Spirit of the Age

THE SECRET PLACE
“He that dwells in the secret place of the Most High
shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.” (Psalm 91:1)

PART 8

SPIRIT OF THE AGE

In today’s world of higher education, it is strange how the word “secular” is frowned upon. I use the word myself from time to time to bring clarity to what I am trying to say. I realize that we live and function in an earthly environment; however, I personally do not see anything wrong with the word because it identifies the difference between the nature or “spirit” of the world and the Spirit of God. For the Christian, it is known that we are more closely bonded to the Spirit realm, because our spirit and conscience are intertwined with God and we live according to His voice. This reality of the saints walking in God’s presence and operating within His Kingdom exposes the spiritual intentions of an “opposite” realm that lives according to the character of carnality. The Oxford Dictionary gives this definition: “Worldly, terrestrial, temporal, non-clerical, non-ecclesiastical, material, concerned with the affairs of this world; NOT spiritual nor sacred, not associated with religion or religious belief”. Therefore, whenever I refer to something secular, I am referring to a “system” that desires to be recognized as NOT being affiliated with God. In addition, this includes any religion or philosophy that does not believe in Jesus Christ, The Holy Spirit or God’s Bible as absolute truth.

To know God is to know truth. “Now wait a minute sir – the postmodern intellectual in today’s world knows that all “truth” is subjective and relative. Secular education declares that truth is based on individual interpretation and certain beliefs cannot be declared or imposed on another person as being the only “true” truth. It is widely accepted that there are as many versions of truth as there are personal opinions and each human being must be respected for their own unique worldviews of what they “believe” to be truth.” Relativists believe that all Christians who believe in absolutism are self-righteous. However if one studies fervently, it will be revealed that the denial of absolutes is even more arrogant. Though many in the faith may be infected with pride, it can be said that in genuine holiness, absolutes can be asserted without arrogance. If we discover “truth”, it is not necessarily arrogant to admit it. If we learn how to calculate mathematical equations, it is not necessarily haughtiness to say we know this. Some may think that their knowledge of truth makes them better than others; however, the antidote to this unhealthy arrogance should not involve “denying” these things are true but rather to remain humble in the way we hold to it. It should be noted, there is a fine line between confidence and arrogance. We can be confident, but we should be neither pompous nor hesitant. What can keep us balanced on the tightrope? The answer is wisdom. Wisdom as defined in scripture is a spiritual gift of knowing how to discern and demonstrates both humility and the anointed power to speak clearly and decisively.

It is also very common in today’s social correctness for relativists to believe that a Christian’s assertion of absolute truth leads to intolerance (and I am sure there are many that have been). Nevertheless, it should be considered that this view is actually making a moral judgment. For relativists to proclaim that something is really right and something is really wrong, is interesting to say the least. Actually, believers in Christ have a solid foundation for “defending” tolerance (a foundation that relativism lacks). In fact, many see cultural relativistic tolerance a “false” tolerance, or in other words, tolerance has become the relativists only absolute. True tolerance can and should be defended by believers because we have good reasons for maintaining that rightly defined tolerance is a virtue – and rightly defined intolerance is an intentional vice. For the believer there is an adequate basis to sustain this virtue and teach it to our children; however, tolerance does not imply religious and moral equivalence. It is in the making of this distinction that false tolerance and true tolerance diverge. Some cultural and social forms of tolerance minimize the differences among views, nevertheless, the problem occurs when a religion is merely true for you and my religion true for me, then what we believe is a matter of arbitrary personal preference that is not based on an eternal standard of truth. Thus the “truth” has become not the issue at all. The virtue of genuine tolerance extends to include a legal tolerance for diverse religious practice as well as social tolerance for people who are different from us. The call of Jesus to love our enemies takes us beyond a passive tolerance to a proactive love that needs to be demonstrated across religious, ethnic, cultural, racial and moral divides.

Consider the following illustration by Francis Beckwith.

Teacher: “Welcome students. Since this is the first day of class, I want to lay down some ground rules. First, since no one has the truth, you should be open-minded to the opinions of your fellow students. Second…..Elizabeth, do you have question?”

Elizabeth: “Yes, I do. If nobody has the truth, isn’t that the reason for me NOT to listen to my fellow students? After all, if no one has the truth, why should I waste my time listening to other people and their opinions? What would be the point? Only if someone has the truth does it make sense to open-minded. Don’t you agree?

Teacher: “No, I do not agree. Are you claiming to know the truth? Isn’t that a bit arrogant and dogmatic?”

Elizabeth: “Not at all! Rather, I think it is dogmatic as well as arrogant to assert that there is not one person on earth that knows the truth. Have you met every person in the world and quizzed him or her exhaustively? If not, how can you make such a claim? In addition, I believe it is actually the opposite of arrogance to say that I will “alter” my opinions to fit the truth whenever and wherever I find it. I happen to think that I have good reason to believe I do know the truth and would like to share it with you. If you did not believe that you were teaching the truth, you would not be a teacher. If you automatically discredit my view then you have broken your own rule to be open-minded to the opinions of others.”

Teacher: “This should be an interesting semester”

As this dialogue suggests, holding to eternal truth can be done in a way that reveals the glory of God and the Omnipotence of His wisdom. We are should not be afraid to exalt Him as Lord.

We notice the writings of the Apostle Paul in second Corinthians, demonstrating that he is not being arrogant by being confident in God’s power. “It is true that I am an ordinary, weak human being, but I don’t use human plans and methods to win my battles. I use God’s mighty weapons, not those made by men, to knock down the devil’s strongholds. These weapons can break down every proud ARGUMENT against God and every wall that can be built to keep men from finding Him. The trouble with you is that you look at me and I seem weak and powerless, but you do not look beneath the surface. Yet, if anyone can claim the power and authority of Christ, I certainly can.” (II Corinthians 10:3-5, 7 TLB) Again, see find Paul standing before King Agrippa and how the honest “testimony” of his experience on the road to Damascus revealed a beautiful picture of God’s love and forgiveness. It is not our historical knowledge but rather the revelation of “Christ in us” that will enable us to give an account of who He is and what His intentions are. “Now stand up! For I have appeared to you to appoint you as my servant and my witness. You are to tell the world about this experience and about the many other occasions when I shall appear to you. And, I will protect you from both your own people and the Gentiles, to open their eyes to their true condition so they may repent and live in the light of God instead of Satan’s darkness, that they may receive forgiveness for their sins and God’s inheritance along with ALL people everywhere whose sins are cleansed away, who are set apart by faith in me.” (Acts 26:16-18 TLB) Without passion for truth – we are salt without flavor – as dead men walking.

There was a time when every parent wanted their child to go to college and receive a wonderful education. The idea was that it would help them become more knowledgeable and to live a better life. Unfortunately, the enemy of our souls was invited to present his curriculum and now his lies have become the socially acceptable way of thinking. Sadly, by allowing the neo-pagans, atheist and new age advocates to control our higher education system, it has given Satan the perfect opportunity to poison the minds of our young people with the attitude that anyone who believes in God – also believes in the tooth fairy. It is clear, the enemy is doing everything he can to tear down the courage, confidence and faith of those who represent God. Whose fault is it? The church has become lazy and bored with Bible study and prayer meetings because they allow their flesh to control them. A desire to know WHY we believe has now been replaced with dinners, comedians and entertainment.

Though it is true, that what we practice, (not only what we preach) is a greater contribution to the conversion of others, it is also crucial to know “what” we are talking about. Having a rational justification for our position is the foundation of our confidence to speak to critics of the faith. As the inability among Christians to defend spiritual truth increases, the strategy of Satan to divide and conquer will continue to attack with the battle cry, “it is difficult for the heart to embrace that which the mind does not understand”. C.S. Lewis said that he believed in Christ as he believed that the sun is risen, not because he saw it clearly, but because by “it” he saw everything else.” Selah.

WALKING RIGHT SIDE UP III

THE WALK
PART 42

WALKING RIGHT SIDE UP III

“And this I say, lest any man should beguile (deceive) you with enticing words.” (Colossians 2:4)

To continue in the same pattern of thought as we left off in the last commentary, we are seeing the reversal of God’s truth because the masses are “walking” in the opposite direction. The war of words is intended to “sear” or burn a specific political worldview into the conscience of the carnal minded. Many of us are old enough to remember the time when those who had no regard for right and wrong made immoral decisions. And, why was it considered wrong? It was not wrong because it was “out of style” but rather because it was against God’s law. For example, 50 years ago, if a woman became pregnant that was not married; it was a shame and a disgrace to the family and the community. And why was that? Because it revealed a sexual encounter called “fornication” that was a spiritual SIN according to God’s Word. The masses that held God’s Word in the highest regard knew it was wrong and chose not to sugarcoat it within their own spiritual convictions. Promiscuity used to be recognized as irresponsible and rebellious but now is advertised as having the personal “right” to be an independent freethinker a.k.a. (unashamed sinner).

In today’s world, the act of having sex with anyone (that shows an interest) is so common, that it seems normal. In fact, unmarried mothers are viewed as heroes because of their brave “choice” (as opposed to the divorced or widowed) to have children without the long-term dependence of a man. Another example would be the act of married individuals having sex with someone other than their spouse. Having an “affair” is a modern term that took the place of ADULTERY. Hollywood has built an industry on the deception that “secret sexual sin” is exciting and stimulating. Entertainment plays on the carnal emotions of humans and leads them to destruction with the mirage of a “happy” promise land. In reality, a powerful LUST is blind to what is right and opens many doors that lead to curses that affect more people than those directly involved. The idea of destroying one marriage to build another comes from our own carnal fantasies and evil imaginations – not God’s perfect will.
When the painted facades of lies are torn away, the ugly sins of perversion and debauchery reveal God’s truth. There is only one power that has the ability to change a heart and give sight to the blind, and that is the Holy Spirit’s conviction that comes from the gospel of Jesus Christ. All the counseling and arguing over politics cannot take the place of delivering God’s Word at the appointed place and the appointed time! It is time to stop trying to fight against the darkness with our ability to debate and start operating in the spirit of prayer and love. We do NOT have a vision to change the world to fit our own political views but rather desire to see souls delivered and saved from the possession of Satan and the eternal destruction of hell. We are trying to illuminate God’s presence – not our own agenda!

Today’s tolerance movement is trying to eliminate absolute truth, teaching that good and bad depends on “individual” convictions and the ideas of a particular culture. This is the platform for our modern euphemism – “socially acceptable”. This carnal agenda is working fervently to tear down the old system of Christian morality that follows God and to replace it with “political correctness”. The “thought police” are not just on their way – they are already here! The strategy of Satan is to begin teaching our children his evil philosophies within the public education system and by the time students are ready to enter college, they have been exposed to the basics of the new world order of liberal politics and are ready to embrace and ACT on a stronger, carnal ideology. The doctrines of the Christian faith are laughed at and scorned as an ancient, legalistic mindset that is filled with prejudice and discrimination. This next commentary comes from a group of Christians that is trying to explain the hidden agenda of this dangerous strategy to teach evil propaganda that influence our children’s minds.

“Moral relativism is more easily understood in comparison to moral absolutism. Absolutism claims that morality relies on universal principles (natural law, conscience). Christian absolutists believe that God is the ultimate source of our common morality, and that it is, therefore, as unchanging as He is. Moral relativism asserts that morality is not based on any absolute standard. Rather, ethical “truths” depend on variables such as the situation, culture, one’s feelings, etc. Several things can be said of the arguments for moral relativism, which demonstrate their dubious nature. First, while many of the arguments used in the attempt to support relativism might sound good at first, there is a logical contradiction inherent in all of them because they all propose the “right” moral scheme—the one we all ought to follow. But this in itself is absolutism. Second, even so-called relativists reject relativism in most cases. They would not say that a murderer or rapist is free from guilt so long as he did not violate his own standards.

Relativists may argue that different values among different cultures show that morals are relative to different people. But this argument confuses the actions of individuals (what they do) with absolute standards (whether they should do it). If culture determines right and wrong, how could we have judged the Nazis? After all, they were only following their culture’s morality. Only if murder is universally wrong were the Nazis wrong. The fact that they had “their morality” does not change that. Further, although many people have different practices of morality, they still share a common morality. For instance, abortionists and anti-abortionists agree that murder is wrong, but they disagree on whether abortion is murder. So, even here, absolute universal morality is shown to be true. Some claim that changing situations make for changing morality—in different situations different acts are called for that might not be right in other situations. But there are three things by which we must judge an act: the situation, the act, and the intention. For example, we can convict someone of attempted murder (intent) even if they fail to (act). So situations are part of the moral decision, for they set the context for choosing the specific moral act (the application of universal principles).

The main argument relativists appeal to is that of tolerance. They claim that telling someone their morality is wrong is intolerant, and relativism tolerates all views. But this is misleading. First of all, evil should never be tolerated. Should we tolerate a rapist’s view that women are objects of gratification to be abused? Second, it is self-defeating because relativists do not tolerate intolerance or absolutism. Third, relativism cannot explain why anyone should be tolerant in the first place. The very fact that we should tolerate people (even when we disagree) is based on the absolute moral rule that we should always treat people fairly—but that is absolutism again! In fact, without universal moral principles there can be no goodness. The fact is that all people are born with a conscience, and we all instinctively know when we have been wronged or when we have wronged others. We act as though we expect others to recognize this as well. Even as children we knew the difference between “fair” and “unfair.”
Other examples of how the upside down kingdom is using code language to attack holiness and deceive the masses into accepting it. Alternative lifestyles offer an “alternative” to the Godly institution of man and woman marriage and family, Judeo-Christian morality, health and longevity or in other words; not something good! The sales pitch is that anyone can choose to do whatever they want and whatever feels good to them. Same-sex unions, is another euphemism for homosexual marriage, other wise known as state sanctioned perversion. We now have laws that endorse two people committing acts formerly called “unnatural” as being perfectly normal and even have the blessing of the legal system to raise children. In the past, the idea of a same sex couple adopting children would be a story from a land of fiction but is now – our neighbors next door. How are we as Christians to act toward them? We are pray for their spiritual condition because we have been given the LOVE of God for them and the burden for their souls. This is no different than all of the people that we are surrounded with everyday that need our compassion, intercession and spiritual intervention. The question is how far do we go in our acceptance of their SIN and where do we draw the line of tolerance and compromise. The answer is asking God for more wisdom and discernment and trusting Him to show us the way.

Cohabitation is the new catch phrase that sounds more socially acceptable than shacking up together, living in sin or long-term fornicators. This is the “breeding ground” for producing a world- view of immaturity and less responsibility. The nature of God is commitment and He wants to incorporate this character trait into us with everything we are involved with. Sexually active is decorated with nice ideas and the freedom of love and peace, besides who would want to say there is anything “wrong” with having multiple sex partners in the same week? What used to be referred to as trashy, slutty and licentious is now seen as healthy, adventurous and confident. Safe sex is the view that sex is perfectly good and correct as long as there is birth control. The thoughts of honor, virtue, decency and abstinence have all been thrown out because these ideas are connected to God’s nature. We could go on and on and I am sure you are aware of other areas of society that are being twisted from what is wrong into something that seems right. Jesus was not afraid to “associate” with society – but never compromised! He walked “right side up” with no apologies! The wicked of today hate the word “repent”! The wicked of the past wish they could hear it just once more…

THE WALK OF REALITY

THE WALK
PART 38

THE WALK OF REALITY

Does it matter what we believe or does God give us “credit” for believing whatever we “think” is right? Some religious philosophies teach that even if we are wrong in our knowledge and activate our faith in error, that God will still count it as valid because He judges our sincerity and forgives mistakes. I do not believe that one god is as good as another or that all roads lead to heaven. The truth is that God “Almighty” is very strict when it comes to accepting offerings and honors understanding, faith and obedience according to how they are related to His truth. It is not popular but He does NOT accept acts of faith in the name of a false idol. Those who worship false gods and incorrect spiritual teachings are not given an award for spiritual achievement. There are many civilizations, societies and cultures that have been sincere and have lived true to the laws of that particular sect, but this has only proved that we can be sincerely wrong. The intentions behind our actions reveal how we are spiritually “graded” however, the more we know, the more we are responsible for. Those who embraced the respect of all religions have become satisfied with the conclusion that everyone is connected to the “higher power” and this divine “attachment” is called universal salvation. This popular and fast spreading view believes the supreme being of the cosmos works through many deities, priests, prophets and religious philosophies to accomplish the “universal” heavenly agenda of spiritual enlightenment. This non-offensive idea is convinced that we should respect and accept all religions, thus unifying our love for each other along with enhancing our spiritual harmony. This view also considers any type of rejection toward this concept to be prejudiced, conceited, ignorant and narrow minded. While I do believe that we should love one another as Christ loved the world, I cannot fathom the idea of God accepting strange and offensive offerings of worship. We as Christians are to welcome all people into our gatherings for the purpose of uniting them with Christ; however, we are commanded to resist accepting doctrines that teach heresy.

As we study the tabernacle of Moses, it is amazing to observe the definite order and exact calculations that God demanded. This divine order of perfection is a solid component of Fathers character and a witness of the reputation of His holiness. In the Old Testament, we see that He did NOT honor all religions and the false gods and teachings of today are no different. In fact, He considered all other religions an enemy against His kingdom and made war against them. It does not matter how sincere the intention, there is a devastating cost to deception. “You will have no other gods before me. (No other religious representatives, idols, ideas, concepts or entities) You shall not make any engraved image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or in the water under the earth: thou shall not bow down thyself unto them, nor serve them: for I the Lord thy God am a JEALOUS God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me; and showing mercy unto thousands of them that love me, and keep my commandments.” (Exodus 20: 3- 6) Does this sound as if it makes a difference whom we worship?

Many today ask why the world suffers, especially the children in countries where there is spiritual error. We can understand the legitimate reasons, as this verse reveals that God brings judgment as a result of rebellion. The Lord may even use Satan to punish the people but whatever the method or messenger, the fact remains that error brings consequences. The world began with a small group of people who believed in God and worshipped Him, but it did not take long before many different spiritual alternatives sprouted and presented new alternatives to the original ideas of serving THE God of the universe. This is one reason why the earth groans in agony. Division creates chaos and the liberation of independence can definitely have a dark side. The result of careless free-will to believe whatever one desires is actually causing the world to crumble upon itself and will pronounce its own death. For example, we have heard the story of Lot and how his two daughters sexually seduced him in the cave, after they fled Sodom and Gomorrah. Instead of trusting God and following His perfect way, the girls trusted their own understanding and committed unnecessary incest, which produced two cursed pregnancies. The result of following the desires of the flesh will always cause a chain reaction of sin and destruction. In this particular case, the two male children became the leaders of Moabites and the Amorites, two heathen nations that waged war with Israel and killed many of God’s people through the years. When societies drift away from God’s Word, they immediately fall into a downward spiral of spiritual depravity and this is where we find this nation today. Our government failed to follow Christ!

“Take heed unto yourselves, unless you forget the covenant of the Lord your God, which he made with you, and you create a graven image, or the likeness of any thing, which the Lord thy God hath forbidden thee. For the Lord thy God is a CONSUMING FIRE, even a jealous God. I call heaven and earth to witness against you this day, that you shall SOON UTTERLY PERISH from off the land where you go over Jordan to possess it; you shall NOT PROLONG YOUR DAYS upon it, (continue to live in), but SHALL UTTERLY BE DESTROYED. And the Lord will scatter you among the nations, and you shall be left few in number among the heathen, as the Lord shall lead you.” (Deuteronomy 4:23-26) Having “wrong” faith (having faith in knowledge that is not true) comes from believing the wrong things. Our worldviews and spiritual convictions must be based on God’s truth or it is not divine reality. God does not honor or respect our opinions but only his Word, which is His will. God operates in a perfect system of required ingredients. Discerning truth comes from spending time meditating on Him and His Word through the Holy Spirit, and our faith is the key to starting the engine of supernatural miracle power. Without faith in the revelation of His Word, we are adrift on the information ocean without compass, provisions or paddle. Faith is knowing who He is, what He has and trusting that He will make it happen!

Believing the wrong knowledge comes from absorbing the wrong information. Selah. If we will pray to the Holy Spirit to guide us into Divine Truth – He will do it. Moreover, even if we are taught error, we can discern through God’s Spirit how to judge truth from false ideas. As we pray to become sharper in our sensitivity, we will grow stronger in our ability to detect deception and the tenderness to hear His voice. With the Holy Spirit helping us, along with our mind being renewed, we can work together as a powerful “filtration barrier” to catch erroneous, misleading and counterfeit intelligence. Living in the deception of error is a result of being conformed to the world’s way of thinking and not allowing the transformation process to evolve within our mind. When we are spiritually born-again, we are not necessarily “automatically” mentally transformed or enlightened to all truth. Studying and meditating in God’s Word comes into the mind and clears out the old thinking and replaces it with God’s way of thinking. The fact of being saved is the security of being spiritually rescued while the concept of mind renewal is to slowly change the way we think and act. We are a triune being and God wants to transform “ALL” of us. As a caterpillar becomes a butterfly so should we become completely different in every area of our life.

If we are truly saved, our spiritual identification is changed but we cannot be an overcomer without being transformed mentally from the inside out. People love the idea of accepting a free ticket to the joys and pleasures of eternal life but are not really interested in doing His will. For example, church members will dance in the aisles while someone is preaching about heaven or being raptured before the tribulation but it becomes very quiet when someone teaches about suffering persecution. Why is that? It is simple; Christians are just like everyone else in that they love pleasure and dread pain. They love potluck dinners and have wall-to-wall audiences for special entertainment but four people will show up on a weeknight scheduled for street witnessing. Most churches have a decent crowd on Sunday morning but only a handful for Wednesday night prayer service. Why is this happening? That’s easy! Because only a handful of people actually pray at all which means they are very uncomfortable praying together. Many church members claim to be Christians but actually do not know much about what that means. Sadly, most people in the church would rather be a spectator than a participator because spiritually they are on the “outside” looking in. The ninety percent have always been perfectly willing to allow the ten percent to do all the sacrifice and work. Many have never realized that the heart of being saved is an intimate relationship with God and His call to a personal obedience – NOT just to attend a corporate service at a certain time and location.

I was talking to God the other day praying and asking Him to please help me. It seemed immediately after I made the request that I heard a voice in my spirit that said, “I also really need you to help me! It hit me hard and I meditated on this for a long time. How often do we just bring petitions without asking Him what He wants from us? I passed a man holding a sign a couple of weeks ago in front of the courthouse that said, “Pray for rain”. I’m not saying that we cannot or should not ask God for His blessings but maybe there is a reason it is not raining! What about making a sign that said, “Repent from your sins”. It is time to stop using Christianity for just a “bless me club” and comprehend the reality of God’s holiness! He is angry at this nation and His judgments are being prepared because of the attitude of the people. Selah. Most of this nation has rejected God and turned their back on Him. They have discarded His Word and have railed against Him like the crowd who cried against Jesus when Pilot offered to release Him. Eyes have been blinded and hearts are calloused against God’s mercy. Our country is in a mess because most do not want God to tell them what to do and have chosen to live according to their own system of “feel good” psychology. The devil has easily blinded the eyes of the masses as they willingly worship their desires.

I am generally a peaceful person. I do not particularly enjoy conflict or confrontation. I have recently come in contact with some powerful information and it has inspired me to think more seriously about OUR part that we should do in these last hours. Those of us who are holding on to the garment of Jesus are feeling a sense of urgency. We are feeling that change is on the horizon and that it will be connected with the Middle East and our failing economy. I personally do not believe that anyone can reverse the course of this nation. It will take more than a president, senate or congress to save our country. I am not endorsing for us to stop praying, but rather to be led by The Holy Spirit about HOW to pray. There are many things to pray for but let us not pray amiss. We cannot pray against prophecy that God has already seen and verified as “coming to pass”. This world is filled with evil people and the blinded nations will gather against Israel in the last hour. I am not sure where America will be when this happens.

My question to you this day is; how far should we go to voice our convictions to society? Should we keep our spiritual knowledge to ourselves and wait for a Divine appointment? On the other hand, should we shout our views that are founded on God’s Word from the rooftop? Should we be vocal at work about our spiritual/political views and be willing to debate for what we believe? Should we study and show ourselves approved unto God about “politics” along with our knowledge of His Word? Should we publicly take a stand for what we believe to be true and become informed about what the enemy is teaching our children and then revolt against it? Are we to be quiet and just spend our time worshipping and living a peaceable life or should we be fighting against the New World Order until Jesus comes or until we are beheaded? Where do you personally stand at this time? If you have not noticed lately, the world is becoming more aggressive, more vocal, more confident and more intimidating. Are we to back off and let them have this world or are we to present our case in the Name of Jesus so that He can open their eyes? Where do you stand?