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How to ensure mistakes don’t ruin your life

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“Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.” Ps. 51:10

The words of the sweet Psalmist of Israel, King David, as he acknowledges his sin with another man’s wife,the murder of her husband,and his futile attempts to cover it up.If only David could have seen into the future,perhaps a vision of what was to come would have convinced him to keep his eyes from wandering.

Every time I read this verse I am reminded of how weak this earthly tabernacle

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is. In an instant we can go from the highest highs to the lowest lows,all because we decide to yield to a voice that calls us to do the unthinkable. It humbles me to think that if the King of Israel could do it,I know I could as well.

And so could you.

David’s entire being was affected by what he had done. His relationship with God was severed,the joy of the Lord had departed him, and he was left alone to reflect upon the magnitude of his error.I cannot imagine how his soul must have been tormented!

Think about this for a moment.This wasn’t just another King of Israel.This was David.The shepherd boy anointed to be King.A ma

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n after God’s own heart. Chosen of God,anointed King of Israel,feared by his enemies and adored by his subjects.Legendary giant killer and warrior without equal.

If ever the phrase”how the mighty have fallen”fit a man,it was David.Here was the man who literally “had it all”. This was God’s chosen one to replace a king that had forsaken the Lord.David was to “right the ship”in Israel.Yet for all of this,it wasn’t enough to keep his feet from wandering.

Surely David must have asked himself a thousand times if the momentary pleasure of sin was worth it.How could it have been,when his momentary lapse of judgement led to the rest of his life being one of sorrow and turmoil?

David’s sin led to lies and deception that culminated in Uriah’s death. And what of the child conceived from this rendezvous with the beautiful Bathsheba? Despite his fasting and praying before God night and day, the child born of his adulterous union became sick and died.Unfortunately for David,his sin also mightily impacted his other children as well.

David’s beautiful daughter Tamar was raped by her brother Amnon, who in a revengeful rage killed Absalom, who in turn was slain by Joab.Think of it,the King’s family destroyed by the sins of their father.And for what?

In his despair and brokenness,David came to the realization that the high price of sin was more than even he could bear.He soon learned that being King not only has it’s rewards,but also it’s share of heartache. All that was left for him to do was to throw himself upon the mercies of God.

“Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.”

How gracious is our Father to forgive us when we come to Him with a broken spirit. David did not offer to God mere lip service, but rather a broken heart and a contrite spirit.David wasn’t just sorry because he was found out.No,David was truly sorrowful of heart and soul.This beloved,is true repentance.

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For certain,if we attempt to cover up and hide our sins,God will reveal them in His time.Fortunately for all of us,if we expose them to God He will cover them with His mercy.

As we come to the end of another year many of us will be spending time reflecting on the year’s past achievements and disappointments.Maybe there are some things you need to take to God? Maybe there are some things haunting you,just as they did David.

I want you to know that mistakes don’t have to ruin your life,nor should they define who you are.David could have used a friend to remind him of that,couldn’t he? Perhaps you could too?

May I encourage you to do as David did and simply turn to the Lord and ask His forgiveness for your sin? If you will do this, you will find as David did that our Lord is a restorer of the broken.He is the heart-mender after all.

I can’t think of a better way to start 2017,can you?

Ron

This is What Happens When God Has Left the Building

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I have wrestled for weeks over whether or not to post this.Actually,anguish is a far better descriptor than wrestle.I have literally paced the floor over this.I have written it and then rewritten it at least six times.I set it on the shelf hoping it would disappear or somehow delete itself.Which, of course, it didn’t.

It is not my intent to offend,but rather to call attention to an unfolding tragedy.So with that out of the way,and apologies for the length of this post…

Sometimes it seems as though I’m setting in a room watching a movie,or more accurately a horror film,as I watch,listen,and observe our society in action.

From the humble beginnings of a people desperately searching for something better a scant two and a half centuries ago,we have morphed into a society our forefathers would never have imagined.Could never have imagined.

Sometimes I want to scream from the tallest building”what in the world has happened to us!”.

Even the most ardent,forward thinking framers of the Constitution could never have envisioned the nightmare that has now enveloped us.Were it not unfolding right in front of us it would be all but unbelievable.

My ancestors and yours,many of whom risked their lives to come to America,would hardly have thought of making the journey to come here had they envisioned the debacle which is now America.

The greatest symbol of freedom and democracy the world has ever known has been corrupted by it’s own success,and now more closely resembles the tyrannical empires of the past more than the beacon of hope she used to be.

Let’s be honest here,America is out of control. Not “spinning out of control”,which would infer that it is still possible to regain control. No,we are completely out of control.And we are spiraling into an abyss from which there can be no escape lest we repent and return to God.

If you’re like me and wondering how this could have happened,I offer this simple but poignant observation: We have all been willing partakers in this tragedy!

By our own actions,or lack of action,we all must share the blame.The Hell borne efforts to rid this nation of it’s dependence upon God are now firmly entrenched in our culture,so much so that God is a stranger in America today.

All all of us have blood on our hands.

We Christians have not prayed enough.We have not loved enough.We set idly by while millions every day depart this life for an eternity separated from God.Doomed.Damned.And we feel nothing for them! No burden felt for the lost,no empathy for those outside the Ark of safety.Nothing.

Think of all the time,money,and effort that the adversary has been spent on campaigns to reduce God to an afterthought at best.God defying court decisions,every imaginable wickedness and evil in high places. All have played a key part in the systematic overthrow of the conscious of this nation.We are numb.

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The end result is an endless stream of blood in our streets. Murder rages out of control.Unconscionable  violence rarely causes an eyebrow to raise.

We are overwhelmed with a drunken,drug induced society incapable of righting itself in spite of incalculable dollars spent in hopes of rectifying the problems.

Democrats.Republicans.Independents.Two party. Three party.All have promised us that they have the answers.All have failed because at best all they can do is apply limited interventions,or bandaids to spiritual problems encased in darkness.

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We are angry.Our collective voices ring loudly with the sounds of outrage.We rail against our government,this government of the people,by the people,for the people.

Contentment among us is a foreign concept.Divisiveness is the new commonality that binds us!

 

Indeed,implosion seems inevitable.

We have been blinded by the light.Not that Light,but this one: And no wonder! For Satan himself transforms himself into an angel of light”.    II Cor. 11:14

The god of this world has invaded our homes,our schools,our government,and yes especially our churches.Satan has ripped apart our society right in front of us,and we allowed it to happen with hardly a whimper.

God was declared out of touch with the new reality a long time ago. He became an unfashionable relic from a bygone era that must be dealt with in order for the hip,progressive and destructive agenda Satan devised for America to culminate in the travesty we now see before us.

And we,the church,did next to nothing to stem the tide. In our rush to become more like the world instead of separating ourselves from the world as we are taught in scripture(II Cor. 6:17),we the church are as guilty if not more so than the heathen we love to rail against.

Our pastors and church leaders have bowed the knee to Baal,to the great god compromise

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in order to distance themselves from the stigma of holiness and righteousness.We who sit in the pew each Sunday have clamored for teachers that will tell us stories that appease the conscious,all the while soundly rejecting the Gospel message as too strict and cumbersome.

This Christian way is too strict,they say,echoing the words of our Lord(Matt. 7:13,14). We want an easier path to follow,one that won’t cost us anything.

Considering all that has been said so far,and if you are still reading this,I have an announcement to make.One that I have agonized over for several weeks. One I take no joy in proclaiming and do not wish to make.

God Has Left The Building.

If He hasn’t,then why doesn’t He hear us? Could it be that we have become so used to this new normative of evil that we no longer care enough to cry out to Him? Has our collective conscious been seared with the proverbial hot iron(I Tim. 4:2)? Are we utterly incapable of determining right and wrong?

Has the line between good and evil become so blurred as to be nearly invisible to the masses? Where is the outrage from the church in America? Forget a National Day of Prayer. We are desperately in need of a National Day of Repentance!

Our pastors and church leaders are needed on the front lines of this battle,but they are nowhere to be found.Where are the voices from our pulpits declaring that we have offended a Holy God by our actions? Where is the call for repentance? It would seem that the sheep have been abandoned on the hillside to fend for themselves!

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But Wait!

It can’t be that bad can it? Nothing is ever as bad as it seems.It will get better,it always does.Sure, we may have fallen a bit but we’ll turn it around.

After all,we just elected someone who promised to make America great again didn’t we? As if any man or woman can cure what ails this once proud nation.

I know many that maintain that America,  at less than 250 years old, is too young to die.I appreciate that sentiment. I understand where they’re coming from.No one likes to admit what I’m stating here.It’s not popular.It’s not good news.It reeks of despair and uncertainty.I will win exactly zero friends by posting this and no doubt incur the wrath of many.

I would counter the “America is too young to die”outcry with this: America is already dead.In fact,death occurred some time ago when America became “rich and in need of nothing”. She just hasn’t accepted it yet.Or perhaps remains willingly blind to her condition.

Because you say,‘I am rich, have become wealthy, and have need of nothing’—and do not know that you are wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked…”   Rev 3:17

As I stated,we are blinded by the light from the deceiver who has positioned himself as truth.And we have bought it. Hook. Line. And Sinker.

And our silence is deafening.

Surely our decision making abilities (or lack thereof) must cause bewilderment in heaven!

No rational,sane Christian can argue that we are living in the Laodicean age of the church. The age of the great falling away.The age of compromise and rebellion against spiritual authority.Against the Ultimate Authority.

1 But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come:

2 For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy,

3 unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good,

4 traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God,

5 having a form of godliness but denying its power   II Tim 3:1-5

Dangerous or perilous for who? Certainly for everyone.Specifically for Christians.To the watchful eye,every single one of these traits is evident in America today.And it’s about to get uglier than we ever imagined.

We are beginning to reap what we have sown.

Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap.Gal 6:7

Serious students of the Bible know full well what has happened to the nation of Israel who,though blessed mightily by God,forsook Him for other gods.Israel,God’s own chosen people,was eventually consumed by the sinful lifestyle they willingly chose to follow after. One hundred percent of them suffered the consequences. No exceptions.No escape.

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This,it pains me to say, is America’s destiny.The destiny that we ourselves have plotted.We have chosen our own path rather than follow the path chosen for us by God Himself.

As terrifying as it sounds,the upcoming acts of this catastrophic drama are soon to play out one by one,and rest assured,there will be a final act.The curtain is going to close on all we hold dear.

How can we be so sure this is going to happen? Because God has done all that He could to restore humanities broken relationship with Himself. And we have counted it as nothing.We have cast the sacrifice of His Son aside and trampled his blood under our feet(Heb. 10:29). God will not remain silent.He never has.

So is there no Hope?

Absolutely! As long as there is breath in us we have hope! God Almighty will see us through every upcoming scene.For the Christian who has placed their trust in the Lord,victory is assured.No matter what happens,God is faithful to His children.

Like many of you,I cling to the promise that He will never leave us nor forsake us(Heb 13:5). As a matter of fact I’m completely dependent upon His faithfulness.I trust Him completely because I have no one else in whom I can place my trust,and He has never violated that sacred trust.

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History has taught us that governments will fail.Societies will crumble.Men have always brought destruction upon themselves by the poor choices they make.It is a seemingly endless cycle.

History has also taught us something more valuable than those things.Perhaps the greatest lesson of all is this:

God may have left the building,but He will never leave YOU!

What will it take?

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Problems.

We’ve got big problems here in America.

Drug problems. Employment problems. Gun problems. Hate problems. Mass Murder problems. Rape problems. Criminal problems of every imaginable kind.

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These problems vex our society in ways that most of us don’t even think about,let alone understand the complexities of.

And what is most distressing about these issues is that they are getting worse instead of better.

In spite of billions trillions of dollars thrown at them in hopes that we will find solutions,our problems worsen.

Apparently money can’t buy everything after all.

We all know this because we see the evidence of it in our communities on a daily basis.What used to happen only in large cities has found it’s way to the family farm and every small town in America.I’m certain that if Mayberry existed today, Andy & Barney would be knee deep in drugs and violent crime.

But this list is by no means complete,because in addition to the Criminal problems we are facing, we are also dealing with Personal problems on an unprecedented level.

Unemployment. Inequalities of every sort. Brokenness. Hopelessness. Our children addicted to prescription medicines for emotional stress.

Depressing,isn’t it?

It seems that every politician has the answer,which I find interesting since these same politicians have continually said they have the answer.Yet the carnage continues.

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Pass this bill.Pass that bill.Implement this initiative.

It’s the fault of the left.It’s the fault of the right.

Problems.

Big problems.


Yet as unbelievable as all of this sounds,we have a problem much larger and more serious than any that I have previously listed.

You see…we have a God problem in America.

As in… we have rejected the Lord and are now left to our own abilities.Like this…

And the LORD said to Samuel, “Heed the voice of the people in all that they say to you; for they have not rejected you, but they have rejected Me, that I should not reign over them.   1Sa 8:7 NKJV

The children of Israel have just sealed their fate. They insisted on being ruled by a king,just like the nations all around them.They told the prophet Samuel that they wanted an earthly king,and rejected the God that had created them.

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You see, they made the same mistake that we have made.They looked all around them and saw that the other nations were doing just fine without the rules and laws that they themselves were bound to follow.Serving God had become burdensome to them.They had grown weary of the sacrifices and rituals that must be observed.They wanted an easier life.They wanted to be taken care of like the other nations they encountered.

And so God gave them exactly what they asked for.He even told Samuel to let the people know what kind of a king they were going to get,as well as the cost of his rule over them.Even though king Saul would take their children from them and cause servitude to be the order of the day,still they preferred him over God.

Thus began the downward spiral of what was once the chosen people of God Himself.To read the tragic history of a backslidden Israel is to read the story of modern day America.

And yet we also clamor for a king.Or a queen.is_it_2016_yet_square_sticker_3quot_x_3quot

But we do not ask for God.

Anyone,anything….but God

We do not ask for God because we do not know Him.We cannot inquire of Someone that we know nothing about.We have forgotten,rather thrown away, our heritage.

Shocking,but where are the shepherds crying aloud for this nation to humble itself and return to the Lord? If this were a different day the pastors and priests would repent in sackcloth and ashes.But not us.We have strayed too far.We are far too proud to admit our sins to a Holy God.

What we want, we have been given.

For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers; and they will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables.   2nd Tim 4:3,4

As a nation…we are alone and left to our own devices.

While the nation cries for more gun control,precious few cry out for more God control.

While our leaders stagger under the burden of overwhelming defeat in the battle to control the drug problem in America,very few cry out to God for a mighty deliverance.

More intervention by our government is simply not the answer our society needs. Our government is corrupt and stinking to the core.They cannot help.

We need a God intervention.In the worse possible way.

What is needed is an acknowledgment by all that we do not have the answers in and of ourselves,and that turning back to God is our only hope.

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Perhaps,if only for a while,believers can call upon the name of the Lord to hold back the oncoming flood that is destined to engulf this once great nation.

Perhaps that is what it will take.

The Missing Piece of The Puzzle

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Salvation. Isn’t that our end goal, to spend eternity with the Lord and all the saints who have gone before us? Well of course it is you say, why on earth do you think I call myself a Christian if I didn’t believe that there is a heavenly home awaiting me?

I have observed something very odd, or curious, in the church today. Something that has probably always been there yet I hadn’t thought much about it until lately. It’s the phenomenon of salvation without repentance. Think about this for a few moments. There are a great number of well intentioned folks out there knocking on doors, greeting people on the sidewalk, grocery store, and yes the church, whose purpose is to win sinners to the kingdom of God. That is awesome my friend.

It goes something like this: “Hi there. My name is Ron and I’d like to ask you a question. Are you a sinner? You are? Well, did you know that Jesus died on the cross for your sins? You do? Great, now will you receive Him into your heart as Lord and Savior? You will? Fantastic! You are saved! You are a Christian! The word of God declares that you are saved!

Of course this is a very simplified account and I use it here to prove a point. Do you see anything missing from the above encounter? Was there any mention of repentance? Where is the work of the Holy Spirit in my little evangelistic outreach? Do you suppose that one reason why we see so many start out for Christ but fade away is because there has never been a repentant heart?

What I’m trying to say is this: except the Lord draw us how can we be saved? It is one thing to say that I am a sinner, it is quite another thing to experience the convicting power of the Holy Spirit. The result of all this is that we have people believing something (without knowing what they believe). They have never experienced the miraculous work of the Holy Spirit in regeneration.

That’s the missing piece of the puzzle. That’s what I’ve been observing.

How about you?

Ron