Why Is It Wrong?

Why Is It Wrong?

 

Why is it wrong to love the nation we live in
To believe in righteousness and not in sin

Why is it wrong to honor our flag that flies
Or the men and women who gave up their lives

Why is it wrong to respect the highest seat
Whose backbone is strong and won’t retreat

Why is it wrong to fight for a child’s life
And why does that cause such anger and strife

Or that its a man and a woman who become one
Or that you are born either a daughter or a son

These are basic beliefs many stood on so long
But now they’ve been challenged as bias and wrong

Because I believe different than you may hold true
Does not mean I have phobias or that I hate you

Those beliefs in my heart will still stand strong
I still have the right to speak, or am I wrong?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Winds of adversity.

Winds of adversity.

Someone once asked me if I followed the first commandment before I followed the second commandment.

“It is the greatest commandment and the only one to live by,” she reminded me. “People sometimes think that the second one is the greatest and skip the first. But the second cannot be completed without the first.”

Then she quoted Mark 12:30:

“Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.”

Matthew 22:38 continues to say, “This is the first and the greatest commandment.” (NIV)

That word of wisdom stayed on my mind. I thought about it quit a lot. It boils down to loving the Lord with ALL that I am and in EVERY situation.

Wow, that is intense! It makes sense that it should be the first commandment. How can a person fulfill the second commandment, “Love your neighbor as yourself,” if they cannot understand the first. It is only through HIS love that we can come near to accomplishing loving our neighbor as ourselves.

Several days later I heard the Lord whisper the same words into my heart again, except this time he added, “I CHALLENGE you: love me with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind and with all your strength.”

Again, this resonated with my soul, especially in this hour.

Those who went before us surely understood this concept of complete and total abandonment of love for their Lord or they would not have been able to endure the tragedies, heartaches and persecutions that they faced then and some still do.

This leads me to share something that is on my heart. I believe the Lord is warning each of us that “a wind is coming”. It will be wind that is so powerful and mighty that if I (we) do not hold onto this verse I (we) may be blown away by that wind’s power.

You already see the wind in the American government. It is blowing away dross. And it will continue to blow. Innocent people have to hold on with all they are worth. They must hold onto their faith, while others keep them steadfast through prayer support and encouragement. But I strongly believe that if those who are dealing in lies and deceit do not change they will be blown away by the power of that wind.

As I was contemplating these things in my heart I heard the natural wind blow outside. I looked outside my front door and noticed our flag (yes, we have a flag in the front of our house) whipping violently in the wind. It was so powerful that it wrapped itself tightly around the flagpole. Then the wind changed its direction which caused the flag to unwrap, only to wrap around the pole again in the opposite direction.

A thought crossed my mind: “This is what we will have to do, as believers. We will need to cling to the cross, just as the flag is clinging onto the flagpole. We cannot stay rigid or we will break. We must be pliable, so that we can move with the wind and cling to the cross.”

Adversities may come and go but the cross of Christ is solid and strong and will never be moved. Jesus is solid and strong and will never be moved. He is every believer’s foundation. He is our rock. If we want to stand strong in the wind of adversity we must be rooted in him; we must be embedded in the rock of our salvation.

“The Lord is my protector; he is my strong fortress. My God is my protection, and with him I am safe. He protects me like a shield; he defends me and keeps me safe.” Ps 18:2 (GNT)

As these strong winds continue to blow we must realize that our good works will not get us through, nor our monetary values, nor our prestigious place in life, not even our friends and family (although faithful friends are of great worth). What will get us through the wind of conflict or adversity that is blowing into our lives, our communities and even our nation will be our unshakeable faith in our Lord Jesus Christ.

God promises that he will shake what needs to be shaken. He is coming for a spotless bride. If gold is refined in fire, wouldn’t we be, as well?

Yet we don’t need to live in fear. In fact we should live in the joy of the Lord. That is where we will find our strength. Even Jesus saw the joy that was set before him. That joy helped him endure the cross. And he endured opposition (which we see right now in our nation.)  Each of us need to look to Jesus as our example, so that we do not grow weary. (Hebrews 12)

Ultimately, we can rest in him because these battles are his. We need to continue to pray and praise him, in spite of the opposition. It is our praises that usher in His glory.

For me, in the midst the powerful wind, it comes down this:

Do I love him with all my heart?
Do I love him with all my soul?
Do I love him with all my mind?
Do I love him with all my strength?

Do YOU?

 

 

 

 

 

 

There are many emotions that are rocking our world lately. We have seen another shooting in America, another tragedy on our soil. It goes without saying that many different opinions follow these tragedies. This follows the crazy weather patterns that seemed to plague our country last year. And of course the ring of fire that is always sure to bring shaking to our world. We often hear of earthquakes and volcanos in that ring, and recently there has been shaking outside of it. But when I heard that the great legend, Billy Graham passed, I felt that an era had passed and all the other things filling the news suddenly became silent. I meditated on the thought of this man, known as the American Pastor, passing on into eternity. I thought about the great celebration that he was experiencing. Then I began to think what this means for us that are still sojourning in this world.

Does his death represent more than a great man who had succumb to age and illness in this dying world? The Lord tends to use natural circumstances to help us understand spiritual meanings. An example took place during the last plague that the Egyptians encountered. The angel of death passed over the Children of Israel, as well as the Egyptians. But the Children of Israel obeyed the Lord by placing the blood of a spotless lamb on the sides and the tops of their doorframes. (Exodus 12: 12-13) This represented the blood of Christ that would later be shed for our sins.

Then again, during the “last supper” (which was also during the celebration of Passover) Jesus shared a last meal with his disciples. During this time, he demonstrated the suffering he would endure and the blood he would shed for our sins. He expressed that things would be different, a new covenant, a new era.

“After taking the cup, he gave thanks and said, ‘Take this and divide it among you. For I tell you I will not drink again from the fruit of the vine until the kingdom of God comes.’ And he took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them. saying, ‘This is my body given for you; do this in remembrance of me.’ In the same way, after the supper he took the cup, saying ‘This cup is the NEW covenant in my blood, which is poured out for you.” Luke 22:17-20

So how is this similar to the death of the American Preacher? In my spirit I feel that a door has closed regarding the way things use to be done regarding spreading the Gospel. Now a new door will be opened regarding sharing the Gospel. In times past great leaders went before us, preaching the gospel and spreading the truth. Many people flocked to these great leaders and came to the saving grace of Jesus Christ.

Today is a different era. I feel the new era is up to you and me. We are to take the baton, so to speak. We (you and I) are the next great leaders. We may not be in a pulpit preaching salvation to a host of hungry souls, but we are lights in a very dark world. I recently heard someone describe the God-head as three different candles, each with their own flame, but when the candles come together, one flame burns; and how bright that light is! It is also the same with each believer. We all carry the light of Jesus in us, but when we walk as one with our Lord AND one with other believers that light is extremely bright.

There will still be individuals who preach to masses, but I believe the era of “the great evangelist” has been changed to the era of several individuals burning as one light for the world. The message will still be preached throughout the world BUT it is up to YOU; it is up to ME to spread that Gospel.

Lord let us each live as Billy Graham lived, deeply in love with you and eager to spread the Word of God. Wake those up who once were changed by his words. Arise in us with new boldness and joy as we shine the light that you gave us, so that others can see that light and be set free. Amen. Come Lord Jesus!

Water and Fire

Water and Fire

The howl of the wind, the rush of the water, the urgency in the air causing anxiety in the south. Or the roar of the fire, the sunless sky, the smell of smoke in the backyard, causing panic in the north. Our nation has seen so much anger, violence and hostility and now it seems mother-nature is as angry as the political unrest. There seems to be a shaking in our country; a shaking in our world.

Are these incidences just coincidences? Is it “climate change”? Is it just life in a planet that is forever changing? Or is it a compassionate wake-up call to a nation from an Almighty God, reminding people that he is ultimately in control? Or perhaps an “end time” announcement?

We have seen horrific earthquakes, tsunamis, mudslides and famines in other countries from a safe place. In fact we have experienced our own earthquakes that rocked the land plus horrific hurricanes and tornadoes and even volcanos that have affected personal lives. Life on this earth, inclusive of weather anomalies and change have occurred since the beginning of time. Yet it seems, from my perspective and others I have spoken with, that our nation is being bombarded by mother nature.

Was the solar eclipse that was nicknamed  “The Great American Eclipse” that crossed the contiguous United States a sign of things to come for America? You might ask why one would think this?  The Bible mentions signs in the heavens. Jesus warned of the days before his return.

Luke 21: 25-26 states: “There will be signs in sun and moon and stars, and on the earth dismay among nations, in perplexity at the roaring of the seas and the waves, men fainting from fear and the expectation of the things which are coming upon the world; for the powers of the heavens will be shaken.” (NASV)

Also in Acts 2:20 “The sun will be turned to darkness and the moon to blood before the coming of the great and glorious day of the Lord.” ( NIV)

If you have grown up in church you may have heard it preached that we are living in the “last days”.  In fact you might remember the “Left Behind” series by Tim LaHaye that became popular videos in the Christian communities in the early 2000s.  Before that there were many street prophets. Some stood with signs on the street corners that stated that the end was near.  Often you see these type of people portrayed in movies labeled as crazy or mentally unstable.

But calling out to masses about coming events is not a new concept. John the Baptist could have been considered one of those crazy people. He wore garments of camel-hair with a leather belt around his waist. His food was locust and honey. He often was heard saying, “Repent for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” Matthew 3:2 (ESV) Yet he was actually sent by God to announce the coming of Jesus and was humbled that he was allowed to baptize Jesus before he started his ministry.

Science fiction thriller movies have taken end time theories and made millions at the box office. In these movies the entire world is almost destroyed by some kind of climate change or world war 3 or a massive nuclear bomb or aliens that attack. But just at the last moment a hero saves the day or the world  People leave the theater thankful that it was just a movie.  And they carry on with their lives.

The concept of “end times” is old and perhaps heard so many times that it is portrayed as ridiculous. That message can get to the point of being overdone. Eventually people get tired of hearing it and roll their eyes. It took so long for Noah to build the Ark that people became weary of the sight of the ark or his lunatic racings, as well, and simply mocked him. They lived as they had always done, eating, drinking and getting married. Suddenly destruction came upon them.

Today people have become immune to the possibility of any truth those words may hold. “Seriously? We have been hearing those “end times” warnings for so long.” And then they will say, “Where is the promise of his coming? For ever since the fathers fell asleep, all things are continuing as they were from beginning of creation.” 2 Peter 3:4 (ESV)

Some people have gone as far as try to predict the return of the Lord. I remember a book in the 80s that was titled “88 Reasons Why the Rapture Will be in 1988” by Edgar Whisenant.  When it didn’t occur the way he assumed, the author continued writing more books that expanded on his explanation. He died without seeing the “rapture” take place in his lifetime.

But Jesus warned, “But concerning that day or that hour, no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son but only the Father.” Mark 13:32 (ESV)

Still Jesus forewarns that though we do not know the hour, there will be events that occur before that time. His message was to always be prepared. He even told a parable (or story) that has since been titled “The Parable of the 10 Virgins”. Five people were ready for the coming of the bridegroom, while five others had not been prepared. (Matthew  25:1-13)

Today we have many scoffers, even in the Christian community. In fact the Christian community is divided in many areas. I viewed some testimonies online from individuals that have shared dreams regarding what is taking place in America. Some said that they had already seen these events taking place in those dreams. One that really caught my attention was the proclamation that someone made regarding these two hurricanes. Afterwards they state that there will be a huge earthquake that will rock our nation. All these catastrophic events will devestate the American economy.

Regardless if these events are from the hand of God for judgement or if we are in the “last days” these events can transform each of our lives to help us to grow, if we allow them. They can cause us to trust God in the midst of chaos, create a greater prayer life, grow in our faith and relationship with our Savior and teach us compassion for those around us. Remember 9-11? It drew our nation together. Of course in the midst of positive transformation there will always be the scoffers and those who continue to harden their hearts, becoming bitter. And there will always be those that are bent on the destruction of others and themselves.

Yet heartaches can be used for good. The verse “And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who are called according to his purpose.” (Romans 8:28 NASB) becomes even more clear. It is the through the hardest times in our lives that God’s grace and the glory can shine.

Still I join with the disciples who waited earnestly for Jesus’ return in their days and know that the day of his ultimate return grows closer. And I pray for those who have been affected by the latest hurricanes, those who have lost their property and lost loved ones. And I pray for those who are being affected by the fires that still rage. So many hurts and so many loses in this world. God have mercy on each of us.

To each of you I leave this verse:

“When you pass through the water, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze.” Isaiah 43:2 (NIV)

 

 

Pray for America

Pray for America

There is a shift in the atmosphere. It has been moving for quite some time but the shift is getting louder and the images are becoming more clear. Do you hear it? Do you see it?

There are forces moving beyond our natural visibility that may not be recognized. But if we look closer to the situations of the hour we will see the heads of deceit and anger and unrest. This is not the unrest of a people group or of a nation, this is an unrest of demonic influences. These forces are fearful of the days ahead as they know their time is short. So their fury is unleashed into the hearts of people who will listen, causing the havoc that we are witnessing during this hour of time.

“For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorizes of the unseen world, against mighty powers in the dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places.”  Ephesians 6:12 (NLT)

Though I will never choose to make my blog political, politics obviously plays a huge part in our world. We may not be of this world but crazy enough we live in it. Besides, God has used people in the political scene or who carry authority in this earth, for his purpose. So it is worthy of discussion.

Politics has always been in play. Look at Moses. The Lord told him to bring the children of Israel to a place where they could worship outside of the city. He petitioned (familiar word) pharaoh many times. Pharaoh unwittingly played a huge part of that move. Because he fought against the voice of the Lord plagues covered the land and brought the eventual destruction of the Egyptian military, setting the children of Israel free.

Even during the days of Jesus Rome was a city of power filled with political unrest. Some people believe that the disciples first assumed that Jesus would be part of a movement that would overthrow the strong political power of the day.  It made sense as Jesus was a descendent of King David and many times was called the son of David. A couple of the disciples longed to sit on his left and right side in his kingdom. But he informed them that his kingdom was not of this world.

During the Roman Empire religious leaders argued amongst themselves regarding doctrine and beliefs similar to what the church does today. But they united as they used their given power of that time to motivate the crowds to loudly petition the death of Jesus. There was chaos in the streets.

Pontius Pilate gave the Jews a choice which prisoner they would like released during the Passover. He assumed the people would prefer to release the kind teacher who did many miracles. It surprised him that instead they wanted Barabbas who was known for being part of an uprising. Perhaps he was part of the Zealots, a group of people who were bent on overthrowing the Roman Empire–which had become a government of oppression.

This may have caught the first Christians off guard. They had seen the miracles Jesus had performed and believed that he was their answer. Hadn’t Jesus come to deliver them from this political turmoil and oppression as Moses had delivered the children of Israel?  Wasn’t he the one who would help them attain freedom from the mayhem that was swirling around them?

Today when we look at the streets of our towns in America we are appalled by the violence and the hatred. Where is all this anger coming from? Why has there been such a loud shift in the last couple years in our land regarding life, regarding unity, regading respect for our land and our freedom?

Instigators who wanted Jesus killed whispered pandemonium and lies into the ears of those in the crowd to stir up anger and dissatisfaction. The same people who had honored him only a week prior now chanted words of death to Jesus. Today our quiet cities have been stirred by the same sinister voices. There seems to be an underhanded plan to tear down America from the inside out. Those silent initiators may be thinking that they have incited the crowd, but the forces behind their motivation have a much more evil intent, as satan’s only intent is to steal, kill and destroy. (John 10:10)

I live in a community where races of all colors and creeds work together, shop together, go to the parks together, attend school together and even worship together. All is fine. So I don’t believe that this hatred is all-encompassing.  I think that it has been purposely inspired by those determined to destroy our nation through discord, anger and dissatisfaction.  And the media is playing into the hands of this upheaval, as predicted.

Unfortunately there is already anger and discourse in the hearts of men and woman today. So it doesn’t take much encouragement or coercing for these individuals or groups to attack and scream and lash out and to even kill one another. They may not even be aware of why they are angry or that they are being used as pawns for a greater cause.

I think of Judas Iscariot, known for betraying Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane.  He apparently wasn’t aware that what he was doing would bring such destruction to Jesus nor to himself. He just knew he would be paid greatly for his services, but he ended up paying a greater price. What is the price people are willing to pay who are demonstrating with such rage?

You may feel some exasperation brewing in your souls. You may be frustrated that this attitude of rage and disrespect is playing out in our streets and getting so much attention, knowing it isn’t the voice of the majority. Be careful that you do not fall prey to the anger and become as guilty as those who are creating so much strife.

“Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing but the flesh is weak.” Matthew 26:41 (NIV)

Where are we, as believers, suppose to stand in this line of fire? Fortunately we can still express our views without retaliation, I hope. We can protest (though I am beginning to believe that is asking for a playground of violence).  If you feel called you can join those in the political areana or speak out regarding your opinion. And of course, we can always ignore it and put our heads in the sand and “pretend” all is well.

But above all we should PRAY!

Pray together with others; pray without stopping. Pray for truth. Pray for peace. Pray for wisdom. Just pray because apparently prayer moves heaven!!! Go figure.

Remember the story of Peter who was miraculously set free from prison? People had gathered together to pray for him after they had learned that James had been killed. An angel came to his rescue, releasing him from prison. The prayer group was so astonished that he had escaped; that their prayers had actually been answered.

Like I have stated many times in other posts: God is NOT caught off guard. He will use the very circumstances of the day to bring about his truth, his glory and his redemption. It may not be broadcasted on TV or forwarded on social media. But behind the scenes of craziness—- people are still getting set free and saved.

When Jesus died on that cross, circumstances did not look very bright either. What were the first believers suppose to think? The one who promised to deliver them was now dead. But behind the scenes a great story was being played out. The enemy thought he had won the battle. But his plot had initiated the greatest story ever told. Jesus defeated death. He actually went into the belly of hell and took the keys of sin and death from satan. And then he rose back to life and is still offering eternal life for all who want it!

The condition of our country may appear grim. Darkness may seem to have won, but we don’t know what is transpiring behind the scenes. Hallelujah God does.  I have no clue what America may look like in a couple of years. We may see much darker days in this land. Laws may get passed that flabbergast us and go beyond all reason or common sense. Landmarks may come down that defined the history of our country. And our freedom to post our opinions may be monitored or scrutinized.

Should we run? Should we hide? Should we live in fear? I read a book that inspires hope to those in despair. It offers forgiveness to the broken, inspiration to the downtrodden, and eternal life to ANYONE who desires it.

It is the Word of God and it is alive.

“God’s word is living and active. It is sharper than any two-edged sword and cuts as deep as the place where soul and spirit meet, the place where joints and marrow meet. God’s word judges a person’s thoughts and intentions.” Hebrews 4:12

There is a shift in the atmosphere. It is a shift of God’s hand moving and preparing our hearts. There is a shift of God wooing us to come to him in the midst of chaos. Do you hear it? Do you see it?

Listen: The voice of the Lord is calling his own.

He who is the faithful witness to all these things says, “Yes, I am coming soon!” Amen! Come, Lord Jesus!” Revelation 20:22 (TLT)

 

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