Monday, October 28, 2013


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.
      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 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


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".

Tuesday, October 15, 2013


As coalitions come together and to fulfill the prophecy of Ezekiel 38 I found some interesting passages in Ezekiel chapters 29 through 32.  In these passages of Ezekiel, God reveals His plans to destroy Pharaoh and the nation of Egypt.  At the time Ezekiel wrote, Egypt was a super power.  Egypt had great economic, political and military strength.  When Babylon attacked Israel, Israel appealed to it's ally Egypt for help.  Egypt failed Israel in it's hour of need and God declared judgement on Egypt.  God promised to destroy the pharaoh and remove all might and prominence from Egypt.  Clearly, the Egypt of today in no way resembles the Egypt that once was.  The Pharaohs are relics of history and Egypt is weak and bereft of any influence on the world stage.

Today, Israel faces threats daily from it's neighbors.  Traditionally, America has stood close to Israel like a big brother, deterring any threat from becoming a reality.  Recently, the United States have been less supportive of Israel and not very wise overall concerning Mid East Foreign policy.  As America distances itself from Israel, a coalition of nations seem to be coming together in a united threat against Israel.  Russia has given it's support to Iran and Syria, both sworn enemies of the nation of Israel.  Interestingly enough, these nations were named by the Prophet Ezekiel, as the very nations that would attack Israel in the last days.

Currently, Iranian President Rouhani has made gestures toward the Obama administration, indicating Iran's willingness to come under international oversight concerning it's nuclear program, in exchange for the lifting of economic sanctions. Interestingly, the sanctions have been the one great deterrent to Iran acquiring a nuclear bomb. President Obama has indicated that he is willing to discuss the lifting, or at the very least, easing sanctions.  Even more interestingly, key Democratic lawmakers have already stated that they would not support the president on lifting sanctions. Congress has sole power to levy or lift economic sanctions.  What this shows is that the President may be somewhat sympathetic to Iran's cause, even though congress will not capitulate to Rouhani's demands.

In the midst of all this, Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu declared today that not using military action on Iran to halt it's nuclear program could be far costlier than any international response to such an attack.  Netanyahu understands that a nuclear empowered Iran would mean the destruction of Israel as a nation.  Whether or not America will stand by Israel should it choose a military option is uncertain.

What this could mean for America Spiritually:  Again, traditionally America has stood close to Israel just as ancient Egypt had at one time.  Now, Israel finds itself in arguably it's greatest hour of need and America is a wild card.  Even though congress can block the president from lifting economic sanctions, congress cannot order military support for Israel to defend it against attack.  What if Israel comes under attack and America does nothing?  According to Ezekiel 38, this is precisely what happens, and God supernaturally rescues Israel from destruction.  Failure by the United States to help Israel if Israel is attacked could very well result in America receiving the same judgement from God as Egypt.

I believe that America is at a crossroads.  How we respond to God's declaration to Israel can mean the difference between prosperity of destruction: In Genesis 12:3 God declares to Abraham that all who bless him will be be blessed and all who dishonors him will be cursed.  If America dishonors Israel by refusing to stand by it's side I fear a curse of destruction is guaranteed.

Now is the time to pray for revival in the churches that spills out into the streets and brings about a third great awakening for the United States of America - One nation under God.

Sunday, October 13, 2013


Discipleship is a foundational aspect of the life of a believer.  It is necessary for believers to disciple and be discipled.  Much of our Church life today is geared toward building membership and, particularly here in the South, high Sunday School attendance.  This leads to a great deal of compromise in the local churches and allows for the cutting of corners and watering down of the Gospel.

Jesus told us to go and make disciples,  He did not tell us to build grand buildings or develop Sunday School programs.  Making disciples means actually investing our own personal time  in the life of another person - all week long every week.  This means we cannot have our Sunday persona and our weekday persona, this means that we have to be the same person every day.

According to James Brown (no, not the singer) of Christian Discipleship Ministries, only 1 in 3 new young born again believers actually believe that Jesus is the only way to salvation.  When we are simply focused on making converts and attempting to be "purpose driven" to the point that we do not want to offend or "push people away" we fail to present difficult truth.  Difficult truth does not need to be given harshly or in a commanding way, it can be presented in love. Jesus told the woman caught in adultery "go and sin no more." Jesus did not sugar coat her lifestyle of give her a pass to sin, but He demonstrated love to her and then presented her with the difficult truth. We need to do the same.  This can only be done through relationship which is basically discipleship.

If you are a mature believer, you should be actively investing your life in the life of a newer believer - even if it is your own child.  Academia, media, entertainment - these are all attacking and contradicting the truth of scripture on a daily basis.  We, as older believers must, more so now than ever, recognize that the enemy, Satan, is working overtime to destroy our young people.  We need to work overtime to show them that we care about them and teach them God's Word.

The Bible is not a book of guidelines or made up tales with good moral lessons, it is an historical account of God's love for man.  It is a book of indisputable truth.  When the Bible states emphatically that Jesus is the only way to salvation, it is unconscionable for churches to allow it's young people to believe otherwise.

My challenge is to mature believers to be obedient to Jesus in the great commission and invest in the lives of new believers.  Know your Bible, live your Bible, model Christ.


I read an article on Breitbart that shows how far our country has strayed from the values that once, and can again, make America great.  Producers of the show Duck Dynasty have seen fit to censor the name of Jesus in order to not offend Muslims.

No one seemed to care about the negative impact the name of Jesus had on Muslim viewers until Muslim extremists blew up our the World Trade Center.  Are the producers of Duck Dynasty trying to protect America from another terrorist attack?  I call foul on this one.

First of all, Muslims respect Jesus as a good teacher and prophet so the utterance of His name would not necessarily be offensive to the average Muslim.  Second of all, I would be willing to bet my salary for the next 10 years that Duck Dynasty has a much larger Christian audience than Muslim, so why would they not be concerned about offending the Christians who actually watch the show by editing out the name of Jesus?

I would be more willing to believe that the producers of the show are the ones who find the name of Jesus repugnant. Further evidence of this is when Phil Robertson, one of the primary characters on the show, went to the producers of the show and confronted them on this subject, they stopped editing out the name Jesus.  Hmm, seems that if the name of Jesus is so offensive to Muslims, it should not matter what Phil Robertson thinks.

Godless people are running the entertainment industry and will take every opportunity to eliminate God from the public forum.  The Bible tells us that Satan is the ruler of the air and our entertainment comes to us over the airwaves, so we should not be surprised when there is a natural resistance and sometimes outright hostility towards Biblical truth. Kudos to Phil Robertson for speaking up for his savior Jesus Christ. I hope more believers will be encouraged by Phil Robertson's example and proclaim the name of Christ in a loving and gentle manner.

Thursday, October 10, 2013


Apparently, terrorists have been practicing for future attacks staging dry runs on certain flights to see what kind of reaction erratic behavior garners.  On one such flight, on September 2, 4 Middle Eastern men caused a disruption, one man moving purposely toward the cabin door only to veer off into the restroom, while the other three men roamed the aisle of the plane, changing seats and looking into various overhead bins.
     A Delta airline pilot has alerted authorities to the possibility that this, and other similar, behavior may be a strong indication that another 9-11 type attack is imminent.  If you have traveled by air in the last couple of years, you know that TSA seems more interested in searching elderly travelers than any one who looks like the terrorists that actually hijacked 3 of our planes.  Homeland Security cannot profile, but we certainly can.  As travelers, it is imperative that we be aware of our surroundings and report any suspicious activities to the authorities.

    I pray this country never experiences another event even remotely similar to 9-11.  I also pray that every lover of peace and freedom will remain vigilant and aware, that we are able to send a message to those who would kill innocents in the name of a false deity. While most Muslims love peace and freedom, there is a small percentage, which adds up to a very large number - in the millions, that hate America and Israel and freedom.  This group has told us that they hate us, they have told us that they want to destroy us and if we continue to play politically correct they will succeed.

Watch, observe and report.