Sunday, September 21, 2014

The sword is coming…alas, it’s already here


I don’t usually watch much news. We only get two channels. But the last few weeks have been different. We spent some time with my dad, and news streamed from televisions in every room, every waking moment.

I was inundated by the information overload. And as soon as I got back to our quiet little camper I dumped words to the page before my brain blew up. You can read what I wrote here: Welcome to crazy.

If you read it, you may have thought what I’ve always been told: “Don’t talk politics or religion. Those things are personal—talking about it just stirs up trouble.” I get that.

But…what’s a person to do when they see politics and religion run together like cars of the same train—a runaway train filled with explosives headed toward the city? How could I keep silent? Perhaps being out of touch kept me from becoming desensitized, and then, the sudden emersion into the sights and sounds of the terror slashing our world today shocked me into action.

In the past few weeks I’ve read numerous articles, a few books and attended a seminar at our church with a man who has worked with the Islamic community for over thirty years. I won’t go into what I’ve learned—there’s much information available from others more qualified than myself. What I am compelled to tell you is that we’re in a war. Not some far away war, but one right here at home. If I don’t sound an alarm I’ll feel responsible for the train wreck—or at least the part that I could have prevented.

I was tempted to blow it off and just talk about fishing, or something funny the grandkids did. But then I remembered something I read in the Bible and it sorta got to me. It’s in Ezekiel chapter 33. It says something like this:

“When the watchman sees the enemy coming, he sounds the alarm to warn the people. Then if those who hear the alarm refuse to take action, it is their own fault if they die. They heard the alarm but ignored it, so the responsibility is theirs. If they had listened to the warning, they could have saved their lives. But if the watchman sees the enemy coming and doesn’t sound the alarm to warn the people, he is responsible for their captivity. They will die in their sins, but I will hold the watchman responsible for their deaths.” (TLB)

Another translation says when the watchman “sees the sword coming upon the land, if he blows the trumpet and warns the people, then whoever hears the sound of the trumpet and does not take warning, if the sword comes and takes him away, his blood shall be on his own head.” (NKJV)

I’m not saying I got a message from God like we get an e-mail or a text, I didn’t hear His voice or anything like that. I just know that our world has changed and I feel more than compelled to sound an alarm.

The sword is coming…alas, it’s already here

We don’t want to think about it. We just want to go on with our lives. And while we work and eat and sleep and play and raise our kids and pay our bills and figure out how to fit it all in the kids grow and we don’t see it because it’s such a gradual change little by little day by day and all of a sudden they’re grown and gone and we just hope everything turns out okay. In the same way the world changes and we don’t even see it happen but Freedom gasps and the sword cuts deep with every breath and all of a sudden our world isn’t okay.

I’m not a naysayer and don’t like listening to doomsday preachers but alas, dear friends we stand at a crossroads where there is a freedom and a peace, only to be found on the other side of war.

It will take war to restore freedom and peace within our nation. I do not know if, as a nation, we will win. But, as individuals, I know we can.

We are our own worst enemy in many regards and thus conquering ourselves is the first step. Didn’t President Lincoln say something like: “Do I not destroy my enemies when I make them my friends?”

Where are you when the lights go out? Before you fall asleep or when you wake up in the middle of the night—when all is quiet and it’s just you and your thoughts—are you at peace? Do you think about bills? The kids? The doctor’s report? Your relationship? All of the above?

The most important decision of all time is whether we will choose to follow Jesus or not. No adult gets to heaven by accident. It’s a conscious choice you make and then must live by it. Not so much rules and regs but will and passion. Like a marriage. After you get married you don’t see how close you can get to cheating without crossing the line. That’s the same thing as cheating if your hearts not in it—or if you’re just in it for the benefits.

When we the people get it right with our Creator, He will lead us to get it right with our neighbor. “But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things!” (Galatians 5:22-23)

When we get it right with our neighbor, it will spread to our neighborhood and then to our city and county and state and nation and world.

We the people must first repent.

God commands everyone everywhere to repent of their sins and turn to him. For he has set a day for judging the world with justice by the man he has appointed, and he proved to everyone who this is by raising him from the dead. (Acts 17)


We have allowed our nation to corrupt itself from within to the point of no return. Unless we see an act of God in miraculous proportions we will surrender our world leader status and perhaps our very existence.

Do you want freedom to ring again in our nation?

We must unite as one nation under God and repent.

We must stay the course by:

Never bowing to the idle of appeasement

By not allowing history to be rewritten.

By holding fast to the spirit of our founding fathers.

Restoring common sense to the meaning of the constitution by removing agendas

Either what we hold to be right and good and true is right and good and true, for all mankind, under God, or we're just another robber tribe ~ King Arthur in First Knight
~

Friday, September 19, 2014

Welcome to crazy


What if twenty years ago—no, ten—what if ten years ago, I told you…

• Christians would be told to convert to Islam or be killed—by beheading.

• Beheadings would be televised for the world to watch.

• All references to Christianity—such as crosses—would be removed from all military chapels around the world

• It would be against regulation for Chaplains to pray to Jesus

• American schools would punish children who expressed Christian beliefs

• Christian Bible and Prayer groups on government property would be deemed illegal

• Citizens would be brought to trial for showing favor toward Christianity

• Muslim religion would be favored, funded and promoted in America—any speech against it would be considered a chargeable offense.

• Basic Bible teachings would be considered ‘hate speech’

• Abortion would not only be legal but encouraged and funded by the American government

• Same sex marriage would be legalized and celebrated—in America

• Marijuana would be legalized—in America

And what if I said the most powerful dictator, man, office would be held by one who quoted from the Quran and called it Holy. He would be soft toward Islamic Terrorists—the ones who behead Christians in the name of Allah—by holding back the American military. He would ignore the constitution and order the government to take over health care and a majority of the commercial industry of the United States economy. He would remove all Bible references from Christian Holidays and declare America to no longer be a Christian nation.

And just to make it interesting what if I told you this world leader would have a name that rhymed in part with American enemy number one Osama, and was identical in part to American enemy number two, Hussein. What if I said his birthplace would be of questionable origin…and even still, he would be elected to office—twice?

If I’d told you all those things ten years ago—you’d have said I was crazy.

I’d have said I was crazy.


Welcome to crazy.


But wait…there’s more. Don’t be discouraged (yeah, right—I heard that). Seriously, there is hope. There is cause for joy. There is reason to smile. Why? Because, even though it seems like the world is on a downward out-of-control spiral—it’s not.

And the answer is not far from you.

“I AM the way the Truth and the Life, no man comes unto the Father but by Me.” Jesus Christ said that. He wants us to know, that even though… Yes Virginia, there is a satanic causeHe has already defeated it.

Jesus says to you and me, today, right now, I AM the way. I have overcome. You will have tribulation, but be of good cheer for I’ve got this. Hold fast to the Winner and you win.

He prayed for us while He walked this dirt in His earth suit of flesh-and-blood. He said: “And this is the way to have eternal life--to know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, the one You sent to earth” (John 17:3).

The way may be hard. But it’s not complicated. He is not trying to hide—neither should HIS followers.

This little light of mine I’m gonna let it shine.

Hide it under a bushel—NO.

I’m gonna let it shine…

Won’t let satan—poof it out

I’m gonna let it shine

Let it shine

Let it shine…


Christianity is not religion

It’s relationship. Jesus Christ is God’s credit to our debit. Jesus Christ is God’s divine door into our world to show us the way back into His.

Christians are being duped by this I don’t wanna offend anybody nonsense. Nowhere did Jesus ever say, ‘thou shalt not offend.’ He did however say, “I’ve not come to bring peace, but a sword.” (Matthew 10:34) Hmmm…sounds like something on the news these days. Swords brought to Christians necks.


Stop whining like whipped pups. I’m tired of hearing well meaning Christians say: “We just want to be treated equal like all the other religions.” Christians are not like all other religions. Christianity is a relationship out of obedience to the BOSS. The Creator of the world said, “Thou shalt love the LORD thy God.” Period. We don’t really have a choice. We don’t have any rights in the matter. Obey or disobey. The earth is the LORD’s and the fullness thereof. It’s HIS planet.


Don’t take off His ring

What if I said to a married person: “Stop wearing your wedding ring because I don’t like your spouse. As a matter of fact I don’t believe your spouse exists…and it offends me that you’d wear such a ring.”

Would you obey me and stop wearing your ring? Or would you tell me to take a long walk on a short dock? Well, Christians are taking off their rings when they kowtow to those who claim to be offended by Christianity.

Make no mistake, the attack is not against Christianity as a religion—it is an attack against Jesus. And He takes it personal. “Why are you persecuting Me.” He says, (Acts 26:14).

Listen…can you see Him watching? Can you hear Him pleading? “Don’t take off My ring.”




What should we do?

There is a right and wrong, black and white, and good and evil. No matter what the world declares.

Restaurant owners, if you want to offer discounts at your cafe to those who pray, do it. Period. Don’t consider the outcome because considering consequences causes confusion.

When some atheist threatens to take you to trial? Do it more. Post their names by the cash register and offer discounts to anyone who will say a prayer for them. Rejoice that you are counted worthy to be persecuted for the cause of Christ. And no matter what, no matter how bad or scary it looks—don’t take off His ring.

Chaplains, if you want to pray to Jesus, then pray. Open the windows as Daniel did and pray loud pray strong and know that Jesus will shut the mouths of the lions. And come what may—don’t take off His ring.

Soldiers carry your Bible proud, say your prayers loud, know the Commander of the commander in chief is with you…and never ever take off His ring.

Students if you want to carry your Bible or wear your cross or let your friends know that you stand with Jesus then don’t be ashamed, don’t be afraid, you are not alone, God is on your side and no matter how much they ridicule don’t ever, not ever take off His ring.

Preachers cry loud spare not and do not compromise His Word. When they slander you for hate speech, when they threaten to shut you down don’t waver, stand strong and know your God is mighty to save and whatever you do—don’t even think about taking off His ring.


Get it right in heaven.

Get it right with God by praying right now. Don’t wait. Pray right now. You don’t have to kneel or start talking in King James English—or even talk out loud for that matter. Just surrender to God. Ask Him to help you live your life for Him. And follow through by getting to know Him. That’s all He wants—for you to know Him. Not on your terms either. It’s not your relationship with the ‘big guy upstairs.’ No. It’s His way. You can learn about Him by spending time in prayer and by studying His love letter (The Holy Bible) and obeying it which includes investing time with His family; that means sinking roots in a good Bible believing church. That’s it.

It’s a guarantee when you get it right with God the crazy world will still look crazy, but it won’t look so scary. Because you’ll be able to look through the eyes of the ONE who sees the big picture. The eyes of love. They eyes of a happy ending.


Get it right at home

Terrorists are teaching, via internet, ‘random acts of violence.’ They distorted that from a Christian practice of ‘random acts of kindness.’

When John the Baptist was asked, “What should we do?” John replied, “If you have two shirts, give one to the poor. If you have food, share it with those who are hungry.” Even corrupt tax collectors came to be baptized and asked, “Teacher, what should we do?” He replied, “Collect no more taxes than the government requires.” “What should we do?” asked some soldiers. John replied, “Don’t extort money or make false accusations. And be content with your pay.” (Luke 3:10-14)

Jesus went about doing good.

A sermon is best heard through a life at home rather a preachers microphone.

Doing good wins. Overcome evil with good (Romans 12:21).


The B-I-B-L-E yes that’s the book for me

I stand alone on the word of God the B-I-B-L-E. Do you remember singing that in Sunday School?

I’ve heard president Obama quote the Quran and call it “The Holy Quran.” He may believe that, and multitudes do.

I have a limited amount of training regarding Islam, but without any study of the religion I can say without any shadow of a doubt the following:

God gave us Himself in the flesh of Jesus Christ His Son. And in His written word by inspiring forty different authors over about two-thousand years to pen His words in sixty-six books we call, The Holy Bible.

The Holy Bible is the only book on earth that has ever and will ever hold the title of being “Holy.” Period.

The Holy Bible has been the best seller of all times. That in itself is a miracle and an undeniable proof and introduction to The God of all creation. I don’t have to be an expert to know this to be true. I only have to know The Author. And I do.


Can’t you see the king is naked?

Stop pretending.

Political correctness calls good evil and evil good. Fear of offending has blinded the world to an evil run rampant. The terrorists that plague our world are masters at deception as their god is the father of lies. The names change from day to day but they all have the same master—the devil. That’s spelled: d-EVIL. We’ve clothed our enemy with names like terrorist, Islam, Muslim or government and have become blind to the naked truth.

“For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.” (Ephesians 6:12)

It’s past time to remove the blinders and call a spade a spade.


master of disguise

There are folks who associate with evil entities and yet they want to do good and right—they believe they are on the side of good. The devil disguises himself as an angel of light and only those who know the True Light, Jesus Christ, will recognize a counterfeit.

There’s good and bad in every breed and brand. We must not judge a person as evil simply because they appear to belong to an organization manipulated by evil. Many are simply deceived. And then again, we can’t believe a person is right and good just because they put on a suit and tie and give a pretty speech.

How can people inside an evil organization want to be good? And how do we handle it?

A relationship with Jesus makes the answer to this question clear. Every person on this planet has been created in the image of God with a built in compass that knows right from wrong. Even terrorists.

God doesn’t look on the outward appearance, but on the heart. We are to imitate Him.

That Muslim family that moved into your neighborhood? God loves them. They may want to chop your head off—or they may be searching for Love in all the wrong places.

I’m glad God keeps it simple. I don’t have to figure out someone else’s heart issues—that’s His job. I just have to know Him. God is love. Go and do likewise.

Now, if you think love means being a door mat to be walked on, you haven't been paying attention and you don't know the meaning of love. Love doesn’t ask permission. It just does love.


Do love like this:

Get right with God by knowing Him, His Word and His people.

Do right, don’t ask permission and don’t back down.

And no matter what…never ever take off His ring.

~

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

What Matters?

How long had Amber been kneeling next the sheet of plywood? She set her paint brush across the top of the can and made an groaning sound as she stood. She rubbed first her knees, then her lower back. Finally, finished.


The 4’x8’ sign she just finished lay flat on a piece of canvas waiting to dry and be hung by the stage crew. Thousands of empty chairs faced her below the stage where she stood, by sunset they’d all be full. Dear God, I pray all this honors You… She continued to pray silently, imagining the place filled with people seeking God and preachers and singers being used to share His love and save lives. She prayed for them all.

One of the stage crew was walking backwards as he helped carry a large speaker across the stage. He didn’t see her and bumped her out of her reverie. She stepped back to keep her balance and set her foot right on top of her freshly painted sign which read:

JESUS LOVES YOU

YOU MATTER!

The background was painted white; the blue letters were inside a big red heart. Her foot slid on the wet paint across the center of the heart smearing the words so they couldn’t be read.

The man carrying the speaker had at first blurted out, “Whoa, watch out!” But then saw the sign and said, “Oops…” he made a small chuckle, “sorry.”

When the other stage hand carrying the speaker saw tears welling up in her eyes he said over his shoulder as they continued to walk, “Don’t worry about it, we didn’t really need that extra filler piece anyway, just go ahead and go and I’ll get rid of it for you.”

She just stared at the sign, now blurry for two reasons; her foot, of course, and the tears that wouldn’t stop pouring from her eyes. God, isn’t there anything I can do? She sat cross legged in front of the sign and put her elbows on her knees. I can’t sing. She buried her face in the palms of her hands. I get so nervous in front of people I’d never, ever be able to preach or teach. I’m not very pretty and my body’s not that great. I just thought maybe—she sniffed, lifted a shoulder and wiped her eyes with the sleeve of her tee-shirt—maybe, I could do just this one thing. But even that didn’t work, maybe I don’t—she starred at the smeared word MATTER.

Nevertheless, she reached for a brush and started again. She prayed for forgiveness because her mind kept wishing a hernia on those two stage crew. An hour later she stood and stretched and once more looked at the sign. Finally finished, again. She looked out at the empty chairs, up to the sky and back to the sign, God, it’s all yours, do what you want with it.

She half expected the sign to be thrown out or not be used because maybe the paint wouldn’t be dry. But, to her surprise when she looked up on stage, there it was. It was way off to the right side, above a set of drums, hanging in the background. Just like me hanging in the background not making a difference.

It’d been a week since the big event. Her sign was long since forgotten, probably thrown in a dumpster. Big name speakers and famous singers graced the stage and the alter call evidenced a move of God that made it all worthwhile. She felt good. In her small way she, via her sign, shared the stage and perhaps helped be a part of what God did that night. And for her, that was enough.

But then it came. An e-mail from the event coordinator, she almost deleted it because she didn’t recognize the name.



Dear Amber,

I received your e-mail address from your pastor. I hope you don’t mind that he gave it to me. 
We haven’t met but I want to thank you for the sign you made to grace the stage during our event last week. You may have thought it trivial, but once you read the letter we received I think you’ll realize that nothing done in God’s service is trivial.

I’ve scanned a copy of this letter for you to read:



To whom it may concern,

I attended your religious service in the park last week. I wasn’t really sure why I went but I live in the neighborhood and the noise and lights drew me.

The only thing I was sure of that night was that it was to be my last night.

I can’t go in to all the reasons why my life had come to that point but I had planned to take my life after I left your service, I already had a note written and a perfect plan. My mind was made and nothing was going to change it. Nothing changed as I sat and listened to every word of every song. Nothing changed when I listened to the fervent words of the preachers and the emotional prayers of the pray-ers. I left still intent of doing what I had planned. Not one thing I heard mattered. That was just it, nothing mattered. I didn’t, what was said didn’t. So I wanted out.

Except, when it came time to pull the trigger I closed my eyes and saw this stupid sign. It was a sign that didn’t matter. It was hidden off on the right side, out of the lights. But I couldn’t get it out of my head.

JESUS LOVES YOU

YOU MATTER

I can’t explain it but that sign saved my life. Thanks.




Wednesday, July 24, 2013

He paints

HE paints…


gates, buffet & trump are paupers compared to He.

Yet, He shows up—not because He has to, but at His pleasure.

And He paints; i know, for others. But i like to think, perhaps just for me.

The canvas is large. Biggest one i’ve ever seen. If i don’t come early i miss it. It starts low, small, dark. Just a sliver of orange or pink, purple or yellow…really i don’t know—because He uses colors which have no name.

i always watch for the brush stroke. i’d like to see just one being made, and The Hand that makes it. But i can’t—my eyes too slow. Little by little, line upon line, stroke upon stroke, so slight i can’t see the change, but the colors begin to glow.

If i keep my eyes on His work i see dark translate to light; formless change to crystal clear.

And i hear His following, groupies if you will. They sing. They’re good, too—professionals, i’ve heard He pays them well. Like the painting, they begin soft, quiet, slow. First one and then another. Most whistle.

As colors increase so does their song. With each stroke of His brush the choir grows. Stronger. Louder. Until the atmosphere explodes with light, color and sound.

Indescribable incandescent light dances off water and shimmers through trees. Over and over He splashes color. Over and over i snap the shutter.

So bright i close my eyes. i whisper, this is Your best piece yet.

Light warms my skin and i feel His peace. i think, perhaps for others. But i know, just for me…



He’s more than enough. He shows up and it’s His pleasure. If i don’t look, and i don’t listen—i can miss it. He uses those with no name. He works, tho’ i can’t see. If i listen, i can hear His song. And if i watch, i can see His picture…

and know it was painted,

just for me.







Sunday, June 30, 2013

Wisest Parental advice I've ever heard

~
The other day I highlighted something and I’ve been reading it every day since. It’s hard. It’s simple. It’s the wisest parental advice I’ve ever heard.


King David said it to his son, Solomon a long time ago, but it applies to me and you right here, right now.

David said: “My son, learn to know the God of your ancestors intimately. Worship and serve him with your whole heart and a willing mind. For the LORD sees every heart and knows every plan and thought. If you seek him, you will find him. But if you forsake him, he will reject you forever. So take this seriously. The LORD has chosen you to build a Temple as his sanctuary. Be strong, and do the work.” 1 Chronicles 28

Parenting is hard, yes. Complicated? It doesn’t have to be. To break it down, David said something like this:

Ten Commandments For Parenting.


1) Know God intimately.

Like when you’re in love; think about Him all the time.

2) Worship & serve Him

Sink or swim, trust Him. Say to self: there’s only one God—and I’m not Him.

3) With your whole heart and willing mind.

Don’t worry about being perfect. Just be willing to want to do it right.

4) The Lord sees what’s inside.

Your thoughts are on His speaker phone.

5) He’s not hiding.

He wants you to find Him. If you’re looking—He’s showing.

6) If you reject Him—He will let you.

If you love something set if free. God is love.

7) This is serious.

Seriously.

8) You are chosen to build a Temple.

You are the temple. “Do you not know that you are the temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you? If anyone defiles the temple of God, God will destroy him. For the temple of God is holy, which temple you are.” 1 Corinthians 3:16-17 (NKJV)

9) Be strong.

Pray. Not by might, not by power, but by My Spirit says the Lord.

10) Work.

Do your best. Leave the results to God.

David summarizes by saying:

“Be strong and courageous, and do the work. Don’t be afraid or discouraged, for the LORD God, my God, is with you. He will not fail you or forsake you. He will see to it that all the work related to the Temple of the LORD is finished correctly.”

Lord, thanks for making it simple. Now, help us to handle the hard and be the kind of folks you’d like us to be. Amen.

~

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Behold the Mona Lisa...the bass & the dart board


Behold the Mona Lisa a beautiful work of art; a masterpiece. The original mind you, not a copy, not a forgery--the real thing. Now, let’s hang it here on this wall, between a largemouth bass and the dart board. It’ll cover up that stain on the wall and never mind the dirt and cobwebs; we’ll just hang her right over the top.


What’s that?

Sure a few stray darts may pierce the pic—but so? Everybody will see it hanging there.




There’s nothing to hang it on?

I know, just hold it up there against the wall. Let me grab my hammer and we’ll pound some nails right through the corners. If you don’t nail it down around here it’ll get stolen.





Sound crazy? Can’t believe I’d hang a masterpiece in such a place? Do you want to know what’s worse?

Well, dear precious sweet innocent lovely young ladies, you are the masterpiece. You are the priceless work of art. You are the one of a kind beauty… and you are doing this to yourselves.

What should be protected, revered and reserved for private showings of highest class and intimacy is flashed upon a filthy wall for others to drool over or throw darts upon. What should be secure is open and stolen; leaving you empty. 

It’s not that you can’t. But why would you want to hang yourselves on the filthy walls of facebook and internet?

You hold the beauty of the horizon. The sun rises and sets for those who appreciate her beauty. She always rises in the morning in the east and sets in the evening in the west. Those who appreciate her beauty will find her. And she doesn’t go out of her way to find those who don’t.

Your beauty will shine for those who will rise to see it, there is no need to flaunt and flash so you’ll be noticed.

Dress like a princess dear lady and you’ll be found by a prince.

Dress like a hooker and you’ll be found by a pimp.

What do you want?

Please know you are more than skin. You are heart and soul, and that is where your real beauty lies as a diamond in the rough.  

Your Creator has made you a one of a kind masterpiece to shine as beautiful as the sunrise and set, so don’t flash—shine.




Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.
~



photos courtesy of photobucket