 6 months.  Today, Iran and a coalition of deceived nations, (some not so deceived, as time will tell) agreed to lift sanctions on Iran and allow Iran access to about 7 billion dollars of frozen funds.  In exchange, Iran agreed to halt production on some of it's nuclear program that could lead to bomb making, allow daily inspections, and to not build any more centrifuges ... for 6 months.  If Iran misbehaves, the sanctions go right back into place.

   The reason this is a "very bad deal" as Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu stated, is the fact that Iran has, at the very least, set it's nuclear program back 6 months and now has access to billions of needed dollars, the lack of which was the true hindrance to completing a nuclear weapons program.  Once Iran has secured the needed funds to build a bomb all deals will be off.  This is a huge financial win for Iran, a very minuscule win for the West, and a very dangerous development for Israel's security and Saudi Arabia's financial future. Iran gains immediate access to about 7 billion dollars and has the ability to generate major revenue for at least 6 months.  Should Iran reach it's financial goals, whatever that figure may be, they will abandon their end of the treaty and have all the funding needed to develop a nuclear weapons program.

    The big losers will be Israel and Saudi Arabia.  Israel, the only democratic nation in the region, has been ignored during these talks by the United States, once it's biggest ally.  The United States seems to have thumbed it's nose at Israel throughout the entire negotiation process and in the final agreement.  Israel has repeatedly voiced concerns over the consequences to the stability of the Middle East caused by this deal.  Iran was almost a breaking point financially, even the U. S. congress wanted to increase sanctions, not ease them.  Iran comes out stronger and more able to exert it's military might in the region. Not a very good option for a nation who has expressly stated that it's desire is to push it's neighbor, Israel, into the sea.  Iran refers to America as the great Satan and has vowed to destroy us as well.  This deal is tantamount to Superman giving Kryptonite to Lex Luther, expecting Lex Luther to not  use it against him.

     The other big potential loser int he region is Saudi Arabia and the OPEC nations.  Once Iran has access to a nuclear bomb, Saudi Arabia believes it will be threatened concerning oil production.  Iran wants to be the top nation in the world.  Once Iran achieves nuclear weapons it will be in a position to control oil production and sales in the region, quickly propelling itself to Super Power status.  As America, the last Super Power nation, continues it's downward slide economically, militarily and socially, Iran will emerge as the one nation able to dictate to all other nations - the express goal of it's maniacally extremist Islamic leadership.  Saudi Arabia and Israel have become unlikely allies in this misadventure due to both nations having a vested interest in Iran remaining nuclear weapon free.  (see my blogs Will America Sell It's Soul... and Will America Sell It's Soul - Update)

     The United States remains divided on this issue, Congress desires to tighten sanctions while the Administration chose to go push for the current treaty.  What does the United States and Western nations gain from this deal?  That remains to be seen, as there is no clear advantage to be gained whatsoever.  Without financial resources Iran was not able to complete it's nuclear weapon program and posed no threat to the West.  Now, Iran will have plenty of money to do what it pleases which is ultimately detrimental to the whole world.  Russia has been helping Iran with it's nuclear program all along and is surly celebrating this wonderful victory for it's number one ally in the Middle East.  Russia has proven to be a much better friend to Iran than the United States has to Israel.

     Israel has vowed to attack Iran before it gains nuclear weapons, Saudi Arabia has agreed to help.  Will this lead to a preemptive strike against Israel by Russia and Iran?  The Bible predicts such an attack.  Amazingly, America, today, has helped the enemies of Israel.  God promises to curse any country that curses Israel.  This deal, I believe, hurtles the world toward Armageddon.  The nations are allied as the Bible predicted, America will fade from world prominence as the Bible suggests and a world leader will be called upon to fix the mess in Middle East with a far reaching peace treaty as the Bible has also predicted in both the Old Testament and the New.  The world leader who signs such a treaty will be the Man of Sin the Bible describes and will one day be indwelt by Satan himself, as he rules the world.

   All of this is good news for the Church as it means our time on earth is short, but even in the excitement of our immanent redemption, our concern for Israel and the lost souls of the world should preclude any rejoicing.  While we are enjoying the presence of God in heaven, the world will be plunged into absolute chaos and destruction due to God's wrath.  People we know and love will be terribly impacted.  We need to step up our evangelism efforts as time is growing short and the souls of those we love depend upon it.


Wednesday, November 20, 2013

A PLACE TO SHARE YOUR TESTIMONY ONLINE

Here is a cool site I discovered that allows people to share their testimony for Christ and find encouragement by reading testimonies of others.  Check it out!

http://www.news4christ.com/

Sunday, November 17, 2013

SOCIAL MEDIA HERETIC - POPE FRANCIS

 The The Sacred Apostolic Penitentiary, a Vatican court that decides on matters concerning the forgiveness of sins, has issued a statement declaring indulgences for following the Pope on Twitter and other social media.  Indulgences are basically used to shorten the time a person is stuck in purgatory.  Purgatory is a Roman Catholic invention originally designed to raise money.  

Indulgences led, in part, to the Reformation and Martin Luther's abdication from the so called Holy See.  The Vatican claims that the Pope is the Apostolic Succession of Peter.  Peter preached the Gospel pure and simple.  When asked what must be done to gain salvation, Peter responded, "Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit."  Nowhere did Peter speak about purgatory, indulgences, or any other heretical teaching coming our of the Vatican lately. (for more info check out my other posts on Francis)  

The message of the cross is simple, faith in Christ alone.  Apparently, this pope thinks himself a rock star and is more worried about being "relevant and cool" than theologically accurate.  I have stated in the past that I believe this pope is the false prophet of Revelation and nonsense like a call to follow him on social media to receive blessing from God only serves to support this belief.  Francis seems to be high on fame and not very concerned about Biblical truth.  The role of pope has great opportunity to preach the simplicity of the Gospel and lead multitudes to Christ. Instead, Francis has chosen to play the devil's fool touting conscience as the path to God and giving atheism an equal footing with faith.  

The Bible clearly states that friendship with the world is enmity with God.  Pope Francis has traded the truth of God for friendship with the enemies of God.  This can only lead to one place... heresy and damnation.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

WILL AMERICA SELL IT'S SOUL FOR A NUKE DEAL? - UPDATE- WILL AMERICA DIVORCE ITSELF FROM GOD?

A while back, I posted about a potential deal being hammered out between America and Iran concerning Iran's nuclear program and the lifting of economic sanctions.  Today, Israel and Saudi Arabia have announced an unlikely alliance.  Both countries realize the threat a nuclear empowered Iran means to the region and have planned a tentative partnership, should Israel deem a military strike necessary. Saudi Arabia has agreed to allow Israel to utilize it's air space for a strike on Iranian Nuclear facilities and has agreed to give tactical and rescue support if needed.  

France killed the initial deal that would have given Iran economic relief in exchange for empty promises to not enrich uranium to weapons grade and limited international oversight. Such a deal would benefit Iran greatly but cost Iran nothing in terms of ending it's uranium enrichment program.  Talks will continue this week as the U. S. attempts to broker a deal that would benefit Iran but give little or no protection to Iran's neighbors Israel and Saudi Arabia, should Iran decide to escalate it's nuclear weapons program.

Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu will travel to Moscow and meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin next week as Russia has become Iran's biggest supporter both economically and in it's nuclear program.  Should talks fail and Iran is allowed to gain economic relief without any tangible reduction of it's nuclear program, Israel will most likely exercise a military option.  Sadly, America will not be able to support or defend Israel if the U. S. backs the very deal that leads to a military strike.  

Should the United States make this deal with Iran, the U. S. will, for the first time in Israel's history, become allied against God's chosen people.  This will not bode well for the United States and will quite probably be the catalyst that causes God to withdraw His favor and protection from our country.  One nation under God will complete it's divorce from God, a divorce that has been escalating for years in our culture, media and now our politics. 

Just as Israel was a representative theocracy, we are a representative republic.  When Israel's leaders rejected Christ it lead to the destruction of Israel in 70 AD.  Should our leadership reject God by siding with Israel's enemies, America will share the same fate Israel did.  Israel was reborn in 1948 because God made specific promises concerning Israel's role in future events.  God has made no such promises to America.  If you love this country, pray that it's leaders do not reject God by abandoning Israel.  Iran is a nation whose leadership is in opposition to God, should we align ourselves with Iran, we too will be a nation in opposition to God.

PRE-TRIBULATION RESEARCH CENTER


                                          ???

I found a very interesting site with great content concerning End Time Prophecy.  The Pre-Trib Research Center, started by Tim LaHaye, of Left Behind fame, has put together a website that supports the Pre-Tribulational view of Eschatology.  The site can be accessed here:

http://pre-trib.org/

The Pre-tribulational view is the most logical view of eschatological events.  If you were a fan of the Left Behind series, you can learn Biblical truth from one of he co-authors at the above link.  Check it out and see if you don't get excited about the up coming events that will fulfill Bible prophecy, events that I believe will be happening in the very near future.

Blessings!

Friday, November 15, 2013

MICAH 6:8 THE KEY TO A CHRIST CENTERED LIFE

One of my favorite verses is Micah 6:8 which states: "He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the LORD require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?" This verse, to me, sums up all of the law.  This encompasses how we are to treat others and relate to God.  This sums up the Golden Rule.

Trying to live according to these words in this society is increasingly difficult. Those who promote sin seem to be winning the culture war, high profile religious leaders seem to be promoting humanistic theology, and the basic family unit is slowly becoming extinct.  How do we, who hold to Biblical values and relate to a society that is hostile to God and His people?  What does this verse tell us?

He has told us what is good:  God has revealed to us in His word what is good. How can we know what is good if we are not studying the Word.  Many churches have gotten away from teaching the Bible in exchange for a feel good message.  Ministers like the current Pope are more interested in making people feel good than confronting sin and leading them to the cross for salvation.  Preachers of self esteem like Robert Shuller have paved the way for heretics like Joel Osteen to pollute the world with a pseudo Gospel that is more interested in making "well balanced" people than winning souls for Christ.  How do believers get duped by these purveyors of psycho-babble?  They do not read the Word.  God has told us what is good. Read the Word.

I find it interesting that the passage says that God requires of us.  The Bible is not a collection of suggestions for a good life, the Bible is essential information instructing us in the only way to be right with God.  This not simply what God likes, but what God requires of us.  As believers, we had better be interested in what God requires of us, if it is important enough for Him to put it in writing for us, we had probably better listen.  Faith in Christ is essential in enabling us to accomplish this command because the Bible clearly states that without faith, it is impossible to please God.

To do Justice: This has to do with how we conduct our lives.  This means following the rules.  This means doing what is right always.  Often it is easy to cut corners, to lie or cheat a little to make life easier.  Having an "end justifies the means" mentality is contrary to God's method. If we have to break the rules to accomplish a good goal, we defeat the purpose of the good goal.  To do justice is to live a life above reproach and above suspicion.

To love kindness:  This has every thing to do with how we treat others.  Other Bible versions use the term mercy in place of kindness.  To show mercy and kindness to others is to reveal the love of God to people in the midst of their sin.   It means providing for them even when we do not feel they deserve provision.  It also means caring about them enough to encourage them to live right before God.  Not attacking and condemning sinful behavior but revealing God's truth gently and lovingly, leaving room for the Holy Spirit to convict their hearts. Pointing fingers and accusing will drive people away but a kind word or generous act reveals God's nature and will draw people to Him. When we condemn others, we are acting contrary to God's nature.

To walk humbly with our God:  This has everything to do with how we relate to God in our own personal spiritual life.  God desires our heart, mind and strength.  God gives us certain tasks to perform and abilities to perform them.  Walking humbly with God does not mean walking around with our heads down thinking how lowly we are, it means knowing who we are in Christ and living within those parameters.  Knowing who we are in Christ is essential to walking with God. This is accomplished through fellowship with God in prayer and worship.

God wants us to have full and productive lives.  God has provided all we need to do this through His Word and Holy Spirit.  Through the Word we find His heart and through His Spirit we find His power.  Faith in Christ unlocks both the Word and Spirit in our lives, the Word becomes alive as we are indwelt by the Spirit. We are indwelt by the Spirit when we place our faith in Christ.

God is not interested in man's psychological nonsense and self esteem, He is interested in a heart surrendered to Him through faith.  When we are able to discover His plan and purpose for our lives we will be fulfilled far beyond any notions of the self esteem movement which claims value for no inherent reason.  Knowing that the creator of the universe became a man and died for me because I rebelled against Him and had no hope of self renewal gives me value far beyond any notions of self worth.  I have worth to God.

He has shown you O man what is good. Are you willing to find out what is good and then do it?

Friday, November 8, 2013

WILL AMERICA SELL IT'S SOUL FOR A NUKE DEAL WITH IRAN?

Today, Secretary of State John Kerry is meeting with Iranian officials in Geneva for a possibel deal in which Iran will allow limited oversight of it's nuclear program in exchange for the lifting of economic sanctions by the international community.  What this means in real terms is that Iran destroys no centrifuges, Iran has very limited inspections of it's nuclear sites and agrees to not enrich it's uranium to a weapons grade.  What Iran gets is the lifting of economic sanctions allowing it to generate the all the money it needs to complete a nuclear weapons program.

  Iran is governed, ultimately, by the Ayatollah.  The Ayatollah is an extreme Islamacist, whom many of his own countrymen despise, and who is bent on the same goals as Osama Bin Laden.  The puppet president of Iran, Hassan Rouhani, is also a Muslim cleric sharing  the ideology of the Ayatollah.  Rhohani is also a diplomat and knows how the international game is played, making it easy for him to play the peace maker. The government of Iran has proven itself to be untrustworthy for decades and any deal made by the U S should require heavy restrictions, oversight and the dismantling of centrifuges.  None of these things are even on the table.

Historically, Iran has been the enemy of the U S since the seizing of power by the Ayatollah, yet the current administration thinks that phone calls conversations can overcome years of hate and distrust.  The first act of the new regime in Iran, after the removal of the Shaw, was to take American diplomats hostage.  Iran has threatened to drive our number one ally in the region, Israel, into the sea, Iran  has referred to America as the Great Satan, Iran has threatened America with an EMP, and Iran said last week it was committed to the destruction of the United States.

   Any deal with Iran that does not directly eliminate it's ability to develop weapons of mass destruction will be the biggest diplomatic mistake in U S history.  Iran has proven to be untrustworthy and hostile to Western ideology. Iran has proven to be a direct enemy of the state of Israel and has made blatant, unveiled threats toward America.  To trust Iran is tantamount to Charlie Brown expecting Lucy to hold the football in place while he tries to kick it.

As everything that happens in the Mid East seems to have end time ramifications, we can use this meeting to gauge how close we may be to the return of Christ.  If indeed, Iran gets what it wants from this deal, it will create more instability in the region allowing for the events prescribed in scripture to unfold.  The war of Ezekiel 38 seems to be the next big event in scripture to be fulfilled and conditions for this event seem to be falling into place. The other big event is the rapture of the church which may or may not take place before the Gog Magog War of Ezekiel.  I believe the Gog Magog war will take place first and lead to a peace treaty with Anti-Christ which will usher in the Great Tribulation of Revelation and Daniel.

This meeting holds great significance both politically and spiritually.  Now more than ever we need to be in prayer for he peace of Jerusalem as the Bible commands us.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

GIVING WHAT GOD GAVE US TO GIVE

In Acts 3, we see Peter and the other apostles approaching the temple. On their way up, they encounter a crippled beggar.  Obviously, the Apostles were not well off, they had given up their livelihood to follow Jesus, so they had no real wealth.  In fact, Peter stated, "Silver and gold we do not have, but what we do have we give to you, get up and walk."  God gave Peter a specific ability for the express purpose of evangelism. The result was the man got up, began leaping around and most importantly, praising God.

God has gifted each one of us with talents and abilities that He expects us to use for His glory and to reach others for Christ.  Like the parable of the talents, God gives us each a measure of resource, that we may be busy doing His work.  We will know that we are working according to God's plan when it is He who is praised and worshiped and not ourselves.


So many utilize God given talent in order to bring benefit to themselves, God commands us to be about His work.  "Seek ye first the kingdom of God, and His righteousness, and all these things will be added unto you."  When we are busy doing God's will,, He will provide all the resources we need.

What has God given you, what talent, ability, treasure, or free time have you been blessed with?  The Apostle said, "what I do have I give..."  and we should say the same thing.

Friday, November 1, 2013

CHOOSING A BIBLE

When choosing a Bible, it is very important to know about the translation used in presenting the Word in English. There are myriad Bible versions to choose from, but unfortunately, many suffer from poor translation from the original language. Some corrupt the original text, and some, in an effort to be relevant to today's vernacular, butcher the intent of the original writers. The most popular versions being the King James, the New King James, the New International Version (NIV), the New American Standard (NASV), the Eglish Standard Version (ESV), the Living Bible, the Living Translation and the Message. These seem to be the most popular English versions available. 

Obviously the King James is the most widely known and accepted, in fact, if you are dealing with Jehovah's Witnesses, they will accept the King James even though they have their own translation which denies the Deity of Christ. The King James is the old stand by but it is very difficult to understand as it is written in a version of English that is 400 years old. The New King James is far more readable and holds to the original translation of the original. I do not own one, but, I hold it in high regard, especially as one of my mentors, Dr. Gary Cohen, was on the translation committee. 

The NASV is a great translation especially in regards to the translation of the Greek to English. The only problem with the NASV is it is a little difficult to understand as the English is can be a bit stiff. 

The NIV is not so much of a word for word translation but a thought by though translation. It is very readable and quite accurate as it had older manuscripts to work from than previous translations. The draw back for me with the NIV is that I still need to keep a King James around when studying in order to look up specific words in original language. 

The ESV is currently my Bible of choice. It is well translated, using even older texts than the NIV and written in readable English. The translation is strong and the English is understandable in today's vernacular. 

The Living Bible is a paraphrase and I find it is too loose with it's interpretation of the Bible. It may be useful for small children but not a best choice for older believers. 

The Living Translation is written in the same simplicity as the Living Bible but is a translation rather than a paraphrase. A little better than the Living Bible but again, loses some of it's power in an attempt to simplify. This would be a good companion to a more scholarly version to help with difficult passages, but not good for a regular diet.

 Finally, the Message. I would not recommend this version to anyone as it waters down key doctrines and seems to lend itself more to an emerging church frame of theology. I did quite a bit of research before purchasing my current Bible a couple of years ago and settled on the ESV but I would recommend any of the Bibles in this posting except the Living Bible and Translation and the Message

Choosing a Bible version is an extremely personal choice and should be taken with great care. 

Monday, October 28, 2013

HIS ROD AND HIS STAFF, THEY COMFORT ME

In the 23rd Psalm, we see the passage that says, "His rod and His staff, they comfort me."  Most people have heard this quoted numerous times and probably even have it memorized, but how many have actually stopped to think about what it means.  Two tools used by a shepherd is the rod and the staff. We are familiar with the staff of the shepherd, the hooked stick that we see most shepherds depicted with.   The staff is used to gently guide the sheep or even to rescue them from tight spots. It is easy to see the comfort in the staff. The rod however is an instrument designed to inflict pain in order to correct bad behavior.  In our lives, God will use the rod of correction because He loves us.  We can expect the rod when we ignore the gentle nudge of the staff.
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      Knowledge of the rod brings comfort to the believer because the Bible tells us that God disciplines those He loves.  It is when we find ourselves under correction that we know that we are God's child and that He actually cares about how we live.  The rod is also meant to protect the believer.  When someone messes with us, they are messing with God's kid.   The Bible says, "Vengeance is mine saith the Lord."  God can fight our battles for us far better than we can.  Also, God's vengeance is designed to draw the object of that vengeance unto Himself. When we retaliate the goal is to bring harm, when God disciplines it is meant for the good of the one being disciplined. Such is the love of the Father.  Have comfort in the knowledge that God is intricately involved in your life and wants His best for you.  Sometimes we respond to the staff and receive blessing and sometimes we need the rod.  His love is demonstrated by His involvement in our lives.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

AMERICA, ISRAEL AND THE NSA - WHERE DOES IT LEAD?

      America has angered most of the world by spying on our allies. Now it has been revealed that the current administration, including the president, knew that German Chancellor Merkle's cell phone was being monitored by NSA since 2010. This harms U. S. credibility and diminishes our standing in the international community.  This comes at a very difficult time since Israel is seriously moving toward a military strike against Iran. Given the current administration's sympathetic behavior toward Iran in recent weeks and our relationship with Saudi Arabia being stressed by NSA spying and our reluctance to make a move against Syria, Israel may well be standing alone against the Muslim world. This concerns me on many levels. It is not good policy for a nation to abandon it's allies in their time of need, but even more dangerous is by not supporting Israel, if indeed that becomes a reality, the U. S. puts itself in a precarious position with God, whom we claim to be one nation under and in whom we claim to trust. God specifically stated that those who bless Israel will be blessed and those who curse Israel will be cursed. As America appears nowhere in Bible prophecy, this could be the events that bring about the destruction or irrelevancy of America leading into end time events. Only time will tell. Hopefully America has one more great awakening before Christ returns to judge the nations

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

THE HOLY SPIRIT, CHARISMATICS, AND JOHN MCARTHUR


                                             
Many years ago, I started listening to John McArthur on the radio.  I loved his sermons and ranked him up with my favorite preachers, Charles Stanley, Chuck Swindoll, Chuck Smith, Tony Evans, and Chuck Missler, to name a few.  What I slowly began to realize, sadly, is that John McArthur is a Calvinist.  At that point, I shied away from his teachings as Calvinism tends to flavor the rest of a person's theology.

     This week, John McArthur came out against the Charismatic movement in a very strong way.  I agree with McArthur that much of what goes on in the name of God, within the charimatic movement, is foolishness at best and heretical at worst.  The so called Toronto Blessing back in the 90's was a total fiasco making Christians look downright crazy, while the perpetrators laughed all the way to the bank.

                                                
  What one must be very careful with is that we do not throw the Holy Spirit out with the dirty bath water of Charismania.  The Holy Spirit is still very active in the lives of believers as we are indwelt by the Spirit upon conversion.  The Holy Spirit becomes our guide and sanctifies our lives as we place ourselves under obedience to God.  The Holy Spirit is also still in the miracle business.

Many outside charismatic circles believe that the spiritual manifestations spoken of in I Corinthians are no longer for today and should not be practiced and if they are practiced, then they are being faked.  Many inside charismatic circles believe that not exercising these "gifts" is evidence of not being saved.  Both cannot be right, and in fact, neither one is.  The word "gifts" do not appear in the original language. The proper translation should be "spirituals" or as I like to refer to as "spiritual manifestations". Scripture used by those outside charismatic churches to deny the modern day use of spiritual manifestations do not hold up under scrutiny.  On the other hand, those that tend to
encourage charismatic behavior often ignore scripture passages that govern the use of spirituals and church governance.
                                         

Many charismatic churches encourage open forum speaking in tongues in a service.  The Bible specifically prohibits such a demonstration as the Apostle Paul referred to it as seemingly insanity. Instead, the use of tongues is to be orderly and one at a time.  If there is no interpretation of the tongue within the congregation, then no one is to speak any longer.  Very rarely is that Biblical instruction followed.  Instead, you have a room full of people sputtering gibberish thinking that they are bringing honor to God.

God does not indicate anywhere in scripture that we are to shun spiritual manifestations.  On the other hand, we are absolutely NOT supposed to carry on with abandon and blame our behavior on the Holy Spirit.  Honestly, there is probably little or no reason for an American to speak in tongues in an American church, but I would not want to restrict God and say He could not cause a missionary to speak in tongues in a foreign land so that the native speakers would understand.

I have personally witnessed healings in my own family, I have witnessed prophecies spoken over people or situations which came to pass and I firmly believe that God gives discernment to certain believers who are able to test spirits as the Bible commands us to do.

My fear is that when a spiritual heavyweight, like John McArthur, comes out against something as strongly as he has come out against the charismatic movement, believers will shift too far in their thinking and totally discount any supernatural or miraculous events.  There must be balance and that balance is not found in the words of cessationist teachers like McArthur, nor in the maniacal teachings of heretics like Rodney Howard Browne. The balance is found in the scriptures, especially in chapters 12, 13, and 14 of I Corinthians.  It is impossible to read those scriptures without seeing the clear instruction on utilizing spiritual manifestations in the church. All things are to be done in order, and as I Corinthians 13 reminds us, pursuing love is far greater than any pursuit of so called "spiritual gifts".