Friday, January 29, 2016

Re-Seed the Nation

Those of you who are around my age may remember the saying, "What came first, the chicken or the egg?" I still remember the first time I read the account of creation and realized it was the chicken! I thought to myself, the Bible really does have the answers for all of our questions! So, God made the animals first. He "made the beasts of the earth after their kind..." (Genesis 1:25). He made the species and they reproduced. Then He made man--male and female. He blessed them and told them to "Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth, and subdue it..." (Genesis 1:28). You know the story, right?

Well, the other night in a dream, I heard the words, "Re-seed the nation!" It struck me that this word "re-seed" is in contrast to the word "recede" which means to draw back or retreat. Re-seed means to spread seed throughout the nation--godly seed. This seed is children who are born and raised up in the ways of the Lord. As we re-seed this nation, we are taking land--territory--for the Lord. Of course the enemy knows this. He knows the value of children, which is why he infiltrates our schools, attacks our marriages and distracts parents so they will value careers, money or prestige above their children, if they even have children at all.

The Lord told the first male and female to multiply. This meant they would have more than two children. They would not just replace the two of them with two more, but multiply--fill the earth! I remember several years ago I was going to a fairly large church, and I noticed many young married Christian couples deciding not to have children. The reasons varied anywhere from being so involved in ministry or career that they didn't "have time" to feeling it wasn't "God's will" for them. But He already said it, before everything else--multiply and fill the earth! I realize the earth is pretty full now, but look at what has happened to us in America as we've not placed a high priority on 1. Having children or 2. Loving them enough to make them one of our highest priorities--above big houses, cars, ministries, jobs, vacations etc. I am speaking to myself too!

Our nation needs to be re-seeded! In Ephesians 6:2-3 Paul writes "Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. Honor your father and mother (which is the first commandment with a promise), so that it may be well with you, and that you may live long on the earth." I believe we need to not only honor our own father and mother, but the positions of fatherhood and motherhood. We need to honor all of the fathers and mothers so that we, as a Christian people, will "live long" on the earth. We need to do better honoring the fathers and mothers among us--encouraging them and helping them recognize the high call they have. Christian parents need great encouragement these days!

It may take time to re-seed, but it's better than receding. We may have tares sown among the wheat, but that doesn't mean we stop sowing wheat. We may have to, along with the tares, "grow together until the harvest" but we keep growing, planting and tending to our seed. (Matthew 13:24-43). We can quicken the process when adults are "born again." As these adult spiritual babies are born, experiencing new birth by confessing Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, then re-seeding occurs then too. Of course in both cases, the seed needs to be tended to and nurtured so he or she will grow up strong in the ways of the Lord. Let's do it. Let's re-seed the nation, not recede, and take our land back!

"My children, with whom I am again in labor until Christ is formed in you--" Galatians 4:19

Thursday, January 14, 2016

The Basis for Right and Wrong

We get ourselves in trouble when our definition of right and wrong is based on something other than truth. If we try to make something "right" that is not truth, we do nothing more than deceive ourselves, and others, creating unexpected and disastrous consequences. Truth cannot be changed. We must surrender to it, embrace it, pursue it, seek it, but never try and change it to fit our opinion of "right." Truth is stronger than us, and making something socially acceptable or legal will not make it true. Getting a group of people to agree with us will not make it true either.

Error is whatever is not truth. Error can show up as:
  • Deception. Which is when a person believes a lie--an un-truth. This person thinks they know the truth but really doesn't. However, a person still suffers the consequences of not following the truth, even if they are deceived. Eve was deceived (2 Corinthians 11:3) yet still suffered the devastating consequences of her actions--we all did. Not only does deception effect the life of the person who is deceived, but a person who is deceived will spread lies and not even know they are lying. They are spreading error without being aware of it.
  • Rebellion. Which is a refusal to submit to the truth. This person may see the truth, even see that it is good. Yet doesn't want to accept it or live by it, and thinks he or she can get away with doing their own thing. They may be arrogant, thinking they can outsmart truth. They may be angry and not care what the consequences are. A person in rebellion will spread lies when they are intentionally trying to deceive others. One day it will all catch up with them.
Whichever kind of error we speak of, it could not exist without truth because if there was no truth, there could be no error. Truth is the standard for all things. Much like if there was no light, there would be no darkness. Darkness is defined as the absence of light, and error is defined as un-truth. The devil has not created anything new. He is a counterfeiter. He doesn't care if you are deceived or in rebellion, he just doesn't want you to know, believe, love or speak the truth.

Truth is an absolute that exists apart from the opinions of man. It is God, and when people try to establish a system of right and wrong that excludes truth (God) from the equation, it does nothing more than spread error, bringing chaos and confusion. It leads to death, where truth leads to life. We must make it our quest to seek the truth, love it and embrace it. We need to choose truth over sin. we need to choose truth over our desire to be "right." We need to submit our opinion of what is right to the truth--to God Himself.
"...that lawless one will be revealed...whose coming is in accord with the activity of Satan...with all deception of wickedness for those who perish, 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 2:8-12
We can't afford to neglect seeking the truth. The price is too high! Ask the Lord to help you surrender your opinion of right and wrong to His truth. Ask Him to shine His light and expose areas of error in your heart, soul and mind.

See also John 14:16-17, John 17:17, John 8:32, 1 John 5:6, 1 John 4:1-5

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

White Robes

In the book of Revelation, chapters 2-3, we read the message Jesus gave to the churches. He told John to write these messages and send them to seven churches. In two places, He mentions white garments:

To the church in Sardis:
"But you have a few people in Sardis who have not soiled their garments; and they will walk with Me in white, for they are worthy. He who overcomes will thus be clothed in white garments; and I will not erase his name from the book of life, and I will confess his name before My Father and before His angels."  Revelation 3:4-5
To the church in Laodicea:
"I advise you to buy from Me gold refined by fire so that you may become rich, and white garments so that you may clothe yourself, and that the shame of your nakedness will not be revealed; and eye salve to anoint your eyes so that you may see." Revelation 3:18
The thing that strikes me about these Scriptures, is that the people have something to do with the purity of their garments/robes. Those in Sardis who "have not soiled their garments" will walk with the Lord "in white." They will not be blotted out of the book of life. Whether or not their garments are soiled is up to them. If they keep their garments from being soiled, they will have the privilege of being clothed in white, walking with the Lord.

He tells those at Laodicea to buy from Him "white garments" so that they may clothe themselves and the shame of their nakedness will not be revealed. Once again, its up to the people whether or not they will pay the price for the white garments, and whether they will clothe themselves in them.

A few chapters later we read of white robes. There were martyrs, those who "had been slain because of the word of God, and the testimony which they had maintained." (Rev. 6:9). They were crying out with a loud voice, asking how long until the Lord would judge and avenge their blood on those in the earth. The response:
"And there was given to each of them a white robe; and they were told that they should rest for a little while longer, until the number of their fellow servants and their brethren who were to be killed even as they had been, would be completed also." Revelation 6:11
Further on, we see a multitude clothed in white robes:
"After these things I looked, and behold, a great multitude which no one could count from every nation and all tribes and peoples and tongues, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, and palm branches were in their hands; and they cry out with a loud voice saying, "Salvation to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb."...Then one of the elders answered, saying to me, "These who are clothed in the white robes, who are they, and where have they come from?" I said to him, "My lord, you know." And he said to me, "These are the ones who come out of the great tribulation, and they have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb." Revelation 7: 9-10, 13-14
Once again, "they have washed their robes and made them white." The resulting blessing is awesome:
"For this reason, they are before the throne of God; and they serve Him day and night in His temple; and He who sits on the throne will spread His tabernacle over them. they will hunger no longer, nor thirst anymore; nor will the sun beat down on them, nor any heat; for the Lamb in the center of the throne will be their shepherd, and will guide them to the springs of the water of life; and God will wipe every tear from their eyes." Revelation 7:15-17.
How great would it be to have the tabernacle of God spread over you? Every tear wiped away? Serving God before His throne night and day, with Jesus Himself as your shepherd, leading you to the springs of the water of life!

So how exactly do we get these white robes? Does this mean we earn our salvation? That we are only clothed in white when we live perfectly without sin? If that were entirely true, then we wouldn't have needed Jesus to come and pay the price for us would we? No, righteousness couldn't come by keeping any law. But it does mean that we pay the price, whatever price, to keep His word and our testimony in Him--even unto death. Even during times of great tribulation we remain faithful to Him, washing our robes in the blood of the Lamb if we sin.

Consider what Isaiah said,
" For all of us have become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous deeds are like a filthy garment; and all of us wither like a leaf, and our iniquities, like the wind, take us away." Isaiah 64:6
"I will rejoice greatly in the Lord, my soul will exult in my God; for He has clothed me with garments of salvation, He has wrapped me with a robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom decks himself with a garland, and as a bride adorns herself with jewels." Isaiah 61:10.
These outward garments represent our deeds, and our own attempts at righteous deeds are like filthy garments. Yet God looks at the heart, not our actions alone. He clothes us in garments of salvation. He wraps us with a robe of righteousness. Yes, we have a part to play in confessing our sin, washing our garments in His blood, exposing them to the light and not trying to hide or justify ourselves, but God looks at our hearts, not just our deeds:
"Yet even now," declares the Lord, "Return to Me with all your heart, and with fasting, weeping and mourning; and rend your heart and not your garments."  Joel 2:12-13
Repent from your heart--turn away from evil in your heart--not just in outward appearances.

In the beginning, after the fall of Adam and Eve in the Garden, they were ashamed of their nakedness. God made garments of skin for them and clothed them. Then He kicked them out of the Garden so they wouldn't eat from the tree of life and live forever. It was a sad time. (Genesis 3:21-24). But the day is coming, for those who wash their robes, to have access to the tree of life once again!
"Blessed are those who wash their robes, so that they have the right to the tree of life, and may enter by the gates into the city." Revelation 22:14.
Take the Lord's advice and go to Him, buy white garments from Him. Keep them washed in His blood. It's worth any price!

"Your lips, my bride, drip honey; 
Honey and milk are under your tongue,
And the fragrance of your garments
Is like the fragrance of Lebanon." 
Song of Solomon 4:11
The bridegroom to the bride