Thursday, October 30, 2014

Ghoulish compromises

We are often asked why we find it so distasteful to participate in the "harmless" activity of Halloween.

When our children were youngsters, we dressed them up, held Halloween parties and passed out candy.  We, too, thought there was no harm, since we did teach them that there is One God and One Lord, the Lord Jesus Christ.  We said the right words, that Halloween was "just for fun" and had no spiritual meaning,  that ghosts and goblins were made up characters and not real.

In short, we had bought into the deceit.  

It has taken many years, much research, attempting to understand and trusting in spiritual discernment to come to the conclusion in our own hearts that others have come to.

Halloween is used by the Prince of the power of the air, that scurvy dog we call satan or the devil to further a culture of death; to deceive as many hearts and minds as possible to open them up to further indoctrination to the opposite of Jesus' stated purpose.

John 10:10 I am come that they might have LIFE and they might have it MORE ABUNDANTLY.

Jesus begins that statement by clearly making known the bottom line purpose of the enemy, the devil.

John 10:10 The thief comes to steal, kill and destroy.

These two statements are the complete opposite of each other.  They are diametrically opposed.  They are at complete odds.

One is a culture of destruction resulting ultimately in death.

The other is a promise of the most precious gift God has ever given to His creation.


Satan could not deceive anyone if he were blatant and startlingly obvious. Read Genesis chapter 3.  It begins with the statement:  Now the serpent was more cunning than any beast of the field which the Lord God had made.

First, understand that GOD MADE THE SERPENT.  The devil is NOT powerful, almighty and all knowing as the Lord God is.  He is a created being, created by God, just as you and I are.  He attempts to steal Gods throne, he makes counterfeits of things God originally created and he has set himself to be the opposite of all God is.

We see that most clearly in this deceitful culture of death he has spent millenia coaxing into greater and greater influence over human beings.

Most of it is subtle, cartoonish even.  Dead isn't really dead, you just live in a different "state of being" than regular people.  You might be a zombie, or a vampire but you aren't actually DEAD.  
Websters Dictionary defines dead as - no longer living, an absence of life.

Working through many avenues of influence, this culture of death contradicts the truth of Gods word by presenting people with friendly alternatives.  Movies like Dracula, the Werewolf, Frankenstein, moving on to friendlier versions like Beetlejuice and shows such as The Ghost and Mrs. Muir.  All pushing an agenda that declares

DEATH ISN'T FINAL AND IT ISN'T SUCH A BAD STATE OF BEING.

Really?  Can Christians afford to buy into that?  Because that absolutely contradicts what Gods Holy word tells us.

ICorinthians 15:26 - the last enemy that will be destroyed is death.

We are told by Gods Inspired Word that death is the enemy.  The world tries to convince us that death is our friend.  Religions of this world teach that death is honorable and is even rewarded in the supposed "happy afterlife" that is to be taken for granted when you willingly, publicly and violently cause your own death and often the deaths of others in the process.

UNDERSTAND THAT COMPROMISE TO ANY DEGREE IS UNACCEPTABLE

As we watch more of Gods truth compromised, even in our Christian churches in the mistaken hope of attracting the world to sit in our pews by acting more like the world and presenting more of what the world likes and wants, it becomes ever more crucial that we recognize the extreme need to diligently protect the integrity of the revelation and teaching that God has given to guide His people to the successful, abundant life He promised. 

God wants His children to live their lives, live them well, live them in peace with JOY and GLADNESS.  God, who created us in His image wants us to understand that HE is LIFE and He has blessed us with LIFE, and life eternal through Jesus Christ His Son.  

He has called us to be PECULIAR!

Deuteronomy 14:2 For thou art an holy people unto the Lord thy God, and the Lord hath chosen thee to be a peculiar people unto himself, above all the nations that are upon the earth.

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

IPeter 2:9  But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people that you should show forth the praises of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light;

We are called to show the world the DIFFERENCE in a life that following and obeying God makes when we accept the sacrifice Jesus made to free us from SIN.  Behaving like the world will not attract the world, it will only destroy the very peculiarity that God calls us to live in.

We don't pretend we know it all or we are doing things perfectly ourselves or that we have it all figured out.  Let me be clear.  WE DON'T.  As long as we are in this flesh, until Christ returns, we will sin (hopefully a lot less than without Him!), we will be subject to the flesh, we will be fallible and wrong many times in many ways in many things.

EVERYONE.  There are no perfect human beings and no one has "ARRIVED".  But that doesn't mean that we shouldn't live in the truth that we have learned, that we shouldn't even make the effort to let the light of Christ shine from us.

We've come to the conclusion that "Halloween" as we know it glorifies the false culture of death the devil is pushing.  For that reason we've decided not to participate in any way.  

As much as we understand and can, we want to exemplify PECULIARITY that just might catch someone's attention and open the lines of communication that will allow us to share the message of Salvation through Jesus.


We have no issue with candy.  We like candy and we like pumpkins, too!  But we LOVE God and deeply desire to bear fruit that glorifies Him and honors Him and exalts His Name!

Sunday, October 26, 2014

PRINCIPLES OR OBEDIENCE?

JUST  DO  WHAT  YOU'RE  TOLD  ~
OR  THINK  FOR  YOURSELF?
I've been going to "church" for as long as I can remember.  I still have the Bible they gave me for graduating from kindergarten and entering the first grade Sunday School.  

It has no cover anymore, which is sad, because that cover had my name embossed in gold. 

It has no cover anymore, which is joyful, for that is a testimony to how well read that book was by me!

Unlike many people, I don't have a history of three to five generations all faithfully attending the same church for their whole lives.  I don't even have a history of myself faithfully attending the same church for longer than about 5 years at a time.

There were moves to different towns and moves to different states.  Most significantly, there were moves of the Spirit.  As I read, as I dug in and pressed in and sought to know my Lord more intimately, the more deeply and dramatically I changed.  

With those changes, my spiritual needs also changed.  As I grew, I found myself less and less enthusiastic about mindlessly obeying the rules of and church leadership of whatever institution I was attending and more and more enthused about learning to obey God directly and personally.

I discovered that following the Lord wasn't like being one of a herd of sheep, but the true joy and exhilaration came from understanding His personal direction for my life.  Recognizing the gifts He gave me, and how to use them to bear fruit for His Glory.  Embracing who He made me to be and living every day being led by His Holy Spirit.

I've read and reread Ephesians a multitude of times, and with each reading, fresh insight and understanding has resulted.  Working out my own salvation with fear and trembling has become a joyful journey, not a dreaded one.  

Gathering with likeminded believers is a fun filled activity of sharing insights, experiences and encouraging one another to stay faithful, remain steadfast and continue to trust and obey the Lord in spite of daily hardships.

Each of us will one day stand before the Lord, naked and alone, just ourselves and Jesus.  (Romans 14:12)  There won't be any one else to speak for us. There won't be anyone else to cover us.  Just Jesus the Lord of Lords, and we alone to answer to the Father for what we did with all He gave us. (read the parable of the talents for insight: Luke 19)

It is a wonderful thing to hear the gospel preached.  It is a great thing for others to share the insight and knowledge they have gained.  There is a season when being a disciple of another is exactly the right path.

But there comes a time for each of us who claim Jesus as our Lord and Savior to TAKE responsibility for ourselves and begin to DO.  To teach others, to encourage others, to become a productive member of the body of Christ ourselves.  Not just in taking care of a church building, but in caring for and increasing His Church.

So we will hear those glorious words we long for:

Well done, my good and faithful servant! WELL DONE!

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Expectations

In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth...

Have you ever wondered what God wants of you? 

God asks us to:
walk humbly before Him;
recognizing that we are not able to be holy, perfect, clean, righteous on our own, God provided a way for us to humbly receive ability to be clothed in Christ the Redeemers Righteousness

God asks us to:
love mercy;
thinking about all the mercy that has been poured into us should make it very simple to give away as much as possible, but God didn't even say "give mercy" or "be merciful".  He just said Love Mercy, for yourself and for others.  He knows that what you love will be manifest in your life

God asks us to:
do justly;
and since we are not capable of complete objectivity and balanced justice, we are NOT to judge, but do justly - according to what is morally right or fair - and that is ONLY Gods department, so we have the added understanding that vengeance is the Lords!

In essence, God has given us a framework to work within, in order to work out our own salvation with fear and trembling.  He made each of us individual, unique and special.  He isn't looking for cloned Christians, all looking, speaking and acting the same.  He is looking for His particular, peculiar children to be witnesses OF Jesus His Son, each in our own unique way.



This isn't a comprehensive, all inclusive or exhaustive study.
I've read Oswald.
I've devoured Tozer.
C.S. Lewis
Jonathan Edwards
and many, many, many other authors who know a lot more than I ever will.

and I've read the Bible.  Over and over and over again for the last 49 of my 55 years.  My understanding has grown with each reading.  My life has changed dramatically over time as I've gained new understanding, insight and wisdom.

One of the main things I've discovered is that God is sovereign.  We, the created beings, cannot put Him in a neat package of our making without losing all that He is!


  • He is INFINITELY CREATIVE
  • He is BEYOND OUR COMPREHENSION
  • He is THE LORD GOD ALMIGHTY
Until the day we see Him face to face, the best we can hope for is to imitate Him in some manner so others will see how great HE IS.  Everyone relates differently, so He created many different ways for His greatness to be seen, heard, experienced and understood.  He set a frame.  Boundaries if you will.  
Within those boundaries, there are no limitations except those we set up ourselves, denying ourselves the fullness of all HE IS.

Scripture to consider: (New King James Version)

Micah 6:8
Psalm 139
Ephesians 1 and 2
Philippians 2:12
Acts 1
I Corinthians 13:12