The Church

What Color Is Your Sky?

If I tell you the sky is blue on a bright summer day, you will probably agree. But there may be some out there who simply disagree. In their world the sky is purple or pink or chartreuse. Years ago, we would have recognized that this is a wrong answer. But now, we are supposed to give credence to any answer. No one is wrong. In fact, the greatest sin you can commit is to tell someone they are wrong.

We can see how this belief that there is no absolute truth has eroded the culture to a point of what I believe to be no return. The world we live in and the world that is our future (if the Lord tarries) will not be the world we grew up in. That is becoming clearer every day in a myriad of ways.

But this belief is also eroding the church. We can see this when someone points out error according to scripture and the messenger is attacked rather than the error dealt with. In the minds of most Christians, which have been molded to worldly thinking, it is more wrong to point out the error than the error itself. This response happens so often to those who stand for the truth and there is so rarely support or defense from even like-minded Christians, that eventually those who speak up often lose courage and just stop. The attacks are just too painful to bear alone.

And so I want to address this problem from both sides today. From the side of the hearer, as well as from the side of the speaker of the truth. How should this actually work from a biblical standpoint? Both sides have responsibilities if the Church (all believers) is to function well. And all of us should find ourselves on both sides on occasion. (May we never be found only a hearer or only a speaker. That right there will lead to serious dysfunction within the church body.)

According to scripture the hearer has some responsibilities–

➊ We are to test all things. No matter what it is, we are to test it and determine if it is true or false (I Thessalonians 5:21).

➋ We are to avoid those who teach a doctrine contrary to what we have learned; we are to abandon anyone who would not be teaching the truth (Romans 16:17).

➌ We are to recognize that there is but one true Gospel and that, sadly, many are trying to pervert that Gospel, yielding a multitude of false gospels. We must keep our eyes open and be a bit of a skeptic when something is called “Christian” (Galatians 1:6-11).

➍ We are to compare all things to scripture, following the example laid out for us in scripture by the Bereans (Acts 17:11).

➎ We are to be humble and teachable and willing to hear what someone has to say before getting defensive (I Peter 5:5).

➏ We are to recognize that God gave some the gift of discernment –literally the ability to distinguish between the spirits– as a gift to the Church; we should be thankful for this gift and pay attention when they are brave enough to speak up (I Corinthians 12:10).

➐ We are to be kind and loving to the speaker, even when we don’t agree with them. A Christian sibling speaking something we don’t like or don’t agree with is not our enemy (I Corinthians 13:4-7).

➑ We must recognize that it is our duty to protect the truth and that sometimes we must call out and break from those who call themselves a part of us when they show themselves to be wolves in sheep’s clothing; not all who claim to be Christ’s are genuine (I John 2:19, Ephesians 5:11, 2 Corinthians 11:14).

➒ Even if we don’t feel knowledgeable or brave enough to speak up ourselves, we should offer support to those who are; we must love and protect and support our brothers and sisters in Christ who stand for what is right (I Peter 1:22).

 

According to scripture, the speaker of the truth also has some important things to consider before we ever open our mouths (or set our fingers to typing)–

➊ We must be humble and teachable and, in fact, even more so as we try to correct or call out those who are in opposition to the truth (2 Timothy 2:25).

➋ When addressing false doctrine and false teachers, we must stick to the facts of actions and words, rather than attacking the person of whom we are speaking (Titus 3:2).

➌ We must acknowledge that we don’t know everything (this goes back to being humble but it is SO important that it bears repeating). We dare not be wise in our own opinions. Arrogance is just…ugly (Romans 12:16).

➍ These things that God has opened our eyes to should break our hearts. We must have so much grace for others, constantly remembering our own sinful hearts and always remembering that “but for the grace of God, go I”! (I Corinthians 15:10).

➎ We must speak and act in love always, understanding that if we speak up without love we are like sounding brass or a clanging cymbal (I Corinthians 13:1-3).

➏ We are to love those who just can’t see. Those who are blinded and have set themselves up as our enemies. The saddest thing of all is when these come from within our local churches and sometimes even our families. The pain of this can be almost unbearable sometimes and yet we must choose to love (Matthew 5:43-44).

➐ We must forgive. We dare not grow bitter or hold a grudge against someone who has treated us unkindly or condescendingly. This will yield very bad fruit–not only in our personal lives but also within the church body (Matthew 6:14-15).

➑ We must continue to pray steadfastly. Praying that God would open the eyes of those who are blind (recognizing that He is the only one who can!); praying that He would give us wisdom when to speak and when to just keep quiet; praying that He would give us love for others that supersedes their treatment of us; praying for courage and boldness and fortitude to say what others are too fearful to say (Colossians 4:2).

_____________________________

We are ALL either hearers or speakers of the truth. Ideally, we are both of these things at various times. May we both hear and speak as scripture would have us do so. The world would tell us to get angry at and ugly with those with whom we disagree. It would tell us to speak up indiscriminately and without forethought. Basically, the world would have us do both things all wrong. We can see this all around us–on social media, by the water cooler at work, on the sidelines of athletic events, and anyplace the world hangs out.

If the world is doing it one way, we will want to do it another way. And that way is found in the Bible –where we can find clear principles for both hearing and speaking that will pave the way to purify, build up, and unify the Body of Christ.

 

P.S. The sky IS blue on a bright summer day. 2+2 always equals 4. And all babies are born as a girl or as a boy. Let’s not get caught up in the lie that there are no absolutes. It is a deadly lie that has many casualties. But that’s a post for another day…

 

 

The Fragrance of Christ

As I sit outside writing this morning, the incredible fragrance of honeysuckle wafts up to the porch on a light breeze every once in awhile. We have a bit of woods behind our house and the last few weeks of May and the beginning of June always bring the blossoming of, first, the wild roses and, shortly after, the honeysuckle– both filling the air with their wonderful scents.

But to some people, farmers and others, these plants are viewed as noxious weeds to be destroyed. Many don’t appreciate their amazing– albeit brief– time of glory each year and seek avidly to rid their landscape of these pests.

One person views them in a positive light and one person views them in a negative light.

As I was enjoying the scent of the honeysuckle the other evening, I examined my own life and wondered if I am the fragrance of Christ to those around me. I long to be, although that sinful nature does trip me up all too frequently!

What is the fragrance of Christ? What does it look like? It’s love and peace and joy. It’s selflessness and self-control. It’s honesty and patience and kindness.

But is that all there is to it? And if it is, then why are we viewed as noxious weeds to so many? Why does the world hate Christians so? 2 Corinthians 2:14-16 helps us understand, showing us that, while we are the fragrance of life to a few, to many we are the fragrance of death(!)–

Now thanks be to God who always leads us in triumph in Christ, and through us [d]diffuses the fragrance of His knowledge in every place. 15 For we are to God the fragrance of Christ among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing. 16 To the one we are the aroma of death leading to death, and to the other the aroma of life leading to life. And who is sufficient for these things?

None of the things listed above would ever make an enemy. Who doesn’t like someone who is kind and patient and loving? What is the fragrance of Christ that turns people off and makes them want to attack and destroy Christians?

Let’s turn to scripture to gain some insight. For it is there that we find some of these offensive principles that make people turn away from, reject, avoid, and rebel against God. It is here we find out why the world at large hates us Christians.

Being the fragrance of Christ to the world also means that–

–We are committed to the truth of the Gospel. We proclaim that Jesus is the only way. There are no good works we can do or supernatural, mystical happening we can experience to make us right with God. (John 14:6)

–We understand that we–and everyone else in this world– are not good people. We are all born sinners and are in desperate need of a Savior. (Romans 3:23)

–We intentionally surrender our own desires to live for God. We give up our dreams in order to obey God. We take up our cross and deny ourselves. (Matthew 16:24)

–We separate ourselves from the world. From its passion for success. From its definition of love. From its goals and values. From its entertainment. (James 4:4) (please note that I didn’t say we separate ourselves from the people of the world–for we are clearly told to reach the lost. But, according to scripture, we must separate from the world’s system. Contrary to today’s popular opinion, you don’t need to participate in the world and its entertainment to reach someone for Christ.)

–We trust God instead of self. We turn to the Bible for answers instead of to man’s wisdom. (Psalm 118:8)

–We expect persecution and trials as we live our Christian life. We don’t want them, but we understand that we are swimming upstream in a world that is going downstream. (2 Timothy 3:12)

There are so many more things the Bible teaches that we must stand upon. And these are things HATED by the world. We teach that women are the keepers of the home and are to submit to their husbands (Titus 2:4-5). That homosexuality is a sin (Romans 1:26-27). That we are to love our enemies (Matthew 5:43-48). Can you think of others?

__________________________________________

 

These things are not very popular to teach and preach and write about, are they? And they garner the antagonism and ridicule of the world and even much of the church. Only someone who is already a true believer or seeking after God will be drawn to these principles for life. Only this small group of people will recognize the benefit and blessing of a life lived in obedience to the principles laid out in the Word. Only these few will find these words life-giving, and comforting.

But the rest of the world (and much of the church) will view us as noxious weeds. People to be destroyed. An invasive plant to be gotten rid of.

And we are seeing this, aren’t we? My daughter-in-law sent a photo of a response someone sent to a Christian on Instagram. It was the very essence of what we are talking about. In a nutshell, this woman declared that Christians are a bane on society and should be destroyed. If Christianity is only about kindness and love, why would she declare this? It is because Christianity is about more than love. It’s about TRUTH.

There are a few things for us to reflect upon as we consider this idea of fragrance.

First, we should examine our own lives. Are we giving off the aroma of Christ in all ways? Or just the easy, appealing ways that will gain the acclaim of the world? This is tough and it’s getting tougher. We are all so susceptible to peer pressure. It is only through the strength of the Holy Spirit that we can speak the entire counsel of God and defend the Bible. It is only through His power that we can be the light of truth in this dark, dark world.

Second, I have to confess that one of the biggest puzzles to this for me is how Christians who love truth are often strongly disliked–and even hated–by other Christians. These are good people who are living for Christ. And, yet, when you declare someone to be a false teacher based on their own words and actions, they get mad at you. When you give clear documentation of a false doctrine or some other unpopular truth from God’s Word, they declare you to be negative or legalistic and ridicule you. What is going on here? If they are saved, why don’t they love the truth? Why don’t they want to see the Church and its members protected? I don’t have any answers but it is a puzzling and discouraging truth. If you are a watchmen on the wall, trying to protect the church, the arrows will come from both sides of the wall. And the arrows from inside the church hurt far, far worse than the ones coming from the world!

The perfect Christian life is to live like Christ. We will never attain that on this side of heaven, but this should be our desire. This will consist of those wonderful things that everyone loves but it will also consist of those things that aren’t so loved. To be a true representative for Christ, we must embrace all of who He is. Not just the parts that are pleasant.

And then we must expect, just like the wild rose and honeysuckle plants, to be delightful and pleasant to a few and to be viewed as a pernicious and virulent weed to most. This is the life of the true believer.

 

If the world hates you, you know that it hated Me before it hated you. 19 If you were of the world, the world would love its own. Yet because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you. 20 Remember the word that I said to you, ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you. If they kept My word, they will keep yours also.

John 15:18-20

 

 

 

How Would Someone Describe You?

If someone were to come across a description of you a few hundred years from now, what would it say? How do people see you?

Last night I read this description of someone who lived hundreds of years ago. I am sure you never heard of her but this is what the Bishop of London wrote about this lady named Margaret Middleton–

Beilby Porteus, Bishop of London, wrote of Margaret Middleton that ‘the great and distinguishing feature of her character was an active and indefatigable spirit of benevolence, which extended even to the brute creation, and which kept her mind so constantly on the stretch in seeking out opportunities of promoting in every possible way the ease, the comfort, the prosperity, the happiness temporal and eternal, of all within her reach that she seemed to have no time left for anything else and scarce ever appeared to bestow a single thought upon herself …’*

As I read and then re-read that, I was struck with conviction. Particularly by that last line “never appeared to bestow a single thought upon herself”.

How opposite of the culture today, where self has become the only thing that matters to most people. Even we Christians have been sucked into this cult of self. Viewing their happiness as premium, some lack commitment to family, church, and job as they constantly seek to fulfill their own selfish whims and dreams. Others of us have it play out much more subtly. We sulk or yell if we don’t get our way. We might give the silent treatment or walk away. Some of us may manipulate and scheme as we try to make ourselves happy. We fill our minds with ungodly entertainment that our flesh desires–even though we know it goes directly against scripture. We may indulge ourselves by buying stuff, oftentimes even going into debt to do so. Our time is often spent on selfish pursuits that have no eternal value.

Think of the utter contrast this lifestyle is to the description of Margaret Middleton.

So what would someone say about me? Am I more concerned with pleasing God than I am in pleasing myself? Am I concerned with the eternal and not just the temporal? Am I constantly looking for opportunities in which to help and encourage others?

Perhaps these are good questions for us all.

True Christianity is thinking less and less of self as we grow in Christ. How important that we don’t get it confused with that false “Christianity” where self is king and God a mere genie who is to do our bidding.

This is a difficult culture to thrive in for us people who are naturally selfish (like me). We are told that our natural, fleshly inclinations of self-indulgence and pursuits of our own desires are healthy and deserving of our attention. But this is not what the Bible says at all. Shall we take a look? (I’ve underlined the clear teaching that shows us what Christ thinks of selfish living)–

Matthew 16:24Then Jesus said to His disciples, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me.

Philippians 2:3 Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself.

Galatians 5:16-21I say then: Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh. 17 For the flesh lusts against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; and these are contrary to one another, so that you do not do the things that you wish. 18 But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law.

19 Now the works of the flesh are evident, which are: adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lewdness, 20 idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies, 21 envy, murders, drunkenness, revelries, and the like; of which I tell you beforehand, just as I also told you in time past, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.

 

These scripture passages certainly go against the flow of not only the secular culture but also against what’s being taught in most churches. I believe selfishness has become a very accepted sin and that we Christians easily explain it away without giving it much thought at all.

And yet…this is not what scripture teaches. In fact, it teaches the very opposite.

And so we must strive every single day–even every hour–to crucify our flesh and to turn away from our selfish desires and to stop worrying so much about our happiness. In fact, to not intentionally do so means that, by default, we join the throng of humanity as described in the last days–

2 Timothy 3:1-5But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come: For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, unloving, [b]unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good, traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having a form of godliness but denying its power. And from such people turn away!

Instead of turning away from them, we are them.

Oh, may it not be said of us. May we turn away from our selfish desires and pursuit of happiness, knowing that it isn’t in this life that we will receive our reward. May we remember that the eternity that awaits us is far better than anything we could ever dream or imagine. And may we never forget that chasing after our own pursuits and pleasure never leads to true and lasting happiness anyway.

But, most importantly, may we fall more and more in love with the Savior, so that we become less enamored with worldly pursuits and pleasures and more dedicated and determined to do the Father’s will.

So what would someone write about us? How are we viewed? No matter the answer, today is the first day of the rest of our lives.

It is a great day to continue steadfastly, begin again, or to get started for the very first time to live a life of pleasing God with the time He has so graciously given us to live on this earth. It’s a great day to pick up our cross, start denying ourselves, and intentionally turning our attention to how we can help and support those around us.

It’s never too late to live our lives for Jesus and the time to change is now.

 

 

*Pollock, John. A Fistful of Heroes . Christian Focus Publications. Kindle Edition.

**You can find out more about Margaret Middleton here.

 

It Starts With Us

It seems like we live in a world where everyone is offended by something. They are offended by things you did in the past. Things you are doing now. And even who you innately are. They are offended by your words, by your actions, and by your choices.

And, just like a snowball that grows in force and speed as it rolls down a hill, so, too, this world where everyone is offended is growing quickly in epic proportions. (The snowball actually started a long time ago. We are simply watching it hurl towards the bottom of the hill now.)

But, as the church, are we really any different? It seems like we find the same dynamic there. People are offended because they weren’t asked to be on a committee or invited to a get-together. They are offended because the pastor doesn’t talk to them or didn’t say what they thought he should say. They are offended because something they donated years ago has been replaced. They are offended because the lady in the hat sings too loud.

It’s in families, where offended parties avoid each other. Where criticism reigns freely but grace is in short supply. Where differences of opinions about politics and religion and money cause chasms that can’t seem to be crossed.

It seems like anywhere we turn, people are just offended these days.

So how can we change this? Obviously there is little we can do. But there is a little we can do.

We can start with ourselves.

We can intentionally choose to not be offended. To let things roll. To give people grace. To stop being worried about ourselves and how we feel.

That’s the bottom line, isn’t it? Offended people are often consumed by themselves and how they feel.

Speaking from my own experience, when I feel offended, this is why. My pride or my feelings have been hurt and I am purely focused on myself.

But Christianity calls for the exact opposite of this.

God calls us to cast self aside and to esteem others better than ourselves.

Philippians 2:2-4 Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself. Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others.

God asks us to treat others like we would want to be treated.

Luke 6:31 And just as you want men to do to you, you also do to them likewise.

God tells us to love our enemies and to pray for those who persecute and use us.

Matthew 5:44-47 But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you, 45 that you may be sons of your Father in heaven; for He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. 46 For if you love those who love you, what reward have you? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? 47 And if you greet your[p]brethren only, what do you do more than others? Do not even the[q]tax collectors do so?

God loved us so much that He sent His son to die for our sins. We are to respond to this gift with love–both for God and for others.

Mark 12:30-31 And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.’ [l]This is the first commandment. 31 And the second, like it, is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.”

We get a good description of this love in I Corinthians 13, where we read that it is long-suffering, doesn’t seek its own, and is not provoked (ESV version uses the word “resentful”).

I Corinthians 13:4-7 Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not [b]puffed up; does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, [c]thinks no evil; does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

In fact, loving our Christian brothers is so important that we are told that we are a liar if we say we love God but hate a brother. Think about the ramifications of that for a moment.

I John 14:20-21 If someone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen, [d]how can he love God whom he has not seen? 21 And this commandment we have from Him: that he who loves God must love his brother also.

We also find in Matthew that if we don’t forgive those who trespass against us, God won’t forgive us our sins. That is a very indicting statement! This is how critical it is that we forgive others instead of our natural “old man” tendency to hold a grudge. This is an extremely big deal.

Matthew 6:14-15 For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. 15 But if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.

As we learn to respond to offenses in a manner worthy of being called a Christian, the wonderful effects of this will ripple out to our children and extended family. It will ripple out to our co-workers and church family. As we choose very intentionally not to be offended about every little thing or even about big things, we set an example that hopefully inspires others to do the same. As we choose to forgive instead of holding grudges, we help to create the warm and loving atmosphere that should be in every Christian home and biblical church.

We get to help instead of hinder.

We help to build our families and churches rather than tear them down.

This isn’t easy. And many are the times that I (personally) have to catch myself. I have to ask myself: Why am I so offended by this or that? When I take a moment to examine, it is always because of selfishness and pride. Oh, how ugly these things are. How much division and dissension they cause in Christian homes and churches.

As we face a world that is so offended all the time, may we true Christians stand out like beacons of light in the darkness as we choose to forgive and extend grace. And may this difference draw people to us and give us abundant opportunities to plant seeds for God’s Kingdom.

 

__________________________________________________________

Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all. 18 If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all. 19 Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it[i] to the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.” 20 To the contrary, “if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals on his head.” 21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.

Romans 12:17-21

__________________________________________________________

 

 

Time to Wake Up

Last night at 12:22am, our phone rang. It jarred me out of a very deep sleep and my heart started pounding. It’s not usually a good thing when the phone rings at night and my thoughts went immediately to our parents. It ended up being an automated call about our company’s security system (at 12:22am!) and I started to breathe easily again. But it took a long time for my heart to stop pounding and my brain to slow down.

A few hours later, we woke up to a short beep. We looked around, couldn’t figure it out, and closed our eyes. We were just about back to sleep when we heard it again. It seemed to be coming from my nightstand. I decided it must be some kind of low battery signal from my alarm clock. I unplugged the clock and we settled down for a couple of more hours of sleep. But, no. There it was again! At this third beep, I flew out of bed, turned on the light, and examined my table. Finally, my husband said he thinks it’s the phone. The cordless phone (which I had answered at 12:22am) had lost its charge and was begging to be put back in its cradle. How it lost its charge in just a few short hours is a mystery. That particular phone rarely leaves its cradle and was sitting on it when I answered during the night.

Those rude awakenings made for a rough night of sleep. No wonder I feel so tired this morning.

Those sleep interruptions remind me of the life we are living now. We so badly want to go back to our normal ordinary living but we keep getting jarred awake by discouraging and often nonsensical happenings. We will live for a few days–perhaps even a week or two–and we can forget how much the world has changed. But then something vividly reminds us.

I wrote parts of what you will read below on Facebook the other day, but decided to expand here as many of you are not on Facebook and, also, because I did not include or expand on certain things due to space. I want to warn you that this first part is going to be somewhat discouraging but just keep reading. It gets better.

As we catch bits and pieces of news these past days, we see many disturbing things. In America, It seems like almost every day we hear of laws that will strip us of our rights. We hear of terrible things happening at the borders. We hear of people dying from Covid and from the vaccine. And we hear about supply shortages and higher expenses. Meanwhile the government is throwing money it doesn’t have at its citizens to pacify them. This can’t end well.

There are perhaps even more disturbing happenings from across the world, where we hear of extreme lockdown measures that continue to keep people from traveling even within their own countries. There are massive protests across Europe about these lockdowns, which we never hear about in the mainstream news. A pastor in Canada was recently released from a five week stay in jail for his church’s in-person meetings against his province’s health guidelines. And then there are the reports coming from Israel that there is “medical apartheid” going on. If you aren’t vaccinated, you are viewed as Enemy #1 and with their newly instated “green pass”, only the vaccinated are allowed to eat at restaurants indoors, go to events, and even shop in some stores. Many of their citizens have been forced to be vaccinated or lose their jobs. Now keep in mind–this is over a virus that has a death rate that is actually less than 4% (and that death rate has been falsified in so many ways and with the falsifications being proven by so many different studies and reports that it is hard for any thinking person to deny it.) There’s much more going on in this world. But that’s enough.

Not only is the world in chaos but the church at large is also in major chaos. Here in America, we read of a famous “Christian” singer who was recorded shouting obscenities at his son. We see an ugly debate over a recent Christian book and the promotion of Bethel by a much trusted Christian. The promotion of wokism and social justice in Baptist and other once-solid churches is now the norm. The church has been on a bad trajectory for quite awhile but it has taken on warp speed. Why does it matter what is happening to the American church? I believe it is because she has been a beacon of the Christian faith in this world for many years. It has been she who has sent thousands of missionaries across the world and it is she who has been one of Israel’s greatest supporters. As this American church weakens and is overtaken by apostasy, so the darkness won’t only increase in America, but across the world. (Did you know that many mission organizations aren’t even sharing the Gospel anymore? Or if they do it is as an “add-on” to the person’s current religion? There is much going on in the world of missions. Be careful whom you support.)

What is especially interesting to see is the efforts to draw all people into a one world religion (which we have been told is coming in Revelation 13), with many once-trusted figures joining with false teachers or promoting false doctrine. I recently saw a “Christian” company who is re-making their company with an emphasis on Buddhism, while still claiming to be Christian. I’ve heard of “Christian” pastors and teachers joining with Islam. In fact, it is so common that it’s been given a name: “Chrislam”. There is just so much wrong with the modern day mainstream church across the world. What I have written is just a glimpse into all that’s going on.

But let me encourage you! As the American church has weakened, the true church in other countries is growing. Oftentimes, this is happening in countries where there is much persecution and cost for being a believer. The true church is still so wonderfully alive and well and will always remain so until the Lord returns for her. Yes, she will be small but perhaps we are simply gaining a new understanding of Matthew 7:13-14? Our Lord told us the gate is narrow and few there will be that find it.

Then there are weather events. Did you know that last year in America there were 16 ‘one-billion dollar’ weather events? This means that insurance companies had to pay out at least one billion dollars in coverage. There are usually under ten per year. And this year the Texas freeze has already been a three billion dollar event. So not only is the world going crazy, so is the weather. And that’s just in America. This pattern continues across the world, with an increase in hurricanes, volcanic activity, and earthquakes. The official data shows this increase in activity. I think we can all agree that the weather has seemed to sense the mood of the earth. We hear that it’s global warming causing all this havoc. I tend to believe it is the beginning of the birth pangs as predicted in Matthew 24. Of course, I could be wrong. It’s just an observation.

Meanwhile, technology is exponentially increasing, making possible the mark of the beast as predicted in Revelation 13. One can easily see how the green pass in Israel and the mandatory chipping of employees in Sweden are stepping stones to the mark of the Beast. (Let me be clear: The vaccine is NOT the mark of the beast.) Yes, how they will make the mark of the beast possible is becoming just a little clearer with each passing day. Technology is also now available to see the two witnesses in live time from anywhere in the world through satellites. Anything that we thought was impossible forty or fifty years ago when we read Revelation is now possible. It’s mind-blowing when you really stop to think about it.

And then, finally, the last thing I want to touch on is globalism. I have thought for many years now that it would be quite impossible to have a one world government with a strong America. I believe that we are watching the intentional take-down of this country. I do not say this lightly. The evidence is clearly there. This, along with the failing economies of other countries around the world, will pave the way for a global government. They are already discussing it. Just look up the World Economic Forum and read some of their chilling plans.

I haven’t even mentioned the activity in the middle east that is lining up with scripture in a way that could only be supernatural.

It’s funny because I never really thought before 2020 of the many details and changes that would need to be put in place for the Revelation 13 scenario to come to the world. But now as we are living them, it makes so much sense. It’s not like you can just suddenly have a one world government, a one world religion, and a mark of the beast that is needed to buy and sell. These things can’t just happen instantly. There must be much happening in the years before that.

Now you may be saying to yourself right now “I don’t agree with you“. And I want you to know, first of all, that I am not trying to change your mind. I don’t think it will really matter what we believe about world happenings when the Lord returns. Second of all, I am so gladly willing to hear evidence to the contrary. I would gladly admit it if I am wrong. I simply ask you to do some research on your own before commenting with negative words to this post. Spend some time finding out about the vaccine from doctors who are losing their licenses and reputations to sound the alarm. Read a few news sources that are not carefully controlled. Dig into history to find out the background of current events.

To me–and I know to many of you, as well–it is so clear that the end is near. Everything the Bible predicted is either happening or being set up to happen.

How does one live in a world that is getting ready to end?

It can be tempting to fear and to be anxious. It is tempting to just withdraw and ignore.

And, honestly, I don’t pay much attention to the news anymore. I am not going to change what is happening by knowing about every detail. And we aren’t really getting real news anyway. At least not in America. We are getting a very scripted narrative.

Does anyone else find themselves hunkering down in the midst of all of this and just living a more simple life? One where family, work, and church are the main priorities?

That’s what I find myself doing. And, honestly, if it wasn’t for the wonderings and uncertainty of the future, I’d be happier for it. There is much to be said for the simpler life.

Actually, “hunkering down” is probably not the best term to use. I don’t mean that we shelter in our houses and don’t go out. I am referring more to a life where we invest in our families, treasure fellowship with like-minded believers, and have conversations that actually matter with both the unsaved and the saved. A life where we focus on what’s important.

Our families need us. They need us to be engaged and communicating and laughing with them. They need us to turn away from our phones and our TVs and our activities to love them and teach them about God and His Word.

Our church families need us. I have heard from several different people now how difficult it is to find people to serve in various ministries at local churches. This is so discouraging. We need to be actively serving as we wait for the Lord to come. This is not the time to back out of all of our church ministries.

Our communities need us. I spoke with a woman yesterday whose family is deeply hurting from this past year. Their extended families have been deeply affected economically by Covid and they are trying to help them. But they, themselves, had to take a 10% pay cut. It’s been a rough road to travel for them. I am sure her story could be told a million times over across the world. In fact, many are facing much worse things. Some are struggling to even eat. We need to support those who are hurting however we can. We need to boldly share the Gospel when we are given opportunity. We need to show God’s love in this harsh, harsh world.

It’s time for the alarms around us to wake us up to what’s important. It’s time to wake up to the fact that we are probably never going back to our old “normal”.

This reminds me of the verses from I Thessalonians 5:5-11—

You are all sons of light and sons of the day. We are not of the night nor of darkness. Therefore let us not sleep, as others do, but let us watch and be [a]sober. For those who sleep, sleep at night, and those who get drunk are drunk at night. But let us who are of the day be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love, and as a helmet the hope of salvation. For God did not appoint us to wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, 10 who died for us, that whether we wake or sleep, we should live together with Him.

11 Therefore [b]comfort each other and [c]edify one another, just as you also are doing.

We mustn’t sleep as others do but watch and be sober. We are children of the day. Children of the light. And we must keep our eyes open and our armor on.

And don’t forget that one of these days we will be raptured! The Lord has promised that we will escape the wrath to come. We are not going to be here while the earth experiences the worst seven years in its history. Oh, praise the Lord for keeping His own from this terrible time.

Meanwhile, as we traverse the land of “limbo”, waiting for whatever is next, we need to make the best of it and appreciate what we have now. We need to be actively serving our Lord and sharing the Gospel. And we need to be sure we are growing deep roots of faith so that we can stand firm and face whatever may be ahead.

This is not the time to be resting and waiting. We need to be in the Word, learning who God is, learning to trust Him. Another thing that has been tremendously helpful to me is reading stories of missionaries and other Christians who have gone on before us. These are incredibly faith-building and are a wonderful reminder of God’s care and provision in the worst of times.

So hang on tight. It looks like we may be in for quite a ride. But let’s be sure to hang on to the right thing. Stuff will decay. People will let you down. Glory will fade. Only God and His Word are a sure anchor in the turmoil around us.

And so let us cling to Him alone. He will never fail us for He cannot fail.

 

How the Church Was Fooled

Ah, what a ride we have been on. It didn’t start in 2020, you know. It started way back when most of us were completely unaware. While we were busy and distracted and being entertained, things were being orchestrated behind the scenes to bring us to where we are today.

While that was all going on, things were also happening in the church, where priorities were shifted and changed. The church lost its spiritual impact and became a watered down, social institution. How did this happen?

I think there are many changes and deceptions that have led the church to where she finds herself today. Shall we take a brief look at them?

Superficial Youth Groups  — Sometime shortly before my own youth, the young people were separated out from the adults and fed a diet of entertainment and fun. While there was some shallow teaching of the Bible, the main gist of youth groups became fun. The young minds that used to be built up in the faith by the older generations were now left to be filled with the fodder of this world. Many grew up to walk away from church, as what they received there was fairly useless.

The Numbers Game — A big thank you to Rick Warren for turning church into a popularity contest. Somehow the church bought his lie and, over the course of just a few years, the health of a church started being based on the amount of people that attended it. In order to gain those all-important numbers, pastors started to move away from biblical sermons and, in their place, offered short, self-help talks that made people feel good. No more talk about sin and repentance, for that was offensive. It became all about the numbers.

The Change in Music — The worship service became centered on worldly music, which usurped the place of the sermon as the center. Serious, doctrinally-sound music was pushed out of the way and in its place came shallow, mystical tunes. This has taken a huge toll on the churches, both in dividing the masses and in causing many to base their worship of God on their feelings and experiences, rather than on daily obedience and holiness.

Dominion/Kingdom Now Theology — Many who claim to be Christians are currently working feverishly to build God’s Kingdom now, right here on this earth. Despite the biblical evidence to the contrary (that we are not to be building God’s Kingdom on earth), many have bought this lie and this will fold them right into that one world religion that we know is coming, according to Revelation. Anyone who believes that humans will build God’s Kingdom is quite susceptible to the cries for peace and a better world.

Social Gospel — The social gospel has moved the hearts of Christians from pleasing God to pleasing man. It has moved the heart of Christianity from the true Gospel (Salvation through faith in Christ alone) to helping our fellow man. Our spiritual health is determined by how much we help our fellow man and how nice we are to everyone. Everything else the Bible teaches is pretty much ignored.

Judge Not — The church bought the lie that we are never to judge our fellow man. This left man to do as he pleases without any accountability. It effectively crippled the churches so that they could not confront or deal with blatant sin in their church fellowships. But the Bible teaches in multiple places that we are to confront sin and judge the fruit of someone who claims to know Christ.

Christianity Became About Me— Once again, I believe we have Rick Warren to thank for this. His Purpose-Driven Life became the textbook for many a Sunday School Class in the 90s. Piggy-backing off the self-esteem movement, it moved the focus of the Christian life off of God and onto the individual. Obedience, separation from the world, holiness, and purity were discarded and in their place came following dreams and finding purpose. This was going on long before that book was published, but I do believe this was what finally landed the church solidly in self-based religion.

God Only Cares About My Heart — Christians starting using this to justify their worldly choices. And the world came like a flood into the church. Of course, anyone saying this does not know their Bible very well, since God makes it abundantly clear that a pure heart will yield a fruitful life.

We Have to Be Like the World to Win the World — Oh, what an insidious lie! Why would anyone want what we have if we look just like them? Again, Christians wanted to fulfill their own worldly lusts and this was a way they could have their cake and eat it, too. But this was not without ramifications and their minds became darkened and sensual. And more of the world poured into the church.

Positive Words are Godly, Negative Words are Sinful — This is NOT in the Bible, but thanks to the likes of Schuller and Peale and many others, being “positive” has become the defining trait of someone who is a “Christian”. And if someone dares to speak negative words about a false teacher or the state of affairs, well, then they are sinning. Many believe this. Maybe even you believe this. But is this what we read in scripture? It surely is not. I encourage you to do your own study and find out what the Bible says about this.

Love and Unity Are Always More Important Than Truth — And, finally, somewhere along the line, love and unity started taking priority over truth. As truth became unappreciated and unnecessary, lies crept in and took root in the hearts of so many. Without discernment and a love for the truth, Christians were left susceptible to all the lies mentioned above and so, so many more. Love is important. But it is not more important than the truth. And, yet, whether we are talking in intellectual terms or practical application, most Christians have come to believe that love and unity are more important than truth.

 

As I think on what the Bible says about the last days, all that is going on fits in quite well. What we are actually seeing is the false church parting ways with the remnant. So what can we do?

I think of Jude when asked this question. It is here we receive counsel and wisdom about what we should do and how we should respond–

Jude 17-23– But you must remember, beloved, the predictions of the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ. 18 They[f] said to you, “In the last time there will be scoffers, following their own ungodly passions.” 19 It is these who cause divisions, worldly people, devoid of the Spirit. 20 But you, beloved, building yourselves up in your most holy faith and praying in the Holy Spirit, 21 keep yourselves in the love of God, waiting for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ that leads to eternal life. 22 And have mercy on those who doubt; 23 save others by snatching them out of the fire; to others show mercy with fear, hating even the garment[g] stained by the flesh.

As division and strife in the churches are caused by worldly people who are devoid of the Holy Spirit, Jude encourages us to build ourselves up in the faith and to pray in the Holy Spirit. In other words, keep growing and keep praying! He then goes on to say that we are to keep ourselves in the love of God, which is our shelter in any storm, and then quietly wait for His mercy.

As for the deceived and lost around us, we are to have mercy, and, as God gives opportunities, help to save them.

This and only this is our calling. We are not called to fix the state of the church (or the world, for that matter.) We are not told to berate and argue with the scoffers.

It is my opinion that, due to the many lies and deceptions that now define today’s worldly church, she is beyond repair. It has not been an instant change but one that has been deviously carried out by Satan over the course of many years. These lies and deceptions have reached their tentacles into every denomination and almost every Christian home. What we are seeing now is simply the fruit of all the labor that has been put into preparing the “church” to be folded into the coming one world religion. Isn’t it becoming so clear now?

So be aware and continue to build yourselves up in the faith through prayer and through the Bible, our only anchor in all of this craziness, until the end. And, someday, maybe soon now, we will all meet together in glory to praise and glorify our great God!

 

Please NOTE: I have purposely not included verses or references today. If you have read this blog with any frequency, you will know that this is quite unusual as I almost always try to back up what I am saying with scripture references. But today I am asking you to search the scriptures for yourself. If something I said in this post doesn’t seem biblical to you, please look into the Word to find out. Please feel free to email me (see contact info in menu above) if I can answer any questions that you have regarding what I said above. I love hearing from my readers! :)

Revival: What It Is and What It Isn’t

The word “revival” has always been tossed about freely by Christians. It is our hope for this temporal world, it would solve what ails the culture, it would fix so many problems.

I hear this word more than ever now, as the culture grows darker and darker. “There could still be revival,” is heard often by those whose fervent hope is to get back to some type of normalcy. Whose hope is to start the culture in a more positive direction.

But what exactly is revival? And is it something we can and should expect? These are the questions I’d like to take a look at today as our world grows increasingly darker and our hope for this world teeters on the brink of extinction.

Merriam-Webster gives this definition of Revival as it relates to religion–

(1) : a period of renewed religious interest

 
Dictionary.com gives this definition–

an awakening, in a church or community, of interest in and care for matters relating to personal religion.
 
So we can see that Revival, as it relates to religion, means an awakening in matters of personal religion. In fact, one of the most famous revivals of all was called “The Great Awakening”. It happened in the mid-1700s and the two most famous men connected to it are Jonathan Edwards and George Whitefield, although there were many lesser-known men (and women) used by God during that great time.

What brought about such revival? Many years ago I read Iain Murray’s Jonathan Edwards (which I highly recommend, by the way). As I recall, there were three very important keys to that famous Revival: 1) Prayer and 2) Repentance of sin and 3) Separation from the world.

Fervent, frequent prayer was the fuel of the revival and the people’s repentance of sin and separation from the world was the result of that prayer.

The church in that day was much like the church of this day, in that many people went to church to ease their consciences but there was little true religion.

I remember thinking as I was reading: This sounds so much like today.

We always think we are so much worse, but there really is nothing new under the sun.

So, given the definition of revival and the three important components of revival, should we expect revival?

I think it is important to say, first, that none of us knows what is ahead. We never have known but, now more than ever, the future is unsettled and uncertain. As you read anything I say below, please keep this in mind. We can only guess where we are at on God’s timeline by reading the signs. None of us can know definitively or specifically.

What I do know from reading scripture is that in the last days (which I strongly believe we are in because of the signs given to us in the Bible), times will wax worse and worse (Read 2 Timothy 3 and Jude). People will not truly turn to the Lord but they will pretend to be godly while loving their sin and this world.

From these passages, I don’t believe we should expect revival on any large scale, although there may be scattered pockets throughout the world.

But, of course, I don’t know.

Here’s what I do know:

Much of the talk of Revival these days is not true revival.

How do I know this?

It is because, while there may be talk of a vague repentance, there is rarely talk of repenting of specific, personal sins and never talk of turning from the world.

Most Christians who declare revival as this world’s solution rarely, if ever, encourage people to turn from not only their sin, but also from their fascination with and love for this world.

And, yet, can there be true revival without it? I think not.

James makes this extremely clear in chapter 4, verse 7–

Adulterers and adulteresses! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Whoever therefore wants to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God.

We cannot be in right relationship with God if we are in love with the world. And when we hear calls for revival, we never hear anything about this.

Christians are quite comfortable in this world. They live their married lives like the world (Dad is not the head of the home, moms leave their children to go to work); They parent like the world (they don’t discipline, they ignore what the Bible teaches); They watch, listen to, and read the same things as the world. They wear the same things as the world, letting even their precious teen girls dress in such a way to draw sexual attention to themselves so that they are accepted by their friends (I am shocked and dismayed at the many Christian parents who allow this. I cannot even believe it. And I see no conviction about this. From any direction. I’ll climb down off my soap box now. This has been puzzling me for years now.)

Christians look like the world. It is hard to see any difference, really.

And I am convinced more than ever that Revival cannot come while we Christians are steeped in this world.

If we want to bring true revival, we must wean ourselves from this world.

So how much do we actually want revival? How concerned are we for souls? Or are we more concerned about getting back to our comfortable, convenient lives and the world we believed we lived in? These are questions worth our consideration.

If true revival means fervent prayer (by true believers) and turning from sin and from this world, what is all this talk about revival among false teachers (and those who we thought were true teachers that are joining with false teachers)?

I think that is a great question.

You see, there is such a thing as fake revival. And it will be characterized by many people coming together with worldly music and raised hands, powerfully moved by emotion. The truth of God’s Word in these meetings means nothing. Personal repentance of sin and commitment to separate from the world are never a part of these kinds of meetings. It is an ecumenical unity based on feelings.

I believe there will be many fake revivals. In fact, there will be a last, great fake revival when people take the mark of the beast as an act of worship. People will bow at the feet of the Antichrist, believing he IS the Christ (Revelation 13).

It is so important that we carefully examine any rumors of revival by these standards. What is driving it? Is it fueled by prayer? Is there a focus on repentance? On turning from this world?

As we ponder these things, I think we must also realize that true revival starts with individuals. You and me. While we may not expect a wave of revival to overtake this nation or the world, we can perhaps start mini-revivals in our own homes and churches and communities. This can happen through much prayer and our own personal turning away from sin and this world. It is a painful process and we can expect much marginalization and ridicule, but it will yield fruit. Perhaps not as much as we’d hope for, but God will always use a life dedicated to Him for His purposes and His glory.

So pray for Revival. But make sure you are praying for the right kind of Revival and for the right reasons.

I want to leave you with these words by David Cloud on this topic of Revival–

The heart of the tree is being eaten away even as the watchers are pleased at keeping a few leaves alive. Some type of revival could happen if individual Christians and individual churches would repent of an adulterous love for this God-hating world, repent of setting the affections more on things below than things above, and earnestly beseech God’s help. Who knows how far the forces of evil could be driven back? God has never needed a majority. Gideon’s vigilant few are enough. But so many churches are like Sardis; they have a name that they live, but they are dead. They are comfortable in the world, not pilgrims but dwellers, mighty for pot luck but weak for spiritual warfare, zealous for video games and sports and consuming fleeting hours on social media vanity, but not zealous students of God’s Word, passionate for parties but not for prayer. (From Friday News, Nov 13, 2020)

 

Attacking Messengers, Crucifying Dissenters, and Belittling Questioners

Over the past twenty years or so, I have experienced the vitriol of those blindly following a person or a cause. Social media is the mecca for such interactions and to post a dissenting comment has made anyone come to expect sarcasm, anger, and even hatred. I have talked with others who have experienced this, as well.

This dynamic takes place anywhere people are gathered online. It seems a lot worse right now, but perhaps that is because so many of us are relegated to online interaction. Somehow when people get online, they remove all inhibitions. They would never, ever talk to someone face-to-face the way they talk to someone online. At least, I hope they wouldn’t!

But there are a lot of debates and disagreements and controversies going on online right now and I wanted to make you aware of a few things to look for as you watch this all take place.

By the way, while this does take place in the secular world quite a bit, we understand that they are unbelievers and have rejected God’s ways. While it is interesting to observe, it is certainly not surprising. However, it borders on tragic that this is the same approach of many in the evangelical circles. People that you trust. I encourage you to look for these as you encounter quarrels and controversies in these current days.

It is a three-pronged approach, where one, two, or all of these prongs may be used to put down the “enemy”. I wanted to make you aware of them because it is critically important that we recognize them and then move them aside in order to look at the real issue at hand. They are a decoy. They are a smoke screen to draw your eyes away from the real issue. Don’t be deceived.

Here are the three prongs–

1. Attack the Messenger. Instead of answering the accusations, they will attack the messenger. They will call them all kinds of names, put them down, make them out to be unloving, unkind, divisive, and unintelligent. They will dredge up old sins. They will cast doubt on their integrity. This trick is as old as the books, but don’t let them fool you. And, hey, in some cases, maybe the person sharing the message is some of those things. This still doesn’t release us from investigating to see if what they are saying is true. Beware character assassination. It is a bright red flag and should lead you to mistrust, rather than to trust, the person conducting it.

2. Crucifying Dissenters. How dare you disagree? You are NOT allowed to disagree and so we will crucify you with our words. I am not sure when the world changed but I see leaders encouraging their followers to act like this. Secular and Christian alike, their followers are using words to spread venom and hatred and, rather than discouraging this type of thing, the leader seems to encourage it. This is because it is an important part of the three-pronged approach. They are counting on their followers to silence anyone who disagrees. Blind loyalty yields a passion that will stop at nothing to defend its subject.

3. Belittling Questioners. If someone simply asks a question, they are belittled and mocked. If an accusation is raised and an honest questioner simply wants to find out more, they find out very quickly that, this, too, is NOT allowed. No questions may be asked of someone who has been faithful to the Lord for fifty years. No questions can be asked of the governor. No questions can be asked of the singer or the author or the pastor. No questions can be asked of the government or the politician. No questions allowed. Period. If you dare to ask them, people will call you selfish and question your character. They will call you names and ridicule you. All this, for simply asking a question.

_____________________________________________________

As I write this, my heart is heavy. It is especially heavy because I see this being used in the Christian world as much, or even more, than in the secular world. It is a treacherous world we live in these days. Please be on the look-out for these things. They are signs that all may not be right. Not a guarantee, of course, but definitely worth some research.

Before I close, I want to add one more {very important} thing–

As believers, we are called to respond differently! People are watching us. They see what we post and they are reading it.

Everything we post, whether it be a tweet, a Facebook post, a comment on a post, a comment on a news article or blog post, and anything else should be carefully worded with LOVE. There should never be biting sarcasm, anger, or vitriol spewing forth from our keyboards. This is a dishonor to our heavenly Father.

Make no mistake about it: We are in a spiritual war.

As we fight it, let’s be an asset to our King through truthful, loving, and kind interaction with others. Satan wants nothing more than to create havoc and chaos within the church. We can’t fall for his bait.

I don’t know where all this is headed. Or rather, I think I do. The world and the church has gone off in a direction over these past twenty years or so that I find most disheartening. But, thankfully, we know God is still on the throne. As His servants, may we carefully discern and examine all things. As His witnesses, may we do all we can to be a bright and shining light in this increasingly darkening world.

 

Time for a Change

Have you ever felt like you were in a spiritual battle when you started to really give sincere effort to read and study the Word? There’s a reason for that.

Satan knows that the power for the Christian life is in God’s Word.

It’s not in a book about God’s Word, it’s not in some mystical experience that could be God (but surely isn’t), and it’s not in the music that makes us feel all warm and fuzzy inside. These are counterfeits. They are designed to make us feel close to God without really being close to God. 

It’s called deception.

I am amazed at how few Christians study the Word. They say they are a Christian and, yet, there is no love in their heart for the Bible.

Of course, we can see why this is.

The church has, ever so steadily, been moving its focus from the Bible to other things. Things like entertainment, programs, social justice, and political agendas.

And so its people are left without the nourishment of the Word, without the protection of the Word, and without the reward of the Word. And they do not even realize it.

It wasn’t until I was in my 40s that I really started digging into the Bible. It was then that I started actually understanding what I believe.

I am so ashamed to even write this. How could I be a strong believer and wait that long to study the Word?

While I was full of conviction and dedication and commitment to God, my half-illiteracy of the Word was a very real encumbrance.

So this is why I write. Many of you have read all of this before. I’ve included it in earlier posts. But I just keep thinking about this right now.

God’s Word has been relegated to the background by most Christians as they try to live their lives the best they can. They search out books, counselors, and even medication to help them cope when life throws a curve ball. While these things aren’t necessarily wrong, why is God and His Word always our last place to go? Why do some of us never open up the Word to search for answers there?

I remember hearing someone say about twenty years ago that the next doctrine that would be severely attacked is the sufficiency of God’s Word. Boy, was he right. This is being attacked in so many ways, it is hard to keep track.

The mainstream church is teaching its followers that–

The Word is no longer sufficient to help us with our problems.

The Word is no longer sufficient to deepen our intimacy with God.

The Word is no longer sufficient to teach us the Truth.

The Word is no longer sufficient (or relevant enough) to reach the lost.

This lack of interest in and disbelief in the power of the Word has even trickled into biblical, conservative churches. Maybe even your own church…

Oh, how sad! How tragic!

For the Word is sufficient for all of these things and so much more!

And Satan knows it. And THIS is why we feel spiritually attacked when we make an effort to study the Bible. THIS is why Satan and his minions are attacking the Word so fiercely, inside Christendom and without.

Sometimes I feel like a broken record in writing this but, truly, if I can accomplish no other thing than to draw fellow believers to actually study what they say they believe, I will feel like I did something to further God’s Kingdom on this old, broken, sorry earth.

For too long now, we Christians have declared our faith in God and, yet, have relegated His Word to a shelf somewhere. Many don’t even get it out to go to church anymore because churches aren’t even using it.

So maybe it’s time for a change.

If you call yourself a Christian but make no time for God’s Word, then it is probably past time for a change.

If you, like me, have become aware of the inestimable value of God’s Word in your life, then why aren’t we saying anything to other Christians around us? Perhaps we need to change, too. Those of us who get it must speak up! We must encourage believers to get in the Word.

We need to change, too–we need to be bold and courageous enough to point people to the Word in a church scene that just doesn’t really care.

All we need for salvation and eternal life is in the Bible.

All we need for life and godliness is in the Bible.

All we need to be close to God is in the Bible.

All we need to know to reach the lost is in the Bible.

It’s all there.

So let’s study it, know it, and encourage others to do the same!

____________________________________________________

Recently, Pastor Dean (my brother) has been preaching on Psalm 19, which has naturally led to sermons on God’s Word. A short series of those sermons, titled “The Inestimable Value of God’s Word”, may encourage you as you reflect on what I wrote here today. I thought I’d go ahead and share them for anyone who may be interested–

The Inestimable Value of God’s Word, Part 1

The Inestimable Value of God’s Word, Part 2

The Inestimable Value of God’s Word, Part 3

By the way, you can find the whole series here (just scroll down until you see Psalm 19 in the lefthand column). It’s a great series and I highly recommend!

 

View from a Palm Tree

It was the day after Christmas in the year 2004. Out in the Indian Ocean, a great earthquake rumbled beneath the deep waters. It drove the water up, up, up until a giant wave was formed that started moving towards land.

Meanwhile, people moved about their day. Villagers may have been doing dishes or laundry. Tourists were probably eating breakfast or laying on lounge chairs by the water.

Suddenly, without warning, the colossal wave hit land. Some may have spotted it earlier and started running away from the wall of water. Others may have been hit completely unawares.

One thing is for sure: There was no escaping it if you were in its path.

The Tsunami of 2004 will be remembered as one of the worst natural disasters of all times.

Those in the path of it were absolutely defenseless. No amount of courage, fight, or willpower would have removed them from the path of the water. Oh, it might have helped them to survive the aftermath but they weren’t changing the course of that wave.

The water crashed against the shore and destroyed everything in its path–with the exception of a few people who were blessed to find a tree or some piece of wreckage to cling to.

If you’ve been reading the blog a little while, then you know that I firmly believe that we are in the last days. As scripture teaches so clearly, the last days are made up of the great Apostasy (Jude) and the creation of a one-world economy and religion (Revelation 13).  We will not be able to buy and sell without a mark on our hand or forehead (also Revelation 13). I could give other Bible passages that are coming to life right before our eyes along with a myriad of real-life examples that leave little doubt that this interpretation of scripture can hardly be denied. However, that is not the focus of this particular post.

What I want to focus on is the Tsunami of the Apostasy that has crashed over the church and swallowed most of her up. The few churches and individuals that haven’t caved and are clinging to the Bible as their final authority are like those who are clinging to a palm tree while the debris and chaos flows by. The wave encompasses all they loved about their church. All they believed about their pastor. All they trusted about celebrity Christianity. It has washed away most of their families and friends.

I’ve been really thinking about this the last few days. We are in a different position than we used to be as believers, at least here in the United States. The time for fighting against the Apostasy is over.

While we may win some skirmishes here and there, the battle for the US church is over and we have soundly lost. But so I expected. If we read what’s coming in Revelation 13, it makes SO much sense. Other passages, like Jude and 2 Timothy 3, also fill us in. God told us this would happen. We have no need to hang our heads in defeat. We still win in the end.

But, here and now, we probably need to recognize that we are done fighting against the “system”. The system is here, and just like a tsunami, it has forever changed the landscape of Christendom as we knew it.

So, if we aren’t supposed to fight, what are we supposed to do?

The end of Jude answers this question–

But you, beloved, building yourselves up on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Spirit, 21 keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life.

22 And on some have compassion, [j]making a distinction; 23 but others save [k]with fear, pulling them out of the [l]fire, hating even the garment defiled by the flesh.

We can summarize this in two words– persevere and rescue

First, we need to persevere in our own faith in submission and obedience to God’s Word and keep our eyes focused on Jesus–the author and finisher of our faith. If we focus on what’s going on around us we will all too soon become discouraged and hopeless. The view from the Palm Tree is so ugly. And so we must look to the Word and to our Savior, if we are to be filled with joy and peace during this time. We will be be victorious over all of this wickedness! We are already victorious over sin through Jesus Christ, our Savior! There is still so much to praise God for!

Second, we need to rescue those God puts in our path who want to be rescued. Many will scoff at us or simply be irritated with us for exposing the darkness. But, every now and again, there will be someone who comes along that needs someone to talk to. God has opened their eyes to the mysticism or the ecumenism or they just feel like something is off in a book they are reading or the church they are attending. God will give us these opportunities and we need to take them.

I believe that the time for fighting is over. The wave has crashed and the Apostasy is HERE. Now, we hang on to God’s Word for dear life and offer help to those who actually want it. But we aren’t going to stop the devastation of the wave. The water is flowing into every crack and crevice and pulling up with it the last vestiges of traditional, biblical Christianity. The Christian religion is rolling itself right into the coming one world religion.

The remnant of true believers just keeps shrinking. We knew the path was narrow–but I am not sure we realized it was this narrow… (Please note: I am not doubting the salvation of some who may be deceived for a time. I am no judge. I am just providing an overall picture of what’s happening and am certainly not judging individuals.)

This is not some conspiracy theory. And it’s not some “holier than thou” essay.

If you don’t agree with me, I still love you as a sibling in Christ. I just ask that you do a little research with eyes that are willing to see. I don’t say these things to discourage or to anger anyone. I simply am writing about what I see going on. I feel like I’ve been in a state of shock for two years, as I have watched almost every beloved and trusted Bible teacher, author, and speaker be washed away by this wave. I feel almost numb as I watch “Christian” universities promote mysticism and the social Gospel. I feel alarmed as I see outright heretics on the same platform with those who were seemingly solid. Something is not right. It doesn’t take a brain surgeon to realize that something is not right.

If you do agree with me, then I hope that you will realize that you are not alone. I am over here clinging to a palm tree, too. God has so graciously spared us (to Him alone be the glory for this! You and I didn’t do anything deserving of this!) and we can encourage each other–at least for now–through online communication. If we are so blessed to have family or friends who see this, too, (or better yet, have a church that hasn’t flowed into the chaos) then we aren’t hanging from the palm tree alone. This is something to thank God for! I am not on my palm tree alone and I couldn’t be more grateful. Somehow it makes it so much more bearable. But…if you feel alone, please know that you are not alone. There are others out here who are watching the destruction roll by and are weeping with you.

God has not abandoned us. In fact, all that is going on confirms that the Bible is true and that the predictions of Revelation are being fulfilled. Let us keep clinging to our trees by building up ourselves in God’s holy word. Let us keep shouting out encouraging words and holding out our hands to those who want to be rescued. Let us point all we come in contact with to the Bible–our only anchor and source of hope.

It’s not going to get easier. But, one of these days, we are going to get to escape, before things get too bad. According to God’s Word, we will not be here to experience the onslaught of God’s wrath and judgment on this evil world. So let’s keep looking up! One day we will meet each other in the air! I believe it won’t be too long now!

 

 

Scroll to Top
%d bloggers like this: