EVEN IN 2016 – GOD CAN STILL SAVE SODOMITES – IF THEY REPENT!

“Do you not know that the unrighteous WILL NOT inherit the kingdom of God? DO NOT BE DECEIVED: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate (a catamite), nor sodomites (homosexuals), nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, will inherit the kingdom of God. And such WERE some of you: BUT YOU ARE WASHED, but you are SANCTIFIED, but you are JUSTIFIED in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God.”  (I Cor.6:9-11)

I fear that once our courts change laws (and they have certainly been wrong BIG TIME before – like Roe v Wade, allowing the murder of the unborn) we as Christians “little by little” surrender our role to continue to stand for TRUTH and the conscience of the nation deteriorates even further into immorality & destruction! However, immorality in EVERY form, including fornication, adultery, incest, bestiality, & homosexuality (our modern “man made” term for sodomy) will ALWAYS be SIN before God … and ALWAYS, IN EVERY CASE be wrong! [Also, by the way, a “catamite” (this is the meaning of the word “effeminate” in verse 9) meaning “a boy in soft, luxuriously clothing (in a feminine way) and used for sexual intercourse by other men.” (In other words, they were not “the initiator” but rather “the responder”), yet still they must repent of their sin to be saved.]

But according to the Apostle Paul, (under the inspiration of God – meaning this IS God’s heart on the matter) any of these people WHO REPENT OF THEIR SIN (which means to turn away from and STOP doing it) CAN BE SAVED! However, THEY MUST REPENT IN ORDER TO GET SAVED! God does not change His standards to allow them to GO ON IN THEIR SIN, just so He can “love them” into His kingdom! Jesus does NOT “COME INTO A HEART” where He is NOT ALLOWED TO TAKE OVER! He IS Lord … and only SAVES THOSE WHO BOW TO HIM AS LORD!

This was the testimony of some of the believers in the Corinthian church! They had formerly been involved in these sins of immorality … but NOW, had repented and became follower of Jesus Christ! NOTE: “such WERE some of you, BUT NOW you are WASHED, SANCTIFIED, & JUSTIFIED! In other words, they were NO LONGER committing those sins!

IF YOU DON’T REPENT OF THE IMMORALITY, YOU CANNOT BE SAVED! PERIOD! Jesus paid much too high a price to lower God’s standards of holiness and let you be THE EXCEPTION to His rules! REPENT and PLACE YOUR ENTIRE TRUST in the sacrifice of Jesus on the Cross and you too can be saved! Fail to repent … and you will be eternally damned to the devil’s hell. You “CANNOT inherit the kingdom” (become an heir to God’s kingdom) unless you repent! Sorry, but … “it is what it is!” You must make the choice!

WE NEED A REVIVAL OF REPENTANCE!

This is a word, that has basically disappeared from the church and the language of most believers in America … REPENT! The reason, I suppose, is painfully obvious! WHO WANTS TO CHANGE?! That could be costly … it might cost me my job, or some friendships, or even cause tension among family members … and it might even cost us some church members! Whoa! Don’t talk to me about something that might create tension in the church! But the need is NOT a fresh challenge about THE GREAT COMMISSION, because in spite of what most would say, that was NOT the last message of Jesus to His followers! His last message was about THE GREAT COMMAND … and that message was REPENT! As He addressed the issues in 5 of the 7 churches in Asia Minor in the Revelation (only about 40-50 years after they had been established), He told them to REPENT!

The Greek word used for repentance – Meta-noeō, means to think and act differently afterwards, to think in such a way that it causes you to behave differently afterwards. Some today, in a very weak use of the word emphasize that this is merely “a change of mind” however, the consistent use of at least a portion of the word has a lot more power & meaning than that. The words used all involve two things: Change & movement! So, let’s define REPENTANCE as “a change of mind that ALWAYS brings about a change of lifestyle.”

Again … CHANGE & MOVEMENT! Jesus was TRANSFIGURED, Enoch was TRANSLATED that he should not see death, Paul TRANSFERRED a comparison to himself & Apollos for the sake of the Corinthian church, and we are told we are to be TRANSFORMED by the renewing of our mind. ALL of these words begin with the same Greek phrase – “META” For example, the Greek word – meta-morphoō  (from which we get the word metamorphosis) is used for TRANSFORMATION and of course the word picture is a caterpillar inside the cocoon being CHANGED into a beautiful butterfly!  Enoch was MOVED from earth to heaven, Jesus was CHANGED into a different level of glory in the disciples presence!

It may indeed be COSTLY, but this is a message that needs to be “shouted from the housetops” once again across our nation, BEGINNING WITH THE PEOPLE OF GOD IN CHURCH! It was the message of the prophets in the Old Testament, it was the message of John the Baptist as he prepared the way for Jesus, it was the message of Jesus while here, it was the message of Stephen, Paul, Peter & John in the New Testament! Here is the message of Jesus to His church: “As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent.” (Rev.3:19)

 

A Tribute to Del Fehsenfeld Jr. – Founder of Life Action Ministries

 I wrote this tribute a number of years ago for one of Del’s daughters who was serving in revival ministry at that time, on our team. I am sharing this publicly on the 25th Anniversary of his home-going. Del died on November 21, 1989 at the age of 42.

Del was a man of God … unique to this age … sent from God … Del was my friend!

Del was a man of faith.  Del paid the price of reputation and fellowship of peers and background in order to obey God in direction for Life Action. Knowing that most of his peers were afraid to make a break with their religious moorings in order to be obedient to God and in order to stand for truth, Del counted the cost, put his own reputation and that of Life Action on the line, and obeyed God.

Del was a man of passion … intense in anything he did. His praying, his thinking, his “sensing” in services, his preaching, even his note-taking … I can still see him sitting, taking notes. The way he wrote was fast and with purpose. I expect that each page below his notes (like each life under his influence) had an impression from the previous page! Del was impassioned … there was never any doubt about that.

Del was committed to obeying the scriptures. The Word of God had to be foundational to whatever we were doing if we were going to ask God to empower and bless our efforts. If obedience to the Word of God meant a total change of direction for our ministry, then we would pray, get the mind of God through the Word of God and the counsel of other Godly men, then pray some more, pull out the notepad, start conceptualizing and giving birth to what we perceived to be the heart and mind of God. Del’s approach to any new thoughts or ideas was not, “What will our constituents think about this?” but, “Is this from God? And if so, how do we as a ministry fit into making this happen? Does this further the cause of revival for the glory of God?”

Del was a prophet … much like a salmon, constantly swimming upstream, and almost always against the mainstream of much of Christianity in America. Del was not at home in this world, and would not risk the unique blessing of God and His sanctifying power over Life Action just to get into churches for ministry. He did not lend himself to following the trends of the day in the church movement, and was constantly confronting the “Madison Avenue” technique of doing church work. Del would often say,

“One of the problems in much of our church work today is that we sit in a meeting room and make our plans, then ask God to bless them … rather than getting in the Word of God on our knees first and getting the mind of God, then moving ahead with the confidence of knowing that what He has ordained, He will bless!”

At the same time, Del was always ready to use the latest innovations in equipment and media technology with a spirit of excellence in order to help communicate the burden for revival. He was not out to make Life Action Ministries a popular ministry, but only concerned that it be a holy, God honoring ministry. He knew and lived out the reality that a prophet and a prophet’s ministry would be uncomfortable for most of what was standard for modern day Christianity. Del was a threat to nominal, programmed, popular Christianity and knew it!

Del was teachable and expandable, even though he knew what he believed and where he stood. He was not threatened by bringing other strong men around him to help promote the glory of God. Yet at the same time, if he sensed in their philosophy a tainting of man’s thoughts versus God’s thoughts (a pragmatic approach to ministry), he was not afraid to say, “I can’t accept that unless you can show me that in scriptures.”

Del was, in many ways, “unspotted from the world.” He was sometimes perhaps a little naïve and uninformed in the ways of the world, yet really … in a healthy way. He was a pilgrim, a stranger in this world. He was not however, unwise or undiscerning about the ways “the wicked” one would try to interrupt or deceive. He was a soldier who did not “entangle himself with the affairs of this life.”

Del loved his family. One indelible impression left on my heart, while we were praying in the bedroom of his trailer in the midst of his sickness in Fort Smith, was seeing him weep openly for the spiritual condition and future of his dear children. He and Judy knew those children were uniquely, each one, a gift from God.

Del’s desire was not so much for a long life, as it was for a “totally surrendered … obedient to God … recklessly abandoned … living for His glory” life.

He did indeed live and die for the glory of God!

RISE UP O MEN (& WOMEN) OF GOD! NOT JUST IN HOUSTON … THIS IS ABOUT THE FUTURE OF AMERICA!

It seems to me, as I pray for the pastors in Houston this week, the verse that comes to mind is Eph. 4 – “speak the truth in love.” Of course, we know that Jesus was ALWAYS the perfect balance of these two. “When you speak, speak the truth … and always speak the truth in love.” But, as followers of Jesus Christ as our Lord … we cannot IGNORE this most recent outbreak of an abominable lifestyle and expect it to just go away. When you study SODOMY in history and more specifically in scripture, you find that these people DO NOT merely wish “to be left alone,” to live in their choices. No indeed, they, by nature become aggressive, militant, self-promoting, & “in your face” determined that you must accept & approve of their sinful habits, which of course, if we are to be true to the Bible and TRUTH … we cannot! They have twisted and perverted TRUTH to justify their sin & want you to tell them … “that’s okay!” You simply CANNOT DO THIS! As the scriptures state in a declaration of FINALITY, “Let God be true and every man a liar.” In other words, TRUTH MUST WIN OUT! And if anyone is going to change, it must be US as human beings … not God, doing the changing.

What have they,  the sodomites – (some call them “Gay,” there is nothing gay about their lifestyle) done with TRUTH? First the truth was SUPPRESSED (Rom.1:18), then it was DENIED (Rom.1:19-22), then they CHANGED it into a lie (Rom.1:25), then all along the way of course they DISOBEYED it (Rom.2:8). Paul gives us our answer as TRUE BELIEVERS how to respond to this: “the servant of the Lord must not strive; but be GENTLE unto all men, apt (ready) to teach, patient (forbearing), in meekness instructing those THAT OPPOSE THEMSELVES; IF God peradventure will give them REPENTANCE to the ACKNOWLEDGING OF THE TRUTH; and that they may RECOVER THEMSELVES out of the snare of the devil, who are TAKEN CAPTIVE by him AT HIS WILL.  (II Tim. 2:24-26)

This entire downward spiral begins with how an individual, then a community, then a country responds to God’s TRUTH! I don’t expect sodomites to understand what I’ve written here (which of course is just the Word of God in plain and simple words), but my great concern is for professing followers of Christ who are believing a lie & rejecting the truth about God’s view of this abominable act. We don’t need another “Panel Discussion” on this sin, we just need a clarion call from the pulpits of our land, and then a response of loving confrontation and sharing of the gospel (good news) of forgiveness & peace being available! REPENTANCE IS REQUIRED in order for this issue to CHANGE … (but somehow, I don’t see God being the one who has to change His mind on sodomy … that is NOT going to happen). God has spoken … mercy, grace & salvation are available to everyone who repents and believes the gospel … but the lifestyle MUST be stopped. You cannot “hold on to your sin” and receive salvation at the same time. As Jesus told the woman taken in adultery (Jn.8:11) … “GO … and SIN NO MORE.”

Blessings,
Tim

Who “OWNS” Your BODY?

I Cor. 6:19,20  What? know you not that your BODY is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which you have of God, and YOU ARE NOT YOUR OWN? For you are bought with a price: therefore GLORIFY GOD IN YOUR BODY, and in your spirit, WHICH ARE GOD’S.

Rom. 12:1,2  I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you PRESENT YOUR BODIES A LIVING SACRIFICE, HOLY, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.

 

I suppose that just one of these verses would have been enough, but the truth of the matter is, we could add a dozen more to bring out the challenge of my thoughts today. Our BODY, as a Christian … who owns your body? I have made this statement for years and cannot back down from it’s ramifications: “The MOST TANGIBLE demonstration of your surrender to Jesus Christ as your LORD(or the lack thereof) is what you DO with YOUR BODY!” What do we see in just the verses quoted above, IF INDEED, you are a Christian?

1)    God inhabits, (dwells inside) of you. You are a representation of our holy God.

2)    You DO NOT OWN your body, Jesus paid the price of ownership with His personal death – you have been REDEEMED.

3)    Everything you do therefore as a Christian, should be ONLY that which brings GLORY TO GOD – that is, attracts attention to Jesus, NOT TO YOURSELF.

4)    Every day, and every minute of every day, we are commanded to PRESENT OUR BODIES for GOD’S use ALONE.

 

This is the reason why we are told, “Whether therefore you EAT or DRINK or WHATSOEVER YOUR DO, do all to the glory of God.” (I Cor.10:31)  Folks, we just don’t seem to “get it!” This is NOT YOUR BODY to do with as you please! This is why, when I got saved, I stopped drinking alcoholic beverages IMMEDIATELY, I stopped smoking that very night, my immoral lifestyle was to be no longer. The places I went changed, my value system changed, the things I spent “my” money on changed … the things I LIVED FOR was radically NEW! We have all seen the signs the women carry, while marching in favor of their “abortion rights” … the signs say things like, “My Body, My Choice!” or “Keep Your Hands Off My Body!” of course with the implication that abortion (also known as murder) is my own business … don’t tell me how to live MY LIFE! Well, you know, there is a sense in which I understand lost people thinking and acting like that because they don’t have the “capacity” to understand ‘ownership’ of the Creator over that which He has given life, they are still in darkness and enemies of the cross and God’s plan for their lives … at this point in their existence. But WHAT ABOUT CHRISTIANS?! SHOULDN’T WE KNOW BETTER?

To a large degree, we are NO DIFFERENT than the world around us (which the earlier verses warned us against – DO NOT BE CONFORMED TO THIS WORLD)! We “choose” to live our lives based on our own opinions and the opinions of “friends” around us. So, how does that show itself? We listen with “God’s ears” to the same junk that lost people do, we watch with “God’s eyes” the same junk coming out of Hollywood that consumes their lives, we drink with “God’s body” the same control substances that they drink or inhale or shoot into their veins! Again, the question begs to be answered … “Who Gets Control?” In America today, we present our bodies to “the world” rather than to God! We paint, we poke, we pierce, we party, we parade, we pollute “our bodies” … all under the name of “freedom” & “liberty” as a Christian! We don’t want to admit it … BUT, MANY CHRISTIANS ARE IN BONDAGE TO THEIR LIBERTY! We demand our freedom to do with “our bodies” what WE WANT and then display it for the world to see! I say again friends, you do not “reach” the world by being LIKE the world! The question demands an answer … who is “reaching” whom?

Once again, “The most tangible demonstration of your surrender to Jesus Christ as your LORD (or the lack thereof) is what you do with ‘your’ body!” Perhaps, we need to do some serious contemplation & ask God the question, “Lord, what do my actions and use of this body reveal about “ownership” in my life?

Blessings,

Tim
P.S. – want to ask more about this? Write me: tim@aaarm.org

 

HERO TO ZERO is a mighty QUICK TRIP!

The king spoke, and said, “Is not this great Babylon, that I have built for the house of the kingdom by the might of MY power, and for the honor of MY majesty?” While the word was in the king’s mouth, there fell a voice from heaven, saying, ‘O king Nebuchadnezzar, to you it is spoken; The kingdom is departed from you.’ (Dan.4:30,31)

“But he answered his father, ‘Look, these many years I have served you, and I never disobeyed your command, yet you never gave ME a young goat, that I might celebrate with MY friends.” (Lk. 15:29) 

Ever wondered what King Nebuchadnezzar & “the elder brother” had in common? It’s quite simple … and you and I face this same danger on a daily basis! They had an “eye” problem … oh excuse me … an “I” problem. Oh, may I never forget that “Hero … to zero … is a quick trip!”

The king had been warned a year earlier to “break off his sins & iniquities by righteousness” and it appears he did … for 12 months! But then, he began to look around and take PRIDE in all that HE HAD DONE! Hence, the “I” problem … I, me, my! The elder brother did the same thing … look again at his words … I, me, my. We are SO prone to exalt ourselves rather than to humble ourselves (the first key to REVIVAL according to God in II Chr.7:14). Ever stop & listen to your words? Are they filled with “I” … “me” … “my?” After all, I have it on a good authority that “out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks.” This is SO SCARY to me!

Remember the words of wisdom, “Pride goes before destruction & a haughty spirit before a fall.” (Pro.16:18) It just doesn’t take long for me to get my eyes off Jesus & others … and on to myself. There is the downfall, because in spite of what our present society says friend … IT IS NOT ALL ABOUT YOU … or me! How empty, the life that lives by the philosophy of “me first!” Oh Lord, please keep me alert to the chronic temptation of PRIDE in my life, for it is inevitably my constant nemesis. I find myself, as did Martin Luther, who stated, “I fear more than the Pope himself and all the priests of Rome, the pope called “SELF!”

This story does however have a “happy ending” at least for King Nebuchadnezzar! After seven years of eating grass like an ox, having wetness cover his body like the dew of heaven, his hair grow as long as eagle’s feathers and his fingernails grow like claws of a bird … he came to his senses (repented), lifted up his eyes to the heavens, his understanding returned (put him back in his place) and he openly declared for the entire world in the Babylonian empire WHO the real God of heaven was and honored and praised HIM! Read it for yourself in verses 34-37 of Daniel 4. Look at his last statement: “Now I Nebuchadnezzar praise and extol and honor the King of heaven, all whose works are truth, and his ways judgment: and THOSE THAT WALK IN PRIDE … He is able to abase.”

Thank You Lord for this painful, yet all too true statement … and somehow Lord, keep my eyes open and my heart tender to MY NEED in this warning.

SATAN – AN ANGEL … OF LIGHT? YOU BETCHA!

II Cor. 11:13-15  “For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ. And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light. Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works.”

Have we forgotten who the enemy is? Do we expect Satan to knock on our door with a red suit, pointed ears & tail and a pitchfork and say, “Hi, I’m Satan, the loser that God kicked out of heaven, and I’m here to destroy your life, family & influence in this world!” No, actually that only happens at Halloween, and those are not “the real thing.” The real one, theologians believe was the most beautiful of all God’s created messengers, whose “heart was lifted up because of his WISDOM, his RICHES & his BEAUTY (Ez.28:2,5,17). He was “perfect in all his ways UNTIL iniquity was found in him.” He “sinned … therefore he was cast as profane out of the mountain of God” Dear friend, can I introduce you to the two primary Old Testament passages that expose to us the history of Lucifer (Is. 14 & Ez. 28 [the prince of Tyrus]), whom again, most theologians agree was the third archangel of God. Perhaps even the most beautiful of the three (along with Michael – the warring angel & Gabriel – the announcing angel). He was IN the Garden of Eden, clothed with the most brilliant of coverings (v.13) thus called ‘the anointed cherub,’ and his musical ability “thy ‘pipes & tabrets’ prepared in him the day he was created.” Lucifer was probably “the master musician” of heaven BEFORE HIS FALL (this is why he still wants to use music – without a doubt one of God’s greatest gifts to mankind, as a destructive, divisive force within the church). Can I challenge you to study Eze. 28 in light of getting a clear picture of this beautiful, yet masterfully deceptive created being also known as Satan?

“Every precious stone was his covering” and his ‘view’ of this perhaps aided in his downfall – there in the presence of God, the Source of All Light, he saw that light radiate through his covering and thought he had light in himself … but he did not. Take the most beautiful stones in the world, place them in a room of TOTAL darkness and the stones will not reflect anything and thus no beauty to behold. It is the LIGHT that brings out the reflective beauty. Lucifer went from being a Principal of the Light to becoming the Prince of Darkness in one foul swoop! Satan was deceived by his beauty, his riches and his wisdom … now he uses these same tactics to bring a downfall in our lives. “Self deceit” began with Lucifer.

Dr. J. Dwight Pentecost, in his masterful book, “Your Adversary, the Devil” does an excellent job of exposing the master deceiver and his plan for taking men down! I don’t want to send anyone on a long, extensive investigation into our enemy … because I know of cases where people have probed the mysteries of supernatural powers only to find themselves entangled and attacked in the demonic world of Satan, but we must not, as Paul warned us in II Cor.2:11 be “ignorant of his devices.” We must instead be sober & vigilant … knowing he is out to deceive, to disillusion, to divide, to devour, to defile & to destroy TRUE CHRISTIAN INFLUENCE in this world (I Pet.5:8).

I suggest the best way to identify the counterfeit is to become more knowledgeable of the real thing. Just as Federal agents learn to detect counterfeit money, by handling millions of dollars that are REAL … you can best acquire a discerning heart to avoid the deceiver by deepening your understanding of TRUTH. As Paul said, “I would have you to be wise unto that which is good and simple concerning evil.” (Rom.16:19) Have you forgotten that Satan knows the scriptures? Have you forgotten that he tried to trick JESUS with the twisting of the scriptures? And have you forgotten that Jesus, as our Example, overcame his temptation by ACCURATELY using the Word of God to refute him?

We haven’t even gotten into the original text yet! Here is my point … Satan using the scriptures to pervert & deceive is not a new trick … it is one of the oldest and most well used “lures” in his tackle box! Why trade it off now? He doesn’t need a new lure, the old one is still catching the big fish like it always has! Is this a follow-up to the post a few days ago on “The Bible?” You betcha! How does “even Satan himself” get “transformed into an angel of light?” Simple, he introduces deception through whatever tools he can find. What? Do you mean even through the scriptures? Yep … it’s not a new trick. What has the church fought against for thousands of years … perversion (twisting) of God’s purified Word.

Don’t take my word for it … be a Berean Christian … search the scriptures! Be discerning. Look at what John Gill, a noted British theologian, had to say about this specific passage (vs. 14) over 250 years ago:

“… now Satan, the enemy of mankind, sometimes appears in the form of one of these; as he did to Eve in the garden, and to Christ in the wilderness; and by such appearances he often imposes on mankind; PRETENDS THE GREATEST FRIENDSHIP, WHEN HE DESIGNS NOTHING BUT RUIN; and UNDER A NOTION OF GOOD, either honest, or pleasant, or profitable, DRAWS ON INTO THE COMMISSION OF THE GREATEST EVILS; and, under a show of truth, INTRODUCES THE MOST NOTORIOUS FALSEHOODS AND ERRORS; and, under a pretence of religion, all sorts of idolatry, superstition, and impiety; IT IS IN THIS WAY HE HAS SUCCEEDED IN HIS ENTERPRISES AND TEMPTATIONS; these are his wiles, stratagems, and CUNNING DEVICES.”

Dear friends, “study to show yourself approved unto God … rightly dividing the Word (logos) of Truth.”

“Christianity” on the Internet – Be Careful, Be Selective

I am SO burdened for the “typical” Christian in America these days. I remember in 2007 reading a report that said “by 2012, 72% of Christians would be getting their ‘spiritual nourishment’ on the internet.” (Do I need to remind you that this is 2013 … YIKES?) Dear friend, there are so many things WRONG about that perspective and “modus operandi.” Can I touch on just three of them?

FIRST: it bypasses the LOCAL CHURCH. We love to use the language of “the kingdom” today and operate in the realm of “kingdom living” etc., but friend Jesus established the local church to be a body of REAL people, interacting, DAILY, in each other’s presence (able to look “eye to eye”), centered around the preaching of His Written Word,“And they continued stedfastly in 1) the apostles’ doctrine and 2) fellowship, and 3) in breaking of bread, and 4)in prayers.” Friend, there are certain functions that need to happen TOGETHER. Do NOT give up on the local church! Find one that truly preaches the Bible (accurately … not just men’s opinion) and plug yourself IN! Become a servant, find out how and where you can help, discover and use the gifts God has given you to edify the body of Christ. (Eph.4:12-16)

SECONDLY: it has the potential to take you OUT of the WORD OF GOD. We are SO prone to give more credence to a “living voice” as in the opinions of other living, breathing human beings … but, oh my, what a dangerous road that can lead you down. You can take my opinion, add it to a couple of other opinions of people … put them all together with a dollar and get a cup of coffee! Well, some places (McDonalds) … probably not Starbucks! Sometimes we look too much for the “approval of man,” especially on FB and other Social Media outlets. A girl puts a picture of an outfit,, or new hair color or cut, and waits for people to express their opinion, then she acts on that “vote.” A guy asks opinion of his peers about a certain girl, should he pursue her or about a “music group” should he get that CD or whatever. Dear people, we MUST learn to get into the Word of God, and begin forming CONVICTIONS based on the principles God has already laid down in scripture. That is the ONLY WAY you can build your life on a secure foundation. Search the scriptures! (I Tim. 4:6,12-16)

THIRDLY: it has the potential to remove you from ACCOUNTABILITY to people who see you day in and day out and TRULY know you best. How much more convenient is it to get someone’s opinion, who only communicates with you online, and only gets your side of the story (dangerous) and who then gives you their counsel with only a portion of the information needed to make wise, deliberate, Biblically based decisions. Proverbs tells us, “he that answers a matter before he hears it, it is a FOLLY and a SHAME to him.” (18:13).  We need the protection of people, close by, who love us to tell us when we’ve got “a tear in the back of our coat” (in other words, we don’t see the real picture that others are seeing).

Without a doubt, there is much good that can be accomplished through this tool we call “the internet,” but that which is invented to be a BLESSING, can also be a CURSE, if misused! Living your life “on the internet” really puts you in a “Dream World” mentality and will cause destruction in your real life, day to day, relationships with those directly involved in your life. To borrow a phrase that really seems to fit here … GET A LIFE! Stay plugged in with reality. Invest yourself in those around you who TRULY need your best and your most. Don’t waste your life in “ESCAPISM!” So, now that you read this online … get off here quickly, look around and get involved in PEOPLE! … What are you waiting for? GO!

Blessings,

Tim

Now That We’re Past the Election … Now What?

Many people will not care for my “bottom line” assessment of this election, and are of course free to disagree. I TOTALLY believe in the Sovereignty of God in placing leaders over us & that God indeed “rules in the affairs of men.” I never felt or believed that Mitt Romney was our “answer,” only that perhaps he might be ‘a reprieve’ from the downward spiral we as a nation have been gaining speed on in the last 4 years. It was not meant to be. Prayerfully, we all individually did all we could to open the door for that change, should God decide to grant it – I know I did. God did not grant it, it did not happen, so we move on. There is, however, one point which the numbers are showing us already in the early voting returns concerning a statement made by Mitt Romney and exploited by the liberal news media to blast him, which has proven to be true. When Romney said, “47% of the voters are already in his back pocket” (or something to that effect) he was right! The numbers show that the president received 11% higher of single women votes (Romney won the married women vote), 44% higher of the Hispanic vote & 88% higher of the African American vote. Further evidence that you can “buy” votes … under Obama’s first 3 1/2 years in office, Welfare went up 32% & Food Stamps increased 71%. As our Founding Fathers warned us (Alexander Hamilton & Thomas Jefferson), they said “when the Public Treasury becomes the Public Trough, we (the voting populace) will only send to the government people who will promise to bring back to us the bigger piece of the pie.” That is what returned him to office … and these ARE the groups receiving the largest entitlement checks (don’t call me “racist” or “uncaring” for that statement … check the facts, you will see it is true). I am not saying some of these people do not need help in this present economic system … just saying, like it or not … Romney spoke the truth. President Obama “bought” a second term.

But what do we do now … the election is now history.  With the election now behind us, we  must also continue to warn against anti-Christ philosophy and godless laws & direction for our country. As long as that freedom is still there, then we must, by God’s grace, continue to warn, to discern, to point out and speak the truth, as we see it revealed in scripture. TRUTH IS THE ISSUE HERE. With deceit, lies, false teaching, narcissistic agendas all coming from the heart of men, as Jesus told us they do, they MUST continue to be exposed & shown for what they are. That is … we should and must, as long as the freedom of speech to expose godless agendas still exists in America. This is NOT a “hate” speech, this has nothing to do with race, I do not blame, as a person, Barack Obama.

Barack Obama is merely the product of a society that has systematically rejected God’s way of thinking over the last 50+ years in an education system based on the religion of Secular Humanism. Our president thinks as he does because of an intellectual reasoning process that was inevitable, once you take God as the Creator out of the picture. Our president is a master deceiver and that is the most polite way I know of to tell you he is a liar. Again, we have watched politicians for the last year ‘tippy-toe’ their way around that word, yet all the time, knowing that he has been caught in so many … yet he’s found a way to avoid them, long enough to get re-elected. If men of Congress have enough “guts” to bring them up again, they will eventually come out. Medicare theft (716 billion $’s), being able to “keep your own healthcare” (they can’t allow this and still fund Obamacare), abortion on demand paid for by us (Are you as a Christian going to allow this to pass?), “Gay” marriage legalized, 2nd Amendment rights restricted, higher energy prices, larger indebtedness – collapsing our economy, stimulus money GONE in mid-air because of being invested heavily in NOW bankrupt “Green Energy” initiatives, Bengazi cover-up, on and on the list goes. This IS and has been his agenda from the git-go. To systematically dismantle America as you & I have known her. [I do not say this to dishonor the position of the President. We believe and follow the scriptures … Fear God & Honor the King (that is the position God has placed over us in authority). I am merely stating that we have not yet witnessed changes that are already set in place to happen, shortly after the first of the year. Legislation already signed into law, that will begin to affect us as Americans. You will feel it in your tax increase, your health costs, & at the pump, not to mention a speedier moral collapse.]

The enactment of socialized medicine (Obama-care) in and of itself will not only bankrupt us, it will bring about “selective disqualification” for surgery & treatments that would lengthen the lives of those inevitably on a pathway toward imminent death. In other words, the “Health czars’ will decide if you are worth spending the time and resources on to extend your life. This will bring about more abortions & ‘justify’ euthanasia. [I encourage you again, if you have not read Dr. Erwin Lutzer’s book, “When a Nation Forgets God,” (7 Lessons we must learn from Nazi Germany) … you MUST get it and read it. He has done a masterful job of exposing history and teaching us what to look for in America as we plunge further down the slippery slope away from God.]

These are just, as the analogy goes, “the tip of the iceberg.” This election confirms the judgment of God on our nation. Spiritually, socially, politically, militarily, naturally (physical disasters), morally, economically – God’s judgment is upon us. I am not surprised that it is happening, only surprised it hasn’t happened sooner … actually it’s been growing for decades now. If you do not recognize this as the judgment of God, that failure to “see it” is actually a form of God’s judgment … when believers become desensitized to sin all around them. when we begin to call evil – good, darkness – light. (Isa. 5:20-23)  You cannot spend your way OUT of this national indebtedness by simply printing more money without capital backing. Our economic “house of cards” is coming down. I am not, however, a doomsday pessimist declaring the end of the world … not yet! The last Great Awakening of 1857 came as a result of a collapse of our economic system … and we are definitely heading that way again. It has been true in America’s past history, that IT TAKES SOMETHING  “EARTH SHATTERING” TO BRING GOD’S PEOPLE TO THEIR KNEES. God’s answer hasn’t changed (and it’s not going to). II Chr. 7:13,14 is still our answer, and though it was spoken to a specific group of His selected people, the principles of how He deals with His people throughout history still applies today. The remaining question to be answered is this … will WE HUMBLE OURSELVES, will we PRAY, will we SEEK GOD’S FACE (not His hand) and will we TURN FROM OUR WICKED WAYS?

May I end with this prayer for revival taken from Isaiah 64:

Isa 64:1-9  Oh that You would rend the heavens, that You would COME DOWN, that the mountains might flow down at Your presence, as when the melting fire burns, the fire causes the waters to boil, TO MAKE YOUR NAME KNOWN to Your adversaries, that the nations may TREMBLE AT YOUR PRESENCE! When You did awesome things which we did not look for, You came down, the mountains flowed down at Your presence.

For since the beginning of the world men have not heard, nor perceived by the ear, neither has the eye seen, O God, beside You, what God has prepared for him that waits for Him. You meet him that rejoices and works righteousness, THOSE THAT REMEMBER YOU IN YOUR WAYS: behold, You are filled with wrath; for we have sinned: in those is continuance, and WE SHALL BE SAVED. But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away. And THERE IS NONE THAT CALLS UPON YOUR NAME, that STIRS HIMSELF UP to TAKE HOLD OF YOU: for YOU HAVE HID YOUR FACE from us, and have consumed us, because of our iniquities.

But now, O LORD, You are our father; we are the clay, and You our potter; and we all are the work of Your hand. Be not wroth very sore, O LORD, neither remember iniquity for ever: BEHOLD … SEE … WE BEG OF YOU, WE ARE ALL YOUR PEOPLE!

Please dear people let’s cry out to God & ask Him to do “exceeding abundantly above all we can ask or think!” God is able! 

10 Commandments for Social Media (Commandment #7)

Commandment #7

 

Admittedly, this one has been a while in the writing. It’s really hard to cover in one blog this subject. This is especially true today, in our society, where some of the things needing to be addressed are so “counter culture.” But, here goes an attempt anyway.

Do you recall how astounded people were at the teaching of Jesus as he spoke to them by the seaside in what we call the Sermon on the Mount? The gospels record that He “taught them as one having authority and not as the scribes and Pharisees.” The difference in His approach was that He went after the heart. Even when referring back to the original commandments, He was demonstrating that He was after the motivations of the heart. So it is with this next commandment, thou shalt not commit adultery. He is of course speaking of being morally pure in both mind and action. Obviously, being and becoming morally pure is more than just NOT committing physical adultery, as Jesus states that “if you’ve lusted in your heart, you too have committed adultery.” So, how do we apply this principle to our social media?

 Exo 20:14  Thou shalt not commit adultery.

 1)     Do not use your body or that of another for impurity – in thought, action or habit.

Have you noticed how “loose” our society has become in our morals? You may ask, how do we define moral impurity? I would say in simple terms, that “moral impurity is improper uses of my body resulting from an improper thought life.” In other words, that which we put into our minds (through primarily the “eye gate” and the “ear gate”) finds its way down into our hearts and then comes out in our lives – through the avenue of our body – that is the physical use of our body. In other words … it goes HEAD HEART HABITS. That would include our senses – taste, touch, sight, smell & hearing. What are you doing with your physical body (all the members of our body – including eyes, ears, mind) and how is that demonstrated through your words (or social media avenues)?

Jesus said, “out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks.” So, just how important is it that we guard our heart … in order to guard our thoughts … in order to guard our communications on the internet, and of course all other avenues of social relationships as well. You’ve heard the old adage, haven’t you … GI – GO? This of course stands for … GARBAGE IN … GARBAGE OUT! In other words, we cannot feed the garbage into our minds and expect anything else to come out in our lives. So, let’s answer two questions in this commandment. 1) How do I guard what I put into my mind & heart? 2) How do I gain and maintain moral purity in my relationships & communications on a social level.

1) There is such a plethora of information available to us today through books, magazines, radio, television, internet, cell phones … not to mention, just day to day relationships with people. It is just … there! It is “in your face” … so to speak. And one way or another, your mind is going to gather information and feed it into the system. So very practically, the scriptures tell us how to guard our heart. Proverbs 4 tells us to guard our heart by guarding what we DO with the physical members of our body. Notice:

Pro 4:23-27  Keep (guard) your heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life.  Put away from you a froward MOUTH, and perverse LIPS put far from you. Let your EYES look right on, and let your EYELIDS look straight before you. Ponder the path of your FEET, and let all your ways be established. TURN NOT to the right hand nor to the left: remove your FOOT from evil.

 We see from this passage the importance of what we say, what we see, what we think about, where we go and where we steer our focus & thought life. If we keep this strictly in the physical realm of our body, we should have enough to keep us busy. But what about when we consider how the internet is constantly leading us, or at least suggesting to us “pathways” to go down. Every time we have a notice pop up on our screen, or a random e-mail inviting us to visit a site.

So, when we add to our physical world, the whole world available through media, our pathway to destruction is just “one click (of the computer mouse) away.” How do we stay on “the straight and narrow,” as verses 26 & 27 encourage us to do, when it comes to the pathway of communication  and information. We must guard our eyes and our ears. I’ve often said, “You may not be able to prevent what you SEE, but you can prevent what you LOOK AT. You may not be able to prevent what you HEAR, but you can prevent what you LISTEN TO.” We are responsible for that to which we surrender our eyes and ears.

There is an interesting observation given by Peter in his second epistle in chapter 2, verses 7 & 8. He writes that even though Lot had once been a righteous man, he had ‘troubled his righteous soul’ by day after day, seeing and hearing the ungodly deeds of the ungodly people among whom he and his family were living. The more you SEE it and the more you LISTEN to it, the more it affects your own soul, and I might add in his case, also his entire family. So even in reading the daily “chatter” on the social networks, we must learn how to guard our hearts. Some things are beneficial to our souls, some are not. We must learn how (as they say when eating fresh pan-fried fish) to “eat the meat and spit out the bones”!

There is a cycle of how we form habits that is worth mentioning at this point. What we LOOK AT (or LISTEN TO) forms into a THOUGHT, what we think about forms into an ACTION, and the more consistently we repeat an action that forms into a HABIT. And what do we do with HABITS? Well of course we feed them again … so we look, then think, then act, then form habits. This can be a good practice or it can turn into something hard to break. So, let’s take the challenge to form good, Godly habits that show up in our social media avenues.

>>>            LOOK              >>>      THOUGHTS     >>>      ACTIONS        >>>      HABITS

Now, on to point # 2.

1)     How do I GAIN and MAINTAIN moral purity in my relationships & communications on a social level.

Last week, I awoke (because of a need to go to the bathroom) about 3:30 in the morning. I made an interesting spiritual discovery that morning. I found that WITHOUT TURNING ON ANY LIGHTS, I COULD FIND MY WAY IN THE DARKNESS, out the bedroom door, down the hall and into the bathroom without turning on any lights & amazingly without hurting myself! Why … because I’D BECOME USED TO MY SURROUNDINGS and my eyes had ADJUSTED TO THE DARKNESS.

Rom 13:12-14 tells us,  “The night is far gone; the day is at hand. So then let us CAST OFF the works of DARKNESS and PUT ON the armor of LIGHT. Let us walk properly as in the daytime, not in orgies and drunkenness, not in sexual immorality and sensuality, not in quarreling and jealousy. But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to gratify its desires.”

My heart is SO burdened that we who claim the name of Christ have become adjusted to the darkness & since we can find our way around in it, we convince ourselves that “it’s all right” that “it can’t be that bad, if so many ‘good’ people are doing it,” or as the song said, “it can’t be wrong, when I feels SO right.”

Dear friends, THE ENEMIES OF YOUR SOUL HAVE NOT CHANGED! Darkness (the world), the “flesh” and the devil have no need to change their tactics, as long as the “old faithful” ones are still working. We have been ensnared into the world’s system many times through the social media avenues … simply by casually accepting and even encouraging others to flaunt their independence, perhaps even their rebellion against purity on their profiles. Whether it is through pictures or comments or just through “sharing” the thoughts and opinions of others with a simple “Like” button – many of us who claim the name of Christ are tainting His reputation with our attitudes and postings. We who are followers of Jesus are SO tempted to compromise our standards, to look like, talk like, act like “the world” & it seems by looking on our profiles many times that the world has won! We seem to be SO driven to get a pat on the back from the world or from even carnal (at best) believers! Why are we SO driven to want lost people’s approval rather than the approval of THE ONE before whom we shall ALL stand one day to give an account?

When I open my tackle box to fish, I find that I tend to go back to my old favorites … the ones that reeled in the nice catch the last time out. No need to change our lures. That old “purple worm” (for Large Mouth Bass) may be chewed up a bit, may have lost some of its luster … but if the hooks are still intact & the line still solid, I’m going to pull it out and use it again! The devil has no need to change his tactics … and in reality he hasn’t in 6000 years now. His old lures are still working! The “lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes and the pride of life” (I Jn.2:16) are still very alluring to us as humans, even if we are saved. We are being hooked by the darkness. Have we become “comfortable” IN THE DARKNESS? Jesus said, “men love darkness rather than light because their deeds are evil.” Paul said, “make NO provision for the flesh to fulfill the lusts thereof!” (Rom.13:14)

Okay, now for some practical pointers to contemplate and hopefully implement in our lives to help with P.U.R.I.T.Y. in social avenues (hopefully the acrostic will help you remember):

 

Present your body as a living sacrifice.   Rom.12:1

  • Remember … you are not your own!”
  • Yield your members continually.  Rom.6:13; II Pet.2:8,9

 

            (If you take this step daily and even moment by moment, it should affect what you post and what you look at on the internet. From my own observations on many Facebook profiles, just taking this first step seriously will cause many to remove many of their pictures & “likes” of music, videos & “heroes” on the web. You may react to this and say, “why would I clean up my profile?” Very simply … because if you are truly a Christian, then you are NO LONGER your own! You belong to Jesus by way of His redemptive work on the cross. He purchased YOU with His own blood. Act like it!)

Utterly abandon the “catalysts” to your flesh.  I Cor.9:27; Pr.4:23

  • Remove the “garbage.”  Rom.13:14; Col.3:5-10
  • Run from the “paths” of temptation. II Ti.2:22; Gen.39:12

 

            (If you take this one seriously, then whether someone is looking over your shoulder or checking your “History” regularly or not, more times than not, it will change what you post or view. Remember what we read earlier, we must cast off and then put on. Get rid of the junk on your site, clean up pictures of you partying & drinking with lost people! Stop posting all the pictures of you at Rock Music Concerts watching lost people [who, by the way, make a mockery by their lifestyle & value system of the Jesus you claim to love & serve] and acting as if there isn’t supposed to be a difference between your choices and those of lost people in the world. Do you really not know that you are supposed to be “strangers and pilgrims” on this earth (Heb.11:13; I Pet.2:11) and that your value system is supposed to reflect on His kingdom rather than this world which is perishing?

            Girls – stop posting pictures of you with your bikinis on! I know you won’t like that I said that, but in reality, it looks like nothing more than colored underwear! If you wouldn’t go out in public with just your underwear on, then stop posting for the world to see what you are supposed to be hiding behind those clothes (and I might add, preserving for your future husband alone to behold)!

            I know that as a man I take a risk by being so bold as to challenge you on your clothing … but I believe it’s about time someone got honest. If your boyfriend or husband won’t tell you what it does to his thoughts, or if your own parents won’t step up to the plate and protect you for your own good, then perhaps a “stranger” can “love you enough” to tell you the truth. You are causing men to stumble by the way you are dressing and posting on the internet! Oh yes, I do hold ‘us as men’ responsible for what we are looking at … 100% responsible … but you posted the pictures & will be held responsible as well.

            The second part of this is … run! Get away from the places of temptation. Nowhere are we told to get as close to the edge of a cliff to see how risky you can be! We are told in scripture to “flee from youthful lusts” and to “abstain from fleshly lusts which war against our souls,” so learn how to avoid pathways on the internet that will lead you into immorality in any form. It could be in your viewing, your music, your postings or perhaps even those you’ve chosen to “follow” online on a regular basis. There are some “friends” that I’ve had to “un-friend” because of language or philosophy that they have chosen to identify with on their public site … and I am sure there are those who have “un-friended” me because of a stand I’ve taken on a particular subject that they disagree with … that’s okay too. “He that walks with wise men will be wise, but a companion of fools shall be destroyed.” So, sometime in your life you will have to choose!)

Renew your mind with the Word of God.  Psa.119:9,11; Rom.12:2

  • Discipline the use of your time/mind.  II Tim.2:4-7
  • Memorize & meditate in the scriptures daily. Jos.1:8; Ps.1

 

            (This one certainly speaks for itself … but the only way to change our way of thinking is by the cleansing of the Word of God in our hearts and minds. This will do more to reform our value system and give us insight into what pleases God on a daily basis than perhaps any other input into our lives. It will set a safeguard over our thoughts, our words, our viewing & listening, our friends, our purpose in life.

            This will be a personal discipline that will show up immediately in ways you cannot imagine. And as you realize that God is changing you from the inside out, let it begin to show itself in your language, your postings and choices in life. Jesus said, “Let your light so shine before men that they may see your good works and glorify your Father which is in heaven.”)

Invite the help of a Godly mentor.  Heb.3:13, Jms.5:16

  • You will have to humble yourself.  Jms.4:10; I Pet.5:5-7

 

            (This one will definitely take some initiative on your part, and frankly, with so many living out their lives online in a fantasy world, rather than developing true & meaningful relationships with others in “face to face” encounters, it may take some doing. A survey from George Barna’s Research Group a number of years ago revealed that by 2012, 70% of professing believers indicated they would be getting their spiritual nourishment from the internet. There is a problem with that. Not that there isn’t a lot of very helpful information available on the web, there is. It’s just that there are certain ingredients in the DNA of Christian growth and fellowship that can only take place in person.. One of those is called accountability. Someone has said, “Without accountability, the Christian life is optional.” They are correct. We need the help of others in order for our lives to stay consistent and clean.

            Accountability will only be as good as “what you bring to the table.” In other words, if you want someone to help you in growth, they must know what your struggles are. If you are tempted to view questionable things on internet, if you have problems in relationship with your parents or other authorities in your life, if you’re tempted to really want the approval of your peers to the point where you will say & do things that you later regret – those needs must be shared with your accountability partners. If for example you’re tempted to spend too much time on the internet or too much time playing video games, etc., tell them that. Transparency is essential to deep, lasting relationships and a desire to grow spiritually. To do this, you will need to humble yourself & get truly honest.)

Take God seriously!

  • Live in the fear of God.  Eccl.12:13,14
  • Commit to be different … for His glory.  I Cor.10:31

 

(To make a change in your morals is a very serious matter. In a day in which everything is so “loose” in society, for you to gain and maintain moral purity is going to require that you be distinctively different from the culture. It will require a cleansing of the thought process (Phil.4:8) and such a different pattern to your life from 90% of professing believers today that many of your friends will perhaps think you’ve “gone off the deep end.” You will begin to develop Biblical convictions in your life (I’ve been doing an intense study on this subject in the last few months and believe it is essential to being a “World  Changer”), BUT with all that being said … you will NEVER regret being on that road. Choosing the pathway of Daniel, the Hebrew children, Joseph, Esther, Ruth can be costly, but worth it!)

 

You can walk in victory!  I Cor.6:11;10:13

  • Follow the example of others.  Dan.1:8; I Tim.4:12

 

(Here is the goal … victory & freedom! Freedom in conscience … freedom in your heart & mind … freedom to impact others within our society … freedom from bondage to your flesh … that is the reward promised here!  In the passage identified above, Paul testifies to the Corinthian believers after going through a long list of moral sins, “and such WERE some of you, but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God.”

      Dear friends, if I could sit across the table from you right this minute, look you in the eye, and speak a word to your heart, it would be this. I want you to know, you can be FREE! There is not room here to witness of the multitudes who have been set free and stayed free when they finally came clean, agreed with God about their need, repented of the” junk” established accountability with Godly leadership and set themselves on a journey to testify to others that they too can find freedom in Jesus Christ with His grace and the power of the Holy Spirit and His Holy Word in their lives. Jesus said, You shall know the truth and the truth will set you free! Oh, dear friend, live free & become proactive in helping others on the road to victory!)