Wednesday, December 4, 2019

The Lord's Self Described Character and Job Description - Ex 34

Exodus 34:5  And the LORD descended in the cloud, and stood with him there, and proclaimed the name of the LORD. 6  And the LORD passed by before him, and proclaimed, The LORD, The LORD God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abundant in goodness and truth, 7  Keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, and that will by no means clear the guilty; visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children, and upon the children's children, unto the third and to the fourth generation. 

1. YHWH, Jehovah - The self existent, eternal. Repeated for emphasis!
2. God, El - Almighty.
3. Merciful
4. Gracious
5. Longsuffering
6. Abundant in Goodness
7. Abundant in Truth
8. Keeping Mercy
9. Forgiving Iniquity & Transgression & Sin
10. Just
And for good measure:
11. Jealous, 14. (He demands allegiance)

Moses' reaction: 8  And Moses made haste, and bowed his head toward the earth, and worshipped. 

Thursday, November 28, 2019

Israel's Actions were a Bunch of Bull

The Golden Calf - Exodus 32

Why would the people resort to such an extreme measure as worshiping this idol?

They had recently experienced:
*Delivery from Bondage
*Miraculous supply in the desert of Water, Manna and Quail
*The presence of God in the Cloud and Pillar
*The lightnings, thunderings and an earthquake at Mt. Sinai

Talk about your basic, "but what have you done for me lately?" mentality!

So, what happened?
1. Impatience - people want what they want when they want it.
2. Impertinence - they lacked respect for God and His chosen leader.
3. Impotence - they were so incapable of caring for their own spiritual well-being.
4. Indolence - they were lazy. Rather than being vigilant of the important things of life, they easily let down their guard, and thus were low hanging fruit for the enemy.
5. Incongruence (idolatry) - they wanted an empirical god. One they could see and touch, rather than the true God Who saw their conditions in Egypt, heard their desperate cries, knew their plight and came down to save them. Passing over them on the night of the deaths of the firstborn.

Wednesday, November 27, 2019

A Lesser Light - Ex 31:1-11

Bezaleel - "In the Shadow of the Almighty"
This special servant of God gets zero mention in modern preaching. He dwells in the shadows of Bible, on the periphery of the attention. People like him give way to the biblical giants: Mary, Abraham, Moses, David, Paul...

But he was definitely big stuff in his day and deserves a look from us!

What was so special about our friend, Bezaleel?

*His Enrichment (Heritage): His dad was Uri ”Fiery,” His grandpa was Hur “White Linen,” and son of Aaron, of the tribe of Judah “Praise.”

*His Empowerment: He was filled with the Spirit of God.

*His Endowment (traits): Wisdom, understanding and knowledge. He was at the same time theoretical and practical. He is noted for his cunning (he was skilled and adept) as a metallurgist, artificer (craftsman), stonemason, carpenter.

*His Compliment: (appointed by God) Aholiab (tent of his father), who was Ahisamach (brother of support). In other words, there should be no Lone Rangers in the Lord's work, we can't go it alone. We need suitable help. Even Tonto was there to support the Lone Ranger. He was there to offer support and wisdom to Bezaleel!

*His Employment: an extremely high calling, crafting the tabernacle, the ark of the testimony, the mercy seat, table of showbread, golden candlestick, brazen altar, the golden laver (pan) and altar of incense. Also, crafting the holy garments of the ministers. As well, he was responsible for compounding the anointing oil and incense (see chapter 30:22-38 for the details of the exacting recipes demanded).

Bezaleel was:
Ø  Essential to the Worship of God
Ø  Responsible to the Work of God
Ø  Integral to the Word of God

You may not receive the lime-light or the marquee billing, but God, your Heavenly Father, has a great work for you to do. He is gifting you to do it. He is surrounding you with encouraging supporters, and the Holy Ghost imbuement is available for your enabling. Do something great for God as you become essential, responsible and integral in your place of service. The Worship, Work and Word of God would benefit from your service today.

Thursday, October 31, 2019

Happy Reformation Day!

Wycliffe, Huss, Calving, Melanchthon
Knox, Luther, Cranmer, Latimer
Zwingli, Bucer, Tyndale.
We honor these and many others today.

Friday, October 11, 2019

Vengeance Belongs to the Lord

Gen 45:22 To all of them he gave each man changes of raiment; but to Benjamin he gave three hundred pieces of silver, and five changes of raiment. 

Joseph was sold for 20 pieces of silver by his brethren ($200). In response, he earlier filled his brother's sacks with grain and returned their money. But now, to Benjamin, he gives 300 pieces of silver ($3000), 15 times as much as he was sold for. 12 brothers, Joseph's 2 sons and Jacob make 15.

Interesting how the Lord more than takes care of situations, how He more than makes things up to His own.

When you are reviled, revile not again, we are admonished.

Vengeance is mine, I will repay, saith the Lord.

Leave the getting even thing up to Him. don't take it upon yourself to extract a pound of flesh. Situations become a win/win in His hands. Nobody wins when you take it into your own hands.

Wednesday, October 9, 2019

Fallen Leaves

Fallen leaves remind us, as we rake them from our lawn
That life provides us seasons, as we grow & move along
Sometimes flowers and sunshine, others, gloom and rain
But in the end, God keeps us, He grows us through our pain

Friday, October 4, 2019

Say the Word "Corn"

We read of the dream of Pharaoh in Genesis 41, and the interpretation of the dream by Joseph which led to the salvation of the world and the building of Egypt through his God-given wisdom to dole out the corn during years of famine.

Please notice the word, Corn - Shibboleth (Heb). This in not Nebraska sweet corn (otherwise called manna :), rather, grain, as in, a grain of wheat, etc.

Where do we hear this word "shibboleth" elsewhere in the Bible?

Look toward the end of Judges 12, especially verse 6.

During the days of the Judges when God punished Israel for their idolatry, there happened to be this rift between the Ephraimites and Mannassites (stemming from both of Joseph's sons, Ephraim and Manasseh) and the men of Gilead.

The Ephraimites couldn't pronounce the word shibboleth. They had a problem with the sh blend. Think: Gringos trying to roll their R's like the Latinos.

The Gileadites used it as a password for those coming across the river Jordan. (Like the Grumpy old Troll - "If you want to pass over, solve my riddle").

If the Ephraimites couldn't say it, but instead said "Sibboleth," they were slain. 42,000 men died because they couldn't say corn. How tragic!

Yet, here is Joseph, progenitor of the Ephraimites and Manassites, in Gen 41, saving the world through corn (shibboleth). I wonder if he could pronounce the word??? 

Tuesday, September 24, 2019

The Cost of Humble Pie

Please read Genesis 32

Jacob's name means "supplanter" "trickster" or "deceiver." His early life story provides a litany of deception episodes. He tried to pull the wool (oh my, the puns that could follow!) over the eyes of his father, his brother, his father-in-law. But he got his! Oh yes, he did. The trickster got tricked. The deceiver was deceived. Now, he camps out by the river, conniving ways to squelch the wrath of the one he supplanted. His guilt-ridden idea? Try to heal the rift and smooth the torrent caused 20 years earlier by buying Esau's forgiveness.

Look at the cost... Jacob's appeasement gifts to Esau - Gen 32: 14-16

(Current market values of the cattle Jacob offered to Esau to save his neck)

220 Goats: $22,000
220 Sheep: $22,000
30 Camels: $21,000 plus $14,000 (for 20 colts)
10 Bulls: $40,000
30 Donkeys: $18,000
Total cost: $137,000

Your deception of others to gain an advantage may not seem like a big deal at the time of the crime.

However, the resulting guilt cannot have a price tag attached to it. And when you do try to appease those whom you have wronged, the cost is multiplied many times more than you could ever have calculated.

It would be much better to just be fair, just, honest and do the right thing.

Wednesday, July 31, 2019

The Rapture - Rev 4:1

After this I looked, and, behold, a door was opened in heaven: and the first voice which I heard was as it were of a trumpet talking with me; which said, Come up hither, and I will shew thee things which must be hereafter.

*Heaven is opened
*The Trumpet sounds
*The Voice calls us up

But first... John looked! As he was looking way back then, so ought we to be looking today.

Note: Where are you looking? The Christian needs to take 3 looks: Inward, to guard his relationship (I Cor 11:28). Outward to look for souls for the kingdom (Jn 4:35). Upward from whence cometh our help! (Ps 121:1)

Don’t ever look down. Looking down strikes fear into the heart.

John was the last of the original disciples, longing for the promise that the angels gave them in Acts 1:And when he had spoken these things, while they beheld, he was taken up; and a cloud received him out of their sight. 10  And while they looked stedfastly toward heaven as he went up, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel; 11  Which also said, Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? this same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven. 
Jesus had said to Peter concerning John:
Jn 21:22  Jesus saith unto him, If I will that he tarry till I come, what is that to thee? follow thou me. 23  Then went this saying abroad among the brethren, that that disciple should not die: yet Jesus said not unto him, He shall not die; but, If I will that he tarry till I come, what is that to thee? 

If John was looking, anticipating, expecting then, how much closer is His coming today? He could have come at any time in the interim, but there is an appointed season, day and time.

Mk 13:32  But of that day and that hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels which are in heaven, neither the Son, but the Father. 33  Take ye heed, watch and pray: for ye know not when the time is. 

But the Lord says that there are dozens of signs that do point to that day. And we ought to be able to discern the seasons. See, He said no man knows the day of the hour, but Paul says that we should not be ignorant of the times and the seasons. It isn’t much of a stretch for us to imagine that all we are seeing and hearing portend the coming of our Lord in the clouds to call us home!
Ø No doubt Gabriel is prepared as the announcing angel (to: Mary, Joseph, Shepherds – “Jesus is coming!)
Ø No doubt the Mansions are being prepared as Jesus told Thomas in John 14:1,2 “Let not your heart be troubled…”
Ø No doubt the Bema is being prepared  II Cor 5:10
Ø No doubt the Supper is being prepared   Rev 19:9 (Cooks are in the kitchen, the servants are polishing the silver)
Ø No doubt the Guardian Angels are ready to return home from their earthly deployment   Heb 1:14 “Are they not all ministering spirits, sent to minister to us”
Ø No doubt the Spirit that withholds is prepared to be taken out of the way   II Thess 2:7
Ø No doubt this old world is groaning for the end   Rom 8:22
Ø No doubt our loved ones are gathering at the river bank
Ø No doubt Jesus longs for His own to be home  “So shall we ever be with the Lord”
It all just awaits the Father's command: "Son, go get our children!"
Are you looking for His coming? Luke 12:37 Blessed are those servants, whom the lord when he cometh shall find watching: verily I say unto you, that he shall gird himself, and make them to sit down to meat, and will come forth and serve them. 
I wonder if, even now, heaven is about to open, if the angel is getting his trumpet shined and lips ready, if the Lord is clearing His throat for the call home…
John was looking, Paul was looking, the martyrs were looking, our parents and grandparents of old were looking, the old time preachers were looking, SO SHOULD WE!

Wednesday, July 24, 2019

God is much more concerned about your future than He is your past!

God's Messed up People ..
Heb 11, "by faith, Rahab the harlot..."
Is there a worse intro to a commendation?

We read about the following Bible heroes:
*Sarah the snickerer
*Abraham the impetuous
*Moses the murderer
*David the adulterer
*Samson the MESS!
The list of failures is extensive.

What does this Bible frankness tell us?
1. The Bible tells it the way it really happened. The characters are not sanitized.
2. God uses imperfect people to accomplish His will. I Cor 1:20-21
3. Our past does not necessarily portend our future. Phil 3:13-14
4. His salvation is complete, His grace is sufficient, His forgiveness is thorough. I For 6:11

God wants to use you today. If you are a believer, don't bring up your past when He taps you on the shoulder. He Who knows all things willingly forgets what is under the blood.

Friday, July 12, 2019

What We Are!

Peter, in chapters 1 and 2 of his first epistle, gives believers a number of descriptors. I was blessed by drawing these out of these wonderful chapters. The more we think of ourselves as God knows us to be, the more confidence we are able to resource in our daily walk with and for Him. Here is what we are according to I Peter 1 and 2, bare bones, you add the meat.

We are:   I Pet 1
Strangers 1
Elect 2
Foreknown 2
Sanctified 2
Blood-Washed 2
Begotten to a lively hope 3
Inheritors (benefactors) 4
Kept 5
Tempted 6
Tried 7
Ultimately Saved  9
Obedient Children 14
Holy  16
Sojourners  17
Redeemed 18-19
Purified, Obedient  22
Born Again 23
Targets of God's Word  25

We are:    Chapter 2
Newborn Babes 2
Lively Stones in a Spiritual House  5
Chosen Generation  9
Royal Priesthood   9
People of God  10
Strangers and Pilgrims  11
Do-gooders 12
Free  16
Sufferers  19-21

Three things I take away from this:
We have tests
We are blessed
He is the BEST!

Wednesday, April 24, 2019

Spring Has Sprung

Finally, since March 20th, the first official day of Spring this year, Spring has arrived in full force. The flowers and trees are budding, the grass is growing, the birds are chirping, and kids are playing outside. Teachers and students alike are getting cabin fever and longing for that last day of school in May.

Those who suffer with SAD, Seasonal Affective Dysfunction, now breathe in  allergen laced pollens to their delight. We have until June 21st to enjoy the renewed freshness of nature as it awakens to fulfill the promise of vitality.

As well, believers, fresh and full of resurrection life and power, can enjoy the sense of God doing a new thing in their lives, families and churches.

Oh, that we might sing praises with the gusto of the birds. That we would blossom for God as do the tulips and lilies. That we would grow in faith as the verdant grass. And that we would shine warmth upon others with the power of the sun (Son).

Spring has sprung, let us cast off our wintry lethargy and terminal dormancy and rise to the vivacity of Christian joy and productivity.

We are called to life – let’s live it to the fullest as God gives us grace and strength.

Monday, March 25, 2019

Stupid Smart Phones!

I meant to read my Bible
And take the time to pray
Just then came a fresh new text
I’d better answer that right away.

While doing that I noticed
Words with Friends gave an alert
I had three friends awaiting
For me to play a word.

New notices soon popped up
It was Face Book letting me know
Face Book friends had posted stuff
I’d better look right now.

I wondered while I was looking there
At cats and deer and such
If I’d even checked my email
I hadn’t been there much.

Oh, and then there was Twitter
I’d better check my tweets
If I missed the latest thing on there
Well, that wouldn’t be so sweet.

Tumblr, Snap Chat, Reddit
Linkedin and 3 or 4 more
I must check in on all of these
Before heading out the door.

Before I understood
What had just come about
I had made contact with all my sources
But left the Lord completely out!

My smart phone, tablet and PC
Have wasted so much time
And now I face another day
Without connecting to the Divine.

Friday, February 8, 2019

Get a hold of yourself!

Proverbs 25:28 He that hath no rule over his own spirit is like a city that is broken down, and without walls.

Many are the people we know who are incontinent, that is, they have no self-control. I have watched, in amused befuddlement, as professed believers so easily allow escalations in events to render them out of control.

Whether riding as a passenger and witnessing my driver host lose it over being “cut off” in traffic, or seeing couples or families melt down in the counseling office, or just watching as a teen gradually slips away from all that is holy into the pit of perdition, it is evident that too few have too little control over their emotions.

Paul, the greatest Christian to ever lace up his sandals, had his own battles with emotions. We read of his angry bout with Peter, of his confessed battle with the flesh in Romans 7, and of his determination to keep his body under subjection to his spirit so that the ministry is not blamed in any thing.

In my imagination I can see the demons chuckling at us as they see us, time after time, giving in to those old carnal emotions. They throw out the same temptations and fan the flames until we lose it for the umpteenth time.

How silly it must look to the world to see our hypocrisy when our temper gets the best of us at work, school or in the back yard.

I am reminded of the preacher who was made aware that he had a deacon in his church who was from time to time known to cuss.

In his attempt to help the deacon overcome this terrible habit, the preacher decided he should spend some personal time with the deacon so they could have a long talk about the problem. The preacher decided to ask the deacon to go fishing, thinking that might provide an opportunity to talk.

They were out in a boat and had their lines in the water when the preacher hooked a big one. It put up a mighty fight, but finally he reeled the fish up to the edge of the boat. It was the biggest fish the preacher had ever caught. But, just as the minister started to pull his catch into the boat, the fish slipped off the hook and got away.

Thoroughly disgusted, the preacher looked over and said, "Deacon, somethin' needs to be said here!"

Something really does need to be said, and Solomon said it, “He that hath no rule over his own spirit is like a city that is broken down, and without walls.“

Let’s get a hold of ourselves!

Monday, January 21, 2019

The Resort of the Believer

…and the people resort unto him again; and, as he was wont, he taught them again. Mark 10:1

Who doesn’t long for a resort in times of stress and trouble? When I hear the word “resort,” I think of either a mountain cabin getaway, a sportsman’s retreat, a beachfront bungalow, or a full amenity lodge nearby popular attractions.

We feel as if a few days away from the grind of life will recharge our batteries and help us to get back in the game. Hopefully, when we make our pilgrimages to these shrines of convalescence, we can experience our much needed rest and relaxation and make some great memories along the way. Too bad, some of these resorts fail to deliver on what their ads promise. A cruise may end up on rough seas and have to be suspended. The fancy resort in the Smokies may turn out to be a one star facility. The hunting lodge may turn out to be infested with inhospitable creatures. And we return to the mundanity of life more drained then when we began our excursion. Life experienced, lessons learned. Been there, done that!

As these resorts hopefully refresh the body and mind, there exists a wonderful resort for the soul.

The Christ-dependent, soul-thirsty believer is wise to make Jesus their resort. Unfortunately, far too many resort to drink, sport, pleasure, work, music, literature, even religion for soul satisfaction. But only in Jesus is found life, peace, contentment, fulfillment, and true joy. When a person resorts to the gods of this world, they will always come away empty, more worn and torn than before. But Jesus has everything a soul would ever need or long for. 

“…As he was wont, he taught them again.” While we are experiencing our soul resort, we should expect to come away with valuable life lessons. They will always teach us the following:
*Our lack, His sufficiency.
*Our limitations, His sovereignty.
*Our need, His supply. 
*Our problems, His peace
*Our pain, His grace
*Our sorrow, His joy
*Our emotion, His love

Perhaps you’d sing this old song with me throughout your day as a reminder of these truths…

Only Jesus can satisfy your soul
Only He can change your heart and make you whole
He’ll give you peace you never knew
Real love and joy and heaven too
For only Jesus can satisfy your soul.

Now, if I could just hum this tune while lounging near the pool pictured above!!!

My friend Alvin Burrell wrote the following several years ago, very apt.

The Resort
(Psalms 71: 3) by
Alvin Burrell
O the place where I am dwelling, Is a land without pure rest -
I am tired of all the labor, Even though I have been blessed; And a spirit touched by worship, Keeps me looking to the Lord -
I am ever looking homeward, How I long for God’s resort.
God’s resort is so inviting, Contentment is the rule up there - Peace that passeth understanding, Where we look it’s everywhere; No one needs to be long-suffering, There’s no need for law or tort - What a blessing when we get to, The fair land of God’s resort.
We can taste of this contentment, Even in our mortal state - And be shielded from the evil, On this earth we all must face; When we lift our eyes to Heaven, Singing praises to the Lord - Pressing upward on our journey, To the land of God’s resort.

Friday, January 18, 2019

The Other Side of the Sea

Mark 5:1-19

With apologies to Bobby Darin, here’s a bit of a twist on his lyrics:

Somewhere beyond the sea
Somewhere waiting for Thee
A crazy man stands among the tombs
And watches the ships that come sailin'

Here’s a dude that’s a perfect candidate for the sanitarium. He is fierce and intimidating to all who come near. And it’s no wonder why, he’s possessed with a thousand demons. He possesses their cumulative strength to inflict harm on himself and others. While all else go out of their way to stay out of his way, Jesus gets a boat and heads straight across the Sea of Galilee, setting a course right toward this lunatic.  

Surely the disciples had to wonder, as they did every day, what kind of bizarre situation awaited them when they arrived and what would be the Master’s handling of the incident? If they were hoping for a thrill of some kind, they were not to be disappointed.

What's on the other side of the sea?

1.   On the other side of the sea were Foreigners! (vs 1) Let’s face it, the Jews of the day were not too keen on engaging other cultures. The Romans were occupying their land, and the influence of the Greeks had pervaded their society. It was all so non-kosher. They were surrounded by gentiles and didn’t wish to further engage. Here’s what they found on the other side: Different Culture, language, tradition, heritage and religion. On the other side were gads of Gadarenes. They were a bunch of pig-farming, pork-producing, bacon-making sausage-slingers. Ugh! But across the sea we sail!  

2.   On the other side of the sea were Men in Need. This particular one is demonized!
a.      He lived in the tombs and was obviously spiritually dead.
b.     He was possessed with an unclean spirit (the kind that drive people today to drugs, lust, etc.)
c.      Their name was Legion, meaning many spirits.
d.     He was bound with fetters (chained to his sin)
e.      He was wild and no man could tame him.
f.       He was a cutter. For lack of a knife, he used sharp stones. Imagine his frustration. He was infested with multiple devils, there was no hope, no answer, no future.

Then Jesus came!
*He saw Jesus, as opposed to what he has been seeing – people fearing him, mocking him, despising him.
*He ran to Him - away from everything else, tombs and rejection.
*He worshipped Him – he fell prostrate before the Lord.

 3. On the other side were Demons on a Mission.
The demonic mission has not changed, which is to steal, kill and destroy (John 10:10). While Jesus’ mission remains the same, to give life, and to give it more abundantly. We must be careful to separate the demons from the demonized. On demons, we must have no mercy, on the victim, we must have compassion. Jesus went out of His way for the man, not the devils.

Who was speaking, the man or the devils? Who was acting bizarre? Questions we must ask as we minister to demonized souls.   

4. Swine Feeding! On the other side, we will find disgusting, cannibalistic,      suicidal pigs. There is nothing kosher on the other side.

5. On the other side is Fear!  (vs 15) Why were people afraid? The man was now sitting, clothed and in his right mind (perhaps he was now left handed?)

*they were afraid of change. Can you imagine? Their comfort zone included a demon possessed, naked, uncontrollable mad man who lived in the grave yard!!!

*they were afraid of the unknown. Never had this kind of power been displayed. Exorcism, deviled ham, changed life, a new normal. No possessed men terrorizing the graveyard, no swine feeding on a hillside.

6. On the other side was a New Missionary (18-19)
Goodness! Without a day of discipleship, this man went from demoniac to so soul-winner, from crazed to being in his right mind. Hopefully, on the other side of the sea, we will find lives so transformed that the mission target becomes a missionary. 

If we never go to the other side, we may never witness such things. I'm sure the disciples would have been content to sit this one out, and yet, what an amazing experience.  

I know beyond a doubt, ah
My heart will lead me there soon
We'll meet beyond the shore
We'll praise just as before
Happy we'll be beyond the sea
And never again I'll go sailing

No more sailing
So long sailing
Bye bye sailing

Tuesday, January 15, 2019

The Signs of His Coming (Matthew 24)

And as he sat upon the mount of Olives, the disciples came unto him privately, saying, Tell us, when shall these things be? and what shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world?  Matthew 24:3

Note: Jesus is spot on when it comes to prophecy. Of course, He is the One that predetermines, and He is the One that performs that which has been predetermined.

A prime example: We observe and reflect in vs 2 the prophecy that He made concerning the building materials of the temple. The prophecy was very specific, not one stone would lie upon another. It came to pass exactly as He predicted about 37 years later. Please read about the destruction of the temple here:

Here are the signs of His future coming, the glorious appearing, and the characteristics of the times leading up to it, as given by Jesus Himself:

1. Widespread Deception.  (4)
2. False Christs and Deceivers. (5, 23-26)
3. Proliferation of Wars, and Rumors of Wars. These will include regional and international wars.  (6, 7)
4. Natural Disasters. Famines, Pestilences, Earthquakes.  (7)
5. Increased Sorrows.  (8)
6. Persecution and Martyrdom. (9)
7. Treachery and Hatred. (10)
8. False Prophets. (11)
9. Waning Natural Affection.  (12)
10. Perseverance of the Saved. (13)
11. Proliferation of the Gospel. (14)
12. Desecration of the Holy of Holies. (15)
13. Extreme Hardships. (16-22)
14. Meteorological, Zoological and Astronomical Signs. (27-30)
15. The Restoration of Israel, the Fig Tree. (32-34)
16. Careless Living and a Lack of Watchfulness. (37-44)

Of course, many of these characteristics might be found in any age. However, when they begin to occur  exponentially and concurrently, our attention is drawn to our Lord's prophetic specificity and what bearing it might possibly have on our proximate future.

For further reading on this subject, please request my book, Modern Fulfilment of Biblical Prophecy. It includes graphs and charts which strongly indicate we are moving nearer the Day of Christ. I would be happy to send you a digital copy without charge.

Note: These is no "date-setting" involved in this blog or in my book. I readily admit that the coming of Christ could be today, tomorrow, next week, month, year, decade or century.

Note:  The terms: Day of Christ, Tribulation, Rapture, Glorious Appearing, Millennium, and other end time designations are all specifically defined in my book. 

Friday, January 11, 2019

Going There is Easier than Getting Back

First of all, the internet can be a blessing, or it can be a bane. The whole world can be accessed from our fingertips. There is no limit how deep you can go into an issue. If you choose the wrong path, and you have wound your way to some very dangerous and undesirable place, you may find your return to mental, emotional and spiritual normalcy extremely difficult to navigate.

The same can be true with the imagination. Our thoughts and emotions can take us to some pretty dark places. The trek back to regularity may be quite a challenge.

And then there are those times where our feet and hands, (mouth, eyes and ears) literally take us beyond cyberspace or some imaginary chasm to real places. Places that, to borrow from an old ditty, take us farther than we wanted to go, keep us longer than we wanted to stay and cost us more than we wanted to pay.

I have a few of those ugly places that I am trying to be honest with myself about:

1. Rehashing the tragic stories of fallen ministerial icons.  How are the mighty fallen in the midst of the battle!  II Sam 1:25 

I am a recovering fundaMENTAList. I continue to hold fast to the fundamentals of Scripture and the faith that was once delivered to the saints. By God’s grace I will stay true to New Testament principles and my local church, as long as the latter stays true to the former.

However, I find the cultish tendencies of many fundamentalist preachers and institutions greatly disturbing and destructive. The usual modus operandi includes: unquestioned loyalty, unabashed pride, extra-biblical standards and expectations, emphasis on external appearances and behavior, ostracism of non-conformists, and a my-way-or-the-highway mentality. They tend to feel superior, be contentious, and cast judgment. Their mantra is, “We are the only ones doing it God’s way.” They are the heroes of each of their own stories. The rules they impose apply to others, not to themselves. 

They have a special relationship with God that grants them immunity from the consequences which we hoi polloi must face when we sin. They are heavy on law and light on grace, until they are the ones in need of grace.

The danger that comes with this model of Christianity (Please note: a model is a small imitation of the real thing!) is what is cautioned about in Scripture, Pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall. (Prov 16:18.) 

The destructive path I tend to travel as a recovering fundamentalist is to spend valuable time and delicate emotions contemplating, and even relishing in, the stories of the rise, the exploits, and fall of the big guys who wowed the masses, got full of themselves and fell from grace. It helps to recognize the error of their ways and avoid the pitfalls, but I can’t afford for my soul to relive those dark-hearted attitudes that cost me so much personally. They have taken the fun out of fundamentalism, so I have to just leave it there.

Other places I really need to avoid:
2. Exploring the exploits of current pimples on the face of Christianity. See: Benny Healer, Smilin’ Joe Holsteen, Steven L. Anders Son, Westboro Badtwist Church, Liberals, Prosperity Promogulators, Bible deniers, Politically correct denominations, etc. (See, I told you I am recovering and sometimes I fall off the wagon)

3. Getting too near the lunatic ledge of conspiratorial theory. I am so right wing I have registered as an independent. I mean, Rush Limbaugh is way too liberal for me. He even has a term for people like me, KOOKS, the Keepers of Odd Knowledge Society. I suppose I am guilty. I'm learning not to buy into the conspiracy theories as readily as I once did. A person has to ask themselves simple questions regarding the classics and the conspiracy du jour. A few really good questions: 1) Would "they" readily be doing this to their own grand children? 2) Have you considered the logistics it would take to pull that one off? 3) How have they managed to keep the thousands of people who participated in this thing quiet? (I know, I know, they brainwashed them, paid them massive amounts, or killed them.)

Yes there are conspiracies. Psalm 2 is pretty clear on that. 1  Why do the heathen rage, and the people imagine a vain thing? 2  The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the LORD, and against his anointed, saying, 3  Let us break their bands asunder, and cast away their cords from us. 4  He that sitteth in the heavens shall laugh: the Lord shall have them in derision. 5  Then shall he speak unto them in his wrath, and vex them in his sore displeasure. 6  Yet have I set my king upon my holy hill of Zion. 

But, here are a few of the more close to the ledge ones: “All doctors are bent on your demise so they can make their Mercedes payments.” “The CDC wants you to have Alzheimer’s.” “Chemtrails are produced to give you and the pilot’s grandchildren cancer and contaminate your wheat so you will have leaky gut.” “The Illuminati has infiltrated your church and will soon bring it into the National  Council of Churches.”

4. Giving time, thought and energy to those who give me one star, thumbs down reviews. I won’t give them any space in my blog.

5. Feeling slighted, ignored, inconsequential, unappreciated, unloved, disrespected or invalidated. In other words, woe is me! Nobody likes me, everybody hates me. Now, who is it that sets on a person’s shoulder whispering these discouraging lies into our ears? That would be the Accuser of the Brethren, the Father of Lies. And it’s just not true. God loves His children; they are the apple of His eye. As Max Lucado says, “If God has a refrigerator, your picture is on it!” In Christ, we are more than conquerors. We will one day reign with Him as kings and priests. God has chosen us nobodies to confound the world. Our message, to the world, is foolishness, but is, in fact, the power of God.

6. Focusing on my inadequacy. This is the biggie. This one can take me down for days and hamstring my marriage and my ministry. It’s true, I ain’t got it. But what is more true is that He has begun a good work in me and will be able to perform it until the day of Christ, for He has called me, equipped me and continually enables me. Indeed, He is able to do exceeding, abundantly above all that I am able to ask or even think!

Dear friend, perhaps you have your own “Do not go there” zones from which you have to steer clear. I would guess some might admit these places would include: Gossip, gluttony, envy, lust, substance abuse, bitterness, unforgiveness, pride, doubt, etc.

Let’s ask the Lord to cleanse us of our sin and fill us with His Holy Spirit so that we may put off the old nature and be led away from temptation. He desires for us peace, joy and abundant living. That can’t be accomplished when we are going down these destructive paths.

Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.  Philippians 4:8