Not Guilty!

“For I have kept the ways of the LORD; I am not guilty of turning from my God.” (Psalm 18:21 NIV)

Will we ever be in a position–like David–to say, “I’m not guilty of turning away from my God?”

As individuals, we can say we’re not guilty of a number of things–we’re not guilty of breaking the laws of the land, we’re not guilty of breaking marriage vows, we’re not guilty of hating for no reason, but as a nation, would our declaration be a lie?

Those who are elected officials, who swore to look out for the best interests of all the people, they cannot make this declaration.

Judges, who are either elected or appointed–cannot make this declaration.

Police officers, hired and paid with tax-payer dollars, cannot make this declaration.

Lawmakers and lawbreakers, like Siamese Twins–cannot make this declaration.

Preachers–those who say God called them to promote the Gospel–cannot make this declaration.

Of course, there are a few–who can state without fear of contradiction, that they have not turned away from God, but when we look at the state of the nation, how many can truly make that declaration?

God knows and since it He has already proclaimed that only a remnant will be saved in the end, the few who are faithful, are not a surprise to Him.

When we turn back to God, and do things the way He has said we should do them, honoring Him in all aspects of our living, then and only then, can we say, emphatically, “I’m not guilty” of turning away from God!

Having The Authority!

“He gave his life to free us from every kind of sin, to cleanse us, and to make us his very own people, totally committed to doing good deeds.You must teach these things and encourage the believers to do them. You have the authority to correct them when necessary, so don’t let anyone disregard what you say.” (Titus 2:14,15 NLT)

Paul’s letter to Titus and all other ministers of the Gospel deserves constant review. In this passage, Paul reminds Titus that Jesus gave His life so we would be free from sin “every kind of sin” and that we should be committed to doing good deeds. Then, he goes on to say, remind Titus that he is to teach these things and encourage others “to do” them and when necessary, use the authority he has “to correct” others.

For those who think that preachers or believers are judging when they observe sinful behavior, think again. All believers (we should all be ministers of the Gospel) have the authority to correct others when they see other believers not living according to God’s plan–not man’s. Using the authority we have to correct others is not a judgment–as some would have us believe–it is a responsibility to the Body of Christ so that we remain free from sin.

Of course, there will be those who think that whenever a Believer calls anything sin, they are just judging them.  The fact they think we are judging them actually shows they have been convicted of their behavior and simply want to rebel against the conviction in their spirits because they know they are wrong, but don’t want to admit it.

Think about how rebellious children act “when caught in the act” of doing something wrong. The first thing they do is “deny the obvious” and then expect whoever caught them to believe them. Now, I know some will immediately think of the “woman who as caught in the very act of adultery” who was brought to Jesus. Notwithstanding her criticizers did not bring the man she was “supposedly caught with,” but she never denied any wrong doing and simply waited for Jesus to decree her fate. And when He did, “those holding stones had to drop them” because they were as guilty as she of sin, but had not been caught. He did not berate her after all her accusers left, He simply told her “to go and not to sin any more.”

In other words–He used His authority to correct the crowd and the woman, forgiving her of sin and admonishing her to stop doing what she doing. Every believer has the same authority–to correct and admonish–encouraging others to receive God’s forgiveness and to stop committing acts of sin. Are we doing this or are we allowing ourselves to be persuaded to “let it ride.”

If Believers–all over the world–would simply exercise the authority we have been given, we would see peace in the land as we “lived” the life before others and corrected them when we see wrongdoing.We are not responsible for others accepting what we say, but we do have a responsibility to say what God says–about any and all things–pertaining to Godly living.

Lord, help us to be more like You in all we do all the days of our lives!

Where Are The Wise Ones?

“The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life, and the one who is wise saves lives” (Proverbs 11:30 NIV).

In the Kings James Version of this verse of scripture, the words are slightly different. the last part states that “he who wins souls is wise.” The bottom line regarding both translations–it takes a wise person to win souls and save lives. Where are the wise ones?

In order to win people to Christ, we must be wise in our approach–“drawing people with loving kindness,” not brutal criticism.  If we teach The Word, based upon The Word, and demonstrate the love of God in everything we do, we will give people a reason to want to know Jesus!  If all they ever hear from us is criticism about what they wear, what they do, and when they do it, we will not draw them, but drive them far from us and any desire to want to know Jesus.  People who are able to demonstrate the love of God, accept others where they are and bring them into a fuller knowledge of Jesus Christ. People will change when they see a need to change, not because we want them to change.  Our role as Christians is to help them to want to change to honor God, not us.

In order to save lives–of all people, especially those who are not in a position to defend themselves, we must have wise people in elected positions or other positions of authority. But before we can elect wise people, those voting for them, must be wise. Voters need to know the person for whom they are voting. They need to know their positions regarding the poor, the needy, the vulnerable, senior citizens, veterans, and everyone else. For a person to vote for someone simply based upon name recognition or religious affiliation is pure foolishness. This is especially true for those who say one thing with their tongues to entice and deceive and do just the opposite with their voice and vote in legislation. Voters–the everyday people need to research and investigate the candidates running in any election. Judges need to make decisions based on the law and not popular opinion–giving into the special interest groups simply because…whatever the reason. Lawmakers need to do the right thing for all people–and stop caving to special interest groups–corporations or the mighty rich in dollars, but poor in spirit and soul. They have already been deceived by the enemy when they attempt to “buy” the rights to rule legislators

Where are the wise ones? Where are the people who truly know God and how He wants us to live? Where are the wise preachers who know how to draw people to Jesus and not drive them away? Where are the wise?

I pray that most of us need to look no further than our mirrors to see the wise, but if that is not the case; if we have been deceived and influenced by the enemy, I pray for recognition of the hand at work and willingness to do something about it–change for the better.

Lord, help us to exercise more wisdom in all that we do. Help us to recognize the enemy’s influence and to shut it down–within us and where ever we have opportunity to do so. Help us to stay focused on promoting Jesus and the Agape Love that overflows onto all who are willing to receive. In Jesus’ name, I pray, Amen!

Call On Him in Truth!

“The LORD is near to all who call on him, to all who call on him in truth” (Psalm 145:18 NIV).

Sometimes, those of us who teach/preach The Word, mislead people by what we see The Word say, not having a full revelation or insight as to what it says. I’m not sure if the misleading is intentional or unintentional, but when we discover we have been teaching in error, we must acknowledge it and back-track to get it right.

Specifically, I’ve heard many people say, “The Lord is near all who call on Him,” or “Just call on The Lord,” and He will be right there! Looking at this passage of scripture, I glean better understanding of what the psalmist is saying.

God is near all who call upon Him, in truth! Whose truth? His Truth, according to His Word! Why is it that we think we can hoodwink God? The One who looks upon the “heart” of a man and knows all things is not fooled by us.  When we attempt to act contrite, He knows.  When we attempt to act like we love others, He knows. When we act like we are anointed and appointed for the season to provide reason to all mankind, He knows. The problem is, do we know?

Have we become so delusional in thinking we know all there is to know that we forget that God knows? We cannot fool God, but we can certainly deceive ourselves into believing something that is not true.  If we cannot be truthful with ourselves, what makes us think that God is “near us” or that we can “call upon Him” and expect Him to act on our behalf?

God is not a magician! He is not a man that He should lie! His eyes are in every place, seeing the good and the evil! When He responds to our faith in Him, it is because of His love for us and He knows our heart!

The bottom line for me is this:  We have to do more than “call on Him” in order for Him to respond to our needs, desires, requests.  We have to call on Him with a pure heart, knowing we have done everything we can to be obedient to Him and in living His Word.  This is calling on Him in truth! When we know and realize that He knows–everything about us, then we can expect Him to be near and to honor His Word, not ours. So stop telling people that they only have to call upon The Lord; tell them the rest–get their hearts right with God, call upon Him and they will know, He’s right there with them.

If people call upon God and are determined to live ungodly, He hears them, but won’t respond and then they tell people; there is no God. When children don’t get what they want from their parents because they have not earned the privilege of getting (whatever it is), do they say,” I have no parents?” How foolish we are to manipulate people into believing something because we didn’t get what we wanted.  Keep in mind, “the fool has said in his heart, there is no God!”

Live The Word, Teach The Word, and Honor God in all things and He will be right there when you call on Him–in truth!

Who Has Bewitched You? (Part 3)

Yet speaking to preachers, getting to the heart of the matter!

“Or do you not know that wrongdoers will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor men who have sex with men nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. And that is what some of you were. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God” (I Corinthians 6:9-11 NIV).

            People have a chance to get things right with God, but repentance must take place, first—total turning away from all acts of sin—and turning to God and living according to His Word.  Jesus died so we would have access to heaven and though there are some who believe that our time on the planet now is either heaven or hell, I choose to believe God and will wait for His Son’s return so I can be with Him for all eternity.

There have been myriad attempts to justify man’s behavior by saying, “it’s not in the Bible.  God didn’t say anything about homosexuality.  Jesus never mentioned anything.” I have to wonder about the reading comprehension levels of people saying such things.

When the woman was caught in “the very act” of adultery, Jesus had this to say about her accusers when they left.

“No one, sir,” she said. “Then neither do I condemn you,” Jesus declared. “Go now and leave your life of sin (He addressed every sin included in the law already revealed—Notice, He did not say “sins” because any and all sin is sin)” (John 8:11 NIV).

The following is a list of words that are not mentioned in the bible, but the acts for the most part are graphically described and those acts were later “defined and labeled by contemporary society.” Note that while some “labels/names” used now were not used then, the intent or the act is still the same and so are the consequences.

Homosexuality—Already discussed in Leviticus and Romans.  A label given by man.

Rape—Not mentioned but clearly understood by those who have adequate reading comprehension in the reading of those stories as told by Moses in Genesis, Numbers, and by what happened to David’s children. A label given by man.

Incest—not mentioned, but clearly described.  A label given by man.

Molestation—not mentioned, but clearly described.  Label given by man.

AIDS/HIV—not mentioned, but already discussed in Deuteronomy. Labels of illnesses, given by man.  “The LORD will also bring on you every kind of sickness and disaster not recorded in this Book of the Law, until you are destroyed” (Deuteronomy 28:61).

Depression—not mentioned, but clearly identifiable when reading comprehension is above average.  A label given by man.

Depravation—(to make morally bad or evil, or corrupt) not mentioned in the Bible, but clearly identifiable by descriptive acts throughout the Bible.   A label given by man.

Political Correctness—certainly mentioned in the bible and I cannot even clearly discern a description of such as we attempt to promote it.  It is simply a label given by man, to make sure politicians can maintain their status in a politically charged arena.

There are many other “labels” we have given people and things that do not appear in the bible—too many to list in the space of this commentary.  We, “mankind” have always determined what labels are applied to people and things.  Many forms of illnesses were not named, until someone decided to name them.  The symptoms or results of the illness did not change—only the name.  The act of sexual depravation has not changed, only the name.

The bottom line is this—people are going to do exactly what they want to do—in total opposition to God and self.  So, just get to it.  But do stop trying to twist God’s Word so you won’t have to feel guilty.  God knows better.  Remember this—there are consequences for our actions—good and bad—we choose our consequence by what we do; especially when we say—we have a relationship with God.  Don’t let the enemy continue to bewitch you—see the need to seek God and know that He has only your best interests in mind.  God loves you and so do I. The enemy could care less about you.  So, don’t get the truth twisted. Open your heart to hear what the Spirit of the Lord has to say, not the fickle-mindedness of man. Those who deceive and lie have neither heaven nor hell for us for our eternal resting place.  Gratification of the flesh for a limited time is not worth losing a mansion for eternity or living with the negative consequences of disobedience. It’s a choice we all have to make—follow Christ or follow the enemy. The choice is now yours!

Father, in the name of Jesus, Help us to understand that Your Word is our guideline for living and in positioning ourselves to receive Your best for us. Help us to shield our minds from the tricks of the enemy who will influence any caught up in the lust of the flesh.  Help us to stay focused on being everything You desire us to be.  Speak to our hearts and help us to turn away from anything that is not like You.  Help us to love unconditionally, so others will come into a true knowledge of what it is to be a follower of Jesus Christ.  We declare all lies exposed and all liars exposed for all to see who really know who You are and how we are to live.

Who Has Bewitched You? (Part 2)

Still Talking to Preachers!

Paul addresses the issue of sin, grace, and the law quite adequately without there being a need for me to be redundant, but I have to say, that Paul was a very wise man—knowing exactly how “mankind” would oppose themselves to God.  Paul knew the law; he was instructed in the law and promoted because of his understanding of those things not permitted under the law.   But when he met Jesus, he gained even greater insight to understanding God and grace.

When he wrote his letter to the church at Galatia, he was appalled at those who had been introduced to the gospel of Jesus Christ and had accepted Him as their personal Savior and yet denied the power of The Spirit to guide.  He had to remind them of a number of things and they are revealed in Galatians.  He’s concerned that the enemy (anyone opposed to God) has enticed them by witchcraft or cast a spell on them with their attempts to keep people under the letter of the law.  He reminds them that those who understand what Jesus did on the cross and the power He gave to those who believed by His Spirit had no need to live under the letter of the law because the Spirit who dwells within guides and corrects.  The letter of the law entailed man conducting certain rituals—things they did using their hands (flesh)—to indicate compliance with the law to others in position of authority. We know no longer have a need to have ritual practices of anything in order to be declared loved by God.  The one thing we must do is to obey—love Him, love others—and when we truly love, we cannot sin.

“You foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched (charmed, cast a spell over you)?” (Galatians 3:1a,b NIV)  “Are you so foolish (unwise, showing a lack of sense)? After beginning by means of the Spirit, are you now trying to finish by means of the flesh?” (Galatians 3:3 NIV)

Ouch! Not only does Paul ask them if they’ve been bewitched, but then he asks them “have they lost their minds?” (my words). This is what happens to people who are misled and deceived by the enemy.  They are confused and appear to lack common sense (which is certainly not so common any more). But Paul didn’t stop with the Galatians, He turned up the heat in his letter to the Roman church when they decided that grace gave them license to sin and be forgiven.

“The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of people, who suppress the truth by their wickedness “ Romans 1:18,

“For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse. For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God, nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened.  Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like a mortal human being and birds and animals and reptiles.

Therefore God gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts to sexual impurity for the degrading of their bodies with one another. They exchanged the truth about God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator—who is forever praised. Amen. Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural sexual relations for unnatural ones. In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed shameful acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their error. Furthermore, just as they did not think it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God, so God gave them over to a depraved mind, so that they do what ought not to be done. They have become filled with every kind of wickedness, evil, greed and depravity. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit and malice. They are gossips, slanderers, God-haters, insolent, arrogant and boastful; they invent ways of doing evil; they disobey their parents; they have no understanding, no fidelity, no love, no mercy. Although they know God’s righteous decree that those who do such things deserve death, they not only continue to do these very things but also approve of those who practice them” (Romans 1:20-28 NIV).

After reading and re-reading this passage of scripture, I find it very difficult to believe that anyone who claims to a Christian or a preacher of The Gospel could possibly believe that God is not concerned with our behavior and our “sins”.  And for the record, even though most discredit Paul for everything, this is New Testament admonition—after Jesus returned to the Father.  If we truly understood everything said—we would know that God is not pleased with our opposition to His instructions, but He allows it to happen and then sits back and waits for the consequences of our actions to fall upon us—and they do.

Who Has Bewitched You? (Part 1)

This explication is for those preachers who deny the Truth of God’s Word!

I have recently heard that a number of notable, out-there-in-the-public-eye preachers are now attempting to justify homosexuality by saying they can’t find anything in the bible about it.  Liars! If they have been truly called of God, they know what’s in there—descriptions of the acts that God is opposed to—no matter what name it is called.  God called “the act” sin.  In the following scriptures, the description of the act seems pretty clear to me.

“ ’Do not have sexual relations with a man as one does with a woman; that is detestable (Leviticus 18:22 NIV).

“ ’If a man has sexual relations with a man as one does with a woman, both of them have done what is detestable. They are to be put to death; their blood will be on their own heads” (Leviticus 20:13).

            I already know how some will attempt to refute what was said under the law since we’re not there.  Understand the Spirit of what is being said and if you have the Spirit of God living in you, you cannot ignore the intent. “And Adam was not the one deceived; it was the woman who was deceived (misled into believing a lie) and became a sinner” (I Timothy 2:14 NIV). Don’t believe the lie the enemy tells you and promote sin, trust God and know that He loves you and only wants the best for you.

Of course, the enemy loves to cause confusion and twist what God has said to make sure he appears to be credible.  Let’s go back to The Garden.  When the serpent enticed Eve to eat of the fruit of the garden that God had told “them” not to touch, he twisted what God said to suit his own purposes. Think about the conversation that took place and how the serpent (the enemy in disguise) took advantage of the situation.

“Now the serpent was more crafty (cunning and deceitful) than any of the wild animals the LORD God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God really say, ‘You must not eat from any tree in the garden’?”

The woman said to the serpent, “We may eat fruit from the trees in the garden, but God did say, ‘You must not eat fruit from the tree that is in the middle of the garden, and you must not touch it, or you will die.’ ”

“You will not certainly die,” the serpent said to the woman.” For God knows, that when you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” (Genesis 3:1-5 NIV).

The enemy deliberately twisted God’s instructions to make it seem like He didn’t mean what he said.  Sound familiar.  How many people and groups are saying the same thing?  “Yeah, that’s what the bible says, but that’s not what God meant.”  About a number of issues and the first thing they will say is—“we’re not under the law; we’re under grace.” That is so true, but being under grace does not give us the liberty to sin and then try to say, what we do “is not sin.”

Are You a Peculiar Person?

“Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works” (Titus 2:14).

In light of specific, recent events perpetuated by those who proclaim they were called to preach the Gospel, this passage of scripture brings to mind exactly who it is that made the ultimate sacrifice for us.  Unfortunately, those who promote and support sin because they’re either afraid to lose members of their congregation, or are fearful of not being politically correct or even tempted to justify their own behavior simply make a mockery of the blood shed for our redemption (bringing us back into right relationship with God).

Jesus hung on the cross because He loves us.  We are redeemed from purposely and deliberately being enslaved to sin by the blood He shed for us.  Once we repent of sin, He has the cleansing power to keep us, when we turn away from all things that keep us from receiving His best in our lives.  We are supposed to be “different” from the myriad groups of people who profess being Christians or believers, but there is no evidence of such.  We are supposed to be dedicated to doing good works, but many are slothful, deceitful, and liars–revealing who it is who influences their behavior.

God intends for us to be more concerned with pleasing Him, than pleasing people.  Some have forgotten that.  Some have made a mockery of the Gospel of Jesus Christ because they are more interested in promoting self than Jesus. Some are lying about biblical truths and promoting the lies the enemy has instilled in them. Some are just too fearful to go against the ever-swelling tide of people who have believed a lie and they would rather go along, to get along.

Peculiar people, called of God, will stand firm on the truth of God’s Word.  We will not back down and perpetuate a lie to please people.  Perhaps, this is why God has said there will only be a remnant saved–a few who have not bowed to societal pressure to accept lies as truth and truth as a lie. Where do you stand? Are you peculiar enough to take a stand for truth or will you fold and capitulate to the cries of the crowd–promoting, supporting, and participating in sin?  Remember the one who capitulated to the crowds’ cries to “crucify him” rather than stand for justice.

It is time for those of us who know the Truth to stand up and say so–pleasing God, not man or this rebellious society who will soon cease to exist. Over the next few days, I am promoting and encouraging those who do understand what The Word has said and its intent, to proclaim it, loud and clearly.  If I stand alone, I stand alone–knowing this one thing–God will be pleased with my effort, whether people attempt to refute it or not.

 

God, give us all strength to be the peculiar people You desire to use for Your glory and not our own.  Open hearts and minds to receive truth and refute lies that do not align with Your Word and give us the courage to withstand all the enemy attempts to throw our way. In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen!

Thoughts About Preachers

Preach cvrThere are so many people out there–ready to criticize and demonize televangelists–that I thought I’d take a few minutes to express my thoughts about preachers.  We have some great ones, some good ones, and some not so good ones.  I’m judging the messages and the methods, not the people.  Judging the individuals is God’s job, not mine.  I encourage to read my thoughts and share your own.  Available on Amazon now for .99.  I really enjoy those who have been gifted to preach The Word and do so with honor and integrity and humor, never hurts.  Since I am a preacher, I want to make sure I stay focused on what God wants me to say and not be conformed to traditions and trends created by man.  Thanks for reading!

“Preach, Preacher!”

Excerpt from newest book:  “Preach, Preacher!”

True believers understand a couple of things about the Bible. One—we understand how to distinguish meaning by knowing who was talking, to what they were referring, and what was going on at the time they said what they said. Two—we know that God is not a man that He should lie, but we also understand that He used (inspired flawed men) to write what we consider to be—His Word (notice how the choice between “Word” and not Words is used). Three—we know—that if we lined up scripture—line-upon-line, precept (principle) upon precept that there is no way we can legitimately refute God’s purpose in and through His Word. Notice that the beginning of this paragraph started with, what? True believers. Those of us who know the truth cannot be easily swayed by those who counterfeit truth for their purposes. Who are the counterfeits? Anyone not saying what God says, within the context of God saying it, and by their words—leading people away from The Word and God’s love! Know any of these people? Let’s find out!

 

In this book, I explore the who’s who of some televangelists and what some have done to discredit them, discuss how to determine who to listen to in churches, and list who I enjoy in The Word. Available, later this week. You might be surprised with the list of people mentioned by name.