Dare to Believe and Share the Gospel

If you discovered the cure for cancer… would you share it?  Of course you would.  Are you a believer in Jesus Christ?  Do you believe the gospel of the Bible and have faith in Jesus?  If so, do you realize you have something infinitely more precious than a cure for cancer to share.  You have something of eternal consequence, of eternal power.  What you know can change people’s lives forever.  You have no power over them directly, but you do know the truth; in order to have your sins wiped out, and in order to be raised from the dead and take your place in Heaven, you need Jesus.  You need His sacrifice, His grace, His blood.

You, my dear brother or sister (in other words my fellow believers), have been given much.  I don’t care about how popular you are or how rich or how poor you are, what you own or what you eat.  The fact is you have been given much.  And, to whom much is given, much is expected.  Embrace the fact that you are watched; unbelievers are watching you.  How do you act?  How you act does not save you, this we know, but how you act shows a bit of Jesus to the world.  Don’t use His name in vain… that’s not about cursing, it is about calling yourself a believer, and then acting like the world while others watch you.

This is not about beating people about the head with a Bible; is there anything more off-putting?  What I’m talking about is a quiet faith that is shown in what we do, what we don’t do, what we say, what we don’t say… how do we control our anger, do we love our family in Christ, do we love God and love our neighbors as ourselves?  Notice that; love your neighbor as you love yourself.  Many Christians act as though you have to hate yourself, no, that’s not the answer to pride.  The answer to pride is to love God first and foremost.  A believer’s right pride comes from Jesus and what He has to offer.

Sharing your faith should be a lot like breathing, breathing is not flashy or showy, it’s natural.  The Bible is clear; a proof of God and His Son hinges on us loving each other and treating our brothers and sisters AS brothers and sisters.  Care about one another.  Pray for one another.  Pray for our country because we need it.  We don’t need a president, we need God.  Our founding fathers were, in the vast majority, Christian.  They repeatedly reminded us that our nation is a strong nation because of our moral beliefs rooted in scripture.  We know there is sin.  We know there is grace.  We share the gospel in the lives we lead, how we treat our children and other people’s kids.  We share it in the way we treat our family… we share it in the way we treat our enemies.

I heard Phil Robertson of Duck Dynasty fame being interviewed today, and he was right as usual; the answer is not a man-made ideology, its not liberalism, it’s not conservatism, the answer is God.  The greatest story ever told is one centered on forgiveness of sin, and the power of Jesus over death, Hell, and the grave.  Before someone has correct ideology, they need the creator of all in their lives, it is the only way they can think straight. I’m dumb, God is brilliant.  I’m weak, God is strong.  I’m sinful, God is perfect.  We, and all people, need God in our lives.  Share Him, in whatever way you are called to.  Read your Bible.  Pray. Pray hard.  The world needs it.

Our country is made up of states, states are made up of counties, counties of towns, towns of families, families of individuals.  In the age of grace God deals with individuals, not with nations as in times past (that time will come again, but is not yet).  That means the individuals that make up this country need to be rooted in Christ.  If the individuals are rooted, the nation is rooted.  You can’t control anyone else, but you can work on you with God’s grace and power.  The answer to our “secular” problems are indeed sacred in nature.  Grow deed roots and help others do the same.

Grace and peace be with all of you who believe in Jesus the Christ, the Son of the living God, my prayers are with you, pray for me, pray for our nation, and our family in Him.

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ISIL is not Islamic?

Short post; ISIS is indeed Islamic.  They are Muslims, and they believe they are serving their god Allah, and interpreting the Koran correctly.  They are not secular, they are not just perpetrating a civil war.  Unfortunately that means our own President is lying to us when he said last night, “Now let’s make two things clear: ISIL is not “Islamic.” No religion condones the killing of innocents, and the vast majority of ISIL’s victims have been Muslim. And ISIL is certainly not a state. It was formerly al-Qaeda’s affiliate in Iraq, and has taken advantage of sectarian strife and Syria’s civil war to gain territory on both sides of the Iraq-Syrian border. It is recognized by no government, nor the people it subjugates. ISIL is a terrorist organization, pure and simple. And it has no vision other than the slaughter of all who stand in its way.”

Let me be clear, and you can go do the research; ISIS is serving a vision, and while slaughter is a part of it, it is not the whole of it.  They believe they are doing a service for god, and they believe in a religious end times that they can help bring about, as well as a mandate for military jihad.  That our own President misleads the American people on this very important point is incredibly disturbing.  Make no mistake, ISIS wants to bring their religion to the US and Israel.  Please wake up, and if you are already awake, pray.  ISIS is indeed Islamic, they are indeed Muslim.

 

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The Most Controversial Scribbler Post Ever?

I feel old. Is it really so controversial to say;

  1. Jesus is Lord
  2. Allah of Islam is not the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, nor is Muhammad His prophet, and Muhammad was not a good guy
  3. Self-Control is admirable; keep it in your pants til you’re married (and after you’re married, save it for your spouse)
  4. Marriage was meant to be for life
  5. In a related note; two persons of the same sex can’t be married in the eyes of God, and homosexual acts are sinful, though I support your right to designate your same-sex partner as whatever you want civilly and legally, and I believe gov’t needs to stay out of the marriage business
  6. America is not a horrible country, and in fact was indeed settled and founded by Christians of various backgrounds and beliefs, though we are indeed a secular nation in so much as we don’t think the state has any power over the church
  7. Capitalism is a wonderful thing, greed is not
  8. Hard work is better than laziness
  9. Sin is real… tied in really close with “Hell is real”
  10. I actually do love sinners, including my enemies, and hate sin
  11. Modesty, it’s about self-respect. Guys; I don’t want to see your butt, or your underwear, pull your pants up (of course that starts with wearing pants). Girls; I don’t want to see your butt or your underwear, wear long enough shorts and skirts… AND your cleavage; cover it up.  Is that so hard?
  12. The Holocaust happened… and it’s ok to compare the mass murder of unborn children to the holocaust, even though it is rhetorical, which brings us to:
  13. Abortion is murder
  14. Gluttony, gossip, lying, pride, and coveting are just as bad as any other sin.
  15. Christians are indeed hypocrites, but Christ isn’t, and at our churches we won’t mind one more hypocrite in the pews, c’mon in
  16. Speaking of; we are saved by grace through faith, not of works and that comes from the Bible, which is indeed the word of God…
  17. Drink but don’t get drunk, get mad but don’t sin, and realize your freedom in Christ but also realize your responsibility
  18. I really meant number 11; there’s nothing else you have to do in order to have an eternal relationship with God the Father except to have faith on Jesus the Son; Who He was, what He did, how He died, and that He rose again on the 3rd day…
  19. If you hear of Him and don’t put your faith in Him, see number 5.
  20. God is good

Does that get me to the “most controversial” level yet?  Seriously?  What a strange world we live in now.

 

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Sadness for Hard Hearts

This is a post about many things… it’s about the Israeli/Hamas conflict, it’s about the different ages we have lived in along with the different covenants, and it is about the hearts of Christians.  Admittedly this is about my heart, because I find myself having to write today after a very disturbing happening on a Christian message board.  I worries me for the sake of some professed believers because apparently many people do not acknowledge the depth of their own sinfulness and the role Jesus plays in this age of grace, and it makes me incredibly incredibly sad.

First, let me be clear on a few things; Israel is doing the right thing in battling Hamas.  That is what I believe having looked at the facts of what transpired prior to Israel’s retaliation against Hamas rockets.  Israel has an absolute right to defend herself.  Israel is also right in doing something else that no one is talking about; Israel sends aid and even sets up hospitals in order to help the Palestinian people.  While Hamas tries to bomb and attack the roads and the workers bringing that aid to the civilians.  Hamas does not believe in civilians, Israel does.

There is coming a time when God will refocus everything on Israel because He still has promises to keep to them as a nation.  But right now we are in the Church Age, this is the age of grace.  The Church does not replace Israel, Israel still has a future front in center of God’s attention. In Christ, therefore in the Church, there is neither Jew nor Greek.  We truly live in a special age, an age of mercy and grace.  God speaks to us through His Son, for now there are no kings or prophets or judges leading Israel, there is no temple, hence Israel is not in the same position as it was in the OT with the ability for their leaders to receive orders directly from God.

So here is what has me upset, you can leave a comment if you like to explain why I either should or should not be upset.  The question was posed whether or not, given the capability, Israel should wipe out every Palestinian.  Seriously that was the question.  The argument is that Israel, under the Old Covenant, and in the OT was ordered to do that very thing in different circumstances.  I was saddened by all the responses that agreed that they should indeed wipe them out.  I pointed out that Palestinians are not all members of Hamas, nor do all of them support Hamas.  I also pointed out that there are brothers and sisters in Christ who are Palestinian. None of that mattered.

Hamas needs to be wiped out, just like the Nazi were stopped. Of course they should be.  We all also know that civilian casualties in war are inevitable, and it doesn’t help when Hamas uses human shields… why do they do that?  Because they don’t believe in civilians. Literally, they believe everyone is a combatant.  But here’s the catch; they are wrong.  Perhaps these Christians I was conversing with would like to go kill all the Palestinian infants?  I’m confused, I’m saddened, and it is readily apparent they don’t recognize that we are in the Church age.

This is the age of mercy and grace, and yes, it will come to an end, but right now we are in it.  Jesus did not tell His people to go try to kill all the Romans, and we are the Body of Christ.  We represent Jesus now.  Again, there will be a time when the church is not here, then the game changes, and God resumes His direct interaction with Israel, but that time is not yet.  To see Christians promoting the wiping out of humans on that scale saddens me to the core.  Where is the mercy and grace?  Where is the acknowledgment that we are guilty sinners worthy of death ourselves outside of Christ?  Where is the teaching that we should be trying to reach both Muslims and Jews with the good news of Christ, right up until we are snatched away?  Where is the teaching on the difference between the Old and New Covenants, and why God ordered what He did in the OT? Ugh.

My heart hurts, and I’m so disappointed, and that disappointment is obviously directed at man, not God.  I will continue to pray for the peace of Jerusalem and to support Israel, and thank goodness that Israel herself doesn’t take the view of some very vengeful believers.

To my brothers and sister I say grace and peace be with you through Jesus our Lord.

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All we can do is pray.

Ugh.  Recently this phrase has been everywhere; television, social media, the internet… I have no doubt there are cases of life getting to the point where “all we can do is pray,” but mostly that is poppycock, piffle, and balderdash. It’s also an excuse to be lazy, or offhand.  Don’t get me wrong, brothers and sisters, praying is powerful, praying is called for, and praying should precede other things… but it isn’t the only thing we can do in 99% of the cases.

Let’s take the recent and ongoing Ebola outbreak.  All we can do is pray. No, we can find out about it and become educated on what Ebola is, how it is spread, how to prevent it, what to do if you suspect you’ve been exposed, etc… We can also find out who it is effecting and how to help.  Whether it is Politics, Israel’s battle against the terrorist group Hamas, Economics, World Hunger, The Youth leaving the church, whatever it is we can do more than pray.

If you want this country of ours, the USA, to be different, then pray, but don’t stop there.  Do what you can when you can.  Read the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence, find out who your representatives are, aid the campaigns of people you support, find a need in your local community and fill it, teach a class at your church, fly a flag, you get the picture.  Do we “have” to do these things? No, of course not, but don’t utter that phrase unless it is true… but don’t forget even in those circumstances, there is also singing, and praising, and worshiping.

As an aside, much of what we can “do” revolves around our own homes and our own families.  Educate yourself and your families, get your house in order (literally), see to your own finances, have strong bonds with your families, then learn to look outside of yourselves, outside of your own homes, or towns, or even countries.  Many of my readers have already done all of this, and to you I say; great job! Truly.  Keep it up.  But some of us, me included, need a nudge, a reminder.

God is powerful beyond measure.  He’s in control and history itself bends to His will.  Yes, pray.  Scripture tells us to pray.  But let us also open ourselves up to the nudges of the Holy Spirit and do the works He empowers us to do by grace through faith, that all flows from God.

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Famous Last Words

When we look at the books of the New Testament (NT) chronologically, we can do something kind of interesting.  We can look at the main authors of the NT (Peter, Paul, and John), and figure out which words we can read in scripture were the “last words” of aforesaid Peter, Paul, and John.  That is what we are going to do in this article, but it is also interesting to go through and read the last sentences of the books of the Bible; it doesn’t take long and it can really make you think, so when you have some free study time, try it out.

Alright, here’s the list:

Peter: 2 Peter 3:18 But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and for ever. Amen.

Paul: 2 Timothy 4:22 The Lord Jesus Christ be with thy spirit. Grace be with you. Amen.

John: Revelation 22:21 The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen.

Do you see the theme yet?  I see 3 components that are always there.  This article is inspired by a teaching by Doc Scott, and he picked one aspect to focus on so I mention that component first, and that is grace.  “Grow in grace,” “grace be with you,” and “the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all.”  Do you think grace is important?  Each and every last word from the heavy hitters of the NT includes grace.  What is the second?  Jesus Christ.  What is the third?  The “amen,” the affirmation to the reader of these things.  When God repeats things, they tend to be important don’t they?

In order of importance:

1) Jesus.  Let’s look at the phrases used: Lord, Saviour, Christ.  Those are the titles given to Him in these three passages.  The way that the word “Lord” is used here by Jewish individuals can leave no room for debate, it means they are bestowing the honor of the word reserved for God and apply it to Jesus.  Remember Thomas’ “my Lord and my God?” Here that is underscored by the big 3.  Saviour meaning one who saves. Christ meaning Messiah.  So Jesus, our “God is with us,” Who is our Savior and Messiah is the cornerstone of the great last words of Peter, Paul, and John.  We would expect no less, but do we recognize Him in such a profound way in our speech, even in our churches in today’s world?  Should He not be included in every single last word that we have in our churches and between believers? Our Lord, Saviour, and Messiah; Jesus.

Peter even admonishes us to grow in the knowledge of Jesus.  We should learn of and be reminded of, His life, death, and resurrection.  His life including perfection, and His teachings, His death and why He had to die, and His resurrection as the sign and promise of our faith.  Study it, teach it, learn of Him because His yoke is easy and burden light.

2) Grace.  I’ve taught on here about grace.  The Greek means “unmerited favor.”  Peter received the grace of Jesus firsthand after denying Him 3 times.  Jesus forgave and forgave and forgave.  Peter never earned it.  Neither do we ever earn forgiveness.  We cannot work our way to forgiveness, there is no physical act we can do to earn forgiveness, He bestows it upon us and we are to grow in it!  This is why I decry anything that smacks of sacramentalism.  Peter, Paul and John offer the reminder of grace and the free flowing nature of it from God to us, and we don’t do anything to merit it.  The Lord and Saviour Jesus the Messiah did everything to merit the grace for us!!  What is our response? Faith.

In Galatians 2:21 Paul boldly proclaims “I do not frustrate the grace of God: for if righteousness come by the law, then Christ is dead in vain.”  Jesus died for the free flow of grace to us from our God!  His death was both necessary and sufficient to open the gate… to tear down the curtain dividing us from God.  Paul clearly says, “grace be with you.”  Unmerited favor be with you.  No hoops, no red tape; grace be with you.  The same comes from John, the Apostle of love; “grace be with you.”  Do you get it yet? lol Grace be with YOU.

3) Amen.  Amen translates into “so be it.”  Grace be with you, so be it.  That’s double affirmation being displayed with faith.  It is the communication that what has proceeded the “amen” is in line with God’s will, and that it shall be done because of His goodness and promises. When we have faith, which is trust, in what God has said and done, we have that ability to say amen; so be it.  Jesus is Lord, Saviour, and Messiah.  Learn about Him.  Grow in His grace. So be it!  If only our preachers and teachers reminded us of this, and underscored the meaning of it, and taught it with authority.

So, those are the things that Peter, Paul, and John believed were so fundamental that they included them at the very end of their correspondence.  Humans tend to remember the first things and the last things mentioned to them in letters and speeches. Pay attention to these things and put them in your heart, because they are fundamental to what it means to be Christians.

To my fellow believers in Jesus who have placed their trust in Him, I say; grace and peace be with you through faith in our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ!

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Christian Response to the Illegal Immigrant Crisis

The present crisis here in the US centered on illegal immigration can present a bit of conundrum for the born-again’s.  We have people flooding here that have nothing, are sick, are hurting, and are breaking the law.  So, what do we do?  Do we listen to our head or do we listen to our hearts?  The answer is both.

We are American Christians.  We have an individual responsibility, like the good Samaritan, and we have a responsibility to our country as good citizens.  So the answer can seem elusive, but it’s not.  As individuals we are to help those that are here that are legitimately hurting, scared, sick, and alone… mainly children and widows, those that have no church, those that have no family.  We feed them, clothe them, help them physically, mentally, and spiritually.

At the same time we call our gov’t to task for allowing this to happen.  Our borders are breached, our health is at stake, and this is taking away resources that the gov’t should be handling in fiscally responsible ways for people that are citizens of this country.  The borders need secured and protected.  The American people need protection from the terrorists, gang member, and drug cartels that are free to come and go as they please because we have had a series of administrations that refuse to protect us, as well as protection from communicable diseases.  We need to send these illegal immigrants home.

There is no paradox here.  This is our faith.  We do as we can to aid the needy, sick, and lost, AND we demand our gov’t enforce it’s borders and its laws.

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