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Is There a Line Anymore?

Judges 21:25 says “In those days Israel had no king; everyone did as he saw fit.

Historians will tell you that we must never forget the past, for when we do, we will surely repeat the mistakes of old. Have you ever personally done this? I know we can look through history and see example after example of people and countries trying to do the same thing that had already failed them once before. Maybe you know of some specific examples?

Today I’m challenged considering how over history, when people abandon God’s plan, they always end up coming back to God and begging for forgiveness. It does not fail. Over and over the Israelites went through this crazy cycle. Many people also personally go through this cycle of fighting God’s plan in their lives only to come to the foot of the cross in repentance when they realize the folly of their “own plan”.

So, how does this statement, “everyone did as he saw fit” from Judges, which is the very last verse of the entire book, become relevant today? In the USA I see this mentality becoming the norm. Don’t you? Nobody is allowed to tell anyone they are wrong. There are riots over the simplest things. The Satanic Temple is suing over a Nativity Scene, really! (1) Where is the line to be drawn? It must be drawn! We know this from history and we delude ourselves if we think it will not keep moving.Crossing-the-Line-300x191

The government in the USA is by the people, for the people and of the people. Too many of us do not care, and we are seeing the results. Believe it or not LAW is not TRUTH. Law is made my man; Truth comes from God. Laws change, truth does not. Argue about this fact all you want, but it’s true.

Everyone does as they see fit, and if they cannot, they throw a tantrum. So many of us are like whiny, undisciplined kids! Think about it! No one acts as a parent anymore, we all just run around with not an ounce of self-control and look where we are today. If you are thinking that things are great and so much better, you are one of those undisciplined kids who has truly missed the big picture. I’m so sorry.

When Israel got done whining about not having a King like all the rest of the countries around them (envy), God relented so they could learn a lesson. Israel ended up being split into 2 kingdoms, Judah and Israel, wars were aplenty, then came Persian and Babylonian enslavements, and the list goes on and on. All they had to do was trust in the Truth God presented. It IS that simple.

Is there a line anymore? Absolutely, so many of us just can’t see it, or chose to ignore it. It’s not okay to think everything should be okay; lines must be drawn or else everyone will continue walking off the cliff of ignorance.

(1) http://www.washingtonpost.com/news/acts-of-faith/wp/2015/04/07/satanic-temple-sues-indiana-county-over-courthouse-nativity-scene/

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Spiritual Unemployment

I’ve been in too many grocery stores where it seems that a tornado went through and rearranged everything randomly so that I could have a “fun” challenge to find what I was looking for that day. Maybe you’ve shared my experience? My thoughts…? …Where are all the workers? Why are they not doing their jobs!!! How about trying to find an employee to ask a question at a hardware store? Yep, same question. Where is everyone? I need help after all!

Now, before you get too sucked into a handful of bad memories, think about some history. Maybe your history. Have you ever been in a job where you felt overwhelmed, felt that management should provide more workers to get the job done? What happens all too often today is what? Yes, the company cuts the workforce even further and expects you to work EVEN MORE! Crazy and infuriating, correct?

The fact of expecting more from workers is in the blood of our nation historically. This attitude is a failing and not a strength. Maybe you disagree, but I doubt it.

Jesus went through all the towns and villages, teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the good news of the kingdom and healing every disease and sickness. When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.”LordofHarvest2_987450940

Jesus recognized the problem that we are all too well acquainted with! This passage from the end of Matthew 9 is regarding Jesus sending out the disciples. Whether you are a Christian or not, you most likely know that Jesus did a lot of work over a short period of time (3 years or so). If he hadn’t, then there would be no way the Christian faith would still be around today. Or am I wrong about that theory?

Let’s think this through. Jesus did turn a lot of heads and did die for ALL sin, so I’m not belittling the sacrifice. I am going to say that it wasn’t really Jesus who propagated the Christian faith. It was the workers. Read that passage again. Jesus tells his disciples to pray for workers to be send out. Doesn’t Jesus know that he IS sending out his Disciples? Of course he does! Jesus knows that there needs to be a lot of workers!! Note that in this instance he didn’t say to pray for those that needed help…he said to pray for workers. I don’t think we do this…and we wonder why there are billions of unbelievers and starving people around the world.  Hmm.

So, are you a worker? Do you pray for workers to go into the “harvest fields”? You see, in our culture we have failed to study, to really read the words of Jesus in many ways. We sit at home, we read about other people doing the work, we wonder why things aren’t getting better…. We are sickened at the disarray of the Church, sad that more people have not come to faith in Christ, and lost as to how to do anything about it…

In much the same way, we are baffled at poorly kept grocery shelves, no help to find the garage door part we need and having to do the work of three people. Do you see any links here?

  • We need to pray for workers to enter the mission field, Jesus said to do this.
  • We need to stop and listen and be a part of the solution
  • We need to look in the mirror at our culture to see exactly why our faith is so weak.

You may be employed at a job, but are you spiritually unemployed? What are you going to do about it? You might want to consider starting to pray. After all, in many places like South Korea they fill stadiums up at 4am to do nothing but pray. What are we missing?  They fill stadiums just to pray.  We ARE missing something.

Thanks God and to David Platt whose book Radical inspired my thoughts today.

The Waiting Game

A nudge, give me clarity.

A feeling, give me a sign.

A command, will I listen?

Have you had a feeling?  You know the one where you seem to have found a sixth sense? No, not like in the movie…”I see dead people”.  More like someone is watching you, or knowing the time is right? How often? Do you wait on these feelings before acting?

I am challenged in my life. Over the years it’s seems that I’ve had clear feelings about the direction I should be taking with my life. Am I right to expect this now, or am I using it as an excuse? Are you?

What are your plans for your life? Have you thought about it, or do you coast by day by day with no plan? Let me talk about this idea of a plan first, then we’ll wrap up.

I think as American’s or those living in wealthy countries we typically have or had at one time a plan for success. It’s who we are. Maybe these plans got sidetracked or squelched. Maybe there is no light at the end of the tunnel, seemingly. Let me challenge you to consider the plan outlined in the Bible. See if it can be sidetracked or squelched as compared to your personal plan.radical

God challenges us to “Go”, to “Make Disciples”, and “Baptize” from Matthew 28. God’s plan is all about telling the story of salvation, to making it known what this thing called sin is and to helping usher in as many people into the Kingdom of Heaven as possible. If you believe as I do, then this is a worthy cause. Much higher than my goal of making tons of money (which as you know can’t be taken with us upon death).

I’ve been reading an excellent book by David Platt, called “Radical”. I highly recommend it for Christians and non-Christians. Why non-Christians? Because this book truly and unabashedly explains what a true Christian should be all about. It clears the air over the argument that “I don’t want to be a Christian because of what the Christian’s I know are like”. It paints the picture of what God expects and ironically, it’s straight from the Bible in which we’re supposed to be reading, supposed to be learning from though prayer and meditation. It’s a challenge, but should that be a surprise?

Consider these biblical truths…. Go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. All liars…will have their part in the lake of fire. You are saved by faith not by works. Everyone who calls on the name of Jesus will be saved. For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus. For all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. Believe and be baptized, every one of you.

God’s plan is for us to all be saved. Who is going to spread the word? Have you considered that the Bible does not say that only a couple of people are to GO? All of us are to spread the Gospel. All of us are to BE teachers and speakers and vessels for God’s plan to spread. If we choose not to, we are fooling ourselves, we are passing the buck. We are waiting for someone else to do the work, when we have already been called.

Do we wait for the feeling, the nudge? Or, do we listen to the clear command that has already been placed on our lives? You have been called to be a part of the plan. There are no excuses.

For clarity, FEEL the nudge.

For a sign, READ what is already there.

To listen, OBEY His command.

What would Satan do?

Listen. Sometimes you have to give an article a flashy title to get people interested, okay? In this case though, this is exactly what I’m going to be talking about.

If you have ever read the biblical account of Job, then you may know Job went through hell on earth by being tested through several trials, like disease, loss of family, loss of wealth, loss of respect and all at the hands of Satan. See my old post “What Happened to Job“, if you care to read about this great story. We learn in the book of Job that Satan has been allowed many “abilities”, some of which allow him to do great harm and manipulation in our world.

First, let’s backtrack and set the stage. Most of my readers live in the USA and for the most part we live in a culture that epitomizes the American Dream. The dream that we can make ourselves into whatever we want. We can work hard and get whatever we want. We can make it happen if we try. Sounds good on the surface doesn’t it?

Now, let’s dig into this ideology. We see words like ourselves and we in the definition above which equates to me, myself and I. Are you with me? Good. I thought this would be easy for you. Moving on, we can easily see that this American Dream concept has also translated into an “I want this”, and an “I want that” mentality. A mentality of materialism.materialism

Next, we can look at how we live. Why do we dream? Isn’t it to make money so we can buy something or earn respect in someone’s eyes or provide a grand lifestyle? I like a statement I’ve heard my pastor and others proclaim.

We work so we can buy something we don’t need, so we can impress the people around us that we don’t even like or even care to know.

How sick and wrong is that? Can you honestly deny that you’ve taken part in this mentality? Now let’s transition to the meat of this rumination. What does the church look like in your neighborhood?

Let’s think about all of the church splits, church arguments about money, doctrinal battles and overall strife among denominations. Where does this come from? Obviously in the church, it comes from having an attitude like that of Christ and the concept of loving your neighbor as yourself, right? Ha! LOL! Where does it come from people? You tell me. How about, “I want this”, “I want that”? Hmm.

Sorry to say this, but I contend that the idea of the American Dream is a tool that Satan has used VERY well to get us to forget the real mission of the Church (with a capital C), so that we would spend our energy worrying about MY church (little c) and what type of music SHOULD be played. Our churches have become materialistic, our attitudes revolve around this concept and it shows.

In the bible Job was a righteous man and he was tested in oh so many ways. He passed the test and came out better in the end. How are we doing in the midst of our testing?  What do our attitudes truly show?

Jesus said, GO AND MAKE DISCIPLES OF ALL NATIONS

….oh, I’m not called to do that…I can’t, I have a church meeting about the building project…isn’t that the job of missionaries?…here, have some money so I feel like I’m a part of the work…this year I’m going on vacation maybe next year…I can’t give now because I have a cable bill, cell phone bill, car payment and credit card bill due.

What would Satan do?

In this case does he even…..need…..to do…..anything..…else?

Run away, now!

satanTemptation.  You know, Snickers bars, buttery popcorn, ignoring speed limits, yelling first asking questions later, even pretty ladies.  We all deal with temptation in our own way.  How do we overcome it?

Here we go!  Let’s look at a guy named Joseph.  He gets sold into slavery and bought by a rich family.  He’s a really smart guy and the man of the house sees it.  Joseph is given incredible responsibility to run the household because he does it so well.  The family prospers.  You must also know that good ole Joe is a pretty handsome guy too.  His owner’s wife notices this fact.  Uh Oh.  She wants Joe to pay attention to her if you know what I mean.  Joe isn’t into that at all, and he runs away from her repeatedly because he was taught to not mess around with another man’s wife!  Eventually, this lady is so fed up she traps Joe and he gets away, but he has to leave his coat because she is holding on to it.  Talk about a prima donna who must have always gotten her way!

Well, this lady goes on to tell a lie to her hubby.  She says Joesph tried to rape her. This leads to Joseph getting tossed into jail.  Fun, right?  Well, this all ends well.  Joe is so smart he is given a high place in running the jail, he helps others in jail and eventually is noticed by the King.  In the end Joseph is 2nd in command of the entire land and he helps everyone survive a severe famine.

Here’s the moral of this story.  No matter what evil temptations are coming your way, run from them.  You may have guessed this is a paraphrased version of the Biblical account of Joseph in Genesis 39-42.  God blesses Joseph in all that he does and even the bad circumstances lead to even better situations.

Do we trust God that much?

 

The Lost Ability to Cope

https://i2.wp.com/glamslamtennis.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/10/Anger-Post.jpgI had to cope with waiting in line at the BMV – boring!  I had to cope with riding in the car for 1 hour with nothing to do!

The idea of coping with things in life has almost gone by the wayside.  Let me explain.

Technology now allows us to have entertainment at our fingertips 24/7.  No more boring waiting rooms, or heaven forbid the need to read a magazine.  No more gazing out at the countryside as the car travels quickly down the interstate.  No more coping skills being developed…

Have you ever considered that developing coping skills may be extremely important?  I believe that a lack of coping skills helps to develop a world class complainer.  Waa Waa Waa.   Sure, coping with losing a game on a DS or 3DS can be oh so traumatic, but wait, all we need to do is reset the game and start over until we get the result we want….again, no coping skills being developed.  Sports allow for some coping skills to be learned, but really, when EVERYONE gets to make the team nowadays how is that realistic for training a young person for life?  Do we even pray anymore?

Will your young one be yet another young adult who feels entitled to everything life has to offer?  You might ask how in the world I can jump from coping with riding in a car or losing a video game to how a young adult may struggle in life after mommy and daddy?  I tell you (and you know it) real life is full of disappointment and the need to know how to gracefully deal with it.  We don’t need to be raising a bunch of complainers.  I know because my generation was on the “imaginary line” between dealing with real life all the time and having instant comfort all the time.

My faith even warns me of this time:

2 Timothy 3:1-5 (NIV)
But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God— having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with such people.

Whether you adhere to the the words of the Bible or not, I’m quite sure we don’t want the next generation to be whiny, lacking self-control, complaining all the time and unable to cope with the real world.  I see it in my son, even with all my efforts to teach him, he is unable to cope with everyday life much of the time.  He has many outlets, TV, video games, but he has healthy responses too like reading and hobbies learning about and watching birds.  I pray I am able to give him balance, since he must also live in this fast paced self serving world… This world where it is all too apparent that the love of pleasure in all forms has replaced the idea of loving God.  I struggle with this!

So, how do we cope with life?  Have we forgotten to teach about gazing upon the wonders of God’s creation as we drive down the road?  Have we forgotten the Spirit of sharing our faith with our neighbor in line at the BMV?  Have we tossed in the towel and become self serving without realizing it?  Are we boastful and proud, lovers of money, rash, conceited and most of all have we grasped a hold of a form of godliness but denied it’s power (i.e. giving to a good cause yet never being an active part of the cause)?  A huge part of life is learning to cope and handle the challenges placed before us, not to ignore them and bury ourselves in something “that we want to do“.  Digest this challenge and make changes to your life first, then show your young ones what it’s all about.

Condemned?

I read an article just a second ago where the guy was condemning Nancy Pelosi for her crazy Abortion / Catholic beliefs. I found it more intriguing that he noted that performing an abortion “can put a person in hell for eternity.” All I would add would be, “Don’t condemn someone when you yourself don’t understand the implications of the Christian faith.” We are all condemned to hell, for we have all sinned. One lie, one stolen pen from work, one lustful thought…it doesn’t take killing a baby…we all need saved from hell through the only source that has been made available – Jesus Christ. Place your faith in Him.

Here’s the article.