Are You Considering Religion? Reconsider.

This may seem a little strange coming from a pastor, but if it is religion that you are looking for my friend, I exhort, please reconsider.

Do’s and Don’ts will never make one pleasing to God, not to mention, that one could never do or not do enough to satisfy God. He gave clear cut evidence of this when he gave us His law.

For if that first covenant had been faultless, then should no place have been sought for the second, but the law made nothing perfect, but the bringing in of a better hope did; by the which we draw nigh unto God. Now we know that what things soever the law saith, it saith to them who are under the law: that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God. Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin.

So in order for one to even attempt to live for God, shall most assuredly end in religious futility, to which God is not looking for at all. One will only find this sort of religious rite will only draw one near unto God with their lips, only to find their heart far from Him. This my friend is the crux of the matter… the heart.

So God showed us the fault was with them, us, you, me….  our hearts.

For finding fault with them, he saith, Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah:Not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day when I took them by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt; because they continued not in my covenant, and I regarded them not, saith the Lord. For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, saith the Lord; I will put my laws into their mind, and write them in their hearts: and I will be to them a God, and they shall be to me a people: Hebrews 8:8-10

You see my friend the problem was not with the law (God’s rules and regulation) it is with the heart of the individual. It is desperately wicked and deceitful above all things. God wants to transform our hearts and mind.

God is not wanting to change our actions, He is wanting to change our will, our hearts, our mind so that they are liken to our precious Lord. The actions will supernaturally follow. By the mercies of God, present your body a living sacrifice, not conforming to this world or to religion, but by a transforming of the mind and that by His word.

Don’t look for religion. Receive His Christ…. Yeshua ha Massicah

malachi

Truly A Vexing Spirit

On May 15, 2008  the California Supreme Court narrowly ruled that homosexual couples have a constitutional right to marry, striking down laws barring same-sex nuptials and making the most populous state in the union the second after Massachusetts to legalize  homosexual  marriage. Source Bloomberg.com

In this latest act by the California Supreme Court, we see a rogue spirit from 4 of the 7 justices. This in the face of a 2000 ballot decision where 61 percent of California voters supported a ballot initiative defining marriage as between a man and woman.  

It would appear to me that these Supreme Court justices may want to count their blessings that their livelihood (as a Supreme Court Justice) is not contingent upon the 61% of the voters who were told their opinions are not worthy of consideration, by the ruling on May 15th. 

A greater concern as a nation and more importantly as a Christian, is what we are seeing in terms of a rogue and rebellious spirit that is blatantly directed against God’s word. A spirit that is saying “we don’t care what God says about homosexuality, we are going to do what ever make us feel good”.

It is not hard for one to see the union of the two spirits… that of the the rogue Supreme Court Justice and the unrepentant homosexual.

In the 19th chapter of Genesis we read of God sending two angels to Sodom to retrieve Lot and his family from the pending judgement on a city giving to the most abominable sexual sin.

In the second epistle of  Peter chapter 2, Peter speaks of the impending judgement against those that pervert the Word of God and analogs it with the destruction that befell Sodom and Gomorrah, for an example unto those that after should live ungodly.

The word of God goes on to tell us that Lot was delivered from this judgement but was not completely unscathed. He was tormented with the filthy conversation of the wicked and that seeing and hearing, vexed his righteous soul from day to day with their unlawful deeds.

The pleasures of sin are but for a season. God’s mercy in the face of Jesus Christ endureth forever.

malachi

This Olympic Medalist Surely Awaits Gold…

82 days to go until the Summer Olympic Games begin in Beijing China. For seventeen days in August, athletes from around the world will convene in Beijing to to vie for the highest medal and honor in their specific area of sports.

As the Olympic games draw near, reports are coming in that China has stepped up its crackdown on Christians, according to the China Aid annual report released back in February of this year.

Source: The Christian Post

“China Aid Association noted that the number of persecution incidents is likely to be much higher because of censorship in communications.

There were four main targets of persecution: house church leaders, house churches in urban areas, Christian publications, and foreign Christians and missionaries living and working in China.”

Which brings me to an athlete that is running a race that is set before him. His name is Liu Huiwen and he is imprisoned in Dongxiang, China for distributing a Christian Tract. Source: Compass Direct News.

That’s right a tract…..  “A Letter To Our Muslim Friends” during a funeral in Manping Groupin Ketuo village, part of the Dongxiang Autonomous Region, a Muslim-majority ethnic area in Gansu province.

The article goes on to say that many of the prison guards and inmates are Muslims, and that Liu is being mistreated in prison.

Though his suffering is unjust and most assuredly intense, his reward is both certain and great.

“Fear none of those things which thou shalt suffer: behold, the devil shall cast some of you into prison, that ye may be tried; and ye shall have tribulation ten days: be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life.”

Liu’s wife, Miao Hui Lian, fears that without intervention her husband’s well-being could be severely impaired. She and their 4-year-old son are living with Liu’s parents, as she has no income to support herself during his imprisonment.

Keep Brother Liu and his family in your prayers daily.

But rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ’s sufferings; that, when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy. If ye be reproached for the name of Christ, happy are ye; for the spirit of glory and of God resteth upon you: on their part he is evil spoken of, but on your part he is glorified.  1 Peter 4: 13-14

malachi

A Tiny Ember Is All That Is Left…….

A Dwindling Witness
No church in the world can claim more ancient roots than in Israel-Palestine, where there has been a continual Christian presence since the time of Christ. But in the last 60 years, the number of Palestinian Christians living in the area has dropped from as much as 40 percent of the population to only 2 or 3 percent (estimates vary), while most Palestinian Christians have emigrated elsewhere. The reasons are debated—various groups blame Israel’s policies or pressures from the Muslim majority. In 1992 George Carey, then Archbishop of Canterbury, told the New York Times that he feared in 15 years Jerusalem and Bethlehem would become “a kind of Walt Disney Christian theme park”—a tourist attraction without a real Christian presence. His prediction is in danger of coming true. But those local Christians who still remain in places like Bethlehem are holding on to their homeland and heritage fiercely. 

Resource Christianity Today- Christian History Newsletter05.17.2008

 

The words of the Archbishop of Canterbury have proven to be quite prophetic. I wonder where America will be in 15 years, if the Lord tarries?

In the parable of the sower, the Lord gives us 4 types of soil into which the seed is sown. It is the stony ground I would like to consider in this post-

And these are they likewise which are sown on stony ground; who, when they have heard the word, immediately receive it with gladness; And have no root in themselves, and so endure but for a time: afterward, when affliction or persecution ariseth for the word’s sake, immediately they are offended. Mark 4:16-17

From the analogy above the operational word is endure. In order for our life to be a testimony, we must endure. In order for us to endure we must abide in His word. “I am the vine, ye [are] the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.”

Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be salted? it is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men. Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid. Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven. Matt.5:13-16

Pray God will strengthen the brethren in Israel as they stand in opposition to the enemies of the cross.

Jerome
“It is not being in Jerusalem, but living a good life there that is praiseworthy.”

malachi

A House Divided?

“According to a news release, Franklin Graham, president and CEO of Samaritan’s Purse and the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, is currently on a 10-day visit to China where he is meeting with government and church leaders in Beijing, Hangzhou, Nanjing and Shanghai.

When he learned about the devastating earthquake, Graham committed $150,000 to assist with the immediate disaster response. The relief organization is continuing to look for additional ways it can contribute to earthquake relief efforts.

According to the news release, Graham met with Elder Fu Xian-Wei, chairman of the Three Self Patriotic Movement, and Rev. Gao Feng, president of the China Christian Council, at the organizations’ national headquarters in Shanghai.” Excerpts from While in China, Franklin Graham and Samaritan’s Purse Respond to Earthquake Destruction.. Assist News Service

While reading the above mentioned article I was somewhat perplexed when I saw that Graham was meeting with the chairman of the Three Self Patriotic Movement….. Anyone who keeps up with the persecution of the underground Christian church in China will not be deceived for the Three Self Patriotic Movement is not only the state church in China, but the very source of the persecution.

 

To help understand the ties above one must consider the statements made from Franklin Graham to reporters Friday during a visit to Beijing for meetings with the Communist Party-controlled Protestant church movement. Source The Christian Post

While some Christian groups have said they plan to proselytize during the August games, Graham said he was against that because Chinese law does not permit such actions.

“I would not support any illegal activity at all,” Graham said.

Brother Graham may fair better if he went to China as nothing more than a philanthropist and leave the evangelism to those who are willing to lay down their life for the cause of the gospel.

Those in the underground church are doing so, unabashedly everyday. Remember to pray for them daily.

malachi

The stinking savour of dead flies….

By now you may have gotten wind of the perplexing circumstances that have overtaken Rep. Vito Fossella (R-N.Y.) about his May 1st arrest outside of Washington on charges of driving while intoxicated. Seems his D.W.I. arrest may be the least of his worries.

Fossella, married and the father of three children, later announced that he has fathered a 3-year-old daughter with a woman outside his marriage and there are serious questions about misuse of public monies for personal pleasure. Read the article in its entirety below. [Resource -New York Post]

New York Rep. Fossella faces calls for his resignation

Vito Fossella- Biographical Information

When one reads the qualifications of Rep. Vito Fossella, there is no denying that he is a brilliant man and one with impeccable credentials. In 1994 Fossella was a lawyer, private practice; New York, N.Y., city council member; was elected as a Republican to the One Hundred Fifth Congress, by special election to fill the vacancy caused by the resignation of United States Representative Susan Molinari.

His congressional platform was grounded upon honesty, integrity and family values. His  opinions and condemnation concerning the sexual promiscuities of then President Bill Clinton were both public and vocal.

Now there appears to be dead flies in his own ointment……….

Dead flies cause the ointment of the apothecary to send forth a stinking savour: so doth a little folly him that is in reputation for wisdom and honor. Eccl 10:1

When the public elects a man or a woman and places them in a position of leadership and authority, there is a level of responsibility and accountability that should be held in the highest esteem. It seems that this type of public embarrassment by public officials is more and more commonplace. Republican or Democrat, it matters not, they have all gone astray.

A good name is better than precious ointment; and the day of death than the day of one’s birth. Eccl 7:1

It is true, that a man can spend a lifetime building a credible reputation only to allow one act of foolishness to destroy all of his work.

malachi

A Decree For the Dead, Not the Living

Most of the readers are familiar with the story of Daniel and how he was thrown into a den of lions because he defied the kings decree and would not refrain from praying to his God three times a day as he had done aforetime.

When Daniel was found praying he was cast into the den of lions and a stone was brought and laid upon the mouth of the den. But during the course of the night the Lord sent His angel and the angel shut the mouths of the lion that they hurt Daniel not.

When the king came to the den of lion early the next morning and found Daniel alive and unhurt, the king was exceeding glad and set forth the following decree…..

“Then king Darius wrote unto all people, nations, and languages, that dwell in all the earth; Peace be multiplied unto you. I make a decree, That in every dominion of my kingdom men tremble and fear before the God of Daniel: for he [is] the living God, and stedfast for ever, and his kingdom [that] which shall not be destroyed, and his dominion [shall be even] unto the end. He delivereth and rescueth, and he worketh signs and wonders in heaven and in earth, who hath delivered Daniel from the power of the lions.” Daniel 6:25-27

I was listening to Woodrow Kroll’s daily teaching in a series of messages out of the book of Daniel (Back to the Bible) on the way back to work from lunch today and he had brought out the fact that Darius’ decree including the following command…

‘that every man in his kingdom tremble and fear God’

…but did not require every man in his kingdom to believe or trust in this same God.

When considered, this is a very thought provoking statement. A king can not decree a man’s faith. It is of his own free will. Whether a man will trust the God of the bible can only be brought to conviction by the Spirit of Truth. I can not be legislated by man or his law.

It is better to trust in the LORD than to put confidence in man. It is better to trust in the LORD than to put confidence in princes. All nations compassed me about: but in the name of the LORD will I destroy them. Psalm 118:8-10

The true importance of this assurance will not be consummated until we stand before the Lord.

In the first epistle of Peter the Spirit of God uses the analogy to describe Satan as a roaring lion. [1 Peter 5:8] When an individual puts their trust in the finished work of Christ then is his/her security is steadfast in Him and Him alone.

My friend if you have never trusted in Christ then Darius’ decree is for you…

‘tremble and fear Daniel’s God’

If one is to  ever have hope of escaping this roaring lion mentioned in Peter’s epistle, you must set your sin upon the Savior’s finished work. You must be born again. It can not be decreed only believed.

malachi

The Natural Digression to the Unnatural….

Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man: But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed. Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death. Do not err, my beloved brethren. James 1:13-16

I was reading a post today by a blogger who was talking about coming to grips with their homosexuality and the transition that one must traverse from the futile attempts to thwart these desires to acceptance of ones actions are liken to a journey.

 

Years passed and I journeyed into pride. It’s a place you arrive at after doing a lot of soul-searching and bearing of fear and pain. I found out you do have to do something to get there, albeit at an emotional level. It is an accomplishment. Pride is a sort of militant fortress you built around your heart to protect you from the bad guys…the people that whisper behind your back, the fundamentalists that condemn you to hell, the government that legislates against you. Pride is a place of fellowship you share with other gays, lesbians, bi’s and transsexuals. Pride is a place you can point a finger back and say, “Dammit, I’m a human being just like you, so lay off.”

 

The post goes on to say that the transition moves from a seeming radical or “militant” spirit to a spirit of peace and acceptance with ones self and life style….

 

What I was surprised to learn is that there is a place beyond pride that is not addressed in the media. It is a place of peace with yourself and with your part in the world. When you arrive here, you will find you have fully integrated your sexuality in your mind and with your soul. It is a calm place that does not require fortresses. It just is. When you come to peace, you are free to be yourself at all times and in all places, with all people, without fear or embarrassment or even pride.

I would like for all reading this post to understand that I am not writing this with a condemning spirit; if you could see my heart you would understand this. But when we consider the above scriptures extracted from James, we can see that there is a natural digression to unnatural act.

It begins with the heart (desires). The thoughts and intentions of one’s heart are sincere, but they can be deceiving, “for the heart is deceitful above all things and desperately wicked, who can know it?” Jeremiah 17:9

When the desires of an individual’s heart conflict with the way and word of God it is sin. The best example that everyone of us are familiar with is Adam & Eve.

God said… they disobeyed…. sin brings forth….. death!

We see this same digression, just to a greater degree in the epistle that was written by the apostle Paul to those in Rome.

Because that, when they knew God, they glorified Him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened. Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools, And changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and fourfooted beasts, and creeping things. Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonour their own bodies between themselves: Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen. For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature: And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompence of their error which was meet. Romans 1:21-27

Man can not make God what he wants Him to be. He is what He is.. God. His word is the mirror of His mind, therefore opposition to the word of God is sin. “Every way of man is right in his own eyes; but the Lord pondereth the hearts”.

 

“What lies behind us and what lies before us are small matters compared to what lies within us.”                                                             ~Ralph Waldo Emerson

malachi

Kamikaze- a spirit of divine wind….

kamikaze (Japanese:神風), usually translated as “divine wind” (kami is the word for “God”, “Spirit”, or “Divinity”; and kaze for “wind”).

Kamikaze pilots would attempt to intentionally crash their aircraft — often laden with explosives, bombs, torpedoes and full fuel tanks — into Allied ships. The aircraft’s normal role was, essentially, converted to that of a manned missile in a desperate attempt to reap the benefits of greatly increased accuracy and payload over that of a normal bomb. (Source: Wikipedia-Kamikaze) 

I have always been somewhat perplexed at the tactics of the Japanese military in WWII and their use of the sacrificial pilots that would crash they explosive laden aircraft into the enemies ships. The sacrifice of ones own life in an attempt to kill and destroy the enemy.

It is not the justification of the cause that has pressed such deep consideration in my mind, but such commitment to a cause, that has often left me to wonder… what will a man be willing to lay down his life for?

We see an uncanny similarity in the acts of what is labeled  ‘the suicide bomber’ (suicide was later supplanted with homicide as it became more accurately descriptive of such an act…) of our day. An individual becomes part of a lethal attack, a walking time bomb if you please, that not only takes the life of innocent people, but  the very life of the individual that has taken on this spirit of ‘divine wind’; a modern day kamikaze of sorts.

We see this this same savour in the radical Muslim movement ‘The Brotherhood’ that has been operational for years throughout Europe and Asia, and its spirit of ‘divine wind’ is starting to blow across North America.

The Muslim Brotherhood in the United States ‘A Brief History.

The Brotherhood was founded in Egypt in 1928 by Hassan al-Banna in
response to the then-recent collapse of the Muslim Caliphate. Al-Banna called for establishment of a world Islamic state governed by Koranic law, ruled by a single caliph.

The Brotherhood’s Creed 

“God is our objective; the Koran is our constitution; the Prophet is our leader; jihad is our way; and death for the sake of God is the highest of our aspirations.”

When I ran across the creed of the Brotherhood, I encountered that same perplexing reasoning as those likened to the actions of the kamikaze… “and death for the sake of God is the highest of our aspirations.”

Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any [man] will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me. For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it. For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul? Matthew 16: 24-26

One must admit that this type of thought process and reasoning does not find receptive palates in the church in America, yet Christ demanded this element of commitment if one considers following Him

For my Christian brothers and sisters anywhere other than in America they must rationalize this type of commitment every day and decide whether they will unabashedly serve and follow their Lord. For you see this ‘divine wind’ is a blowing and oft times it beats vehemently upon the house. But for the man that builds his house upon the rock, shall find the foundations steadfast and sure.

The kamikaze, radical Muslim and the follower of Christ all die for a cause, the paramount distinction, is the God with which the Christian has rested his/her commitment.

My faith has found a resting place not in device or creed. I trust the ever living One, His wounds for me shall plead. I need no other argument, I need no other plea. It is enough that Jesus died and that He died for me.

malachi

If You Could Sell Your Soul, What Is It Worth?

And how do you benefit if you gain the whole world but lose your own soul in the process? Is anything worth more than your soul? Matthew 16:26 New Living Translation.

 

In the gospel of Matthew, the 16th chapter, Jesus exhorted His disciple to take up His cross and follow Him. He said a man must deny himself, for whosoever will save his life shall lose it and whosoever will lose his life for Christ sake shall find it.

Every individual that has breath in their lungs and a beat in their heart must make a decision as to what they will do with their soul. If they trust in the finished work of Christ, they shall enjoy an eternity in His glory. If a man chooses to reject God’s Christ and His salvation, they shall find an eternity separated from God…. not a good choice my friend.

But let say it was in your power to sell you soul, what value would you place upon it? $100, $1,000, $1,000,000? I remember reading an article where a man was robbed and killed for $1.50. Not a whole lot of money by any ones standard.

The scriptures teach us that we were not redeemed with silver or gold, nor  through our religious rites, but with the precious blood of the Son of God. 1 Peter 1:18-19

Contained in this simple truth my friend, we see that a man’s soul is not for sell, it can only be redeemed.

If you have been in bondage to sin and are looking for a sweet deliverance or have wallowed comfortably in your vain religion, why not trust the Christ… His mercy will cover a multitude of sin. Your sin my friend is not too big that He cannot redeem. For there is no other name given unto man, whereby he might be saved.

Yeshua ha Massiach

If we all considered this serious question ‘what is your soul worth’ everyone of us woul place a higher value on our own soul than another might. Not with God.., He placed such a value our soul, that He became a man and died for His own creation. No greater love hath a man than this, that he would lay down his life for a friend.

malachi