In celebration of Pentecost!
In preparation for Pentecost, we read about Prayer In The Spirit.
It seems like everyone makes resolutions at the beginning of each year. Therefore, I thought it would be beneficial for us to establish a spiritual theme at our first Prayer Breakfast.
I hope you will join us!
A few weeks ago, Donald Trump spoke at the ribbon-cutting of the newly revitalized historic post office in Washington, D.C.
In his closing comments, he shared his heart-felt desire and vision for our great country. He spoke of unity, prosperity and peace. It was one of the most gentle yet enthusiastic speeches I have heard him deliver.
I captured that portion of the message and encourage you to listen to it. It will take less than five minutes of your time, and I think you will find it worthwhile.
I am often surprised at the number of people who claim to be Christians, yet by their words and actions, it is obvious that they do not believe The Bible is God’s word.
For example, as I listened to the last presidential debate, I heard the question concerning abortion. I have also been involved in discussions on this topic with others over the years. I actually had one so-called Christian tell me that if science can prove that a baby is alive while in the womb they would change their position on abortion. (no mention of The Bible)
If you have ever carried a child or observed someone else, you have probably seen their glow the first time they feel their baby kick or move in the womb. The last time I checked, babies don’t move if they aren’t alive.
In the tragic situations when a baby stops moving in the womb, the obvious concern is that the child has died. How can it die if it wasn’t alive?
Based on these considerations, perhaps the best way to think of a baby in the womb is that it is a little person on life support.
The Bible does not give a clear statement on when life begins, but consider this verse:
And it came to pass, that, when Elisabeth heard the salutation of Mary, the babe leaped in her womb; and Elisabeth was filled with the Holy Ghost:
Luke 1:41 (KJV)
Once again, we see the response of a child still in the womb. There is no valid argument to support that a baby is not alive while it is in its mother’s womb. The argument seems to be that the life is somehow still that of the mother so she has a right to end it if she desires. So should we call it a partial suicide?
When a person is placed on life support, is it no longer their life, but the life force of a machine? I don’t think so. The only valid question one could ask in that case is whether or not the life would be sustained without support. If you remove them from life support you are still ending a life. In terms of late term abortions, not only is a baby removed from the womb, but the child also has its brain sucked out of its head just to be sure it can’t sustain life! If that isn’t murder then you must be reading a different set of scriptures than I read. If a woman has the right to kill her child because she bore it, then I guess every mother has the right to kill any of her children, regardless of age. Well then, what about fathers?
I often hear the argument that a woman deserves the right to freedom of choice.
This is absolutely true. Did you know that before Jesus was conceived in Mary’s womb, she was given a choice? She had to agree to God’s plan, otherwise, he would have chosen someone else to bear his only begotten son. If this surprises you, read the following verses.
And the angel answered and said unto her, The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God.
And, behold, thy cousin Elisabeth, she hath also conceived a son in her old age: and this is the sixth month with her, who was called barren.
For with God nothing shall be impossible.
And Mary said, Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to thy word. And the angel departed from her.
Luke 1:35-38 (KJV)
The conception did not take place until Mary said: Be It Unto Me According To Thy Word.
In one way or another, every woman who conceives makes that same choice, except in the horrible case of rape.
From a biblical perspective, the choice has been made once conception occurs.
There are many examples where people simply do not even consider the position of The Bible as they live their lives. As I note in my book, if you ask most Christians if they believe in salvation, they will give you a puzzled look, and affirm that, indeed, they do. Yet, if you ask them if they believe they are headed for heaven, they may give you an answer of uncertainty. Why? Because they say they believe in salvation by grace through faith, but in reality, they believe that their works determine whether or not they will make it to heaven.
Perhaps you are filled with sorrow and regret as you read this post. Maybe you fell into the trap of the devil’s logic, and went through an abortion. If you have accepted salvation through Jesus Christ, you are a new creation and you have been made righteous. May God comfort and surround you with his love, and assurance that all of your sins are forgiven.
The Bible is filled with God’s promises, precepts and everything pertaining to life and godliness. We are instructed to be followers (imitators) of God. What a day it will be when we actually believe that we are reading a little of God’s heart when we read scripture! What an amazing day it will be when we take hold of the truths we read, and live them!
He is risen! He is risen, indeed!
As I thoughtfully consider the awesome event of The Resurrection, I am once again reminded that not only was Jesus willing to die for all of us, but God was faithful to the promise that he would raise Christ from the dead.
I am amazed and thankful for the many men and women throughout history who have given their lives for righteous causes, but Jesus alone endured the unimaginable torture and humiliation which ultimately resulted in our redemption.
Many die for the good of others, but only one has secured the victory over death: Jesus Christ.
Even as he was raised with a spiritual body, so we also will be like him when he returns. However, even in this age, those of us who have accepted salvation through Christ, can live new glorious lives. This is because we have received holy spirit.
Let us rejoice as we celebrate the victory and never forget that we are now a part of all that God and Christ have accomplished for us!
Leah found a very nice rendition of one of her favorite hymns and shared it with me. I would like to complete this post by sharing it with you.
We are often confused, and even deceived, concerning the things we read in The Bible.
Don’t get me wrong. The scriptures themselves are in no way deceiving. They are always true. Certainly, we must properly understand and apply them in order to get the desired results. We must also make a conscious effort to keep things in proper order and perspective.
Let me give you an example of what I mean. In numerous situations, I have been in conversations with other Christians who say they believe in the power of God, yet when I encourage them to pray, expecting God to bless and heal them, their body language tells me that they have no faith along these lines.
Somehow, they have a multitude of reasons why God’s word doesn’t work for them. Either they don’t deserve God’s blessings, or perhaps they feel they should bear the “judgment” which others deserve. Some tell me that the kind of miracles and healings I describe are either “not for today”, or they simply place more faith in the facts than the truth of scripture.
After all, we have to face reality, right? If God wanted us to be healed, we would be! He has his reasons why he decides to bless some and not others. I challenge you to show me a single scripture, when rightly applied, will support that theology. If God never changes, how can we believe that he is so volatile and inconsistent?
Unless we push ourselves to do otherwise, we tend to believe the things we see and disregard those things yet unseen. That sounds like the opposite of faith, doesn’t it? Bingo! While we’re in the midst of our daily lives, it is all too easy to fall into this deception. That brings us back to my original premise.
We should not ignore the facts we see all around us, but we also must pay attention to the truths which are clearly taught in scripture concerning us. For example, I hear many Christians teaching, in great detail, the things they understand about The Shemitah. Although there are many applicable principles to be learned on this subject, such as allowing the land to rest every seventh year, in order to keep it healthy and thereby able to produce abundantly for the long haul, we must also remember the completed work of Jesus Christ.
Sadly, most Christians do not truly believe in the completeness of their salvation, nor do they believe that they are living in God’s favor. When we confessed Jesus as Lord, believing that God raised him from the dead, we received holy spirit. This event marked the beginning of our everlasting life! Eternity does not start when we die. For a Christian, it is already in progress.
In The Bible, there are different administrations (times and seasons). Because God is consistent, there are things which are carried throughout the ages, however, there are also those things which are superseded as we move forward in biblical history.
Lately, I have heard many discussions by Jonathan Cahn and others, regarding the Shemitah and God’s judgment. If you listen carefully to these presentations, you will usually find that they do state that for a Christian, these things have already been covered by the completed work of Christ. I must say, however, that they do a poor job of communicating. That is, they place so much emphasis on the gloom and doom, that the truth of our redemption becomes a mere afterthought.
We must be mindful of the fact that our thoughts and words have a profound effect on our results. God is not in control of everything. We have an enemy, who works tirelessly and skillfully to deceive us into behaving in a manner which is not conducive to receiving the blessings of God. I spend a great deal of time on this topic throughout the pages of my book. I truly believe this is one of the key factors affecting the quality of our lives as Christians.
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 (KJV)
When did the Supreme Court become the legislative branch of government?
The Congress is the legislative branch of the government. The Supreme Court is the judicial branch.
Obviously, most of our legislators are not schooled in the law of the land. Some of them are celebrating the decree stating that marriage is no longer defined as the union of one man and one woman.
There are two major problems with this recent decree.
First of all, it is not a law. That’s right! It is not a law because the Supreme Court can not make laws. They determine whether or not laws presented to them are constitutional, but they do not originate or pass any laws.
Secondly, since God ordained and defined marriage in the beginning, no man has the authority to change a law of God. Furthermore, God’s laws override the laws of men.
If two individuals of the same sex wish to enter into a permanent partnership and privately express their love for one another, they may do so. Employers already have provisions for so-called domestic partners, thereby enabling almost any couple to share insurance and other benefits.
I respect the right of an individual to follow their sexual preferences, however, intimacy is a private matter. Explicit sexual public displays are always unacceptable regardless of those involved. In addition, the homosexual lifestyle is destructive and detrimental to everyone. As with other behaviors which contradict the will of God, the LGBT way of life brings harmful results on those who take part in it. Nevertheless, I am no less willing to love and teach them.
Marriage is, and always will be, the union of ONE MAN AND ONE WOMAN.
It is not the union of two men. It is not the union of two women. It is not the union of one man and several women. It is not the union of one woman and several men.
Is this country still the Land Of The Free and The Home Of The Brave?
We still have some of our freedoms, but they are constantly being challenged and systematically, stripped away at a rapid rate.
Many people hold the laws of men in higher esteem than those of God. They confuse the separation of church and state with the separation of God and country. Any time a nation passes a law which contradicts the laws of God, they are opposing God and everything which is good.
Are we still brave enough to fight for what is right? The U.S. Constitution was framed to provide religious freedom, promote the general welfare (not provide it), and secure the blessings of liberty for all of our citizens.
We can not permit unlawful actions to continue in our government. The recent action of the Supreme Court is both unlawful and ungodly. If our current government leaders do not stand against, and correct the situation, they should all be replaced by men and women who are willing to serve the people they represent.
Finally, many people, including some Christians, will disagree with my assessment of these things. This is primarily due to the skillful deception being used against them. If we do not keep ourselves sharp regarding the ways, works and goodness of God, we can not think in a godly manner and come to sound conclusions.
We must recognize evel when we see it and never assume that God is somehow responsible for it. If we do not begin to care enough about our freedom to work to preserve it, we will lose it!
At our May Prayer Breakfast, we read three verses in the ninth chapter of the gospel of John, concerning the healing of the man born blind. In order to gain a more complete picture of the situation, we read the three verses from three different versions of the bible.
Each version adds some interesting perspective to the event.
And as Jesus passed by, he saw a man which was blind from his birth.
And his disciples asked him, saying, Master, who did sin, this man, or his parents, that he was born blind?
Jesus answered, Neither hath this man sinned, nor his parents: but that the works of God should be made manifest in him.
John 9:1-3 (King James Version)
In this version, we see that Jesus and his disciples met a man who was blind from birth.
The disciples asked Jesus who sinned, the man or his parents that he was born blind? Jesus told them that neither had caused the blindness, but that the works of God should be made manifest in him.
You could take this to mean that God caused or allowed the man to be born blind so that Jesus could heal him. In fact, this is the way these verses are most often taught. In my understanding of God’s nature, this causes a major problem.
There are many verses in scripture where God expresses his desire to bring only good things to his people. He always longs to bless and prosper us and never to harm us. Nevertheless, without gathering the many scriptures which testify to this truth, we can see it simply by looking at these verses in two other versions.
Walking down the street, Jesus saw a man blind from birth.
His disciples asked, “Rabbi, who sinned: this man or his parents, causing him to be born blind?”
Jesus said, “You’re asking the wrong question. You’re looking for someone to blame. There is no such cause-effect here. Look instead for what God can do.
John 9:1-3 (The Message)
Here we see a somewhat different emphasis. Jesus does not attempt to offer an explanation as to why the man is blind. Instead, he draws the focus of the disciples to what God can do in the situation.
I believe the third version provides the clearest rendering of the situation.
As Jesus walked along, he saw a man who had been blind since birth.
Jesus’ disciples asked, “Teacher, why was this man born blind? Was it because he or his parents sinned?”
“No, it wasn’t!” Jesus answered. “But because of his blindness, you will see God work a miracle for him.
John 9:1-3 (Contemporary English Version)
In this case, we are told that because the man is blind, God will work a miracle for him. There is no indication that he is blind so that Jesus can heal him.
Once again, the cause is not stated, but clearly, Jesus wants his followers to understand and focus on the fact that God can and will miraculously heal the man.
No loving father would hurt his child so he could then heal him. In a sense, most often we turn the cause and effect in these verses upside down, much as the disciples did. They wanted to blame the man or his parents. Unfortunately, we mistakenly blame God.
Taking all three of these versions together, the emphasis is on the goodness and power of God and the compassion of Jesus Christ in healing the man.
There is no attempt to explain the cause of his blindness.
Based on numerous references throughout scripture, we know that all sickness and infirmity originates with Satan.
At the time of the fall of man in the garden of Eden, sin was introduced and thereby, sickness and death. In the least common denominator, this is why the man was born blind in John chapter nine. This is also the reason we sometimes deal with these things during our lives. But this is not the end of the story.
As we are reminded each time we come to The Lord’s table for Holy Communion, the body of Jesus was broken for us and his blood was shed for us.
He bore all of our sicknesses and infirmities in his broken body; he cleansed us from all sin by his shed blood.
Let us fix our focus on this twofold victory!