Friday, August 29, 2008

A Christian Response to Political Promises

Last evening I watched most of Senator Obama's speech. In that speech, he was constantly advocating change and focused on all the benefits we would get if he was elected. I am sure that a new set of promises will be made this week by Senator John McCain. What should our response be to these speeches of almost unlimited promises? Also, what should our response be to the suggestion that together we all have something on the inside of us that if we pull together we can make it all happen? Last night Obama specifically said the election was not about him; it was about us.

I think the Christian should not focus on what is personally good for him but what will bring the most glory to God. The emphasis needs to get off us and on to the King of Kings. In the next Presidential term, perhaps three Supreme Court Justices will have to be appointed. What brings the most glory to God; Justices that will stand against Roe v. Wade or those that will insure its continuation making baby killing legal for decades to come? The answer should be obvious to the true believer.

Also, the concept of us all having something on the inside that will help bring this all about if we pull together is coming very close to New Age thought. New Age can be defined as when man becomes aware of his inner power and divinity. However, there is something even more dangerous; New Thought is movement that tries to merge classic occult concepts with Christian terminology. I recommend every believer get a copy of For Many Shall Come In My Name by Ray Yungen which explains these concepts and their infiltration into our culture.

May I suggest, that our motto should not be "yes, we can;" but "yes, He will," according to His Perfect Word. Soli Deo Gloria!

Thursday, August 28, 2008

The Necessity of Bible Doctrine

Too many people hear the word "doctrine" and envision boredom and dead formality. However, the necessity of having correct doctrine can help eliminate errors such as that occurred in Lakeland with Todd Bentley. Again it must be stressed that it is not my intent to harm Mr. Bentley; only that we learn from his experience. We need to pray for him and his family. Many extra Biblical events were occurring in this "revival:" leg drops, kneeing stage IV cancer victims, "signs and wonders" that were not Biblical and a lack of verification of supposed miracles. Anyone that mentioned these facts was seen as opposing the Holy Spirit and bringing danger to their soul by doing so. A personal example speaks to this concern. I personally know a man that was intent on receiving an impartation of the "Lakeland anointing." This man professes to be a Christian yet relies on impressions and the voices he hears to determine his doctrine. For example,he believes that if someone wrongs him, they cannot be healed without apologising to him first because that is what the voice said to him. Despite my best efforts, "he knows what he has heard and it is his truth." You will find it difficult to convince someone of Bible truths when experience is viewed as the ultimate source of revelation. Once the Bible is departed from, only imagination serves as a boundary to what people will call "God." Let us adhere to the Bible as our sole source of revelation. It is safe and Godly to do so.

John Arnott of the Toronto Airport Christian Fellowship (center of the "laughing revival" and "river" movement) wrote the following on his web site on August 17, 2008 referencing Todd Bentley:
"I am working now with Bill Johnson and Che Ahn to listen to each person who is close to the situation in order to give godly counsel and confront the presenting issues in God’s love. We are all receiving many phone calls and reading much correspondence about all these matters at the moment. Some of it is quite hopeful and some of it is not. However, I believe that God can break through. We all want to provide any help we can to preserve the fruit of this outpouring. We are doing this for several reasons. First, we love the Body of Christ and the work God does through times of revival. We care very deeply about the impact of the church’s leaders and role models on the body of Christ and the world. We also care about Todd and Shonnah, the Fresh Fire Ministries staff and all who have been a vital part of the Lakeland Revival. They are our friends.

Todd has chosen to do something that is wrong according to Scripture, and his timing to announce it was equally inappropriate. Everyone is asking, "What happened?" "Why didn't anyone see this coming?" We are making the answers to those questions a matter of prayer, and are as shocked and saddened by what has just happened as you are. Furthermore, it has now come out that there has been some inappropriate behavior, both with excessive drinking and also with a female member of his staff. Please don't jump to conclusions or assume the worst, but this behavior is wrong before the Lord."

I would suggest that much of this could have been avoided if the Bible was the sole source of revelation. The Reformers had the cry of sola scriptura ("Scripture alone")and now more than ever in this great age of deception, it needs to be ours also. It will prevent a lot of problems.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

The Need of Separation

Has the American church lost the desire to separate from evil? Has the desire to be relevant resulted in being ashamed of the Gospel? I think it is time for the true church to go back to the practice of separation. No; this is not a call to live in a convent or a military compound. We are to separate from evil yet live close enough to it to be a witness to the saving power of the Gospel. You can't be a witness unless you are around those that need the witness. However, in being that witness we are not to compromise the message that Jesus Christ is the only way to heaven. We are not to participate in "Interfaith services" where Allah is prayed to; we are not to stand in agreement with those that deny Jesus is the only begotten Son of God. We are to reject what is called "New Age" Christianity because it is neither. John Calvin said the following regarding separation:
"We must be made holy, we must be cleansed from pride,worldliness, and self-will, in order that we may do what is right and just,that is, submit to God’s will when he chastises us; and when this submission or righteousness takes place, then correction produces a peaceable or a blessed fruit, that is, such an effect, or such a blessing, as peace or happiness."
Regarding the difference between a Christianity that is genuine versus one that is nominal, Charles Spurgeon said:
"THE man who is righteous before God has a way of his own. It is not the way of the flesh, nor the way of the world; it is a way marked out for him by the divine command, in which he walks by faith. It is the King’s highway of holiness, the unclean shall not pass over it; only the ransomed of the Lord shall walk there, and these shall find it a path of separation from the world. Once entered upon the way of life, the pilgrim must persevere in it or perish, for thus saith the Lord, “If any man draw back, my soul shall have no pleasure in him.” Perseverance in the path of faith and holiness is a necessity of the Christian, for only “he that endureth to the end, the same shall be saved.” It is in vain to spring up quickly like the seed
that was sown upon the rock, and then by and by to wither when the sun is up; that would but prove that such a plant has no root in itself, but “the trees of the Lord are full of sap,” and they abide and continue and bring forth fruit, even in old age, to show that the Lord is upright. There is a great difference between nominal Christianity and real Christianity, and this is generally seen in the failure of the one and the continuance of the other."

Let us examine ourselves, our doctrine and our practice to determine if we are in obedience to 2 Corinthians 6:17: "Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you...." The William Burkitt New Testament says of this verse:"Learn hence, That God expects and requires his saints should make a separation from all uncleanness, but especially from the uncleanness of idolatry. God expects a separation from us, from all unclean courses, from all unclean company, from the presence and appearance of all uncleanness, from communion with idolatrous churches, and from communicating with what is sinful in the truest churches of Christ upon earth."

We need separation; we don't need seeker sensitive services. We need separation; we don't need another signs and wonders conference with extra Biblical teaching. We need separation; we don't need another book about our "purpose" or "our best life now";we need separation, period.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Our Own Downgrade Controversy

American evangelism is slipping farther from the truth as new "downgrades" occur almost daily. By "downgrade" I am referring to the Gospel being reduced from its sacrificial requirements to bring glory to God to it being all about the creation. The emphasis has been changed from the Sovereignty of God to the supremacy of man. The words of Charles Spurgeon written in August 1887 could have been written last week:

NO lover of the gospel can conceal from himself the fact that the days are evil.We are willing to make a large discount from our apprehensions on the score of natural timidity, the caution of age, and the weakness produced by pain; but yet our solemn conviction is that things are much worse in many churches than they seem to be, and are rapidly tending downward. Read those newspapers which represent the Broad School of Dissent, and ask yourself, How much farther could they go? What doctrine remains to be abandoned? What other truth to be the object of contempt? A new religion has been initiated, which is no more Christianity than chalk is cheese; and this religion, being destitute of moral honesty, palms itself off as the old faith with slight improvements, and on this plea usurps pulpits which were erected for gospel preaching. The Atonement is scouted, the inspiration of Scripture is derided, the Holy Spirit is degraded into an influence, the punishment of sin is turned into fiction, and the resurrection into a myth, and yet these enemies of our faith expect us to call them brethren, and maintain a confederacy with them! At the back of doctrinal falsehood comes a natural decline of spiritual life, evidenced by a taste for questionable amusements, and a weariness of devotional meetings. At a certain meeting of ministers and church-officers, one after another doubted the value of prayer-meetings; all confessed that they had a very small attendance, and several acknowledged without the slightest compunction that they had quite given them up. What means this? Are churches in a right condition when they have only one meeting for prayer in a week, and that a mere skeleton? Churches which have prayermeetings several times on the Lord’s-day, and very frequently during the week, yet feel their need of more prayer; but what can be said of those who very seldom practice united supplication? Are there few conversions? Do the congregations dwindle? Who wonders that this is the case when the spirit of prayer has departed? As for questionable amusements—time was when a Nonconformist minister who was known to attend the play-house would soon have found himself without a church. And justly so; for no man can long possess the confidence, even of the most worldly, who is known to be a haunter of theaters. Yet at the present time it is matter of notoriety that preachers of no mean repute defend the play-house, and do so because they have been seen there. Is it any wonder that church members forget their vows of consecration, and run with the unholy in the ways of frivolity, when they hear that persons are tolerated in the pastorate who do the same? We doubt not that, for writing these lines we shall incur the charge of prudery and bigotry, and this will but prove how low are the tone and spirit of the churches in many places. The fact is, that many would like to unite church and stage, cards and prayer, dancing and sacraments. If we are powerless to stem this torrent, we can at least warn men of its existence, and entreat them to keep out of it. When the old faith is gone, and enthusiasm for the gospel is extinct, it is no wonder that people seek something else in the way of delight. Lacking bread, they feed on ashes; rejecting the way of the Lord, they run greedily in the path of folly.

Thank you NBC

During coverage of the Olympics, NBC did its audience a favor in the manner it covered the winner of the Gold Medal in diving from Australia. Yahoo Sports reported:
"Diver Matthew Mitcham, the only openly gay male athlete in the Beijing Olympics, won gold in the 10m platform. He beat Chinese favorite Zhou Luxin by 4.8 points, preventing China from sweeping gold in diving events. Mitcham is the first Aussie to win diving gold since 1924, but that's not the only thing that makes him a trailblazer.
He is hardly the first gay athlete to compete but he is one of the first to be out while competing. Mitcham stated:
“Being gay and diving are completely separate parts of my life. Of course there’s going to be crossover because some people have issues, but everyone I dive with has been so supportive."
UPDATE: NBC did not mention Mitcham's orientation, nor did they show his family and partner who were in the stands. NBC has made athletes' significant others a part of the coverage in the past, choosing to spotlight track athlete Sanya Richards' fiancee, a love triangle between French and Italian swimmers and Kerri Walsh's wedding ring debacle.
There are not many opportunities to pat the networks on the back these days, however this was one occasion where we should tell NBC "thanks!"

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Abortion Is Still An Issue reports that some Catholics are upset over Obama the infanticide (my words not candidate's selection of pro-abortion Catholic Joe Biden as his Vice-President hopeful:

The Roman Catholic group, Fidelis, says Barack Obama's selection of pro-abortion Catholic Joe Biden to be his V.P. running mate "is a slap in the face to Catholic voters" and poses a major challenge for American Catholics.

In a press release sent out overnight, Fidelis president, Brian Burch, declared that Barack Obama has "re-opened a wound among American Catholics" by picking a pro-abortion Catholic politician like Joe Biden.

According to Burch, the American Catholic bishops have made it clear that Catholic political leaders must defend the dignity of every human person, including the unborn.

" Sadly, Joe Biden's tenure in the United States Senate has been marked by steadfast support for legal abortion" he added.

During the recent Democratic primary campaign Biden said: I am a long-standing supporter of Roe v Wade and a woman's right to choose."

Burch notes that in 2004, John Kerry's support of abortion sparked a nationwide controversey over whether Catholics who support legal abortion can receive communion.

Burch says "now, everywhere Biden campaigns, we'll have this question of whether a pro-abortion Catholic can receive Communion."

"Senator Biden is an unrepentant supporter of abortion in direct opposition to the church he claims as his own. Selecting a pro-abortion Catholic is a slap in the face to Catholic voters," said Burch.

According to Burch, "The American bishops have instructed Catholic voters to consider many issues, but have characterized the defense of human life as foundational and have explained that the issue has a special claim on the conscience of the Catholic voter. This means that a political candidate like Biden, because of his strong support for abortion rights, forfeits any claim for support despite his views on other issues like health care and the economy."

I think that the pro-abortionists should be denied communion; anyone on their way to hell should be denied communion. Abortion is an issue this election because God's people are going to make it so. The time to stop the murder of innocent children has long past; now is the time to act. Stop the killing!

Friday, August 22, 2008

Tell Hallmark "No Thanks"

The Associated Press reports:

"The nation's largest greeting card company is rolling out same-sex wedding cards -- featuring two tuxedos, overlapping hearts or intertwined flowers, with best wishes inside. "Two hearts. One promise," one says. Hallmark added the cards after California joined Massachusetts as the only U.S. states with legal gay marriage. A handful of other states have recognized same-sex civil unions.
The language inside the cards is neutral, with no mention of wedding or marriage, making them also suitable for a commitment ceremony. Hallmark says the move is a response to consumer demand, not any political pressure.
"It's our goal to be as relevant as possible to as many people as we can," Hallmark spokeswoman Sarah Gronberg Kolell said.
Hallmark's largest competitor, American Greetings Corp., has no plans to enter the market, saying its current offerings are general enough to speak to a lot of different relationships."

Tell Hallmark that you will be shopping for your cards elsewhere. In fact, this would be a great time to visit your local Christian bookstore to do your card shopping. Support those businesses while you still can that have Christian values as their foundation.

Self Examination

About 100 years ago J.C. Ryle wrote the following:

"We live in an age of special spiritual danger. Never perhaps since the world began was there such an immense amount of mere outward profession of religion as there is in the present day. A painfully large proportion of all the congregations in the land consists of unconverted people, who know nothing of heart-religion, never come to the Lord's Table, and never confess Christ in their daily lives. Myriads of those who are always running after preachers, and crowding to hear special sermons, are nothing better than empty tubs, and tinkling cymbals, without a bit of real vital Christianity at home. The parable of the sower is continually receiving most vivid and painful illustrations. The way-side hearers, the stony-ground hearers, the thorny ground hearers abound on every side. The life of many religious people, I fear, in this age, is nothing better than a continual course of spiritual dram-drinking. They are always morbidly craving fresh excitement; and they seem to care little what it is if they only get it. All preaching seems to be the same to them; and they appear unable to "see differences" so long as they hear what is clever, have their ears tickled, and sit in a crowd. Worst of all, there are hundreds of young unestablished believers who are so infected with the same love of excitement, that they actually think it a duty to be always seeking it. Insensibly almost to themselves, they take up a kind of hysterical, sensational, sentimental Christianity, until they are never content with the "old paths" and, like the Athenians, are always running after something new. To see a calm-minded young believer, who is not stuck up, self confident, self-conceited, and more ready to teach than learn, but content with a daily steady effort to grow up into Christ's likeness, and to do Christ's work quietly and unostentatiously, at home, is really becoming almost a rarity! Too many young professors, alas, behave like young recruits who have not spent all their bounty money. They show how little deep root they have, and how little knowledge of their hearts, by noise, forwardness, readiness to contradict and set down old Christians, and over-weaning trust in their own fancied soundness and wisdom! Well will it be for many young professors of this age if they do not end, after being tossed about for a while, and "carried to and fro by every wind of doctrine," by joining some petty, narrow-minded, censorious sect, or embracing some senseless, unreasoning crotchety heresy. Surely, in times like these there is great need for self-examination. When we look around us, we may well ask, 'How do we do about our souls?'"

Could not this have been written last week and not the last century? We need self-examination; we need an emphasis on personal integrity and walking in holiness; we need the true Gospel preached that it is by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone that salvation comes to us and not by our works no matter how slight. Salvation is of the Lord and not of man. This is the message that turned the world upside down and it is our responsibility to attempt to do the same. It all begins with a close personal look at ourselves.

California Supreme Court Tells Christians They Are Second Class Citizens

The California Supreme Court seems to have a mission to destroy the Christian faith in its state. While we in disbelief saw the ruling on the issue of homosexual marriage and perhaps asked "could it get any worse in California," now have our answer: "Yes it can." The Court has sunk to new depths of depravity by telling Christians that their values are trumped by homosexual rights. The California Supreme Court has ruled by a 7-0 vote that homosexual rights trump religious freedom. The ruling barred doctors, because of their Christian beliefs, from withholding unnecessary medical care to gays and lesbians. The ruling says that under state law sexual orientation rights trump religious freedom.

Justice Joyce Kennard wrote in the ruling that two Christian fertility doctors who refused to artificially inseminate a lesbian have neither a free speech right nor a religious exemption from the state's law, which "imposes on business establishments certain antidiscrimination obligations."

Doctors at the Christian clinic referred the lesbian to another clinic, but the lesbian refused their referral - demanding that the Christian clinic perform the procedure. When the Christian doctors refused to violate their religious convictions, the lesbian sued and the Supreme Court gave her the victory.

This ruling will affect every business in California. If a similar victory in a federal court is won, every business in America will be affected.

What has happened to the rights of an individual not to violate their own conscience. In California it seems that the individual has the state to tell him what is right and wrong. These jurists are evil and have an agenda to destroy Christianity. Let us pray for the believers in California; they need our prayers. Pray specifically for the doctors because I am sure that they will be targets now. Pray that the justices on the California Supreme Court repent before they die and burn in hell because that is most assuredly where they are headed.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Out With The New And In With The Old

We must return to the fundamental doctrines of the inerrancy of Holy Scripture and the penal atonement of Jesus Christ if we are to have real evangelism of the lost. Jesus Christ came to save us from our sins and not in our sins. There must be an emphasis on personal integrity and holiness according to the Word of God. Sadly, "modern evangelism" denigrates the Holy Scriptures and what actually occurred at Calvary. In his weekly devotional "Forget None of His Benefits," Rev. Al Baker summarizes the downgrading of evangelism:
"The revival on the Isle of Lewis, off the coast of Scotland , from 1949 until 1952 was a remarkable outpouring of the Holy Spirit, bringing conversion to many in all the various towns of that secluded island. God wonderfully used the preaching of Duncan Campbell to break the hearts of these moral, church-going people. Though they almost all attended church and though the men, saved and unsaved alike, led their families in morning and evening devotional times, many were not yet in Christ. God worked powerfully to change them. At the same time Billy Graham was preaching in Los Angeles and the new evangelicalism came from it, replacing the old fundamentalism which was perceived as negative, separatist, and anti-intellectual. Carl F.H. Henry, Harold J. Ockenga, Martyn Lloyd-Jones, Bill Bright, and Francis Schaeffer were also major players in the movement. Though these men disagreed on secondary issues liked Calvinism and Arminianism, church polity, mode of baptism, and eschatology they all agreed on two major doctrines- the inerrancy of Scripture and the vicarious, penal atonement of Christ.

Times have changed drastically since then. David Wells, in his latest book, The Courage to be Protestant, has noted that evangelicalism is fragmented, divided into three camps. The first is the traditional evangelical who still believes in inerrancy and penal atonement. He is driven by theological considerations above everything else. However two new strands of evangelicals have arisen in recent years. The first is the church growth, seeker friendly movement. Bill Hybels is the major architect of the movement and it is pragmatically driven. As long as something works, gets results, then use it. There is little concern for tradition or theological considerations in the seeker friendly movement. The second, however, is much more cutting edge, and I suggest much more dangerous. It is the emerging church movement which is very sensitive to the post-modern mind. Since post-modernism denies any final, absolute truth the emerging church folks are prone to get their theology from their community instead of Scripture. For example, some have said, 'Who are we to be so bold as to think we know the mind of God on such issues as women’s ordination, abortion, or gay rights.'"

It is a time to return to our Protestant roots and refuse to compromise with everything that claims to be "Christian." The "seeker sensitive movement" and the "emerging church movement" are in opposition to the true Gospel. They are heretics and we should so inform those within our influence of the truth. Our aim should not be unity at any price but unity in truth. While we may disagree on many non essentials, we cannot agree with those that deny Scripture its rightful place or fail to acknowledge the power of the atonement provided through the blood of Jesus Christ.

Churches To Challenge IRS

I have been made aware of a movement to challenge the IRS. Several pastors intend in September to endorse a candidate for president. As I am sure you are aware this could bring a challenge by the IRS to take away the 501(c)(3) tax exempt status. These churches have done their research and believe that they are on solid legal ground. I am asking you to pray for their success. Many times I have advocated making a stand for truth and these brave brethren are doing exactly that. They intend to alert the media so that they will have coverage of what they are doing. They are not going to do this under cover of darkness but are going to operate in the light. I understand the churches are from different states and could begin a nationwide movement. I applaud their efforts and will join the prayer team on their behalf. What about you?

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Where Is The Persecution?

Years ago I remember a fast food chain that used the slogan, "Where's the beef?" The idea was to point out that other restaurant chains didn't give you a lot of meat on your burger. The something missing evidenced the failure to deliver what was promised. 2 Timothy 3:12 says: "Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution." Adam Clarke the British theologian said of this verse: "So opposite to the spirit and practice of the world is the whole of Christianity, that he who gives himself entirely up to God, making the Holy Scriptures the rule of his words and actions, will be less or more reviled and persecuted. "If religion gives no quarter to vice, the vicious will give no quarter to religion and its professors." So I ask the question American church, "Where is the persecution?"

Our brothers and sisters in China, India and Sudan suffer persecution so the issue is not some eschatological period that exempts us. I submit to you that the reason that we suffer little persecution in America is because we have learned to play by the secular rules and we don't make waves. So let us live godly and make some waves. I suggest the following become our consistent testimony:

1. Jesus Christ is the only way a person can go to heaven. There are no other paths. No Muslims, Buddhists or Hindus will enter heaven. There is exclusivity in Jesus Christ.
2. Not everyone is going to heaven. Many are going to a real hell that will burn and torture those that reject Jesus Christ.
3. Those that live a life of sin will go to hell. Examples of sin come from Paul's writings in Galatians: "adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lewdness, idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies, envy, murders, drunkenness, revelries, and the like; of which I tell you beforehand, just as I also told you in time past, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God." Galatians 5:19-21 This is a very broad list of sins and is not limited to a few bad folks from the wrong side of town.
4. This includes those that commit abortions as well as those that have the abortions. Further, those that facilitate and make abortion legal will suffer the fires of hell.
5. The same goes for those who practice homosexuality and those that seek to make it legal.
6. God commands us to live holy lives and to separate from evil.
7. Our nation has abandoned God and He has abandoned us as a nation.
8. Those politicians and those that vote to give them power to commit these sins will suffer the same eternal fate.

Now, if we begin to speak these truths and live godly lives we just might begin to suffer some persecution. I doubt we will have a parking problem because too many still want to just feel good about themselves and think about the wonderful life God has for them (there may be a few parking spots left in Houston for the 40000+ that gather to hear Joel Osteen or for the 20000+ at Saddleback that just want a meaningful purpose driven life). For the rest of us, let us commit to live holy lives and not shrink from the persecution. Paul didn't and neither should we.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Christians and Politics

As we are within months of the presidential elections, it is time for the Christian right to become vocal. We need to speak our minds, work for righteousness and not compromise with worldly thinking. This is a critical time for our nation and we need strong leadership that will seek the help of Almighty God in the performance of the duties of the President of the United States. Regarding the proper involvement of a Christian in the political process, consider the words of Charles Spurgeon:

"Till religion in England is entirely free from State patronage and control, till the Anglican Papacy ceases to be called the national religion, till every man of every Faith shall be equal before the eye of the law as to his religious rights, we cannot, and dare not cease to be political. Because we fear God, and desire his glory, we must be political — it is a part of our piety to be so."

Yes, it can be part of our piety to be political. Stand for Pro-life candidates and stand for those that commit to marriage as between one man and one woman. These issues are the most important because our Godly stand will bring the blessings of God on our nation which will impact our economy, our protection from terrorism and our energy issues. Remember that "righteousness exalts a nation." We should be praying for the elections now.

Monday, August 18, 2008

China Confiscates Bibles

CNN reports today:

"Four members of a Christian group from the United States are refusing to leave an airport in China after authorities confiscated their 300 Bibles, the group's director said Monday.
The four members of Vision Beyond Borders -- based in Sheridan, Wyoming -- arrived in the southwestern Chinese city of Kunming on Sunday. Customs officials discovered the Bibles during an X-ray scan of their luggage, said Pat Klein, director of the group, which supplies Bibles and other Christian material to people in China and other countries.
Under Chinese law, it is illegal to bring printed religious material into the country if it exceeds the amount for personal use. The group distributes the Bibles through a local shop owner in Kunming, according to Klein.
Klein said he's been bringing Bibles into China for 21 years and had no idea he was breaking Chinese law.
The group spent the night at the airport, and Chinese customs officials told them they had broken the law and repeatedly asked them to leave the airport, Klein said. He said the customs agents have not been antagonistic.
China says Christians are free to worship in China -- as long as they worship in a church that registers with the government.
People in China can buy Bibles, but some members of underground or unregistered churches in China say Bibles are in short supply in some locations, especially rural areas, according to a 2007 report from the U.S. State Department.
The Report on International Religious Freedom warned that the distribution of religious publications in China is closely watched. All publication in China is controlled by the government, whether religious or otherwise."

This is another call to pray for the Chinese people and to get involved. You may become personally involved by going to and signing up. For less than a cup of coffee a day you can help send Bibles to those that desperately need them. Remember James 2:15-17: "If a brother or sister be naked, and destitute of daily food, And one of you say unto them, Depart in peace, be ye warmed and filled; notwithstanding ye give them not those things which are needful to the body; what doth it profit? Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone." Put some works with your faith on behalf of your Chinese brethren.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

What can the righteous do?

This article was written by Rev. Duane Maxey, a long time conservative Christian and patriotic American. He points out the dilemma faced by Christians that live in a society that has rejected the truth for a lie. Please prayerfully read and consider his words.

By Duane V. Maxey
"If the foundations be destroyed, what can the righteous do?" Psalm 11:1-3.

THIS IS A VERY BRIEF ARTICLE. Nevertheless, let me present the outline below, and let me ask you to read the article -- if you really care what happens to our nation now. -- Duane V. Maxey, Surprise, Arizona, August 15, 2008.

01 -- The Biblical Setting -- David's Dangerous Situation
02 -- The Interpretation Of Psalm 11
03 -- The Corresponding Interpretation Of Psalm 121:1
04 -- Our Current Situation
05 -- What Can The Righteous Do Now?

* * * * * * *


According to Dr. Adam Clarke, Psalm 11 consists of advice given to David by his counselors, and his reply to them, at the time David had fled from Saul to Nob. Ahimelech the priest had aided David by feeding him the hallowed bread and by giving him Goliath's sword. But Doeg, the Edomite chief of Saul's herdsmen, told Saul that he had seen this. Whereupon, the vengeful Saul ordered Ahimelech and the others priests at Nob to come to him, and had Doeg and his henchmen slay them. Saul had eighty-five (85) of the Lord's priests wantonly slain "And Nob, the city of the priests, smote he with the edge of the sword, both men and women, children and sucklings, and oxen, and asses, and sheep, with the edge of the sword." (Cf. 1 Sam. 21:1--22:19).

* * * * * * *


As Adam Clarke interprets Psalm 11, following these horrendous events, David's counselors advised him: Flee as a bird to your mountain? For, lo, the wicked bend their bow, they make ready their arrow upon the string, that they may privily shoot at the upright in heart. If the foundations be destroyed, what can the righteous do?" Psalm 11:1-3.

David's counselors were right: "THE FOUNDATIONS OF RIGHTEOUS GOVERNMENT HAD BEEN DESTROYED!" The king, the highest official in the land had slain 85 of God's priests, annihilated many others in the priestly city of Nob, and in so doing THE FOUNDATION OF RIGHTEOUS GOVERNMENT under such a king was utterly destroyed.


But, as Clarke interprets Psalm 11, David rejected this counsel. While he agreed that "the foundations of righteous government were destroyed," he replied to his counselors:

"In the LORD put I my trust. How say ye to my soul, Flee as a bird to your mountain?"

In spite of the fact that the wicked Saul was "bending his bow" to shoot him, David in the following words David asserted that GOD, not A MOUNTAIN, was his refuge:

"The Lord is in his holy temple, the Lord's throne is in heaven: his eyes behold, his eyelids try, the children of men. The Lord trieth the righteous: but the wicked and him that loveth violence his soul hateth. Upon the wicked he shall rain snares, fire and brimstone, and an horrible tempest: this shall be the portion of their cup. For the righteous Lord loveth righteousness; his countenance doth behold the upright" (Psalm 11:4-7).


* * * * * * *


Regarding that higher source of help for God's people, consider Psalm 121:1 -- "I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help."

Most translations render this verse as does Young's Literal Translation: "I lift up mine eyes unto the hills, Whence doth my help come?"

Let me put it thus: "WHENCE DOTH MY HELP COME?"

ANSWER: NOT FROM THE HILLS! RATHER, THE HELP OF THE RIGHTEOUS COMES FROM THE GOD WHO MADE THE HILLS -- COMES FROM THE KING OF KINGS, WHO SITS IN HIS HOLY HOLY TEMPLE -- "Far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come" (Eph. 1:21).

This is the interpretation put upon Psalm 121:1 by Matthew Henry in his Commentary:

"'Shall I lift up my eyes to the hills?' --so some read it.

"Does my help come thence? Shall I depend upon the powers of the earth, upon the strength of the hills, upon princes and great men, who, like hills, fill the earth, and hold up their heads towards heaven? No; in vain is salvation hoped for from hills and mountains, Jer. 3:23. I never expect help to come from them; my confidence is in God only.

"We must lift up our eyes above the hills (so some read it); we must look beyond instruments to God, who makes them that to us which they are."

* * * * * * *


As I see it, we are currently living in a time when Politically, Morally, and Spiritually, "THE FOUNDATIONS HAVE BEEN DESTROYED."

Look upon America: "THE WHOLE HEAD IS SICK, AND THE WHOLE HEART FAINT," and God says to her: "Why should ye be stricken any more?" and yet "ye will revolt more and more" (Isa. 1:5).

Neither Barack Hussein Obama nor John Sidney McCain offers a viable choice for whom any God-fearing, Patriotic American can vote!

Corruption in our government has pervaded "the whole head" and everything else down to the tip of the toes! Particularly since the Federal Reserve Act of 1912, Globalist Money Lords have been pulling the strings behind the scenes politically, and NOW, we are seeing clear evidence of the betrayal of our National Sovereignty well underway at the hands of George W. Bush and his administration, and to be much further advanced under a President Obama or a President McCain.

"The whole heart is faint" -- both houses of our U.S. Congress being either too weak or too much under the control of Globalist interests to put a stop to the sell-out of our Sovereignty.

Meantime, the Globalists plotters would have us totally distracted from their insidious conspiracy by foreign wars in Iraq, in Afghanistan, and the Russia-Georgia fiasco.

They would also have us overlook the fact that John McCain is another one of their conspiratorial puppets by having us focus on HOW TERRIBLE IT WOULD BE TO HAVE B. O. AS OUR PRESIDENT!

* * * * * * *


One of two things:

1) LOOK TO, AND FLEE TO, THE MOUNTAIN: -- viz., run to the polls and vote for the lesser of two evils, and/or frantically try to save our nation politically. But, I assert: this would be following the advice of David's counselors. It would be trying to find refuge and deliverance where it cannot be found: ON CAPITOL HILL -- ON THE MOUNTAIN! Dear Heart, I verily believe we are AT the time when Christians are going to have to start focusing the greatest amount of their attention and efforts ABOVE CAPITOL HILL, ABOVE THE MOUNTAIN, if this nation is to be preserved.


"When the foundations are destroyed, WHAT CAN THE RIGHTEOUS DO?"

Answer: -- BOMBARD HEAVEN! In spite of the greatest possible turn out to the polls, in spite of the greatest number of phone calls, letters, and emails sent to Capitol Hill standing against the betrayal of our nation and protesting the evils in our land, wicked men are going to do as they please -- UNLESS GOD STOPS THEM!

There is nothing wrong with shining the light on our nation's ills; there is nothing wrong with making those calls, writing those letters, sending those emails -- but when it comes to voting for a true and worthy patriot this time around, I verily believe neither major candidate is such, and I THINK IT VERY LIKELY THAT THE GREATEST AND BEST THING CHRISTIANS CAN NOW DO IS: VOTE IN THE PLACE OF PRAYER!

David looked far above the mountains and hills. He looked to Him Who is "Far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come" (Eph. 1:21).

As a result, both David and Israel were preserved. Should not every true Christian and Patriot emulate that example now? I SAY YES. MILLIONS OF TIMES, YES!

Should we vote for an evil man to keep a more evil man out of office? I trow not! Psalm 75:7 -- "But God is the judge: he putteth down one, and setteth up another." God set up Saul and put him down when he corrupted himself. He told Israel: -- "I gave thee a king in mine anger, and took him away in my wrath" (Hos. 13:11).

It is NOT my business to keep Barack Obama out of office. It IS my business to refrain from lending my support or vote for any man or woman who undermines and destroys the God-ordained "foundations" of righteous and just government. If I thus withhold my support for John S. McCain and one worse than he, in the person of B. H. Obama, is elected President, then THE GOD WHO SET HIM UP will also determine how long he governs, and there is no limit to God's power and means of so doing -- apart from all human power. I make no insidious suggestion here. I simply state the facts. Selah.

Pray for a Spirit of Judgment

According to US Magazine, Ellen DeGeneres and Portia De Rossi, 35, will wed Saturday in California.Following the California Supreme Court's monumental ruling that same sex couple's have the "right to marry," DeGeneres announced she planned to wed her longtime girlfriend on a taping of her show in May."It's something that we've wanted to do and we want it to be legal and we are very, very excited," DeGeneres, 50, gushed.

She is gushing her way to a pit of hell along with every other homosexual that refuses to repent and turn to Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. Isaiah 4:4 says: "When the Lord shall have washed away the filth of the daughters of Zion, and shall have purged the blood of Jerusalem from the midst thereof by the spirit of judgment, and by the spirit of burning." Pray that God might send a spirit of judgment to our nation. We need the judgment of God to bring revival. Before one might dismiss this thinking, remember the aftermath of September 11, 2001; remember the singing of "Amazing Grace" in Washington D.C., the increased church attendance for a month and the lack of complaint about the mention of God on television. Yes; sadly enough it seems the only thing that will move America is a judgment of God. Matthew 18:8 says: "Wherefore if thy hand or thy foot offend thee, cut them off, and cast them from thee: it is better for thee to enter into life halt or maimed, rather than having two hands or two feet to be cast into everlasting fire." Yes, it is better to have judgment and see revival than to enter into hell whole.

More Olympic Persecution of Christians

The following is reported from the China Aid Association:

1. "Pastor Hua Huiqi, who was evicted from his rental apartment in Beijing on July 2, and subsequently forced to leave China’s capital, was arrested Sunday while trying to attend a service at a state-approved church. The service at the Three Self-Patriotic Movement’s Kuanjie Church was attended by U.S. President George W. Bush. According to China Aid Association, Pastor Hua was walking to the state-approved church early Sunday morning when he was detained by the Chinese police. After about six hours, Pastor Hua took an opportunity and fled. He is now at large. Pastor Hua once had his door welded shut by Chinese police to keep him inside. In another incident, a policeman used a 10-pound hammer to break the locks on his door to evict Pastor Hua and his family including his 90-year-old father. Since that incident a couple of months ago Pastor Hua has been basically homeless. Government officials have labeled Hua a trouble-maker and stated their intention was to detain Hua until after the Olympic Games."

2."Pastor Zhang Zhongxin is appealing his two-year sentence to a reeducation labor camp. In July, Chinese authorities convicted him of being a member of a cult, organizing Sunday school activities and sharing the gospel. Since Pastor Zhang’s imprisonment, members of his church have also been imprisoned and others have been harassed by police. In addition, Bibles and Christian materials have been confiscated from their homes. In 2005, Zhongxin established The Rainbow Missions Fellowship and Timothy Bible training school, in Jining city, Shandong Province, where Christian leaders are trained." His hearing was Aug. 14. We are waiting for the outcome.

We must continue to pray for our Chinese brethren. Pray for Divine protection for the Christian leaders and their families. Pray that the captors will see Jesus Christ in their prisoners and be converted. Pray for the Christians to remain strong in the face of persecution. And finally, pray that we will be as faithful as they are presently.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Muslim Father Burns Christian Daughter Alive

WorldNetDaily reported this atrocity on Wednesday August 13, 2008. Should we follow the spiritually undiscerning politicians who keep telling us that the Muslim religion is one of love and peace? Where is the outcry of those peaceful loving Muslims over this barbaric act? We should not be on the same platform as these people. No Christian minister should participate with Muslims in interfaith gatherings when this type of behavior is not vigorously condemned. We need to pray for those Christians in Muslim countries who face death daily. In addition, we need to understand and not forget that Muslims kill Christians. They believe that according to their faith they have the right to do so. There can be no peaceful co-existence with a group that believes that "god" approves of their violent murderous acts. Here is the article as posted:

"A Saudi Arabian Muslim father cut out his daughter's tongue and lit her on fire upon learning that she had become a Christian.

The child became curious about Jesus Christ after she read Christian material online, the Gulf News reported.

Her father read of her Internet conversation, detached her tongue and burned her to death "following a heated debate on religion," according to an International Christian Concern report."

China Ordered Churches Closed During the Olympics

I have previously written about not being fooled by the Chinese during the Olympics. I am not concerned with the deception during the opening ceremonies of who was singing or the computerized footprints; I am talking about what the Chinese government is doing to Christians. Read this report and pray for the true church in China. I believe it to be the fastest growing part of the body of Christ. Don't be fooled by the smiles and the cute pandas.

Churches ordered closed during Olympics
Pastors forced to sign agreements not to meet for 90 days

An organization founded by a man who escaped from China after being persecuted for his Christian faith says it has uncovered a secret Chinese government document demanding that churches shut their doors for 90 days around the Beijing Olympics.
"Should church members violate these rules they will be subject to the disciplinary actions of the Chinese government," said the report from China Aid Association, an organization dedicated to helping persecuted Christians.
"Pastors were forced to sign a written agreement that they would not participate in religious services while the Olympic Games are taking place in China," the organization said.
China Aid said the document, drafted by Chinese government officials, specifies that the house churches in China "refrain from organizing and joining illegal gatherings and refrain from receiving donations, sermons and preaching from overseas religious organizations and groups that have a purpose."
The group asserted the discovery of the document "provides further evidence of the PRC's hypocrisy towards creating a 'harmonious society' marked by religious freedom and rule of law."
"The fact the document was issued while the world's focus is on China is a blatant challenge to the international community and an apathetic stance toward seeking to correct human rights violations," China Aid said.
The organization said the Chinese document that pastors were required to sign, translated into English, says:
• We will abide by the relevant provisions in the Constitution of the People's Republic of China and Regulations on Religious Affairs and persevere in patriotism and love for one's religion.
• We will observe the relevant codes of conduct and the law and refrain from doing anything that endangers the society. We will also refrain from organizing and joining illegal gatherings and refrain from receiving donations, sermons and preaching from overseas religious organizations and groups that have a purpose.
• During the Olympic Games, activities at the gathering sites will be shut down for three months (July 15-October 15)
• Should we violate the above rules, we will let the relevant agencies handle the case according to law.

More Great Quotes to Consider

I trust these quotes will encourage you today. Please note with special attention the words of Matthew Henry and David MacDonald.

"Our lives are to be indisputable evidence of the resurrection of
Jesus Christ." - Carter Conlon

"The root of all sin is the suspicion that God is not good."
- Oswald Chambers

"Where reason cannot wade there faith may swim."
- Thomas Watson

"Don't plan without God. God seems to have a delightful way of
upsetting the plans we have made, when we have not taken Him
into account." - Oswald Chambers

"I know men, and I tell you that Jesus is not a man. The religion of
Christ is a mystery which subsists by its own force, and proceeds
from a mind which is not a human mind. We find in it a marked
individuality, which originated a train of words and actions unknown
before. Jesus is not a philosopher, for His proofs are miracles, and
from the first His disciples adored Him. Alexander, Caesar,
Charlemagne and myself founded empires; but on what foundation
did we rest the creatures of our genius? Upon force. But Jesus
Christ founded an empire upon love; and at this hour millions of
men would die for Him. I die before my time, and my body will be
given back to the earth to become food for worms. Such is the fate
of him who has been called the great Napoleon. What an abyss
between my deep misery and the eternal kingdom of Christ, which
is proclaimed, loved, adored, and is still existing over the whole
earth!" Then, turning to Gen. Bertrand, the emperor added: "If you
do not perceive that Jesus Christ is God, I did wrong in appointing
you a general." - Napoleon Bonaparte

"Prayer can do anything that God can do."
- E.M. Bounds

"Revival is a renewed conviction of sin and repentance, followed by
an intense desire to live in obedience to God. It is giving up one's
will to God in deep humility." - Charles Finney

"What I have seen in the past 10 years of traveling - performing at a
church one day and a casino the next - is that a lot of people in the
church want to be entertained, and people in casinos want to be
ministered to. That's hard to understand, but I see a hunger in the
world that I don't see in the church." - Ricky Shaggs (musician)

"Sanctified afflictions are spiritual promotions." - Matthew Henry

"Those who complain that they make no progress in the life of
prayer because they "cannot meditate" should examine, not their
capacity for meditation, but their capacity for suffering and love.
For there is a hard and costly element, a deep seriousness, a
crucial choice, in all genuine religion." - Evelyn Underhill

"Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me,
let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me. For
whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose
his life for my sake shall find it."
-- Matthew 16:24,25 (KJV)

"To love means loving the unlovable. To forgive means pardoning
the unpardonable. Faith means believing the unbelievable. Hope
means hoping when everything seems hopeless."
- Gilbert K. Chesterton

"Don't try to bring the Word of God down to your level. Let it pull
you up to its level." - David MacDonald

Thursday, August 14, 2008

California Federal Court Denies Credit for Christian Instruction

"A federal judge says the University of California can deny course credit to applicants from Christian high schools whose textbooks declare the Bible infallible and reject evolution." This is a dangerous ruling and has the potential to effect every child who is taught science and history from a Biblical worldview. As I have been saying for a while, it is a time to stand for truth. It is a time to be militant in our response and call sin "sin" and declare the judgment of God.

Here is the article:

(08-12) 17:25 PDT SAN FRANCISCO -- A federal judge says the University of California can deny course credit to applicants from Christian high schools whose textbooks declare the Bible infallible and reject evolution.

Rejecting claims of religious discrimination and stifling of free expression, U.S. District Judge James Otero of Los Angeles said UC's review committees cited legitimate reasons for rejecting the texts - not because they contained religious viewpoints, but because they omitted important topics in science and history and failed to teach critical thinking.

Otero's ruling Friday, which focused on specific courses and texts, followed his decision in March that found no anti-religious bias in the university's system of reviewing high school classes. Now that the lawsuit has been dismissed, a group of Christian schools has appealed Otero's rulings to the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco.

"It appears the UC is attempting to secularize private religious schools," attorney Jennifer Monk of Advocates for Faith and Freedom said Tuesday. Her clients include the Association of Christian Schools International, two Southern California high schools and several students.

Charles Robinson, the university's vice president for legal affairs, said the ruling "confirms that UC may apply the same admissions standards to all students and to all high schools without regard to their religious affiliations." What the plaintiffs seek, he said, is a "religious exemption from regular admissions standards."

The suit, filed in 2005, challenged UC's review of high school courses taken by would-be applicants to the 10-campus system. Most students qualify by taking an approved set of college preparatory classes; students whose courses lack UC approval can remain eligible by scoring well in those subjects on the Scholastic Assessment Test.

Christian schools in the suit accused the university of rejecting courses that include any religious viewpoint, "any instance of God's guidance of history, or any alternative ... to evolution."

But Otero said in March that the university has approved many courses containing religious material and viewpoints, including some that use such texts as "Chemistry for Christian Schools" and "Biology: God's Living Creation," or that include scientific discussions of creationism as well as evolution.

UC denies credit to courses that rely largely or entirely on material stressing supernatural over historic or scientific explanations, though it has approved such texts as supplemental reading, the judge said.

For example, in Friday's ruling, he upheld the university's rejection of a history course called Christianity's Influence on America. According to a UC professor on the course review committee, the primary text, published by Bob Jones University, "instructs that the Bible is the unerring source for analysis of historical events" and evaluates historical figures based on their religious motivations.

Another rejected text, "Biology for Christian Schools," declares on the first page that "if (scientific) conclusions contradict the Word of God, the conclusions are wrong," Otero said.

He also said the Christian schools presented no evidence that the university's decisions were motivated by hostility to religion.

UC attorney Christopher Patti said Tuesday that the judge assessed the review process accurately.

"We evaluate the courses to see whether they prepare these kids to come to college at UC," he said. "There was no evidence that these students were in fact denied the ability to come to the university."

But Monk, the plaintiffs' lawyer, said Otero had used the wrong legal standard and had given the university too much deference.

"Science courses from a religious perspective are not approved," she said. "If it comes from certain publishers or from a religious perspective, UC simply denies them."

Todd Bentley Separates From His Wife

Normally, I would never post something so tragic as this; however, because of so many that have not seen the Biblical errors in the Lakeland Revival the fruits of its leadership become relevant. Our response should be prayer for Todd Bentley and his wife; prayer for the thousands that blindly followed him without discernment; prayer for the Charismatic movement in general and for a true revival based on the Word of God (and not dreams, visitations, angels, etc.)Below is an E-Mail from J. Lee Grady of Charisma News:

"LIFE AFTER LAKELAND: Sorting Out the Confusion
-by J. Lee Grady.

Todd Bentley’s announcement that his marriage is ending has
thrown our movement into a tailspin—and questions need to be answered.

It was not supposed to end like this.

Evangelist Todd Bentley had heralded the Lakeland revival as the
greatest Pentecostal outpouring since Azusa Street. From his
stage in a gigantic tent in Florida, Bentley preached to thousands,
bringing many of them to the stage for prayer. Many claimed to
be healed of deafness, blindness, heart problems, depression and
dozens of other conditions in the Lakeland services, which ran for
more than 100 consecutive nights. Bentley announced confidently
that dozens of people had been raised from the dead during the revival.

But this week, a few days after the Canadian preacher announced
the end of his visits to Lakeland, he told his staff that his marriage
is ending. Without blaming the pace of the revival for Bentley’s
personal problems, his board released a public statement saying
that he and his wife, Shonnah, are separating. The news shocked
Bentley’s adoring fans and saddened those who have questioned
his credibility since the Lakeland movement erupted in early April.

I’m sad. I’m disappointed. And I’m angry. Here are few of my
many, many questions about this fiasco:

Why did so many people flock to Lakeland from around the world
to rally behind an evangelist who had serious credibility issues
from the beginning?

To put it bluntly, we’re just plain gullible.

From the first week of the Lakeland revival, many discerning
Christians raised questions about Bentley’s beliefs and practices.
They felt uneasy when he said he talked to an angel in his hotel
room. They sensed something amiss when he wore a T-shirt with
a skeleton on it. They wondered why a man of God would cover
himself with tattoos. They were horrified when they heard him
describe how he tackled a man and knocked his tooth out during prayer.

But among those who jumped on the Lakeland bandwagon,
discernment was discouraged. They were expected to swallow
and follow. The message was clear: “This is God. Don’t question.”
So before we could all say, “Sheeka Boomba” (as Bentley often
prayed from his pulpit), many people went home, prayed for people
and shoved them to the floor with reckless abandon, Bentley-style.

I blame this lack of discernment, partly, on raw zeal for God. We’re
spiritual hungry—which can be a good thing. But sometimes, hungry
people will eat anything.

Many of us would rather watch a noisy demonstration of miracles,
signs and wonders than have a quiet Bible study. Yet we are faced
today with the sad reality that our untempered zeal is a sign of
immaturity. Our adolescent craving for the wild and crazy makes
us do stupid things. It’s way past time for us to grow up.

Why didn’t anyone in Lakeland denounce the favorable comments
Bentley made about William Branham?

This one baffles me. Branham embraced horrible deception near
the end of his ministry... and his strange doctrines are still
embraced by a cultlike following today...

Why didn’t anyone correct this error from the pulpit? Godly leaders
are supposed to protect the sheep from heresy, not spoon feed
deception to them. Only God knows how far this poison traveled
from Lakeland to take root elsewhere. May God forgive us for
allowing His Word to be so flippantly contaminated.

A prominent Pentecostal evangelist called me this week after
Bentley’s news hit the fan. He said to me: “I’m now convinced that
a large segment of the charismatic church will follow the anti-Christ
when he shows up because they have no discernment.” Ouch.
Hopefully we’ll learn our lesson this time and apply the necessary
caution when an imposter shows up.

Why did God TV tell people that “any criticism of Todd Bentley is demonic”?

This ridiculous statement was actually made on one of God TV’s
pre-shows. In fact, the network’s hosts also warned listeners that
if they listened to criticism of Bentley, they could lose their healings.

This is cultic manipulation at its worst. The Bible tells us that the
Bereans were noble believers because they studied the Scriptures
daily “to see whether these things were so” (Acts 17:11, NASB).
Yet in the case of Lakeland, honest intellectual inquiry was viewed
as a sign of weakness. People were expected to jump first and
then open their eyes.

Just because we believe in the power of the Holy Spirit does not
mean we check our brains at the church door. We are commanded
to test the spirits. Jesus wants us to love Him with our hearts and our minds.

Because of the Lakeland scandal, there may be large numbers of
people who feel they’ve been burned by Bentley. Some may give
up on church and join the growing ranks of bitter, disenfranchised
Christians. Others may suffer total spiritual shipwreck. This could
have been avoided if leaders had been more vocal about their
objections and urged people to evaluate spiritual experiences
through the filter of God’s Word.

Why did a group of respected ministers lay hands on Bentley on
June 23 and publicly ordain him? Did they know of his personal problems?

This controversial ceremony was organized by Peter Wagner, who
felt that one of Bentley’s greatest needs was proper spiritual
covering. He asked California pastors Che Ahn and Bill Johnson,
along with Canadian pastor John Arnott, to lay hands on Bentley
and bring him under their care.

Bentley certainly needs such covering. No one in ministry today
should be out on their own, living in isolation without checks,
balances and wise counsel. It was commendable that Wagner
reached out to Bentley and that Bentley acknowledged his need
for spiritual fathers by agreeing to submit to the process. The
question remains, however, whether it was wise to commend
Bentley during a televised commissioning service that at times
seemed more like a king’s coronation.

In hindsight, we can all see that it would have been better to take
Bentley into a back room and talk about his personal issues.

The Bible tells us that ordination of a minister is a sober
responsibility. Paul wrote: “Do not lay hands upon anyone too
hastily and thereby share responsibility for the sins of others”
(1 Tim. 5:22). We might be tempted to rush the process, but the
apostle warned against fast-tracking ordination—and he said that
those who commission a minister who is not ready for the job will
bear some of the blame for his failures.

I trust that Wagner, Ahn, Johnson and Arnott didn’t know of
Bentley’s problems before they ordained him. I am sure they are
saddened by the events of this week and are reaching out to
Bentley and his wife to promote healing and restoration. But I
believe that they, along with Bentley and the owners of God TV,
owe the body of Christ a forthright, public apology for thrusting
Bentley’s ministry into the spotlight prematurely. (Perhaps such
an apology should be aired on God TV.)

Can anything good come out of this?

That depends on how people respond. If the men assigned to
oversee Bentley offer loving but firm correction, and if Bentley
responds humbly to the process by stepping out of ministry for a
season of rehabilitation, we could witness a healthy case of church
discipline play out the way it is supposed to. If all those who were
so eager to promote Bentley now rush just as fast to repent for
their errors in judgment, then the rest of us could breathe a huge
sigh of relief—and the credibility of our movement could be restored.

I still believe that God desires to visit our nation in supernatural
power. I know He wants to heal multitudes, and I will continue
praying for a healing revival to sweep across the United States.
But we must contend for the genuine, not an imitation. True revival
will be accompanied by brokenness, humility, reverence and
repentance—not the arrogance, showmanship and empty hype
that often was on display in Lakeland.

We are weathering an unprecedented season of moral failure and
spiritual compromise in our nation today. I urge everyone in the
charismatic world to pray for Bentley; his wife, Shonnah; his three
young children; Bentley’s ministry staff; and the men and women
who serve as his counselors and advisers. Let’s pray that God will
turn this embarrassing debacle into an opportunity for miraculous restoration."

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

It Is Time to Hate!

I think it is time to start hating. Now before you think I just had a bad night or ate something that did not agree with me, consider that “playing nice” with evil has not faired well. If we examine our public schools, government and economy, it seems clear that trying to get along with those that do not share the Christian faith has simply not worked. I suggest to you that the greatest love we can show our fellow man is to hate their sin and proclaim the judgment of God. Since the preaching of the Word is God's chosen method to bring salvation to the lost, it is time for us to adopt God's approach to sin and speak it plainly.

I believe we are to imitate God and not some humanistic idea of fairness and love. God’s Word says in Psalm 5:5-6: “The boastful cannot stand in Your presence; You hate all evildoers. You destroy those who tell lies; the LORD abhors a man of bloodshed and treachery.” (HCSB) The Word plainly tells us that God hates all evildoers. This may violate a preconception of God as an all merciful and loving Creator. The problem is that mercy and love do one no good until received; prior to reception, judgment is God's only response to sin and God will judge sin. John Owen in his work “The Mortification of Sin” said the following: “We must hate all sin, as sin, and not just that which troubles us. Love for Christ, because He went to the cross, and hate for sin that sent Him there….” It because of my deep appreciation for the sacrifice of Jesus Christ at Calvary that I must hate sin.

The word “hate” in Psalm 5 can be defined as to “hate detest, abhor;” God is serious about His approach to sin and those that make it a way of life. Who loves homosexuals more: the one who is silent and does not warn them that they are lost and going to hell or the one who does? The true lover of the homosexual’s soul is the one that proclaims this truth. Consider Paul’s words in Galatians 5: 19-21: “Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.”

Think about the adultery of John Edwards, his mistress, the many homosexuals proclaiming their “lifestyle,” lying politicians and those that practice these things. Without true Godly repentance, they are headed to a devil’s hell. We must proclaim these truths. God hates “all evildoers.” It is time to leave the humanistic religion that says that God loves everybody and is just going to overlook their transgressions. No; God is a holy God and He demands His people to live holy lives. You cannot separate who you are from what you do. This has been the approach for over 100 years and it leads to a weak anemic church. It is time to take a stand and hate what God hates and He hates sin!

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Is America Laughing Itself to Death?

There seems to be an emphasis on laughter in our society. Consider how many television sitcoms there are on TV. Think about the number of reality shows there are currently available to watch. Why do people flock to these? I suggest it is because we want to laugh at regular people trying to do something that will end in their making a fool of themselves. However, there are a number of comedies that portray sin as funny. There is nothing funny about sin. Now I am not against humor because the Bible does tell us about the medicinal effects of a merry heart. However, I want you to consider what you are laughing at. Again, I am not opposed to having a good clean time and we need entertainment; I am only asking you to consider what you are laughing at? Are you laughing at sin?

Consider an excerpt from a book called "Tips to Christian" written many years ago by Fairy Chism:

"Anything for a laugh. On television, radio and in the newspapers, we see people knocking themselves out trying to entertain us.

Everywhere you go, billboards shout at you: 'Hilarious funniest comedy of the year.' Entertainers seem to feel that if America would only collapse in a paroxysm of mirth, all our problems would be solved. But frankly, I see American ideals and heritage's dying before our eyes. I believe America is laughing itself into hell.

Whether we believe it or not, America finds sin hilariously funny. But we are not the first nation. Babylon saw it that way, and the handwriting came on the wall. Rome saw it that way, and faded from power. France followed suit and the moral decay became a cancer. Now America laughs at sin, and I see the handwriting on the wall.

Today all around us there seems to be an absolute absence of heartfelt sorrow for sin. We need a real recognition of sin and a genuine heart sorrow combined with a turning away from sin, if we are to survive. To a nation of old, God said in II Chronicles 7:14: 'If My people, which are called by My name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.'

What is so funny? Are atomic bombs and broken bodies and full sanitariums funny? Are drinking leaders and shady business deals and open gambling causes for mirth? Are dirty books and immorality causes for hilarity? Why laugh when the fiber of a whole nation is being wrenched apart by godlessness?"

The next time you look for something to make you laugh, ask yourself is this show and content pleasing to God? There seems to be something operating here more than just a desire to make you laugh. May I suggest that this is another attempt to redefine sin so that it will be more palatable. Once that happens we know longer stand against something that we have been laughing at. Sin is still sin and we need to stand in opposition to it in all forms.

Monday, August 11, 2008

John Edwards' Admission of Error

In David Kupelian’s book The Marketing of Evil, he sets forth three steps that are used to get people to change their thinking about a certain behavior: desensitize, jam and convert. In focusing on the first step desensitization, the attempt is all around us. There are efforts continually in our society to redefine something in terms other than sin. You see if we call something “sin” that implies a moral wrong that involves God. However, if one eliminates God from the equation, the behavior under consideration can be classified as a mistake in judgment. We as Christians must hold fast to labeling behavior as sin when the Bible says it is. If it is sin, then God is involved and repentance and restitution become proper considerations.

Take for example John Edwards’ recent admission that he had consistently lied about having an affair. Below is the text of his statement with my comments in parenthesis:

"In 2006, I made a serious error in judgment (no you didn’t, you committed sin) and conducted myself in a way that was disloyal to my family and to my core beliefs (and also to a Holy God). I recognized my mistake and I told my wife that I had a liaison with another woman, and I asked for her forgiveness (but did you seek forgiveness from God as it was His Commandment number seven you violated). Although I was honest in every painful detail with my family, I did not tell the public (or God?). When a supermarket tabloid told a version of the story, I used the fact that the story contained many falsities to deny it. But being 99 percent honest is no longer enough (it never was as it violates God’s Commandment number nine).
"I was and am ashamed of my conduct and choices, and I had hoped that it would never become public (sin will be exposed either in this life or the next). With my family, I took responsibility for my actions in 2006 and today I take full responsibility publicly (have you taken responsibility before God?). But that misconduct took place for a short period in 2006 (sin has a pleasure for a season). It ended then. I am and have been willing to take any test necessary to establish the fact that I am not the father of any baby, and I am truly hopeful that a test will be done so this fact can be definitively established. I only know that the apparent father has said publicly that he is the father of the baby. I also have not been engaged in any activity of any description that requested, agreed to or supported payments of any kind to the woman or to the apparent father of the baby.
"It is inadequate to say to the people who believed in me that I am sorry, as it is inadequate to say to the people who love me that I am sorry (what about God?). In the course of several campaigns, I started to believe that I was special and became increasingly egocentric and narcissistic (pride goes before the fall). If you want to beat me up -- feel free (no, we want you to acknowledge your sin not an error of judgment). You cannot beat me up more than I have already beaten up myself. I have been stripped bare and will now work with everything I have to help my family and others who need my help.
"I have given a complete interview on this matter and having done so, will have nothing more to say."

Our society is desperate to eliminate the moral boundaries provided by the Word of God. We as Christians must stand firm in our convictions. Yes, you will be called intolerant and judgmental. Yes, you may lose friends and even some in the visible church. Notwithstanding what you lose, by standing for God’s truth you are gaining so much more. You are standing with the cloud of witnesses that were willing and did lose their lives for the truth. Sin is still sin and it is our duty to proclaim it whenever we are given the opportunity. We must be faithful to the end. Don’t allow yourself to become a victim of desensitization; the world will bombard you with its philosophies and thinking. The Word of God is to be our foundation. If you allow the world to prevail on your thinking, jamming will be next. Jamming can be defined as “psychological terrorism meant to silence expression of or even support for dissenting opinion.” (Kupelian at page 26) Finally, conversion is when you adopt the thinking of those that desired to modify your belief system. It is all around us and happening every day.

John Edwards did not just “cheat on his wife,” he violated the Commandments of a Holy God. It is our duty to say so.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Don't Be Fooled by the Olympics

The Beijing Olympics began on Friday. You can hear all the wonderful comments about how much this accomplishment means to the Chinese people. You can see the smiles of the leaders and the happiness of their people. You can see and hear of all the progress the nation of China has made. You can see the incredible opening ceremonies and marvel at the beauty of it all. You can be drawn in and forget that you are hearing and seeing only one side, a very small side, of what is really taking place.

China persecutes Christians. They hurt, jail and kill believers for doing exactly what most will do tomorrow by going to the church of their choice. Read the following statement from CBC News:

"Despite promises from Chinese authorities to improve the country's human rights record for the Beijing Summer Olympics, some high-profile citizens are being kept under close supervision until the Games are over.
While millions of Chinese are preparing to celebrate the opening ceremonies on Friday, others, such as author Yu Jie, will miss the festivities.
Yu's works have been banned in mainland China since 2004, when he was arrested for planning to write about China's jailed dissidents.
Since then, around every major holiday, two national security officers have been posted outside his Beijing apartment.
Yu said he will get the same treatment from the officers during the Beijing Games, 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
And while he is allowed to wander around his neighbourhood, he can't leave it unless the agents drive him.
'It's illegal what they're doing to me,' Yu told CBC News in a recent interview. 'There's no law that says they can treat me like this.'"

You are not seeing the true China when you see the pagentry of the Olympics. Don't be fooled; pray for those that are being held captive for their faith in Jesus Christ. Pray for the house church leaders and their families that they will stand strong in the face of the persecution. Pray that the leaders hearts will soften toward the church in China. As Christians we don't want to be like the traitors of our nation when visiting Vietnam during the 1960's, when the same smiling officials were responsible for torturing the POW's. Don't forget what is realling taking place every day to your brothers and sisters in Christ. Use the Olympics as a reminder to pray for the persecuted church. And don't forget what they endure for the cause of Jesus Christ.

Some Good Quotes to Ponder

As we prepare our hearts for our Sunday worship services tomorrow, I thought some of these quotes would be beneficial:

'If I profess with the loudest voice and clearest exposition every
portion of the Word of God except precisely that little point which
the world and the devil are at that moment attacking, I am not
confessing Christ, however boldly I may be professing Him. Where
the battle rages there the loyalty of the soldier is proved and to be
steady on all the battle front besides, is mere flight and disgrace
if he flinches at that point.' - Martin Luther

"If you don't plan to live the Christian life totally committed to
knowing your God and to walking in obedience to Him, then don't
begin; for this is what Christianity is all about. It is a change of
citizenship, a change of governments, a change of allegience. If
you have no intention of letting Christ rule your life, then forget
Christianity; it's not for you." - K. Arthur

"Our murmuring is the devil's music." - Thomas Watson

"Upon a life I did not live, upon a death I did not die; another's
life, another's death, I stake my whole eternity." - Horatius Bonar

"Preach abroad! It is the cooping yourselves up in rooms that has
dampened the work of God, which never was and never will be
carried out to any purpose without going into the highways and
hedges and compelling men and women to come in."
- Jonathan Edwards.

"No sort of defense is needed for preaching outdoors, but it would
take a very strong argument to prove that a man who has never
preached beyond the walls of his meetinghouse has done his duty.
A defense is required for services within buildings rather than for
worship outside of them." - William Booth

"The true man of God is heartsick, grieved at the worldliness of
the Church...grieved at the toleration of sin in the Church, grieved
at the prayerlessness in the Church. He is disturbed that the
corporate prayer of the Church no longer pulls down the strongholds
of the devil." - Leonard Ravenhill

"One hundred religious persons knit into a unity by careful
organization do no constitute a church any more than eleven dead
men make a football team. The first requisite is life, always."
- A. W. Tozer

"It is God's way to let ministers try all their strength first, and
then He Himself comes and subdues the hearts they cannot."
- Jonathan Edwards

"A man full of hope will be full of action." - Thomas Brooks

"We have the truth and we need not be afraid to say so."
- J.C. Ryle

"Finney preached, and sometimes the whole congregation would
get up and leave! That's good preaching." - Leonard Ravenhill

Friday, August 8, 2008

The End of the Lakeland Revival?

It is reported from Todd Bentley's web site that the meetings in Florida are changing venues back to the church and his leadership will cease as of August 23, 2008:

"In my last update I said, 'more exciting details will be forthcoming!' That said, our Board of Directors, ministry leadership, and spiritual advisors have considered and prayed into several key factors relating to good management and good stewardship of the revival. With venue costs and other practical matters in sight, a decision has been made to change the venue back to Ignited Church effective Sunday, Aug.3. Fresh Fire Ministries will continue to lead the revival meetings until August 23rd and after that, for the time being, the meetings will be under the direction of Pastor Stephen Strader and Ignited Church. Meetings will continue at the same time: 10AM and 7PM each day.
There is no doubt that the Outpouring’s revival-momentum will continue!—we welcome everyone to come to Lakeland to be immersed in the glorious healing pool that’s been established there! If you can make it to Florida, now is certainly the time to do so! In the meantime, or if it’s not possible to come, storm the gates of heaven for your area or region. Watch where the Ark of God’s glory is going and if possible make plans to visit one of those 38 cities."

Is Drunkenness a Sign of Revival?

For over a decade a part of the Charismatic community has advocated “being drunk in the spirit.” They base this belief on Acts 2: 13: “Others mocking said, These men are full of new wine.” It seems that on the Day of Pentecost that some in the crowd thought that those filled with the Holy Spirit and speaking in tongues were drunk. The argument is that if people thought they were drunk then, people should think that we are drunk today when the Holy Spirit is present. This type of behavior has been seen most recently in the events in Lakeland conducted by Todd Bentley. I attended a conference several years ago conducted by someone who was under the authority of Peter Wagner who convenes modern day apostles under the New Apostolic Reformation. In this conference people began to fall down and appear drunk. Then the leader stated that they had received an E-Mail that a certain gang would be killing people over the weekend. Supposedly the gang members would drive around with their bright lights on and anyone that clicked their high beams in response would be followed and executed. The leader said that the Holy Spirit had directed that part of the group come on stage and pretend to drive make believe cars. Others pretended to be the gang members surrounding them. Finally a third group imitated police officers and arrested the gang members before they could hurt anyone. The people came forward and followed the leader’s instructions. Everyone was thrilled because now the people were safe and the tragedy averted. People began to behave more and more intoxicated. However, the original news was a long standing hoax that resurfaces every few years. This is one of the problems when people leave the certainty of the Word of God in exchange for following voices independent of the Word. Is this revival when people act drunk and play make believe?

We have a great cloud of witnesses that have gone before us. We are to live with the same degree of commitment to Jesus Christ as they did. I am reminded of the true story of Felicitas and her seven sons in Rome 161 A.D. Felicitas and her seven sons were Christians that spread the Gospel everywhere they went. Emperor Antonius decided that he would put an end to her testimony and that of her sons. When the Mom refused to deny Christ, the Romans brought her children one by one before her. All were required to watch as the eldest was scourged with a whip until dead. The next two oldest were beaten to death with rods. The next was thrown to his death from a great height. The youngest three were beheaded. Finally, Felicitas having watched all of her children die as martyrs for Jesus Christ was beheaded.

How can we compare the party atmosphere that seems so prevalent today with the commitment of the early church? They would indeed think it strange to believe that the same Holy Spirit that allowed their death as a witness would be the same Holy Spirit that today wants His children to have a party and be drunk. It is time to quit in the name of unity fellowshipping with this nonsense. We are to stand for truth and that truth dictates that Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever. It is time for the partying to cease and the sacrificial holy living demanded by the Scriptures to be lived. Jesus said to deny ourselves, pick up our cross and follow Him. When we do so, there is no room to take another drink as both our hands should be holding tight to the cross. True revival will not occur unless we hold onto the cross with both hands. It is not a party; it is a fight.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Why There Is No Revival

There is much talk today about revival. The work of Todd Bentley in Lakeland Florida has caused a division even among the Charismatics. I do not intend to leap into the debate about Bentley as God has risen up many to expose those practices that are not pleasing to Him. What I intend to address in this post is why the church doesn’t have true revival in America. By revival I am not referring to a series of meetings that promote healing or the latest plan to give you a better life. I mean by the term the events seen in Jonah 3:5-10. There the king of Nineveh heard the Word of the Lord and said: “Let neither man nor beast, herd nor flock, taste any thing: let them not feed, nor drink water: But let man and beast be covered with sackcloth, and cry mightily unto God: yea, let them turn every one from his evil way, and from the violence that is in their hands.” That revival was birthed by fasting and repentance after hearing the Word of God that foretold judgment and destruction. This is the preaching that is needed today because judgment is coming. But why do we not see this type of revival? The following was written by J.M. Humphreys almost 100 years ago explaining why the church was powerless:
1. “As a whole, the church no longer has the ancient type of preachers.
a. Men through whose faces flashed divine lightning, through whose eyes beamed eternity, and whose voice and message struck more terror to the sinner than the tread of an earth quake.
b. Yes, clean ministers, unselfish ministers, sanctified, empowered ministers; ministers who are not afraid of the cross; not afraid to preach against sin in high and low places; not afraid to speak of an everlasting, burning hell; not afraid to cry out against false religion; not afraid to preach death to carnality; and not afraid of the poor-house.
c. Today, mentality has taken the place of spirituality. They do not preach the Christ of the Bible; neither do they preach with the power and unction of the Holy Ghost; it is all dry, dead words. It is no marvel that people can sit and sleep on the front seats, or joke and chew gum all during the sermon.

2. The next thing that ails the church is that she has no longer (as a whole) men and women who are true to their convictions, regardless of what people think or say. They are not ready, like Paul, to die for what they believe.
3. Her members have settled down and lost the three essentials, namely: the spirit of self-denial, the spirit of prayer and the passion for souls. Hundreds of God-called and God-anointed workers have settled down and taken up with mercenary occupations -- store-keeping, farming, selling automobiles, etc. The ancient cry -- "Give me souls or I will die" -- has almost left the earth.”
4. The church has lost the apostolic brand of faith.
a. We do not half believe God's word.
b. We do not look for results.
c. We do not insist that they come.
d. We do not urge our claim for all God has promised in His word.
5. The church is no longer radical in dealing with sin and hypocrisy. She does not make war with the Achaians, she no longer throws overboard the Jonahs, neither does she take her stand against Agaz [sic], the carnal mind, the Old Man.
6. Her members become irreverent and worldly minded.
a. They can laugh and joke in the house of worship, buy and sell, also open her sacred doors for political meetings and worldly enterprise.
b. Instead of the prayer meeting, concerts are held; instead of the class meeting, literary contests; and instead of old fashioned, Holy Ghost singing, operational performances are given by a lot of unsaved, half-nude young ladies, whose faces are painted like clowns, and who squeal like pigs. How in the name of common sense can we ever expect to have a revival over such performances?”

Do the words written by this long departed preacher ring true today? Do we see the same characteristics that caused a powerless church 100 years ago occurring now? Do we want real revival today? If we do, then our attention must be turned to prayer and fasting and not the seeking of signs and wonders. When true revival comes, if it comes, it will impact the entire area; that part of the world will be turned upside down. It will be done so not because of miracles of the flesh but because of the miracles of transformed lives due to the power of God. Whether God will grant revival I do not know; however, I do know that we are to be faithful as believers to live our lives sacrificially in brokenness and repentance. And when we do, those around us will see the true witness of the power of God and true revival may break out.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Silence Is Not Golden

I am sure you have heard the phrase “silence is golden.” The phrase has been around for a while. It suggests that while speech is silver, silence is golden and therefore more valuable. But is it always so? In about 5 weeks there will be many memorial services remembering the tragedy of September 11, 2001. No doubt there will be many “moments of silence.” What should be the Christian’s response? Are we to silently stand with non believers in a unified declaration of silence?
In 2001 after the terrorists had killed thousands of innocent lives, Rev. Duane Maxey wrote an article entitled “Silence That Insults the Living God.” In that writing, he contended that silence was actually cowardice. His reasons were as follows:
“(1) "Moments of Silence" are observed today because many feel that we must not insult Atheists and Agnostics who deny the existence of God and who derogate all prayer. So, instead of insulting them, moral cowards and deluded-do-gooders are insulting God! with their politically-correct dumbness toward the Deity!
(2) "Moments of Silence" are observed today to avoid insulting those who feel that "The Church" and "The State" must be kept entirely separate. So, they insult God, and drive Him farther from our nation at a time when He is most desperately needed, and when He might do wonders for our land if He was shown even the slightest modicum of respect! Those who perished last Tuesday and those who were imperiled were not praying to the ACLU, but that godless group is now being shown more respect in these "moments of silence" than is the God who controls our destiny!
(3) "Moments of Silence" are observed today in deference to many who deny that Jesus of Nazareth is the Christ. Such silence-advocates feel that we must not insult the Jews and others who think that the lowly Nazarene was nothing more than a good man, if even that! So, they dare to insult the Sovereign Deity of the Son of God while honoring all who deny Him! Even tacit approval of such politically-correct silence is itself a denial of Christ who warned: "Whosoever shall deny me before men, him will I also deny before my Father which is in heaven" (Matthew 10:33).
(4) "Moments of Silence" are observed today, lest we offend Muslim Americans who would feel insulted to hear God addressed as "Jehovah" instead of "Allah"! Public officials are going to great lengths now to differentiate between devout Muslims and Terrorists, but I think that a little investigation would reveal that in the minds of many Terrorists they are only putting Muslim Fundamentals into practice! NO -- A THOUSAND TIMES, NO! -- to the mistreatment of Muslims in America! Such hateful deeds are as foreign to true Christianity as are the deeds of those who committed the Kamikaze attacks upon the World Trade Center and the Pentagon last Tuesday. Still, it is an insult to the true God to refrain from calling audibly upon His Name, in deference to worshippers of the false "Allah".
(5) "Moments of Silence" are also observed today in deference to a number of deceived and deluded religious groups in America, including also Buddhists, Hindus -- all of whom, it is feared, would be insulted if we were to call audibly upon the name of Christ in public gatherings in memory of the thousands who died last Tuesday.”
There is a time of silence that honors God. Habakkuk 2:20 says: “But the LORD is in his holy temple: let all the earth keep silence before him.” Adam Clarke says of this verse: “Let all be dumb. Let none of them dare to open their mouths in the presence of Jehovah. He alone is Sovereign. He alone is the arbiter of life and death. Let all hear his commands with the deepest respect, obey them with the promptest diligence, and worship him with the most profound reverence.” In worship of our Sovereign Lord, silence can be a beautiful way to express an appreciation of the sacredness of the occasion. However, when standing with non believers who do not share our faith, we should not acquiesce for fear of offending them. It is a time to stand for truth. Our nation needs Christians to stand for the truths upon which this country was founded. Our Founding Fathers put their lives and lands on the line to establish a nation on Christian principles. It is not for us to remain silent when standing before men. We must not be silent.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Being Bound in the Spirit

In Acts 20: 22 it is reported that Paul said: “And now, behold, I go bound in the spirit unto Jerusalem, not knowing the things that shall befall me there….” I want to focus on the phrase “bound in the spirit.” What was Paul telling us? The word “bound” is a participle perfect passive nominative masculine singular verb. The meaning is that of being bound up or tied together. Paul is telling us that he was so connected to the Holy Spirit that he considered himself tied together with Him. What an incredible place to be. It is interesting to note that the verb is in the perfect passive; this means that that there was a past action that was affecting the present which action was received by Paul. Paul did not do the tying himself; the tying was done by someone other than Paul and he merely received the action. The Holy Spirit was the one that did the tying. This eliminates any consideration that Paul accomplished this state through his own works.

Although the work was done by the Holy Spirit, it was done on a willing heart that had surrendered his all to God. Paul had traveled to a place of consecration that he desired to be bound. Is this your testimony? Do you desire to be bound? Or would you prefer “Christianity Lite?” The “lite” version wants a Gospel without sacrifice; a walk of convenience and lots of blessings, i.e. money and prosperity. The true Gospel requires one to be ready to suffer for its sake. This is being bound; this is the walk that we are to have.

How do we get bound? Romans 12:1-2 tells us to present ourselves: “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.” The Brethren NT Commentary says of this verse: “Under the law sacrifices were made by offering the dead bodies of beasts as temporary atonements, until Christ, the Lamb of God, should come and be slain as the Great Sacrifice, to whom all the sacrifices of the law pointed. But now, in contrast with the sacrifices made under the law of Moses, God's people must offer their own bodies instead of the bodies of beasts. Their bodies must be living physically, and alive to God spiritually, and wholly dead to the world and Satan.” What I want you to notice is that there is no separation in Paul’s thought between our inner person and external actions. Too many today blame their moral failures on their flesh as if it was somehow an acceptable excuse. There is an attempt to separate what one is from what one does. This is partly Gnostic thought which is prevalent in the American church today. I remember years ago a television show “The Flip Wilson Show.” He would say, “The devil made me do it.” The truth is that people do what they want to at the time the act is performed. One will follow their strongest motivation at the given moment. I want to lose weight; I want an extra piece of cake. What happens next depends on which motivation rules at the moment. Do I desire to lose weight more than I desire the cake?

Paul is letting us know that if we keep our bodies on the altar as a living sacrifice, He will bind us to the Holy Spirit. This is to be our heart felt cry: “God, bind us to You.” Are you ready to be bound?