Friday, December 16, 2016

The Keeper of the Keys

The Keeper of the Keys

In the “olden days” they would have gatekeepers who sat at the entrance of a city. These people would guard the city and keep those who would bring harm from entering. However, these people weren’t just protecting against physical harm, they were protecting their manner of living. More specifically, they were guarding what they held sacred—the commandments of God.

Nowadays, at least in America, we don’t have people standing guard at the entrance of a city. We use other means to protect ourselves physically. But spiritually speaking, who ‘holds the keys’ to the things we hold sacred--those gems of truth God has shown us from the hard lessons we’ve learned?  The things that have taken us a lifetime to learn that we want to pass down to the next generation so they don’t have to spend their lifetime learning the same things? The ‘rabbit trails’ of life we have uncovered that get us off track and become dead ends? This is the job of the elder generations.

As the oldest generation in a family passes away there is a shifting that takes place. It was the elders of the city who sat at the gate, and in the same way, the oldest generation today is the ‘Keeper of the Keys.’ This elder generation should seek God for both the wisdom and the passion to guard the family spiritually. The second generation will do more of the ‘enforcement’ of these truths as they raise their children. The way we perpetuate the sacred things in our family is by guarding the hearts and minds of our little ones. They are the doors. They are the entrance way into our families, and our society. As the Keepers of the Keys we want to be sure to share with them the lifetime of wisdom and insight we have learned. We want to teach the ways of God to them, giving them the keys of life.

Of course the gatekeepers didn’t just guard the city, but they also welcomed newcomers. One thing we don’t want to do is to label a fresh perspective on life as heresy. The elders had enough discernment to know the difference between what would harm and what would refresh. When we become a condemning skeptic instead of a properly discerning judge, then we stifle what God wants to do in our families. We must recognize the fresh gifts and talents that He has placed in our young ones, and encourage them to grow in those gifts. Of course, at the same time, we teach them the standard of truth that God has established, and encourage them to continue to seek His truths throughout their lives and embrace it.

The Keeper of the Keys---these are those who guard the spiritual truths that God Himself has given to a family. As we stand at the gate, our little ones--our family’s future and our heritage--will grow and become a foundation for future generations to build on. When the gates are properly kept, the truths discovered over the years will remain to guide and to bless each generation.

Saturday, December 10, 2016

Guarding the Home Base

One day, David and his men returned home to Ziklag and found that the Amalekites had burned their city and kidnapped their families. Needless to say, they were quite upset. David sought the Lord to see if they should go after them, and He said go. David and 600 men went on the rescue mission. At one point 200 men were too exhausted to continue, so they stayed behind with the baggage. The 400 men continued, won the battle, rescued their families, and recovered all their stuff. Now, some of the 400 didn't want to share the spoils with the 200. In fact, they wanted them to leave with their families. But David said no. He made a law that whoever stays behind with the baggage receives the same share as those who fight the battle. (1 Samuel 30).

David had learned something. Who was guarding their families while he and his army were off fighting? Was anyone? Their families were kidnapped and their homes burned. He wouldn't make that mistake again. Someone needs to guard the families. Some people are called to go on the mission. Some people are called to guard the stuff.

We hear a lot, in America, about missionaries who go out to preach the gospel and do good Christian works around the world. This is good, and many are called to do this. In fact, we've been able to do this because of the home base support here in the States. However, I think we have not properly recognized the call of some to guard the home base. In fact, we've neglected it to some degree. I believe God is making people aware of their call to guard the home base. Like the families in Ziklag, America is in need of those to guard the homes and families. We need people to properly fill their home base posts to protect and rebuild America!

To do this, we must first identify--How does the enemy come in?

First, through the womb. Thousands of people enter America every day through the womb. These people are sent from God so they are not meant to be a threat. Children are like fresh waters flowing through America, keeping us alive and vibrant. Many have been killed trying to enter through this gate through abortion. These people are meant to be a blessing, yet if children are not taught the ways of the Lord, they are in grave danger of falling prey to deception and false teaching, and becoming a threat to our home base. What was sent to us as gifts from heaven, become used against us and God's work. Children are an entrance gate.

Next, people enter America physically from other countries. Many of these are threats because they want to conquer us and impose oppressive laws. Our immigration policies and military should properly assess and address these threats. If those at this post properly adhere to the Constitution of the United States, our Christian home base is protected. Physical borders are an entrance gate.

Lastly, the enemy infiltrates our people through untruthful thoughts and ideas, such as through the internet, media, or false teaching. We combat this by bringing every thought captive to the obedience of Christ. Governmental censorship is not the answer to stop potential threats through this gate because that gives the government power over families. God's design is for parental authority, under God's authority, to govern families, not a governmental entity. Parents and ministers need to teach people, and kids especially, to know the Lord and be filled with His Spirit so they enter into a relationship with Him, share His heart, and develop proper discernment. There are lies all over the internet--cartoons telling kids that Christians and Muslims serve the same God. False religions and ideologies are going after young kids on-line and in schools, trying to indoctrinate them with beliefs contrary to the Word of God. Thoughts are an entrance gate.

It's time to guard the gates! We've done it sporadically, but not in a systematic, intentional, and consistent manner. We need to be diligent in standing at our assigned post and remain watchful. We need to train and become excellent in the skills needed for the post we are called to.

How do we watch for the enemy at our assigned post?

1. Recognize your call to guard the homeland.
2. Seek God for your specific assignment. (For example, are you called to have an on-line presence looking out for threats to young kids? Or maybe you're called to teach the basics of the Word of God in a Sunday School class. Maybe you're a parent or grand-parent and called to nurture your own kids in the Lord. Maybe you're to stand guard in the schools--through prayer, legislation, or keeping an eye on school policies and practices.)
3. Prepare. Be diligent to receive education and practical skills needed for your post.
4. Take your post. Watch diligently. Don't slack off. Don't sleep on duty. Do it!
5. Remember that your place is not insignificant, stay encouraged.

The treasures we are guarding are living treasures-people. Some may have the primary task of watching for threats. Those who do must take care not to allow paranoid suspicion to cloud out proper, loving, discernment. Otherwise, we become oppressive towards the very treasures we are trying to protect. Some may have the primary task of nurturing the living treasures. Those who do need to be careful not to criticize those who are standing guard, thinking they are too harsh in their stance against potential threats.

How do we guard without being oppressive?

1. Pray for the treasures (people) you are guarding, pray in the Spirit.
2. Be an example of the Lord to them, and of the Christian faith.
3. Teach the ways of the Lord--discernment, guidance, and discipline when necessary.
4. Allow creativity and free will.
5. Ultimately, they need to grow in relationship with the Lord and be filled with the Holy Spirit themselves.

Parents, don't just teach your children the ways of the Lord, but teach your children how to teach their children the ways of the Lord. Peter said, "I will also be diligent that at any time after my departure you will be able to call these things to mind." (2 Peter 1:15). Those under our care need to be able to call to mind the things we've taught them after we're gone. Our children need to know how to train their children in the ways of the Lord, helping them to call to mind the things they've taught them. Our faith is not to end with our generation!

We have neglected guarding our home base to a certain degree, but we've not completely vacated our posts. Our enemy has snuck up on us through gaps in the wall. But now, he's being exposed. As he is, we see that we've been surrounded and infiltrated. It may be shocking to see the extent of the infiltration. However, the Lord hears our cries and our prayers. As we encourage ourselves in the Lord, and inquire of Him like David did, following the words He speaks, we will rescue our families and rebuild our homes. But we must never forget the importance of having those who will guard the home base. we can't send out all of our resources and leave our homes unprotected.

Lift up your head--above the cloud of your own daily distractions--and ask the Lord what part you play in guarding the home base.

Sunday, December 4, 2016

My Tower of Babel Dream

I was dreaming and I was at the tower of Babel. Everyone was making sounds, guttural-type sounds and no one understood each other. It wasn't what I had always imagined. It wasn't that some groups understood each other. It was like no one could speak a language.  No one could say any intelligent words. They had to learn to understand each other in ways other than words, and "create" a new language. As I stood there watching, some were just starting to understand very basic things with a few people close to them.

It seemed to be a frightening experience. However, it caused families to come together. People were looking for those they cared the most about. Mothers looked for their children, and husbands looked for their wives. Families would gather together for survival and comfort. They were forced to get to know each other in a much deeper way in order to understand one another, communicate, and survive.

Up until this happened the vast majority of the people were just making bricks, making bricks, making bricks. They were enslaved to this one thing. There was no exploration. No individual creativity or discovery. But there was talk. Talk of what it was going to look like. Talk of what this tower would do for them. Talk of where to put the next brick.

Once they couldn’t speak to one another, there was no joy in making the bricks or building the tower. No excitement. No sense of purpose. There was no organization or direction either. Without the words of the one driving them, there was no desire for the people to do this. There was frustration and there was fear. And then, there was a gathering together of people with those they loved and cared about. There was exploration and creativity. There were talents discovered and new skills developed. 

They had been speaking—planning, envisioning, and working to accomplish this one thing. Who's idea was it? One man's? They all spoke the same thing. This empowered them. But empowered for what purpose? Just about one hundred years earlier they were told by God to be fruitful, multiply and fill the earth (Genesis 9:1). Instead, they had gotten themselves stuck in this project.

It's interesting that during Israel's slavery in Egypt later on their job was to make bricks.

Many years later, after Jesus had come and gone, on the day of Pentecost, the Holy Spirit came. 120 followers of Jesus were gathered together in the upper room. As the Holy Spirit fell on them they all began speaking in languages unknown to them (Acts 2:1-13). After this experience they were sent out--eventually scattered to spread the good news of Jesus Christ. There were times of gathering together, and times of going out to preach.

The Lord had told them not to even try going out of Jerusalem until the Holy Spirit came on them. Anything that is going to be built, needs to begin with a unified language. But a unity that is surrendered to the plans and purposes of God. A unity that allows for the development and expression of the individual gifts given to each one. A unity that is birthed in hearts that care for one another.

If you are going to build anything together with other people---a family, church, business etc—pray in the Holy Spirit TOGETHER. He will give understanding through this. Whether it comes through an interpretation of tongues, prophecy, revelation, or just a knitting together of hearts. He also strengthens and encourages us. He reveals the place and part that each person plays. We must speak together in order to build together.

The Gifts of the Spirit are given so we can SPEAK, UNDERSTAND, and DO the will of God. We speak through tongues, interpretation of tongues, and prophesy. We understand through the word of wisdom, word of knowledge, and discerning of spirits, and we do through gifts of healing, working of miracles, and the gift of faith (1 Corinthians 12:4-11).

Whatever your group is, gather and pray in the Spirit--together. Get to know each other. Care for one another. Talk to each other. Then the understanding and vision will come, along with the gifts and abilities to build what the Lord wants built--a dwelling place for Him among His people. 

Saturday, December 3, 2016

Hearing God's Voice in the Words Around Us

He who is of God, hears the words of God.
John 8:47

When I hear my husband's voice in a crowd of people, I recognize that the words I'm hearing are his. In the same way, my desire is that when I hear God's voice, among many, I will recognize which words are His. I know my husband's voice because I'm "of him." I spend time with him and have a relationship with him. I know which words are God's because I'm "of Him," I spend time with Him and have a relationship with Him.

God's words can come to us in various ways. They are written in the Bible, but they can also come as spoken words. The word "words" in the passage above is "Rhema" or the spoken word. Jesus knew the written word, but He also knew the Father's voice when He spoke to Him. He spoke what the Father had taught Him.

For I did not speak on My own initiative,
but the Father Himself who sent Me
has given Me a commandment
as to what to say and what to speak.
I know that His commandment is eternal life;
therefore the things I speak,
I speak just as the Father has told Me.
John 12:49-50

So we hear, and recognize, that the words we hear are of God, because we are "of Him." We spend time with Him and know Him. But let's take that one step further--do we believe the words that we hear? Not just believe that they are of God, but do we believe they are the truth? It's one thing to recognize a person's voice, but another thing to believe what they say.

Truly, truly, I say to you,
he who hears My word,
and believes Him who sent Me,
has eternal life,
and does not come into judgment,
but has passed out of death into life.
John 5:24

Many years ago I heard a minister say that if we knew we were hearing from God then we would instantly obey. His thought at the time was that we need to get to know God's voice better because if we knew for sure He was talking to us then there would be no question in us obeying it. I do agree that we need to learn how to recognize God when He's talking to us. However, once we do, we also need to believe Him. It sounds like something we should automatically do. If it's God, of course I believe Him. But do we? Jesus said if we hear and believe we have eternal life. If we hear the words of Jesus and believe what God is saying through Jesus, then we have eternal life. Do we just believe it's Him talking, or do we believe that what He says is the truth?

Let me give you a very minor example of this. Over a period of weeks, I had a few incidents where I was at the grocery store buying some items. On each occasion I saw something and contemplated buying it. Each time I thought it might be the Lord letting me know I would need this item. Yet, each time I decided I did not need the item, didn't want to spend the money, and didn't buy it. Each time it turned out that I needed the item within a few days. Was I hearing the Lord telling me I needed the item, recognized it was Him, but didn't believe Him? Or did I simply not recognize it was Him talking to me? Did I question my ability to hear God, or did I question God Himself? Do I only believe it's Him when it's something I want to hear, or do I believe Him all the time?

We need to hear, recognize and believe the words from God when they are spoken. We know they were spoken through Jesus, and they are written in the Bible. Yet we also need to hear, recognize and believe the words of God no matter how they come to us. God can speak to us through a number of people.
We are from God;
he who knows God listens to us;
he who is not from God does not listen to us.
By this we know the spirit of truth and the spirit of error.
1 John 4:6

John wrote that since they were from God, whoever knows God will listen to what they say. Once again, we who are of God, who know God, will hear Him speak through whatever means He chooses to. We hear His voice, we recognize it's Him, now let's be sure that we believe what He's saying to us---not just that it's Him saying it, but that what He's saying is the truth. And then, let's do what He says! I don't want to be one who just believes He is speaking the truth when it's convenient for me. The truth He speaks may be inconvenient or uncomfortable at times. It might cost me something. But we're told to buy the truth, and not to sell it (Proverbs 23:23). Hearing from God, and believing in Him, knowing Him and His truth, is worth whatever price we have to pay!

Thursday, November 24, 2016

The Absence of God Defined

Give thanks to the LORD, for He is good,
For His lovingkindness is everlasting.
Psalm 136:1

God is good. In fact, He is the definition of good. Good cannot be truly defined apart from God. Evil is the absence of good, so evil is the absence of God. In fact, evil can only be defined as the absence of God. Evil doesn't have a definition apart from God. We define darkness the same way, it's the absence of light. We couldn't define darkness if there was no such thing as light, because the very definition of darkness revolves around light. God is the source of it all. He is good and He is light. Evil and darkness is the absence of Him.

This is the message we have heard from Him and announce to you,
that God is Light, and in Him there is no darkness at all.
1 John 1:5

Look at a counterfeit bill. A counterfeit bill has to be an imitation of something that's real. You don't make a counterfeit $24 bill because there is no real $24 bill. You can only counterfeit something that's real. The term counterfeit wouldn't even exist if there were not an attempt to deceive people into accepting something as real when it's not. In fact this is the definition of deception--an attempt to make a person believe something that is false. So, what is false? What is a lie?

A lie is the absence of truth. Once again, there would be no definition of lie if there were no such thing as truth. God is good, He is light, and He is the truth. These are such simple statements, yet there is distortion and deception going on in the world to try and blind people to these truths. If a person is not willing to accept basic facts such as God is good, He is light, and He is truth, there is not a basis for discussion with them. It takes a heart that seeks truth--one that truly loves truth--in order to see it and believe it.

...because they did not receive the love of the truth so as to be saved.
For this reason God will send upon them a deluding influence
so that they will believe what is false, 
in order that they all may be judged who did not believe the truth,
but took pleasure in wickedness.
2 Thessalonians 2:10-12

Evil, darkness and lies, by their very nature, serve to deceive. They may appear to be genuine, such as a counterfeit bill, but in reality if it's not God, it's not good. If it's not God, it's not truth.

No wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light.
2 Corinthians 11:14

We must make an intentional effort to walk in the light, the truth, and goodness of God, in order to be free from deception.

Buy truth, and do not sell it,
Get wisdom and instruction and understanding.
Proverbs 23:23

To buy something means that it costs us something. We may have to give up something we value in order to obtain truth. Do we want to be right, or do we want to know the truth? If we are willing to sacrifice truth so we can appear to be right, we will be deceived. There's one way--His way, and this is the path we are to seek if we are to live in the goodness, light and truth of God.

Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; 
no one comes to the Father but through Me. 
John 14:6

Diverse Destiny

The "diversity" that some demand acceptance of today is really a person's response to the feeling that a conformity is being forced upon them. However, the target of their attack--who they think is forcing this conformity upon them--is often misguided. It's not true Christianity that is forcing this conformity upon them. It's one of the "*isms."

In reality, the heart-cry of a "diverse" person is to discover, and be allowed to express, their individuality and destined uniqueness. However, this person may not realize that the discovery and expression of who they truly are can only be found in the diverse gifts of God. The Holy Spirit is given to those who have been made holy and righteous by the blood of Jesus. When a person travels the Lord's path, acknowledging Jesus as Lord and believing in Him as the sacrifice for their sin, he or she can receive the Holy Spirit and activate the unique gifts destined for them. Freedom to be who you are is only found in this way.

As long as a person fights against the innate seed within them which contains the potential for them to be who they are designed to be, they're fighting against their own uniqueness and eternal, destined purpose.

Your eyes have seen my unformed substance;
And in Your book were all written 
The days that were ordained for me, 
When as yet there was not one of them. 
Psalm 139:16

*isms--socialism, globalism, communism, Marxism, Islam, and other religion-ism

Sunday, November 20, 2016

What's In A Name?

When God names something, there is an assignment attached to it. Names are not something He takes lightly. Names given in the Bible were significant. Many times, God instructed parents to name their child a specific name. With the name comes a task, as well as the authority, power and resources to complete the assignment. When God names you, He assigns you to something and gives you everything you need to complete it!
“Anyone with ears to hear must listen to the Spirit and understand what he is saying to the churches. To everyone who is victorious I will give some of the manna that has been hidden away in heaven. And I will give to each one a white stone, and on the stone will be engraved a new name that no one understands except the one who receives it. Revelation 2:17
A new name. A new assignment. New authority and resources. As an overcomer, one who has proven faithful to the Lord in one area, He will give a new name, and a new assignment comes along with that name.

Some common biblical examples include:
  • God changed Abram's name to Abraham, which means father of a multitude, because he would be a father of many nations (Genesis 17:5). 
  • God changed Sarai's name to Sarah, which means princess, increasing her authority. (Genesis 17:15). 
  • God told Hagar to name her son Ishmael, which means God hears, because He had given heed to her affliction (Genesis 16:11-12) 
  • God changed Jacob's name to Israel, which means strive, because He had striven with God and man and prevailed. It means to persevere, to struggle or fight hard to achieve something. (Genesis 32:28) 
  • God told David his son's name would be Solomon, which means peaceful, because He would give Israel peace and quietness during his reign. (1 Chronicles 22:9). 
  • Jesus called Simon, Peter, which means stone, because He would build His church upon a large rock. (John 1:42, Matthew 16:18).
The greatest example of an assignment attached to a name is Jesus. The angel instructed Joseph to name the baby in Mary's womb Jesus, which means Yahweh saves. Why? Because He will save His people from their sins. (Matthew 1:20-22). He had an assignment of Savior.

In Revelation 19:16 we read that Jesus has a name written on His thigh. The name is King of kings and Lord of Lords. The Greek word for name in this verse is onoma which means, "a name, authority, cause."* With the name comes the purpose, the assignment, and the authority to carry out something specific. In Philippians 2:9 we read that God has given Jesus the name (onoma) which is above every name (onoma). Jesus has the assignment and the authority which is above every assignment and authority! But there's more...
He who overcomes, I will make him a pillar in the temple of My God, and he will not go out from it anymore; and I will write on him the name of My God, and the name of the city of My God, the new Jerusalem, which comes down out of heaven from My God, and My new name. He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.’ Revelation 3:12-13
As overcomers who remain faithful to the Lord to the end, our assignment is His assignment--His God, His city, even His name. Our identity and purpose is found in Him! As the bride takes the name of the groom, we take His name to continue His assignment here in the earth. This is why He said to His disciples:
These signs will accompany those who have believed: in My name (onoma) they will cast out demons, they will speak with new tongues; they will pick up serpents, and if they drink any deadly poison, it will not hurt them; they will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover.” Mark 16:17-18 (parenthesis added).
Before ascending into heaven after rising from the dead, Jesus said that all authority has been given to Him in heaven and in earth. Then He says "Go therefore..." (Matthew 28:18-19) Now it's your turn!

*References, Strongs Concordance, retrieved 11/20/2016

The Ripple Effect of the Lord's Presence

"And she gave birth to her firstborn son; 
and she wrapped Him in cloths, and laid Him in a manger, 
because there was no room for them in the inn." 
Luke 2:7

Before Jesus was born, mankind was on a path. A path that would lead to self-destruction unless some kind of intervention occurred. Most people did not want God, and for those who did, they always fell short trying to live a life according to His ways. The nature of man always filled with self. The days of the lives of all people filled with their own agenda and plans. There was no room for the ways of God. No room for Him in the hearts, the lives, or the plans of the people.

There was no room for Jesus in the earth, but He came anyway. And when He came the world shifted and changed. He penetrated the atmosphere of this world, moving out of the way those things that would oppose Him. His presence rippled through the earth like a rock being dropped in the water. His vibrating sound was changing, confronting and rescuing wherever He went--pushing back the darkness--making room for light. Light always overcomes. the sound of Him went out into all the earth--reverberating, vibrating, and changing the world. He made room. He made a way. He is the way.

The darkness always says there is no room for Him, as it fills every place that is void of Him. But once again, He's here anyway. His rippling effect moves upon the hearts of all people who hear His sound. He is perfectly capable of flooding and filling every dark soul with light. But He only penetrates the willing heart for now. I allow room for Him in my heart. His effect upon my life causes my words and actions to reverberate Him all around me. I move with Him, surrender my ways to His so His effect can continue to move throughout the earth. There's room. There's always room for Him. He makes a way. He is the way.

The heavens proclaim the glory of God.
The skies display his craftsmanship.
Day after day they continue to speak; 
night after night they make him known. 
They speak without a sound or word; 
their voice is never heard.
Yet their message has gone throughout the earth, 
and their words to all the world. 
Psalm 19:1-4

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Three Kinds of People

A battle has been won. We now have someone as president of the United States who wants our country to remain in place as a sovereign nation. We will soon have someone in office who will work to restore the American dream and keep our nation free. Yet, there are those who are not happy about Donald Trump being elected president. Already I have noticed at least three kinds of people that fall into this unhappy group. Those who are angry, those who are afraid, and those who are deceived.

Those who are angry are those whose plans have just been stalled. They were moving along nicely with a president who had declared America a Muslim nation, paving the way for Sharia Law to replace the constitution. They have been working hard to erase historical facts and replace them with those that fit their agenda. They had begun an intense socialist and sexually perverted indoctrination of our little ones for the past 7-8 years through Common Core, also dumbing down our kids through confusing math concepts that make the "right" answer the "popular" answer. They had just about mastered the use of the press and social media to sway public opinion and make those who stand for righteousness appear to be fools. They had classified several people who stand for truth to be labeled as threats to our nation by the southern poverty law center. They would not let up trying to take away the country's second amendment rights to keep and bear arms in order to protect themselves from a tyrannical government. They had intimidated Congress--the most powerful of the three governmental branches--into a useless puppet of the out of control administration, not batting an eye as the president ran the country into debt, gave billions of dollars to our enemies and issued executive orders as if he were a king. They stood by as the Supreme Court trampled on the tenth amendment by making a decision that was the right of the individual State's to make, not the Courts, in the gay marriage decision. These enemies of our nation dwindled the power of the military by imposing ridiculous rules of engagement. They file lawsuits, make accusations of hate crimes, and work to change the laws while gathering a group of sympathetic followers to help them. These are things the enemies of America have done and they are angry that they cannot continue to bring America down at the accelerated pace they've enjoyed.

Next are those who are fearful. These are often minorities who have been lied to and don't understand what Trump and those who support him want to accomplish. For many of them, their fear causes them to be angry. However, they make accusations of hate, not because they have a hidden agenda to destroy America like the angry crowd does, but because they are afraid of what is going to happen to them or their loved ones. They don't understand that those who are pursuing the American dream, and are willing to work instead of relying on governmental handouts generation after generation, are not targets of Trump. Those who accept the constitution and are willing to live by it and assimilate into American culture are not targets either. The fearful don't understand that no one is trying to take away their culture, unless it violates the protection and freedoms that the constitution guarantees. They don't understand that our constitution guarantees the right of free speech--not the right for them to not be offended. Yet for those in this group who don't want to assimilate into America, or who don't want to work for a living, but want to use what was meant to be temporary/emergency governmental assistance (welfare) as a lifestyle, they cry loudly, and try to force acceptance of their beliefs on others. They prefer the socialist agenda and like the "promises" of those who promote it.

Then we have the deceived. These people don't see the hidden agenda of the first group at all. They truly believe that there is nothing wrong with the socialist and/or Islamic agenda advancing in America. They don't understand the threat it would bring. They don't see the freedoms that it takes away from our kids and grand-kids. Many of these, but of course not all, are young ones who have been under the indoctrination of Common Core in the schools and the liberal influence in the colleges, which has been in place even longer than Common Core. These are the "useful idiots" as Lenin called them. Sympathizers who blindly support a communist agenda--or in this case a socialist agenda that leads to communism. Those in this group tend to sympathize with the first two groups, even if they are not in those groups themselves.

We also have a fourth group. These are the frustrated. These are those who are (rightfully) angry at the first group, dumbfounded at the second group, and frustrated at the third group. Their anger or frustration might cause them to lash out inappropriately at times, which fuels the fire and gives ammunition for the first three groups. However, even with their flaws, the fourth group truly cares about America. They do not want her to lose her sovereignty. They do not want to build the tower of babel called globalization. They don't want a country, much less a world, without borders--without protection from those who want to destroy us. They want America to remain a free country which allows people to preserve their cultures, their families, their religion, and their personal dreams. They want to teach their children what they value, not be forced to have a governmental agency determine what their children are to value. They don't want oppressive Sharia Law. They understand that the government is to be run by "We the people." That local control and limited federal government is always best.

So, what can the fourth group, the ones who see, do? First of all, be aware when having a discussion with someone who doesn't agree with you, what group they fit into. Are they one who intentionally wants to destroy America? Or, are they just afraid of something they don't need to be afraid of? Are they fearful because things will be changing for them and they don't see it as a good thing? Or are they simply clueless and can't see you as anyone other than a bigot? Knowing how they see things will help you understand them and love them--wanting what's best for them--so you can respond appropriately. It will also help you from being frustrated and lashing out inappropriately. Some people you simply can't talk to.

Another thing the fourth group can do is to use our God-given weapons. Our weapons are not fleshly weapons, but they are powerful and they destroy strongholds. They destroy the arrogant ideologies that contradict the knowledge of God. We are to take these thoughts, these ideologies, captive to the obedience of Christ.* We are to address the thinking that opposes the Lord, personally first, and in times of intercession and prayer, but also to others. We are not silent, but we speak the truth, of course, in love. Once again, it helps to know which group the person we are speaking to is in.

Pray. Pray for all those in authority. Pray for Trump to have the wisdom, ability, strategy, resources etc. to truly restore America. Pray for his protection. Pray for the other two branches of government--Congress and the Supreme Court. When we pray, we do so on behalf of all men.* Our prayers will affect everyone in the country--even those who don't agree with us. Hopefully, some will see that this was the right direction for our county to go.

Seek the Lord and ask Him what your part is in helping America recover, and to prevent her from going down this path that we've been on again. Our enemies will not stop and we must not either. We must teach our children--what is your part in that? We must deal with the tremendous amount of refugees that have been brought into this country and then left to fend for themselves--the ones who did not come here to destroy us, but who have lived under Sharia law and have no clue how to live under American law. And of course, we must deal with those who are our enemies and want to bring us down. Some of these enemies are already in positions of influence. Ask the Lord what your part and place is in making America greater and more in line with the will of God than ever before!

*on behalf of all men: 1 Timothy 2:1-4
*our weapons: 2 Corinthians 10:3-5

Will You Guard the Cup?

While spending time with the Lord one day, I suddenly saw myself in a place that I knew was somewhere in Heaven. But the only thing I saw was a cup that had Jesus' blood in it. As I realized what was in the cup--the precious and powerful blood of Jesus--I wondered if the cup was even worthy to hold the Lord's blood. What cup is precious enough? Even if it's made of the finest gold with the finest craftsmanship, what cup is really worthy to hold His blood?

As I pondered that question, I realized the cup would be there for all eternity. I wondered what would happen if someone tried to come in and steal it. I immediately felt an assurance that nothing evil would ever get close enough to it to do that. But then I thought about it spilling. Eternity is such a long time. In this place, could someone accidentally knock it over? It seemed like an absurd thought, but I wondered if someone should be watching it, guarding it, protecting it.

Then I heard Someone ask me, "Would you guard it--for eternity? Is it that precious to you that you would spend all of eternity guarding this cup?" It was a sobering question. I began to think that I would miss out on everything going on in Heaven if I had to stay in this one place to guard the cup. I thought maybe a few people could work in shifts so it wasn't just my job and I could go do other things too. But then a powerful thought hit me and I had to ask myself, "What do I think Heaven is for anyway--for me? Do I think that I am going to sit around and be waited on by angels all the time?" I suddenly realized, to a new depth, that Heaven is not about me being catered to and waited on. I am to serve--first the Lord and then others. It's not about me at all. It's all about Him. If I had the job of doing nothing but guarding the blood of Jesus for eternity, it would be an honor--the highest honor. I wouldn't even be in Heaven if it wasn't for the blood of Jesus! For me to think that guarding this cup would not be what Heaven is "supposed" to be, shows that I have no idea about the Lord's Kingdom.

As I looked at the cup, I wondered again about the worthiness of it. Then I began to see it as a plain, clay cup. At that moment, I realized that He has entrusted His blood to us. We have this treasure in earthen vessels.* His blood flowing as light through our veins. He has made us containers of His blood and as it flows through us it cleanses us, forgives us, heals us. I felt so unworthy, so utterly unworthy of the blood of Jesus, yet I had a new resolve to endeavor, with my entire being, to live holy and honor Him and His blood, entrusted to me.

After this, I was reminded of the Scripture where Jesus asks the question:
"Which is more important, the gold, or the temple that sanctified the gold?...which is more important, the offering, or the altar that sanctifies the offering? Matthew 23:17, 19
As I pondered this Scripture, I saw that Jesus' blood sanctifies the container that is holding it. No vessel--earthen or heavenly--is worthy to hold His blood. Yet His blood is powerful enough, to sanctify the container. I realized that I am a container of His blood and, as a container of it, He cleanses me. He makes me worthy.

All of us who believe in Him are to guard this precious, powerful blood that flows within us. We guard it as we live worthy of His life-blood within us--living our lives in such a way that no drop is wasted and nothing is spilled in vain. We can do this, because He has sanctified us, and He forgives us when we confess and repent of sin. We can guard the cup for eternity as we humbly remember Him.* Now the question is yours. Will you guard the cup?

*treasure in earthen vessels: 2 Corinthians 4:7
*drink it in remembrance of Him, examine ourselves: 1 Corinthians 11:23-34
Repentance from sin causes many sins to not be ever committed: James 5:19-20

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Political Agreement or Unity of the Spirit?

One thing I've realized this year, much due to the presidential election, is the power of "popular opinion." By that I mean the level of discomfort many people feel when they begin to think they are holding a minority opinion. Whether a person is actually in the minority or not, if they think they are in the minority they may begin to feel anxious about their opinion. Depending on the strength of their beliefs, they may waver, doubt and even end up changing their mind. This has been the strategy of the enemies of our country--to make righteous people feel they are in the minority and holding to a ridiculous opinion. By doing this they attack the core of your beliefs and therefore your confidence to hold fast and stand strong. But one thing Christians need to realize is that this is not just the plan of the enemies of America, but the strategy of the enemy of your soul.

If you value the opinions of others more than the Lord's, then this will bother you to think you are in the minority. In reality, it doesn't matter if you are in the minority, as long as you are in agreement with the Lord. Remember Micaiah the prophet? He was outnumbered 400 to 1 in his prophecy that Ahab would be defeated, yet he stood strong.* Micaiah knew the voice of the Lord. He was able to keep free from doubt because he did. It didn't bother him that everyone else disagreed with him. In the end, it didn't matter at all. Of course there are also times we think we are all alone and we're not. Elijah thought he was the only one left who worshiped the Lord when the Lord told him He still had 7000 who did not worship Baal.* We can become discouraged if we think we're all alone, and this is why we need to gather together and encourage each other to stand strong in the faith until the end. At the same time, we need to be willing to stand alone if we need to.

The danger of relying on majority opinion, is that it is not a guarantee that your agreement is in line with the will of God. (Think Tower of Babel*). People often think that just because a lot of people believe something then it must be true. This is not the case. Jesus said the gate is small and the way is narrow that leads to life and few people will find it.* Following the crowd will not get you there, following the Lord will.

The body of Christ is not a political group, it is a spiritual body. Yet the devil would love for you to view your relationships with your brothers and sisters in Christ as political--whatever the majority is doing must be right, right? When we value the opinion of people above the opinion of the Lord then we will look at His body as a political group which is ruled by the majority of those who call themselves Christian rather than the will of God. Jesus is the Head of the body, and we must all listen to Him above all else.

Jesus said the two greatest commandments were to:

1. Love God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength and
2. Love your neighbor as yourself.*

God comes first. We must seek His opinion above anyone else's. Only He can give us the unshakable faith that doesn't waver, because He is the rock. He is the truth. His Word is the only thing that will stand.* It is the only thing that we can have a genuine confidence in, and without this confidence we will be swayed by the opinions of others. We will end up seeking approval and acceptance from people first instead of the Lord.  (Of course I'm not saying you should not be teachable, or open to correction, from those God has placed in your life for this purpose).

The only way to prevent falling into the "majority" mindset is to spend time with the Lord--in prayer and in His Word. This is how Micaiah did it. He went into an "inner room" to hide himself. He spent time seeking the Lord--alone. We can't ride on the coattails of other Christians who are seeking the Lord any longer, we must seek Him ourselves. The Lord is making us aware that this is happening so we can fix this. He is calling you into His presence, to spend time with Him, seeking Him, hearing His voice. Get ready, He wants to show you things!

We are bombarded with "news" and advertisements and opinions of people everywhere we go. If we do not spend time with the Lord so we intimately know Him, and know His heart as well as His voice, then we will become swayed by what we see and hear. There is no substitute for time with the Lord. There is no other way. It's not just hearing people talk about the Lord and what He's saying to them, it's talking with Him ourselves. It's not just speculating about what we think the Lord thinks, it's hearing from Him ourselves. Do you know the Lord's voice? How does He speak to you? We've got to get this!

Once we are confident in knowing the Lord's voice, and then we hear others say similar things that He has been showing them, it becomes a confirmation that unity is developing. We begin to come into unity with the Lord, who is our Head, not just a political agreement of the body. There is a unity of the Spirit that is far above a political agreement. However, I might throw in here that we will have "political" agreement on issues to the degree we have unity of the Spirit. As we all come into greater agreement with the heart of God, we will agree on the issues of our day. Will we all be the same? No, but our uniqueness will enable the body to work together for the Lord, not hinder it.

Remember, we don't just hold fast to the Word of God when it's popular. The Word of God is truth no matter what people think. When we care more about the opinions of people this means we fear them more than we fear God. If we are concerned about being laughed at or excluded because of our faith in the Lord then we fear people more than God. If we deny Him before others, even in the face of death, then we fear people more than we fear God. If we don't possess a fear of the Lord, we will not properly honor His Word. Proverbs tells us that the fear of man brings a snare.* It will trip you up and bring you down. But when you hold fast your faith in the Lord until the end you will be saved, and receive the reward which the Lord has reserved for you.*

No matter what happens in this earth, hold fast to your faith in the Lord, above everything else--even if you appear to be standing alone. Yet, let's get together now and encourage each other while we have the opportunity.* Remember that your faith, once tested and found to be genuine, will grant you the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him!

Click on the Scripture links below to read the Scripture:

* Micaiah outnumbered 400 to 1: 1 Kings 22
* 7000 who did not worship Baal: 1 Kings 19:9-18
* Tower of Babel: Genesis 11:1-9 
* Narrow is the way: Matthew 7:13-14
* Two Greatest Commandments: Matthew 22:37-40
* Word stands forever: Hebrews 1:3, Matthew 24:35 
*The Fear of Man brings a snare: Proverbs 29:25, See also Matthew 10:24-39
*The End Reward: Matthew 24:13, 1 Peter 1:3-9, James 1:12, Philippians 3:12-14
* Assembling together: Hebrews 10:24-25 

Monday, October 3, 2016

When the Son of Man Comes, Will He find Faith in the Earth?

Jesus told the story of the widow who kept asking the ungodly judge to give her legal protection. He finally gave her what she wanted just to shut her up. Jesus contrasted this judge to God, and said that He will quickly bring justice for His people who are crying out to Him day and night. He then asks the question, "When the Son of Man comes, will He find faith on the earth?" (Luke 18:1-8).

When Jesus returns, what will He find? Will He find a people who are persistent in prayer, bringing His justice into the earth? Or will He find that His people have given up and lost heart against the ungodly authorities in the earth? Will He find faith in the earth? Will the sound of the gospel be heard reverberating through the earth at His coming? Will His people be speaking His Word? Will we endure to the end, preaching, confessing, and proclaiming His Word?

Jesus said the gospel will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all the nations, and then the end will come. (Matthew 24:14). The sound of His word, and the sound of faith in Him, is to be resounding in the earth! Who will be speaking the Word of God at the time of His return? Out of whose mouths will it come? Will people be silent, afraid to speak, and afraid to live as a Christian? He promises salvation to those who endure to the end, and the crown of life to those who love Him. (Matthew 24:13, James 1:12). Those who see Him as He is, will be like Him at His coming. (1 John 3:2-3).

Jesus taught a lesson in the parable of the talents. (Matthew 25:14-30). Will we take what he's given us and hide it in the ground, thinking we will preserve it, being too afraid to take a risk? Have we neglected to have children and teach them the ways of the Lord? Are we too wrapped up in our own lives, preserving and protecting what we have? When we raise children, we are increasing faith into the next generation. If two people have three or four children who are trained in the ways of the Lord, they've increased faith in the earth. Where two or three are gathered in His name, He is in the midst. A couple having children is a family increasing faith in the earth. This brings the presence of God into their midst. (Matthew 18:19-20).

In Noah's day, was there faith in the earth? Very little. But God set aside a family to repopulate the earth from. As it was in the days of Noah, so it will be when Jesus returns. In Noah's day people were going on about their lives, not understanding what was about to come. Today, people are going about their lives, not understanding what is about to come--that HE is about to come. (Matthew 24:32-41). What will He find when He returns? Will He find faith on the earth?

Why did God say to bring the tithes into the storehouse? So there may be food in His house. (Malachi 3:10). So there's food--sustenance--in the house of God. So His people survive and do not die off, do not give up, and so faith continues from generation to generation. We maintain the house of God so when Jesus comes back, faith will have prevailed.

The torch has been passed on to us. We must not drop it or let it go out, but pass it on to the next generation. So when Jesus returns, the seed of faith that He planted here the first time He came, will be full grown and welcome His return, His justice and judgment in the earth. Will He find faith on the earth? Yes! We will endure to the end. Our faith will pass the test, and be found to be more precious than gold. Come quickly Lord Jesus! (1 Peter 1:7, Rev 22:20).

Thursday, September 22, 2016

If Your Enemy is Hungry...In a Time of Crisis

In a time of crisis, the one thing on people's minds is survival. It is a human instinct. It is God-given. Does God want His people to survive during a crisis, and if so, how?

Jesus is Lord over all. He is Lord over everything. As Christians, we know that, and we know that one day everyone else will know that, and acknowledge it. But we know Him now, and because we know Him now as Lord, we also know Him as Savior. This is because we believe in Him, and have chosen Him now.

We were put here on the earth to make choices. We were sent here to choose Him and His ways. To make decisions that will honor Him and prove our loyalty and faithfulness to Him. The earth is a proving ground, a place where our faith is tested. As we make daily choices to follow Him and His ways, we are examples of His way to others in the earth. We are the light, as Jesus was the light, so those in darkness can see the ways of God, and that His way is truth.

So in a time of crisis, we are to pursue survival, but in way that honors the Lord--with choices that prove our faith and dedication to Him. Choices that are in agreement with Him. We don't pursue survival out of fear or selfishness, but in character with the Holy Spirit, in alignment with the Word of God, and in the way Jesus has taught us to walk. We don't strive to survive as cowards, as one who compromises our faith or cowers in fear. We don't look for the easy path, but the right path.

However, this is about more than personal survival. It's survival of the ways of God in the earth. It's the survival of those who will continue His ways in the earth. It's protecting, teaching and leading children who will perpetuate His way. We don't sit back while evil men rise to power. We fight, yet not out of fear, hunger, despair, anger or frustration. We fight so good, honest and innocent people can live in peace and worship God, populating the earth with those who love Him. We each have our own personal battles, but God's people survive as a whole by fighting our common battles. Each generation has their own Canaan Wars to fight.

In a time of crisis we must look to our purpose. The very first purpose God gave man was to be fruitful, multiply, replenish the earth and subdue it. To have dominion. God's plan was for His people to rule over the earth and to fill the earth with people--children--who would learn God's ways and perpetuate it. Of course we know that one day the earth will pass away. Jesus will come again and He will rule in the earth, and us with Him. But just because we know this will happen doesn't mean we sit back and do nothing now. We don't bury our talent, sit back and wait for Him.

Our purpose is not only to rule the earth by filling it with those who love God, but to worship Him from our heart and make personal choices that honor Him and prove our faithfulness to Him in the face of every difficulty. We have both a personal call to draw near to Him, and a call to unite together and take ground for Him. We may get by now without too much dependence on others for survival, but in a crisis, it would be extremely difficult to survive on our own, without a community of people to work with. What would you do if desperate, violent men beat on your door to take those things you and your family need to survive? If you martyr yourselves to them, who is prevailing in the earth?

You will often see missionaries feeding the hungry and preaching the gospel to them. Jesus miraculously fed the people who came to hear what He had to say. A time of crisis is a perfect opportunity to reach out to the needy and not only give them food, but the Word of God as well. However, this takes some planning in advance. Of course God can bless and multiply our efforts, like He did the little boy's lunch, but we give Him something to work with--like the widow with the jar of oil. There is something we have in our house, something we start with that we give to Him, and when we have faith in Him, He will multiply what we have. However, there may be a point at which you have to protect and guard what is in your trust, in order to survive.

In a serious crisis where travel and communication are affected, our neighbors will be our closest friend or our worst enemy. I would encourage everyone to have a plan that includes your neighbors. In a disaster, everyone will be brought back to examining the reason for their existence--their core purpose. Having a job to do during a disaster helps people discover that. Emergency services--police, fire and medical--would be overwhelmed. There are plenty of needs that would have to be addressed right away--security, communication, medical, sanitation, water and food. Realistically, all of these need to be addressed as a community--a neighborhood. Having a plan and assigning people to these teams will bring people together working for the same goal, rather than allowing a desperate attitude that turns to selfishness and violence to rise up. And of course our lights can shine bright as we share the love of Jesus, and our faith in Him, during times like this.

Ephesians 1:20-23, Philippians 2:9-11, James 1:12, Deuteronomy 30:19-20, Revelation 21:7-8, Genesis 18:19, Genesis 1:28, Luke 21:33, Revelation 20:6, 2 Timothy 2:12, Matthew 25:14-30, Proverbs 29:2, Matthew 15-32-38,  2 Kings 4:1-7, Matthew 5:14-16, Proverbs 25:21, Psalm 127

Sunday, September 18, 2016

A Christian's Response to Transgender Children

Your five-year-old daughter makes a comment about wishing she was a boy. Or maybe you notice she likes to play with trucks, play in the mud, or pick up snakes and frogs. Does the thought cross your mind that she might "really" be a boy, or that you should tell her she can be a boy if she wants to? There are some who would tell you that you should consider treating her as a boy and even consider "transitioning" her to the opposite sex. As a Christian, what exactly is wrong with that?

Let's set aside God's opinion for a moment, even though that alone should be enough to convince you it's wrong. But we'll hold off on that and look at what happens when you try and transition her. First, it's important to know that a child continues to mature in the understanding of their gender after birth. Gender is determined before birth, of course, but during childhood a person learns to become comfortable and accepting of their gender, and of themselves in general. (Ref.) If a child questions her gender, and you respond by suggesting that maybe she shouldn't "be a girl," that she should dress and act like a boy, what are you really teaching her? You are teaching her that she is not okay as she is. Something is wrong with her. She was born with a defect. You are teaching her to reject who she is. Instead of teaching her to love herself, to understand and work through the ups and downs of being a female, which leads to a solid gender identity and acceptance, you are setting her on a horrible path of trying to be something she's not. 

When she has doubts, concerns, questions, maybe even rejection of who she is, (some of which may be completely normal in the maturing process), teach her how to be a girl, not to reject herself. Trying to change who she is brings more than confusion--it shakes the very core of who she is. Rather than learning to work through personal strengths and weaknesses, she is told to reject truth and make up her own reality. Parents who do this are setting her up for failure, as she loses the precious years of childhood. Time when she should be learning to grow and develop in her personal gifts and call, instead are spent trying to change the impossible and convince herself, and others, that she is something she isn't. The more she struggles and becomes confused, the more people say, 'see we were right, she really is having gender issues.' But she has "issues" because they created gender confusion by giving her the idea that gender is a choice when it's not. The pressure of choosing the "right" or "wrong" gender is too much for a child. It creates the confusion she is experiencing, it's not evidence that confusion was already there. It becomes a self fulfilling prophecy so to speak. Kids need to know where the boundaries are. They find comfort in unshakable truths. When we take boundaries and truth away, we leave them feeling insecure and confused.

The funny thing is, those who support transgender students are saying we need to accept them, and claim to be the most caring, yet they are inflicting the worst kind of rejection onto them because they fail to accept who they are, or help them through the questions and struggles of normal gender maturity. Instead, they encourage these children to reject themselves--the truth of who they really are. Who is really being kind to this child? Not the one who lies, but the one who speaks the truth.

This is the kind of deception going on in today's world. Some do not admit that there are certain unchangeable truths. These are truths that God Himself establishes. We see this decline in our society happening as we have declined in giving God first place, accepting Him as the ultimate truth. No matter how hard you try, you cannot change your gender. Changing your gender is like trying to change your birthdate. It's not something that can be changed. Its a fact, not a feeling or preference. The only thing that can restrain this out of control/anything goes kind of behavior is truth. When we reject truth, we become deceived and don't know it. We live a lie and will suffer eternal consequences of rejecting truth unless we change and embrace God and His truth. (2 Thessalonians 2:8-12). 

So what does God say about gender choice? God commanded His people to keep His statutes and said, a man "shall not lie with a man as with a woman. (Leviticus 18:22). He also said "A woman shall not wear man's clothing, nor shall a man put on a woman's clothing." (Deuteronomy 22:5). This covers homosexual behavior and cross-dressing. Homosexuality and transgendering go hand in hand. When you have one you eventually, if not immediately, have the other. Transgendering, in the mind of God, is nothing more than cross-dressing. He formed us in our mother's womb male or female. (Psalm 139:13). The sex He formed us is the sex we are. All this gender changing/sexual behavior which deviates from what God has established is sinful in His eyes. And it's His eyes that matter, our opinion is always subject to His. He establishes truth and righteousness. 

 In Luke 17:26-29, Jesus compares the days of Noah with the days of Sodom. Homosexuality was rampant in Sodom. It is what brought about their destruction by fire and brimstone. So the flood which destroyed every living thing, except those in the ark, happened when homosexual sin, and other sexual sin, was out of control (Genesis 6, Genesis 19). This divine opinion of homosexual related sin was reinforced in the new testament when Paul wrote that those who practice homosexuality will not inherit the kingdom of God. (1 Corinthians 6:9-10). God is not in favor of homosexuality, gender choice and all of the related behaviors that go along with that. (See also The Bible and Same Sex Love).

So what is a Christian's response? We pray, we love, and we speak the truth. We submit to God's ways and do not compromise. We teach our children truth, and lead them into an encounter with the Lord--the One who loves them more than anyone else, the One who knows them more than anyone else. When a child experiences the true love of the Lord, he or she will fall in love with Him, and things have a way of falling into place.