Rich Mullins – Let Mercy Lead`

As believers and followers of Jesus Christ we can only lead others to the saving knowledge of our Savior. The rest we must leave up to God to work out (some sow, some water, others reap)That’s what I gleaned from last night’s reading. Also, from Ezekiel…The scriptures are filled with the many times the Lord has been angry with Israel for their rebelliousness, but somehow it seems as though He is terribly, terribly angry when He speaks through Ezekiel. His anger jumps of the pages without mercy. I know that this book speaks of the end times…still…if this is an indication of what’s to come…pity the idolater that refuses to repent.

These days, and more so because of social media…rebellion, wickedness, violence, especially against the weak and vulnerable… seems rampant, or rather seems to be going viral. It comes at you from every source. Every time I turn on any media outlet…there it is again…another crime…and usually against the weak. I’ve told myself I am just going to unsubscribe to all these news networks, but is that going to make the problem disappear? Of course not. I will be like millions of other Americans that do not want to hear… that can’t be good either. The news can be so depressing! These are the days in which we live.

Ezekiel 14: 12 The word of the Lord came again to me, saying: 13 “Son of man, when a land sins against Me by persistent unfaithfulness, I will stretch out My hand against it; I will cut off its supply of bread, send famine on it, and cut off man and beast from it. 14 Even if these three men, Noah, Daniel, and Job, were in it, they would deliver only themselves by their righteousness,” says the Lord God.

15 “If I cause wild beasts to pass through the land, and they empty it, and make it so desolate that no man may pass through because of the beasts, 16 even though these three men were in it, as I live,” says the Lord God, “they would deliver neither sons nor daughters; only they would be delivered, and the land would be desolate.

17 “Or if I bring a sword on that land, and say, ‘Sword, go through the land,’ and I cut off man and beast from it, 18 even though these three men were in it, as I live,” says the Lord God, “they would deliver neither sons nor daughters, but only they themselves would be delivered.

19 “Or if I send a pestilence into that land and pour out My fury on it in blood, and cut off from it man and beast, 20 even though Noah, Daniel, and Job were in it, as I live,” says the Lord God, “they would deliver neither son nor daughter; they would deliver only themselves by their righteousness.”

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Don’t Judge Me! Who are you to Judge Me? Christians shouldn’t judge! Better arrows from a friend, then kisses from an enemy.

Have you heard those comments before, or something to that effect? Just about everyone has been subjected to finger pointing at some point, especially if you are a believer. But what about when the person ordained mishandles the Word of God, especially those that draw crowds by the thousands? Those who claim to have been called by God to preach the Gospel? Do we just allow them to pervert the Word of God? We should know the people of God by their fruits, but instead we see them as in the old days of the priests. We don’t see, or call many of these lovely preachers, teachers, pastors, or prophets – false prophets. We call them anything but that, and we don’t even try to steer fellow believers away from such as these. I recall the apostle Paul calling out a couple of them. This one topic, that of false teaching, false prophets and such is always a great lesson for believers, well…for me anyway.

I ask the question again, do we cut them any slack? Well, this incident with the Osteen’s has certainly brought this question to the forefront. The incident has disturbed the slumber of some believers and nonbelievers. However, there were some believers that were watchful and now they are being criticized for criticizing the powerful and great Osteen ministry. We can expect criticism from the typical anti-God groups, that is not troubling, if anything expected, but what is troubling is that many believers, especially new believers, babes in Christ may be getting the wrong idea of what the Christian faith, believing in a living God, and the message of the cross is all about. And it’s not just her remarks that trouble me, it’s her response and that of some of their followers, many of which may be new believers.

I ask God, is there resolve in this matter, as in the case of ISIS according to the fella from DD, is it one of two choices: repent, or ignore God and suffer the consequences.  Or as believers, do we just let it slide? Knowing of course that the Lord will deal with His own. We can know with confidence that the Osteen’s will not repent, because repentance connotes wrong doing. And Osteen has pretty much admitted no wrong doing. I am surprise that she did not use scripture to support her remarks. I am confident that anyone at all concerned about this has already forgotten about it, or put it in God’s hands, which is what I would have done, but for some reason…I can’t, so I am just going to address it this last time and put it in God’s faithful hands. He alone knows the heart of every man. Praise God!

Matthew 18:6 Whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in Me to sin, it would be better for him if a millstone were hung around his neck, and he were drowned in the depth of the sea. The bible warns repeatedly to watch out for the false prophet.

Well, the hour is at hand.

Last night I had this image in my mind. In the garden of Eden, Eve took the fruit from the tree of the Knowledge of good and evil. She handed it to Adam. Adam took the fruit and ate of it. So, here comes God, walking in the garden, calls Adam. Adam admits he is hiding because he is naked. Why, God asks Adam do you think you are naked? Well, you know the story. Eve handed Adam her belief that the fruit of the tree that God told them not to eat from was a better choice…and you know the rest of the story. God dealt with both, but let’s face it, Adam got all the blame. He went along with Eve, but not without consequences. I had to discuss this image in my brain with a friend before I completely understood what the Lord was showing me.

Why I am I even compelled to put this argument on paper, I don’t know, but God knows. Let the reader have ears to hear.

The Hour is at Hand…

In her words…

“I just want to encourage every one of us to realize when we obey God we’re not doing it for God — I mean that’s one way to look at it (That’s the only way to look at it.),” she said from the pulpit. “We’re doing it for yourself, because God takes pleasure when we’re happy. That’s the thing that gives him the greatest joy this morning … just do good for your own self. Do good because God wants you to be happy.”

With boldness, she reiterates her statement… rather than clarifying the awkwardness of the statement she had just made. This was her opportunity to acknowledge God, but instead chose to please the flesh. She might have gone into more detail with her church, or elsewhere, but no where that I found.

She added, “When you come to church when you worship him, you’re not doing it for God, really. You’re doing it for yourself, because that’s what makes God happy.”

Her defense or reasoning whichever way you want to see it… Read more

Sometimes in my Christian walk … it feels like I walk alone…

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John 14:15-20

“If you love me, you will keep my commandments. And I will ask the Father and he will give you another Helper, that he may be with you for evermore, the Spirit of truth, whom the world is not able to receive, because it does not see him nor know him; you surely know him, for he abides with you and will be in you. I will not leave you orphans; I will come to you. Soon the world will no longer see me, but you surely will see me; because I live, you also will surely live. In that day you will indeed know that I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you.”

The Word tells me I do not walk alone…but sometimes the trials of life…gosh…as purposeful as they are…it feels like God is only working on me. Still…I know that He is just working all things for His purpose.

Rich Mullins once sang…

“…There’s people been friendly
But they’d never be your friends
Sometimes this has bent me to the ground…”

Read more: Rich Mullins – Elijah Lyrics | MetroLyrics

 

The Voice of Truth…is Heaven for Real?

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A couple of years ago my two-year old grandson was sick with vomiting, fever and just feeling pretty bad. At some point, he began to look bad. His eyes were sunken in and his color was a bit off. It happens when you have stuff coming out both ends. Anyway, my daughter and I were keeping a close eye on him, believing that it was nothing more than a stomach virus. Well, it was late one evening, after about three days of illness that my daughter was in her room, sitting on her bed and just holding him. It was an ominous sight that to this day I cannot forget. My daughter, already tired herself, was holding my grandson. His little body laid almost draped over her, almost lifeless. She was worried and had called me in to check him out, not sure what to do for him. I cannot tell you the fear that came over me upon seeing his lifeless little body. I told my daughter that we had to get him to the emergency room, asap. We did not call EMS. We just got in the car and sped to the Children’s ER which was about twenty minutes away. When we got to the ER, of course they took him right back in. ER doctors immediately started running tests and such. As it turned out he had acute appendicitis and by God’s grace, we got him medical help in time. The doctors performed an emergency appendectomy and he was going to be alright. The doctors told my daughter that if we had waited any longer his appendix would have ruptured and things would have been worse. Praise God. God is so good.

So, I just finished watching the movie Heaven is for real. This movie is about a little boy that goes to heaven during emergency surgery. It’s a touching story based on real life. The reason I shared this story about my grandson is because the little boy in the movie had his appendix rupture and he nearly died. So the experience hit close to home. I don’t want to spoil the movie for those that have not seen it yet, but as I watched as the father struggled with his own faith, the mom not sure how to help, and the Christian community coming together to pray and support that also had a difficult time accepting and believing this little boy’s experience…I found myself… not questioning the validity of the boy’s experience, but just having a heck of time deciding whether to believe or not believe that God would reveal Himself through this little boy. There have always been individuals that have reported near-death experiences, some pleasant, others not so pleasant and most of us have some doubt about the validity of such experiences.

So, the little boy shares with his father his varied experiences while visiting heaven. His mother just seems to pass it off as a dream based on past experiences, and exposure to the things of God. Totally, nonspiritual, she was being a mom. Well, the movie goes on and later on, the boy shares something with mom that she knows he could not possibly know and she too begins to believe in his outrageous tale. After a while, typical… the critics come out, the supports start questioning the father’s behavior and such. In the end, everyone must make their own choice.

As I watched, I thought…how many Christian genuinely believe that Heaven is a real place and that Jesus is real and that we are not alone in this universe? How many believers can accept Jesus as a brother, father? How many Christian women would accept Jesus as their husband? Not just in a spiritual sense but like the Catholic nuns that wear a wedding band to signify their marriage to Him (I guess they still do that???).

Today, as I was skimming Yahoo news, I read that Ann B. Davis (of the Brady Bunch) died yesterday, right here in my hometown. It was reported that she had lived here, 18 years in a “Christian community”. I was like…what? She lived in San Antonio? What Christian community? I don’t know of any such here…that’s just the way it was reported.

Davis’s death and my grandson’s experience raised some questions for me. I have read of other near death experiences, but never watched any in film. This particular film struck a chord with me because of my grandson. Also, because of the mom’s nonchalant attitude at the start of it all…but more because God had a message of love and comfort to a world stricken with grieve and doubt, cynicism and just pure hate for the things of God. The little boy had a message for his mom, but also to rest of the us (I won’t spoil the movie). Reading about this “Christian community” that I knew nothing about also raised concerns about what “we” as Christians are doing to reach the lost with the love of God. Are we just sitting pretty somewhere, content in our own righteous living, unnoticed?

Well, I thought…the world wants us to believe that God, that Heaven and hell for that matter exists only in our finite minds. If we, as humans have retained anything it’s that human knowledge, unfettered, can be a dangerous thing. Not because knowledge is always a dangerous thing, but because the human chooses to believe in “survival of the fittest” as an end goal rather than on the Creator of the man and His destiny for each one of us.  You can fill in the blanks. History is filled with plenty of examples.

I just wonder, …as believers, can we distinguish the voice of truth from all the voices in our head? False teachings, false teachers, and false prophets grace our churches at every corner and people blindly enter, and our “Christian communities” sit by unnoticed. The biggest problem we face is that every church pastor, preacher, teacher, etc. believes they are preaching truth.

In this last hour…God has a message for us. How many of us are listening? Heaven is real. And if heaven is real…

Worshiping the Creation…

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Lord, I am so tired of trying to fit in!

Romans 1: 24-25 “Therefore God also gave them up to uncleanness, in the lusts of their hearts, to dishonor their bodies among themselves, who exchanged the truth of God for the lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen.”

As I sat flipping through pages of some terribly over priced magazine I could not help but notice how obsessed we are with the body human. As God’s ultimate creation we pour all our energy into bringing our bodies into submission, forcing it to twist and bend to shape it as we desire, adorn it with fine clothing and jewelry and such…in effort to make it appealing to others. Most people work toward that end goal. Albeit, there has always been a segment of our society that has worshiped the human body. We don’t need any extensive or elaborate study to prove this point. Just look at what comes out of Hollywood. Nevertheless, we spend tons of money, and time to carve out an image that appeals to others and that conveys a very specific message about our personality, attitude and such. We start at a young age and by age 14 we are so obsessed with our appearance that we look down on others that don’t look like us.

In these last days, …as Christians we are just as guilty on focusing so much attention on our physical appearance.

1 Timothy 4:8 (NKJV)

“For bodily exercise profits a little, but godliness is profitable for all things, having promise of the life that now is and of that which is to come.”

We should know better. It’s one thing to eat healthy and exercise to stay fit and such…it’s another thing to measure the worth of God’s creation by mere appearance.

Matthew 23:25-26 (NKJV)

“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you cleanse the outside of the cup and dish, but inside they are full of extortion and self-indulgence. Blind Pharisee,first cleanse the inside of the cup and dish, that the outside of them may be clean also.”

James 2:3 (NKJV)

“My brethren, do not hold the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory, with partiality. For if there should come into your assembly a man with gold rings, in fine apparel, and there should also come in a poor man in filthy clothes, and you pay attention to the one wearing the fine clothes and say to him, “You sit here in a good place,” and say to the poor man, “You stand there,” or, “Sit here at my footstool,” have you not shown partiality among yourselves, and become judges with evil thoughts?

I see Dead People!

“I see dead people.” said the little boy. The 1999 movie, The Sixth Sense, sent chills up my back when I figured out the plot to the movie…the psychologist was dead, but he did not know it. The boy did not like the fact that he could see dead people. Who could blame him?  In the movie, I don’t recall if it was some kind of special, spiritual gift that the little boy possessed that gave him the ability to see dead people, but I imagine it would be pretty creepy.

Imagine, as Christian believers, we walk among the spiritually dead all our lives and rarely do they creep us out. If anything we enjoy their company. However, the Lord said He came to separate.

“Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. For I have come to turn a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law—a man’s enemies will be the members of his own household. Anyone who loves their father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; anyone who loves their son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. Whoever does not take up their cross and follow me is not worthy of me. Whoever finds their life will lose it, and whoever loses their life for my sake will find it.” Mat. 10:34-39

He was clear when he said “we were in the world, but we are not of this world.” And that we cannot separate ourselves from the world, but we are to steer clear of other “believers” who mock God with their contradictory lifestyles and we all know one or two Christians that cuss like sailors, are having an affair, or are just mean… seriously lacking in God’s love and compassion. As fellow Christians, however, we may simply pray for them, rather than confronting them about their unchristian lifestyle. No one wants to judge and no one wants to be accused of being judgmental or self-righteous.

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Consider, the Febreze commercial, the participants are blinded folded and placed in filthy rooms that are sprayed with a pleasant aroma that completely eliminates bad odors. Well, when their blindfold is removed they are grossed out by the surroundings, the mess, the filth in which they have been standing, or sitting. I would too.

These are pictures of our spiritual walk. Some of us walk among the living, but we are really dead and don’t realize it. Others are blinded to the mess surrounding them, because it smells so good…it can’t be bad. The adulterous Christian feels no remorse, no shame in his/her behavior, because it feels good. How can God be against that?

Thus, when the truth is revealed, we have no choice but to accept the truth, sadly some of us still refuse to heed. As Christians, however, we must…how does the song go…

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Only the living God can penetrate the darkness.

“…I once was lost but now am found, was blind, but now I see.” We need to always be in check with the things of God. If the Lord is merciful enough to show us our true spiritual state, thank God for His love and faithfulness. God loves us and wants nothing less than for us to be right with Him. In these last days, deception is everywhere. Sure, we have always had deception, but the Lord warned us it would get worse as the time drew near. We live in the “if it feels good, just do it!” generation.

We cannot separate ourselves from the dead, as I mentioned they are always among us. However, when we gain spiritual truth, and subsequently some outside force attempts to twist that truth…we need to make sure whatever voice we choose to hear aligns with the truth of God. Test the spirits.

Be Blessed.