Posts categorized Prayer
Psalm 119: Personal Revival
Wednesday, November 14
Vs. 37 Turn my eyes from looking at worthless things; and give me life in your ways.
We have talked about the need for personal revival as seen in verse 25, “my soul clings to the dust,” and as a response, like Isaiah’s in Isaiah 6:5, to the glorious holiness of God.
Now we turn our attention to Psalm 119:37’s emphasis upon our need for revival because we fill our sight, vision, imagination and contemplations with worthless things rather than with the face of God.
Have you considered what we might call “Godly visual nutrition?”
The challenges of consistently eating healthful nutrition are well known.
- I don’t know what is healthful and therefore make poor nutritional choices.
- I do know what is healthful and therefore make good nutritional choices.
- I do know what is healthful but don’t have the discipline to make good nutritional choices.
- I do know what is healthful but don’t really seem to care. At all.
Although never called “Godly visual nutrition” in the Bible, the concept is powerful in the lives of both Bible heroes and villains.
Eve and Adam represented all human beings in the battle for “Godly visual nutrition” in their colossal Genesis 3:6 failure.
So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was to be desired to make one wise,[b] she took of its fruit and ate, and she also gave some to her husband who was with her, and he ate.
David struggled with “Godly Visual Nutrition.”
It happened, late one afternoon, when David arose from his couch and was walking on the roof of the king’s house, that he saw from the roof a woman bathing; and the woman was very beautiful. 2 Samuel 11:2
Achan lost the battle for “Godly Visual Nutrition.”
21 when I saw among the spoil a beautiful cloak from Shinar, and 200 shekels of silver, and a bar of gold weighing 50 shekels,[a]then I coveted them and took them. And see, they are hidden in the earth inside my tent, with the silver underneath.” Joshua 7:21
John warns us about ungodly visual nutrition.
16 For all that is in the world—the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride of life[a]—is not from the Father but is from the world. 1 John 2:16
An entry level dimension of “Godly Visual Nutrition” begins with making a covenant with one’s eyes.
“I have made a covenant with my eyes; how then could I gaze at a virgin? Job 31:1
But Daniel resolved that he would not defile himself with the king’s food, or with the wine that he drank. Therefore he asked the chief of the eunuchs to allow him not to defile himself. Daniel 1:8
A second dimension of “Godly Visual Nutrition” includes consuming NO visual junk food.
I will not set before my eyes anything that is worthless. Psalm 101:3
2 It happened, late one afternoon, when David arose from his couch and was walking on the roof of the king’s house, that he saw from the roof a woman bathing; and the woman was very beautiful. 2 Samuel 11:2
A third dimension of “Godly Visual Nutrition” includes the Word of God.
4 “Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. 5 You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. 6 And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. 7 You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. 8 You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. 9 You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates. Deuteronomy 6:4-9
My son, be attentive to my words; incline your ear to my sayings. 21 Let them not escape from your sight; keep them within your heart. 22 For they are life to those who find them, and healing to all their flesh. 23 Keep your heart with all vigilance, for from it flow the springs of life. Proverbs 4:20, 21
A fourth dimension of “Godly Visual Nutrition” is the Person and Presence of God.
One thing have I asked of the Lord, that will I seek after: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the Lord and to inquire in his temple. Psalm 27:4
My soul was stirred significantly by an experience Pastor Francis Chan had with a pastor from India.
“Moses went up the mountain to meet with God. In our generation God invites every Christian to climb the mountain to personally meet with God. But American pastors are content to stay at the foot of the mountain and take selfies with celebrities rather than climb the mountain of God themselves.”
We have need of Psalm 119 personal revival because:
- Our soul clings to the dust. 25
- We have seen the extreme holiness of God. Isaiah 6
- We have filled our eyes with worthless things. 37
Lord, turn my eyes from worthless things and give me life in your ways. Vs. 37
Gigantic decisions require God’s guidance and this comes through fasting and prayer.
From my perspective a spiritual battle is raging in both the seen and unseen worlds over the upcoming selection of a nominee for the Supreme Court of the United States.
It is surprising to read Republicans explaining their support and the Democrats organizing their opposition to the nominee. How can you support or oppose a nominee that isn’t yet selected?
The national conversation is dominated by what the Democrats and Republicans want.
I have yet to hear in the media, “What does God want?”
You are invited to join me in fasting and prayer for a gift of the wisdom of God for our President in this most crucial and urgent decision.
We are requesting our brothers and sisters in our related churches in Burkina Faso, the Netherlands, Australia, Israel, Russia, Guatemala, Thailand, Samoa, Poland, and sensitive countries to pray for God’s mercy upon our nation as seen in our leaders welcoming His wisdom and guidance.
In addition to our personal fasting and prayer, MCA Church will join together in unified corporate prayer at noon on July 6th (Anchorage, Alaska time). You are invited to join us in person or live online at http://www.pastorkent.me/media/live-streaming/
In the spirit of the Apostle Paul, we pray for our leaders to “find out what pleases the Lord (Ephesians 5:10).”
Ten Days of Repentance between the Feast of Trumpets and the Day of Atonement
Confess my sin fully.
“Then I acknowledged my sin to you and did not cover up my iniquity.
I said, “I will confess my transgressions to the Lord.” And you forgave the guilt of my sin.” Psalm 32:5
- Whoever conceals their sins does not prosper, but the one who confesses and renounces them finds mercy. Proverbs 28:13
- We have sinned and done wrong. We have been wicked and have rebelled; we have turned away from your commands and laws. Daniel 9:5
- While Ezra was praying and confessing, weeping and throwing himself down before the house of God, a large crowd of Israelites—men, women and children—gathered around him. They too wept bitterly. Ezra 10:1
- I confessthe sins we Israelites, including myself and my father’s family, have committed against you. Nehemiah 1:6
- They stood in their places and confessed their sins and the sins of their ancestors. Nehemiah 9:3
- Because of the service by which you have proved yourselves, others will praise God for the obedience that accompanies your confession of the gospel of Christ, and for your generosity in sharing with them and with everyone else. 2 Corinthians 9:13
- “Everyone who confesses the name of the Lord must turn away from wickedness.” 2 Timothy 2:19
- Therefore confessyour sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective. James 5:16
Ten Days of Repentance between the Feast of Trumpets and the Day of Atonement
Acknowledge the danger of sin and the damage of guilt. Psalm 32:3-4
The dangers of sin
- Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. Galatians 6:7
- Whoever sows to please their flesh, from the flesh will reap destruction. Galatians 6:8
- For the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit. Galatians 5:17
- I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God. Galatians 5:21
- Therefore God gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts. Romans 1:24
- Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts. Romans 2:26
- So God gave them over to a depraved mind, so that they do what ought not to be done. Romans 1:28
- For the wages of sin is death. Romans 6:23
- Its bondage to decay. Romans 8:21
- But your iniquities have separated you from your God. Isaiah 59:2
- Your sins have hidden his face from you so that he will not hear. Isaiah 59:2
- They will be punished with everlasting destruction and shut out from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of his might. 1 Thessalonians 1:9
Ten Days of Repentance between the Feast of Trumpets and the Day of Atonement
Be honest about my need for repentance. Psalm 32:2
May the Lord show me what is true about me.
God offers His support, guidance, and wisdom.
You desire truth in my inmost being. Psalm 51:6
The Holy Spirit will lead me into all truth. John 16:13
Therefore each of you must put off falsehood and speak truthfully to his neighbor, for we are members of one another. Ephesians 4:25
Have you seen any of these 5 lies in yourself today?
- I’m Okay.
We don’t like to dig around inside and examine what’s going on. Why? Because when we start looking, we often find areas that need some major renovations. That gets messy, and most of us are far too busy to go and look for things to fix.
So, we just tie on the “I’m okay” superhero cape and trudge onward. It’s usually only when some sort of tragedy strikes that we finally realize we aren’t as okay as we thought.
But that’s not the biblical model. In the Bible, the Psalmist continually cries out for God to search him and test him and examine him so that He can keep doing the necessary renovation work (for example, Psalms 11, 17, and 26). The attitude of Scripture is more like this:
“Let us examine our ways and test them, and let us return to the LORD.” (Lamentations 3:40)
Honestly, admitting daily that we’re not okay and that we need God’s help can be scary. It means owning our weaknesses and doing the hard work of self-examination on a regular basis. But thankfully for us, God specializes in weakness, especially when we aren’t sure where to start:
“In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express.” (Romans 8:26)
We’re weak. He’s strong. And that’s the best truth there is.
- No One Will Ever Find Out.
If we’re ever looking for justification to do something dumb, we usually start here: No one will ever know. True, there might be a thousand variations on that theme, but it almost always comes back to anonymity. That’s why private browsing on the Internet and personal devices such as smartphones and tablets can be some of the most dangerous tools known to humanity. (They’re not necessarily bad, but “personal” devices do have drawbacks.)
No one will know if I watch this. No one will know if I go here while I’m on that work trip. No one will know if I post this anonymous and hurtful comment. No one will ever know.
First of all, there’s no such thing as true anonymity in our world. What we do in “private” very often has a way of being found out and exposed. (Just pay attention to all those hacking breaches you see in the news.)
More importantly, though, God has a way of making our “no one knows” sins come out—and He doesn’t miss any:
“You have set our iniquities before you, our secret sins in the light of your presence.” (Psalm 90:8)
Day by day, we let this lie bring us low and keep us from living the life God has planned. You see, God knows—He always knows the dumb things we do.
But He still loves us:
“But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:8)
You can’t hide… and you don’t need to.
- No One Will Get Hurt.
This lie really could be 2b, since these two excuses are like twins. If it’s not enough that no one will know, we also like to tell ourselves that no one will get hurt. If it’s behind closed doors, if it only involves two responsible adults, if it only impacts me, then it’s got to be okay.
However, what we usually mean is that no one will get hurt that we can see right now. We often don’t like to follow the chain of problems beyond the moment or the immediate circumstances. But what we don’t always consider are the spiritual ramifications that could pop up or the problems that might not be so obvious.
We also don’t take into account that God Himself is grieved and pained by our bad choices. God felt major pain because of raging sin before the Flood (Genesis 6:6), the rebellious grieved His Holy Spirit in Israel (Isaiah 63:10), and Jesus longed to gather His people to Him when they refused to accept Him (Matthew 23:37).
In other words, our sins always inflict grief and pain. And they do so to the very one we should want to please.
- That’s Just the Way I Am.
Often, the easiest way out of dealing with a destructive pattern in our lives is simply to make it an acceptable or unchangeable part of who we are. Whether we see it as a part of our nature or simply as something we “can’t fix,” this lie helps us avoid feeling responsible. We can’t stop it because it’s just too deeply embedded.
But what we don’t like to admit is that God is the one who made us. We were intended to look like, act like, and be like Him (Genesis 1:27; 1 John 3:2). Sure, we all trip up somewhere on the way to that goal, but saying something is “just the way I am” means saying that God messed up or was taken by surprise by our struggles. We’re really just saying that He can’t change us.
Thankfully, we’re wrong. He specializes in making broken things new.
Your struggles are real. Just confess that first. They stink; they hurt; they mess us up. Once you get that out of the way, you can begin the often very long, very painful process of being made like Christ. Just keep this promise in mind:
“… he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 1:6)
Got that? He’s not going to give up halfway through because you mess up or because you’re just a special case. He will complete the work.
We just have to admit that it is a problem before we’ll ask and seek transformation.
- I Can Do That Tomorrow.
Tomorrow is the time for Bible study, for that new morning prayer routine, for that meeting with our pastor or Christian friend. Tomorrow is when we’ll tell our spouse the truth. Tomorrow is when we’ll get honest with God.
But—and this is the truth—many times that “tomorrow” never comes. Even in the midst of how miserable some of our bad life choices make us, we just don’t like to make changes today. We look for a more opportune time—when it won’t be so hard.
That’s why the Psalmist and the writer of Hebrews make sure that we get focused on today:
“So, as the Holy Spirit says: “Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts…” (Psalm 95; Hebrews 3)
Telling yourself that you’ll make a change tomorrow certainly makes you feel better about today’s failures, but it rarely ever changes us. We must remember that a lack of commitment to change today comes with a steep price:
“But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called Today, so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness.” (Hebrews 3:13)
We don’t even know if we’ll have a tomorrow, but we do know we have a right now. And God is faithful in that right now.
“He will keep you strong to the end, so that you will be blameless on the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. God, who has called you into fellowship with his Son Jesus Christ our Lord, is faithful.” (1 Corinthians 5:8–9)
All three of us are pastors who love God. We have given our lives for His Church. We honestly hold our Bible beliefs. We love each other dearly. YET… All three of us will vote for different Presidential candidates.
Before I comment on the who questions it may be helpful to begin with the basic question of why.
When our King, Jesus the Messiah, was born, the Kingdom of God was established on the earth. King Jesus’ incarnate ministry began following John the Baptist’s proclamation, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand (Matthew 3:2).” Jesus’ message began with the exact same announcement, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand (Matthew 4:17).”
Our King’s kingdom is beyond earthly borders, elected officials, capital buildings, and politics. King Jesus reigns supreme in the kingdom of heaven.
Those who have placed their trust in Jesus for salvation are citizens of His kingdom.
There are citizens of Jesus’ kingdom (I am guessing) in every government established on earth today. I am confident that King Jesus has citizens living under the government of North Korea and also in Mecca, Saudi Arabia. Our King’s kingdom is everywhere.
First and foremost Christians are citizens of the kingdom of heaven and we are subjects of the King of kings. We are also citizens under the leadership of presidents, prime ministers, kings, ayatollas, dictators, and any number of other titles for national leaders.
When one’s citizenship in the kingdom of heaven conflicts with the citizenship requirements of earthly governments, the Christian must always choose the kingdom of heaven.
I don’t break the speed limit because I am a citizen of the kingdom of heaven but because I am a law abiding citizen of the State of Alaska. Jesus is my King and Bill Walker is my Governor.
In earthly governments that select leadership by voting (many nations of the world would literally die to have the right to vote) a Christian may ask, “Should I live as a citizen of the kingdom of heaven or as a citizen of my nationality?” Until the time it is impossible, do both.
My vote is my voice.
My ballot is the only legally binding and official voice given to me as a citizen of the United States of America. I can voice my voice in many ways about various issues, and I should, however, casting my ballot is the only legally binding voice I have in the USA.
My vote is my morality in a simple “Please mark your ballot” form. I can talk for years about Biblical morality, ethics, philosophy, sociology, economics, and a host of other topics, but this all gets completely integrated into one simple oval marked with a pen by my hand.
I am thankful for an earthly government that (at least for now) welcomes my voice. Yes, Christians should vote (as long as you are free to vote your Christian conscience).
More important than “Do Christians have a moral obligation to vote?” is the question, “Am I morally responsible for my vote?”
YES! YES! YES!
The Apostle Paul was morally responsible for the murder of Christianity’s first martyr, Stephen. To my knowledge Paul never threw a stone and never even touched this Christian hero. But he was morally responsible. Why? In Paul’s own words,
And when the blood of Stephen your witness was being shed, I myself was standing by and approving and watching over the garments of those who killed him. Acts 22:20
In essence, Paul was morally responsible because he “voted” for Stephen’s murder. My conscience does not allow me to vote for a person who clearly and articulately fights for the murder of God’s unborn children or for a candidate who fights for unjust war. You and I are morally responsible for the stated intentions of the candidates for whom we vote.
The Bible reveals that Christians are morally responsible even for things we don’t do! How can a person be responsible for something they don’t do?
So whoever knows the right thing to do and fails to do it, for him it is sin. James 4:17
“I am sick of people saying that I have some culpability for abortion just because I vote for a pro-abortion candidate!” I heard a man exclaim. “Sorry, sir. Not doing the right thing for the unborn is a personal sin before the Holy God.”
In the USA elections you can vote for a write-in candidate, which I did four years ago. I expressed my Christian conscience through the voice of my vote. A Christian can surely find someone on the planet that aligns with their conscience.
After the basic why of voting comes the more complicated who of voting. Every Christian is encouraged to apply their understanding of the Bible to the system for selecting their ballot choice system.
As citizens, first and foremost, of the kingdom of heaven (King Jesus), I should vote for the earthly government candidates, propositions, and judges whom I believe will most advance, enhance, and protect the kingdom of heaven and it’s citizens.
I have no political advice for anyone. Politics is mostly an unknown to me. In fact, I don’t approach national and state elections from a political perspective, but rather from a Biblical morality view. Righteousness is more important to me than most anything else.
When seeking to determine for whom I will vote, I consider Four Foundational Questions regarding Bible truths.
- Does the candidate and party platform firmly hold to “The Bible is the infallible, authoritative word of God and the only rule of faith and practice?”
- Does the candidate and party platform firmly hold to understanding God as Self-revealed in the Bible?
- Does the candidate and party platform firmly hold to understanding Jesus as revealed in the Bible?
- Does the candidate and party platform firmly hold to understanding the Holy Spirit as revealed in the Bible?
In the previous national election (and appears to be in the 2016 national election) it was obvious that either the Democratic or Republican ticket would win the election.
I asked my four questions of President Obama and Vice President Biden and candidate Romney and Ryan.
President Obama received a NO on all four questions. Vice President Biden received a NO on all four questions.
Candidate Romney received a NO on all four questions. Candidate Ryan received a full YES on three questions and a partial YES on one question.
With eight NO answers on the Democratic candidates and platform, I couldn’t, in clear conscience, vote for this ticket.
With four NO answers and 3.5 YES answers on the Republican candidates and platform, I had to think a bit deeper. Since the four NO answers were from the Presidential nominee and the 3.5 YES answers were from the Vice Presidential nominee, I couldn’t, in clear conscience, vote for this ticket.
Some will ask why the difference between my take on Biden and Ryan since they are both Catholic. Biden, in my understanding, is not faithful and not in alignment with Catholic Christian teachings and practice (about almost everything) and Ryan is faithful and in alignment with Catholic Christian teachings and practice.
In the 2016 national election the two tickets and platforms most likely to be elected are again the Democratic and Republican candidates.
As I go through my four questions, I place the candidates and platforms as follows:
Hillary Clinton receives a NO on all four questions. Tim Kaine is a bit of a challenge in that what he states he believes and how he has governed are in direct opposition to each other. In governing the slaughter of the unborn and people in sexual sin candidate Kaine has consistently violated his stated Catholic beliefs. In this way he receives a half YES on all four questions for a total of two.
Donald Trump, scuzzy as he has been, receives (like Kaine) a half YES on all four questions, for a total of two. Trump is a bit of a challenge in my system because he is, reportedly, a rather recent convert to Christianity. People that I trust, such as James Dobson, James Robison, and others, have stated that Mr. Trump committed his life to Christ a couple of years ago and has a WHOLE lot of discipleship needs. In my simple system, Trump receives two YES answers.
Pence, on the other hand, receives four solid YES answers.
Clinton, Kaine, and the Democratic platform receive two YES and six NO answers to my questions.
Trump, Pence, and the Republican platform receive six YES and two NO answers.
The final tally on my Foundational Four Questions is:
- Clinton, Kaine, and the Democratic platform – Two YES and Six NO
- Trump, Pence, and the Republican platform – Six YES and Two NO
Last week I cast my ballot for the Trump, Pence, Republican ticket.
One of my dear friends and one of the respected elders in Alaska and beyond said to me four years ago, “We aren’t electing a Pastor and Chief, we are electing a Commander and Chief.”
My only reply is,
The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom,
and the knowledge of the Holy One is insight. Proverbs 9:10
I would be morally responsible for voicing my vote for a candidate who doesn’t have even the beginning of wisdom or insight.
MCA Church does not support any candidate or political party. What MCA Church supports is thought through application of Biblical teaching and morality to your voting decisions.
You will stand before God with moral responsibility for your votes. Align your conscience with the Bible and then voice your vote.
Several people have asked, “Pastor Kent, will you help us understand how you are navigating this election so we have more ways to think about our decisions?”
My Foundational Four Questions don’t answer questions like, “Who is better for the economy? Who is better for keeping America safe? Who will best handle the refugee crisis? Who will be best for my health care needs?”
I can’t advise on these kinds of questions because I don’t know.
My advice is study, pray, vote.
My two pastor friends and I will all three voice our Bible based consciences.
Three different candidates will at least have one vote each.
Intensity flows through my veins when God is in anyway connected to evil. It is inconceivable to me that anyone, especially Christians, would place causation of evil upon Him to whom the angels cry, “Holy, Holy, Holy.”
“In all this Job did not sin or charge God with wrong.” Job 1:22 ESV
The slaughter of God’s children, inside their mother’s wombs, to the god of feminism is the most unconscionable act of Satan and sinful humanity. Nothing matches the wickedness of this anti image-of-God, anti life-of-God, anti prized-creation-of-God abomination.
Please don’t believe that God wants, wills, or somehow is a more glorious God because of wickedness. By definition, to God nothing can be added and nothing can be subtracted. If you can improve God, He isn’t God. If you can reduce God, He isn’t God. God is truly the Self-Existent, Self-Sustaining, I AM.
Every four years (The United States Presidential election cycle) I beg and plead, rebuke and exhort any Christian who will give me a moment of their time, to disavow any allegiance to the works of Satan.
Born in 1960, my life has been lived under ten Presidents of the United States. Each president has claimed, to my knowledge, the name of Christ.
- President John F. Kennedy – Catholic
- President Lyndon B. Johnson – Baptized in 1923 at the “Christian Church” also called the “Disciples of Christ”
- President Richard M. Nixon – Quaker also known as the Religious Society of Friends
- President Gerald Ford – Episcopalian
- President Jimmy Carter – Baptist
- President Ronald Reagan – Disciples of Christ
- President George H. W. Bush – Episcopalian
- President Bill Clinton – Baptist
- President George W. Bush – Methodist
- President Barak Obama – Unspecified protestant
With this presidential history the United States has become as ungodly as any civilization in history. These men have led our country into possibly the greatest spiritual decline in the history of the world.
This version of “christian leadership” has produced rampant debauchery, unprecedented vileness, and moral depravity beyond measure. Without a doubt these presidents have led the United States to a precipice of Divine judgement.
Who were the folks casting ballots for this type of leadership? What is the fiber of the folks who tirelessly worked these long and difficult campaigns? What is in the soul of the donors who sacrificially contributed for these elections?
The VAST majority are those who claim to be professing Christians. Professing Christians empowered this historic spiritual collapse. Professing Christians cheered the selection of anti-god, anti-Bible supreme court justices (I don’t capitalize because my Supreme Court is in Heaven). Professing Christians say, “Personally I oppose abortion, but I feel it is every woman’s personal right to chose to kill God’s baby in her womb.” Professing Christians cheer on sexual sin as the freedom of personal choice.
The equation looks like this:
Professing Christians casting ballots + Professing Christians as Presidents = the greatest spiritual decline in the history of the world!
There must be something WRONG with professing Christians.
On September 12, 1960 presidential candidate John F. Kennedy spoke to the Greater Houston Ministerial Association. Listen to the gigantic spiritual errors in the soon to be president’s speech.
I’m grateful for your generous invitation to speak my views.
While the so-called religious issue is necessarily and properly the chief topic here tonight, I want to emphasize from the outset that we have far more critical issues to face in the 1960 election: the spread of Communist influence, until it now festers 90 miles off the coast of Florida; the humiliating treatment of our president and vice president by those who no longer respect our power; the hungry children I saw in West Virginia; the old people who cannot pay their doctor bills; the families forced to give up their farms; an America with too many slums, with too few schools, and too late to the moon and outer space.
These are the real issues which should decide this campaign. And they are not religious issues — for war and hunger and ignorance and despair know no religious barriers.
Fifty-six years later, amidst this significant spiritual collapse, professing Christians are still saying, “We have far more critical issues to face in this election…than the fear of God, faith in Jesus, and obedience to God’s word. The real issues which should decide this campaign are “too late to the moon and outer space.””
What might be wrong with “professing christians?”
- Professing Christ without knowing Jesus
- Professing Christ without obedience to the Holy Bible
- Professing Christ and believing that God needs darkness to somehow help His light
- Professing Christ and believing that no amount of sin is a deal breaker
- Professing Christ but replacing “thus saith the Lord” with, “I think…”
Every day, without exception, in this presidential election cycle, I hear professing christians speak opinions that will only push this nation further to the cliff of God’s judgement.
When I say “The greatest spiritual decline in the history of the world came from the ballots of professing christians and their leadership selections,” I speak against the tide of “tolerance” running rampant in this country.
Jesus’ best friend revealed the intolerance of our Lord.
Whoever makes a practice of sinning is of the devil, for the devil has been sinning from the beginning. The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the works of the devil. 1 John 3:8
Maybe professing christians who make a practice of sinning are of the devil?
Maybe believing that God needs the works of the devil is exactly what the devil hopes one will believe?
My take on Romans 12:9 is that sincere love must hate what is evil and cling to what is good. Is it possible that professing christians think they have sincere love but do not hate what is evil?
I try to live honestly before God and people. I don’t recall any one ever saying to me, “Kent, I don’t know where you stand on this issue.” I HATE what is evil (to the degree that I understand evil) and I HATE suggesting that God is the cause of evil and I HATE when good is made evil and evil is made good.
I ask God to help me CLING to the goodness of the image of God in all people, even those who who make evil a practice and those who are, in essence, evil people.
It seems a majority of professing christians must hate what is good and cling to what is evil otherwise 51,923,070 little US citizens would have been welcomed to embrace their first breath.
Don’t welcome evil as something that enhances God but make your vote a “destroying the works of the devil” ballot.
Do more than profess Christ.
“Put on the Lord Jesus Christ.” Romans 13:14
As a young pastor I very often received comments like, “Always remember to stay out of politics because religion and politics don’t mix.”
I am trying to remember if I have received any crazier advice in my life time.
First, it is the bozos who believed that religion and politics must be separated that gave us the messed up political landscape that we have in the USA today.
Second, we are even bigger bozos if we think that a particular world view isn’t a religious world view. Hillary, Bernie, Marco, Ted, Ben, and Don are totally steeped in their own religious world views and to think otherwise is bozo-ific. Every response to the issues facing our country today is a religious response.
Third, you are an integrated human being. You don’t have separate boxes in side of you, one air tight box for politics and another even more isolated box for religion. You are you. All of you effects all of you. If you can separate religion and politics inside of you, you have a serious personality disorder.
The elephant who thinks he is a donkey is just a messed up pachyderm. The donkeys don’t like him because he has a trunk that he trumps (bwahaha) regularly. The elephants don’t like him because he must get hit with a stick in order to get him to do anything right.
The religion of having no religion is the worst religion.
I dare you to vote your religion. The world will be a better place.
Yesterday’s post, “God, have mercy on me, a sinner” has energized healthy conversation, particularly about God’s glory and glorifying God. I had hoped for this and I am thankful for the opportunity to continue the conversation. Since “no one of us is as smart as all of us” let’s see what we can come up with together.
Let’s look a bit further into the following sentence: “In my understanding, glory is a one way street. I have no glory to give God. He is glorious and I am glory-less.”
In the New Testament there are at least thirty different words that get translated as or are closely related to ‘glory.” Glory, then, is a huge word with many and various connotations, implications and meanings.
Most commonly, in the New Testament, the word glory is defined as “exercising personal opinion which determines value.” We see this in the Christmas narrative, “And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, as it had been told them.” Luke 2:20
In this sense, we have a ton of glory to give to God. One of my favorite responses to God’s great acts among His people is, “Glory to God!” With that sentence, I am exercising my personal opinion of the great value of God. I am giving God glory.
It may be helpful to consider that the Hebrew language uses words for which there are no adequate Greek (or English) equivalent. A great illustration is the word, Shekinah. Shekinah is the bright cloud of the manifest presence of God among His people. There is no Greek or English word for Shekinah, except for the word glory.
It makes total sense to say, “Let’s all give glory (exercising personal opinion of God’s great worth) to God.”
However, it is almost blasphemous to say, “Let’s all give Shekinah to God.”
This distinction is super important to me because I understand the Bible to reveal that God still “Shekinah’s” with His people today.
In my experience, the “glorify God” school of thought has predominantly left any interest in the Shekinah far behind. In 1647 the Westminster Shorter Catechism was finalized and included the following: “What is the chief end of man? Man’s chief end is to glorify God and to enjoy Him forever.”
The Pentecostal heritage honors glorifying God and enjoying Him forever. These are both excellent experiences, yet they pale in comparison to experiencing Shekinah.
My prayer is, “Lord, may we again “behold His glory, the glory of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.”
I don’t know the first person to create #21ORANGE and #ORANGE21 so credit can not be properly given to them. However, I am sure that the honoring of the twenty-one martyred Egyptian men, who were killed wearing orange jump suits, is at the heart of the hashtag.
As a local church pastor, it is essential for me to determine how I will personally respond to this renewed season of martyrdom and how I will lead our congregations to respond. The one thing we can not afford is no response at all.
From the murder of Jesus on a cross to the beheading of our Egyptian brothers in Libya, martyrdom for our faith is to be expected. Jesus said, “If they persecuted me, they will persecute you also (John 15:20).” It didn’t take long to move from the killing of Jesus to the martyrdom of Stephen (Acts 7).
So seriously did our fore-family prioritize persecution that I have been told early Christians often considered the denial of Jesus in the face of martyrdom to be an unpardonable sin.
At the core, Christians understand death very differently than others. Consider Justin Martyr’s words from about 150 AD.
Though death is decreed against those who teach or at all confess the name of Christ, we everywhere both embrace and teach it. And if you also read these words in a hostile spirit, you can do no more, as I said before, than kill us; which indeed does no harm to us, but to you and all who unjustly hate us and do not repent, brings eternal punishment by fire.
Death does no harm to us. This is truly the message of the cross and resurrection of Jesus. As hymn writer, Samuel Gandy penned, “Death by dying, he slew.” For those in Jesus death is dead.
Back to leading the part of the flock of God under my care.
We must keep this reality in the forefront of our convictions. We, most likely, will be faced with martyrdom and therefore martyrs serve as heroic role models for our faith. Many ancient Christian churches were built upon the very location of a notable martyr. Although I am not sure the reason, these buildings were designed with eight sides. I have been told, “If you see an ancient Christian church that is eight sided, someone was martyred there.”
In addition to building on the martyrdom site, baptismal fonts were established at these locations as well. Generally, I am told, the actual location of the martyrdom is where the baptismal font was located. I remember descending the three stairs into one such baptistry and the feelings I experienced were almost overwhelming. “I am baptized into the life, death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus,” I reflected.
In keeping martyrdom, both historic and current, on the frontlines of my mind, I will be praying for 21 days, from March 13 through Good Friday, for the families of the 21 men who were martyred in Libya. So that others will be confronted with the current day persecution, I will be wearing an orange shirt (in honor of the orange jump suits) with the words #21orange on the front.
Each day I will post one of the men’s names and a prayer for his family and for all who are faced with martyrdom today.
You are cordially invited to join the remembrance.