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Yet Another Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing

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Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves“.

Jesus spoke those words of warning in Matthew 7:15 so that God’s children would not be harmed by those who outwardly profess to be “religious”, but inwardly they are nothing more than wolves seeking to devour the flock. In the next several verses, Jesus goes on to explain that we can see through their disguise if we will open our eyes and ears to the truth.

16 You will know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes from thornbushes or figs from thistles? 17 Even so, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. 18 A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit. 19 Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. 20 Therefore by their fruits you will know them. “You will know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes from thornbushes or figs from thistles”?

In these six verses from Matthew chapter seven, Jesus tells us plainly that not everyone who wears a robe or a suit and tie while carrying a Bible can be trusted to have your best interests at heart.

Such is the case with a vicious wolf in sheep’s clothing whose name is Dr. Burnett L. Robinson, senior pastor of Grand Concourse Seventh-Day Adventist Temple in New York City.

In his sermon dated November 13th of this year, Mr. Robinson tells the men of his congregation “I would say to you, gentlemen, the best person to rape is your wife.” Here is the link to the video message:

Pastor Tells Men: ‘The Best Person to Rape is Your Wife’ (julieroys.com)

Now, I’m sure I don’t need to tell you, dear readers, that this man is not of God. Anyone who would make such a statement is an instrument of Satan. Either his heart has never been regenerated by the power of God, or he has chosen to walk away from God and has assumed the role of a deranged and demented hireling intent on fleecing whatever flock he was put in authority over.

These are indeed troubling times. It isn’t enough that God’s children are subjected to a relentless spiritual assault intended to wear them down to the point of giving up. Now, it would seem, Satan has employed false ministers in the Church to do the very same thing.

Be watchful beloved. Keep your eyes and ears open. Remember the words of our Savior: “you shall know them by their fruits”.  

Thankful. Grateful. Blessed.

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That was the title of the message I delivered yesterday morning at my home church. Taken from the first three verses of Psalm 107, my message focused on how we all have so much to be thankful for. Despite all the negativity we are bombarded with, despite all the naysayers spewing forth a constant stream of divisive rhetoric, God’s children ought to be the most grateful people on the planet.

1 Oh, give thanks to the Lord, for He is good!
For His mercy endures forever.
Let the redeemed of the Lord say so,
Whom He has redeemed from the hand of the enemy,
And gathered out of the lands,
From the east and from the west,
From the north and from the south. Psalm 107:1-3

If you were to read all 43 verses of this Psalm, they would tell the incredible story of the people of God giving praise and thanks to the Lord for his deliverance from their many desperate and dangerous situations. Unlike many of the Old Testament historical and genealogical texts, this Psalm is as relevant for you and me as it was when it was penned.

Who among us has not found ourselves with our back against the wall, with seemingly no way out. Out of options and filled with despair, our only recourse is to turn our hearts to the Lord and ask Him to mercifully intervene on our behalf.

David was a man well acquainted with the mercies of God. Having committed adultery and then ordering the murder of Bathsheba’s husband in a shameful attempt cover up his sins, he did the only thing he could do: he fell on his face is sorrowful repentance and received mercy. When he numbered the people in defiance of God’s command not to do so, he turned his heart back to God in thankfulness and gratitude for the mercy he received from the Lord.

These experiences served not only to teach David the importance of faithful obedience, they also had another profound affect on his life. You see, David learned firsthand of the love, compassion, and mercy available to every child of God.

No wonder then that David was an exuberant worshiper. Having been spared being put to death for his many sins, David was able to say “O give thanks to the Lord, for He is good! For His mercy endures forever”! When your back is against the wall and you’ve run out of options only to have God intervene on your behalf, you realize then that it’s good to be thankful, and that He is worthy to be praised!

Far too many of God’s children today are waiting on Him to do something for them before they will worship Him with a grateful heart. I think we’ve got it all wrong. What should be happening is God’s children should be worshipping Him for what He has already done for them!

How long would it take you, dear reader, to list all of the Lord’s blessings that you have enjoyed? Can I share something with you regarding these blessings? While we were wasting away in the desert of sin and disobedience, spiritually dying of hunger and thirst, God never forgot you!

The apostle Paul said it this way in Ephesians 2:

4 But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, 5 even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), 6 and raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus,

“But God…” I love that. When everything has fallen apart in our lives, “But God”. When we have nowhere to turn for help, “But God”. When we’ve been used and abused, rejected, and given up for dead, “But God”.

My prayer for you is that you will see God’s great love for you. I pray that you will see that you’re never too far from Him and never too broken for our Father to reach you right where you are. Reach out to Him and give thanks with a grateful heart to the God who is rich in mercy.

Be Thankful, Grateful, and Blessed this Thanksgiving season.

Ron

Faithful To The End

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It seems as though every day I am made aware of yet another of God’s children who is feeling broken and beaten down by this world. The numbers of people who regularly attend church that are frightened about the future, discouraged by their own lack of spiritual progress, and frustrated at the apparent lack of love and concern from their church leadership is nothing less than staggering.

The battle is real friends, and the pressure from every angle is only intensifying in these dark days. On one hand we in America are inundated with spiritual attacks on our minds, largely due (I believe) in part by our insatiable appetite for the things of this world. On the other hand, we see Christians in many other parts of the world being killed for their faith in Christ. Both groups are in the midst of a fervent battle, both groups must make the choice to stand or give up.

I feel it too. This battle is draining, both physically and mentally. At this stage of my life, I just don’t have the stamina I once had. Studying and preparing a weekly Sunday School lesson, a weekly sermon, editing two services worth of video, maintaining and updating a website, along with a myriad of other responsibilities (not including my own family and home) leaves me drained. This blog is itself a casualty of too little time to do everything I’d like to be doing. While desiring and determined to finish well, I wonder how much longer I can do this. 

Fortunately, there is a remedy for the desperation that many are feeling today. The God that so loved this world that he gave His only Son as a sacrificial sin offering for us, is nearer to us than the enemy of our soul wants us to believe. One of Satan’s greatest joys is to convince us that we are of little to no worth, that God is far from us and uninterested in who we are, thus condemning us to a life of defeat and discouragement. God, however, says that “For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope”(Jer. 29:11).

This brings us to a dilemma, a fork in the road: whose voice do we listen to? Will we choose to listen to the One that David said, “is near to those who have a broken heart, and saves such as have a contrite spirit”? The One who said that “many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the Lord delivers him out of them all”?

Or will we choose to listen to the one who offers all the glory of this world in exchange for our souls? Will we listen instead to that one who said “you shall not die” when he deceived the couple in the garden? Are we listening to the one who said, “you will be like God”? (Genesis 3:5)

This much I know, that I am determined to endure until the end. God, in His infinite wisdom and care, has brought all of us to where we are today. You have not come through everything you have had to endure just to be defeated now. No indeed, God has been preparing you for just such a time as this.

I choose to listen to God’s voice no matter what it costs me. The road I have travelled to get to this point in my life has been very difficult at times, yet I have never journeyed alone. At long last, I can see the finish line up ahead, and by God’s grace I will not be denied. This world is not my home and I have no intention of becoming so comfortable here that I don’t want to leave it all behind when that time comes.

All that matters is that we make it to the end.

 Psalm 34:18-19

The Lord is near to those who have a broken heart,

And saves such as have a contrite spirit.