Wednesday, December 31, 2014

DECEMBER 31 "END OF THE YEAR, END OF THE WORLD!!!"

As we conclude the end of the Bible, at the end of the year; we also read about the “end of the world”.  So much talk today about the end of the world, so many write ups in tabloids about “Armageddon”, so much hype in movies about the “Apocalypse”, in each and every case, it’s about zombies, it’s about doom & gloom. People are crying, people are without hope, people are in fear, they would sell their souls to prevent “the end of the world!” It’s unfortunate that the only perspective we get about “the end of the world” is from those that have rejected God and have nothing but fear, nothing but doom and gloom to look forward to, who can blame them! But for you and I, we have a different perspective all together, about the end of the world. When we read about the end of the world, in the Book of Revelations we don’t get a sense of doom & gloom. I read about a jubilant crowd, the martyrs waiting in Heaven who are excited about this day, “how much longer Lord”, they ask, with great anticipation. We read about the end of the world and a New Heaven and a New earth descending from Heaven where “God’s home is amongst his people, He will live with them and they will be his people.” If there’s anything I’ve ever been told in life that is “too good to be true” this would be at the top of my list! It is hard to imagine a day where evil is once and for all vanquished, where there is no more hurts and pains. A paradise where we no longer have to lock our doors, worry about death, losing a loved one, being murdered, used, raped, bankruptcy, cancer, divorce and all the ills of society are gone and Jesus dwells right there amongst his people. It is too good to be true and I have always been taught, “if it’s to good to be true; then it probably isn’t!” However, this is one promise and probably the only promise that I would ever say to ignore, that old adage. This is too good to be true; however it is true. The end of the world is actually a glorious thing. It is “the thing” that we don’t think of enough, it is the event that we don’t’ dream about enough, it is actually the greatest hope and event for any human being to live for. It is the “blessed hope” of the Christian. The end of the world is the best thing that will ever happen on planet earth and as we read in Revelations, at the end of the year,  we are told about, yes…“the end of the world” and we have nothing more to add, nothing more to say, than what is already written, “Come, Lord Jesus Come!






Tuesday, December 30, 2014

DECEMBER 30 "DO YOU REALLY WANT TO GO THERE!!"

Do you really want to start a dialogue with God?  Or as we would say today, “do you really want to go there?” Normally that statement reflects the idea that you don’t want to start an argument you are going to sorely lose; there is just piles of evidence heaped up against us, if we want to start throwing accusations. What I especially like about the Old Testament is we get actual dialogue from God and I find that fascinating. How does God think? What upsets him, if He was going to speak, what would he say? If you will read through the whole Old Testament you will get to know Jehovah/Yahweh quite well!

Today we read in the last book of the Old Testament, Malachi and Jehovah has one last opportunity to speak. It will be 400 years before God ever speaks to the Jewish people again! And what we find is that it is the typical conversation between man & God.  God says, “I have always loved you” man says, “how have you loved us!” It’s the conversation that still goes on in every break room, church foyer and family functions. We say, “God loves you”, they say, “how has He loved us, look at my life and all that has happened to me, you call that love!” Warning from today’s reading…it is an argument you don’t want to start with God. However they started the argument so God says, just like He did with “Job”, I will end it.  God begins to bring up all the worthless and phony offerings they have brought to Him over the years, sheep, goats and lambs that were sick, lame, crippled that they took from their flock and knew they could not have sold these animals for 1 cent and had the nerve to say, “here is my offering Lord, how I love you!” In the middle of worthless offerings they married heathen women and in marrying heathen women we can say that “liked/loved” heathen women, how could this be? They divorced and abandoned their wives when they were fed up with them and left them destitute. And why…because a prettier, younger woman came along? There is a term used in Psychology “selective amnesia” and it is a mental illness we all suffer from, especially religious people. Self deception is another unhealthy mental disorder. Mentally, warped people cannot serve God.  They truly do not see or purposely choose to block out/forget, the phony, hypocritical religious life they live. They have convinced themselves the lamb they sacrificed “was the best of their flock”. They have convinced themselves “divorce” was the only option. They have convinced themselves the “ungodly” were not that “ungodly”. They do not see their hypocrisy, all they see is the misery of their life, the struggles, what seems like a cursed life and when you come to them and say “God loves you” you’d better duck quick, because they might just swing at your head! In their minds, they have been nothing but faithful, and God has been anything but faithful. God does not speak often but when He does speak He lets it all out! Do you really want to get into an argument with God about who has been more faithful? Do you really want to get accusatory with God? Do you really want to go there? If you have a beef with God it is better that we look and search introspectively rather than point the finger at God. The more we refuse to look inwardly at ourselves; and outwardly choose to condemn God, the more we are given ourselves up to deception and you know what they say the problem is with deceived people…they are deceived! And unless a miracle happens, how do you ever reach a Christian who has given themselves unto deception? If you think the people in Malachi “saw the light” once the truth was told to them, you are naively wrong. In their self deluded minds they are right, they are just and God is wrong and God is unjust and the scary thing is, we are all just a few steps away from finding ourselves in this state of mind if we are not careful. 

Sunday, December 28, 2014

DECEMBER 28 " OH MY GOD, HE'S CREATED A FRANKENSTE...

DECEMBER 28 " OH MY GOD, HE'S CREATED A FRANKENSTE...:      "HOW far is this kid going to take this before I have to knock him off his feet", ever wonder that?  How far will an employee...

Saturday, December 27, 2014

DECEMBER 27 "COME OUT OF HER, THE GREAT FALSE RELIGION"

Why do people want to stay in their false religion and attempt to serve God there, after they have come to the truth? Is it some kind of compromise? Some kind of admission of "partial guilt"? A text that has often stood out to many is our text in Revelations, " Come away from her, my people. Do not take part in her sins or you will be punished with her". One of the most frustrating things for me as a Born Again Christian is to have a Catholic come to me and tell me "we are the same".  We are both "believers" we are both "Born Again" it's just that I am Catholic and you are Protestant. And I grieve for the martyrs who gave their lives so that we could be set free from false religion. As if there's salvation inside the Teachings of the Catholic Church?! As if salvation and forgiveness of the "original sin" comes at at the baptism of an infant. As if Martin Luther was just a great fool in forging the Protestant Reformation. I wonder if these Born Again Catholics have ever heard of the "Protestant Reformation?" What was the Protestant Reformation all about if there was salvation through the Roman Catholic Church?  Why were men burned at the stake by the Pope, if there was salvation through the Church of Rome.  I date them to tell William Tyndale, who was executed by strangling and then his body burned at the stake by the Papacy, that we are all the same. I date them to tell John Wycliffe who gave his life trying to translate the Bible into the common language of the people and in so doing spent his life running from the Papacy.  The Pope was so infuriated by his teachings and his translation of the Bible into English, that 44 years after Whycliffe had died, the Pope ordered the bones to be dug-up, crushed, and scattered in the river. Every Christian Religion outside of the Roman Catholic Church today is Protestant, ie: Lutherans, Methodists, Baptists, Pentecostals, Presbyterians, and many more are all part of The Protestant Reformation, what was Martin Luther Protesting? The Catholic Church and it's false teachings of indulgences, trans-substantiation, purgatory, salvation only through the Church of Rome. Martin Luther came out of her once he experienced salvation through Faith Alone in Christ and declared his intolerance for the Roman Church's corruption on Halloween in 1517, by nailing his 95 Theses of Contention to the Wittenberg Church door. Luther who would be exiled in the months following the Diet of Worm Council in 1521 that was designed to martyr him. Our text goes on to say in Revelations, "for her sins are piled as high as heaven.....the blood of the martyrs and prophets is on her hands". And we only show how completely ignorant we are when we say, "I'm a Born Again, but I serve God in the Catholic Church".  Never in one sentence has such foolishness ever been uttered. If you are Born Again, then come out of her or share in the judgement of her sins.  We have not even begun to tap into the lives that were martyred at the hands of the Papacy.  The "Spanish Inquisition" is still the dark stain on the history of the Church, the martyring of the Jews, God's own people, once again the Tribunal for the Spanish Inquisition was led by the Pope.  History records men and woman who gave their lives and were burned at the stake by the Catholic Church and these saints did so, so we could experience salvation, so we could know God. And for someone to come along today and say, "Luther, Whycliffe, Tyndale, none of you know what you were talking about, you died as martyrs in vain, you protested and were murdered by the Pope and Catholic Church yes, but I say, you were all wrong and I am right, there is salvation in the Catholic Church, I am a Born Again Catholic Believer!" Our text today warns us to come out from under her spell. The blood of the Martyrs is on the hands of the Catholics and God is giving a solemn warning to us that have come to the knowledge of the truth, "come out of her or you will share in her judgement". When the books are opened and every wicked deed is judged under the sun and God judges those who shed the blood of the martyrs, I know that on that day, Martin Luther and the great reformers will all be glad they did not remain in her claiming to be saved, but that they came out from her, even if it cost them their lives.









Thursday, December 25, 2014

DECEMBER 25 "BAH HUMBUG IT'S CHRISTMAS"

wonder how many readers we will get on Christmas Day? Christmas Day is such a celebratory day. With phone calls and visits and dinners, where does Jesus fit in? Then you actually do take the time to sit down and read your One Year Bible on Christmas and you are reading about judgment in Zechariah and then we are faced with even harsher reading in Revelations about Jesus and the bowls of Judgment He is releasing upon the earth. It's not very Christmassy reading, to say the least. It would be so neat if we picked up the One Year Bible on Christmas Day and it just so happened to be a reading on the Christmas story; instead we are faced with doom and gloom.  It's almost as if we and Jesus are not on the same page on December 25th or December 24th for that matter. It's not often that Christmas or Christmas Eve falls on a "church day" but it seems that when it does it turns out to be an inconvenience to us. It's almost as if Jesus is getting in the way of our Christmas celebrations. Catholic Churches are flourishing on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, but statistics show that Christian Denominational Churches tend to have poor attendance on those same days. It is almost as if in our stance to be "anti-religious" we are swinging way to the other extreme and almost becoming irreverent or aloof to the Celebration of CHRIST, ie: CHRIST-MAS. And when we pick up our bibles on this day to read our portion it seems as if our stance is confirmed as we read nothing even remotely close to what we are experiencing on Christmas Day. Perhaps JESUS and His angels are not in Heaven celebrating Christmas with us on December 25th. Any Historian and/or Theologian will tell you Jesus was never born in December any way. And so our One Year Bible reading today is surely not going to give us warm, fuzzy, Christmas feelings (as a matter of fact you may put it down) and it will not reinforce any kind of religious connotations to this Christmas Day, but if we are not careful we can go to the other extreme and come off as irreverent and careless to the day. The fact is, the world celebrates this day as a special, religious holiday in celebration of Jesus Christ and we who claim to be the true followers of Jesus must find a balance somehow between the religious sentiment to the holiday as appossed to making it more than it should be. I would hope that the sheer difference between us and the rest of the world is that in a few days. Jesus and the manger scene gets packed up and "put away" for another year and we keep him out for the rest of the year and continue to sing, "celebrate Jesus celebrate..." Not just on December 25th but on January 25th, February and so forth. Is December 25th really just another day? Maybe so....... there is no sentiment in our reading today to reinforce any other conclusion, but if the world wants to pick this day, to celebrate our Savior; then why not jump on board rather than say, "aggghhhh, Bah Humbug, this is religious, I'm not celebrating" after all, isn't any day, a good day....to celebrate Jesus?!



Tuesday, December 23, 2014

DECEMBER 23 "DON'T HAVE YOUR HUSBAND STOLEN FROM YOU!"

 Adultery is an ugly thing.  Adultery should never happen, Adultery is part of our culture. Adultery is one of the 10 Commandments; actually it’s mentioned twice in only 10 Commandments. Proverbs mentions 3 things that make the earth tremble, paraphrased by me, “will rock your world”, and one of those is “a servant/slave girl who supplants her mistress”.  Imagine, the humiliation of a woman, with status, who had all the accessories available to her to make herself beautiful to her husband, all the resources she needs.  She can be rested, therefore in a pleasant mood for her husband, she has resources, therefore can lavish herself with all she needs to beautify herself, perfumes, dresses, beautiful night gowns, products to enhance her features, her body, her hair and here we have this lowly servant girl, with a mop in her hand, no make up, nothing to beatify her, no status in life, she is just "a lowly servant girl"; how does she ever supplant (move out of her spot) this woman who had all the advantages? The woman with all the advantages in her grasp feels completely unthreatened by this lowly servant girl, but how shocked is she when she finds out her husband is having an affair with this lowly servant girl and what’s worse is it’s not just sexual, this lowly servant girl has also won her husband's heart! The bible says, “these are the things that make the earth tremble!” It is scandalous, it is shocking and it happens all the time and has been happening for a very long time and the bible says, “these things ought not to be”. Often when we hear of an affair we are wanting to see who this “drop dead gorgeous woman” is who seduced this man away from his wife and sometimes we are shocked to “see” she is not near as good looking as his wife and so we then wonder, “how did this servant girl supplant (remove her from her spot) his wife? His wife had access to him always, his wife had all the resources, all the beauty, how could this happen? Could it be that men are not as superficial as they are accused of being! Could it be that men do appreciate outer beauty very much, but they are also drawn to inner beauty? Can it be that in the long run, inner beauty of a woman will triumph over the outer beauty of another woman? These are all rhetorical questions because history has given us all the answers to these questions and they are all definitively “yes”. It should not happen, it ought never to happen but yet it happens every day and somewhere, even now, as I write this, some woman, with all the advantages is in the middle of being supplanted by some servant girl and she doesn't even have a clue and when she finds out it will be too late! When you think of all the things that God could have written that “rock the world” He chose to mention this, “a servant/slave girl who supplants her mistress”.  Why? Because it just shouldn't be, it is completely backwards; as backwards as a fool prospering! I believe this scripture is not an indictment against men; but rather it is an indictment against women. Women who had all the advantages at their disposal to keep their husbands, but yet lost them to another woman, not just any other woman, but lost them to another woman who was so greatly disadvantaged, it is truly an indictment. Don’t get me wrong, there is plenty of scripture in Proverbs that does indict men against adultery, plenty more so than any towards women, but that is not the case today. This one today, is for women, take heed, it is a shame, it is scandalous, it rocks the world, that any woman, with all the advantages at her disposal, would ever lose her husband to another woman, yet it happens every day, just don’t let it happen to you! 

Monday, December 22, 2014

DECEMBER 22 "THE NETHERWORLD OF THE BIBLE"

DECEMBER 22 "THE NETHERWORLD OF THE BIBLE":      IT is amazing to me as we come to the close of the year readings, in our One Year Bible that often you can't tell if you're rea...

Saturday, December 20, 2014

DECEMBER 20 "JUST HOLD ON GOD, I'LL BE RIGHT WITH...

DECEMBER 20 "JUST HOLD ON GOD, I'LL BE RIGHT WITH...:      I DON'T know to many people that would be so bold as to tell God, to "just hold on a minute" and then to keep Him waiting...

Friday, December 19, 2014

DECEMBER 19 "DON'T EAT BEFORE COMING OVER!"

DECEMBER 19 "DON'T EAT BEFORE COMING OVER!":      DON'T eat before coming over, please!  Have you ever invited someone over for dinner and somehow there was a miscommunication and t...

Thursday, December 18, 2014

DECEMBER 18 "DO YOU STILL HAVE A SONG TO SING THIS CHRISTMAS?"

"Beside the rivers of Babylon, we sat and wept…..we put away our harps." No problem right, they’re down in the dumps, it’s just not “good times” right now. However the most unlikely (or maybe not so unlikely) event occurs, the ungodly Babylonians want them to sing a song for them. One of the great songs about their God, that they are renowned for singing all over the existing world; at that time. Unfortunately, to the surprise of the Babylonians and maybe even to their own surprise, they reply “we have no song to sing”.  In the most unlikely situations and times, when we least expect it, will we be asked, by those that we have been trying to reach, those that have been persecuting us, those that have rejected us in the past, now, in our worse moment, at a time when we are down, do they come to us and say, “sing us a song” and what do we say, “get a way from me right now, I just want to be left alone; going through a rough time, I've hung my harp and I have nothing to sing about God right now”.  The danger is, who knows if we will ever get this opportunity again and of course it comes to us at the worse of times. But isn't that life! When we are prepared, when we are on our God, when we are on our spiritual high horse and want to preach and sing to the world, nobody wants to listen, but then when we are down, someone knocks on our door, someone gives us a call or shows up at our church and we are not singing anymore! Do you still have a song to sing? Singing is unique to our faith, Christians do allot of singing. The birth of Christ was preceded with a Choir of Angels singing about the coming birth of Christ,  “Suddenly a great army of heaven’s angels appeared with the angel, singing praises to God; Glory to God in the highest heaven and peace on earth to those with whom he is pleased”. The celebration of Christ (Christ-mas) has always been with singing. 
As Israel is being reintroduced to their God; Jehovah brings a great deliverance for His people, Miriam, in a moment of spontaneity, picks up her tambourine and shouts, “let’s sing to our God!”  One thing that is still good about Christmas is that every mall, every store for the next week or so, will be filled with music that is specific to celebrating Christmas. No doubt, some of the songs are a far cry from celebrating Christ (Grandma got run over by a reindeer) but yet, if you listen enough, you will find they still play some of the classics; and that’s a miracle in itself, especially in today’s politically, hyper- sensitive society, that we live in.  Christmas can become annoying if you don’t have a song to sing anymore, as you cannot get-a-way from singing during Christmas. Has Christmas caught you at a bad time this year? Are people, that you would least expect, wanting a song from you this Christmas? Question is, “do you still have a song to sing or have you hung up your harp?”

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

DECEMBER 16 "COULD I HAVE ISSUE WITH THAT CUTE BA...

DECEMBER 16 "COULD I HAVE ISSUE WITH THAT CUTE BA...:      THERE must be thousands of Christians that God wants to ask this question to. In our Old Testament reading (Micah) we read 1 Listen to...

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

DECEMBER 16 "WILL YOU PERISH BECAUSE OF YOUR IGNORANCE?"

But you, O Bethlehem are only a small village among all the people of Judah, Yet a ruler of Israel, whose origins are in the distant past”.  This of course is the scripture that the Pharisees used to reject Jesus as the Messiah. As far as they knew, what they had been told, Jesus was from Nazareth; therefore He could not be the Messiah as prophesied about in Micah. Had the Pharisees done their research they would have found out Jesus was not from Nazareth, his parents had only moved there later on, but that Jesus was actually born in Bethlehem. Ignorance is not always bliss!  The Pharisees and many others will perish because of their ignorance. How many people today will argue about religion, salvation and eternity who are completely ignorant and don’t know what facts they are arguing on. The Pharisees would ultimately perish based on what they had heard. How many times when Jesus was speaking to them did He not say, “have you not read?!”

I once was perishing, I lived a horrible sinful life, but because I had never murdered, robbed a bank or raped (the cardinal sins of the Catholic Church) I thought I was going to Heaven. And what research, what study, did I base my belief on…..absolutely nothing. My confidence of where I would spend eternity was totally based on ignorance. Had Jesus asked me, “have you not read?” my answer would have been, “no, I have not read but I have thrown a few bibles in the trash”. How many people out there will one day perish because of ignorance? And when a Christian did come their way, with some knowledge, they blew them away, chased them away, spouting ideologies and beliefs that have absolutely no validity to them whatsoever, if only they had done their research. The problem is we don’t’ want to do our research in fear of what we might find. My beliefs, regardless of whether they are founded on truth, allow me to live a comfortable, self indulging, sinful life with no eternal consequences, why in the world would I ever want to find out that they are based on false presuppositions. We all know that “religion is man’s invention to reconcile himself with God on his own terms” and that may give some a false peace here on earth, but one day, when standing before the Judge of the Universe we will be asked, “have you not read…..unless a man is Born Again, he will not enter the Kingdom of God”. The truth incarnate was right there in front of the Pharisees, but yet they perished because of their ignorance and prejudices. People will argue until they’re last breath as to what they know, but what if the belief and/or religion they have argued in defense of their whole life; what they thought to be true, is actually a lie? Are you willing to gamble whether you will spend eternity in Heaven or Hell simply based on what you have been told without ever having done your own research? Will you too, like the Pharisees, one day perish in Hell for eternity, simply because you were ignorant of the truth and facts? The answer to that question we know, sadly enough, is “yes” many will perish because of ignorance. “We know that you cannot be the Messiah, because you are from Nazareth” those will be the words that haunt them for all eternity!

Sunday, December 14, 2014

DECEMBER 14 "GOD'S SOVEREIGNTY VS. MAN'S FREE WIL...

 DECEMBER 14 "GOD'S SOVEREIGNTY VS. MAN'S FREE WIL...:      THE problem with the story of Jonah is it causes many lazy Christians to form a wrong Theology.  And that theology is, that God will br...

Friday, December 12, 2014

DECEMBER 12 "LOSING...IS NOT AN OPTION!"

DECEMBER 12 "LOSING...IS NOT AN OPTION!":      WHY is everything about being Victorious, about overcoming?   21 To the one who is victorious, I will give the right to sit with me on...

Thursday, December 11, 2014

DECEMBER 11 "ARE WE THE LOVE CHURCH OR HATE CHURCH?"

Kudos to the Church in Thyatira.  If I was the Pastor of that church I would frame these words from Jesus and hang them in the Church foyer for everyone, especially visitors to read, “I have seen your love, your faith, you service and patient endurance. And I can see your constant improvement in all these things”.  Of course I would leave out the next part, “But I have this one complaint against you, you are permitting that woman Jezebel….to teach them to commit sexual sin”.  We know that “Love” is the primary objective, the primary goal of a church.  The church in Thyatira seems to have reached this high and lofty goal. I think we can agree, there’s a few churches today that are seriously lacking in love. It’s unfortunate that the very objective that the Thyatira church has strived to be, now brings with it a serious fault. They have tried so hard to be “the love church” that in doing so they have completely avoided any kind of behavior that might be taken as “unloving”.  I have never once confronted someone for “sexual sin” in the church and had them say, “Pastor, I know you’re doing this because you love me, I can just feel the love coming from you”. It was normally the opposite; they left the church, with all sorts of inflammatory accusations and of course accused me and/or the church of being “unloving”. The love church in Thyatira will never behave in any way that would leave any room for interpreting them as being unloving.  Have you even been in one of these churches? There is no judgment of any kind, anything goes, it’s all about love, encouragement and acceptance. Sounds like the ideal church doesn’t it! Then you have the other church that says, “we need to exhort, encourage but also need to chasten and rebuke” and most often what they really are is a church of constant rebuking, rules and legalism and there really is no encouragement and/or love.  The church that is full of love is corrected by Jesus for allowing flagrant sin to go on (very typical) and the church that judges all sin and keeps a tight rein will be accused by Jesus for having no Grace and no Love (very typical).  This should have you wondering, “what church do I serve God in, how would we be characterized by Jesus?”  I ask myself that question all the time. Jesus may not write letters to the churches anymore, but He still keeps himself well acquainted with His churches and always will; until His return at least.  Jesus has an opinion of your church, the question is, would you ever ask him what His opinion is and would you be able to hear what He is saying?  “Anyone with ears to hear must listen to the Spirit and understand what He is saying to the churches”. God is speaking in many churches, trying to help them, sometimes through encouraging words sometimes through rebuking words, but many churches go on to function and remain the same, never being changed, never being transformed into the church that they could be because they have ears, but not ears that hear and certainly not ears that listen. But if we have ears to hear and listen our church(s) can be changed and transformed into great churches; and isn’t that what we all want, we know it’s what Jesus wants, we know He is speaking but are we listening?

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

DECEMBER 9 "DO YOU MIND IF I HAVE SOME JOY!?"

I know that the Christian Life is not the perfect life. That if I expect my life to be ever so bliss because I’m a Christian is wrong. However, I still cannot get away from the scripture that continuously tells me, “my life should be blessed because I fear the Lord and obey him. So while I should make room in my theology or life, for hard times, I must also understand that it isn’t my lot in life to be miserable and beaten down. In both Psalms and Proverbs today we are told that “how joyful are those who fear the Lord, how joyful and prosperous they will be, may you live to enjoy your grandchildren” then in Proverbs we read, “whoever obeys the law is joyful” it is almost a duplicate of what we read in Psalm 128.  And so I get it, I get it, my life isn’t going to be perfect, I know, I’ve been told enough times, through radio talk shows, to sermons, to books and from friends. I got that part, it’s been made loud and clear to allow of us. It’s almost the strategy they use in “sales”. Set expectations low and hope to produce high, like that nobody is disappointed. It’s almost like our Christianity Community is using the same methodology with us. Let’s set our expectations low about this Christian life and if you so happen to have a good year, then all the better! The problem is as I continue to read my bible I am not getting the same message from God. Through the Word of God I believe God is telling us to set “expectations high!” God is telling us believe for the best, believe for a prosperous and blessed life. So why does everyone in Christianity want us to set our expectations low?  Why are they so afraid we are going to be let down “by the Almighty?” Cannot I not believe God for a long, fruitful and prosperous life, can I not believe God to be able to be blessed and enjoy my grandchildren some day? “Well, brother you don’t want to get your hopes to high”, someone might say.  And I say, “why not!” It is as if people are taking their personal experience as a Christian and redefining the Word of God through their experience. Instead of taking the Word of God and redefine their lives to conform to it, they do the opposite. They take the experience of their life and redefine the Word of God.  Thence, my beaten down life, my losses, my lack of victories can only make me have to change the bible or look at it with a skeptical eye. It is not the bible that we should be looking at with a skeptical eye, but our own lives. As the Word of God says, “let God be true and every man a liar”.  We will always paint ourselves in the best light. However, upon closer examination, we will find it is our lackluster performance that has caused many of God’s promises to fall the ground and rot. I understand trials may come, I know Jesus said, “behold in this world you will have tribulation” but Jesus also said, “BE OF GOOD CHEER, for I have overcome the world”. The life of a Christian is not doom and gloom, but at least I’m going to Heaven. And just as sinners have a taste of Hell here on earth, so should Christians have a taste of Heaven here on earth. If the agenda of the Christian Community you are surrounded by is also to set low expectations then you will have to consider why and what is going on because it simply is not what God wants us to do.  According to our reading today He wants us to set and expect A Good Life, A Blessed Life, A Prosperous Life and to dumb down or water down or lessen any of God’s promises to accommodate or validate or excuse our lack luster Christian experience is wrong.  

Monday, December 8, 2014

DECEMBER 8 "I DON'T UNDERSTAND ETERNAL SECURITY??...

DECEMBER 8 "I DON'T UNDERSTAND ETERNAL SECURITY??...:      I SIMPLY don't understand Eternal Security and I understand it even less after reading today's passage in Jude.  The author pro...

Sunday, December 7, 2014

DECEMBER 7 "CONFLICT WITH THE BROTHER OF LOVE"

 DECEMBER 7 "CONFLICT WITH THE BROTHER OF LOVE":      THE reason we have conflict in the church is because some people are just jerks.  Surely it has nothing to do with us! It's always ...

Friday, December 5, 2014

DECEMBER 5 "HAVE YOU EVER SOLD OR BOUGHT SEX?"

Selling sex for money is as old as the bible itself. I wonder who the first woman was who thought, “I need money, why don’t I sell sex”.  As old as this practice is, it’s amazing that we are still not comfortable with the idea. Nobody is proudly and anxiously bringing his prostitute girlfriend home for the Holidays. “Mom, Dad, I want you to meet my new girlfriend, she’s a very successful prostitute in our downtown area and I love her and thought it was time you meet her”, how well would that go off in front of the family at Christmas?  Most women have never technically sold sex for money and most men have never technically paid a prostitute for sex. I have seen talk shows where a woman was presenting herself as a “dignified woman”. She explains about her role in prostitution and how it is a means of paying her way through University, where of course she’s studying to be a Doctor or Lawyer. The talk show’s agenda is to present this woman as a normal, moral person who is just being resourceful with what she has. She’s beautiful, nice body, why not make some money off of it. Our text today mentions this prostitute comes up with the idea of selling sex in order to pay for her food and clothes. Regardless of why she is doing it, even if it’s to feed her children, she is still described as a lewd, base and very immoral woman. What if a woman gives a man sex, for free, in exchange to keep him. She says, “I want him and I know if I give him sex he will keep coming back to me, even if it’s only for that”, is that still considered “prostituting yourself?”. There’s all sorts of “legalized” prostitution that takes place every day where no money is exchanged, but the idea remains the same.  The man knows it’s his affluence, power & prestige that gets him the sex (for free) and the woman knows that what gets her, into his life, is the sex she supposedly is not selling, at least not on paper. If the love of money is the root of all evil, where does sex come in to play? Sex and money are a ruthless combination. It’s interesting that in Heaven there will be neither sex nor money. As a woman, if I obey God, live by his commands then my needs will be met; and if I obey God, live by his laws than my needs will be met too and I will not have to pay of sex. When we rebel and step outside His will, and His commands then all the rules change and we sink to our lowest point as human beings. There is not only sex trafficking in our society today but we have sunk even lower to human trafficking, there is no limit to how low we can sink when we abandon God, which is the whole premise of our scripture today. Imagine a society where prostitution is legalized?!  God sees this as one of the lewdest, lowest and most immoral thing a woman can do, is sell her body for sex. It’s a violation against her own self, and she doesn’t even realize it, or maybe she does but can’t resist the money which makes it that much more base & immoral. Unfortunately, for those of us who took Economics 101, it’s the law of supply and demand, isn’t it! A product will vanish off the market once the demand diminishes, however the opposite is also true, a product will increase in it’s availability/supply as demand increases.  As our society continues to degrade more and more the law of Economics is ever so perpetuated in the case of Prostitution. If we were to ask who has ever sold sex, made an agreement to go to a hotel and exchange sex for money, many women would say, “not I”.  If we were to ask men, “who here has ever contracted a woman for sex, for this I will pay you “x” amount of dollars, let’s meet”, most men would say, “not I”.   If we change the question a little, then we get a whole lot more people saying, “guilty as charged”.  As a woman, the question would be, “how many of you women have ever used sex to get something you wanted from a man” the answer would be many saying “I have”.  If we asked the men, “how many of you have ever used your influence, your power, your wealth, to get you sex, quite a plethora of men would have to respond “ I have”.  The standard from God is, sex is not to be used as a bartering tool!  Who was the fist woman to think of sex as something to barter with? Who was the first man to think of sex as something he could pay for and get it on demand? Whoever they were and whenever it was, doesn’t matter, because had they not thought of it, surely our generation would have.  Our text covers the issue of bartering sex for a need and God is clear to tell us, “no excuse!”  Whether you sell or buy sex because you are lonely, scared, hungry, insecure, broke, whatever the reason, God says, “it’s not a valid one” sex was not given to man as a gift to be bartered and the fact that we would even think of such a thing, the fact that we would not only think about such a thing, but participate in, to one degree or another, this indeed shows us that we are sinners in need of a Savior. 

Thursday, December 4, 2014

DECEMBER 4 "JUST GO AHEAD AND PUNT THE BALL"

DECEMBER 4 "JUST GO AHEAD AND PUNT THE BALL":       BEAR with me those of you that are less than sports enthusiasts because there is a valuable lesson in life to be learned here.  I was ...

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

DECEMBER "DID JOHN JUST TELL US WE ARE THE DEVIL?"

I’m sure glad John wrote this “the brother of love” and not me, because I would be accused of being the “brother of hate”. John is vehemently attacking “hypocrisy” in his writing. To think…..I thought this was just a problem in the bible belt of America or in the deep south; people claiming “to know Jesus, Praise Jesus, Hallelujah!!” But yet live like The Devil. We preach “Christianity is a relationship with Jesus, not a religion”, but the problem is as we venture out across America, we find that in many states and cities across America, Christianity is just another religion to most people. Growing up on the east coast, as a Roman Catholic, we were faithful church attendees on Sundays, but lived pretty sinful lives through out the rest of the week. Everyone in my family was immoral, everyone in my family drank & cussed, but yet on Sundays there we were in church trying to act (at least the adults) as pious as we could. That’s why as a teenager, I left the church and religion all together.  When I was 21 years old I was finally coaxed into stepping back into a church, this was not easy for anyone to do, it took much persistence to get me back into a church after what I grew up in, I hated it. This was a Christian Pentecostal Church, I had never been in one of those before. What impressed me was people actually living out their Christian faith, not just at church, but especially at home.  I came to believe from that point on that if you claimed to be Catholic, you were just a religious hypocrite, but if you claimed to be Christian, you were a genuine believer. Being in the military, I was often deployed and had an opportunity to do much travel, domestically and overseas. It didn’t’ take long for my na├»ve hypothesis to be quickly chattered into a million pieces. In the mid-west (the Bible Belt), the South (God’s Country) and South Africa (Born Again Capital of the world), where Christians, Baptists and Pentecostals were the predominant churches you would think all would be well and good. However, that was not they case, I began to meet professing Christians that cussed, drank and were often pregnant out of wedlock, this began to seem all too familiar, but how could this be? I thought it was just the Religious Catholics that lived like that? I thought I was told “Christianity is not a religion but a relationship with God”; the euphoric bubble was being burst.  My whole idea of what I thought I had left behind and what I had entered in to was shattered. I left religion when I was young, wanted nothing to do with it, couldn’t stand religion and the hypocrisy behind it, I loathed it and was so thrilled when I came to know and experience Christianity, now that was being question too, was there no hope?  What saved me was the Book of 1 John. When I read what we read today, it saved me from leaving the Christian Church and Faith altogether. I read the words of John, boldly proclaiming, “THIS IS NOT RIGHT!” You cannot claim to know Christ and live the way you are living. I learned that there are hypocrites everywhere. They are in the Catholic Churches, Baptist, Pentecostal, non-denomination, they are everywhere and we cannot simply run from Faith and Christ because of them. Do we sin, do I sin, of course! However what John is speaking about is blatant sin!  I knew after reading 1 John that I didn’t have to leave the Church and become an Atheist or Agnostic. From that point on I knew what I thought was true, confirmed by John. The revelation was that all I can do is make sure I knew and I lived by what the Word of God taught me and not to allow those that wanted to live hypocritical lives to drive me out or discourage me.  The other revelation I learned is that one day Jesus will come back and separate the tares from the wheat. Until that time, God allows the Church to be intertwined with both. The question we need to honestly ask ourselves is which one am I? Am I a tare or am I “the wheat”. Another parable describes us as sheep and goats. When Jesus comes back will he assess us as one of the goats or one of the sheep. The sheep, Jesus says, “know my voice and obey my commands?. We don’t have to leave the church because of hypocrites; all the more reason why we need to stay and display what true Christian faith is, because God will continuously bring in lost souls and they, like I, will be looking for genuine faith and a Christian profession that is genuinely lived out. Will they find that in you?

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

DECEMBER 2 "END TIMES PROPHECY FOR DUMMIES"

Daniel is one of the greatest prophets for end times that ever lived. Over 2000 years later, we still have no prophet, no man that has ever given us more accurate detail about end times, the coming of Christ and the 7 year tribulation.  What gives Daniel even more authority is that Jesus himself, tells us to reference to Daniel’s book  for End Times “prophecy”. Daniel’s math and prophecies can seem too complex to even begin to digest, but if we take the time we find out they are amazingly accurate. In a simple, “End Times Prophecy for Dummies” let’s break down his numbers.  Daniel references the time period for the completion of Israel’s judgment for their rebellion as 70 x 7, which equals 490 years. Daniel also goes on to predict another prophecy about the “anointed one”  “Christ” to come and then be killed, seemingly accomplishing nothing. The dates Daniel gives for the Anointed One are 7 sets of 7 (7x7) = [ 49 ]  + 62 sets of 7 (62 x 7) = [ 434 ] .   So 49 + 434 = 483 Years.  According to Daniel, the clock starts ticking for this prophecy when the 2nd Temple is rebuilt. There’s no way Daniel could have ever known what the date would be for the rebuilding of the 2nd Temple. He simply writes that it will be 483 years from that date.  Today, we know that the 2nd Temple was attempted to rebuilt and stopped quite a few times, but most commentators agree that when the temple was finally and fully rebuilt was around 450 B.C.  Again, Daniel predicts that from the time of the completion of the 2nd Temple to the time of the cutting of the Anointed One would be 483 years.  We know that in B.C. we are counting down, then when we get to zero, we start counting upwards with 0 A.D. (Anno Domini / In the Year of our Lord/after the birth of Christ) and then counting upward, 1 A.D., 2 A.D. etc…etc…So if the Temple is rebuilt around 450 B.C. and Daniel predicts the cutting off of the Messiah at 483 years, let’s do the math! We count down 450 B.C. down to Zero, that leaves us with 33 Years. We count 33 years forward and that leaves us at 33 A.D.  Who do we know and all Historians alike, that was around in 33 A.D., that was known as “The Anointed One” and was killed?  Jesus (Savior) Christ (Anointed One) of course!  All Theologians and Historians agree that there was a man by the name of Jesus Christ, that was by the Romans, using crucifixion as their means, around 30 – 33 A.D. Daniel prophecies that in 490 years would be the completion of the judgment of Israel and 483 years for the cutting off of the Messiah.  There’s a difference of 7 years between Daniels first prophecy (490) and 2nd Prophecy (483).  490 – 483 = 7.   We have never seen the fulfillment of these last 7 years of Judgment?  This is where Jesus helps us! In the Gospel of Mathew 24:15 Jesus is quoting as saying, “So when you see standing in the holy place ‘the abomination that causes desolation, spoken of through the prophet Daniel—let the reader understand…”  Jesus himself goes all the way back in time to reference to Daniel’s Prophecy of which, Jesus is one of them, but now Jesus references to a part of Daniel’s prophecy not yet fulfilled, “so when you see” in other words, this part has not been seen yet. Jesus is alluding to the fact that there is a part (the 7 years) of Daniel’s prophecy that has not yet been fulfilled and this 7 years of course is the 7 year tribulation. It is in the 7 year tribulation that God’s judgment on the people of Israel is finalized. Daniel writes about a Peace Treaty at the beginning of the 7 years and he writes about the Peace treaty being broken and the Anti-Christ setting himself up in the temple and breaking that peace treaty, which goes alongside with what John writes in Revelations Chapter 3. The accuracy of Daniel’s prophecy is simply amazing, but even more amazing is we know that we serve a God “who is working out all things according to his purpose and plan”. We may look around at times and feel like everything is getting out of control, especially for Christians, but Jesus is trying to show us through Daniel that history’s events are actually going just as Daniel and of course Jesus has always known and predicted. The comfort we can have in Daniel’s pinpoint accuracy is that they came from Jesus and God knows exactly what He is doing and one of the greatest prophecies that we can read in His Word is that in the end, WE WIN!
No matter what we have to go through, no matter how bad things degrade in our society (as they are) Jesus tells us if we will endure until the end, He will come back, set things straight, throw the dragon, the false prophet and the devil into the lake of fire and we reign triumphantly with Him. Everything Gabriel, the Arch Angel shared with Daniel in our text we know came from Jesus,   who is the Living Word, the Alpha & The Omega, The First and the Last, who knows all things to be and all things to come. If you want to take a peek, skip to the last chapter of The Book and you will read that in the end, according to Jesus, we win and our triumphant!!! “Heaven and Earth will pass away, but every jot and every title of my Word, shall be fulfilled, say The Lord”



Monday, December 1, 2014

DECEMBER 1 "WHY DO SAINTS, CALL THEMSELVES SINNER...

DECEMBER 1 "WHY DO SAINTS, CALL THEMSELVES SINNER...:      I'M tired of hearing Christians, call themselves sinners.  Paul never wrote in his Epistles, " to the Sinners at Corinth &quot...