Saturday, February 24, 2007

The Holiest of All

Heb.9:7-8 - But into the second went the high priest alone once every year, not without blood, which he offered for himself and for the errors of the people. The Holy Ghost this signifying that the way into the holiest of all was not yet made manifest while as the first tabernacle was yet standing.

Once a year in the fall the High Priest, dressed in the garments specified by God, went into the Holy of Holies, the place of the Ark of the covenant. The Priest would bring the blood of the sacrificial goat and sprinkle it on the mercy seat which was the top of the Ark made of solid gold. Now the ark was overlaid with gold, some solid gold, and with two cherubim overlooking the mercy seat. It was a magnificent piece of holy furniture, and it was the centerpiece of the tabernacle. But it was not the brilliance of the ark itself that set it apart, it was the chikinnah glory of the Lord Himself that dwelt powerfully and visibly above the mercy seat. Actually, it was Jesus Himself, before His incarnation that dwelt among the children of Israel.

Let's think about that. What a wonderful and sentimental little story, the Creator dwelling between the cherubim, with a nice, tidy light of friendship. Yea, right. Only one time on one day a year would God allow anyone to approach Him, and that had to be the High Priest with sacrificial blood or he would die. God dwelt with august and unapproachable brilliance and with judgment of sin. Just touching the ark incorrectly could lead to death. This place in the tabernacle was called the Holiest of All or the Holy of Holies. How many little Hebrew children gazed at the outside curtain of the tabernacle at the west end and wondered as they saw the cloud by day and the fire by night? The entire camp of the children of Israel waited and anticipated as the High Priest entered the Holy of Holies on the day of atonement, it was an awesome and frightful day.

What if God had broken the wall of separation between the Holy Place and the Holiest of All and said now anyone could enter on the day of atonement? Not just the High Priest, but anyone. What if He had said anyone at anytime could enter? Wow, that would be a colossal act of grace. You and I could tip toe into the Holy of Holies and see the visible presence of God, how sacred would that be? But that's not what God did.

In a mystery that was hidden in the Godhead, the Lord moved the Holy of Holies into the regenerated spirit of every born again believer. Am I saying that the ark of the covenant, sprinkled with redeeming blood, and with the presence of God Himself was supernaturally implanted in every born again believer? I'm just repeating what the Scriptures declare. In the tabernacle God manifested Himself as visible light, so how does God manifest Himself today? "You are the light of the world". (Matt.5:14) We are the tabernacle of God, and our lives are His light. "We have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us". (II Cor.4:7) The outer fence, the altar, showbread, candlestick, incense, and all the coverings and gold were Holy unto the Lord, but without God's presence it was as spiritual as a Buddhist temple, religious and hollow. Any man with good works and even religious affiliation but without God's presence living inside him is dead. Buddhist, Jewish, Muslim, atheist, Baptist, Pentecostal, all dead men without the indwelling of God Himself.

Can you imagine the High Priest entering the Holy of Holies on the Day of Atonement with blood and finding that God's presence was no longer there? There would be no hope. Paul says that people today are, "without God in this world" (Eph.2:12). Our church leaders go on television and talk of the things of this world, the world's turf, but the unbelievers don't even know what we believe. God, the Creator of the universe, and Jesus His Son live inside us through the person of the Holy Spirit! It is the fulfillment of the metaphor of the ark established by God in the Old Testament, which was a passing glory that gave way to "Christ in us, the hope of glory (Col.1:27)." That, my friends, is the sacred, exalted truth of God's eternal redemption. We no longer have to go to a tabernacle made with hands; we no longer have to wait for one day a year; we no longer have to let another man go for us; we no longer have to slay an animal; the BLOOD OF JESUS CHRIST HAS REDEEMED US FROM THE LAW AND WE NOW HAVE THE LAWGIVER HIMSELF SPIRITUALLY IN OUR HEARTS!!! The presence of God dwells within us. Go on television and explain that to a dark and hopeless world and maybe the Holy Spirit can use it to make people wonder. Go ahead and keep talking about this life, the coverings, the material, the candlestick, etc., etc., etc.,. Jesus said, "And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me" (Jn.12:32). Some people have a brazen laver, and a table of showbread, and a candlestick, but "if any man have not the Spirit of Christ he is none of His." (Rom.8:9). Therefore the issue is not do you look like a tabernacle, no, the issue is does Jesus live inside the Holy of Holies? Also, the Scriptures exhort everyone to, "examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith". Does God live inside you? How can you know?

There is a witness of the Spirit that comes with salvation. Be careful, in today's cookie cutter evangelicalism people are receiving false hope from preachers that the Devil uses to supplant the witness of the Holy Spirit. Only God Himself can truly tell you that you are saved and He is there. No one can with surety tell anyone they are saved.

There must be a change of life. The argument over "Lordship salvation" is moot, you are either a follower of the Lord Jesus or you art not. If you are you will have a desire to obey and worship Him, if you are not you will eventually not care. No one can have the Holiest of All inside him with Jesus Himself dwelling there without a change. What about backsliders? Only God knows for sure so leave them to Him. Suffice to say our entire earthly lives should be a labor of love to continue to surrender to the Lord of our salvation.

There must be some kind of hunger for God's Word. The degree varies, but if a person doesn't really care about the Word of God at all something is desperately wrong. God has allowed the Word to be printed and millions of professing believers will never pick it up and read it. They are baptized, church members with no hint of even a curiosity for God's Word. Dangerous, only God knows. What if the priests in the Old Testament never cared about God's Word? Oh, you say, they were priests, that was their calling. Who are the priests today?!(To get the answer look in a mirror)

There should be a compelling unction of worship and praise inside a true believer. I have watched church members sit during times of worship and praise to our Heavenly Father and His Risen Christ and they are never demonstrative. Never clap, never cry, never raise hands, never show any emotion. Yet I've seen these same people get teary eyed and clap on an "American" service on fourth of July weekend. Who is their God?

Everyone should have a testimony of when they were born again, even if you were raised in a Christian home. You may not know the exact time, but these revealing issues of the heart should be present. As Spurgeon once said, "It's not as important to know when you became a follower of Christ as it is to know if you are one now. One should never rely on his original conversion experience, we should daily be turning from sin to Christ!". We are not only redeemed sinners on our way to heaven, we are the tabernacles of God's presence, the ark of His testimony, the glory of God, and we should carry it around on the staves of His Word, above this world, and reflecting the drawing power of His redemption. We should be holy, by His power and grace. The distance between theology and life is either widening or coming together. Pressing, pursuing, seeking, changing, fasting, travailing, learning, praying, listening, chasing, surrendering, worshiping, finding, resting, desiring, waiting, looking, loving, following,.........................................

The glory of God dwelled upon the bloody mercy seat in the Holiest of All. But in order to let that presence manifest itself in your life you must die. Stretch out your hands, overlap your feet, bow your head, and by faith
You are now dead.
Christ lives in you and your life is now His.

Friday, February 23, 2007

Demons Speaking Truth

Acts 16:16-18 - And it came to pass as we went to prayer a certain damsel possessed with a spirit of divination met us, which brought her masters much gain by soothsaying: the same followed Paul and us and cried saying, These men are servants of the Most High God which show us the way of salvation. And this did she for many days. But Paul being grieved, turned and said to the spirit, I command you in the name of Jesus Christ to come out of her. And he came out the same hour.

Picture this. Paul and Silas are going to pray and they are met by a woman who is a soothsayer or a fortune teller and she is possessed by a demonic spirit. Now this woman doesn’t confront these men of God, on the contrary, she begins to herald them as servants of the most high God and she proclaims that they are showing people the true way of salvation. She continues to do this for many days before Paul commands the spirit out of her in the name of Jesus Christ and she is delivered.

The church has severely underestimated the subtlety and the clandestine viciousness of the enemy of our souls. The devil is much too sophisticated to announce his presence, and movies like “The Exorcist” have made demonic activity melodramatic and frightening when in reality most of what Satan does he does behind a cloak of secrecy and mixed with some truth. This story in the book of Acts gives us some insight to the nature of demonic deception about which the church has become woefully ignorant.

If you play chess you are aware of what is called a gambit which is a sacrifice of a piece or a position in order to achieve a future gain. This is exactly what the devil is doing today, he will give lip service to Jesus in order to throw us off the trail and therefore he plans to compromise and dilute truth in the future. It could also be likened to the Trojan Horse which is received as a gift on the outside but inside is the awaiting enemy. So today famous preachers seem to espouse the core of the gospel and they give lip service to the Savior but the coming deception enters upon the wings of this sinister plan. Deception must initially hold hands with truth in order to camouflage its purpose and nature and so it is with the feel good and prosperity messages that verbally agree with the New Testament teachings but openly teach otherwise. And unlike Paul the masses sit week after tragic week and are happily entertained without recognizing the demonic presence in the very sanctuary where they sing the songs of Zion.

Thousands of different denominations and representative churches have heard their preachers boldly proclaim, “We believe the Bible in this church”. And yet there are major differences throughout these different churches so I ask you, can they all be correct if they substantially disagree? If one church says you must be baptized to be saved while the other says no such thing, can they both be right? One church claims you can be saved by repeating a prayer while another teaches you must by faith become a follower of the Lord Jesus, are they both be right? The devil has cast a spell over the visible church and the true saving message of Jesus Christ now comes in many different forms and flavors and they all claim to “follow the Bible”.

So in Acts 16 when a person proclaims “These men are the servants of the Most High God which show unto us the way of salvation” it in reality is a demon. Oh yes, a demon proclaiming truth in order to gain an advantage in the future. Men and women all over America proclaim truths but in some cases they are demons speaking. So when a preacher proclaims “Jesus is the way of salvation” and then teaches that some can be saved without being born again or even hearing the gospel, that is a demon spirit speaking. Do not ask me about the theology of a demon speaking through a professing believer because I admit I do not have all the answers but this one thing I do know, if a person preaches that a person that dies outside of Christ Jesus can be saved anyway, that is a demon speaking. Let that person be “Anathema maranatha”.

But there is a part of the Acts narrative that should convict and trouble us. Paul did not just put up with this demonic spirit and he did not just write an article of refutation of her words. He didn’t coexist with her and he certainly did not spend the rest of his life chronicling her behavior and error, no, he by the power in Jesus name cast the demon out and delivered her. And it was so public that everyone was outraged and Paul and Barnabas were beaten and thrown into prison(temporarily!). Why cannot we approach men like MacLaren or Osteen or Warren and say “In the name of Jesus Christ I command you to come out of him!”? What would the world think if Osteen hit the floor and the demon came out and as he rose to his feet live on Larry King the spirit of John the Baptist came over him and he with the power of the Spirit looked directly into the camera and commanded all men everywhere to repent and believe the everlasting gospel!?

So why can we just identify with the discerning of spirits part of Acts 16 but we cannot identify with the delivering power? If you justify our own lack of Spiritual power by believing that God doesn’t do that anymore, well, you then are off the hook in your own mind, not God’s. What I am trying to say by God’s Spirit is let us repent before the Most High God we claim to serve and through a revolutionary and quantum leap in our prayer and fasting let us together and personally seek His face and beg Him for His power for His glory and none of ours. We cannot be satisfied with making theological points and counterpoints with demon spirits we must have God’s power that not only refutes their lying but delivers the captives.

I often believe it to be true that all my writings and speaking will not add up to one intense hour in the prayer closet in the sight of God. I sometimes grow weary of my ability to articulate by grabbing the horns of the English language but I am unimpressed by my ability to grab hold of the horns of the heavenly altar and bring down the promised power of the Spirit so that God can use me as vessel of His exhibited glory. We have become satisfied with our own words and we have left seeking the Author of His Words. Before God will trust us with His demon chasing power that will reflect who He is, we must be cleansed, and that will only come when we repent and are therefore broken. That will only happen when prayer and fasting outweighs our words both spoken and written. Is it a coincidence that the story in Acts took place as Paul and Barnabas were going to prayer? And like Paul said we don’t find that desire within us, so God have mercy upon us and do what is necessary to spread your glory through us.

We beg You…

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Our Restingplace

Jer.50:6 - My people hath been lost sheep: their shepherds have caused them to go astray, they have turned them away on the mountains: they have gone from mountain to hill, they have forgotten their resting place.

I have found a resting place.

The days flee and time continues to count down to an impending judgment. The whole world has ignored the Creator’s Word of warning and men everywhere believe that everything will be solved by the wisdom of man. Diplomacy is the catch phrase among the intellectuals and the words of liars are received as truth. Politicians make grandiose promises to the gullible masses and the attributes of men are heralded throughout the land. The moral melee has resulted in a removal of any parameters and all men do that which is right in their own eyes. Presidents, prime ministers, kings, and other rulers are looked to for answers and they are all leaking cisterns that can hold no water and their tongues are as a snake that stings and the people like lemmings continue on the path to destruction.

But I have found a resting place.

The church has sold her chastity for the gigolos of today’s man centered genre that gives lip service to the Lord but whose hearts are far from Him and centered on themselves. Millions of dollars that belong to God are splurged upon the western hedonistic appetites and man’s prosperity is taught as God’s assignment to us. Preachers have escaped the shackles of God’s Word and they now are free to minister the deceits of their own evil imaginations while still claiming they speak for God. God’s people reject correction and have spit out the bit of God’s Word in favor of their own pleasure filled diving rod. Many evangelicals have been deceived into believing that God works in democracy when in Biblical revelation Jesus is Lord and He shares His authority with no one and will never submit His will to a vote.

But I have found a resting place.

They have taken the sacred and mixed it with the profane. The presidential candidate Mitt Romney is a professing Mormon which is the spirit of anti-christ and yet he is invited to speak at Pat Robertson’s place which is the result of getting involved with politics, you end up being pulled into the pig pen while thinking you are doing God’s will. And who can fathom the compromising of Rick Warren, joining forces with homosexuals and other unbelievers under the guise of helping mankind. And the emergent church has rapidly left the simplicity of the gospel and now sells a concoction of reason, intellect, and man made compassion that now claims salvation can be found in other religions that deny Christ. Who would have believed it?

But I have found a resting place.

The western world runs with an uninterrupted gallop toward their anointed god, money. Children by the millions are dropped off at daycare centers designed to alleviate the inconvenience of watching children while freeing many of today’s women to pursue more money. More money, bigger houses, bigger cars, more extravagant vacations, and a laundry list of other symptoms reveal the real treasure that people seek while the prayer closet is a museum of past generations. The internet now brings the most horrifying perversion right into the home sometimes despite the attempts of some to block it. The souls of children are being damaged before our very eyes and millions are being groomed to usher in the coming generation of evil inventors.

But I have found a resting place.

The signs of His returning scream out in front of our very eyes and the church remains asleep. Truth lies dead in the streets and those who do speak it do so with very little power and anointing. Conferences are held to commiserate on how far the church has backslidden and how grave is the current ecclesiastical situation but there is still more preaching, more singing, more eating, and more talking than there ever is prayer and fasting. Blogs like this one speak against what is happening and yet where is the power to combat it? Do you have it, or do I? Are we smug because we see what the false prophets are doing or are we heartbroken and do people wonder why we pray so much? The modern church is zealous about the flesh but most who still hold to God’s Word are content to “hold the fort” and recite profusely the sins of others while very little, precious little, is ever said about our own sins which are many.

But I have found a resting place.

I have traveled many roads in my 54 years of walking upon this terrestrial city. I have tried many things that I thought would bring rest for my soul but each one afforded very little comfort and after a while they all were found wanting. I have fretted over money, I had fretted over health, I have fretted over the future, I have fretted over people’s opinions, I have fretted over world events, I have fretted over my children, I have fretted over the church, and I have fretted over many, many other things that caused me great unrest.

But I have found a resting place.

Matt.11:28-29 - Come unto Me all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn of Me; for I am meek and lowly in heart and you shall find rest for your souls…

So in all of your going, in all of your learning, in all your trouble, and in all of the things both good or bad that seek to occupy your thoughts, do not leave your resting place. It is a special place, a place of refreshing and forever new. It is a place of strength that lifts you up on eagle’s wings. It is a place of prayer and solitude. It is a place of war and yet a place of great peace. It is a place of reassurance and yet a place of brokenness. It is a humble place and equally a place of great royalty. A place of conviction and a place of cleansing.

It is a place called…well, yes, a place simply called Jesus.
He is our resting place…forever.

Monday, February 19, 2007


Adonai is the Hebrew word meaning "my lord, my master", from adon, "lord, master". It is mostly used as “Lord” God in the Old Testament.

There is no master but Adonai. All others are pretenders and false gods that cannot help and cannot save. Adonai reigns over all the Earth and the Heavens and everything that was, is, and ever shall be. The word Lord has been so diluted even used to describe some men, but there is only one Lord, the majesty that is Christ. And the universe continues moving, existing, breathing, and forming but above it all is Adonai.

There is no power but Adonai and His power has no limits, it is exalted in the heavens and throughout the Earth. There is none worthy, none so exalted as Adonai. His beauty eclipses our imagination and to be given a five second glimpse of Adonai would certainly immobilize us in our present bodies. The Creator God has made beauty upon this Earth for His glory, but this beauty will make way for a new heaven and a new earth but there will never be a new Adonai, He is perfectly beautiful in every dimension and one fleeting glance will buckle the knees of any creature born of woman. Go ahead, imagine what He must look like, you are mistaken my brothers and my sisters. Adonai is infinitely greater and more beautiful than any heart can conjure up and He cannot be captured by the most Spirit filled imagination. Flawless in glory and indescribable in His breathtaking visage, and just His presence is overwhelming, our Adonai is exalted for all to worship.

Adonai is deserving of adulation and praise but most importantly He warrants utter and complete subjection. Slavish obedience is His due and no one can abide in His presence with pride and self will. Bow down and speak with fear and trembling, “Here am I, Adonai, speak and your servant will obey”. And as His power permeates your very being you are consumed with His everlasting love and worship is your only expression before His Majestic Lordship. Adonai the Universal Ruler spreads out His Lordship like an eagle spreads his massive wings and takes flight with an eye over his domain. There is no competition for His kingdom and this Everlasting Potentate neither sleeps nor slumbers and there is no searching of His understanding.

Do not think we serve a cringing and maligned king, oh no, there is coming an apocalypse, an unveiling, a breach in the fabric that separates the temporal from the eternal and through it comes a celestial stampede with an innumerable company of saints riding back into the Earth surrounded by heavens glory and following their Conquering Lord, Adonai. No one shall stand, no one will argue, and all the reasons and excuses of man will fall silent before the powerful glory that robes this Lord. Adonai will claim His victory like no one has ever seen before and the whole earth will bow before His might. Even the place of the skull where they killed Him will now be His and Adonai will reign as Lord over all from the very city that stoned the prophets and rejected the very One who now returns. The power of His wrath should make even His loyal subjects tremble for no one has been a witness to the flaming fire that is His entourage.

And as He ascends up the steps of the Temple in the city of peace He turns, gazes over the spoils that are now His reward, and He sits upon His throne. Every corner of the universe fall before Him and every tongue confesses that “Jesus is Lord”. Adonai now reigns for all to see, high and lifted up, sitting on a throne, and His train has filled eternity. Beautiful, majestic, glorious, powerful, august, and the Eternal Redeemer Lord, Adonai. The Creator on man, the Giver of life, the Savior of souls, and He who inhabits eternity.

We worship before You.

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Anna Nicole Smith

Before I begin my post let me say that this is not meant to disparage Ms. Smith because her eternity has already begun, but this is to make some comparisons from the tragedy that was her life.
What do you see in the life of Anna Nicole Smith? Do you see exploitation? Do you see extravagance? Do you see shallowness? Do you see sensationalism? Do you see sensualism? Do you see these and others that define a life that seemed void of substance and even talent and yet captivated much of the press and ultimately the American public? Yes, I’m sure we see all these things and I hope we feel some sadness, for despite the caricature that she and others had created for her, she still was someone’s daughter, someone’s sister, and someone for whom Jesus died and offered eternal life. To say her life was hollow is being generous and a life that could have been productive and meaningful was little more than a waste. So now they argue about her estate and the tragic little girl she left behind will most likely, unless intervened by a divine appointment, suffer the same fate as her mother. Deeply sad on every level.

But do you know who I saw in Ms. Smith? I saw the American church. The embodiment of entertainment, all dressed up and living as if always on a stage, but lean and without substance in reality. Always posing and primping for the cameras and willing to be a constant source of entertainment for the world without having anything to offer but the caricature that everyone got to know. Like a living piece of cotton candy that was bright to the eyes but carried no nutrition with it, the church is willing to play the entertaining marionette forever dancing but without any eternal value. Extravagant in every way, buildings, theatre, cruises, shows, music, activities, but with precious little extravagance in sacrifice, holiness, and prayer.

And like Ms. Smith to say the church is hollow is being generous for she has been parading before the world for decades compulsively desiring attention and vainglory and always running to the spotlight. Whether its politics, the theatre, global issues, or a host of other issues the church has played the harlot and primped and posing she has gone from one suitor to the next. From the Republican party to Bono to the Pope the church has shown herself easy and like Ms. Smith the church has sought out the partner who afforded her the greatest exposure and monetary gain. Ms. Smith did not care if her husband was well beyond the age of compatibility, his enormous wealth was the important criteria. And the church does not care if the world is outside the parameters of Biblical compatibility, its glamour and wealth is what attracts her.

And so the church puts on the glitz and glamour with its photographic portfolio directed by caricatures of Christian leaders, and the rank and file dance to whatever music is piped by the pied piers of the evangelical world. And like the disproportionate aspects of Ms. Smith’s physical appearance the church continues to exhibit and proudly display its own disproportionate aspects of its Spiritual appearance which attract the flesh not the Spirit. And when interviewed Ms. Smith seemed painfully and embarrassingly out of touch with reality and the church spokesmen of today when interviewed seem embarrassingly out of touch with God’s Word.

And Anna Nicole Smith was the epitome of what the Bible describes as “dead while she lives”. So is so much of the church world. Having gone whoring after the things of this world and openly prostituting her precious truth for the relevant falsehoods of this evil world and now in many ways the church is dead while seemingly engaged in more activity than she ever has before. David Wilkerson once remarked that “Never before in the history of the church has she made so many inroads into the world with so little effect”. The church is now the world itself with some religious talk. And like Ms. Smith, many compete for the affections of the next suitor no matter who he is. So take a walk into the church house, go through the brightly colored and exciting living room, walk down the long hall, stop before the master bedroom and switch on the light and look. There she is, the church, in bed with…oh no…yes it is…

Lucifer himself.
And she is loving every minute of it, trying to please him in every way.
She has become good at it.

There once was a large ship that was elaborate, ornate, and very large. There were many compartments in this ship but most people felt unworthy to even board her so they would gaze at her from the shore and while they admired her craftsmanship they still would not venture onto her. Through the years the people would share together about the ship and her construction and shape. Due to the different perceptions that each person had about the ship from a distant vantage point eventually people had wide and varied descriptions about this magnificent ship.

Now this colossal ship never seemed to wear and it was unaffected by the weather and the passing years. It was tightly moored to the dock and there was one and only one gate that was used to gain entrance onto this great ship. Any and everyone who crossed over the extended platform and was instantly brought aboard this great ship never again returned to land. Their lives were brand new and they found fulfillment as a passenger on this vessel. No one from Earth’s shore had ever seen this ship sail and to them it seemed useless and irrelevant in this modern terrestrial society, I mean what good is this ship for them? They were busy on the dry land and boarding the ship seemed counter productive to their lifestyle, most people could not see the benefit.

There had been rumors about the ship’s Captain that He was a powerful and compassionate Person and that He desired everyone to come aboard and not only be a part of this ship, but it was said that all who came aboard became part of the ships crew as well as part of the Captain’s very family. Most land dwellers doubted that story and after all there were many other ships in the harbor that seemed much more attractive to their eyes and their situation. And people would come and go on the other ships and many would go from one ship to the other. No one was allowed to enter this one great ship without leaving all the other ships forever.

The other ships were not moored to anything and they would be tossed around by the wind and the course corrections that were based on where people desired to go. But the oldest and greatest ship had never moved and it was moored constantly to the dock called “The Word”. Many people who might have wanted to try this ship were turned off by its intransigence and it just couldn’t compete with the adventurousness of the other ships. So most people continued to board the smaller and more exiting ships while only those who seemed inexplicably and powerfully drawn to meet the Captain boarded the great and unmovable ship some called “Zion”.

Now here is where the story takes a dramatic turn. Some who claimed to be part of the ship called Zion saw the popularity of the other ships and after a while they decided to try and attract the shore people to this great ship. So they watched and studied the methods of the other vessels and what attracted people to board them. There were many things that seemed to draw the shore people to these ships. One way to attract people was to promise them that they could themselves be the captain of the ship they boarded. You see they said all the captains of these little ships were just like the Captain of Zion and they could take them anywhere the Captain of Zion could take them. Different vessels and a different captain but the same destination. But still the people seemed skeptical because the great ship of Zion was still moored to the same anchor and with that people just couldn’t believe that this great ship could take them where they wanted to go. These new sailors thought about that and they saw these land dweller’s point, this mooring was indeed a stumbling block and kept so many more people from coming aboard. So without consulting the Captain they quietly and with much sincerity and intellect built another ship that resembled the ship of Zion. And after it was constructed the builders were very careful not to completely moor it the Word dock so it could travel on the many different courses that people desired. And without being moored to the Word the changing winds that had no affect on the ship of Zion now could be used to empower this new vessel. So they unfurled their sails and off they went into uncharted waters and low and behold they found all the other smaller vessels sailing in the same waters.

The captains on this new vessel would call out to the other vessels that their passengers could come aboard if they desired but even if they didn’t want to they shouldn’t fear, they were all going to the same place. Back at the original and still moored ship of Zion the Captain would hold meetings to inform His maritime family that these other vessels would one day be consumed with a coming storm. The people of Zion couldn’t always see the storm but they believed the Captain, after all, He had never lied to them and what He told them always was exactly what He had written in the ship’s log. They felt safe.

Now the replica of the ship Zion had been built with cheap material that seemed beautiful to the eyes but was in fact not sea worthy. The different captains told their passengers that they were speaking for the Captain of Zion and that He was in direct communication with all the other ships. They sometimes quoted the Captain’s log but they assured people that the Captain’s written log was not the final authority on the ship but it definitely had much benefit to all of them. Now within the Captain’s log were several entries that foretold of a coming storm which would destroy all who sailed on any ship but the one called “Zion”. The different captains explained to the people that what was written many years ago had to be updated in order to make sense on today’s turbulent seas with the ever changing currents. You see the Captain’s log was written when the waters were much calmer and more is needed today to navigate these modern days. That made sense to everyone and everyone thought that which seemed right in their own minds.

And so the ship that resembled Zion began to see multitudes climb on board and they were for the most part well pleased. But one day storm clouds began to appear in the distance. The people on the many different pleasure crafts for the most part ignored them and the different captains said they believed the storm would come but they gave it little or no attention. Closer and closer it came, more and more ominous and foreboding. The captains assured the people that they were safe and they should think good thoughts because the Captain of Zion did not wish anyone to be harmed and He would protect us all. So they continued to find happiness in their activities and they were consumed with their own happiness.

One day, one horrible and horrific day, the storm arrived with an unimaginable violence. Every ship, every ship, was absolutely destroyed except the ship called Zion. That ship was not at all affected by this storm and it proved to be a shelter in the midst of this storm. The pleasure ships proved to be useless in the storm and all the captains were exposed as liars. But the people of Zion were safe in the eternal harbor and they worshipped their Captain forever who had kept His promise.

There are many different vessels being constructed today that promise the same safety that the ship of Zion has promised since the beginning of time. They give lip service to the dock called the “Word” but they refuse to be moored there. These pleasure crafts are meeting the earthly needs of their passengers but when the storm comes they will sink and eternally drown all aboard. This little story represents a gigantic phenomenon that has captured the hearts and minds of the western world as well as spreading throughout the world. There is only one Captain of our salvation and there is only one vessel of salvation which is indeed found in the Captain Himself. And now the so called “evangelical” world enjoys the cruise on the ship of their own making and they have built their future upon the works of man and not the Word of the Captain.
The storm is closer than when we first boarded the ship of Zion. May we plead with the Captain to bring revival and with it the repentance necessary to sink these false ships now before the storm arrives so that God may throw out lifelines to the deceived multitudes.
Until then the party continues all the way to hell.

Saturday, February 17, 2007

The Real Battle

So what is the Trinity? Basically the doctrine of the Trinity teaches that God is one in essence and that He manifests Himself in three different persons. This is what I believe and it is what is called mainstream and orthodox. Most of the cults deny the Trinity not because they see a different nuance but because they want to strip the Lord Jesus of His divinity hence the term cult. They are false teachers and perverters of the truth.

There are those who believe that God is one in essence and that the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are revelations of that one God but not distinct persons. Follow me on this because it is widely misunderstood. The doctrine of the Trinity which most would believe is not taught in the New Testament. That’s right, it seems to be revealed through the interactions and ministries of the three persons of the Trinity but it is not actually taught. To be more clear we have to piece it together to arrive at what seems to be the truth because let’s face it, it deals with the essence of God. So here we are finite man attempting to dissect and examine the essence of the eternal God, so you see our monumental task.

Now if a person believes in all the cardinal doctrines of the Scriptures that for instance you and I would espouse, but he believes that God is one “person” revealed in three manifestations of that one person, then he still can be saved. He then believes that Jesus is God, the Father is God, and the Spirit is God, but they are all manifestations of the same person. There is a departure from the orthodox teaching in that view but it is not heretical. It took many meetings of the early church fathers and many arguments before they finally agreed upon the Trinitarian view that we believe. And to be fair that view is what the Scriptures seem to fully indicate but here again it is somewhat open to minor nuances. If one retains the deity of the three persons but calls them one person you are not blaspheming any of the Godhead.

Now recently the preacher T. D. Jakes has been invited to speak at a conference(don’t you just love these meaningless conferences and cruises?) and his background is in the Oneness Pentecostal circles. They believe that God is not three persons but one and that the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are all divine revelations of one person called God. OK, so we don’t believe that but that is not the core of the matter. I again reiterate my position, if a person retains the divinity of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit but they believe that they are revelations of the same person called Jehovah God it isn’t apostate. I cannot remember Mr. Jakes ever mentioning his view of the Trinity so even if he still believes what oneness people believe about the Trinity he doesn’t seem to teach it.

The much more important issue is that Oneness Pentecostals teach salvation by works and that subject is taught in the New Testament and that is first class heresy. They teach you must be baptized in Jesus name and you must speak in tongues to be saved. So here is the issue about T. D. Jakes, has he now or ever rejected publicly those positions? That is the primary issue. And of course his entertaining, feel good preaching and his prosperity teachings are also an issue but they fit right in with the others in the conference. Southern Baptists have now over the last thirty years come to espouse the prosperity message and have also resorted to relevant and entertaining preaching, so Mr. Jakes fits right in. I am just taking a wild guess but I can see waves of people at the conference on their feet shouting and waving during Mr. Jakes’ messages because that is the norm when he and others speak. These get togethers are nothing more than entertaining carnivals that pass as Spiritual but have only a counter productive effect on the people. And oh the money that will be made by the entertainers from their honorarium, their books, their tapes, and the new followers they will reap for future financial rapes. Disgusting and anti-christ at its core.

Back to my point about the Trinity. Many of you would disagree with me about the necessity of the three person doctrine but against the backdrop of salvation by works, the prosperity gospel, the new age influence, the relevant nonsense, and the overall hedonism and prayerlessness of the visible church, the argument over the Trinity seems moot. Anyway, there is much more to the battle than the Trinity, much more.

Pray for revival, for us.

Friday, February 16, 2007

Remembering Depravity

It wasn’t long in eternity’s timetable, but just a few years ago I was a dead man lost in the deepest of pits, the black hole of iniquity. I did not care nor wish to care about eternity or the God who dwelled there. I walked in darkness and although incarcerated by my own sins I was under the illusion that I was alive and well. I called evil good and good to me was evil. There was an entire kingdom thriving in the heavenlies and in the hearts of people but I would not and could not acknowledge such a world. The world I could see with my fleshly eyes was the only existence I knew and in that I dwelt.

Living from one temporal oasis of carnality to another was my journey and many were my fellow travelers. I thought laughter was joy and euphoria was the goal and always money was the love of our souls. Aimless was the chartered course and strength was drawn from the other wanderers who supported each other with the notion that we can get things right on that ever elusive day called “tomorrow”. And empty was our talk, our plans, and our lives. Indeed we were moving corpses masquerading as lives.

I can remember being depraved. Many believers have come to know Christ at an early age and in their minds they cannot really remember being depraved since the symptoms of Adam’s fall grow remarkably as one gets older, but for those of us who did not come to faith in the Lord Jesus until past our teenage years we can recall all too well walking in utter darkness. I can remember living as a natural brute beast without any Spirit led conscience and sinning willfully and habitually. Some friendships were galvanized over certain sins and a sort of brotherhood existed between the sons of Adam.

We did not watch the movie trailers in order to avoid looking at sinful content, on the contrary, we sought it out. The selfish pleasures and passions of this life were the fuel which kept us going and we thought precious little of Spiritual things and when anything Spiritual was discussed it was of a perverted and self serving manner. Step by step my life progressed toward the forever abyss and my existence was just a rehearsal for eternal death. I did not know who I was or where I was going although I thought I knew both. Blind and oh so hollow, I became an expert at manufacturing a spectrum of self destructive behavior and calling it happiness.

I can remember sitting in a bar and looking around beneath the loud music and all the activity and silently wondering what is it all about. I found some comfort in telling myself that meaning on that level could not be known and after all I was just like everyone else. I did not desire my parent’s life and I was not fulfilled with this one. Lost and moving within a silent despair I could party like Mick Jagger and I could muse like James Taylor and yet it was just cotton candy, pleasant to look at but without substance in the mouth. No one knew, not even me, that even in those days the tiny light of the Spirit was gently but significantly speaking to my heart about my complete condition of depravity. Before I could put it into words I felt it clearly and in retrospect, unmistakably.

Then in one moment in early 1975 I can remember thinking that perhaps truth could be known and just maybe there was a God and the possibility that Jesus was God Himself became a reality. From the very inception of that thought I would never be able to get away from it. Every day something would remind me of the possibility I was carrying around. This was the first time I had even considered Jesus on this level and it seemed that I had gotten off the merry-go-round of this life and began to consider spiritual things and the existence of eternity. I was still walking in depravity but there was a chronic condition inside me that continually brought Jesus up before me and at some point I realized I would have to decide once and for all.
To sit on the fence was death, the same death I had embraced for 23 years.

So in March of 1975 I was made alive. It wasn’t until then that I realized how lost and depraved I was and like walking away from a tall building and looking back and seeing clearly the overall shape I began to see how dark had been my life and how bright the light shone from the face of my Savior and Lord. I am not the person I used to be but I can remember being that person. I can remember the thought processes and the spiritual emptiness that defined my existence. I can remember the lack of spiritual conscience and the hollow life that I shared with other lost shells. I can remember being without direction and totally without purpose in this world. Not one for moderation I used every avenue of the flesh to create substance in my life which was nothing more than an illusion.

Oh yes, I remember being depraved and as I think of those days I am overwhelmed that Jesus would choose to provide a way for people like me to escape that death and walk in newness of life. And at the end of this abundant life awaits for me an unearned crown of righteousness which I will wear in His presence, forever. I do not know how much we will recall in the heavenly city but there may be those there who knew me before March of 1975 and they may be surprised to see me, but they will not have to ask how I got there. No, no one will have to ask because everyone in that glorious place will have arrived via the same door and by the same means, and gathered together as former depraved dead men now washed in the Blood of God’s Lamb we will all be captivated by the same truth…

Worthy is that Lamb…for thou wast slain and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation…
Praise our God all ye His servants and ye that fear Him both small and great.
Alleluia: for the Lord God omnipotent reigneth.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Our One True Friend
Greater love hath no man than a man lay down his life for his friends.

Friends? Us? That is very hard for me to process, not that Jesus died for the ungodly or that Jesus died for sinners, but that Jesus uses the word “friends” in describing us. Don’t forget to include the word “ungodly” when you speak of us as Jesus’ friends. What are some of the attributes you would associate with a friend?

A friend should be caring. Who would consider a person a friend who did not care for them? Do you not care for those who you consider friends and does their welfare concern you. A true friends cares what his friend thinks and is interested in hearing his perspective about almost everything. Even some criticism, the wounds of a friend, are of care to a person’s friend. But what kind of friend were we to the Lord Jesus? He came to purchase for us an eternity in glory and He did not ask us to participate, no, He was willing to die for His friends. Yes, He desired to be friends, not in an earthly and informal way, but in a caring and intimate way. But we not only rejected His friendship, we were fully complicit in His death. A cruel death. Not just some quiet, painless process that would quickly let Him pass, no, the death of the cross which sometimes sounds sentimental but in reality was a brutal, shameful, and agonizing death. Only the worst criminals were crucified and we stood by, and even watched, as this divine “friend” shed His very blood for us. He wasn’t even ashamed to call us, the sinners who caused His death, his “friends. Some friends, huh?

A friend should be respectful. Friends stick up for one another and will rebuke those who would make fun of their friends. Friends will not talk ugly about another friend even while not in their company and they are hurt when their friend is ridiculed. And while Jesus was being crucified, in the very ACT of crucifixion, the depravity of His friends were not satisfied with that humiliation. Oh no, we had to make fun and mock Him, and in an act of such infinite contempt we shouted “He saved others but He cannot save Himself”. Thus we not only belittled His salvation we judged Him a sinner in need of His own salvation. And all this while the blood oozed from His divine veins. All this while the angels of glory cringed. All this while the Father’s heart broke. Some friends, huh?

A friend should carry burdens. True friends want to ease the load and carry the grief’s and fears that all flesh sometimes experiences. A friend cannot stand to see his friend cry and become overcome with grief no matter how insignificant the cause may seem. A friend draws a sense of intimacy and fulfillment by interceding on the behalf of a friend and extending comfort and solace in any time of need. But as the King of Friends took up a large and heavy wooden cross and hobbled down the Via De La Rosa, his so called friends refused to lend even a hand seeking only to protect themselves from any harm. Footstep after painful footstep journeyed this Friend while His fair weather friends actually watched Him, the one who they had supped with, stumbled toward the place of the skull. The one who had healed them and carried their loads. The one who had extended His life to serve theirs. The one who had allowed Himself to be taken so that they could go free. Oh yes, we all watched with sadness, but not enough to help or even care. Some friends, huh?

But friends will not usually give their very lives for mere friends. A friend will do many things for his friends and depending upon the depth of the friendship it will include almost everything short of giving up their lives for this friend. The Scriptures rightly say “scarcely” will a friend die for another because he usually values his own life more than his friendship. So why would this pure and holy sacrificial Lamb give His life for His friends, which without being viewed through God's eyes of grace are every bit His enemies. His enemies? Yes they are, as Spurgeon observed, His weapon carrying and actively rebellious enemies. They care nothing for Him and are ultimately interested in their own survival and pleasure. His welfare, much less His friendship, is not pursued or even desired. Let Him go to His death as long as we are not involved and like Peter we can claim “we never knew the man”. Some friends, huh?

But this Friend gives His life for His enemies. With the full knowledge of what He was doing this Friend chooses a journey through the “joy that was set before Him” and in full surrender to the Father’s will He will be bruised and tortured, whipped and mocked, and bleed like a lamb before the slaughter. And this “joy” that the Word speaks of is inherant within the slaughtered spectacle Himself and by a divine mystery the One who was the object of this timeless murder at the hands of hateful sinners reveals His true identity, the Friend of sinners. Covered in His own divine blood, bruised for our iniquities, swollen by our pummels, dripping with our spit, crowned with our curse, and ornamented with the mocking of His own creations…here He is. Feast your eyes upon He who knew no sin and elicited no personal sentence. Gaze upon the shame of your own rebellion. Cast your eyes upon the reward you meted out upon this Friend who sought you out. There He is, mangled and now dead.

This is the infinite betrayal.
He came unto His own and His own received Him not.
The Lord of Glory. The Savior of the World. The Lamb of God. The Scapegoat. The Lion of Judah.
And as He can only be recognized by a soul that has been redeemed by His blood…
The Only Friend the World Has Ever Had.

Monday, February 12, 2007

What is Man...
The largest city in the United States is Jacksonville, Florida. If you gave everyone a four square foot space to stand in, almost six billion people would be able to fit in this one city. This would be almost the entire population of the world. One city, the whole world. So the next time someone tries to exagerate man's importance give them this fact.

Thursday, February 08, 2007

A Call to God's Will

Orthodox Christians are rightly exorcized over the culturizing of the teachings of the Scriptures. The purpose/seeker/emergent movements have more and more brought the culture into the context of Biblical preaching and are using the culture as a guide to Biblical interpretations, which dilutes the message and captures it within the parameters of man’s evolving thought processes. If we can understand it within our cultural parameters then it is good, if it rises above the culture then it is irrelevant and useless. We are witnessing the poisonous fruit of such teachings and while it is true that cultural influences have always had an effect on preaching and teaching of the Scriptures that process is now encouraged and taught as God’s original purpose. The result? A cultural church that exhibits very little of the peculiar people behavior that Peter had commanded us to be.

This little exhortation is to bring a call for separation from the worthless and in many ways counter productive political system that has already taken front and center stage in the secular society but should have no effect on the body of Jesus Christ. I’m not sure I ever heard the Lord give his opinion about who should be the next Caesar and Paul specifically commands us not to get entangled with the affairs of this world. We have a calling that is far more serious than who becomes president and, as we can see, the well meaning evangelicals that have cast their lots with the Republicans can already see the trend that reveals that their party of choice(!) is rapidly showing their real spots. And who cares what politicians say they believe about abortion and gay marriage, we’ve had years of Republican majorities in all three branches of government and both of those issues continue to run rampant. American politics is not even a part of the answer to the ultimate question, "Who do you say that I am?"..

Politics is a dirty business and although there may be believers in elected office we as the body of Christ have a mission around the world with no preference to any nation or governmental system. The time is rapidly running out and we must give all the attention that we used to give to politics to prayer and the ministry of the Word. Release it, all the talking heads that give no allegiance to the Lordship of Christ. Which news outlet calls for prayer and repentance? Which news outlet openly reports that Jesus is the only way to eternal life? It is all anti-christ and the current president who is a professing believer has said openly that Jesus is not the only way.

We don’t need another president, we need another church, one that is broken and given wholly to the Lordship of Jesus Christ and is unusually different from this world. America is no different than any other country in God’s eyes and we must severe the heart strings that has us bound to a system and through repentance we must again turn to Jesus as the only object of our allegiance. The world will elect who it chooses, we already have an eternal Lord, who can add to Him. And if your church allows voting to actually take place on those sanctified grounds you may do well to observe that many people will walk right into your building and vote for abortion and gay marriage completely against the teachings of your church(I hope). Can you imagine Moses allowing the heathen into the Tabernacle to mix the profane with the sacred?

It is time for the church to come out from among them and be separate. Would you participate in a compromising church? Then why would you participate in a compromising secular system? Well, you ask, should we then not vote? I may well be the only blog to step forward and say that if the system is anti-christ we should gladly and boldly separate ourselves from it completely, it has no eternal value for the church or for that matter the world. Pray and fast for the revival of your church on election day and withdraw yourselves from the mixed multitude that will cast their lots for one of the two compromisers in a compromising system called democracy. It might be better than many other systems around the world but it is no friend of Christ.

Finally, before you decide for or against my call do two things. First, do a New Testament study and find the Scriptures that openly encourage us to be involved with democratic politics and those that openly command us to withdraw from the world’s system. Secondly, pray until you get a strong witness about what the Spirit is directing you to do no matter how long it takes and what price is connected with it.

I realize that this treading upon a sacred cow that has become accepted within the church, but while maintaining a humble spirit we should in these last days sanctify ourselves wholly separated to the Lordship of Christ. Be advised, you may very well receive persecution within the church but receive it with grace as an offering unto the Lord.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

The Minstrel's Audience

Ecc.7:5 - It is better to hear the rebuke of the wise than for a man to hear the song of fools.

The crowd chit chats throughout the auditorium as they wait for the curtain to be drawn and present this eclectic and entertaining minstrel. They have heard him before and he has never disappointed to uplift their spirits and give them a sense of a well spent night. With his happy visage and plucky demeanor he mesmerizes his audience with a combination of humor, relevant melody lines, and some enjoyable syncopation that is designed to assuage without any uncomfortable challenge to the untrained ear. Suddenly the lights dim and all the people quickly become quiet with a few sssh’s rippling around the house.

And there he is, the minstrel himself complete with all his musical instruments and entertainment accoutrements and as he steps to the center of the stage he is greeted with warm anticipation and fondness. This minstrel knows to whom he owes his success and he has come prepared to delight his subjects with familiar melodies that play the chords that resonate with their earthly lives and make them feel fully content with who they are. He begins with a welcome and immediately starts playing a tune with which everyone is familiar, they were hoping he would play this one. Nodding their heads and tapping their feet they collectively enter into his performance and are systematically uplifted.

The minstrel feeds from his audience’s reaction and their demonstrative enjoyment just adds to his energy and creativity. He quickly has them in the palm of his hand and as he watches the clock he interjects some humorous interludes that serve as minute intermissions and seek to enhance the entertainment value of his forty minute piece and, quite frankly, the audience adores them.

As he comes to the last movement the minstrel slows his musical pace substantially. He skillfully begins to tell a sad and meaningful story through his strings and the emotions of the listeners are openly moved. At the very end the minstrel invites his listeners to bow their heads and join him and sing the final chorus, and he happily invites all who have never sung that chorus to just sing what he is singing. The minstrel leads and the people join in singing that chorus they know all to well. The concert is now over, the listeners have enjoyed it, and many go down to the stage to meet or congratulate the minstrel, he was splendid.

And as the crowd files out they greet one another with the residual upbeat ambience of what they have just enjoyed.
And the minstrel? Well they all silently agree they’ve found an earthly savior.
See you next week…

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Where is the Difference?

The Lord has put a difference between thee and the Egyptians…

Sit back in your earthly chair and watch as the world passes through the mall of this life. Lonely and hopeless some pass by with their black clothes and colored hair bedecked with jewelry from another time, holding on to one another as if being bold and at the same time afraid. What are their stories? Some are just being rebellious having seen no purpose in the world as they see it and who can blame them? Some have been deeply scarred by a childhood of abuse and violence while some consider themselves unattractive and so they escape by accepting and enhancing their personal perceptions. Some will take their own life shortly having been captured by the evil one who they embrace on some level without fully understanding the consequences. Empty shells, blindly searching for meaning and love but finding only death.

Oh but look, here comes a lady with her little girl, she looks more like us. But remove the emotional tarpaulin and you can see the real story. Her little girl’s daddy has left them for some other female shell and every step is another painful journey of uncertainty, wondering who will come, and how can she start all over. She has lost the capacity to dream and her depression is barely manageable. Suddenly her world has become a prison, and all the plans of houses and anniversaries and Christmas’s are nothing more than added weights to the burden she now carries. The little girl has already been targeted by the evil one and in the future she will become filled with anger and rejection and will cover her pain with, yes, dark clothes and makeup, colored hair, and an abrasiveness that seeks to inflict revenge on anyone who steps into her path.

Here comes a man that as he gets closer looks as if he walks somewhat like a woman and his companion is another man. He was born a little different and being raised by his smothering grandmother only added to his feeling of weakness in the company of other boys. Through years of systematic and emotional torture at the hands and mouths of his classmates he withdraws into his own world only to find other boys who have similar experiences. He finally feels accepted on some level and in this new genre he is affirmed and reinforced by others with whom he shares a commonality. Deep down inside, a place that only he visits rarely and quickly leaves, is a sorrow and a nagging feeling that he wishes things were different. This is all he has now and he embraces it.

Look, here comes a man on death row. He is waiting to die for a brutal murder he committed and his world is a 15 x 10 room. Darkness and the stench of dirty men are the daily atmosphere as he marks his time like an animal in a slaughter house waiting for its turn. No one knows the nights he was beaten by a drunken stepfather who used him to vent his own pent up rage. No one knows how it was to feel betrayed by his mother who always looked the other way. No one knows what it was like to have hate deposited inside his soul every single day until he could no longer hold it in. But at least we will soon be rid of this sociopath for good.

The Lord has called us to be different. On one level that entails not participating in the lifestyle that the world enjoys but on another level we are supposed to show supernatural compassion and understanding. How quick we are to judge this fallen world and to let the sins of the lost get under our self righteous skin. Walk in wisdom toward those that are without, redeeming the time because the days are evil.

The whole world lies in the Wicked One so let that be settled in our hearts once and for all. We can cease trying to overhaul these lost sinners from the outside in and we need to extend an urgent and compassionate message of hope and redemption. Judgment is coming and like Moses and Paul we need to intercede for these hell bound sinners that are blindly walking toward the great and eternal chasm. Our difference should be striking against the backdrop of the fleshly self serving compassion of the world. Our hearts do not even break over the fact that they are not breaking. The pain that permeates this whole accursed world should bring us to weeping and brokenness. Could we feast at a table of plenty while at our feet is a starving child? Well the entire world is starving Spiritually as we feast again and again on the life giving food that they so desperately need to live.

I have been given a comparative imagery that should drive us to the mirror of conviction and repentance. How often have we criticized congress for fighting to the extent that nothing ever gets done? The church is in a state of stagnation and we feel oh so soothed when we expose the doctrinal landside and the falling away of the church, but if it so urgent where are the all night prayer meetings? Where are the fastings called by the elders of the church? Where are the tears for the wayward sheep? We are content with “atta boys” to each other as we research other’s sins and with literary creativity expose them. But we go to sleep content nightly knowing where our children are but fully unconcerned with where others are.

I know we must teach God’s Word and openly reject the continuing diluting of the truth, but can we not see we have lost the distinctive power and fragrance that has changed the world over the centuries. Watch the Roman Catholic churches on Sunday mornings as people park their cars, walk to the auditorium, stay for an hour and a half, walk out fellowshipping, get into their cars and go out or home to eat. Same pattern every Sunday. Just like us. And it does not even concern us that even in our meetings we have become no different than other churches. I do not know what people would think if an entire congregation walked out Sunday morning weeping over the plight of the people of their own city.

If I was not a believer I would ask us this question, “Do you believe that most of the people in your city are empty and lost and on their way to an eternal place of torment?”

And we would answer with doctrinal conservatism, “Yes, we do”.

And I would then ask us, “Well how do you do it?”

We would say, "Do what?”.

And I would say, “How do you go day in and day out without shedding any tears? And how do you walk around without constantly telling people? And why isn’t your church open every night so you can pray for us? And why are you not much different than I am?”.

And after considering those penetrating questions we could answer,

“It takes a lot of practice.”

Really don’t mind if you sit this one out
My words but a whisper your deafness a shout…

Sunday, February 04, 2007

Eternity's Whirlwind

II Cor.5:11 - Knowing the terror of the Lord we persuade men…

On Thursday, February 1st, 2007 Brittney went to sleep knowing she had to rise early for school the next day. As she lay awake for awhile she thought of schoolwork, boys, and the coming weekend. Shortly she drifted into sleep.

But what this 17 year old young woman did not realize was that eternity was beginning to open its mouth wider and wider during the night. In the clouds a whirlwind was beginning to take shape starting in the western part of Florida and moving eastward. This whirlwind is considered an anomaly by the general population and is rare in the part of the country that Brittney lived in but in reality this event had been seen before the Earth was formed and eternity lived inside this very whirlwind. Eternity had been sent to visit Brittney’s room in the early morning hours of February 2nd in Lake County Florida and it had chosen this whirlwind as its transportation.

There is an eternal appointment complete with date and time that has been assigned to every person and on that day each person will be translated from the temporal into the eternal. No more chances to repent, no more time to consider Christ, and no more opportunities to serve the Lord Jesus. There is no more serious subject than a person’s eternal destination and there are only two, heaven or hell. If you were master and owner of the entire universe and died without Christ you would have lost everything. But if you were seventeen and never married, never had children, never owned a car or home, and really never became an adult but you died in Christ you would have gained everything.

There are millions in America, many sitting in pews, that are Spiritually sleeping while eternity approaches with an irreversible appointment that will bring judgment and pain, forever. Many mourn the temporal loss of lives like Brittney and thoughts about loved ones will be spoken, inspirational songs will be sung, recollections will be shared, but those now are citizens of eternity. We should mourn and pray for those who willingly sleep consumed with this earthly life while their Spiritual slumber seals their eternal fate.

On television many reporters suggested that people purchase a weather warning radio that loudly warns when a tornado or violent storm is approaching. There is a whirlwind coming from the Creator’s hand and this whirlwind is majestic in its justice, perfect in its wrath, unimaginable in its power, and rapidly coming closer in its proximity. There is one and only one warning instrument that is loudly sounding the alarm that a colossal whirlwind of God’s judgment is rapidly approaching this very world. It is God’s Word, and so many pulpits have the warning device turned to mute while they accentuate the “don’t worry” channel. Think about this: If Brittney had attended church last week what did the preacher say? If she was lost did any believers pray for her the past week? And how culpable would be the weatherman who saw the coming tornado and did not sound an urgent alarm? Then consider this: When was the last time you saw and heard any preacher demonstratively and urgently cry aloud for his listeners to flee the wrath to come? And like warning about a coming earthly tornado was he carried out of his normal character emotionally which would translate credibility to his listeners?

Men and women throughout church history have been labeled as crazy and unstable and many have been murdered because of the uncomfortable intensity of their witness, where are they today? When a tornado is spotted and the call goes out to take shelter, people leave their kitchens, leave their entertainment, leave their belongings, and they run to the safest part of the house. Now we say that the wrath and judgment of the Creator is coming to this earth but is it any wonder that the world so easily dismisses our claims when we ourselves exhibit so little outward manifestations that would normally be associated with the enormity of such a warning? Do they ever see tears? Shouts? Unusual behavior? All night prayer? Fastings?

And if a friend knocked on your front door and as you invited him in he greeted you with some small talk and took a seat in your living room. After he accepted your offer of some iced tea he began to speak of football, politics, and a host of other topics. He shared seven principles of success, ten doors to a successful marriage, four keys to Biblical finances, and insights to a purpose driven life. Now after a while he stood to leave and on his way out he turned and said, “By the way, there’s a tornado four houses down the street and it is headed this way.” Then he closed the visit in prayer, smiled and shook your hand, and asked you which restaurant you wanted to eat at today. Would you believe the tornado story?

If you knew that you or someone you knew would be in eternity by this time next week would it change your schedule? And if you knew that the judgment of God was arriving next Tuesday would the spirit of Paul Revere come upon you? And would your behavior be so urgent and abnormal that your friends and neighbors may not believe it but they are convinced that you do!

So what are we saying? That if we knew the exact date it would change us, but until then we will doctrinally espouse it but it will have very little culturally extricating impact upon our lives. Jesus observed that the true prophets of God were stoned and killed not because they were respected and within the accepted mainstream of Spiritual thought, no, they were thought of as madmen. And Hebrews chapter eleven describes the past prophets

Heb.11:36-38 - And others had trial of cruel mockings and scourging, yea, moreover of bonds and imprisonment: They were stoned, they were sawn asunder, were tempted, were slain with the sword: they wandered about in sheepskins, and goatskins; being destitute, afflicted, tormented; (Of whom the world was not worthy) they wandered in deserts, and in mountains, and in dens and caves of the earth.

Do not bother to look for them today…they are not here.

Only a revival could bring them back and substantiate the message we claim to actually believe. The world has adjusted their eyes and have become quite comfortable with the light that we give off in the midst of their darkness. Instead of cruel mockings and scourging, the world invites us to have one of many places in a Larry King round table discussion. And the world puts out our message like a cover dish in a dinner line at church inviting people to take what they like and leave the rest. And we continue to watch as people consume damnable poison but our lives continue with no more than a mere shaking of the head. We would show more urgency if it was discovered that an asteroid would hit the Earth in one year than we exhibit because we believe the judgment of God is coming soon!?

What would happen if twenty million believers in America woke up tomorrow with an anointing that broke all the accepted evangelical mores and day and night they labored in prayer and preaching to the exclusion of everything else? At the very least it would glorify God our Savior and we would not look so pitiful against the backdrop of former servants of God. And maybe, just maybe, the world might believe that we really do believe what we say.

The wrath of Almighty God is headed for this world and Christ is the only shelter that will save. Run, don’t walk, to the shed blood of Jesus Christ and by faith follow Him as Lord.

Saturday, February 03, 2007

The Word

Jn.1:1 - In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.

What is a word? It can be a written symbol (i.e.Chinese) that has been designated before to represent or communicate a thought or thing. It can be an organized collection of letters (i.e.English) that can be understood by those who have been taught that particular phonetic code and again communicate with others. It can be a verbal sound that can be produced by systematically contouring air that is purposely forced out of our lungs and thereby understood by the hearers who have been taught the sounds and their meaning, otherwise called a language. So the bottom line is that in any form a “word” is a means of communication as well a the communication itself.

Now the means of communication is subservient to the essence of the communication itself. For instance if a person is trapped beneath an automobile and one person hollers “Help!” and another screams “Come quickly!” the different words are meant to communicate the same thing. A stop sign communicates the same thing as if a person shouted “Stop!”. Two different forms of communication but the essence of the communication is more important than the manner in which it is communicated.

Now the substance of what is being communicated is paramount but the means of communication are not necessarily equally as effective. Anyone who has played charades or Pictionary will testify to the fact that it would be so much easier to speak than to act out whatever the designated communication they are trying to make the other person understand. So the manner in which someone communicates is important only insomuch as to the degree the thing that is being communicated is not altered. To speak in English to a person who does not understand that language is obviously ineffective because what is trying to be communicated is not making the connection to the other person and with that there is limited if any understanding.

Alright, now let us examine God’s Word in the light of some of these afore mentioned principles. The Word of God is not just communication it is wholly and purely truth. It is without error and without the slightest hint of deception or inaccuracy. So when we say God’s Word we mean both communication and truth, that which is and is revealed. God Himself is truth, without error or deception, so God is His Word and the Word is God. Inseparable and in essence - One. Hold onto that thought because it is the most important part of God, His Word, and the communication of that Word. It is pure and absolute truth.

So it is paramount and exclusively important that God’s Word is communicated in a way that most effectively preserves and translates that pristine truth.

Now the Holy Spirit can help in that communication even when it is somewhat diluted, but we do well to remember the more the Word is changed the more it is open to deception and error which can be succinctly summed up as “lies”. Television documentaries have shown us scientists working on an extremely rare element or compound which cannot be contaminated in any way, and they sometimes have to reach it with robot like arms while the substance remains in a vacuum like compartment. The scientists themselves are sometimes outfitted with space suits that keeps them from being the source of the contaminant. If the element is contaminated by anything it is rendered useless or at the very least suspect.

And so it is with God’s Word, it must be handled with extreme care and protection lest it becomes contaminated and is rendered diluted and the essence of the absolute truth contained in its communication is compromised. Now there are different methods of communicating God’s Word but not all the methods are equally effective. Figures on a flannel board can communicate some of God’s Word but without explanation they are very nebulous and open to fleshly interpretation. Drama can communicate God’s Word but there again without corresponding explanation it is very general and open to each person’s interpretation which usually means we accept the least painful and exposing interpretation. Object lessons can be helpful but only upon the foundation of Scripture.

What is the best and most effective method for communicating God’s Word while attempting to preserve the integrity of the truth inherent in His Word? I am glad you asked, but let’s ask God what He thinks (knows)

Matt.4:17 - From that time Jesus began to preach and to say…
Acts 5:42 - And daily in the temple and in every house they ceased not to teach and preach Jesus Christ.
Ti.1:3 - But hath in due times manifested his Word through preaching…
I Cor.1:21 - …it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe.

And these are just a sampling of the verses that show that the preaching and teaching of God’s Word through verbal communication is God’s preferred method. Now although that is the preferred medium of communicating God’s Word of truth, what is the foundation from which we must draw our verbal transference of the Word of Truth? Since God is a spirit how can a spirit be funneled into understandable communication through speech? How can a spirit be spelled out in recognizable written words that contain in them the exact essence of errorless truth? To put it more clearly how can God Himself be refined and distilled into human words that not only accurately reveal Him but actually are Him?

Wow, there is the miraculous mystery upon which all others hang. The written Word of God that was delivered through human vessels and preserved through several millennium are without question the foundation and immutable bedrock of our faith. Apart from receiving them by faith as the written Word of God there is no authority except the opinions of man. So with the immaculate truth of God’s Word as the source, we must take every precaution to handle His Word with reverence and endeavoring to present it without any fleshly taint. That, my friends, is no easy task in this cursed world and especially when there now is a widespread notion that God’s Word can be communicated by many different methods without regard to accurately protecting the integrity of its inherent truth.

Imagine a man who is attempting to escape a building that is engulfed in flames and he arrives at three different doors labeled 1,2, and 3, all of which say “exit”. Now in reality only one door leads to escape so he is confused. He looks and sees the security guard running toward the doors and he shouts to the man, “Which door leads out?”. As the guard continues running he hollers back to the man, “Watch and see!”. Now the guard runs and obscured by the smoke he opens door #1 and escapes. The confused man cannot see which door the guard went through but he has heard the guard say “Door number 3”, or so he thought. Do you see what has happened? The general and non-specific nature of the security guard’s communication has caused the other man to believe a lie.

And such is the nature of much of what passes today as God’s Word when it is communicated in a general, non-specific, and context free method. This is no game of jacks, this is the continuing and worsening misrepresentation of God’s Word which is the misrepresentation of God Himself. And instead of protecting the Word from impurities and worldly influences they are purposely mixed in with God’s Word and fed to the masses. Most of the warning, most of the judgment, most of the wrath, most of the holiness, most of the hell, most of the correction, and most of anything that is negative has been removed from God’s Word and it is now presented as a self help manual written in a general way to help you achieve your maximum pleasure in this life.

That is not the Word of God, that is the word of man and it kills, eternally. I constantly have said that we need a revival that begins with prayer and fasting, but coupled with that is a desperately needed revival of the sacredness and awesomeness of the written Word of the Living God. A movement of God’s Spirit that through repentance brings us back again to rely wholly and exclusively of what God has and is saying (they are the same). Forget about politics forget about intellectualism, forget about all these new purpose - seeker - emergent movements that claim to have found a new and more effective way to communicate God’s Word. Away with them all, they are all poisonous mixtures of the flesh of man with a very little of God’s truth sprinkled in to appear “Biblical”. The Word itself has been dismantled and reformed to appeal to the carnal nature of man and God Himself is presented as a fixer of all man’s ills and inconveniences. And any attempt to conform the Word to a specific culture or historical context instead of culture and time frame conformed by God's Word is anti-christ at its core.

What should we do? Open God’s Word as if it was just handed to you personally from the Father and hear Him say, “This is my beloved Word in whom I am well pleased, hear ye them!”. Let us consume and obey the Word of God as if it was infinitely more important than earthly food itself. Not just defend it from enemies but protect and insulate it from ourselves and our fleshly opinions. And through prayerful brokenness allow the Spirit to engraft the eternal Word into our very beings and see the Word change us from glory to glory.

We must first become utterly discontent with our present place on the journey to Christlikeness and with that repent and press, press, press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.