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And we wonder why…Part 3

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Let us now draw our attention to the leadership of our churches here in America. In the face of a national crisis, which the murder of innocent school children certainly is, we should expect our Christian leaders to rise to the forefront in the fight against such heinous acts.

Appreciatively, many of the mainline denominations were swift to respond to the shooting at Stoneman Douglas High School, which was reassuring to many.

Daniel Cardinal DiNardo of Galveston-Houston, President of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, called for prayer and healing. Episcopal bishops are arranging for services of lamentation at churches around the country. The Presbytery of Tropical Florida has announced a “Vigil of Prayer and Light.

While all of this is good, what they all have in common is that they are reactive responses to the violence that has already occurred. In other words, they’re too late!

This level of violence is interwoven with America’s steep spiritual decline, and as such must be met head on with our spiritual leaders LEADING a proactive charge.

Columbine, Sandy Hook, Orlando, Las Vegas, Texas, all of these horrific acts of extreme violence fade quickly from our memory. To be sure, these events shock us, bring us to tears, make us angry, and cause us to point our collective fingers at what we perceive to be the cause.

They do everything except cause us to change on the inside.

Where is the leadership in our churches collectively calling for repentance? Why don’t our leaders issue a call to adhere to 2nd Chronicles 7:14?

“If my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land.”

How is it that our church leaders can rail against the government, against gun manufacturers, against nearly everything except for SIN?

The problem as I see it that our Church Leadership seems more apt to jump on the bandwagon of blame, rather than lead the spiritual initiatives required to combat this issue.

Recently, I read a Tweet from one of the “rising young stars” in the Charismatic church who declared that he was angry at the Congress and angry at the President for not doing something to stop all this gun violence.

Well my brother, I’m so glad you said that because I feel like you should be angry. I’m angry too. Only, be sure you direct your anger in the right direction.

That’s right, I said it.

Before we blame the President and the Congress, the NRA, or the Conservatives or the Liberals, we need to step back and review what our church’s leaders have done to stem the tide.

For example, it shouldn’t be too hard to add up all the hours we leaders have spent on our faces before God pleading for the soul of this nation, should it? I mean, that is part of OUR responsibility, isn’t it?

And no, Facebook and Twitter “I’m praying for you” prayers do not count. I’m talking about the kind of praying that has all but been forgotten in our churches. The kind of praying that requires we first repent of our own apostasy before we call upon a Holy God.

And it should be real easy to add up how many meals we’ve fasted as we assail the throne of God on behalf of our children, shouldn’t it? That is what real men and women of God do, isn’t it?

I mean, if we’re going to blame someone else we ought to make sure our own house is in order, shouldn’t we? That is how this is supposed to work, is it not?

From where I sit on the front row, I am appalled at how carnal we church leaders have become. We wring our hands along with the rest of the nation, while God waits patiently for someone to “lay hold of the altar”, or to “stand in the gap” for this nation and its children.

Surely, the constant pleas from the grief-stricken parents should be enough to motivate us and drive us to our knees!

I can’t help but wonder however, how much longer God will withhold his rod of judgement. And just to be clear, the rod of judgement will be used first in the house of God.

America’s church leaders are not innocent bystanders in the battle against the forces of darkness that are attacking our children. Far from it. We church leaders have blood on our hands just as any other watchman who fails to sound the alarm.

In the 4th and final installment of the series “And we wonder why”, I’m going to address the question of “what has changed?”

Until next time,

Ron

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And we wonder why….Part 1

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The recent massacre of 17 children on Valentine’s Day in Parkland Fl. has turned my thoughts once again to the plight of America’s children, and the ever increasing dangers they must contend with in a society rendered (seemingly) helpless to protect them.

Though this most recent mass shooting occurred about three weeks ago, I have purposely delayed writing this series of posts until now in order to clear my head and heart of the emotions I’ve been contending with as a result of this tragedy.

Parents and average citizens alike are outraged, as well they should be, that yet another mass shooting has taken place in one of our schools. The senseless, cowardly attack on our children has once again left our nation grief-stricken, searching for answers.

Searching for someone, or something to blame.

True to form, whenever a tragedy of this magnitude takes place, the inevitable call to do something about guns, particularly guns such as the AR-15 rifle, soon follows.

Of course, it is understandable that grieving parents would lash out at what they perceive to be the primary cause of why they must now bury their child.

Who wouldn’t?

Also true to form, the moments after such a tragedy find our elected representatives on both the Left and the Right politicizing the event, as if the murder of seventeen innocent children were some sort of sick, twisted, political football to be tossed back and forth.

How sick and perverted is it when the people we elect to represent us cannot lay aside their differences in the face of such a tragedy, and come together in the spirit of unity and compassion for the betterment of the nation?

No offense, but if this doesn’t cause you to feel outrage, you should have someone check your pulse.

Surely one would hope that the cries of anguish from a broken-hearted mother would be able to break through the self-imposed impasse that prohibits having a reasonable, rational discussion among the stakeholders.

You think?

Some say it’s the fault of the NRA, or the Congress. To others it’s the fault of the President. Depending on which side of the political pendulum you swing from, it’s either the fault of the Conservatives or the Liberals.

None of which is completely true. Rhetoric rarely contains more than a thumbnail of truth, after all.

You see, when we don’t know what to do, we look for a scapegoat. For those of you unfamiliar with the word scapegoat, it comes from the Old Testament book of Leviticus.

On the Day of Atonement, the sins of the people were ceremoniously placed upon a goat called the “scapegoat”, who was then released into the wilderness to wander.          Scripture reference Leviticus 16:5-10

When our children are mercilessly slaughtered, our righteous grief and anger demand that we affix blame; hence we look for our own version of the Levitical scapegoat.

And who could blame us? Sins of such magnitude stir within us the desire for revenge and justice. Someone must pay! Someone must be held accountable!

Barring an unforeseen turn of events, the murderer of the 17 kids at Stoneman Douglas High School, confessed killer Nikolas Cruz, will spend the rest of his life behind bars.

But does that bring any of those children back? Does a lifetime sentence for Mr. Cruz mean the end of school shootings in America? The answer I’m afraid is NO to both questions. Let me explain why I believe that.

Our nation is drowning in violence, hatred, and evil, and as a nation there is no longer a life preserver of righteousness or morality for us to grab hold of. This is the path that we have chosen, despite those who would say otherwise.

We have systematically removed the one Source from this nation that is capable of defeating the evil that is upon us. Indeed, our “Life Preserver” has been tossed overboard without us. Consider the following:

  • We have outlawed public prayer nearly everywhere. Heaven help you should you want to open a public meeting with a moment of prayer.
  • The ACLU has made sure that the Baby Jesus can’t show up at the town square at Christmas.
  • Football coaches are forbidden to pray with their students before game time.
  • The Ten Commandments have been removed from our courtrooms.
  • Christians who denounce SIN are now denigrated as haters.
  • The Supreme Court of the United States has ruled that the fundamental right to marry is guaranteed to same-sex couples by both the Due Process Clause and the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States.
  • The names of God or Jesus cannot be used least someone become offended. Of course, if you want to use those names in a curse, then no harm, no foul.

And we wonder why we’re killing one another?

We’ve removed GOD from America, and what has He been replaced with?

In Part 2 of “And we wonder why”, I’ll share with you just one of the things that has replaced God in America. I’ll also show you some startling facts about the efforts taking place to steal our children’s innocence, and the devastating effects it is having upon them.

Until then…

Ron

At the end of it all, the only thing that will matter…

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Won’t be if you are popular or not,an introvert or extrovert. Whether rich or poor, conservative or liberal, none of these will be an issue. If you are Baptist or Catholic, Quaker or Pentecostal, religious affiliations won’t be the deciding factor in where we spend eternity.

None of these things that we place so much importance on will matter when the trump of God sounds.

For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first.                       I Thess. 4:16

No, the only thing that will matter will be our relationship with this One who will descend from heaven with a shout. And He will not be interested in our family tree or whether or not we threw a dollar into the red kettle at Christmas.

The church has been proclaiming for nearly two thousand years that Jesus Christ is coming to earth again. And just as Peter prophesied would happen, there are fewer and fewer who believe this is true.

Knowing this first: that scoffers will come in the last days, walking according to their own lusts, and saying, “Where is the promise of His coming? For since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of creation.”   II Peter 3:3-4

When that day finally does come, He will be coming to gather His children from the four corners of the earth. He’s not coming back for Republican or Democratic Christians. He’s not even coming back for Liberal or Conservative Christians.

He is coming back for those who have repented of their sins. Period.

At the end of it all, that’s all that matters.

“What will you do in the end?” Part 3

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I ended Part 2 of this series by saying that America’s “God problem” is so firmly entrenched as to be all but impossible to reverse.

In Part 3 of “What will you do in the end” I will attempt show just how far America’s elected leadership has gone in their rejection of Godly principles. Remember, these are our LEADERS that are supposed to be our examples (may God help us all).

In fact, according to this article, a large percentage of one of our major political parties believes the Church is having a negative impact on America. Before anyone gets too excited about that, keep in mind that the other party doesn’t lag too far behind.

Of course, pollsters love numbers and statistics, and we all know how easily things can be slanted one way or another. My point being this: if even one half of one percent of our elected leaders believe the Church is having a negative impact on America, it is too much! Something has gone horribly wrong!

Think about this for just a moment, would you? Our leaders, elected by we the people, believe the Church is having a negative impact on America! Does that not send alarm bells off in your mind?

Now, to better understand this we need to remind ourselves that elected leaders who support certain agendas will naturally feel the other side is the problem (see part 2 of this series).

So for example, if you are a conservative Christian attending a conservative Christian church that does not support abortion, same sex marriage, the LGBT community, etc.…you of course will be labeled as having a negative impact upon our society.

And much worse.

This does not mean it is true, but the fact remains there are very powerful groups on both sides of the aisle in our nation’s capitol spending untold millions of dollars in their efforts to label anyone who does not go along with their agenda as “negative”. And that is putting it very, very mildly.

Truth be told, if the Church is seen as having a negative impact on society, it is only because of the faithful few (comparatively speaking) that hold to the Biblical standards for living that are a thorn in the side of those that wish to abolish all acknowledgement of, and dependence upon, God.

America’s “God problem” however, is not rooted in politics. Politics is merely a convenient scapegoat, a diversionary tactic used by politicians themselves along with adherents of their respective ideologies to divert attention from the true source of our problems.

America, our great problems lie at our own feet, and WE the Church will ultimately be held accountable for our part in allowing this to happen. Just as Israel was held accountable and banished to enslavement by a foreign power, so shall America be held accountable and suffer the terrible consequences of our choices.

As long as I’m keeping it real here, let’s just throw it out now and acknowledge that America is even now suffering the terrible consequences of its choices. I challenge anyone to show me an example of a time when this nation has been more divided!

Yes, there was a Civil War that divided us. There was a Vietnam Conflict that divided us. There was a decision to allow the killing of unborn children that still divides us. Most recently there was a presidential election that has divided us.

The difference between all of those events,horrific though they be, and those taking place today is that we are not in a battle of ideologies,but one engineered by principalities, by the powers of darkness.

This contest is spiritual in nature, though outwardly it appears to be otherwise. Indeed, what we are seeing play out before our very eyes, is the battle for the soul of America.

For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.”         Ephesians 6:12

This battle for the soul of America is not being fought with guns and tanks. It is being fought in a dimension that though unseen physically, its aftermath is leaving a visual trail of untold numbers of casualties in its wake.

My fear in all of this is not that it’s happening. No, the Bible is clear that as the coming of the Lord draws closer chaos would be the norm. My fear is that as we see the end approaching, Christians are placing a higher priority on aligning themselves with philosophies, ideologies, and political affiliations rather than their faith.

As difficult as it is to accept, we can easily make the connection with what is happening in America today with the latter day account of the Church given by Paul in his message to Timothy.

Now the Spirit expressly says that in latter times some will depart from the faith, giving heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons.    1st Timothy 4:1

Again, the scriptures give further evidence of the spiritual battle taking place in which all of us are participants. Deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons are certainly at work among us, causing many of the faithful to forsake their Christian heritage.

My next post will conclude this series with a “big picture” look at how Christians can not only survive the tumultuous times we are living in, but actually thrive in them!

Be blessed,

Ron