Something to think about.
 
Strange Teachings
 
Do not be carried away by all kinds of strange teachings. It is good for our hearts to be strengthened by grace, not by eating ceremonial foods, which is of no benefit to those who do so. Hebrews 13:9 NIV
 
We are admonished by our leaders to be aware of false teaching about Christ. To be on guard against teaching that deviate from the Bible. Teaching that distorts the Bible with the intermingling of man’s logic and conclusions. There are many misrepresentations of the word of God.  We need to be able to defend our spiritual lives from the distortions and misrepresentations of the Bible. We usually are on guard ready to defend the Bible and expose misguided teachings. There will be those that will be beguiled confused and will succumb to ideologies masquerading as the Word of God.  
 
Are we as prepared to defend against ideologies that are not contained in the Bible? Ideologies that are purely secular in nature?  Many Christians give a pass to things that are not explicitly contrary to the Bible. Or to beliefs that do not directly contradict the word of God but still accomplish the same thing. For instance separation church and state. Where in the bible has God ever removed Himself from the affairs of man?  When and where did God say it is okay to change the definition of marriage? When did God say that it is okay to kill the unborn? Where does it say I will bless the depravity of man? We tend to think of “strange teachings” as those directly assaulting the word of God. We have been lulled into thinking that there should be a separation of our spiritual lives and our secular or carnal lives.  I do not see where God ever hinted, suggested, inferred or declared such a thing. 
 
Are the advancements of science getting in the way of what God says in the Bible? Are the incomplete conclusions of science undermining your belief in God? I am not anti science. Yet, there is a much bigger universe of unknown knowledge than there is of known knowledge. Modern science for all it claims to know is still in the incubation stage of development. The mountains of unknowns far exceed the grains of sand which are known. Science is like a newborn child without self-awareness. There are scientific discoveries yet to be made that will change the basis of science as we know it. How can I make such a statement? Because of the vastness of unexplored space both inwardly and externally. We must take the conclusions of man with extreme skepticism. There are still untold mountains of data we have not begun to discover.  “Do not be carried away by all kinds of strange teachings.”
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Cleansed

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Cleansed
 
But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin. 1 John 1:7
 
Have we turned the death of Christ into a symbolic gesture? Does the shedding of Christ’s blood on the cross become no more than being baptized in water? Where baptism is a symbolic representation of our dying to our old lives and being resurrected into new life. If it has, we have lost its value. Jesus did not represent the spotless, innocent lamb of old Jewish law and tradition. The spotless, innocent lamb represented Jesus. Jesus was literally and actually an offering for our sin. There was nothing symbolic about it. It was not symbolism that cleanses us from sin. It was the actual shedding of real human blood belonging to the only righteous man who ever lived. This event that happened over 2000 years ago is still cleansing the sin of man. The omnipresence of God means that he is present everywhere at all times at once. God is as much in the future eons of time as he is at the beginning of time and is present right now with us.  For this reason, the blood of Christ His crucifixion is present now before God. His blood is still cleansing us claiming us as if it happened today. This is how it is possible for the sacrifice of Christ to be available for everyone. This is why Christ only died once. Because His sacrifice, the shedding of His son’s blood is forever before the presence of God.  The same as is His resurrection and His victorious return to His Father in heaven.  
 
We work and understand events in linear motion. In other words, one after the other. Because of the laws of our existence, we must function this way. But those are our limitations, not Gods. As the creator of time, He is not subject to its laws or limitations. That is why He has no beginning and no end. He created the beginning and the end and still exists outside of those two limits. That is why the shedding of Christ blood is so important. It transcends all time and space it is an event the same as His resurrection that will have no end. 
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Handed Over

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Handed Over
9 “Then you will be handed over to be persecuted and put to death, and you will be hated by all nations because of me. Matthew 24:9
In some Bibles, this part of Scriptures is under the heading of “End Times.” This is Jesus speaking, and He is referring to events that will occur before His return. The question is, is this our destiny? For many in the Middle East, this is their reality today. The Christian population in many of  Middle Eastern Countries have been annihilated. There is a genocide being committed in the Middle East, but of course, our press has ignored it. ( see https://adfinternational.org/detailspages/press-release-details/never-again-un-side-event-on-genocide-in-the-middle-east )
Here in the USA the former bastion of Christianity we are under constant attacks from many sides. We are being attacked either openly or subversively. Our freedoms religious and civil are under constant assault. The writing is on the wall to the suppression if not eradication of Christianity.  People are openly pushing for the censorship of our views. If you’re against homosexuality, you are ostracized, humiliated and labeled ignorant or intolerant. If you support Biblically based marriage, you are closed and simple-minded. If you are against the continued murder of the unborn otherwise known as abortion you are a misogynist. If you hold any traditional religious views, you are regarded as a simpleton not worthy of serious consideration.  If you expose the impossibility of evolution, you are called a crack pot. All of these things do not constitute what Jesus was referring to when He spoke the words contained in this verse. What He was referring to is what is happening in the Middle East. What we are now seeing in this country is the precursor is what is taking place in the Middle East.
I don’t know if it is too late to turn from this path of self-destruction. Granted I do not see any hope in returning to where we came from. But I pray and hope that we can turn to the path that has been the only hope for the world and that is the path to Christ. If we can not turn the tide of anti-Christian persecution we will fulfill his end time prophecy.  We will be “handed over to be persecuted and put to death.”
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Good and Faithful Servant

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Good and Faithful Servant.
 
Matthew 25:21 (NKJV)
 
21 His lord said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant; you were faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things. Enter into the joy of your lord.’
 
If there was ever a goal to strive for it is this, to hear the Lord proclaim over your life “well done good and faithful servant.” A few years ago after my heart attack, my prayer was that God would allow me to serve Him. My reasoning for the prayer was this; God had saved my life. He restored me after a massive heart attack with life threatening complications. I felt and thought if he would allow me to become a lowly servant, I could show some appreciation for what he had done. I didn’t feel qualified to be any more than a servant. I prayed that prayer for a couple of years. Then I saw an opportunity and started to serve Him in a small group in my church. Shortly after that, I got involved with another group. Then another to the point now that I am now very involved in the church. As time passed and my involvement increased. I came to understand that the prayer I prayed though simple was not what I thought it was. I thought I was asking permission to assume a position of lowest rank. A position equal to my worthiness.
 
“The Lord said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant.” Notice it does not say, ‘Well done, good and faithful priest, doctor, lawyer, king. It does not say teacher, preacher, singer, poet, professor, apostle. It does not say, deacon, general or any other title or position. It says, servant. What I have come to realize is that I was asking for was/is the highest calling of God. I do not remember anywhere else in the Bible where Gods commend man for his actions. When he does acknowledge mans actions, he calls him a servant. I believe our highest value is not what we are recognized for or what we have earned. It is determined by our level of servant hood. To those who are faithful in the little things it says “I will make you ruler over many things.” God will make the servant a ruler over many things.
 
When I prayed to become a servant, I hoped that I could show God appreciation and gratefulness for what He had done. Now I know what I was praying for has opened the door to seeing, living and participating in the fulfillment of God’s will. When you become His servant your highest call. Your life will be changed, you will be fulfilled, you will experience God in ways you can’t imagine.
 
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What Do We Know?

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What Do We Know?
12 For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known.  1 Corinthians 13:12
We are looking through life as if with a veil. We don’t know everything in truth we know very little. Many of our most ardent beliefs are not based on fact as much as they are based on assumption. If science has taught us anything at all is that a fact is true until another fact redefines that truth. The truth is there is more that we don’t know than that which we do. It is impossible for us to see and know God fully. The cloud of sin that hides the image of God has denied us full and complete knowledge of Him.
There will come a time, a day when our eyes and minds will be opened. Then we will see the truth of God without obstructions or impediments. We will see Him clearly in all His glory, and we will for the first time fully understand who he is and what He has done.  We will be set free from the encumbrances of sin, and we will be free to clearly see the God we have believed in. We will be granted the privilege of knowing Him as He knows us. It will be a glorious day.
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7 Times 7

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7 Times 7
 
22 Jesus saith unto him, I say not unto thee, Until seven times; but, Until seventy times seven. Matthew 18:22
 
I am not writing about forgiveness. I am writing to ask. Does forgiveness include acceptance? Until recently I have never had a problem with this. I have always been or at least tried to be quick to forgive. Simply because it serves me to forgive. It is better to forgive than to hold on to the bitterness of unforgiveness. But a recent event has caused me to question not the importance or value of forgiveness but the extent of it. Does forgiveness include acceptance of the offender? When acceptance of the offender would be detrimental to me. As in; forgiving a junkie for stealing, lying, and causing you harm. You should forgive them all their trespasses. However, you should never allow them back into your home for your own well-being. Does a battered woman after forgiving the perpetrator accept him back into her life? Knowing that it is in her best interest to forgive him. Does forgiveness extend to acceptance? Now those are extreme examples, but it helps to crystallize my predicament.
 
Do I allow someone who I have forgiven back into my life? What about your teenager when they do something against you. Are you going to forgive them and accept them? How does that mesh with the way we would treat a junkie of an abusive partner? The easy answer is no you do not accept those that have grievously hurt you.
 
That answer is diametrically opposed to what Christ has done for us. He has forgiven us not just our past sins but our future sins and has accepted us as part of His family. He has forgiven us knowing that we would injure Him again. He has accepted us knowing that we would cause Him harm. Is that an example of Christ I cannot follow? Or are forgiveness and acceptance two separate issues?
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We Are Not Cool

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We Are Not Cool 
 
14 I have given them your word, and the world has hated them because they are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. John 17:14
 
Jesus is praying for His followers. This verse is a part of that prayer. He is not making a request at this point, He is stating a reality. Once you accept the teachings of Christ and are born again and begin your life in Christ. It can truly be said of you, you are not of this world. If we are marching to the beat of the call of God, we will not be cool. We will not be the ones the world chase after. We are the people that are hated, rejected, ridiculed and humiliated. If the world did it to Christ, they will do it to you. We want to be accepted, included, loved and appreciated. We want to fit in with our neighbors and friends. The truth is once you become part of the family of God. The only place you will be truly accepted, appreciated and loved is within that family. Outside of our brothers and sisters in Christ, we will be at best tolerated.  
 
That is why God goes to such great lengths to let us know that he will never leave us or abandon us. Because once we accept Christ, the world will abandon if not expel us from their presence. It is why we are grafted into the family of God and called His children. Because we were made to live in community with each other.  Because we belong to another reality another world. We belong in the reality of Christ in our home in Heaven. We are temporary sojourns on this planet. We are on a journey with a destination of Heaven. 
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Commonplace

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Common place
6 He is not here; for He is risen, as He said. Come, see the place where the Lord lay. Matthew 28:6
“For he is risen” the four most important words ever spoken. The world has been shaken to its core at these four words. An actual change in the history of man occurred on account of these words. A new hope and reality came into existence when they were uttered. A whole new way of living was validated because of these words.
The crucifixion of Jesus was not the single most important event in history. His resurrection was. Jesus was dead, Christ was resurrected. This man died. He was resurrected as King and Savior. His resurrection was by the God of the universe. Have we lost sight of this event?
We are so busy with our lives. With doing for God. We try to flourish and excel in our gifts, jobs, lives, have we lost sight of why we do what we do. Have we turned the resurrection into a commonplace event? Has it become a historical event that we lump together with all others? Has it become something that is not life altering. Something commonplace? Something that we have become so accustomed to we don’t give it the importance it requires?
“He is risen.” Have you ever seen the dead come back to life? I’m not talking about CPR or any rapid resuscitation protocol. I mean someone who has been dead for an extended period of time being brought back to life. No other such event has been recorded or claimed by anyone in History. Do you realize this event was witnessed by hundreds of people? It was reported by his followers. These twelve men went on to change the world. Not based on a conspiracy or on Jesus’s religious philosophy but on His resurrection. His inner circle never recanted their claims. Even when threatened with death. Even as they were killed
The most important aspect of this event is this. Jesus the Christ is alive. He was not resurrected to die again. He was not resurrected to be lost or hidden from humanity. That reality should be paramount in your mind every day through every situation. God or bad. He was the first to be resurrected.  His resurrection gives us hope for the future. It validates all of His claims. It solidifies His claims of eternity. It turns an interesting philosophy into an undeniable reality. Every Christian belief hinges on this one event. His resurrection validates all of the claims about Him. From His virgin birth to being the sacrificial lamb for the world. Without the resurrection, we diminished Christ to an interesting person in human history. He becomes as so many others without eternal consequence. He is then an enigma without substance or value.
Christ is everything. There is before His resurrection and after. Before is hopelessness and futility. After is eternity and victory. He is resurrecting every day the lives of those who believe. “He is risen.”
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Repent Revival

Something to think about.
 
Repent Revival
 
17 From that time on Jesus began to preach, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near.” Mathew 4:17
 
I have repented. Yes, I’m still working on it. I am still in the process of receiving all that is associated with repentance. This commandment of Christ still haunts me. It rattles me to my core because it is still a valid call. There are those around me that have not repented. I am not talking about those in Hollywood or in politics or business. Nor any other group of people, I am talking about my brother, sisters, nieces, nephews in short my family. There is an entire world living all around me that have not repented that have not accepted Christ. I pray for revival in this country, state, and city. I need to start praying for revival in my family.  Is it possible that we have not seen a great revival in this country because we are praying for someone else? The next great revival needs to begin at home. The great field of harvest is not in some far away city or country. It is within our homes. With the people, we break bread with. With those that will no longer listen to our message. If they won’t listen how can we reach them? We need to pray for them. We need to stand in the gap for them. What that means is we need to chase after God on their behave. We need to cry out to God for their salvation. We need to get into the battle for their souls. They may not listen to us, but God has the resources to reach them He has the means to touch their hearts. 
 
Have we given up on our families? Have we written them off as unreachable, unworthy, hopeless unforgivable? Have we become blase about their eternal destination. Have we accepted them as a lost cause? Have we turned them over to eternal death? If we are to see revival it needs to start at home. If we have written off our families do you really think we will care about the lost of the world? This is a call to action to pray for your family to begin a revival in your home. 
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There Are No Civilians

Something to think about.
 
There Are No Civilians.
 
12 For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. Ephesians 6:12 (KJV)
 
We’ve heard this verse quoted, preached, and expounded upon. Yet have we heard what it says? We miss the first three words.  “For we wrestle” It is written in the present tense. Not just something that has occurred in the past or something that will happen in the future. It is happening now.
 
The spiritual forces that are aligned against us are not excluding the unbeliever. They are using the unbeliever to subvert and attack the will and purposes of God. This battle that we are involved in is all-consuming. It affects every area of our lives. The world is losing this battle, immorality is being exalted as the new way. 
 
We are our own worst enemies. We have kept silent for fear of being offensiveness. We have allowed political correctness to define our boundaries. We have silently consented to the removal of God from our public lives. We have permitted the rulers of darkness to identify and control the battle lines of righteousness. Our enemies the spiritual forces of wickedness are disguised in our presence. They have been renamed and rebranded as something less than wicked. We have submitted to our enemies. By allowing wickedness to restrict our beliefs to the four walls of our churches. We have allowed ourselves to be placed in a room of obscure access. We have cowered under the pressure of societies insistence on our silence. We should be the vanguard of righteousness not a secret society of nostalgia. We are becoming the outdated pariah of society. 
 
As a result of expecting someone else to wrestle for us. We are losing ground to the secular anti-God forces in society. We honestly believe that the laws of this country will defend us against the attacks of the enemy. While the enemy finds ways to use these very laws to promote unrighteousness. 
 
We must put on the armor of God and valiantly press the battle for humanity with the word  God and our testimony. God never said thou shall be silent. 
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