Thursday, August 4, 2011

Anemic Christianity of Laodicea

Most conservative Christians decry political correctness....except when it comes to issues related to the church. Then they get all touchy-feely and become just like their more liberal political counterparts. They love to throw around words like "tolerance" and "unity", which they only practice towards those who think just like they do or to the unsaved. But a fellow-believer who disagrees with their self-styled magnanimous approach to sin and error is treated with much less regard than to a hardened reprobate.
But, think about it. Many Christians---or those who claim to be--use versions of the Bible that are watered down and weak when it comes to sin, the deity of Christ, His blood, and cornerstone doctrines that deal with salvation, sanctification, redemption, and so forth.
In fact, even bringing up the Bible version debate can get you the evil eye....or, horrors of horrors, even "de-friended" on Facebook! This topic is a huge one, and I won't be going into it here, except to say, that even if I didn't know much about this issue, the fact that these new versions make changes that affect important doctrines such as Christ's deity and salvation, would be enough for me. But there is much more.....
My point is, that the new Bibles are politically correct....and are producing Christians who behave in this manner when it comes to difficult issues. They are helping to propagate the Laodicean mentality and attitude.  There is definitely a wishy-washy trend within Christianity today. If you read the sermons of the great preachers such as D.L. Moody, C.H. Spurgeon and others, you will find that Christians in another time were much hardier people spiritually. They could take hard preaching....and the churches were filled, souls were being saved, and Christians edified. I think they would be appalled to see what our churches have become today.
Christians mistakenly believe that Jesus was not offensive in his methods of ministry.  That He was all love and validation.  That somehow, He met their standards and criteria of what a Christian should be like.  Jesus, Who was a Jew, clashed with the religious leaders of His day.  He not only gave them severe tongue-lashings to their faces, but admonished His disciples not to be like them nor to employ their methods!  The idea that we should only talk sweetly to or about those who pervert G-d's Word and use G-d's flock to build their own followings and kingdoms, no matter how popular they are,  is in great contrast to how Jesus dealt with that very thing in His day.
Those of us who follow Jesus' example somehow fall outside the parameters of being among the privileged group who get to be treated with sweetness and light.  More like hateful sarcasm and taunting.
The Apostle Paul, who followed our L-rd Jesus Christ, was not shy about facing off with an unruly brother.  He was not hesitant to name names when it came to exposing heresy.  He had flocks to protect, and as an under-shepherd, protect them, he did!  He instructed Titus and Timothy to do the same.  Should we do less?

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Dividing the Spoil

Life has varied stages, and I've lived through several by now. But there was a time when it seemed as though I would be forever stuck in one never-ending repetition of diaper-changing, laundry, dish-washing, get the picture.

My mother-in-law would tell me to enjoy those days because they'd be over faster than I knew it, and would look back on them as the best years of my life!
She was right!

Being a stay-at-home-mom (SAHM) was something I always wanted to be, don't get me wrong! After having worked outside the home our first year of marriage, before we had kids, I was sooo happy I could stay home with our children and do all the fun things involved in homemaking and child-rearing.

But, to be honest with you, I also struggled with wondering if I was doing enough for the L-rd. Sure, I was a pastor's wife and taught Sunday School, went on visitation, helped in the nursing home ministry. But I often felt that I really wasn't doing anything "great" for the L-rd!

It didn't help when I heard of other women who would go out on the streets passing out tracts, or doing one-on-one evangelizing with their husbands, when day after day, I'd just be staying home. Guilt swept over me. Did you know that the enemy can plague us with false guilt? I tell you, he can.

Are you a SAHM who is struggling with some of these thoughts? Do you find yourself getting frutrated, feeling that you are not doing anything for the L-rd because you remain at home with your children?

I'm sure you have been told that rearing children for the L-rd is, in itself, a very great and noble calling and ministry, and one not to be diminished in any way. And this is so true!! Being the best mother you can be; keeping a happy home; caring for your family----are all part of a very high calling of being a wife and mother. The value is immeasurable! And, if you are faithfully serving as a wife and mother, you are freeing your husband to do what it is that the L-rd has called him to do, whether he be a firefighter, a plumber, a physician, an electrician, a pastor, or whatever.

Did you know that G-d values what you do? He places great much as those who are out on the front-lines serving Him in other, more obvious capacities! Does that surprise you? Let me give you some Scriptures to consider:

In I Samuel 30, we are told that while David and his men were away fighting the Philistines, the Amalekites had attacked the holdings of David's men and family at Ziklag, carrying off the women and children and all their possessions, then burning the place. When David and his 600 men arrived back home, they found Ziklag burned and plundered, and everyone gone, including David's two wives. After David enquired of the L-rd and found out who had done this, he and his men pursued hard after the Amalekites.

David's men were already tired and worn from the previous battle. In fact, 200 of his men were so spent, that when they arrived at the brook, they could go no farther, so they remained behind. The other 400 went with David and overcame the Amalekites after a hard-fought night and day battle. David and his men rescued all their people and belongings, losing nothing and acquiring much spoil.

When spoil was won in a battle, it was the custom that those who fought divided the spoil among themselves. However, there were some wicked men in David's troop, who, upon rejoining the 200 men who remained behind, did not want to share in the spoil with them.

David rebuked them, saying (vs. 24), "....but as his part is that goeth down to the battle, so shall his part be that tarrieth by the stuff: they shall part alike."

Verse 25 goes on to say, "And it was so from that day forward, that he made it a statute and an ordinance for Israel unto this day."

If you are a SAHM, tarrying by the stuff, keeping the home and nurturing your children, you are worthy to divide the spoils and reap the rewards of those who go out to battle with the Word in the world.

Do not allow the enemy to make you feel less of a servant of G-d because you keep the home fires burning.

David wrote in Psalm 68:12---"Kings of armies did flee apace: and she that tarried at home divided the spoil."

Monday, May 10, 2010

Leaving Comments......


Recently, there have been several who have tried to leave comments on my blog. Just to let you know: If you do not write your name in English and if you do not write your comment in English, it will not be accepted.

I welcome comments, but if I cannot decipher them, I will not post them.

Thank you for reading! I appreciate your interest!


Friday, March 19, 2010

Fresh Starts.......

There's nothing like springtime with new grass, colorful flowers, baby animals---everything seems so fresh and new! After a gloomy winter, spring is so refreshing!

Every day in the life of the believer is to be like spring. The Scriptures say that the L-rd's compassions are new every morning! (Lam. 3:22, 23) When we think of our lost condition before we were saved, to what we now have in Christ Jesus, we can have springtime in our hearts, even in the dead of winter!

II Corinthians 5:17 declares, "Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold all things are become new."

We are made new creatures in Christ upon salvation. As we grow older in the L-rd, we remain new creatures. The "newness" shouldn't wear off with the result that we become like old deadwood. That verse above says that all things are become new! That's present tense. It doesn't say that all things became new!

Every day, we should renew ourselves in the L-rd by immersing ourselves in the Word! Is not the Word likened to water? Ephesians 5:25b, 26 states that ".....even as Christ also loved the church, and gave Himself for it; That He might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word...."

I Corinthians 6:9-11 reminds us that before we were saved, we were pretty rotten folks. Even if we didn't actually commit these sins, if we had hatred in our heart, we were murderers; if we lusted in our hearts, we committed adultery. (I John 3:15; Matt. 5:28)

I doubt that there is a one of us that wasn't somewhere in this list of sinners: fornicators, idolaters, adulterers, effeminate, abusers of themselves with mankind, thieves, covetous, drunkards, revilers, extortioners......but you know what---verse 11 is good news!!
"And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the L-rd Jesus, and by the Spirit of our G-d."

Wow! Did you get that?! Such were some of you! This is past tense! Present tense is that now we "are washed"!

We should allow the Word of G-d to wash us every day, to renew our hearts in love for the L-rd by shining its light on any sin---any dirt and grime that has crept into the corners of our heart. Without G-d's Word revealing our heart condition, we can grow pretty calloused to sin, not realizing how dingy we've become!

Allowing the Word of G-d to do its work in our hearts will keep us humble. We won't be so prone to compare ourselves with others, thinking that we are doing pretty well, or better than we are! We won't be looking under a microscope at others in a critical way, either! Most of us have enough weeds in our own gardens to take care of without trying to pull weeds in someone else's!

Oftentimes, because we are not in the Word, we allow the old dried leaves, deadwood, old weeds and such grow in our hearts and we forget to be thankful. We get our focus on ourselves or our problems and grow dissatisfied. Covetousness creeps in, sins that we put behind us find their way back into our lives. We forget to put on our armor and the enemy's darts find their target.

When winter creeps into our hearts, bringing a frostiness there, it kills our love for Christ. The ground of our heart becomes hardened to sin; decay sets in, and we don't desire to be in the Word for cleansing. We resist the Holy Spirit, and allow our old man to take over.

The way to prevent that from happening is to start fresh every day in the Word! It has been well-said that, "Sin will keep you from this Book; and this Book will keep you from sin!"

The good news is that it is possible to have a fresh start!

Let us pray with David, "Create in me a clean heart, O G-d; and renew a right spirit within me."

Saturday, December 12, 2009

G-d's 401K

In these tough economic times, many are struggling to juggle budgets and stay afloat financially. For some, they have lost much of their retirement income; for others, it's simply that the dollar just doesn't stretch as far as it did a short time ago. This creates a lot of uncertainty and stress---it's hard to know what to do when the horizon doesn't show much change for the better.

One thing is certain, and it's something we can count on: G-d is always in control and nothing takes Him by surprise!

This past year, the L-rd has shown me something that is so simple, so profound, yet most of us fail to grasp it. Why? Because it is just the opposite of what we are conditioned to do.

I'm not talking about prosperity, gaining riches, acquiring success according to the world's view. But I do know the L-rd's plan for meeting our needs. I believe with all my heart that if we follow G-d's principles, He will provide, He will bless. We can count on Him to be G-d in our lives!

In studying G-d's Word, we find that there are "opposites", or opposing ideas, throughout.

In Isaiah 55:8,9 the L-rd reminds us, "For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the L-RD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts."

The wisdom of this world has taught us to think and behave a certain way. We have, often without realizing it, absorbed and adopted worldly reasoning, philosophies and values that have had a deep-rooted and profound effect upon our behavior at the most fundamental levels.

I Corinthians 1:25, 27-29 illuminates the contrast between G-d's ways and the world's:

Because the foolishness of G-d is wiser than men; and the weakness of G-d is stronger than men.
But G-d hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and G-d hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty;
And base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath G-d chosen, yea, and things which are not, to bring to nought things that are:
That no flesh should glory in his presence."

Wow---G-d knows exactly what He is doing in making these choices and in establishing His ways! All is for His glory---man cannot share in that by any of his own cleverness or by contriving a "better way" to do things. One cannot expect success apart from doing things according to G-d's truths and His methods.

Here are some "opposites" in Scripture that illustrate this idea:

We must lose what we want to find: Matthew 10:39; 16:25; Mark 8:35; Luke 9:24

The last shall be first; the first shall be last: Matthew 20:16; Mark 9:35

The humble shall be exalted: Matthew 23:12; Luke 14:11; 18:14

Our liberty is used to serve: Galatians 5:13; I Peter 2:16

We are to love those who hate us: Matthew 5:43, 44

We are blessed when we are hated for the L-rd's sake: Luke 6:22, 23

Those who desire to be chief must be a servant: Matthew 20:26, 27

He that is least shall be greatest: Matthew 18:4; Luke 9:48c

To be honored requires humility: Proverbs 15:33; 18:12

In order to be strong, we must be weak: II Corinthians 12:10

And yes, even in the area of being blessed, the Scriptures instruct us that we must give if we are to receive!: Luke 6:38; Acts 20:35

Notice--we do not make arrangements with the L-rd that if He gives to us, then we will give to Him. We don't ask G-d to trust us and to take us at our word. It's the other way around!

The Bible clearly states, "Give, and it shall be given unto you....."!! G-d establishes the order. He wants us to prove Him in our lives. He wants us to take the step of faith in obedience to Him, learn to trust Him and take Him at His Word. He wants to prove to us that He will never fail in keeping His promises.

Malachi 3:7-11 explains G-d's plan so well:

"Even from the days of your fathers ye are gone away from mine ordinances, and have not kept them. "

Is that not how many of us find ourselves today? We have been living according to the world's rules and not G-d's principles.

"Return unto me, and I will return unto you, saith the L-RD of hosts. But ye said, Wherein shall we return?"

Most of us don't realize what we've been doing; we think we've been pretty good Christians. Some of us....myself included.....have had no clue!! We may have been giving in the offering plate on Sunday, but we haven't realized the right way to view it or G-d's whole economy of working in our lives as a result!

"Will a man rob G-d? Yet ye have robbed me. But ye say, Wherein have we robbed thee?"

I daresay that most of us would recoil at the thought of robbing G-d! We would never think to do such a thing. We'd never steal from anyone, much less G-d!!

"In tithes and offerings." This is G-d's answer to that question! Plain, simple, direct!

The tithe, G-d's Word tells us, already belongs to G-d. It is His! Our offerings are what we are to give above that, from our hearts, willingly, out of love for Him.

"Ye are cursed with a curse: for ye have robbed me, even this whole nation."

Are we there yet? Are you with me on this? Isn't this the truth? We can never seem to get ahead. Our whole nation is surely reaping this curse!

"Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith, saith the L-RD of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it."

This is G-d's remedy for that curse! But it seems so opposite of what we naturally would do!!

If we are struggling financially, what do we usually do? We hold back, don't we? We hang on tightly to every penny and dime!

What do we put in the offering plate on Sunday? Nothing? [L-rd---I can't give---I don't have anything to give--I have to pay the water bill and the property taxes, and car insurance this week!] A dollar? Five dollars? Ten dollars? Do we merely "tip" G-d? [Well, as soon as I start making more money, I'll give more, we lie to ourselves.]

Did you know that every person who has ever told my husband (the pastor) that they will give the church a big offering when they get an expected large some of money has never done so? We literally cringe whenever anyone says anything like this, because their flesh is weak, and they don't follow through, and disaster always results for this person in time.

You cannot rob G-d; it's a serious thing to default on a vow to G-d.

"And I will rebuke the devourer for your sakes....."

Have you been plagued by the devourer? Have you been throwing good money after bad? G-d says that we are to prove Him regarding our giving and see what He will do to take care of our needs!

Paul revealed this truth of giving and receiving to the Philippian believers. We all like to quote Philippians 4:19 whenever we are experiencing trouble of this nature: "But my G-d shall supply all your need...."

However, we ignore the previous verses that reveal the context and conditions for this promise.

Verse 15 reveals the issue: giving and receiving, namely in taking care of the needs of G-d's servant, Paul.

Verse 17 reveals Paul's motive for using this situation to illustrate this fundamental truth to these early believers: "I desire fruit that may abound to your account."

Paul was not being selfish here. G-d would supply his needs with or without these Philippian believers, but he wanted them to reap the rewards!

Verse 16 reveals that the Philippians sacrificed to give to Paul---"a sacrifice acceptable, wellpleasing to G-d." They didn't give because they had a bunch of extra stuff or money that they could easily part with. They gave out of their own necessity!

Verse 19 is to reassure these believers that the result of their giving would not impoverish them, but rather, G-d would take care of all their needs.

Have you ever considered that there is a reason why G-d loves a cheerful giver?

The L-rd wants to bless us! He loves us, therefore He desires to be able to pour out His blessings upon us.

It's we, ourselves, that hinder the L-rd blessing us!!

II Corinthians 9:6-8 reveals a very profound truth: If we sow sparingly, we will reap sparingly. But the converse is also true---give bountifully and we will reap bountifully.

The L-rd does, indeed, bless us in proportion to our giving.

This isn't a "prosperity gospel" thing at all. II Corinthians 9:8 tells us that when we follow G-d's principle of giving, then He will make sure that we "having all sufficiency in all things, may abound to every good work."

The purpose for which we need G-d's blessings to be poured out on us is not for selfish gain! It is to be able to serve G-d with liberty, without the constraint that lacking things brings. We want to be blessed in order to bless the L-rd by serving Him and being able to give more and more and more......with the result being that the more we give, the more G-d blesses us so that we can give even more and so on!

This way of thinking and living blesses others and blesses G-d! And in blessing others and G-d, we, ourselves, are blessed also.

The end all is not to GET something from G-d. It isn't to accumulate wealth or things to consume it upon our own lusts (James 4:3). If that is our motive, then we know why we ask and receive not!

Again, let us look at Malachi 3:10---

"Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith, saith the L-RD of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it."

In other words, G-d is able to bless us so that all our needs are met. Why? Because in meeting the needs of G-d's work and His servants----"that there be meat in mine house", the windows of heaven are then opened to meet our own needs.

Just as in II Corinthians 9, we are told that G-d's blessing us is in order that we may abound to every good work----for HIS glory---yet we reap the rewards! It is to our benefit to be a cheerful giver!! G-d loves a cheerful giver so that He can pour out blessings upon us.

Isn't this so much better than our usual selfish, worldy-wise way of living?

Truly, this "opposite" is born out: It is more blessed to give than to receive!!

This is G-d's 401K plan for us. He wants to meet our needs, and when we do according to His methods, He will!

Because the greatest giver of all is our G-d!!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009


Have you ever noticed something interesting about the word, "SIN"?

There's a big "I" in the middle of it!

Basically, sin can be summed up in one word: SELFISHNESS.

If you think about it, every sinful act, thought, desire, impulse is screaming with selfishness. It's what "I want", how "I feel", what "I think" that motivates a selfish person. and what is at the root of all this?

P-R-I-D-E! [Notice that there's a big "I" in the middle of this word as well!]

Pride and selfishness go hand in hand. Our pride leads us to believe that we "deserve it", so we indulge ourselves rather than submit to G-d. We serve ourselves instead of considering others and how we affect them.

Paul instructed the believers in Romans 14:7 that, "None of us liveth to himself, and no man dieth to himself."

What did Paul mean by that?

Simply this: We belong to G-d. If we live selfishly, we are sinning against G-d and against others as well.

How we live, the decisions we make, everything we do, affects our relationship with the L-rd. And with others. The verse after this one bears this out.

In these last days, we are finding that very few actually care how they offend a Holy G-d or how they affect others. Our churches would reflect a far different picture otherwise.

The Bible tells us in Galatians 5:13---"For, brethren, ye have been called unto liberty; only use not liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another."

All the works of the flesh that are listed in Galatians 5 are selfish. When we commit sin we are saying, in essence, that we do not have a regard for the L-rd and what He wants. Instead of our lives being a holy sacrifice unto G-d, which is our reasonable service (Romans 12:1), we settle ourselves on the throne. Instead of living for His good pleasure, we live for our own.

What a pitifully poor way to live! Not only do we rob G-d of what is due Him, we deprive ourselves and others of so much. Little do we realize what we do.

Recently, I read an account of the earthquake that occurred in New England in 1727, and what resulted from it. You can read the account here:

The result of this incredible, massive earthquake was a great revival. The first thing the Christians did after their initial shock was to run to their pastors and churches! Unbelievers sought out the same.

Their homes and possessions were not on their minds---G-d was on their minds, and they knew their own hearts were not right with Him!

Christians repented of their sin and others came to know the L-rd. But, in time, after the initial fear of G-d waned, people returned to their old way of thinking and living.

Do we see that kind of revival happening today when disasters strike? Sadly, I think not.

Instead of trials and testings humbling us, we find that people's hearts grow harder. Pride sears consciences.

It's a sad commentary on these last days that even we believers are so self-indulgent, self-righteous, self-absorbed, so full of "I".

Our sinful human nature does not want to submit to the L-rd. It does not want to admit we have done wrong; rather, we want to transfer our guilt onto someone or something else.

Repentance doesn't come easily to us.

Proverbs 20:6 says that, "Most men will proclaim every one his own goodness: but a faithful man who can find?"

Let's look at what the L-rd tells us will happen in the not-too-distant future:

Revelation 16:18-21---"And there were voices, and thunders, and lightenings; and there was a great earthquake, such as was not since men were upon the earth, so mighty an earthquake, and so great.

And the great city was divided into three parts, and the cities of nations fell: and great Babylon came in remembrance before G-d, to give unto her the cup of the wine of the fierceness of his wrath.

And every island fled away, and the mountains were not found.

And there fell upon men a great hail out of heaven, every stone about the weight of a talent: and men blasphemed G-d because of the plague of the hail; for the plague thereof was exceeding great."

It's rare these days to find that people have soft, humble hearts that say, "I have sinned!" "It's me, it's me, Oh L-rd, standing in the need of prayer!" So, it's easy to see that people will be that hard-hearted during the tribulation. Instead of their great suffering turning their hearts to G-d, they will curse Him.

The Bible tells us that before this takes place, in the last days, that there will come a falling away first (II Thess. 2:3). I think we are there.

A cavalier attitude towards sin is the norm these days: "Well, everyone sins." "We all do things wrong." "It's really no big deal." So, we give sin a pass in our lives. There is little or no regard for how the L-rd views things.

One way to prevent or remedy that in our own hearts is to get rid of the "I" and replace it with "O"!

Let us have none of self on the throne.

Rather than S-I-N, let it be the S-O-N Who rules our hearts!

Friday, September 25, 2009

What If......

Do you struggle with making decisions? I don't mean regarding what to have for dinner or which color to paint the bathroom, but decisions that impact your life and the lives of others?

Sometimes we feel that we're between a rock and a hard place in our lives to the point that we just freeze, and don't do anything. Of course, indecision is, in fact, a decision of sorts, too.

But, I think that usually, when we get paralyzed by the "what ifs", we fail to see the opportunity to walk by faith that the L-rd is presenting to us.

Dr. Bob Jones, Sr. had a saying years ago: "Do Right! Though the stars fall, do right!"

Let's consider some "what ifs" that have gone before us.

What if Esther had not approached the King? She could have analyzed her situation for three days:

"If I go to the King uninvited, he could choose to behead me. If I tell the King that I'm a Jew and my people are to be destroyed because of Haman, he could decide that I am to be killed along with my people. If I misspeak, Haman could outsmart anything I do, and all will be lost anyway."

And on and on, she could have rationalized herself out of doing the right thing, which was to pray, trust the L-rd, and make her stand.

But because Esther didn't get bogged down in the "what ifs", she walked by faith, and was obedient to the L-rd, no matter how daunting the task and situation she faced. Because she was faithful to do the right thing, she saved her people from annihilation! Because of Esther, there are now many Sephardic Jews back in their homeland!

How about Abraham. Suppose he reasoned like this:

"Oh, I just don't know about heading out of here into the unknown! What if I get lost? What if I lead all my family into a situation that turns into a disaster and we can't get back home? What if my wife's family gets really upset with me? If this turns out wrong, they'll never let me forget it! What if I lose everything?"

Because Abraham didn't get bogged down in the "what ifs", G-d promised him a son and an uncountable number of descendants! If Abraham hadn't simply obeyed without doubting, he and his family would have been robbed of immeasurable blessings, and he would not have been "the Friend of G-d".

What if Nathan had said, "Oh---I can't tell the King that he sinned! What if he gets so angry with me that he has me killed for treason?" But because Nathan did what was right, G-d was able to restore David, a man after G-d's own heart!

You see......when we get bogged down by the "what ifs", we not only affect our own selves, but the lives of our family, and others in subsequent generations! We are so short-sighted sometimes, that all we see is the situation at hand and the obstacles inherent in it, but we fail to see the victory the L-rd will give us and the blessings that follow for us and our loved ones if we will just do right and obey by faith.

Does that mean that everything goes smoothly; that no one gets upset with our decisions or that relationships won't be affected? No. Sometimes there is a cost to following the L-rd. But it is minimal compared to the rewards; and much less than the cost of disobedience and a lack of faith.

What if? What if not?!

"But without faith it is impossible to please Him: for he that cometh to G-d must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of them that diligently seek Him." Hebrews 11:6