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