Time

June 7, 2019 by Discerning Dad

 

Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil” Ephesians 5:15-16 ESV

When you are young, time seems never ending; you want it to speed up because you can’t wait to get older. When you are older, you want time to slow down because you know your time here on Earth is limited. William Penn said, “Time is what we want most, but what we use worst.”

Consider this poem:

What happened to Time?
When as a child I laughed and wept, time crept.
When as a youth I dreamed and talked, time walked.
When I became a full grown man, time ran.
And later as I older grew, time flew.
Soon I shall find while traveling on, time gone.

Source Unknown

The Bible talks a lot about time:

– Now is the time of salvation, 2 Corinthians 6:2
– Time will pass away, 1 John 2:17
– Everything is beautiful in its time, Ecclesiastes 3:11
– Understanding the present time, Romans 13:11
– Teach us to number our days, Psalm 90:12
– One day is like a thousand to the Lord, 2 Peter 3:8-9
– Your life is a mist and then it vanishes, James 4:13-17
– There is a time for everything, Ecclesiastes 3:1-8

Time is a creation of God; the entire universe was formed at God’s command (Hebrews 11:3). Understanding how God functions in His creation of time gives us some insight into the nature of God. There are two Greek words used for time, kairos and chronos, but they imply different things and also refer to how God’s sovereignty is revealed. Chronos refers to minutes and seconds, it refers to time as a measurable duration. Kairosrefers to time as an appointed time, a due season, or a specific point in time, a “strike point” moment.

We live our life in the chronos mindset, we monitor the year by the month and day it is. We measure how long we have until a vacation or a birthday. We monitor our day by what hour we come home from work or when we go to bed. But even in our chronoslife, we can think of certain kairos or strike point moments that happened over the course of our life that defined who we are, that changed a course of action, or that brought tremendous stress. Some examples might be a job loss or promotion, a death, an accident, a new birth, a marriage ceremony, a move, or anything that takes place at a specific point in time.

Paul tells us in Ephesians to take advantage of the time (kairos) because the days are evil. We need to be aware of the strike point moments in our life where we can use discernment and take advantage of the time. This could be a moment in our day that someone needs us to show them the love of God. This could be a stranger we meet that we feel called to witness to. This could also be a moment during the craziness of the day that we set aside for prayer.

God moves and works within the two forms of time. The Israelites were in slavery during chronos time, waiting their freedom. In a kairos moment, God sends Moses who starts a chain of plagues, miracles, and crossing the Red Sea into freedom.

Jesus had many kairos moments during the course of His chronos ministry. When Jesus intervened in any of His miracles, that was a kairos moment, He powerfully changed the course of someone’s chronos timeline. Jesus’ chronos ministry was ended in a kairosmoment with His words in the cross, “It is finished.” Romans 5:6 says, “At just the right TIME (kairos) when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly.” Again with Jesus’ resurrection, this was a kairos moment where He overcame sin and death.

We live our daily life in the chronos, awaiting the day when Jesus returns in a kairosmoment, He will victoriously proclaim again that “It is finished” (Revelation 21:6).

Maybe you are frustrated in the chronos now, waiting on God to come through in a kairos moment for you. Keep trusting in God and wait on His timeframe! God is not slow as we count slowness (2 Peter 3:9). Sometimes we do not see the big picture over the course of our chronos history and may never until we are in eternity; however God still moves in strike point moments every day!

Sometimes it is up to us to take advantage of each kairos moment we are given and not let time slip away from us where we leave behind a wasted life. Ephesians 5 tells us to make the most of every opportunity because the days are evil, we don’t have the luxury as Christians to sit idle.

Some of what happens to us is the result of living in a sinful world. Living in the chronostimeframe, things will happen to us and around us as a result of the sin process that will not fully be restored until the final kairos moment of redemption of this fallen world and a New Heaven and a New Earth where there will be no more death or sorrow or crying or pain (Revelation 21:4). Hallelujah!

Discerning Moment: How can I make the best use of my time on a daily basis? What do I need to be pray to God about and how can I best understand His timing and plan in my life? Where have I been frustrated with this sinful world and blamed God for it and do I need to ask for forgiveness?

Prayer: Lord, help me understand you and your will for my life. Help me make the best use of the time I am given, however long it is. Show me the kairos moments in my life where I need to act out in obedience to you.

Tim Ferrara

Discerning Dad

 

Original here

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Proverbial misunderstanding over bribe and gift

After teaching Bible Study and Sunday School for years in different churches throughout my Christian walk, I’ve noticed many misunderstandings concerning God’s Word center around specific words. The perplexed individuals often forget—in some cases never knew—that our versions of the Bible were translated from the original Greek and Hebrew texts. The various English translations—especially those more interested in utilizing non-offensive terms to pacify present-day social sensitivities instead of remaining true to the original texts—further complicate matters. Plus, the words themselves—often having more than one meaning—add another obstacle to contend with.

Most Bible Study and Sunday School attendees don’t have the time or inclination to seek out scholarly texts, or even compare the words in question to the original Hebrew and Greek. That’s okay. In most circumstances the proper word use can be ascertained in the context it’s being used, along with comparing it to similar verses and topics in the Bible.

One example brought to my attention recently from a member in my class deals with the word bribe. While studying Proverbs they thought a few verses contradicted each other. The individual was reading The Living Bible; so, that’s the version I’m using for this post.

Proverbs 15:27 states, “Dishonest money brings grief to all the family, but hating bribes brings happiness.”

Proverbs 17:8 states, “A bribe works like magic. Whoever uses it will prosper.”

Proverbs 17:23 states, “It is wrong to accept a bribe to twist justice.”

Proverbs 18:16 states, “A bribe does wonders; it will bring you before men of importance.”

If you read each verse by itself without considering that there’s more than one definition or standard use for bribe, and you don’t compare it to similar verses on related topics, it appears that two of the verses favor the use of bribes while two condemn the use of them.

However, if you consider the fact that bribe is often used for the word gift, then Proverbs 17:8 and 18:16 no longer contradict the other two verses.

Some Bible commentaries and/or footnotes in some Bible versions choose to view Proverbs 17:8 as a statement of fact, but not one that should be encouraged. I don’t favor that interpretation, since the “gift” interpretation holds up far better when compared to God’s outlook in similar verses and topics.

For instance, a bribe is a form of cheating and dishonest, while a straight gift is not. It depends upon the circumstance in which it is being used. So, what do similar verses claim about cheating and dishonesty? We don’t even have to leave Proverbs to find out.

Proverbs 20:10 states, “The Lord despises every kind of cheating.”

Proverbs 20:21 states, “A fortune can be made from cheating, but there is a curse that goes with it.”

Proverbs 20:23 states, “The Lord loathes all cheating and dishonesty.”

It is very clear, using the comparison, that God hates cheating and dishonesty. Therefore, it is highly doubtful that He would favor bribes in any negative sense. But He does favor gifts.

Proverbs 21:14 states, “An angry man is silenced by giving him a gift!”

Finding the proper context by comparing it to similar verses and topics in God’s Word can settle most of the common misunderstandings Bible Study and Sunday School teachers encounter. And they need to remind those in their classes to consider Proverbs 19:27 — “Stop listening to teaching that contradicts what you know is right.”

If the contradictory interpretation goes against everything God stands for, you can bet it’s wrong. And to argue such points is a waste of time.

by jccast

 

Original here

 

VIDEO ‘As In the Days of Noah’

By Rob Pue – June 4, 2019

A short time ago, my wife and I were having lunch in a small restaurant on a Sunday, and nearby was a lady pastor, dressed in black clergy garb and collar.  She was sitting with several couples around a large round table.  It appeared this was a group from her church, having lunch after their service.  As they ate, there was a lively discussion about “fundamentalist” Christians, and how deluded they are.

“The problem,” this lady pastor laughed, “is that so many people are stuck in the mindset of what they have always been taught.  But now we KNOW so much more.  Now we have SCIENCE, which explains so many things that were mysteries to the Bible writers.  If only these fundamentalists would open their eyes and adapt to the times!”

Here we had a modern, ultra-liberal lady pastor, (and very likely a practicing lesbian, based on other things we observed), surrounded by adoring members of her congregation, and she was instilling doubt in the minds of her flock — doubt that the Bible could be trusted, and more than that, she was actually holding Biblical Scripture up for open mockery and ridicule — along with anyone who would believe God’s Word.  Now, you might think this was maybe a Unitarian Universalist gathering, and it could have been, but it wasn’t.  It was a group of people from a MAINLINE so-called “Christian” denomination, and if I shared that denomination with you, you might be surprised.  I won’t do that here.  I’m trying to be tactful.

But this is an example of what is taking place in our world today.  As I sat nearby, overhearing this discussion, the Lord showed me an image of this lady pastor — not as she appeared there in the diner — but as she really is, in her true form: as the serpent we read about in Genesis 3.  From the very beginning, Satan’s tactics have been the same… instilling doubt in the minds of God’s people, causing them to distrust God’s Word, and scoffing at people who believe Him.   Here was a mainline protestant “pastor,” presumably entrusted to teach and instruct and rightly divide the Word of Truth… openly and proudly lying and planting the seeds of doubt in the souls she is responsible for.   Literally, there was NO DIFFERENCE between this lady and the serpent in the garden.  Both were betraying the Creator.  BOTH will reap the same reward.

As human beings, we do not know everything.  We are not omniscient.  But we have been blessed with the knowledge the Lord has seen fit to entrust us with.  By reading, studying and meditating upon God’s written Word, we have all the information we need to base our lives on this earth upon.  If we needed to know more, we can rest assured, God would have told us more.  Some things, however, will remain mysteries to us.  Some things are not for us to know.  It’s not foolish or simplistic of me to say this or accept this.  It’s simply a matter of faith.  I trust my Creator to provide for me and give me the knowledge, information, discernment, judgment and wisdom I need in this world.  As I seek to know HIM more, He reveals Himself and His ways to me.  He’s my heavenly Father, and I trust Him.  Good grief — why wouldn’t I?   And how arrogant and presumptuous to assume I know better!

This is not the topic of my message today.  But this anecdote is instructive because it is important to remember, Satan, the serpent, is still here today, and still using the same old tactics he did in the garden…and moreover, sometimes he will disguise himself as an angel of light — or, in this case, as a modern day, liberal protestant pastor.

But it’s easy to see through the devil’s disguise.  Because anytime someone tells you or tries to teach you something contrary to God’s Word, or anytime someone tries to get you to doubt God’s Word or as they will say, “think critically” — (which is code for “did God really say…”) —  you can be sure you’re dealing with a serpent.  Of course, in order to know if something you’re hearing is contrary to God’s Word, you have to already KNOW what God’s Word really says.  I’m assuming, here, that you do.

But now, let’s move on, because I want to talk about a few things we can count on, from God’s Word.  Specifically, how Jesus said when He returns, the world will be like the days of Noah and Lot.  So let’s get started, back in Genesis.  Biblical scholars place the time of Creation at approximately 4004 BC.  That makes the Earth and all things in it about 6019 years old.  And at that time,  in the beginning, when God created all things, He declared everything “Good.”

But it wasn’t long before the serpent lured mankind into sin, and this was accomplished first of all by causing Adam and Eve to doubt what God said.  One simple doubt, one lapse of faith and good judgment, brought death and destruction upon all mankind.  If you read the Bible through from cover to cover, you will see a pattern woven throughout the history of all humanity…  all of our woes, all of our sorrows, all our regrets… we bring all these things upon ourselves because we doubt what God said.  How many times did Jesus lament, with great sorrow:

“Oh ye of little faith?!”

If only we believed.  If only we had the faith of a mustard seed!  Indeed.

History moved on.  Many centuries came and went.  In Genesis, we read about Cain and Abel, Seth, Enosh, Jared, Methuselah, Lamech and finally, Noah.  Finally we come to chapter six in Genesis, and I’d like to share that with you, starting at verse 5.

“The Lord saw how great man’s wickedness on the earth had become, and that every inclination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil all the time.  The Lord was grieved that He had made man on the earth, and His heart was filled with pain.  So the Lord said, ‘I will wipe mankind, whom I have created, from the face of the earth — men and animals, and creatures that move along the ground, and birds of the air — for I am grieved that I have made them.’”

Of course, we all know what happened next.  God purified the earth through the flood, saving only eight souls alive, and we began again.  Then the Lord promised to never again destroy the earth with a flood.  He said:

“I have set My rainbow in the clouds and it will be the sign of the covenant between Me and the earth.”

It is interesting to note that the rainbow — the symbol the LORD chose as His covenant with us —  has today been hijacked by the homosexual lobby, and they’ve turned it into a sign of prideful rebellion against God and nature.

Bible scholars place the time of the flood at approximately 2304 BC, so there were approximately 1700 years between the creation of the earth and Noah’s flood.  It was about 406 years later, in approximately 1898 BC that we read another account of God’s anger.  You can read about this starting in Genesis 18… the story of Sodom and Gomorrah.   God said:

“The outcry against Sodom and Gomorrah is so great and their sin so grievous…”

Yet He promised Abraham that for the sake of ten people who might be found in those cities to be righteous, He would not destroy them.  Apparently there were not even ten, because the next thing we read, the LORD sends two angels, appearing as men, to investigate the cities, and to rescue Abraham’s nephew Lot and his family.

As we read the account of the angels visiting Sodom, the way the men of the city of Sodom behave is eerily familiar.  These men are homosexuals.  They march in unison against Lot’s home.  They surround it and make demands.  They yell and scream and condemn Lot for “judging” them.  They attack and try to break down the door.  It sounds very much like the typical “gay pride parade” of today…  anytime there is a homosexual “pride” march or parade, there is always anger and hatred, there is always those among them accusing Christians of “judging” them, there is always mockery of God and Christianity, along with vile displays of perverse sensuality, and vicious disrespect of the things we hold sacred.  Because the same demonic spirit inhabits modern homosexuals as it did in the days of Lot…Satan is not that bright — he only has a couple of tricks.

Now here we are today.  As I write this message, it is literally impossible to keep up with all that is happening in our world, regarding man’s rush to self-destruction.  It’s mind-boggling and we have taken the offense of Sodom and Gomorrah to a whole new level.  Not only have we used our silly Courts to try to redefine the God-ordained institution of marriage, we have made it mandatory to steal the innocence of young children, and indoctrinate and confuse them about sexuality, and then we’ve made it illegal to counsel them to remain “straight” when they become confused!

We not only kill our own babies for convenience, we then sell their body parts for profit.  And we have leaders in power who praise child-rapists and savages who behead and torture innocent victims, while calling humble, peaceful Christians who follow God’s Word “homegrown terrorists.”   I can’t imagine it was any worse in Noah’s time or in Lot’s time, can you?

But Jesus said it would be like this.  And once again, God’s Word proves true.  There will be plenty who laugh it off, and cast doubt.  And the Bible even tells us plainly that THIS will happen.  There will be those who defiantly boast:

“Where is the promise of His coming?”

But remember how I said to identify a serpent…

We are reliving the days of Noah and Lot right now.  Look at the words of Christ in Luke 17:  “Just as it was in the days of Noah, so also will it be in the days of the Son of Man.  People were eating, drinking, marrying and being given in marriage up to the day Noah entered the ark.  Then the flood came and destroyed them all.”

He went on:

“It was the same in the days of Lot.  People were eating and drinking, buying and selling, planting and building.  But the day Lot left Sodom, fire and sulfur rained down from heaven and destroyed them all.  It will be just like this on the day the Son of Man is revealed.”

“I will come again,” said Jesus in John 14:3.  Really, that is the only solution to this mess.  We don’t know when He will come, not the hour nor the day.  Only the Father Himself knows the appointed time.  But, observing the signs of the times and believing God’s Word, we know that surely, we MUST be at the very brink of eternity.

So how shall we live then?  In fear?  In dread?  Should we hide in our closets, or our churches and just let the wicked world around us burn?  No!  God’s Word tells us:

“For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men, teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in this present age, looking for that blessed hope and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Savior, Jesus Christ, Who gave Himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for Himself a people that are His very own, eager to do good works.”

We can get caught up in the mess, we can put our hope in the leaders of this world, we can hope and pray “our” candidate wins the White House next year and solves all our problems.  But we would be wrong.  Our hope, our only hope, lies in the Savior, God’s Son — just as it always has.  I’m not saying we should resign ourselves to a wicked, evil world.  Surely we are still to be salt and light here.  We’re still to stand up for God’s Word and Truth, we are to share the Gospel and, like those angels who were sent to warn Lot, rescue as many as we can from the fire.  We are to stand in the gap for the innocent, and to minister and love those the world — and the “religious leaders” — choose to pass by on the other side of the street, refusing to look upon.  We must still BE that good Samaritan.

But meanwhile, we also have a great hope.  We know God’s Word and His promises are true, and we know we need never doubt, nor should we put our trust or our hope in the temporal and vain things of man.  Our faith, our resolve and our fortitude will be greatly tested, as through the fire.  But we know, the one who endures to the end shall be saved.     The rain drops fell in Noah’s time.  The fire fell upon Sodom.  And now the Grace of God will come from the sky next, riding on the clouds, just as He departed.  Luke 21:28 tells us:

“Look up, and lift up your heads, for your redemption is drawing near!”

Any day now.  Watch… and pray.

As seen here at Wisconsin Christian News. Posted here with permission.

Audio CDs and text versions of this message are available when you call me at Wisconsin Christian News, (715) 486-8066.  Or email Rob@WisconsinChristianNews.com.  Ask for message number 136.

© 2015 By Rob Pue, Publisher

WISCONSIN CHRISTIAN NEWS

PO Box 756

Marshfield, WI  54449

(715) 486-8066

www.WisconsinChristianNews.com

Original here


Pope Francis Sends Video Message to Kenneth Copeland – Lets Unite

 


Are You One Of The America’s Christians…. Ashamed and Afraid?

May 19, 2019 by David Jolly

The state of the Christian church in America today is nothing like it was when I was young and the change is not a good one.

When I was young, many Christians boldly stood up for Jesus Christ and their faith in Him. They weren’t embarrassed to pray over the meal when eating in a restaurant or in front of other people. They weren’t afraid to stand up against the social recognition of sins and perverse lifestyles.

Sadly, over the past 50 years, millions of American Christians began to compromise with the decaying secular world. Rather than continue to stand up for their faith, they didn’t want offended anyone and they wanted to be inclusive.

Believing they were witnessing to perverse sinners, they opened their doors to them and then began catering to them. Afraid that hearing the truth that they were sinners living a life that God calls abominable, many churches watered down their teaching of God’s Word.

In my late 20’s, I was sick one Sunday morning and stayed home from church. I turned the television on and found the church service of a well-known pastor of a huge church in California. As I sat and listened to him, I was absolutely shocked when I heard him tell his auditorium of several thousand that he was intentionally compromising the Word of God so that they (his parishioners) would feel better about themselves. He repeated telling them how he compromised the Word of God for their sake and the audience applauded him. I later found out that he refused to preach about sin because he didn’t want people to have a poor self-image. He also stated that when Adam fell, he lost his self-esteem and that when we are saved by Jesus Christ that we regain our self-esteem.

I was appalled to learn that this preacher was leading thousands of gullible people to eternity in Hell by teaching them a false Gospel, and sadly, he wasn’t nor has he been the only preacher to teach a false Gospel. Jesus warned us about such false teachers in the following verses:

Matthew 7:15-16: “Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves. You will recognize them by their fruits. Are grapes gathered from thornbushes, or figs from thistles?”

Matthew 24:10-12: “And then many will fall away and betray one another and hate one another. And many false prophets will arise and lead many astray. And because lawlessness will be increased, the love of many will grow cold.”

Matthew 24:23-25: “Then if anyone says to you, ‘Look, here is the Christ!’ or ‘There he is!’ do not believe it.  For false christs and false prophets will arise and perform great signs and wonders, so as to lead astray, if possible, even the elect. See, I have told you beforehand.”

There are other warnings about false teachers and false prophets, but what I want to know is why so many people who claim to be Christians are embarrassed and/or afraid to stand up for what the Bible really teaches?

We’ve all seen far too many examples where a Christian will remain silent or refuse to confront false teaching or preaching. When a Christian stands up and defends homosexuality, they are sharing a false Gospel. When someone stand up and says that everyone who leads a good life will go to heaven is teaching a false Gospel and the list goes on and on.

There is far too much emphasis in our culture today about not offending others and being all inclusive, but that is NOT what the Bible teaches and it’s not what Jesus taught. Far too many Christians are afraid to be a true follower of Jesus Christ, especially when He warned us:

Matthew 10:17-22:

“Beware of men, for they will deliver you over to courts and flog you in their synagogues, and you will be dragged before governors and kings for my sake, to bear witness before them and the Gentiles. When they deliver you over, do not be anxious how you are to speak or what you are to say, for what you are to say will be given to you in that hour. For it is not you who speak, but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you. Brother will deliver brother over to death, and the father his child, and children will rise against parents and have them put to death, and you will be hated by all for my name’s sake. But the one who endures to the end will be saved.”

Are you willing to endure the hatred and treatment of the secular world for Christ’s sake or are you one of those who is afraid of offending someone or losing everything you own? Be honest!

If Christians lived their faith the way Muslims live theirs, America would still be a Christian nation and many of the problems we see in our nation today would not exist. America is the way it is today because too many Christians are afraid or embarrassed to stand up for and live their faith.

 

Original here


 

The Clock is Ticking

May 15, 2019 By Rob Pue

The clock.  Is ticking.  None of us are getting any younger, whether we are 9 or 90, time speeds on.  In fact, the older I get, the faster time seems to fly.  I don’t know why.  Perhaps it is God’s way of reminding us that life is short, and we are to make the most of it.  Ephesians 5:16 tells us to:

“Redeem the time, for the days are evil.”

It is my hope that this message serves to make us all think more deeply about the things that really matter, the things of eternity.  Because this world will pass away, and WE will pass away, and all of us will live SOMEWHERE for eternity, whether in heaven or in hell.  Scripture tells us that it is:

“appointed unto man once to die, and after that, the judgment.”

In other words, there are NO second chances.   Using your God-given freewill, which will you choose?  Peace with God, a place in His Kingdom?  Or eternal separation from Him, with unending sorrow, torment, misery and regret?

TODAY is the day of salvation.  You don’t even know if you will be here tomorrow.  None of us does.  Our lives can be snuffed out instantly, like a vapor at any time.  Today you are sitting here listening to this message.  Have you considered that TODAY something unexpected could happen?  And that within three or four DAYS from now, you could be gone?  Six feet underground, the door of opportunity to “get right with God” gone forever as well.

Today I am 53 years old.  When I was 18, a schoolmate was killed in a hunting accident.  When I was 21, my girlfriend fell asleep while driving and was killed instantly — just before Christmas.  When I was 30, another friend my same age found himself in financial trouble with his business and committed suicide.  Five years later another friend’s 14-year-old daughter was killed while getting the mail when she was struck by a van.

Why am I telling you this?  What do all these premature deaths have in common?  I was a Christian.  And I never witnessed to any of them.  I remember my Mom’s haunting question after my girlfriend was killed… “Was (she) ready to meet Jesus?”  The truth is, I didn’t know.  I did not know!  Today, many years later, I still don’t know.  I am convicted in my heart by my lack of Christian witness, my non-existent testimony to these friends and loved ones.  I HAD the opportunities — GOD GAVE them to me…but I never spoke up.

How many of you are the same way?  Why don’t we speak up and share the Good News of God’s grace with our friends, family, loved ones, co-workers?  We, as Christians, have the information.  At least we SHOULD.  We should all, as we read in Timothy:

“study to show thyself approved, a workman, who needeth not to be ashamed.”

And 1 Peter 3:15:

“…in your hearts revere Christ as Lord.  Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you, to give the reason for the hope that you have…”

HAD studied.  In my self-righteousness and pride, I believed I had shown myself to “be approved, a workman that need not be ashamed.”  But by not being PREPARED (or courageous enough) to give that answer, to share the Word of God with the lost and perishing, I AM also ashamed.  I should have said something.  I should have spoken up.  Yet I remained silent.  Until it was too late.  As a follower of Christ, even as a teenager, I had my marching orders.  I was called out by GOD to be Salt and Light.  Yet, my cowardly, treasonous heart kept my mouth silent.  Yes, I am ashamed.  And so I should be.

No more.  As Christians, we cannot afford to remain silent.  Occultism, Wicca, Buddhism, New Age Spirituality, Transcendental Meditation, Islam, “Chris-lam” — all these things are out there.  All THEIR disciples are preaching, unashamedly, their false doctrines, while those of us who name the name of Christ are too ashamed of our King to say a word.  Yeah.  My heart is convicted by that truth.  How about yours?

So, let’s get to the heart of the matter.  Friends, loved ones… If you are currently NOT a Christian, or if you currently have ANY DOUBT as to where you will spend eternity, I plead with you now to listen.  I AM going to tell you God’s honest truth.  You don’t know what tomorrow holds, or even what the rest of today holds for you.  You do not know the number of your days.  TODAY could be the end for you.  Are you ready for that?  Have you even considered that?

Today, many follow the lies of false gods and false religions  — and even apostate so-called “Christianity” —  trying to live “spiritual” lives, but they will have nothing to do with the only ONE by whom they can be saved.  They choose to worship “comfort” and fleshly, worldly desires.  Money, entertainment, sex, drinking, drugs, recreation, relaxation, etc.  But Satan doesn’t care what you worship, as long as you don’t worship Jesus.

But WHY do they treat Jesus (even His NAME) with such disdain?  Simple:  because He is the ONE and ONLY TRUE Savior, the only One through Whom we can return to God.  And Satan, the enemy of our souls, has blinded them to that truth.  It’s fine to embrace ANYTHING else, but say the name of “JESUS” and it makes peoples’ skin crawl.    I guarantee you will never get that reaction from the name “Buddha.”  Why?  Because Buddha is a lie.  They also have that reaction because Jesus REQUIRES something of them: repentance and a heart-change.  And Jesus convicts hearts of their own sin — because instinctively, we all KNOW, deep within, that JESUS IS the ONLY, way, truth and life.  Still, many will trust in their own good works to get them to heaven, and say things like, “I do the best I can, I live a good life and try to be honest and fair with everyone.  I’m a good person and I am sure if there is a God, He will understand.”  That’s just plain delusion.  Willful ignorance.

Others are so enamored with the things of this world, they’d rather remain comfortable.   Some will cite the hypocrisy of nominal Christians they have met, and quite frankly, I can’t blame them.  And sadly, some will flat out deny the existence of their Maker, their Creator and decide that once you die, you’re just dead.  There is no eternity, only the here and now.  And still others just don’t care at all.

I’m not going to argue the point that the Bible is God’s Word, or that any part of it is not true.  As 2nd Timothy 3:16 tells us:

“All Scripture is given by inspiration of God and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness.”

The Bible IS God’s Word.  The fact that the majority of people HATE it — even though it contains the history of the universe, even though it is filled with precious ancient wisdom, even though it contains the very KEYS to the Kingdom of God — ought to be proof enough that it is the ONLY Book of truth that Satan attacks and men violently rebel against.

But whether you like it or not, truth is truth.  Truth doesn’t change just because it makes you uncomfortable.  It’s still the truth.  And here it is: there is ONE God, in three Persons:  God the Father, God the Son (Jesus Christ) and God, the Holy Spirit.  He is the Creator of all things.  He is your Maker.

Secondly, God is not fair.  If He were fair, He’d give us all the punishment we deserve.  No, God isn’t fair, God is gracious, patient and kind.

“He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.”(2nd Peter 3:9).

Some will argue that a “loving” God would never send anyone to hell.  The truth is, He DOESN’T.  If you end up in hell, YOU GO THERE by your own choice.  Not God’s.  If you end up eternally separated from God, DO NOT BLAME GOD.  You see, God has put stumbling blocks and warning signs in your path over and over and over again to KEEP YOU from going to hell.  In order to end up there, you have to ignore EVERY  Christian billboard you’ve ever driven past; every Christian radio broadcast you’ve ever stumbled across; every Christian meme on Facebook.  You have to despise every prayer of a Godly mother, father, grandmother or grandfather on YOUR behalf.  You have to ignore every Christmas carol you’ve ever heard.  You have to ignore the magnificence of God’s amazing Creation — ALL of Creation — including your own body and soul.  You have to scoff every time one of God’s children spoke TRUTH to you, out of their love and concern for you.   You have to snub your own nose at ALL of that.  You see…The choice is heaven or hell — life or death — is YOURS.

People today are more self-indulgent, more narcissistic than ever.  Most everyone BELIEVES they are a “good person.”    But the truth is, we have all sinned grievously against our Creator.  We have all broken His commandments.  As descendants of Adam, we are born sinful.  We come this way.  “All have sinned, and fall short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23).  And what happens to sinners?  “The wages of sin is death.” (Romans 6:23).  Death is ETERNAL separation from God, and ETERNAL punishment.  OR it CAN BE the gateway to ETERNAL LIFE!  Again, the choice is YOURS to make.

Many will claim to be a “good person,” and therefore DESERVING of Heaven.  But Scripture says otherwise

“There is none that doeth good.  No NOT ONE.”

Sorry, not even you.  Not even me. (Psalm 53:3).  “All our righteousness is as filthy rags,” before God. (Isaiah 64:6).  Even the apostle Paul had to admit, in light of God’s holiness, he was the “chief of sinners.”

“But nobody can live up to the expectations of the Ten Commandments,” you say.  “So why did God give us His law?  He knows we can never live sinless lives!”  Correct.  God is not surprised when we sin.  But He gave us His laws, His Ten Commandments, to show us His requirements.  To show us His standard of holiness.  To give us a righteous “moral compass.”

Then, because He knew that none of us could ever merit heaven on our own, He Himself – the Creator, YOUR Maker – left His throne in heaven, assumed human form in the life of Jesus Christ, and gave Himself up to be horrifically murdered as the atoning sacrifice for the sins of those who repent.  There is no greater love.

Before the “fall” of mankind, before sin entered the world, the Bible tells us that all Creation was “good.”  AFTER sin entered in, Scripture tells us the ground was cursed, and bore thorns and thistles, which Adam (and all of us) now have to contend with as a result of that sin.  I find it interesting that after beating Jesus to a bloody pulp, His murderers went one step further:  they placed upon His holy head a crown of THORNS.  You see, when sin entered the world, the world was “cursed.”  But when Christ bore our sins on that cross, he WORE those thorns — and by doing so, He REVERSED the curse.  Through His sacrifice, we are ABLE now, to come BACK into right relationship with God;  we are ABLE now, to have all our filthy rags washed white as snow — IF we choose life in Jesus Christ.  But the choice is ours, and the clock is ticking….

You cannot earn your way to heaven – you’ll never be good enough.  You cannot buy your way into heaven – God doesn’t want your money;  He owns it all already.  Things won’t just all “come out in the wash.”  This is not a matter that will resolve itself on its own.  This is a matter that demands your immediate attention.

Living the Christian life is HARD.  Only a few — the Bible tells us — will choose that narrow, rocky road that leads to life.  You have to truly understand, you’re a lost sinner, a law breaker, someone who has not simply broken a law of man, but you’ve broken ALL the laws of God Almighty!  But the Bible says in 1 John 1:9:

“If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”

In essence, He wipes the slate clean.  NOW, we can enter His gates.

It has nothing to do with being baptized as an infant, or being declared a Christian by a church or a minister because you recited a prayer or walked an aisle, or coming from a “Christian” home.  It has EVERYTHING to do with your heart.  In order to enter heaven, you must turn your heart back to God and make Him LORD of your life.   When you humbly repent, He will graciously welcome you into His arms as His child.  Until you do so, the TRUTH IS, you remain a child of your father, the devil.  No matter how “good” you think you are.

Noah preached for 100 years and never made one convert.  For 100 years the people had a chance to repent.  God made a way of salvation in Noah’s building of the Ark.  But then one day, that opportunity was lost forever.  He was gracious, kind, patient and longsuffering, even though the world was infinitely sinful.  The offer was there for salvation.  Until it wasn’t.  There came a day when the rain began to fall, and GOD HIMSELF shut the door to the ark and those outside were forever lost.  There were no second chances.

Friends, please take this seriously.  Forsake the things of this world and embrace this incredible gift of eternal life with your Creator.  Jesus said:

“I am the way, the truth and the life.  NO ONE comes to the Father, but by Me.”

Accept no substitutes.  No false “gods” that you create in your minds that are more to your liking, more accommodating to the sinful, selfish lifestyle you prefer to remain in.  The time of YOUR salvation is NOW, today.

“So as the Holy Spirit says, ‘today if you hear His voice, do not harden your hearts.’” (Hebrews 3:7).

Turn to Him, accept His offer and live.  Will you use your God-given freewill to make that choice now?  The clock…  is ticking.

Audio versions and transcripts of this message are available when you call me at Wisconsin Christian News, (715) 486-8066.  Or email Rob@WisconsinChristianNews.com.  Ask for message number 257.

As seen here at Wisconsin Christian News. Posted here with permission.

By Rob Pue, Publisher

WISCONSIN CHRISTIAN NEWS

PO Box 756

Marshfield, WI  54449

(715) 486-8066

http://www.WisconsinChristianNews.com

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An Open Letter to Pastors and Christians …Stand or Fall

 

July 3, 2018

 

A paraphrase that is often attributed to Alexis De Tocqueville—a Frenchman who authored Democracy in America in the early 1800s, helps to open this letter: “I looked throughout America to find where her greatness originated. I looked for it in her harbors and on her shorelines, in her fertile fields and boundless prairies, and in her gold mines and vast world commerce, but it was not there.”

“It was not until I went to the churches of America and heard her pulpits aflame with righteousness did I understand the secret of her success. America is great because she is good, and if America ceases to be good, America will cease to be great.”

Over the last few decades, Americans have seen the destruction of the institution of marriage between a man and a woman, the removal of God’s Word in several areas, and the blatant murdering of millions of babies. This is an indictment against America and the pulpit is partially responsible – our silence speaks volumes.

The pulpit regulates the spiritual condition of God’s people which affects the nation. A lukewarm, sex-saturated culture (and church) simply reflects the lack of conviction in the pulpit as well as the pew.

Sadly, many pastors are exchanging truth for passivity, boldness for cowardliness, and conviction for comfort…they are not aflame with righteousness. We aim to be motivational speakers rather than preachers of righteousness.

Pastors (and Christian leaders alike) must take responsibility for the spiritual health of today’s church, and the nation. We don’t need more marketing plans, demographic studies, or giving campaigns; we need men filled with the Spirit of God.

Pastors, we are not just cheerleaders, we are game changers. We are called to stir and to convict so that change takes place. Granted, there are many wonderful pastors and churches—I appreciate their ministry, but, as a whole, the church has drifted off course. They have lost the compass of truth. Here are four ways to re-set the compass.

1. Return to the prayer closet. Without prayer, “the church becomes a graveyard, not an embattled army. Praise and prayer are stifled; worship is dead. The preacher and the preaching encourage sin, not holiness…preaching which kills is prayerless preaching. Without prayer, the preacher creates death, and not life” (E.M. Bounds).

When God brings change, prayer has been the catalyst. Martin Luther prayed and the church was reformed. John Knox prayed and Scotland was revived. John Wesley prayed and America was restored. George Whitefield prayed and nations were changed. D.L. Moody prayed and America fell to her knees. Amy Carmichael prayed and India received the gospel. And so it goes…when you pray, you move the hand of God.

The dry, dead lethargic condition of the church simply reflects an impotent prayer life. While 5-minute devotionals and prayers are good, they aren’t going to cut it in these dire times. We need powerful times of prayer, devotion, and worship. “Without the heartbeat of prayer, the body of Christ will resemble a corpse. The church is dying on her feet because she is not living on her knees” (Al Whittinghill).

Sermons should not come from pop-psychology and the latest fad; they must come from the prayer closet where God prepares the messenger before we prepare the message. It takes broken men to break men. Unplug the tv, turn off Facebook, and get back into the Word of God, prayer, and worship.

2. Return to a separated life. If a pastor fills his mind with the world all week and expects the Spirit of God to speak boldly through him from the pulpit, he will be gravely mistaken. “The sermon cannot rise in its life-giving forces above the man. Dead men give out dead sermons, and dead sermons kill. Everything depends on the spiritual character of the preacher” (E.M. Bounds). Who he is all week is who he will be when he steps to the pulpit.

3. Worship must be a priority. A pastor who does not worship is not prepared to preach. Many sing “about” God but they have never truly experienced Him—head knowledge without heart knowledge. Styles of worship range from the old, beloved hymns to contemporary. All worship should be God-centered, Christ exalted, and doctrinally sound.

Worship allows us to shift our focus and praise toward God. Whether you prefer hymnals and organs or contemporary bands, is really not the issue. The issue is: are you truly worshipping God in “spirit and in truth”? He is the Creator of heaven and earth. He is not a cosmic force, universal love, or a doting grandfather; He is the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords. We must worship Him. He created, redeemed, and saved us. As one of the countless hymns declares so well, “O’ The Blood: washes me; shed for me…what a sacrifice that saved my life, yes the blood, it is my victory!”

4. Preach the difficult truths – they set people free. The church cannot neglect, water-down, or avoid preaching sin, repentance, or the fear of the Lord in the hope of not offending or securing an audience. Difficult truths often offend, and rightly so, sin put Christ on the cross. The goal of preaching is faithfulness to God, not crowd appeal. The church, as a whole, may have forgotten the fear of the Lord, but it doesn’t follow that we should.

Let it not be said of us today: And there arose another generation after them who did not know the Lord because pastors failed to be preachers of righteousness. The burden of responsibility rests squarely upon our shoulders. It’s our choice—stand, or fall!

But there is hope: “Therefore say to them, Thus declares the LORD of hosts: Return to me, says the LORD of hosts, and I will return to you…” (Zechariah 1:3). That’s a life changing promise – return to Him and He will return to you.

 

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Reputation Or Foundation ???

April 22, 2019

 

If life is likened to a rope, human life is like a rope that’s not visible where the ends are. We know when it has started, we also know how long it has been done, but we don’t know when it will arrive at the end node. How much time we have left cannot be measured by how long it has taken, because each person has a different length of rope. To be sure, everyone only has one chance to live life in this world.

Now let’s pause from all the busyness to reflect on the life we have been through. Some of us have gone through it for decades, some may have been a dozen years. What kind of life have we lived? What kind of deep impressions and images are captured by others about us? Have all of our behaviors built a good or bad reputation? Has our reputation been established on a solid foundation? If in a moment we are faced with a choice between reputation or foundation, which one will we prioritize? Do we attach importance to displaying a glorious reputation or prefer to build the right foundation even though for a moment we seem to lose our reputation ??

Saul: Concerning the Image in the Human Eye

In 1 Samuel 9-10 Saul was anointed as king by Samuel. The people exclaimed “Live the king” cheering him because they were happy to have a king for the first time. Even the valiant men followed Saul because their hearts were touched by God. However, in the midst of the respect he received there was a group of people who doubted and even insulted him. Saul’s reaction to this matter is really interesting: But Saul kept silent.” (1 Sam. 10: 27 NIV)  It seems that Saul didn’t care, but apparently it hurt him. This can be seen from the decisions that show how much Saul thirst for recognition and respect from others.

One of the events that clearly shows how people’s recognition and respect is very important to Saul is when Israel fought against the Philistine forces: Jonathan attacked the Philistine outpost at Geba, and the Philistines heard about it. Then Saul had the trumpet blown throughout the land and said, “Let the Hebrews hear!” So all Israel heard the news: “Saul has attacked the Philistine outpost, and now Israel has become obnoxious to the Philistines.” And the people were summoned to join Saul at Gilgal. . . .  Saul remained at Gilgal, and all the troops with him were quaking with fear. (1 Samuel 13: 3-7 NIV)

Jonathan fought and defeated the Philistine army but Saul made it in the eyes of the people as if he had defeated the Philistines. Saul’s goal was for the people who were afraid of the retaliation from the Philistines to become dependent on him. Until this stage the goal seemed successful. Saul went to Gilgal according to Samuel’s instructions and the people followed him. But that didn’t last long. The people who followed him began to leave because Samuel had not arrived yet, while the Philistine army was ready to attack.

Knowing that he had begun to lose control of the people, Saul decided to take a shortcut by offering burnt sacrifices without waiting for Samuel. This is a violation because Samuel clearly ordered Saul to wait (1 Samuel 10: 8). When Samuel rebuked his folly, Saul made the excuse: “When I saw that the people were scattered from me . . . .” (1 Sam. 13: 11 )  For the sake of not being abandoned by his people, Saul chose to violate God’s decree.

What happened next further reinforced the tendency of Saul’s heart which emphasized reputation rather than obedience to God, namely when Saul was ordered to crush Amalek. Since Israel was still in the wilderness, in Exodus 17: 14 the Lord commanded them to crush the Amalekites to extinction because of their wickedness. This command was further confirmed by Moses in Deuteronomy 25: 19. Then Samuel commissioned Saul to carry out the Lord’s command (1 Sam. 15: 2-3). Unfortunately Saul was disobedient. He only killed everything that was despised and weak, but Agag, the king of Amalek, was left alive. He also took the best sheep and oxen. When Samuel rebuked him, Saul used his people twice as an excuse and shield to justify his disobedience: The soldiers took sheep and cattle, . . .  . Then Saul said to Samuel, “I have sinned. I violated the Lord’s command and your instructions. I was afraid of the men and so I gave in to them. Now I beg you, forgive my sin and come back with me, so that I may worship the Lord.” (1 Sam. 15: 21, 24-25 NIV)

Saul twice on behalf of others for his mistakes and twice he asked Samuel to return with him. The second request was even followed by words so that Samuel would honor him before the people: “I have sinned. But please honor me before the elders of my people and before Israel; come back with me, so that I may worship the Lord your God.” (1 Samuel 15: 30 NIV)  This is an insincere confession of sin. Saul confessed to sin only so that Samuel would not leave him.

Saul asked Samuel to remain with him not because Saul realized that he needed God’s guidance, but because he was afraid that the people would leave him if Samuel left him, because at that time the priest had a huge influence. This shows that Saul’s actions and words were controlled by what people say and how people perceive him. We know how Saul became angry and jealous of David because the people sang “Saul has slain his thousands, and David his tens of thousands.” Saul was very angry; this refrain galled him. “They have credited David with tens of thousands,” he thought, “but me with only thousands. What more can he get but the kingdom?” And from that time on Saul kept a jealous eye on David. (1 Samuel 18: 8-9 NIV)

Saul was very concerned about the words, impressions, and views of people about him. Saul is concerned with reputation, even if necessary he will violate the truth if his reputation is disturbed. The end was Saul losing what he had been chasing and trying to maintain it in various ways. The Spirit of God departed from Saul and the king’s position was given by God to David.

David: Prioritizing the Right Heart

In many ways, David’s attitude was the opposite of Saul’s. Saul cared too much about his image in the eyes of others, David did not. For example, when David left the palace because of Absalom’s rebellion. Knowing this, Shimei, one of Saul’s family, cursed David and pelted David and his troops with stones along the road. David who was accompanied by soldiers and heroes didn’t counter at all. Instead, when Zeruiah was about to avenge Shimei, David said: “What does this have to do with you, you sons of Zeruiah? If he is cursing because the Lord said to him, ‘Curse David,’ who can ask, ‘Why do you do this?’”. . . . Leave him alone; let him curse, for the Lord has told him to. It may be that the Lord will look upon my misery and restore to me his covenant blessing instead of his curse today.” (2 Sam. 16: 10-12 NIV)  Compared to anger, feeling insulted, and retaliating, David prefers to subject himself to the authority of God.

Saul did everything he could to maintain his image, David did not. More than once David had the opportunity to kill Saul but he didn’t do it (1 Sam 24, 26). In fact, if Saul died then David’s life would be calmer because no one hunted him again. If Saul died, the way to become king would soon be realized because he had indeed been anointed as king. But David didn’t do it because he didn’t want to touch the Lord’s anointed person. David respected God and feared God. Compared to doing it in his own way, David prefers to trust God.

Saul never truly repented, while David quickly regretted his sin. When the Prophet Nathan rebuked him for taking Bathsheba, David immediately said: “I have sinned against the Lord.” (2 Sam. 12: 13 NIV)David didn’t excuse or blame others for his sin.

In many instances, David prefers his heart to remain right before God. For him, God’s words are more important than human words. Most of the Psalms are the outpouring of David’s heart to God. How in joy and sorrow, in strong and weak, in various situations, he always comes closer to God. He isn’t afraid of being abandoned by humans, he just doesn’t want God to leave him. He doesn’t care about being antagonized by humans as long as God sided with him. The most valuable for him isn’t the treasure and throne, but God. That’s why God is pleased with David.

BUILDING THE TRUE FOUNDATION

A reputation, good or bad, will stick to someone as long as the person lives. Even for some people who have a big influence, their reputation will continue to be remembered even if the person is gone. As children of God, we must have a good reputation because a bad reputation will be a stumbling block. But a good reputation is not everything. The most important thing is whether that reputation has been built on the true foundation. The true foundation here isn’t true according to man, but true in God’s view.

The only absolute truth for believers is the Bible. So, whatever attitude and behavior of the children of God must be in accordance with God’s word written in the Bible. When we think, say, and act according to God’s word, what comes out of us is everything that is good and right, which in itself will build a good and right reputation. Indeed obedience to the word of God doesn’t always make us favored by others, or even makes us despised, because many of the values of this world are contrary to God’s word. But our duty isn’t to please people but to please God. What is the point of having a good reputation in human measure, but finally we are wrong before God.

A good and true reputation built on the true foundation will have eternal impact, not just to impress others. Conversely, if we try to build a reputation by relying on power, wealth, expertise, even good deeds, then we will be trapped in what people say about us. We can be encouraged to become hypocrites. We will easily compromise to please others. We will do good things just for the sake of good name, but there is no love and sincerity. We must remember that God always sees the heart, not what is in sight. If reputation is everything to us, then we will fall into arrogance and unnecessary competition with other people.

Therefore let us ensure our lives have been built on a solid and true foundation, namely the word of God. Don’t be like Saul who was more concerned with his name and image in the eyes of others than obedience to God. Be like David who was obedient and gentle in heart and makes God the most valuable treasure. Don’t put our values on the words and views of people towards us, but put our values in God. We are valuable not because we are successful, good, even godly. We are valuable because we are created like God and God loves us so much.

Let’s focus on what’s inside, whether our foundation is right or not, by always connecting with God. At the time we diligently build relationships with God and put God above all else, that’s the time we are actually building a solid foundation for our reputation. And at the time we choose to obey the word of God even though for that we will be left behind by people, that’s the time we are actually laying the right foundation for our lives. The foundation is indeed invisible but the foundation greatly determines the strength of whatever is built on it. Foundation will form reputation. Bad foundation means bad reputation. So, prioritize building the true foundation, not just a reputation.

 

By: Sella Irene – Beautiful Words

Photo Credit: https://pixabay.com (edited with pixlr apps)

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