Saturday, January 31, 2015

Righteous in God's Sight – Part 2

Continuing Michael’s message from yesterday:
Jesus chose twelve of the most unlikely men of the world to be his disciples. He did not choose them for their worldly credentials. He did not choose the wisest, richest or strongest men. He chose lowly fishermen. He could have said that you will be warriors against the evil empire. However, His calling was not for his disciples to battle the adversary, rather, His calling was to be "fishers of men." The calling of God is  in the righteous authority of His Son Jesus Christ ...  we are not defined by what we are against, rather, we are defined by Him for whom we stand. We are defined by the righteousness of God in Christ in us. Our battle is not against the evil of this world; rather, our strength is in His righteousness alone. When the darkness of the devil confronts us, our declaration is, "in His strength you cannot pass here."

Our sovereign Lord has commissioned us as Ambassadors for Christ. As his emissaries of our heavenly homeland, we have been given "diplomatic immunity" in this foreign land.  Our mission and commission is to deliver the message and to be the message, for God has committed unto us the word of reconciliation.

2 Corinthians 5:20 “Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ's stead, be ye reconciled to God.”

God has called us unto freedom. Our freedom in Christ is freedom from the bondage of the sin of ego-centric selfishness. O Lord deliver me from the bondage of my earthen vessel, that the light of your spirit may shine forth.  Without you we are empty jars of clay...  for we have this treasure in an earthen vessel that the excellency of the power may be of You and not of us.

Our greatest test is not whether we rise or fall, for all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. Rather, the test is whether we get up when we fall ... the test is whether we have the shameless audacity to stand for the One who paid for our sins with the priceless payment of His innocent sinless blood.  Only Jesus Christ can balance the scales of God's judgment. The issue is not whether I'm treated justly in this world. Rather it's about my following in the footsteps of my Lord ...  when he was treated unjustly, he said “Father forgive them for they know not what they do.” Jesus came not into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through him might be saved. There is no peace in this world ...  however Jesus said, my peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you, not as the world giveth give I unto you... let not your heart be troubled, neither  let it be afraid. 

Therefore, casting down imaginations and every high thing that exaulteth itself against the knowledge of God, take every thought captive to the obedience of Christ 2 Corinthians 10:5-6Finally brethren, whatsoever thing are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report, if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these thingsPhilippians 4:8.

May God richly bless you. May your life pursuit be righteousness in God’s sight.

Your brother in Christ,

Friday, January 30, 2015

Righteous in God's Sight – Part 1

Here is another message from Michael this week. He writes: We recently celebrated Martin Luther King Day. Where was the vision of Dr. King and of the Founding Fathers who dared to dream of a great nation whose foundation was upon firm reliance upon Divine Providence backed by the truth of the Word of God? Men and women often feel wronged, slighted, and victimized by social injustice. What happens when the biblical virtues that we have stood for as American citizens have been trampled on and declared "politically incorrect"?  

If you answer a fool like a fool, what does that make you? If you recompense evil for evil, you are playing in the devil's ballpark. However, our Lord whom we follow, when He was suffered wrong did not respond in like manner. Only God defines "rights" and "wrongs" according to the righteous standard of his Word. Many of us have been indoctrinated by our culture and our environment to oppose God's definition of what is right. However, the laws, rules, and regulations of man do not define righteousness. True righteousness is purity of heart and rectitude of life; conformity of heart and life to the divine law. Righteousness, as used in Scripture and theology, in which it is chiefly used, is nearly equivalent to holiness, comprehending holy principles and affections of heart, and conformity of life to the divine law. It includes all we call justice, honesty and virtue, with holy affections; in short, it is true religion. Applied to God, it is the perfection or holiness of his nature; exact rectitude; faithfulness. It is the active and passive obedience of Christ, by which the law of God is fulfilled. Righteousness is the cause of our justification – Webster’s 1928 Dictionary.

If the remnant of God's people of a society do not understand God's righteousness and stand in the gap against the evil of this world, there will never be enough police to arrest the law breakers. No society can survive and prosper unless godly men act according to God's righteous standard when the need arises. Therefore, quit ye (conduct yourselves) like men. Be strong in The Lord and in the power of His might. Although the "politically correct" culture of this fallen world stands against the righteous way of our Lord Jesus Christ, He only is the way, the truth, and the life. No man cometh to the Father but by Him. The time has come when those who choose to follow the narrow way through the narrow gate to Jesus Christ are diametrically opposed to the broad way of our politically correct secular culture. Intimacy with Jesus Christ is the narrow way...  to come into his presence and to know his heart.

Most people in our culture do not have a good role model that leads to following Christ.  Most of us did not have a godly father who modeled the attributes of their Heavenly Father. Therefore to turn against the darkness of the world, we must intentionally, purposefully, and deliberately develop an intimate relationship with our Lord Jesus Christ. For there is one God, and one mediator between God and man, the man Christ Jesus – 1 Timothy 2:5.

To defeat the sin in our lives, we must have a passion in our hearts for that which is righteous in God's sight...  to stand in the midst of the spiritual battle, taking up the shield of faith to extinguish the fiery darts of the wicked one.

Let's finish Michael's timely topic of "righteousness" tomorrow.
In Christ, Brian

Thursday, January 29, 2015

An Authentic Phony – Part 2

Jeremiah 17:9 “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked; Who can know it?

Pastor Kyle tells us that the sin nature of our flesh is wrong, but human feelings and emotions are not wrong; it’s what we do with those feelings and emotions that determines. Lames says, “Pure and undefiled religion before God and the Father is this: to keep oneself unspotted from the world.” – keeping ourselves unstained by aligning our mind, will and emotions with the Word, Will and way of God (aka walking in the Spirit). This is truth in the inward parts, and in the hidden part of our hearts.

Psalm 51:3-6 For I acknowledge my transgressions, and my sin is always before me. Against You, You only, have I sinned, and done this evil in Your sight—that You may be found just when You speak, and blameless when You judge. Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, and in sin my mother conceived me.
Behold, You desire truth in the inward parts, and in the hidden part You will make me to know wisdom.”

James 1:19-20 says, “Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, because human anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires.Listening is different than hearing. Three tips to be a better listener are: (1) Recap what you heard, (2) Clarify what you heard & (3) give an empathetic (no need to fix) response. Scripture and prayer are good, but are not to be used as a quick, simple solution. People will forget what you say, but remember how you made them feel. No human being is void of emotion. When emotions rule our lives, God is not in charge anymore. We can become so flooded with out-of-control emotion that we cannot calm down. For the most part, we cannot claim others, but we can claim ourselves down, when anger takes over. We do not let our emotions speak for us. Good methods to claim down are (1) stop and take a deep breath, (2) Picture yourself in the calmest place that you know, (3) find a phrase that gives you permission and excuses you to leave, (4) take time to analyze why you are really angry (every Spring has a source), and (5) try to find a healthy person to process your anger. How Christians deal with anger and emotions reflects how Jesus is modeled in the world different then the way that the godless world system does.

Colossians 3:1-11 If then you were raised with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God. Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth. For you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ who is our life appears, then you also will appear with Him in glory. Therefore put to death your members which are on the earth: fornication, uncleanness, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry. Because of these things the wrath of God is coming upon the sons of disobedience, in which you yourselves once walked when you lived in them. But now you yourselves are to put off all these: anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy language out of your mouth. Do not lie to one another, since you have put off the old man with his deeds, and have put on the new man who is renewed in knowledge according to the image of Him who created him, where there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcised nor uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave nor free, but Christ is all and in all.”

Pastor Kyle points out that something’s are so subliminal that we don’t notice them. What are we letting in that we have no business letting into us. It doe no good to replace one “bad” ting with another, so look to God perfect Word, Will and Way to turn the ship right. Passion is good, but more important is action. No good-looking white-washed tombs (right on the outside), with rotting (wrong on the inside) as an authentic phony, a hypocrite. Our passion should be to want to do something for God. Nobody desires to be Parasitical. Where do we lose it? How do we start going to church on Sunday, then life the rest of the time in the godless, lawless world?  When we take a look at ourselves in the mirror at where we lack and fail, don’t walk away and forget … do something to make the changes necessary to improve and grow in grace. Look in that spiritual mirror at where we are and what doesn’t match our faith, then repent and do something to change. Authenticity starts with a single step towards God; the God that forgives our sins. Disconnect from self and get connected with the Lord.

In Christ, Brian

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

An Authentic Phony – Part 1

James 1:19-27 “So then, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath; for the wrath of man does not produce the righteousness of God. Therefore lay aside all filthiness and overflow of wickedness, and receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls. But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man observing his natural face in a mirror; for he observes himself, goes away, and immediately forgets what kind of man he was. But he who looks into the perfect law of liberty and continues in it, and is not a forgetful hearer but a doer of the work, this one will be blessed in what he does. If anyone among you thinks he is religious, and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his own heart, this one’s religion is useless. Pure and undefiled religion before God and the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their trouble, and to keep oneself unspotted from the world.”

Phony is defined as Assuming the appearance of something; false; hypocritical. To imitate; to copy with a view to defraud, by passing the false copy for genuine; to make or put on a resemblance; as, to counterfeit piety. Pastor Kyle continues his Sermon series on the book of James by stating that we all want genuine things in life and desire to know that it is real. How many times do we look for a Certificate of Authenticity in what we buy to tell that we got what we actually paid for? We do not want to be fooled by anything passed off as the real deal and not.

Matthew 23:27-28 “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs which indeed appear beautiful outwardly, but inside are full of dead men’s bones and all uncleanness. Even so you also outwardly appear righteous to men, but inside you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness.”

Pastor Kyle points out that all of us have a phony Christian inside called a sinner. Romans 3:23 affirms, All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” Galatians 5:17 explains, The sinful nature wants to do evil, which is just the opposite of what the Spirit wants. And the Spirit gives us desires that are the opposite of what the sinful nature desires. These two forces are constantly fighting each other, so you are not free to carry out your good intentions.” 
Romans 7:17-19 As it is, it is no longer I myself who do it, but it is sin living in me. For I know that good itself does not dwell in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. For I do not do the good I want to do, but the evil I do not want to do—this I keep on doing.” All of us are sinners in desperate need of grace because nobody lives out their lives perfect and sinless, except the Lord Jesus. He came to live the life that we were meant to live, died the death that death that we were meant to die, because we couldn’t. But, just like a diamond, one of the key characteristics of a true Christian this side of eternity is that they have flaws. James spells out the details of authentic Christian living, without cop-outs; ways to grow in faith.

Let’s see what Pastor Kyle has to say about these details of authentic Christian living tomorrow.

In Christ, Brian

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

God Will Take Care of You

2 Samuel 22:3-4 My God, my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield, and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold and my refuge, my savior; you save me from violence. I call upon the LORD, who is worthy to be praised, and I am saved from my enemies.

Psalm 18:2 The Lord is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer; my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.

Psalm 28:7 The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in him, and he helps me. My heart leaps for joy, and with my song I praise him.”

Psalm 91:1-6, 14-16
Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.”  Surely he will save you from the fowler’s snare and from the deadly pestilence. He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart. You will not fear the terror of night, nor the arrow that flies by day, nor the pestilence that stalks in the darkness, nor the plague that destroys at midday. “Because he loves me,” says the Lord, “I will rescue him; I will protect him, for he acknowledges my name. He will call on me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble, I will deliver him and honor him. With long life I will satisfy him and show him my salvation.”

2 Thessalonians 3:3 But the Lord is faithful. He will establish you and guard you against the evil one.

Jehovah (Exodus 6:2-3) - The LORD

Adonai Jehovah (Genesis 15:2) - Lord GOD

Jehovah Adon Kol Ha-arets (Joshua 3:11) - The LORD, the Lord of All the Earth

Jehovah Bore (Isaiah 40:28) - The LORD Creator

Jehovah Chereb (Deuteronomy 33:29) - The LORD... the Sword

Jehovah Eli (Psalms 18:2)  - The LORD My GOD

Jehovah Elyon (Genesis 14:18-20)  - The LORD Most High

Jehovah Gibbor Milchamah (Psalms 24:8) - The LORD Mighty In Battle

Jehovah Maginnenu (Psalms 89:18) - The LORD Our Defense

Jehovah Goelekh (Isaiah 49:26&60:16) - The LORD Thy Redeemer

Jehovah Hashopet (Judges 11:27) - The LORD the Judge

Jehovah Hoshiah (Psalms 20:9) - O LORD Save 

Jehovah Immeka (Judges 6:12)  - The LORD Is with You

Jehovah Izuz Wegibbor (Psalms 24:8) - The LORD Strong and Mighty

Jehovah-jireth (Genesis 22:14) - The LORD Shall Provide

Jehovah Kabodhi (Psalms 3:3) - The LORD My GOD

Jehovah Kanna Shemo (Exodus 34:14) - The LORD Whose Name Is Jealous

Jehovah Keren-Yishi (Psalms 18:2) - The LORD the Horn of My Salvation

Jehovah Machsi (Psalms 91:9) - The LORD My Refuge

Jehovah Magen (Deuteronomy 33:29) - The LORD the Shield

Jehovah Makkeh (Ezekiel 7:9) - The LORD that Smiteth

Jehovah Mauzzam (Psalms 37:39) - The LORD Their Strength

Jehovah Mauzzi (Jeremiah 16:19) - The LORD My Fortress

Ha-Melech Jehovah (Psalms 98:6) - The LORD the King

Jehovah Melech Olam (Psalms 10:16) - The LORD King Forever

Jehovah Mephalti (Psalms 18:2) - The LORD My Deliverer

Jehovah Mekaddishkem (Exodus 31:13) - The LORD that Sanctifies You

Jehovah Metsudhathi (Psalms 18:2) - The LORD My High Tower

Jehovah Moshiekh (Isaiah 49:26&60:16) - The LORD Your Savior

Jehovah Nissi (Exodus 17:15) - The LORD My Banner

Jehovah Ori (Psalms 27:1) - The LORD My Light

Jehovah Uzzi (Psalms 28:7) - The LORD My Strength

Jehovah Rophe (Exodus 15:26) - The LORD (our) Healer

Jehovah Roi (Psalms 23:1) - The LORD My Shepherd

Jehovah Sabaoth (Tsebaoth) (I Samuel 1:3) - The LORD of Hosts

Jehovah Sali (Psalms 18:2) - The LORD My Rock

Jehovah Shalom (Judges 6:24) - The LORD (our) Peace

Jehovah Shammah (Ezekiel 48:35) - The LORD Is There

Jehovah Tsidkenu (Jeremiah 23:6) - The LORD Our Righteousness

Jehovah Tsuri (Psalms 19:14) - O LORD My Strength

Monday, January 26, 2015

Tackling Bible Illiteracy – Part 2

Joshua 1:8 “This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it”.

Kenneth Berding, professor of New Testament at Biola’s Talbot School of Theology writes:I've heard people call it a famine - a famine of knowing the Bible. During a famine people waste away for lack of sustenance. Some people die. Those who remain need nourishment; they need to be revived. And if they have any hope of remaining alive over time, their life situation has to change in conspicuous ways. Christians used to be known as “people of one book.” Sure, they read, studied and shared other books. But the book they cared about more than all others combined was the Bible. They memorized it, meditated on it, talked about it and taught it to others. We don’t do that anymore, and in a very real sense we’re starving ourselves to death. Does this sound overly alarmist to you? People who have studied the trends don’t think so. Gallup polls have tracked this descent to a current ‘record low.’” George Barna assesses that “the Christian body in America is immersed in a crisis of biblical illiteracy.” These days many of us don’t even know basic facts about the Bible. Examples: What are the first five books of the Bible? What are five of the Ten Commandments? If you know, then you are in the minority today.

Psalm 1:1-3 Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers; but his delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law he meditates day and night. He is like a tree planted by streams of water that yields its fruit in its season, and its leaf does not wither. In all that he does, he prospers.

Berding points out that in the book of Amos, people experienced a “famine of hearing the words of the Lord”. In Amos they want it, but are not permitted it. In our case, although we have unlimited access, (books, CD’s, DVD’s, Flash-drives, radio, television, Internet, Smart-phones, pads and tablets), we often don’t want it. Berding says: "Every time I teach a class called Biblical Interpretation and Spiritual Formation, I ask my students why it is that so few people in this generation are really zealous about the things of God. I can’t remember a time when I've asked that question when someone hasn't mentioned distractions." They are everywhere. When we walk from one meeting to another, are our thoughts naturally moving to Scripture and prayer or thinking on the things of God that we have learned from the Bible? Or do we immediately check to see whether someone has messaged us?

In 1986, Neil Postman published an influential cultural essay titled “Amusing Ourselves to Death.” He argued that personal freedoms would disappear not when a totalitarian government imposed oppression from the outside (like George Orwell pictured in his book 1984), but rather when people came “to love their oppression, to adore the technologies that undo their capacities to think”. We shouldn't assume that these distractions have no effect on our perceptions of God. Priorities are not as simple as “God first, family second and church third.” What does that expression mean anyway? Priorities aren't based upon a simple hierarchy; they require the proper balance of activities in relationship to one another.  “Meditating day and night” on God’s Word is something that everyone must do. It is basic to the Christian life. It seems to me, then, that in any weighting of priorities the following scenarios are out of bounds: More time watching television, social networking, or playing games than reading / studying / memorizing God’s Word. On this one point we really shouldn't budge: Reading and learning the Bible is such a fundamental priority for all who want to call themselves “Christians”.

That raises a third issue and a challenge, which relates to the job that Christian churches, Christian schools and associated ministries are doing in Christian education. This is why our church is tackling Bible Illiteracy with this “All Church Study”. Our aim is not Bible Mastery, but neither is it Bible Basics. Our goal for each participant is to reach Bible Fluency – a comfortable knowledge of what the Bible is about, where it is headed, how to find what’s in the Bible for knowing God and making Him known.

In Christ, Brian

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Tackling Bible Illiteracy – Part 1

Hosea 4:6 “My people are destroyed from lack of knowledge.”

Starting in February, we shall be beginning an “all-church” study, which includes every small and medium-sized group within the congregation, to address the issue of Bible illiteracy. At a special Leader training session this last week, we were presented some startling statistics from a survey taken by the Barna Group. Slightly less than half of the “born-again” adults (46%) believe that moral truth is absolute and unaffected by the circumstances. 81% of professing Christians claim to highly-moderately know the Bible, yet only 19% claimed to read the Bible daily, 26% state that they read the Bible a few times a week, 14% declare that they only read the Bible once-and-a-while, and 25% admitted that they never read the Bible. 59% of the Christian polled say that they think about or meditate on the Bible. Seven out of ten of all adults surveyed say that God is the all-powerful Creator of the universe, who still rules it today; that includes the 93% of “born again” adults who hold that conviction.
Their website states that ongoing research by the Barna Group on these maters consistently demonstrates the powerful impact a person’s worldview has on their life. A Christian worldview serves as a person’s decision-making filter, enabling then to make sense of the complex and huge amount of information, experiences, relationships and opportunities they face in life. By helping to clarify what a person believes to be important, true and desirable, a Biblical worldview has a dramatic influence on a person’s choices in any given situation. Such studies underscore the necessity of Christian parents and other influencers being intentional in how they help develop the worldview of their children.  George Barna points out, “There are several troubling patterns to take notice. First, although most Americans consider themselves to be Christian and say they know the content of the Bible, less than one out of ten Americans demonstrate such knowledge through their actions. Second, the generational pattern suggests that parents are not focused on guiding their children to have a biblical worldview. One of the challenges for parents, though, is that you cannot give what you do not have, and most parents do not possess such a perspective on life.

Matthew 15:8 “These people honor me with their lips,     but their hearts are far from me.
Without reading the Bible and knowing the Lord, our concepts of God are often way too limited. Here are some of our wrong conceptions of God. (1) The God of my problems – where we only go to God when we are in trouble or have problems. (2) The Policeman coming after us, to get us and straighten us out. (3) The God who is in control of the whole universe but is limited in His personal interest in me – like He created and spun the earth, then left. (4) The Santa Claus God, who listens to our wish list. (5) The God of the feel-good worship – there to emotionally pump you up – worshiping worship. (6) The Theological God – described, but not known. (7) The perfectionist God that we try to live up to, but knit-picks everything that we do. And (8) The “sweet” God – like an old grandfather who gives us candy. We learn in the Bible that God is the All-powerful Creator of everything. God is holy, just and sovereign. God is All-seeing, All-knowing and Ever-present. God is love and full of mercy and grace, and has a plan of redemption for the world in Jesus Christ.

Let’s continue this important discussion on Bible Literacy tomorrow.
Have a blessed Sunday.
In Christ, Brian 

Saturday, January 24, 2015

The Family Unit: Part 2 - Restore the Family Altar

Continuing from yesterday's post, Brother Michael writes: However, Jesus did not say to Peter "herd my goats." Rather, he said, "feed my sheep." Jesus said, "my sheep hear my voice and they follow me and they know me and I give unto them eternal life."  Like Peter, we have not been called to cater to the unbelievers. Rather the Word of God says to preach Jesus Christ and him crucified, unto those who are perishing, the stench of death unto death, but unto those who believe, the sweet-smelling fragrance of life unto life (2 Corinthians 2:16).

Evangelizing starts at home with the person in the mirror.  The first step is for a Man or Woman of God to allow God to transform them by the renewing of the mind.  Only then can a man or woman influence his or her own family in the Love of God, in the renewed mind, in manifestation. We men and women have been called as “salt and light leaders”, to bear up under suffering, and to stand in the gap against the wiles of the devil in the fortress of the home...  to protect our spouses and our children as men and women of God serving in love those over whom God has given us charge.

The family in today's culture is the most violent place on earth. The devil has divided and conquered the United States from the inside out by defiling and destroying the "modern family." The god-rejecting world system has succumbed to the adversary's "redefinition of "family." However, only the Word of God can define "family." According to the Word of God, the family unit is the model for the Church. For a rebirth of the Christian Church, we as men and women of God must restore the family altar.  This altar is the cross of Christ, where Jesus Christ sacrificed his innocent blood as the sinless sacrifice for our sins, that we may be made the righteousness of God in Him. 

Our prayer is not that God will take sides, but that he will take over...  not my will but thine be done; for it is God who worketh in you to will and to do of his good pleasure.  Restoration of the family is not in my strength, but in His strength alone. Fellowship in the family of God starts with the fellowship of the church in the home. As God's people, we cannot, in our own power, transform ourselves or our families. Only God has the power to change...  be ye not conformed to this world but (allow yourselves) to be ye transformed by the renewing of your minds, that ye may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God (Romans 12:2).  God has called his people for such a time as this...  Choose ye this day whom ye will serve, as for me and my house, we will serve The Lord (Joshua 24:15).

May God richly bless you!
Your brother in Christ,

Friday, January 23, 2015

The Family Unit: Part 1 - Countering the Prevailing Culture

This week, Brother Michael discusses the importance of the godly family unit. He writes: The worldly question is always, "What's in it for me?"  However, as men and women of God, our question is, "Lord, what's in it for you?"

True Christians must have the audacity to take a stand on the truth of the Word of God in the midst of the spiritual battle, now that so many of the American churches have become secularized.  In our politically correct "Churchianity" culture, many churches have succumbed to the devil's tactic of "divide and conquer."  Often, those on either side of an issue are both wrong.  Only Jesus Christ, the prince of peace, can reconcile God's people back to God.  The devil is patient to divide and conquer by eroding the godly culture that used to prevail in these United States. The foundation of any culture is the family. The family has been under attack by the adversary for several generations in the United States. The strength of the family unit measures the prevailing quality of a nation.  Division in the family allows a nation to disintegrate from the inside out. A specific pattern of family relationships works best when men and women act according to the biblical blueprint for marriage. When we, as a nation, depart from this pattern we give up our life, liberty, and pursuit of godly blessings. This is the theme of the book, "Sex Roles in the Christian Family," by Peter Blitchington.

There is a "devolution" of the family in every culture. At the pinnacle of godly culture, the patriarch stands on the truth of the Word and the nation follows godly precepts.  However, patriarchs leading a country after having tasted power and influence, devolve because of pride and prejudice. In this next phase of devolution, the domestic family becomes prevalent and men take the spiritual responsibilities for their immediate families. There is great respect in the culture for godly virtues and adherence to the Word of God. The next phase in the devolution of the family is rebellion against authority. An example of this phase was the counter culture movement of the 1960's when traditional family values began to wane. The family began to splinter and to atomize into opposing factions. The focus was on the worth of the individual as opposed to the family unit. This promoted radical feminism, divorce, and uncommitted relationships based on selfish hedonistic fleeting feelings rather than on the enduring familial bonds of godly virtues.  The preeminent purpose became "what's in it for me at this moment of time."  Men of God were alienated from the mainstream culture and Churchianity was swept up into the spirit of the age. The church bought into the popular opinion that a man is defined by his work and his accomplishments, and not by his godly virtues according to the Word of God.

Restoring "the Family Altar" in the home is one solution to countering the prevailing culture that has atomized and disintegrated. Only one out of 1500 families that pray together breaks up. What happened to prayer and family devotionals in the church body?  Prayer and devotion time has become the exception rather than the rule in today's culture of Churchianity. Church has devolved into an unthreatening place, catering to the "goats" (referring to Matthew 25:32) of the world. 

Let's read Brother Michael's conclusion and answer to this growing issue tomorrow.
In Christ, Brian

Thursday, January 22, 2015

God’s Wisdom – Part 2

Isaiah 55:9 “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.

Pastor Kyle says that, when it comes to doubts and bad things happening, it’s not about not having enough faith. God is infinite and mankind is finite; We cannot see or understand all that God does. If you think that God is allowing bad things to happen to you because you need more faith, that is a bunch of garbage from “the enemy” – the devil.  Everyone doubts because we do not have God’s complete perspective. It’s about faith in action. Our profession is what we do and practice, so go to God for wisdom. But, when He gives us wisdom, don’t then say: “No. I’ll go my own way.”

1 Corinthians 1:25 “For the foolishness of God is wiser than human wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than human strength.

And there is power in numbers. Surround yourself with godly advisers also. Proverbs 11:14, Proverbs 15:22 & Proverbs 24:6 all speak to having many counselors in our lives ... a “Bull pen” of counselors, not a Yoda or Guru. Be open to contrary advice, because other’s wisdom may see something that we may miss or not have a complete view of. And we must keep in mind that our plan may not be God’s plan. He may have something better in mind for us. This side of Heaven, we have the flesh desires that cause our feelings to scream “feed me” (pleasures and addictive behaviors). Wavering in doubt happens when we start deciding and justifying that our way is better than God’s Word, Will and Way. Remember that the original sin started with the words: “Did God really say …?” Bottom line: Wisdom isn’t about what feels right; its about doing what we know is right.

James 1:9-11 Believers in humble circumstances ought to take pride in their high position. But the rich should take pride in their humiliation—since they will pass away like a wild flower. For the sun rises with scorching heat and withers the plant; its blossom falls and its beauty is destroyed. In the same way, the rich will fade away even while they go about their business.

Riches fade away. It is socially accepted and believed axiom that money solves all our problems. Money does help situations, but money can also become an idol and is not useful in the gaining of godly wisdom. How many say: “I’ll start living God’s way, after I ________________ (Fill in the blank with your choice). Everything we own is from God and is going away someday, but you can take your treasures with you when you go, when you sow them into the eternal kingdom of Heaven. We cannot put our hope in the things that we have here.

Matthew 6:19-21 “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also."

A secular humanist society thinks that giving tithes and offering is foolish, but doing God work is as wise as it gets. Bottom line: Wisdom is that God’s instruction gives answers, but instead of trusting them, we tend to trust our instincts and gut-feelings and “fly by the seat of our pants”. But every Pilot knows that without a point of reference, we can be deceived into going the exact wrong way. When a pilot cannot see, they must trust and operate completely on the plane’s instruments to guide them safely. In God’s holy Word, we find the crystal-clear instrumentation that we need daily. When in a fog, follow God’s way. Give Him the controls of your life’s aviation and have a great flight.  

In Christ, Brian

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

God’s Wisdom - Part 1

 Pastor Kyle continued his Sunday Sermon series through the book of James with more practical life-application from the first chapter of this great epistle written to the fledgling churches and individual believers in the earliest church.

James 1:5-8 If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you. But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. That person should not expect to receive anything from the Lord. Such a person is double-minded and unstable in all they do.

In life, we are bombarded with opportunities to live according to divine wisdom when our human senses scream to do the opposite. Often times, what "feels" like wisdom (according to our human instincts) is the very thing that gets us in trouble. God’s wisdom, though, comes to us with unlimited free refills … sometimes whether we need it or not or when we least expect it. God is generous in His dispensation of wisdom. Two things are for sure: (1) the only true source of wisdom is from God, and (2) we are partly responsible for our own moral development for our growth and maturity. Wisdom gives us a clear view from 30,000 feet of our situation … a bird’s eye view from God’s perspective, so that we get a sense of where we are at. When we ask God for wisdom, we are viewing our situation from God’s view and angle from up above. Sometimes, we don’t know where we are or where we are going. Sometimes there are roadblocks or we don’t have a map. Sometimes we don’t know anyone who has been where we are trying to get to. Wisdom is more than just having the right information - it's knowing what to do and how to respond with the knowledge we already have. A wise person is not someone who knows the right thing to do, but the one who knows and does the right thing to do.

Colossians 1:9-12For this reason, since the day we heard about you, we have not stopped praying for you. We continually ask God to fill you with the knowledge of his will through all the wisdom and understanding that the Spirit gives, so that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God, being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience, and giving joyful thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of his holy people in the kingdom of light.

To be double-minded is knowing what to do and then doing the exact opposite. The word “oxymoron”, which is derived from two Latin words (1) Oxy meaning “wise” & (2) Moron meaning “fool”, literally forming the seemingly contradictory term a “wise fool". To know what God, His holy Word says and what to do then doesn't do it, let alone the opposite is not wise, but is foolish. The ultimate situation is when we hear from the Lord and His Scriptures, that we had no internal doubts. How many of us live there every moment of our life? It is the goal, but we are human and sometimes struggle with what God calls us to do. There is good doubt and there is bad  doubt. Bad doubts questions and disobeys God, saying “God I know what you are asking, but I’m going to do it my way because it feel more comfortable. Good doubt says: “God, I do not understand this and it doesn't make sense to me right now, but I’ll do it your way anyway because that is what I am hearing and I trust and believe you; help me with my unbelief. Good doubt obeys God through the struggle. 

Let's hold the completion of Pastor Kyle's great message for tomorrow's post.
In Christ, Brian

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Trust Jesus

John 14:1 “Don’t let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God, and trust also in me.
When we walk with the Lord in the light of His Word, what a glory He sheds on our way! While we do His good will, He abides with us still, and with all who will trust and obey.
Not a shadow can rise, not a cloud in the skies, but His smile quickly drives it away; Not a doubt or a fear, not a sigh or a tear, can abide while we trust and obey.
Not a burden we bear, not a sorrow we share, but our toil He doth richly repay; Not a grief or a loss, not a frown or a cross, but is blessed if we trust and obey.
But we never can prove the delights of His love until all on the altar we lay; For the favor He shows, for the joy He bestows, are for them who will trust and obey.
Then in fellowship sweet we will sit at His feet, or we’ll walk by His side in the way; What He says we will do, where He sends we will go; Never fear, only trust and obey.

Trust and obey, for there’s no other way to be happy in Jesus, but to trust and obey.