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Why Prayer Meetings Fail

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Many Christians,especially newer ones,do not know that one of the primary strengths of the church used to be the prayer meeting.This should come as no surprise considering that the church was birthed in an Upper Room prayer meeting.

For so many generations churches of nearly every denomination practiced regular,routine corporate prayer because they understood the dynamics of regular communication with God. For the church to do the work of the church,prayer,especially corporate prayer was a necessity that could not be overlooked.

Through the centuries the practice of corporate prayer has dwindled until in most churches it’s not even practiced any longer,and if it is it’s so sparsely attended as to be of little effect. I suppose the case could easily be made that the demise of the corporate prayer meeting coincides with the general attitude of the Laodicean church today,which is that the church of today is in need of nothing.

Especially God.

This mindset that we are in control,that we are capable of sustaining our own evangelical empires apart from God is something that the church of the book of Acts would reject outright. As would countless millions of Christians through centuries past who routinely cultivated their personal relationship with God through prayer.

Today’s prayer meeting,what little there is of it,has drastically changed in many ways from what our predecessors new,especially considering this major point: what we pray about,or for,is different now. Let me explain.

It used to be that churches had a burning desire to have a positive impact on their community for the sole purpose of winning their community for Christ. They lived the Christian life outside of the church and were examples of God’s love and grace,which served to draw the lost to the church. The primary method at their disposal to accomplish all of this was prayer!

In return,communities recognized that the church genuinely cared for them,and were concerned for their well being. What they saw was Christ extended to them in a way that they were receptive to. Such is the love of God. Like moths drawn to a flame,the love of God will draw lost men and women when nothing else will.

Churches,pastors,lay members alike were all united in the shared goal of reaching the lost,and they knew that prayer was the only way to make that happen.Think about it…what else did the church have at their disposal?

Before the days of the internet,conferences of every conceivable type, car shows,and bouncy houses God’s people relied on the sovereign moving of the Spirit,wrought by prayer,to bring the lost in.

Oh,to be able to go back in time!

Today we have every means of the newest,latest technology at our instant disposal,ready to use to market our latest strategy to bring them in.A very small percentage of this works,the vast majority does not.

Church advertising budgets(disguised as evangelism) are expanding every year,yet the results are the same:pitifully few new converts are being added despite the staggering amount of dollars spent. Growth,what there is of it is mostly from other churches,drawn to the latest gimmickry or cult of personality preacher. History has shown that this is not sustainable growth,as true discipleship has given way to strategies and methods not designed to develop the believer,but to entertain.

In short, prayer has been supplanted in today’s church by every means available. God Himself has been replaced by the inventions of man. The Holy Spirit is no longer welcomed or needed in our churches as the principal agent to draw the lost.

And I think I understand why.

Because we don’t know the One we claim to know.

We use His name.

We use His building.

We sing songs supposedly written in His honor.

We preach sermons using His words.

But we do not know Him like we claim.

If we knew Him like we claim that we do,we would be different. We would be changed.Our hearts would be pure,as would our motives. We would not be this sickly,anemic,weak institution that the world mocks in derision. If we knew Him like we say we do,we would demonstrate His attributes in all that we do.

Perhaps most importantly of all,we do not know Him like we claim we do because we ask Him to do everything except what we desperately need the most:

To change us from within.

We ask Him for things. For stuff. For favor. For anything that will please the flesh.

But we do not ask Him to change us. 

Prayer meetings are no longer in vogue. They are considered old fashioned,relics from a by-gone age. At least that’s what the church of today is being taught.

Could it be however that the real reason that prayer meetings fail,have gone out of style,are no longer considered essential,is because we do not know Him after all?

Something I pray that causes us to stop and think about on this rainy Monday…

 

The Invisible Line

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The Church.

For over two thousand years “The Church”has existed in this present world.What is commonly referred to as the “Body of Christ”has been a key part of society in nearly every country,on nearly every continent,and has impacted billions of people in some way or another.

The Church was born out of the heart of Jesus Christ who came to deliver a message of hope and redemption to an otherwise lost and depraved world.After Jesus was crucified and ascended to heaven,this Churchchurch one man began to replicate itself.Beginning with the twelve Disciples and the converts that they made and continuing through centuries past, this replication has been a continuous process.Whether one man or a thousand,the church has maintained it’s presence among the peoples of the world.

The World.

People of every nation and every conceivable culture make up the world that we live in.There are slightly over 7 billion people in the world today who speak approximately 6500 different languages.No matter what context you use to look at those numbers,they are staggering to comprehend!

crowd

There are a great many voices clamoring to be heard today that declare that we are,or should be, one.You’ve heard them I’m sure.They say that with every technological advancement the world is getting smaller all the time,and no doubt it is.Technology has erased the barrier of distance that has long hindered the world from becoming one people.Technology,for all of it’s greatness,has become the modern day equivalent of the Tower of Babel .One family.One people.One race.One planet.One species.One religion.One Church.

One.

There are  many in the world today who have embraced the concept that we people of the world are all one.World leaders,economists,environmentalists,special interest groups of every type all believe that the time has come to join together for the sake of us all.

Church leaders have adopted this worldly mentality as well.We are being told to lay aside our differences,our denominational doctrines,our various creeds of the faith,for the good of all.The outcome of this “oneness”is the deliberate blurring of the line between the Church and the World.In fact I will go so far as to say that the line is no longer blurred:it has become invisible!

In following this vision of “oneness”we have opened Pandora’s box to the unthinkable:the church has become indistinguishable from the world.Is this what Christ meant for the church to become?Is this what Paul meant when he said this:

14 Do not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers. For what fellowship has righteousness with lawlessness? And what communion has light with darkness?

15 And what accord has Christ with Belial? Or what part has a believer with an unbeliever?

16 And what agreement has the temple of God with idols? For you are the temple of the living God. As God has said: “I will dwell in them And walk among [them]. I will be their God, And they shall be My people.”

17 Therefore “Come out from among them And be separate, says the Lord. Do not touch what is unclean, And I will receive you.”

18 “I will be a Father to you, And you shall be My sons and daughters, Says the LORD Almighty.”                     2Co 6:14-18 NKJV

When Paul wrote these words under the unction of the Holy Spirit,the church was in it’s infancy and as with any new work there were things taking place that needed to be addressed.The Holy Spirit spoke through Paul in an attempt to correct the misconception that is was OK for Christians to be joined together with unbelievers,or with those who lived a lifestyle that was in conflict with what Christ intended for His church

Where is this teaching today? I’m afraid to say that it is nearly nonexistent. I must report that such teaching is not at all well received today because the church has adopted the mindset of the world.The church wants to do everything the world does and still be called the church.We want to be included in activities that we know we should avoid.We want to partake of everything the world does and still be called the church.And we will not stand to have it any other way! We want to be one with the world!

The scriptures are clear however that God has called us to a life of separation from the world.In spite of that,the church of today chooses to inch ever closer to living a life of inclusiveness of all the world has to offer.This in spite of the Bible’s clear teaching that we cannot maintain fellowship with the world,participate in it’s sinful pleasures,adopt it’s practices as our own,and still be identified as a child of God.

It is painfully obvious to anyone that what passes for Christianity today would be completely foreign to the Apostle Paul.For all of our lofty,grandiose churches and programs I dare say that Paul would not be welcomed to preach in any of them!He was a man led by the Spirit,and any attempt to “modernize”him to go along with the program would be met with fierce refusal.WomanPileOfMoneyAlter

I chuckle sometimes when I see the WWJD bracelets being worn by people.I don’t chuckle because it’s funny,but because the answer to the question would likely not be what the masses think it should, or would be.Considering that Jesus took a whip and drove the money changers out of the temple because they had made His house a house of merchandise when it was meant to be a house of prayer,what approach would He take today in dealing with a largely backslidden church?

His way is the narrow way.

13 “Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it.

14 “Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it.      Mat 7:13-14 NKJV

There must be a difference between the church and the world.

There must be a line drawn that the church cannot cross over.

It’s there.It exists. It’s not invisible.It’s plain for all to see.

If you’ve crossed that line I pray that you will come back.Come back to the straight and narrow way that leads to life.A way of personal holiness,a way of living that is separate from the world.

15 Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him.

16 For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.     1Jo 2:15-16 KJV

Be blessed,

Ron

 

 

The Trappings of Modern Evangelism

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Watching “church”on TV,online,etc…I find myself wondering if people (you know,the one’s in the pew) even read the Bible any more.It’s shocking to see and hear so many “amen’s” to things that are contrary to the teachings of the Bible.When did God’s people become so gullible as to believe that if the preacher said it,well it has to be true?If it wasn’t so tragic,it would be funny to watch people hurriedly writing down the latest kitschy or hip saying from the preacher.All to get you in the proper mood for giving, you understand.

If we are students of the Word then why does it seem that we do not apply the lessons of the Word to our lives?

Does anyone still believe that the Lord has given us His divine plan for how we are to live our lives? How is it then that we can read the Word of God and not be changed? How is it that we can attend church services and leave exactly the same way we came?How in the world is it possible that I can blindly agree with what is said from the platform,yet stumble at the teachings of Jesus?

How is it that our hearts have become numb to what “thus saith the Lord”?

Is it because the church today has made it so easy for one to join it’s ranks by simply repeating a prayer, signing a card, and attending a class? Is this all it takes? Then what do we do with this…?

“Now, therefore,” says the Lord, “Turn to Me with all your heart, With fasting, with weeping, and with mourning.”  Joel 2:12   NKJV

If I am to believe this Word, then God Almighty is telling me that I am to forsake my own will,my own desires,my own dreams and turn myself completely over to Him! But wait!! Even that’s not enough! God demands that I turn to him with fasting,weeping,and mourning as well!

In other words He is demanding that we acknowledge and repent of our sins with a heavy heart! Contrast that with the evangelism model of the church today that says “repeat after me”! WHAT?!

God demands,let me repeat that word again…God demands that we turn to Him with a repentant heart,not that we come forward in a meeting to repeat some simple words as if we’ve suddenly discovered a magic salvation formula.

The Lord said of Israel that “Everyone turned to his own course”,and we have followed in their footsteps.Instead of repenting we have chosen our own path, and in our arrogance we still expect God to bless and prosper us.Imagine that! Are we to honestly believe that we can have God and our sins at the same time?

“I listened and heard, But they do not speak aright. No man repented of his wickedness, Saying, ‘What have I done?’ Everyone turned to his own course, As the horse rushes into the battle.”  Jer. 8:6  NKJV

Jesus said that “No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon.” Matthew 6:24   NKJV

Beloved we are required to make a choice! God demands we make a choice. We cannot have it both ways!

If you are attending church where there is no standard,where you never hear the word “sin”,where your pastor or priest never tells you that a Holy God demands that we forsake all and turn to Him, my advice to you is to run as fast as you can out of there!

“Therefore say to the house of Israel, ‘Thus says the Lord God: “Repent, turn away from your idols, and turn your faces away from all your abominations.   Ezekiel 14:6   NKJV

I believe with all that is within me that there is coming a day when every preacher and priest is going to be held accountable for not declaring the whole counsel of God.For not declaring and upholding the standards contained within the pages of God’s Word, the blood of many will be upon our hands.

Modern evangelism is a mockery in comparison to the efforts of the early church,and the church of today is trapped in it’s clutches. In spite of the most beautiful churches and impressive technology on the planet that mankind has ever known,the world is headed to Hell uninhibited! And the church is powerless to stop this mad long rush into eternity apart from God.

Imagine just for a moment what Paul could have accomplished with this incredible tool we call the internet.No longer would he have been constrained by the long dusty miles between towns,or the distance he could cross by ship.The whole world would have been opened unto him and he would have taken full advantage of it! Why aren’t we doing the same?

Do we not yet understand that as the church goes,so goes the world? We have to face the awful truth that the church is not doing so good,and we are accountable to God for it’s inability to stem the tide of sin that is ravaging our cities.

I read just the other day where someone was stating that what the world needs is revival,and I wondered if that person knew the difference between revival and evangelism? Evangelism today is little more than a series of meetings where the preacher preaches and the people listen and go home the same way they came. Today’s evangelism is easy and cheap,and it’s fruit is nearly non existent.

Revival on the other hand is life altering.It is wrought from the anguish of countless hours of crying out to God.It comes from a sincere prayer for God to “create in me a clean heart,and renew a right spirit within me”. Revival is hard work.It is not easy or cheap,but will exact a huge price from us.

And we,like Israel,have “turned to our own course”.We have chosen the trappings of modern evangelism over true revival because it’s easy.And we want everything easy,don’t we?We have counted the cost of revival and decided that to stay the course is much easier.

Meanwhile,our nation is dying in it’s own filth and stench,the flesh of a once proud nation is rotting and putrid.Unable to save ourselves, yet we blindly trudge on following the same path that brought us to this point.For you see,for us to break free requires us to acknowledge,repent,and make the choice to serve God with our whole heart.

Something to think about…

Ron

The Real Source of Strength

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We often hear people say things like “every answer to your problems is in the Word of God”. Or “your problems are not too big for God”. The truth is both statements are correct and normally we have no problems believing them,do we?

But how many of us live in the “normal” all of the time(whatever that is)? Not many that I know.

We live in a strange time.On one hand we have the TV life that isn’t real, but yet it does it’s best to convince us that it is.Actors and actresses all playing the part of a life that exists only in fantasy,where everything always works out for the best in the end.Always enough money.Perfect marriage.Perfect kids.The best schools and jobs.Politicians promising anything and everything to garner your support.The perfect life.

On the other hand we have real life where real people struggle daily with very real problems.Stories that all too often end in tragedy.Divorce ends over half of all marriages.Murders so frequent that we hardly take notice any more as the value of a human life plummets to an all time low.Here in the land of milk and honey,people are hungry and thirsty.We can’t feed them enough,and now we’re trucking water to them.Politicians promising anything and everything to garner your support,knowing full well that they cannot possibly honor such promises.

This is the real life.The life that never appears on the cover of the fashion magazines or even more sadly,is rarely talked about much in our churches any more.

Real people that are discouraged,lonely,desperate for attention,people who need Jesus to interrupt their lives and show up just in time.And all of this got me to thinking about all of this.

The Bible was given to us for just such a time as this.It is a collection of the most encouraging and faithful promises ever delivered unto mankind.Research every prophecy concerning Jesus and you will see that they were 100% accurate.So it is with all of God’s word.

Hopeful

Encouraging

Life sustaining

I recently came upon a favorite passage of mine,one that has helped me and sustained me through the darkest of times.This passage was written by a man named Asaph, who was going through a rough time of his own.

Asaph was one of David’s chief musicians and is mentioned several times in the Psalms. In addition to being a musician,he was also considered to be a seer,or prophet.Today, we would likely consider Asaph to be a “worship leader” because he conducted the music in the tent when the ark was taken to Jerusalem.

It was Asaph who penned these stirring words of hope for all that may be going through a difficult time:

Whom have I in heaven but You?
And there is none upon earth that I desire besides You.
26 My flesh and my heart fail;
But God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.   Psalm 73:25,26  NKJV

When I’m lonely beyond the point of believing anyone cares,I have Him.That’s what Asaph was saying here.No one on earth,no man can do for me what my God can.Why would I want for more,for something that at best is not enough?

While I may be weak in body and soul,there is a God who is my strength and my helper forever.What I cannot do on my own because of my own weakness,my own frailty,I have an Advocate to take up my case.It is His strength that I rest in,His peace that comforts me when all others have turned away from me.

My incredible wife told me last night that she was impressed to share with me this song.I’m sure you know the chorus,but please read the verses as well for in them is a message for us all.

Hel­en H. Lem­mel, in 1922.

O soul, are you weary and troubled?
No light in the darkness you see?
There’s a light for a look at the Savior,
And life more abundant and free!

Refrain

Turn your eyes upon Jesus,
Look full in His wonderful face,
And the things of earth will grow strangely dim,
In the light of His glory and grace.

Through death into life everlasting
He passed, and we follow Him there;
Over us sin no more hath dominion—
For more than conquerors we are!

Refrain

His Word shall not fail you—He promised;
Believe Him, and all will be well:
Then go to a world that is dying,
His perfect salvation to tell!

Refrain

Be blessed…

Ron

But what will you do in the end?

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As I read the papers,online news sources,TV news,etc…it is obvious that something is horribly wrong in America.

Now,before you say well duh,there are a lot of things wrong in America right now, let me explain.

There was a time in America when we were known around the world as the most prosperous nation on earth.We gave more to the world because we had more than any other country to give.We have a long standing record of feeding the world with the bounty from our fields and farms.I doubt that a more generous nation has existed.

We helped win world wars and turn back the tide of those who sought to conquer the world.The blood of our soldiers has been spilled all across this globe because of our willingness to support those who desired a better life than what they had.

Our manufacturing might revolutionized the industrial world and our wealth supported countless economies the world over.

But something has changed. Tens of millions of our own people are now dependent upon help to feed their families every month,yet the news reminds us that more jobs are being created than ever before.If that is true,then why can’t we feed ourselves? And if we are creating more jobs than ever before why isn’t the standard of living being increased? Something is wrong!

Listen,I’m no economist, and I’m about as far from being a politician as a man could be,but even I can see that something is terribly wrong in America!

Are we doing something wrong? Are we not doing enough? Is the answer more social programs? If so,who will pay for them? And where is the church in all of this? Why does it seem that in such a time as this the church is largely silent?

Do you attend or have membership in a church? If you do,would you describe your church as one that has a servant’s heart?

Is your church burdened with the needs of the downtrodden and poor of your community? Does your church feed the hungry? Does it clothe little children who otherwise would have next to nothing?

Is your church afraid to roll up it’s sleeves and get it’s hands dirty with the hard work of the ministry?

If yours is a church that is actively involved in the ministry and is truly making a difference in your community,you must count your blessings and give thanks to the Lord for the privilege of being a part of a real community of believers.

I say that because I see America’s greatest problem as a spiritual problem. I see America as having abandoned it’s Creator and is now hopelessly burdened with the impossible task of raising it’s self up from the pit of iniquity it has fallen in to.

And lest you think this is a new thing,or that somehow our actions have taken God by surprise,read along with me in the book of Jeremiah,chapter five. Please read this carefully and see if you don’t agree that the similarities between ancient Israel and America are striking.

22 Do you not fear Me?’ says the Lord. ‘Will you not tremble at My presence, Who have placed the sand as the bound of the sea, By a perpetual decree, that it cannot pass beyond it? And though its waves toss to and fro, Yet they cannot prevail; Though they roar, yet they cannot pass over it.

23 But this people has a defiant and rebellious heart; They have revolted and departed.

24 They do not say in their heart, “Let us now fear the Lord our God, Who gives rain, both the former and the latter, in its season. He reserves for us the appointed weeks of the harvest.”

25 Your iniquities have turned these things away, And your sins have withheld good from you.

26 ‘For among My people are found wicked men; They lie in wait as one who sets snares; They set a trap; They catch men.

27 As a cage is full of birds, So their houses are full of deceit. Therefore they have become great and grown rich.

28 They have grown fat, they are sleek; Yes, they surpass the deeds of the wicked; They do not plead the cause, The cause of the fatherless; Yet they prosper, And the right of the needy they do not defend.

29 Shall I not punish them for these things?’ says the Lord. ‘Shall I not avenge Myself on such a nation as this?’

30 “An astonishing and horrible thing Has been committed in the land:

31 The prophets prophesy falsely, And the priests rule by their own power; And My people love to have it so. But what will you do in the end?               Jer. 5:22-31   NKJV   

I find it astounding that God declares that He withholds even the rain because of the iniquities of the people. How can we honestly say that this is not our present condition today? And what’s even more amazing is that for all of this,the people of God did not repent and change their ways.

For the Lord to say the deeds of His people surpass the deeds of the wicked staggers the imagination! Their houses are full of deceit. Israel has abandoned the God of their fathers and they are paying a price that will destroy them.

God declares that He will punish His people for this abandonment-are we so arrogant as to believe that we will not suffer the same fate?

The prophets,or religious leaders prophesy falsely.The leaders,the shepherds,the pastors,are all ruling by their own imaginations.They have not heard from God! The word they declare is their own word!

Yet worst of all is the declaration that the people love to have it this way! Again,are we any different today?

Do we not love to be told that everything is going to be alright? Do we not shop around until we find the church or pastor who will tickle our ears and tell us pleasant things? Do we not surround ourselves with like minded church folks-after all there must be security in numbers,right? Follow the crowd,they must be right!

What I’m about to say will not be received by most but I would be remiss if I did not say it.

America’s best days are behind it.

It cannot be any other way if we are willing to abandon the God of our blessings.We cannot have His blessings if as a nation we reject Him. It doesn’t work that way. Never has,never will.

God is no respecter of persons. If He rejected His firstborn because of their disobedience,then He will surely reject all who follow the same path.How could a just God do otherwise?

I hear the cries of nationalism that say God is for America,not against it.

I hear those who maintain that God will never turn His back on America.

My response to that is to say that you are absolutely correct:God will never turn His back on America. He doesn’t have to.

We turned our back on Him.

And what will we do in the end?

Why So Much Killing?

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Like most of America I was deeply saddened by the latest school shooting in Oregon this week.If I’m being honest I must admit that I wasn’t shocked,and that in itself is is a testament to how violent our society has become.Violence in America has become the norm,and whether we like to admit it or not,it is.

Let’s face it,violence has become so common place that it has lost it’s shock value.We shake our heads and bemoan the senseless loss of life,and then go about our business wondering quietly when and where the next attack will occur.In fact,only a day later and the topic around the water cooler is the football game.

Are you surprised by the level of violence in America? If not surprised,what are you? What emotions are you dealing with in light of the Oregon school killings? Are you angry? Are you hurt? Are you sickened by it all?

And what is the underlying reason behind all of this? Well,as a Christian I know that the driving force behind all of this is evil.It is the force of darkness being unleashed upon a society that has by and large rejected God.You see,we live in a society where men’s heart are cold and hardened by the deceitfulness of sin,and from what I read in the scripture it is only going to get worse.

“And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold.”   Matthew 24:12

Of course,in America we don’t teach such things any longer,and even if we did most parents are not reinforcing it at home.I read recently of someone who stated that he simply did not believe in evil,that the word evil was just an excuse.Try telling that to the parents of one of the victims of this weeks murder spree.

I believe we in America,and especially the church, are in denial about what is taking place right before our eyes.For the past couple of hundred years the church has been only too willing to accept a new premise that there was no need to be concerned about the dangers of a last day rebellion against God, for after all one day the Lord himself is going to snatch us all away and spare us any suffering.Well guess what? We are living in the last days in the midst of a great falling away.

And you’re still here!

Easy believeism that says repeat this prayer and you are a Christian.Easy believeism that says suffering is for those “left behind”. Easy believeism does not require a change of heart,only that we fall in line with the millions of others who are pretenders for the faith instead of contenders.

“Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints.”   Jude 1:3

Do these words hurt you? Do they offend you? That is not my intention.I seek only to call attention to the fact that we are fast asleep to the evil all around us.

Millions of words have been spoken already regarding this latest tragedy.Some,like our President, are angry and want to impose strict controls on who can possess a firearm.Others see the solution as one of arming everyone so that we at least have a chance to defend ourselves.Many are also speaking out about the lack of available mental health resources.Still others are taking the position that it’s the parent’s fault.

What I have yet to hear is someone willing to step out into the spotlight and state publicly that we are reaping the consequences of our own past decisions.That’s right…we have brought this evil upon ourselves!The society we now have is the society that has been created by a populous consumed with the ideology that God is dead,if indeed He ever existed.

We,by our insistence on creating a society where every man is responsible only to himself,have created a culture of death.We act as though we cannot understand why there is so much killing,yet think nothing of killing tens of millions in the womb because we pretty up the massacre by calling it “choice” instead of what it really is.We are delusional,we are willingly ignorant of the facts in the hope that “it won’t happen to me”.

How in God’s name could we ever think that we could end up any different when our hands are stained red with the blood of the innocent?We in America glorify death,we celebrate it and the forces behind it.We continually reelect politicians who will carry out our wishes for more carnage,lest by some miracle someone would actually be given an opportunity try and stem the (RED) tide.We have opened up a Pandora’s box of unprecedented evil,and yet still we refuse to humble ourselves before the only One that can save us.Yes…we have what we have because we have paid a great price to have it so!

In the verse from Matthew quoted above,Jesus stated that the love of many shall wax cold.We are witnessing just such a thing right before our eyes.The sinner who has continually rejected Christ continues to grow angrier by the day.His heart knows nothing but rage for he is angry at what he does not know.

But there is also this:the love of many Christians is waxing cold as well.Oh,we may not read about them shooting up defenseless citizens,but they are turning cold nonetheless. The lack of genuine Christian love is appalling today and it grows continually worse.You see,in the church there is a different “culture of death”. It is a culture of complacency,a culture of lack,and a culture of “you are not important enough for me to care”.

The day of the Oregon shootings I asked my wife when all of this would stop.Her answer? “When we get to Heaven”. She was 100% correct, I’m afraid.

Why so much killing?

It’s because we have supplanted the love of God for the love of self.

Ron

What’s wrong with telling the truth?

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Have you noticed that truth is something people do not like to hear? Why is that?

Do your children like it when you tell them the truth,as in “no,you cannot get into Harvard with those grades”? Does your spouse like it when you tell them “I’m sorry but we just can’t afford a vacation this year”?

Probably not,right?      bigstockphoto_Truth_1044622

There can be a sense of finality in the truth,a sense of “well,that’s the end of that”. And oh how do we not like that!

What’s more,why is it that when you do speak the truth to someone it seems as if you become their enemy? Is it because of this scripture becoming a reality to us: “Am I therefore become your enemy, because I tell you the truth?”  Gal 4:16 KJV

Have you ever lost a friend because you told them the truth? Ever lost a business associate or account,your job or position,your church? Well I have,and I can tell you that sometimes telling the truth can be costly,even though it shouldn’t be.

Truth is one of those things that used to be valued much more than it is today,and I think that we as a society are much worse off because we have devalued truth in favor of man’s opinions.

If you really think about this,truth is something that the carnal man rebels against because when you break it down we all want our way,don’t we? Truth is sort of like rules,and we all know how we feel about rules.The truth says “no you cannot”or “no it is not”. Humans don’t like that “NO” word,do we?

Truth is an absolute.It contains facts.It is irrefutable,even though we pay huge sums of money to people who argue that the truth isn’t really the truth.And as much as we might like to believe this,truth,like beauty, is not in the eye of the beholder.It is what it is.

Church is a place where truth reigns supreme.Or at least that’s how I see it.We teach the truth.We teach on the truth.We teach about the truth.Jesus Himself taught about truth during his entire earthly ministry.Here are just three examples of such teaching from the book of John:

John 14:6   Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.
John 17:17 Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth
John 8:32   And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free    (emphasis mine)
So if Jesus taught the truth,and based upon how many times truth is mentioned in the scriptures,what’s wrong with telling the truth? Why has telling the truth seemingly gone out of style in our society.And yes,in our churches as well?
I think it’s because we don’t like the finality of “truth”. Let’s face it-we want options,and truth doesn’t leave room for options.Our lack of desiring the truth has spawned a sub culture wherein lies and falsehoods have supplanted the truth to such an extent that most of us don’t even know what is truth and what is a lie.
The gospel message is one of truth and absolutes.There are no grey areas where the message of eternal life is concerned.The gospel contains no “half truths”. If it did it wouldn’t be the truth.Jesus did not leave any room for error in His message,and frankly it is not even open to debate.And I know most will not accept that statement.
Consider this statement from Christ as an one example: Jesus answered and said to him, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.”   John 3:3 NKJV
Jesus spoke truth here.He did not say you might not see the kingdom unless you were born again,he stated he cannot see the kingdom unless he is born again. HUGE difference!This statement is non negotiable.It is not open to debate.It is not a point over which we can disagree.It is a truth.A Gospel truth.
I don’t know where you are in the great debate over truth.I only know that the Word of God is truth and as such that is my foundation. Everything else is measured against the Word.Many will call that narrow minded and if that is the case,then so be it.I refuse to measure truth by the world’s standards because they are ever changing.Not only that,but the world’s standards are pitifully inadequate to raise us up above our sinful condition.
Regardless of the cost truth is one thing that cannot be compromised,twisted,or distorted in order to fit the needs of society. To do so is to build our house on the shifting sands of opinion.
I’ll take the sure foundation of the Truth,regardless of the cost.How about you?
Ron

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