Please! Allow Me To Rant!

I usually don't rant about too much through my blog, but I think I will today. Please understand my heart in what I am about to write. I'm not posting this to provoke a debate. There are enough of them on social media as it is.

I am a born again Christian. My life was changed back in 1978 as I cried out to Him in the midst of a personal crisis. He heard and answered my cry! As a result, my life is His, no longer mine. He changed my life. I would never, ever want to go back to my old ways again. Knowing and serving Him is just too good to throw away. If you know anything at all about me; or if you read my blog at all, you definitely know where I stand on this.

I also want to say that I am an American. Being an American doesn't make me a Christian. However, as a born again Christian American, I've studied the roots of our nation; roots that are planted deeply in the God of this universe. Modern day History books don't tell the true story of how our nation was founded. But the truth can be found in writings such as "The Light And The Glory" (authored by Peter Marshall and David Manuel).

But this is not a history lesson. It's a rant. Remember? America over the years has drifted away from the God who established her and upheld her over the years. We've said over the years "God bless America!" because He had blessed us. But now we need to be shouting from the rooftops, "America, bless God!" To serve and acknowledge Him is to bless Him. We've fallen way short of this over the past 50 years.

We kicked Him out of our public schools in the early sixties. For decades we've murdered the unborn. Don't you ever forget, the God who "gives" life cannot bless the process of "taking" innocent life. Because we've buried our heads in the sand, thinking it would go away, the consequences of murdering the unborn have overtaken our nation. And just recently the high court of our land decided to redefine the meaning of the marriage institution which, let me add, was established by God. Please, don't be a fool, thinking mere man can override anything God Almighty has established.

If I conducted extensive research on the current administration in Washington, I don't believe I could find a single thing about it I could defend. There's just nothing there. But here me out! Stop blaming our President! Stop blaming Washington! America is at fault...not just our leaders! We are the ones who have allowed this to go on, year after year.

What is happening in our land today is a result of a nation (over time) turning its back on the God of all creation. Listen to just a small portion of a passage of Scripture from Romans Chapter One. "And just as they did not see fit to acknowledge God any longer, God gave them over to a depraved mind, to do those things which are not proper..." (Romans 1: 28) This means God let them have their perverted way. If this is what we choose, so be it! However, He will not (and cannot) pour out blessings on the one (or nation) which has chosen to go its own way.

My mind is baffled at the lack of perception of the American people (including much of His church). Not many seem to perceive the trouble our nation is in. Much of this is caused by greed. Greed runs rampant from Washington through the corporate realm down to the grassroots level. Greed feeds the present, but blinds one of the inevitable consequences. Sooner or later the wage of greed arrives undoing the one caught in it.

Another cause of the blindness in America is the degradation of morality from one generation to the next. Simply stated, many who know God and who have high morals do not raise up future generations to do the same. As a matter of fact, many folks are so deluded that they want to hide truth and morality from the next generation to insure they fail to walk in it. Greed feeds on the absence of truth and morality.

I could take this rant on a rather long ride. However, I'll head for the exit ramp. But let me say, (at the risk of being labeled a "doomer and gloomer") if things don't change, it soon will be too late. What? Pretty negative. But there is a lot of negative in our land today from Washington on down. Will it naturally evolve into a better state? I don't think so. Ponder the way things are going. What kind of world do you want your children and grandchildren to grow up in? It probably won't change...however, can we change?

There is only One way to reverse the degradation in our land, cry out to Jesus as I did in 1978. Watch things change! It's that simple! God never left. We left Him. Turn back to God. Repent for the sins of our nation. Change the way you live. Live for Him. As you cry out to Him in behalf of our nation, He will enable you to change your life. There is hope. But that hope is slowly slipping away. What will you do. It's not up to Washington. It's not up to the Republicans or the Democrats. It's up to you my friend. Heaven is waiting. God stands ready to bless America again, but we must return to Him! Rant over.

732714: The Light and the Glory, revised and expanded edition: 1492 - 1793 The Light and the Glory, revised and expanded edition: 1492 - 1793
By Peter Marshall & David Manuel

Did Columbus believe that God called him west to undiscovered lands? Does American democracy owe its inception to the handful of Pilgrims that settled at Plymouth? If, indeed, there was a specific, divine call upon this nation, is it still valid today?
The Light and the Glory answers these questions and many more for history buffs. As readers look at their nation's history from God's point of view, they will begin to have an idea of how much we owe to a very few--and how much is still at stake. Now revised and expanded for the first time in more than thirty years, The Light and the Glory is poised to show new readers just how special their country is.

Heaven's Party Come To Earth

It amazes me that heaven parties when just one sinner repents. That's what the Book says. Jesus used the examples of the shepherd who lost one of ninety-nine sheep, the woman who loses one of ten coins, and of course the father whose son demands his inheritance and leaves. (The prodigal son).

The shepherd left the ninety-nine sheep in the open pasture and went and found the one lost sheep. When he found it, he brought it home, called his friends and family together, and threw a party. Jesus said, "I tell you that in the same way, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance." (Luke 15: 7) Did you catch that? Just one!

The woman who lost the silver coin, turned up the lights and searched through the house until she found the one lost coin. When she found it she called her friends and family together and partied in a major way! "In the same way", Jesus says, "I tell you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents." There's that number

Almost everyone knows the story of the Prodigal Son. After he left with his inheritance his father waited eagerly for his return. The Bible doesn't say how long he was away, but it does tell us he squandered away all of his inheritance over a period of time. He became penniless and hungry. In shame he makes his way back to his father who is still eagerly watching and waiting for his return. Instead of giving shame, his father runs to him, embraces him, and throws a major celebration because the one who was lost was now found! In all three scenarios, the lost were found and lots of joy was had. Parties were thrown!

Why does repentance on the earth bring so much joy in heaven? To fully understand the answer to the question we must seek God to understand the significance of "being lost", and then "being found"! We learn from Jesus' three illustrations that it is utterly tragic to be lost. When one is lost, they are lost eternally, unless they repent while still on the earth. To be lost is to be eternally separated from God. Repentance according to Jesus is like being found, after a long, extensive search. Celebration must take place. That which was lost is now found!

Repentance is not remorse. Repentance is a complete change of heart, mind, and direction. The core of repentance is receiving Jesus' infinite grace, mercy, and unfailing love.  Only fully trusting one's life to Jesus can make this possible. Jesus said, "I have come to seek and save that which was lost." (Luke 19:10)
When Jesus hung on the cross, He took upon Himself the essence of "being lost" as He bore our sins. He was separated from God His Father as He became your sin and my sin. The result is whoever will truly call upon Him in repentance, hungry for life change...He will answer. Whoever receives His grace, mercy, and love will immediately go from "eternally lost" to "eternally found"! When that happens heaven begins to party down!
Repentance is heaven's source of joy. If that's the case, it should also be the church's source of joy. We should be intent on bringing heaven's joy to earth as we lead folks into repentance in the church and out in the world. Ask Jesus to make you an instrument of heaven's joy as you avail yourself to leading others to Jesus. Then get ready to party!

Why Wait? Because It's Worth It!

We live in a "have it now" world. We hardly have to wait for anything! Our society is an instantaneous one. Someone said the next thing will be Toss-A-Burger. You reserve your burger online in advance. When it's time to eat, you simply drive "by" the drive-through window and someone tosses your lunch into your car. You don't even have to stop. Make sure your car window is down!

Why wait...when you can have it now, pay for it later. Why wait when you can spend your tax return before it is even issued! I remember when Connie and I purchased our first car. It was a 1974 Chevy Vega station wagon. We had to wait days for our credit to be reviewed, and finally approved. I was a bit nervous, but I didn't lose my sanity over it because our society was accustomed to waiting back then. We were more patient because of it. Today we blow a gasket if we don't hear something in 3 minutes.

This "spirit" of the instantaneous has made its way in to the culture of the Western church. In addition to emulating the ways of the world in this, we seem to lose patience with God when we don't quickly get what we ask Him for. Many give up. After all, the Bible says if we give, we shall get, right? But the asking and receiving must be done in God's way. So this brings me to the heart of this post.

There is a species of "giving and receiving" we Christ-followers tend to overlook. This particular species of giving and receiving is the most significant. It doesn't deal only with the here and now, but also the hereafter. As a matter of fact, the most significant "receiving" is done after we leave this life.

Jesus said, "Blessed are you when men hate you, and ostracize you, and insult you, and scorn your name as evil, for the sake of the Son of Man. Be glad in that day and leap for joy, for behold, your reward is great in heaven." (Luke 6: 22 - 23) This is without a doubt, the most difficult form of giving. He goes on to say we must love our enemies, do good to those who hate us, bless those who curse us, and pray for those who mistreat us. (Verses 27 and 28)

These are the forms of giving that will bring the greatest rewards. But the thing is...they come later. In the face of hatred and being ostracized; in the face of insult and scorn; in the face of those who hate us because we serve Jesus, we are to love, do good, bless, and pray for those who have made themselves our enemies. When do we get rewarded for this? In heaven, not now. What is our reward for this? I'm not sure. But there is one thing I am sure off. The rewards we receive in heaven far out weigh any reward we can receive here on earth. Jesus said on the day we're hated, ostracized, insulted, and scorned for His sake we are to celebrate. Celebrate? Why celebrate for all that negative stuff? We don't celebrate for the negative stuff, we celebrate because of our great reward we will receive in heaven!

How often do you leap for joy when you are glad about something? Jesus said on the day we're persecuted we are not only to be glad, but we're to leap for joy! This type of reward will be so great we can leap for joy in the face of present persecution! It's just that incredible! And there will be a whole lot more leaping and dancing when we actually receive our reward in eternity!

Truthfully, for you and me to endure what is ahead, we must understand eternity. We must be able to think past the here and now. We must understand that most of what we do in this life affects our eternity. Jesus said, "Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves do not break in or steal; for where your treasure is, there will be your heart also." (Matthew 6: 19 - 21)
So how can one establish the mindset that reaches past the present into the eternal realm? It's quite simple. We fall deeper and deeper in love with the One who rules eternity. We determine that we are lost without Him. We determine that we are desperate for Him. We must seek Him until we find Him. The closer we come to Him, the more we perceive the reality of eternity. This perception enables us to endure whatever we encounter while we are on earth. We can even leap for joy in the face of it because our reward in heaven is so incredibly fantastic!

401265: Heavenly Rewards Heavenly Rewards
By Simms Mulozi & Pukuta Mwanza

Go Beyond The Barriers

We read in our history books about those who accomplished great exploits. Exploits that more than likely changed the course of history. We read in the Bible of those who stepped out for the sake of the Gospel, and changed the course of eternity for you and me. These were not great people. They were ordinary people who had faith in a great God! Somehow they realized (at some point) that mediocrity is the enemy of life-changing impact; and that the mindset of the status quo is the enemy of greatness. It's not so much that they broke beyond the limits of their own abilities. They simply broke through the barriers that kept them from greatness. God was already in them. The greatness was already there!
The greatness is already there! Did you get that? Gideon is a good example. (See Judges 6) Israel had turned away from God. God sent the Midianites to pretty much torment and hassle Israel for seven years. They wreaked havoc among the Israelites. When it was harvest time in the land, they would come out of nowhere and steal the harvest (among many other things)!
Israel prayed and God sent help. He chose Gideon, a great man of faith and power...right? Wrong! When He found Gideon, he was beating out wheat while hiding in a winepress for fear of the Midianites. The angel approaches him and says, "The Lord is with you, O valiant warrior." "The Lord is with us?" says Gideon. "Why has He let all this happen to us?" "And besides all that, I am a simple man from the lowly tribe of Manasseh."
The angel didn't tell Gideon He would zap him with a Holy Spirit ray gun, and give him supernatural abilities to defeat the Midianites. He simply said, "The Lord is with you, O valiant warrior." The greatness was already there! Gideon simply needed to break through (and away from) the mindset of mediocrity and the status quo. He eventually realized that with God...ALL things are possible. He got the clue that God had called Him to do things far beyond the ordinary. He delivered Israel with God's help. The greatness was already with him, because God was with him.
God didn't create and call you to be ordinary. He didn't call you to be mediocre, working hard just to maintain the status quo. No, he called you to great exploits for Him. Great exploits are not for a few select. They are for anyone who will trust God enough to take steps of faith. Steps that lead beyond the ordinary. Great exploits usually begin with small steps, usually one at a time. And remember, the greatness is already there because God is in you!
What has called you to do? Where has He called you to go? What dreams has He put into your spirit? Don't let the mindset of mediocrity hold you back. God is much bigger than that.
My suggestion to you is to write down your dreams. Pray over them. Dreams turn into great exploits for God. Dreams will take you through the barriers of the ordinary and status quo as you trust God. The greatness is already there because God is with you. Don't you agree it's time to break forth into what God has called you to do?

007399: War Room, DVD War Room, DVD

Tony and Elizabeth have it all---good jobs, a beautiful daughter, and their dream home. But their marriage is crumbling, and Tony is flirting with temptation. When Elizabeth meets her new client, Miss Clara, she's challenged to establish a "war room" and a battle plan for prayer. What will happen if she steps out in faith? Rated PG. Dove faith-friendly. Approx. 120 minutes.