Monday, October 31, 2016

November 1, 2016

"Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. Do not conform to this world but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is - his good, pleasing and perfect will." Romans 12:1-2

D. L. Moody is a great example of what can happen when a man commits to partner with God. One plus one may equal two in the realm of mathematics. But when one man with His God it doesn’t double, it multiplies. And not only does it multiply but it compounds!

Moody was born in a very poor New England family in 1837. They were already poor when his father died at the age of 41 their creditors came and took all they had except the clothes on their backs. They even took the fire wood stacked behind the house. When their mother took them to church and S.S., they were so poor she didn’t want to wear out their shoes and socks so she would have them go barefoot and carry their socks until they got within sight of the church when they would put them on and go into church.

When he was old enough, Moody landed a job as a shoe salesman and became one of the top shoe salesman on the East Coast. He became friends with a fellow shoe salesman by the name of Edward Kimball. Kimball was a Christian who often witnessed to Moody. One day, Kimball led Moody to the Lord in a back room of the shoe store.

Soon after becoming converted, Moody came across a quote by Henry Varley that challenged him and profoundly changed his life. The quote was, “The world is yet to see what God will do with, for, through, in and by a man fully consecrated to Him.” Moody decided he wanted to be that man, so after being denied membership in his local church who considered him too unpolished, he recruited 18 rowdies off the street and began teaching a Bible class with them. Two years later that class had grown to 1,500!

During his lifetime this rough, raw and unpolished man shared the gospel with 100,000,000 people!

In the case of D.L. Moody ONE + one equaled 100 million when he partnered with God. But that was not the full extent of the partnership with God. What began with a shoe salesman who dared to partner with God and share his faith with a co-worker in the back of a shoe store didn't end there:

·  Sunday School teacher Edward Kimball lead Dwight L. Moody to Christ;

·  J. Wilbur Chapman was converted at a D. L. Moody evangelistic meeting;re

·   Billy Sunday was converted at a Chapman meeting; 

·  Mordecai Ham was converted at Billy Sunday meeting; AND.....Billy Graham was converted at a Mordecai Ham meeting!

On December 22, 1899, the evangelist D. L. Moody lay dying. His first job had been as a shoe clerk in Boston, gathering eighteen ragged boys off the street to organize a Sunday school class. In two years the class had grown to fifteen hundred. In his lifetime Moody was to take two continents in his hands and shake them for God. As he died, he left this epitaph written on the flyleaf of his Bible, “If God be your partner, make your plans big."

What big thing could you partner with God  for if you were fully consecrated to Him?

Sunday, October 30, 2016

I Want a Righteous Nation

"Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a disgrace to any people." Proverbs 14:34

This is a very straight forward statement. It is very simple and yet quite complex.

I would think that if you ask the average citizen of any nation, "Would you rather have your nation be righteous or disgraced?" My guess is that most of them would say, "I want a righteous nation!"
While righteousness is important to any nation, it is absolutely essential to the United States!

Here's why!

America is the only nation to have been founded on the idea that human rights are given by God and the purpose of government is to protect those rights. And America is the only nation to ever have codified those protections in a legal document (The Constitution).

Rights have as much to do with responsibility as they do with freedom. In a sense, that what righteousness is - the responsible exercise of freedom. The responsible exercise of freedom means doing what God says is right! How can you hope to maintain your rights if you do what God says is wrong? Unrighteousness is therefore, a direct threat to freedom! When you under mind what is right you under mind your rights!

Think about that if you think that righteousness does not matter.

As a very simple example remember what happened when you were a child and you did something wrong. When your parents discovered you had done wrong you were punished and that punishment involved some sort of loss of freedom. Maybe you were grounded for a day or maybe you had to go to your room for an hour or two - your "unrighteousness" caused you to lose (if only temporarily) some rights.

What happened on a very small scale in your home is a microcosm of what happens on a national scale when unrighteousness becomes epidemic.
More great empires have crumbled from within due to the moral and cultural decay resulting from rampant unrighteousness.

In addition to the Holy Scriptures, many of the Founding Fathers cautioned against immoral and irresponsible actions of unrighteousness!
Doing what is right is essential to keeping America free and strong. Not only does righteousness protect freedom (and it does) more importantly it earns God's favor and blessing. There is no substitute for that!
Wonder what is wrong with American? Unrighteousness is what is wrong with America!

Do you want to get America right again? Then do right by obeying God and living according to His Word!

Saturday, October 29, 2016

October 30, 2016

"Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin condemns any people." Proverbs 14:34

This verse is one of the many that guide my decision-making in how I vote and which candidates I support.

But it raises several questions:

1) What is righteousness?

2) Who determines what is right?

3) How much does it really matter?

Righteousness is the standard for determining what is right, and therefore, what is wrong.

Since God is the Holy Almighty Creator and Judge of all men, I would say He is best qualified to decide what is right and what is wrong. I'm going with His opinion!

It matters very much to Him, therefore it should matter very much to you!

And, righteousness also mattered very much to the Founding Fathers!

Following are several quotes from John Adams:

"The general principles on which the fathers achieved independence were the general principles of Christianity. I will avow that I then believed, and now believe, that those general principles of Christianity are as eternal and immutable as the existence and attributes of God."

"Without religion, this world would be something not fit to be mentioned in polite company: I mean hell."

"The Christian religion is, above all the religions that ever prevailed or existed in ancient or modern times, the religion of wisdom, virtue, equity and humanity."

Virginian, Patrick Henry declared:

"The Bible… is a book worth more than all the other books that were ever printed."

"Righteousness alone can exalt [America] as a nation...Whoever thou art, remember this; and in thy sphere practice virtue thyself, and encourage it in others."

"The great pillars of all government and of social life [are] virtue, morality, and religion. This is the armor, my friend, and this alone, that renders us invincible."

"This is all the inheritance I can give to my dear family. The religion of Christ can give them one which will make them rich indeed."

When I hold a little newborn I marvel over such a miraculous result of God's handiwork and thinking, "I could never support or vote for a candidate who believed it is right to murder precious innocents in the womb."

When I think how much Barbara means to me and how much our marriage has blessed my life, "I could never support or vote for a candidate who isn't willing to define marriage exclusively as a union between one man and one woman. That just wouldn't be right."

The Bible declares it, the Founders affirmed it and I believe it - righteousness matters and I will live righteously and vote for a candidate who at least gets those two issues right!

Do the right thing on the 8th! Vote!

Friday, October 28, 2016

October 29, 2016

"But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.  “Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble." Matthew 6:33-34

If you remember back in 2010 when President Obama and the Congress seemed so "hell-bent" (literally) to get the Affordable Care Act push through against the will of the Republicans and the American people. 

Why was it so important for them to jam through this extra-constitutional legislation by dubious parliamentary devices?

I wish I could say our President and his Party were driven by a deep genuine concern for the health of average Americans. At the risk of impugning their motives I suspect their urgency to impose this oppressive law on the American people was for the sheer amount of power it could wield over us.

Think about how important health concerns are to people. And think about how much people have come to expect good health care and health insurance, especially since they see it as a right, and you get a sense of how much power it would give to whoever controls healthcare.

If you were obsessed with power and leveraging power for your ends having control over people's health could be an effective tool.

Imagine a scenario like this. You have a child with a life-threatening tumor. If your child is going to have any chance at surviving the tumor must be removed as soon as possible. But you can't afford to pay for the cost of the surgery and must depend on your healthcare provider to cover the cost of the surgery. Now suppose some government bureaucrat controls your access to that coverage. What if that government bureaucrat informs you that the only way your child can be approved for the surgery is if you agree to renounce your faith in Christ.

What do you do?

Also consider this, in order for you to get your healthcare coverage through Obamacare you must give up all of your personal health and financial information. Imagine how much power that gives them over you!

Think about a scenario like this, the government bureaucrat notifies you that unless you change your beliefs about abortion you will be charged a large fine that they will withdraw from your bank account. What would you do?

You don't think those scenarios are possible?

Think again. When this invasive law was foisted on the American people it grants the government almost unlimited discretionary powers. It is the proverbial camel with his nose under the tent.

Our Founders feared this sort of abuse of power by the government when they wrote the Constitution and the Bill of Rights. They believed in God-given rights and charged the government with the protection of those rights and warned of the dangers of an ungodly government that would seek to replace God and become the grantor of rights. 

But, as hard as they try, they can't do it entirely on their own. They still need people who will vote for them and support their policies.

Don't be one of the those people.

Thursday, October 27, 2016

October 28, 2016

"For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. “Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble." Matthew 6:32-34

Jesus taught His followers to trust God to meet your daily needs. In 21st Century America has come to a place where large and intrusive (and increasingly abusive) government has increasingly sought to usurp the role of God in the lives of Americans. 

Liberalism for 100 years has systematically attacked and undermined religious faith while seeking to cause Americans to become increasingly more dependent on government and less dependent on God.

One way government has gained power and influence over citizens is by seeking to redefine rights and then become the grantor of those rights.

A tragic example of this is the proclaimed "woman's right to her body." While that sounds right and fair, it is not so stated in the Constitution. In 1973 the Supreme Court read that "right" into the Constitution in order to make abortion legal. In Roe vs. Wade, the Supreme Court assumed the role of the Congress by legislating from the bench. This immoral and controversial "law" was never allowed to work its way through the House and the Senate because liberals knew it would not likely to be written into law. 43 years later this non-legislated "law" has cost 60,000,000 innocent American lives.

Over the past couple of decades government has declared that healthcare is a right. No where does that appear in the Constitution but politicians and activists have steadily and consistently insisted that every American is entitled to healthcare and since the less fortunate cannot afford it then in the interest of fairness the government should make it affordable to everyone. 

How can the government make healthcare affordable for those who can't afford it? By forcing those who can afford it to pay for those who can't. After all, it's only fair since that's their right!

In 2010, without the support of a single Republican, conservative or moderate, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act was pushed through Congress by the Democrats and signed by President Obama. 

The unpopularity of the "Obamacare" Healthcare with it's mandate requiring all Americans to purchase it or face a fine, lead to a landslide for Republicans in the off-year elections in 2010 due to their promise to repeal the "Obamacare" legislation.

Republicans assumed control of the House of Representatives but they failed to deliver on their promised repeal of "Obamacare" saying, "If we can just win the Senate then we can stop "Obamacare!" So in the 2014 mid-term election the voters gave them the Senate and waited for them to vote for repeal. But it didn't happen.

The failure of the Republican majority to repeal "Obamacare" or stop other liberal initiatives of the President is what probably created the political climate for Donald Trump.

Americans are learning what happens when their government that is supposed to protect their rights instead assumes extra-constitutional authority to grant "rights". Healthcare is not a Constitutional right. But it has become a law that significantly expands the power and scope of government over its people. When government has control of health it has massive power over its people. Power that the Founders never intended.

Is it too late to reign in an out of control government? 

It won't be easy but repealing and replacing this massive, intrusive and failed healthcare law will be an important start.

Elections matter. Choose a candidate who will have the will and courage to tackle the healthcare problem.

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

October 27, 2016

"First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way." 1 Timothy 2:1-2   

No doubt some of you feel the same about all the ads, debates and news shows about the candidates. This has been the ugliest Presidential campaign of my lifetime.

So, what should campaign weary Christians be doing just 12 days from election day?

"First then, I urge supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people"

We need to be praying!

Supplications are heartfelt requests for God to provide something that you deem essential. It might be protection for the candidates. It may be for wisdom and courage for you. It may be for a fair and just election.

Prayers are requests made in accordance with God's Word and His will.

Intercessions are prayers for the spiritual condition of our leaders and our nation. They are for calling upon God for His mercy upon our land. They are calling for salvation for our President and Congressmen and mayors and councilmen. Pray that evil be restrained and righteousness prevails.

Thanksgivings are just that! Thank God for the peace and freedom that we enjoy in this land. Thank Him that you were blessed enough to have been born in America. Thank Him for those who have served and sacrificed to preserve our freedoms.

We do not need political commercials or strategies or advisers, we need a divine and supernatural movement of God's Spirit upon our nation. That only comes through supplications, prayers, intercessions and thanksgiving!

Months and months of campaigning is less than two weeks from coming to a conclusion. Prayer is how you should be spending your time between now and the moment you walk into that booth.

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

What Has Happened To Our Media?

"The one who states his case first seems right, until the other comes and examines him." Proverbs 18:17

Many times as a youngster I would hear Walter Cronkite sign off his nightly news broadcast, "And that's the way it is." 

And I would be content with the notion, "Ok, then, that's the way it is!"

Such is the power of the news media!

A smiling, bespectacled, grandfatherly, gentleman with a steady voice shaped the reality of world events of millions of viewers for the better part of a generation.

In his book, "Well Versed", the Rev. Dr. James Garlow makes the case for the biblical purpose of the media:

"The First Amendment guarantee of a free press is implicitly and theologically important. A free media exists for the same reason as the three branches of government. Each branch checks and balances the other - because the capacity for evil in the human heart. Jeremiah 17:9 summarizes it as well, "The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it?" 

An objective media performs an incredibly important function of independently challenging power with truth. This balance only works, however, if the media is not in bed with the government or being intentionally antagonistic."

So, what has happened to our media?

Let me offer several observations based on these brief comments from Dr. Garlow.

First, as truth has become relative it has become pliable and the majority of the media has ceased reporting truth and begun contorting it to fit their worldview and social or political agenda.

Second, when you fail or refuse to challenge corruption with truth you will eventually be corrupted by power. The saying is true, "Power corrupts" and the media has largely sold out to the politically powerful.

Third when you bend the truth and fail to defend the truth you soon lose sight of the truth and start believing your own lies.

Such is the pathetic state of the "mainstream media" today and the media is paying a price for it in terms of a major decline in trust and credibility. 

Do you trust the media?

Neither do I?

So, what do we do?

Stay anchored in the truth of God's Word and speak the truth to the corrupt power-brokers who try to shape the nation's reality.

Don't allow your heart or mind to become corrupted by the lies and misinformation being propagated by much of our modern media outlets.

In the words of the Apostle Paul, "Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness," Ephesians 6:14

The people of God and the Church of Jesus Christ is the final repository of truth on planet earth. Our nation needs us more now than it ever has! There will be a high price to pay as we stand for the truth and speak the truth against political power, but it is why God has placed us in the world.

And that's the way it is!

Monday, October 24, 2016

October 25, 2016

"For he himself is our peace, who has made the two groups one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility, by setting aside in his flesh the law with its commands and regulations. His purpose was to create in himself one new humanity out of the two, thus making peace, and in one body to reconcile both of them to God through the cross, by which he put to death their hostility. He came and preached peace to you who were far away and peace to those who were near. For through him we both have access to the Father by one Spirit. Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and strangers, but fellow citizens with God’s people and also members of his household, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone." Ephesians 2:14-20

In fourteen days we will go to the polls and choose between two flawed and imperfect candidates. One of them will lead us for the next four years and have a significant impact on our daily lives and future.

But, thank God, we get the privilege of casting a vote and having a voice in the eventual outcome!

That great freedom was purchased for us by the bravery, sacrifice and blood of courageous patriots throughout the generations who loved freedom more than life. Think of them when you cast that ballot on Tuesday, November 8.

What a blessing we have as Americans! Only by the grace of God were we born in this great land. Therefore, it behooves us to be responsible citizens so we can pass the blessings of this great nation to the next generation and continue to be a blessing to other nations around the world.

Those of us who are Christians have an added responsibility to be exemplary citizens of the USA because we are also citizens of another Kingdom - the Kingdom of God. You and I represent that Kingdom in this world.

Our citizenship in that Kingdom was also purchased by the blood of One Who loved our freedom greater than His life. Jesus, the Son of God, became the Lamb of God to take away the sins of the world. He did all He could to help bring the power and principles of His perfect Kingdom into this imperfect world. And as troubled as our world and our nation is, imagine what it would be like without the influence of Christians and biblical truth.

So, we hold dual-citizenship and we are called to bring as much of the Perfect Kingdom as we can into the fallen kingdom to preserve it and to persuade others to believe in Christ and enter the eternal Kingdom through faith in Christ.

I close with this challenge. Since you will spend the vast majority of your life in the perfect, holy, everlasting Kingdom of God, and since that is influenced by how you live in this perishing world, how should you live today? Which kingdom should you live for? Which values should you cherish? What should you love and who should you live for?

October 24, 2016

"Jesus replied, “Haven’t you read that in the beginning the Creator ‘made them male and female’? (Genesis 1:27 He said, ‘That’s why a man will leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife. The two will become one.’ (Genesis 2:24) They are no longer two, but one. So no one should separate what God has joined together.” Matthew 19:4-6

It's just 15 days away from the most crucial election in my lifetime, perhaps in the history of our nation, I am sharing vital issues to consider when choosing your candidate.

An issue of importance to Christ-followers and of significance to a large segment of Americans in general is the sexual orientation issue.

I plan to support a candidate who defends traditional definitions of gender identities. While I stand prepared to befriend or minister to anyone at anytime anywhere I also stand for the biblical truth regarding gender. I love Jesus and Jesus loves people, all people. He even loves me.

In Chapter Eleven of "Well Versed" Dr. Garlow offers biblical perspective on the sexual orientation and gender identity issue:

"At the ESPYS, Caitlyn Jenner said, 'Trans people deserve something vital; they deserve your respect.' Caitlyn's statement spoke to what the gay and transgender movement are truly after - approval, acceptance, and outright affirmation for their behavior. The radical LGBT cause demands this affirmation, even if that means infringing on other's freedom of thought, religion and speech. They are not looking just for respect. They are demanding that everyone agree with their behavior choices."

I recommend you purchase the book and read the rest of this chapter. He shares a chilling story of a fellow California pastor who has been persecuted through the legal system for his biblical stance on this troubling issue.

To reiterate, we can and will love and respect every person God brings into our area of influence or responsibility. However, we are bound by God's Word to stand for the true definition of gender identity. That is a line we draw in the sand.

I would simply ask transgender people to extend the same courtesy to me and respect my sincere belief. If they truly want to resolve the tension over this controversial issue they can simply return to us the personal respect we pledge to them.

There is one Presidential candidate in this election who will protect Christians from the assault on religious freedom waged by the radical transgender people and there is one who won't.

You must do your research and discover the clear distinction between the candidates so you can vote to protect religious freedom and traditional definitions of gender identity.

Sunday, October 23, 2016

October 23, 2016

I get daily email articles from Outreach and they are always good. This one is especially good and timely for us. Thom Rainer is a former pastor who now does surveys and research to help strengthen local churches. I pray you will find it a bit challenging but mostly encouraging! You will notice I added several comments in the margins.

What Non-Christians Really Think about Christians


These surprising insights about what non-Christians can profoundly impact your outreach.

One of my greatest joys in research is talking to and listening to those who clearly identify themselves as non-Christians. Don’t get me wrong—I’m not celebrating their absence of faith in Christ. My joy comes from listening to those who don’t believe as I do, so I might be better equipped to witness to them.

Over the past several years, my research teams and I have interviewed thousands of unchurched non-Christians. Among the more interesting insights I gleaned were those where the interviewees shared with me their perspectives of Christians.

In this article, I group the seven most common types of comments in order of frequency. I then follow that representative statement with a direct quote from a non-Christian.

Read these comments and see if you learn some of the lessons I learned.

1. Christians are against more things than they are for.

"It just seems to me Christians are mad at the world and mad at each other. They are so negative, they seem unhappy. I have no desire to be like them and stay upset all the time." (OUCH!)

2. I would like to develop a friendship with a Christian.

"I'm really interested in what they believe and how they carry out their beliefs. I wish I could find a Christian who would be willing to spend some time with me. (OUCH AGAIN!)

3. I would like to learn about the Bible from a Christian.

#“The Bible really fascinates me, but I don’t want to go to a stuffy and legalistic church to learn about it. I would be nice if a Christian invited me to study the Bible in his home or at a place like Starbucks.”

4. I don't see much difference in the way Christians live compared to others.

I really can't tell what a Christian believes because he
doesn't seem much different that other people I know. The only exception would be Mormons. They really seem to take their beliefs seriously. (GOD HELP US!)

5. I wish I could learn to be a better husband/wife/dad/mom, etc., from a Christian.

"My wife is threatening to divorce me, and I think she means it this time. My neighbor is a Christian, and he seems to have it together. I am swallowing my pride and asking him to help me. (SEE THE POWER OF GETTING IT RIGHT?)

6. Some Christians act like they always have it all together.

“Harriett works in my department. She is one of those Christians who seems to have a mask on. I would respect her more if she didn’t put on such an act. I know better.

   7. I wish a Christian friend of mine would invite me to church with her/him.

“I really would like to visit a church, but I’m not particularly comfortable going by myself. What is weird is that I am 32 years old, and I’ve never had a Christian invite me to church in my entire life.”

Do you see the pattern? Non-Christians want to interact with Christians. They want to see Christians’ actions match their beliefs. They want Christians to be real.

In one study we conducted, we found only 5 percent of non-Christians are antagonistic toward Christians. It’s time to stop believing the lies we have been told. Jesus said it clearly: “The harvest is abundant, but the workers are few. Therefore, pray to the Lord of the harvest to send out workers into His harvest” (Luke10:2, HCSB).