THE SECRET PLACE
Abiding under the shadow of the Almighty
WHEN FATHERS FAIL – NATIONS FALL III
The issue of discipline has been brought to light over the last 40 years and has been led by the devil’s protest against spanking. His strategy has been to persuade parents to “pet” the monster to keep it happy instead of actually teaching children – even if it hurts. It is true that a child does not enjoy the pain of punishment, but neither do they enjoy the absence of it when they know it is needed, especially when it is has been promised. Selah. Actually a child’s sense of justice actually gives them a happy “relief” when it has been carried out. Why is that? Because it has been created within the DNA of the human psyche to “respect” discipline. It is quite common to hear about children that have returned to thank their parents for the punishment they knew they needed. The problem with today’s fathers is a lack of love for God and of course this has distorted their understanding of “how” to love their family. The Bible teaches that a father who chooses NOT to punish his children with a firm hand of discipline does not really love them at all. “He that spares his rod HATES his child: but he that loves his children chastens them early.” (Proverbs 13:24) Buying expensive gifts for his family cannot be substituted for love. As we have said earlier, the greatest gift that a man can give to his family is to live Godly before them. His legacy is not what he bought them – but how he loved God in front of them. It is much easier to purchase gifts to “buy” their favor while living in sin – than to live holy and do what is right according to God’s plan. How many wealthy men have been hated by their wives and children because all they ever received was a materialistic, generic form of love? Men like this end up regretting their mistakes because they realize on their death bed how they failed to develop relationships and their life had no spiritual meaning.
Wives appreciate and respect the firm and stable leadership from a Godly husband. I sincerely believe that many women have drifted away from the love in their marriage as a result of a weak husband failing to lead them with strength and faith. We can clearly see the Lord’s highest blessing upon the family where the husband walks in anointed power and humility with God. If he assumes his rightful place of responsibility and authority and provides the moral and material resources his family needs, God’s hand will cover and reach into the deepest recesses of each members heart. Mealtimes will be a time of reverence, joy and orderliness. Playtime will be crowned with enthusiasm and happiness. Rest and sleep at night will be filled with safety and tranquility. Children will be eager to help with whatever needs to be done and family devotions will be the high point of nightly family fellowship. Does this scenario also seem outdated and a thing of the past? Again the only thing that has changed is the Christian father’s desire to listen and obey God. Selah. “Correct thy child and they shall give you rest; yea, they shall give delight unto your soul.” (Proverbs 29:17)
I realize there have been thousands of messages that have described the world’s depravity, but what exactly is being done to fight against the tragedy of the deterioration of the family? Millions of people go to church every week but how many are putting into practice what they are hearing? I wonder how many pastors are teaching the practical fundamentals about how to live? Or have they also bowed down to the pressures to compromise with the beast? In order to make church more popular, leaders are allowing the spirit of humanism to contaminate the place of worship by changing the service from God’s agenda to being more worldly “sensitive” to the seeker. As in the family, there must also be discipline within the church or the darkness of rebellion will offend God’s holiness and cause His power and anointing to find another resting place. The Lord will be respected and demands reverence from His people when they assemble in His Name.
Christian families are now being challenged from every facet of society and are bombarded with the darkness and temptations of sin – and the church is not exempt. So what can Godly husbands and fathers do to protect their families when even our public school system has become an enemy of the Christian belief system? Yes, I believe in home schooling but I am not saying this will prevent children from being influenced with secular humanism. Hopefully they will have a strong enough foundation in their spirit to be able to resist these heresies when they are faced with them. Even much of our news is directly from a demon possessed media that fashions their communication in a way that is designed to deceive. So are fathers to move their families into the forest or away from civilization in order to shelter their families from the presence of evil? I do not believe that is possible. Christian husbands and fathers just need to become more serious with their calling than they are with anything else in their life! Until Christian men see that LIVING for God in their everyday life is their highest priority – their families will not flow with the harmony and unity of the Holy Spirit. Fathers must be focused with what is important and let go of the distractions. Instead of spending all of their spare time with what they want to do, the thoughtful father needs to use these times as an opportunity to talk with their children and listen to them. Only when the doorways of trust and honesty are open can the sincere communication be shared and appreciated. This love bond with the fathers and their children is essential to imparting God’s truth – not only with words but especially with demonstration.
Have you ever noticed that in many cases, churches have more women in attendance than men and yet it is the MEN who need the instruction of God’s Word so they can LEAD their families. So why has family men lost interest in being Godly husbands and fathers especially in the last 60 years? I’m glad you asked. Most everything I write about considers God’s absolute truth as the best way and the most perfect choice. Yes, it is true that technically we can do whatever we want, but when our will is not God’s perfect will – it is wrong. The secular humanistic crowd becomes angry when they hear a view such as this because they believe that all “humans” should have the freedom to live their own dreams with admiration and respect. This idea of cultural evolution is NOT from God! In fact it is an insult in the face of the one who created the world and had a completely different plan for mankind. There has never been a time when the masses were holy but I believe there was a time when the average family at least knew what was right and wrong and tried to stand for what was right. Of course there has always been sin, the only difference between much of what is being thrown in our face now is that 60 years ago it was more hidden. However, (for those of us who are old enough) I want us to go back to the fifties and sixties and think about how drastically things have changed within the family. In the days of early television there were many shows that were relatively clean and innocent. For example shows like “lassie” and “Leave it to beaver” at least tried to present a normal view of what was right. I realize these were just some actors trying to portray the middle class average family but there were also a few simple realities that are worth considering. First we notice the Mothers did not hold a job outside the home. It is true that many women entered the workforce in the nineteen forties but much of that was because of World War II. My Mother was not employed when I was growing up and I cannot remember any of the Moms of my friends working either. It was a traditional idea that the wife was to stay home and take care of the house, cook the meals and raise the children. This concept was a “divine” idea because though it was a ton of work, the household became blessed from the wisdom and love of a mother that could take care of every little detail. The virtuous wife and mother (Proverbs 31) worked from dawn till dark to make sure everyone had everything they needed. The men brought home the finances, took care of the maintenance and within the perfect will of God they were the major disciplinarians and spiritual leaders. As God our heavenly Father is to be feared with reverential respect from us His children, the husband as the earthly father was also to be seen as a shadow “type” of shepherd by his wife and children. This is a spiritual mystery that reveals the Omniscience of God’s infinite wisdom that He invested in the blueprints of His creation. The Godly home of born-again followers of His Word are to be as individual holy temples within one glorious tabernacle. The faithfulness and obedience of the marriage and family is the glory of God on earth.
When fathers “lived” God’s perfect will within the family unit, the Holy Spirit could lead and guide the father into the anointing and blessings that are a result of obedience. The wife in turn would have a high respect and admiration for the power of God within her dedicated husband. This anointing produces an authority from God to walk in faith and confidence to speak and do what is right. When the Godly wife would sense that her husband was pure and sensitive to abiding in God’s presence she would be filled with joy in her heart and gratefulness to God in her soul with the fulfillment and contentment of security. This caused the woman to draw even closer to God as she has “seen” and been a witness to the miracle of God’s power to change a man into His image. The virtuous woman of Proverbs 31 does not just happen automatically but evolves over time when she lives under the influence of the Godly man. When she lovingly brings children into the world, she teaches them to cherish their father and respect his wisdom and understanding. It is this RESPECT that causes the children to listen to their father and this in turn allows their impressionable hearts and minds to be a plowed field of good soil where the seeds of God’s Word can be planted deep and watered often. Wives spoke highly of their husbands and were proud of them and likewise children admired their father and had a strong spiritual bond with them all their life.
There was a time when it was rare to hear children insulting their parents and mothers did not try to belittle their husbands in front of everyone or undermine their authority behind their back. As the intensity of discipline declined, fathers lost their respect within their own family! Thus, the foundation of God’s beautiful tabernacle began to crumble and the structure began to collapse. We have said that in the last 50 to 60 years, these cracks in the family foundation were noticed and in turn the churches of this nation also began to suffer loss. The assembly is only as strong as its individual members. Selah. The sin of rebellion has always been in the heart of the carnal nature as there have been several specific movements that influenced and fueled this end-time uprising against God’s absolute truth.
The equal rights movement might have liberated women to be able to have more freedoms but it also conceived a rebellious monster that changed the heart of the virtuous woman and changed her attitude into something God never intended.
The organization of Planned Parenthood was advertised as a way women could regulate their own choices about having children. However the abortion “slaughterhouse” movement was actually just another idea from Satan to destroy God’s creation, give humans the power to control death and deny the innocent the chance to live. No one has the choice to kill an innocent person. It is worth the time invested to read about Margaret Sanger and her philosophies. It is shocking to learn how deeply committed she was to the similar belief system that Hitler also embraced. This exposes our nation’s leaders and the cold hearted prejudice against minorities and the poverty stricken lower class. I wonder how many children were murdered that would have grown up to be presidents, inventors, military heroes, geniuses, teachers, all the gifts, talents and honorable men and women of God?
The rock and roll hippie movement seemed to be just about music but this was only a distraction to open the door to a hellish philosophy that if it feels good – do it! Human nature could not have said it better as it is always looking for an opportunity to be bad. The words in the music revealed the hearts intentions. The freedom to express what they felt was an aggressive form of rebellion, because it was exposing the darkness of the soul, the ugly truth of mankind’s depravity set to the beat of restlessness. Innocence was molested and purity was mocked. When drugs became easily accessible to the masses, the young people became like Eve and listened to Satan lie about how wonderful it would be to live in a utopian world. The devil said that drugs would not hurt anyone but rather allow them to “see” the real truth about love and peace. Now we “see” the millions of young people that have been destroyed by this illusion and the agony of shattered families. Like drugs, alcohol has ruined untold families and destroyed the relationships of parents and children. Adults use drugs and alcohol to drown out the voices of truth because they choose to be carnal. These addictions opened the portals to demonic strongholds of abuse and influenced adults to do things they would never dream of, while listening to the song, “I’m on the highway to hell”.
Of course with hallucinating drugs and the blaring of hell’s music, the doors to premarital sex were not only opened but rather were broken down completely. The teachings of purity and honoring the marriage were ignored and the masses have not looked back. As leaven affects the entire lump, so does a few rebellious people when mixed in with the masses of society. People are like sheep and have a tendency to follow others very easily. What started out as a few delinquents became a movement that grew into an epidemic all because the normal young person wanted to seem “cool” or a part of a new generation of thinking. Everyone wants to feel accepted with the crowd and it will be no different when anti-christ takes control of the world. This freedom to have sex with anyone unleashed the demons of lust and fueled the pornography industry which saw the television as a way to tease the eyes and introduce their sensuous dreams and perverted fantasies.
There is no argument to how severely the television has corrupted the minds of the masses. The arousal of the carnal beast planted the seeds of darkness and eventually grew a harvest of calloused barbarians. Fathers became more interested in the lust for women that wore tight revealing outfits than to call family devotions in the evenings. The guilt of sin in their conscience caused fathers to step away from the sanctification and holiness of being separate from the world. How could fathers pray with their children and talk about God’s Word at night, while having lustful thoughts all during the day? Satan knew that if he could turn the hearts of the fathers away from living with a clean heart, he could dissolve the blessings of the family. This in turn would have a negative impact on the church by filling the pews with hypocrites that were going through the motions of empty religion. God was trying to guide them but many chose to satisfy their flesh instead which caused many families to become dysfunctional. The Lord commanded fathers to help steer the family “ship” but many never kept their eyes on the “lighthouse.” Selah.
THE SECRET PLACE
Abiding under the shadow of the Almighty
WHEN FATHERS FAIL – NATIONS FALL II
“And they brought young children to Him, that He should touch them: and His disciples rebuked those that brought them. But when Jesus saw it, He was much displeased (moved with anger) and said unto them, allow the children to come to me and forbid them not: for of such is the kingdom of God. Verily I say unto you, whosoever shall not receive the kingdom of God as a little child, he shall not enter therein. And He took them up in His arms, laid His hands on them and blessed them.” (Mark 10:13-15)
This response of Jesus clearly reveals how important children are to God and the high level of responsibility he has called fathers and mothers to have. This image of God our heavenly Father watching over us and leading us each moment is a type and shadow of how earthy parents, (especially dads) are to guide and likewise influence their own children. Jesus was trying to teach us all a lesson about spending time with children in order that they might develop a strong spiritual foundation. It is this “well” of living water within the heart of a child that can be drawn to provide the wisdom and faith that will be needed as they develop into adults. This transformed state of mind will remain with the individual that has been nourished and saturated with God’s Word as a child, and must be “maintained” in order to stay connected with God. Jesus is clearly saying that unless our hearts remain soft and sensitive as a little child, we will not be able to abide in the “vine” of His presence. Likewise if we live without being filled with God or having our spiritual eyes and ears open to His voice, we will not be able to be a part of His Kingdom.
When children are born, they are an open book that drinks in knowledge and thrives on mental stimulation. Children are created with a keen eye and a sharp brain that quickly processes thoughts and analyzes how the world works. They naturally look and listen to their parents and remember even the tiniest bits of knowledge and are shaped by their experiences. I believe that most parents do not realize their role of being a mentor and how the way they live can have such a strong impact on a child. In fact, we have a very awesome promise in God’s Word that guarantees all the seeds of spiritual LIFE that we plant within the heart of a child will grow and produce a harvest of blessing that will bring glory back to God. In the Christians journey of trying to find a ministry or a specific spiritual calling, we must understand that being a role model in the image of Christ is the most powerful ministry one can have. “Train up a child in the way they should go: and when they are old, they will NOT depart from it.” (Proverbs 22:6)
When parents fail to lead their children in the ways of God, they have no heavenly foundation or Godly seeds of truth that can produce a destiny of God’s perfect will. They may have negative spiritual seeds planted in their heart but this can only reap a dark, selfish harvest of independence. We cannot put all the blame on the parents for raising ungodly children but it certainly places the little ones at a terrible disadvantage. I believe that some children have found God’s truth later in life and have developed into Godly warriors for Christ. This is not God’s perfect will, but His grace and invitation to His salvation is available to whosoever will hear His gospel and respond to His love. His perfect will is for children to be raised with Godly parents and for Christian fathers to mentor their family under the reverential fear of God’s demands to live holy. Why do we say things like, “When fathers fail – nations fall”? Because God is the one true God and He created humans to live according to HIS spiritual blueprints. As the head of the home, fathers are demanded to have as their highest priorities for their own life and to raise their families according to God’s Word. When they are obedient to these instructions the family is blessed and will live with honor. On the other hand, when the father chooses to live in his flesh and ignore God’s warning to lead his family with God’s plan, he will receive curses and judgment and his family will suffer great loss. “Thou (parents) shalt love the Lord thy God with ALL thine heart, and with ALL thy soul, and with ALL thy might. And these words which I commanded thee this day shall be in thine HEART. And you shall teach them diligently unto your children, and shall talk of them (God’s Word) when you are sitting in your house, and when you are walking by the way, and when you are lying down, and when you are waking up. And you are to fasten them upon your hand and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. And you shall write them upon the posts of your house, and on the gates.” (Deuteronomy 6:5-9)
Our heavenly Father disciplines His children because He loves them so much. He desires to see them walk in the blessings and honor that He has provided for them. In the same way, our earthly father exposes his love for his children with how he guides, his involvement and how closely he monitors their development. His extent of discipline reveals his amount of concern and this builds the bond of mutual respect that never becomes meaningless. There is nothing worth more than for a child to know he is loved by their father. Likewise, in the spiritual realm there is no higher blessing than to know God loves us and His presence is always with us.
Children are very clever and it does not take long for them to be able to see hypocrisy. I would say that by the time a child is five years old they have already processed much information and have categorized many of the important basic realities of life. The rest of their time on earth is mainly “adding” more knowledge to these subjects, developing their understanding and creating their own personal worldviews. What many parents have neglected is how important it is to watch what we say and do in front of our children. As Christians we have learned about positive confessions and how our words have the power to literally change circumstances by opening doors to blessings and favor or feeding the curses of defeat. However for some reason many have not realized that words which have been spoken can easily find a resting place within the heart of a child and these planted “seeds” can produce much confusion. For example, if we teach children that we should love people and that it is wrong to talk negatively about them, yet they are constantly hearing us do this very thing, it will no doubt cause them to question our integrity. How can they believe one moment that what we are teaching is true – while the next day we are doing exactly the opposite? This will create doubt in the child not only about who we say we are – but also in general about the way all humans live. This in turn can also cause an attitude of suspicion in a subconscious resistance to trust God. You see, Christian fathers are not just representatives of God’s kingdom to the “world” – they are being more closely watched by those who live with them! Selah. Many people choose to live their lives at a distance from God, not understanding why they have all types of dis-orders and dysfunctions. When finally analyzing what is in the bottom of their “well”, they discover a robust crop of pride and rebellion in their soul. It cannot be emphasized enough just how crucial it is to walk uprightly in front of children and to lay hands on them every day praying and blessing them.
Christian Fathers are not bosses – they are leaders. A boss says, “do as I say not as I do” while a leader guides by living what he believes. Men have been called by God to LEAD their families in the ways and words of the Lord. Amen! In today’s world, women have resisted the idea of the man being the head of the family and have fought for equality to assume half of the decision making authority. Many have said the Bible is “out of touch” with the advancement of our culture but I strongly disagree. God’s Word is alive and remains active and super-natural to create whatever miracles that is necessary to help in any age or circumstance. It is the justification of sin by those who choose to discard a spiritual standard to live by. Selah. I agree that women deserve respect but the ultimate decisions should be made by Godly husbands. Women have gained much power in the home because of their need to work outside of the home and this has caused some imbalance of attitude pertaining to control. Money should not have anything to do with spiritual authority. Most of the time the husbands lack of financial management has brought a heavy burden on the wife to bring in more finances in order to float the desires of possessions. I realize that it is difficult to have a high lifestyle without two incomes but it is also very important if possible for the “nest” to be managed by a “stay at home” mom. The desire to have material possessions on credit has driven the family into debt and in turn has caused the need for more money. Many times this is a simple lack of patience to wait and save – or the lust of the flesh to keep up with what everyone else is enjoying. In both cases it is a lack of spiritual maturity and leadership from the father. Where did we get the idea that men are the head of the homes and women are to be in submission to their husbands? In first Corinthians 11:3 we read, “But, I would have you to know that the head of every man is Christ; and the head of the woman is man; and the head of Christ is God.” We also see an important passage in Ephesians 5:22-23, “Wives, submit yourselves unto your own, as unto the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the savior of the body.” It is a beautiful miracle to see a Godly father rule his house with discipline as long as it is also saturated with Agape love. The wife desires the spiritual security that a strong husband can “demonstrate”. The heart of a child has also been given the desire for security, but it is much deeper than the safety of a physical structure or dwelling itself can provide; real security is the child knowing that a father and mother’s love will do whatever it takes to RAISE them in God’s truth! Selah.
THE SECRET PLACE
Abiding under the shadow of the Almighty
WHEN FATHERS FAIL – NATIONS FALL
“And Jesus knew their thoughts, and said unto them; every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation; and every city or house divided against itself shall not stand.” (Mathew 12:25)
“O holy God and Father of all things. We fall on our faces at the thought of the beautiful creation of family being left in the desert to die. We can see the vultures’ circling as the family unit is being ravaged by the wolves of selfishness. We who are followers of your Word are agonizing and aching in our heart for the young ones that are growing up without knowing your truth. Dear God our spirit is broken as we weep for all the children. Our nation is crumbling, love is dissolving, your Word is being laughed at and you are being mocked in the streets. Reveal to us what we can do to reach out and help those who are lost. Teach us to pray – inspire us to pray – give us a burden to pray – give us determination, a vision of your will, empower us, provoke us, awaken us, chastise us, purge us, refine us, and forgive us that we may have YOUR anointing that shakes the gates of hell. May our highest priority become a burning desire to PRAY and OBEY. Help us to be more disciplined to Your Spirit and to let go of all the other things that are tempting and distracting our flesh. We need you desperately! In the holy and perfect Name of Jesus Christ we pray and may all that we do be done for your glory, amen.”
The Lord is always trying to get our attention to inspire us and teach us His truth and occasionally we are in the Spirit long enough to sense when He reveals to us issues that are important to Him – and I believe this is one of those times when I heard His voice. In my search for truth over the years, I have seen in my studies where to lay the blame for much of the problems of our world. It is not rocket science to know that children’s behavior is greatly influenced by their upbringing. It seems the more diligent the parents are to injecting their structural views into the child, the more the child tends to absorb them. The question is always presented as to just exactly what is being taught but nevertheless in most cases the young conscience is usually impacted – with only a small percentage of exceptions. In this observation of our culture and society I am not trying to be cruel, but I believe that fathers in particular have the most significant spiritual impact within the traditional family unit. As marriage is holy and ordained from The Lord, the family is also one of His most precious jewels. When God created man He had every intention for him to be a leader in His world and follow His voice. When God joined the woman to the man as an institution, the wonder of pro-creation established the human family in the midst of His beautiful earth as His magnificent masterpiece. Many would immediately disagree and proclaim that mothers have a greater impact with their children and are more closely bonded with the family as a whole and I would definitely concur that virtuous wives and mothers work around the clock to make sure everything is taken care of, however in God’s perfect plan for the family, they were never intended to be the leader of the home. Women have been given the gift of “nesting” and are designed with vital maternal instincts, but it is the Godly man that is called to lead the woman and uphold God’s divine standard and direction of the family. There are many devoted, hard-working single mothers that labor endlessly to maintain their home and there are millions of single divorced parents that share custody of children and my heart goes out to them and their children because in their attempt to make life work, their struggles are proof that in trying to have divine order, it is like swimming upstream. Broken families are a result of the wife or the husband choosing carnality instead of God! Selah. It is not being critical to say these families are more complex and certainly they all need prayer because these environments deserve their own understanding. But this is my point – when husbands and fathers lose interest in being a man of God, the family will definitely experience a spiritual deterioration! Since man has been called by God to be the spiritual head of the house, the family will suffer in every way even when the woman tries to juggle these divine standards on her own. Yes, give Godly women credit for trying because their love for the family is a driving force within her heart. Praise God for the many women of faith that are doing everything they can to make up for the lack of their husbands interest to lead the family, but it is not a dwelling with God’s original plan of completion until the Christian father takes his place under the holy reverence of God’s perfect will.
I realize the traditional family is becoming more rare and our society now spends more attention and energy trying to relate to the dysfunctional family than they are with what was once considered normal. It does not take a genius to see that in the last 60 years something terrible has happened and with all of our reasons and excuses it is obvious that when we were not looking – deceiving demons slipped poison into the punch bowl. Jesus said, “Or else how can someone enter into a strong man’s house, and spoil (steal) his goods, except he first BIND the strong man? Then he can spoil (rob) his house”. (Mathew 12:29)
It is interesting to listen to Christians when they talk about the moral decline of our nation. The first person the religious crowd wants to point their finger at is the government or the devil. Satan has always been a very popular person within the religious world because he is the villainous liar that tries to do everything he can to ruin what God is trying to do. He has enjoyed all the attention with the popular artwork, and books written about him and all that associates him with death, fear, tragedy, violence, horror, destruction, war, darkness and everything that goes with it. While much of his duties do include disruption and continuous negative influence, he is actually being given more “credit” than he deserves. When we take a closer look at why things happen, many times we can see that something more simple and practical is working behind the scenes. God’s authority is actually controlling events as consequences for the actions of disobedient people that we may never realize. Selah. The great flood, Sodom and Gomorrah and the plagues of Egypt are all examples of GOD’S hand executing His will upon the human race as a consequence of their actions – not the devil! The Almighty God is the great judge that does not compromise but fulfills His promises which includes delivering holy justice for the penalty of SIN. Yes, there is a dark side, a definite dangerous enemy that is trying very hard to lure us into error so that we can make a mess out of our lives but in the case of Americas moral decline, I am convinced that fathers have dropped their guard and did NOT take seriously their spiritual responsibility.
To most fathers trying to do “their part”, it seems more than enough to go to work every day and maintain the yard, the automobiles and pay the household bills. Most people would agree this would be the definition of a good husband and a good father. However, if we can look past the natural realm for just a moment, we can see that unsaved husbands and fathers provide exactly the same. It is the Christian husband and father that has lowered his standards! Instead of being the outspoken disciple of Christ that is NOT ashamed of what he represents, many have cowered down and compromised their faith because the stress and pressure to live their faith is too embarrassing. In some exceptions we can use the word ignorance because maybe they did not have the strong spiritual foundation or knowledge to lead their families, but in most cases I believe it has been a matter of allowing the weakness of their flesh to make all the decisions. You see, husbands and fathers are men and even Christian family men are “vulnerable” to certain things. Satan has targeted Christian men since the beginning of time because as we are saying, they are the “leaders” and teachers of new generations. The devil has figured out that if he can “bind” the Christian fathers with sin, he can scatter the rest of the family and they will become unprotected prey to the hungry lions of darkness. Instead of Christian fathers studying God’s Word and teaching their family about integrity and ethics with regular Bible studies, they made the decision to purchase the biggest television money can buy and to watch it instead. They invited Satan to entertain them every night with images of nakedness, sex, violence and cursing. Television advertises enhancements for greater sexual performance and pours whiskey and beer and living life at its highest all the while the Christian fathers remain mesmerized. Is it little wonder that children begin to believe that sin and hypocrisy is wonderful and even accepted by their parents? These mixed messages of proclaiming to be against sin during the day and embracing it through the television at night has damaged the faith of the last five generations! Amen!
How can we expect the new generation to stand strong in their experience and relationship with Jesus Christ when they have never seen an example of it? Selah. Christian fathers have been so occupied with lusting after young beautiful girls that walk around in sensual revealing clothes that they have put their spiritual calling on the shelf! Movies, magazines and the internet have been designed to erotically “CAPTURE” the hearts of Godly men, and to tempt Godly wives and mothers to fantasize about forbidden pleasures and for children to become indoctrinated as disciples for a humanistic world that declares that truth is relevant to how and what we choose. The devil has never made anyone sin but only proclaims how good it would be if you would just try it – remember the garden? Television allows Satan to promote his goods for the purpose of “replacing” our pure thoughts of God with dirty “visions” of sin. A wife and children respect strength and despise weakness! A lukewarm attitude of a Christian husband and father receives NO respect. In fact, the reason for much of the rebellion from family members is a resentment toward the lack of leadership and discipline within the home! Christian fathers have been called to discipline “themselves” in order to EARN respect from their families.
THE SECRET PLACE
Abiding under the shadow of the Almighty
PREPARING FOR THE FUTURE III
I hope we do not take His presence for granted and that our religious knowledge does not drown our sensitivity of this revelation. This infinite holy reality that I am referring to is the reverential fear of who God is. It is called “fear” on purpose because there is not a word that can better describe an appropriate human approach toward an eternal, omnipotent deity. Why do we not reverence Him more? Because we have spent most of our life on the outside looking into His presence. If we could ever spend two (uninterrupted) minutes at His throne, we would know much more about His majesty and a lifetime about humility. Have you ever noticed someone talking about God like He was a million miles away? There are many things people say that they would never say to His face. Selah.
A couple of weeks ago I wrote about “the Christians greatest need” and we settled on the subject of maturity. If we could symbolize maturity as a type of “tree” we can become a little more intense with our imagination and envision one of its main branches as reverential fear. We can confidently say that one enhances the other in whichever way we desire to define them. They both can be recognized within a Christian that has taken their representation of Christ to the highest level.
I was speaking with a person the other day and was saddened by the negative statements about how the Bible was filled with errors because of the inaccuracy of humans. They are convinced that God originally inspired His chosen ones to write His Word and then completely turned it over to the “safe-keeping”, direction and interpretation of mortal men. Allow me to say that if God had just given His “perfect” absolute truth to the natural intelligence of scholars, (which many times is a pitiful ignorance), it would have never lasted through the first century. Yes it is true that men have made a mess out of several translation attempts and we also know that people with good intentions can ruin the concept of scriptural meaning – however, men cannot destroy God’s Word or contaminate HIS pure Word just like they cannot ruin God’s church. Like many things in life, there are originals and there are copies or fakes of the originals. God’s Word is highly guarded by His own Omniscience and is preserved for those who all who diligently seek Him. He has given freewill for whosoever chooses to follow a lie, but that does not mean He is not protecting His conclusive and unblemished Word. His Word is who He is and though men can distort His image that does not mean they can change who He is. Selah. There are many very serious problems associated with this world-view and right from the beginning we can discern this observation (whether people realize it or not) stems from a belief system that is heavily influenced from the devil called deism. We might as well prepare now for the future flood of lies that are connected to the new modern ideas of deism. The Bible is being dissected every day and is being chipped away piece by piece until the secular philosopher will leave nothing that can be identified. This is high on Satan’s list of “things to do” and it is for the purpose of causing DOUBT in the hearts of ALL people. If God and His Word can be doubted even in the smallest way, He is of no consideration as a dependable source of absolute truth! Selah. The devils strategy is to reduce God and His Word to a THEORY and force it to get in line with all of the other ideas that claim to bring freedom to the mind and soul. This is a twisted distortion that has the intention to present the blood of Jesus Christ as an optional “therapy” instead of the ONLY power in heaven and earth that can forgive sin and transform a spirit. Satan knows there is no other covenant in the universe that can save a soul from hell or redeem and ransom a spirit into eternal life!
Deism is a conception that perceives God as a (long distance) divine creator of heaven and earth but has since remained detached from His creation. This view believes that man is on his own to find his way without any supernatural assistance or divine revelation. This doctrine further believes the accomplishments or failures of the human race are based on man’s mental and physical abilities. This idea is laced with the notion that man should be given his share of glory and honor for his wonderful achievements which is saturated in arrogance and narcissism. Let it be said to the so-called scholars of the world; God is far more wise than to allow man to oversee something that is not only so powerful and ultimately life changing but also has a direct connection to everyone’s eternal destiny. If God did not intervene in the affairs of humans we would not be able to experience His presence and anyone that has been aware of Him and felt His power knows that we can have as much of Him here on earth as we desire. Those who have never known His presence and do not believe that we can experience Him now – needs to be born-again and filled with the Holy Spirit! Can we all say amen together?
How can we prepare for the future? Well, at this place and time I am not going to continue to write about what I think is going to happen all around us. There are many good prophecy teachers that can explain the sequence of events and of course there is also much speculation about what might happen. I have my own ideas of possibilities and most of the time they are so negative that I keep them to myself. I admit I am concerned and even worried about what I will do and how I will be able to lead others in that time of distress. I realize that my faith is not at the level it should be and a lot of that is because of two reasons; like we said before we have not had to really BELIEVE for our existence. We have been born with a golden spoon in our mouth and have been very blessed to always have everything we need. The other reason is our lack of diligence to develop a fervent prayer life. I do not mean praying at the dinner table or at special events – I am talking about making a prayer list and spending a considerable amount of time each day interceding for those in need. We hear about mountain moving faith but we do not think about what kind of prayer life is associated with this level of faith. In fact, I believe we could measure our level of faith with the intensity of our prayer life. If we do not pray that much why in the world would we need or desire faith? Selah.
. In first Thessalonians chapter 5 verses 5-6 we read, “You are the children of light and the children of the day: we are not of the night, nor of the darkness. Therefore let us not sleep as do others; but let us watch and be sober.” We yawn while reading the paper or watching the news about worldwide suffering but do not want to imagine the shock of our personal life experiencing these trials. I have never had a day in my life where I did not have all that I could eat. I have never been destitute with no home or vehicle or money. I have always had pretty much everything I need and want and I praise God for that. For me to think seriously about what it would be like to not have all of the conveniences that bring us comfort and pleasure causes a short-circuit in my brain. As for preparing for an economic meltdown, it is clear to see that I would be considered a person that would be in trouble. I am not going to sit here and act like I could blend right in with everyday survival mentality without going through the stress and shock of losing my old life. Can you imagine what life would be like without electricity or water? Even if we had a stockpile of food and water, what would be our next move when we ran out of everything? Can you picture you and your family sitting around day and night in isolation because it is too dangerous to venture outside? What the fear of gangs breaking in and attacking your home because they want your food and shelter? Sure I have guns, I actually have my carry and conceal permit but am I ready to start killing people because I do not want to give up my Vienna sausages? I don’t know if this is the attitude that Jesus would have. Would Jesus kill someone if they were breaking in on him to steal His food? I don’t know. I can say that my attitude right now is that I would need to shoot anyone trying to cause harm to me and my family. The idea of self-defense is legitimate and I see nothing spiritually wrong with protecting oneself. In fact, I feel it is my responsibility to protect my wife from harm and to protect my property but to be gut level honest the question I have is; am I mentally and spiritually prepared for this? Maybe not. Why? Because I am so busy trying to live the dream of this old life, I am not thinking or preparing for the future.
Maybe I am being soft because I am reluctant to face reality. I am content to come home from work to a luxurious home and a beautiful wife. I am enjoying delicious meals, watching my big screen and driving my new Cadillac. I do not really want to let go of the things I have worked for even though I realize my lifestyle has created a “satisfaction” within me. However, it is the danger of this contentment that worries me. I do not feel that any of us have been wrong to enjoy the blessings of God because I believe He loves to see His children enjoy the fruits of their labor. But, we all know what prosperity can do to our mind and how vulnerable we are when our flesh dictates our life. Is anyone out there like me? Have you been spoiled with being cozy in your comfort zone with so many good things in your life that you would have a difficult time walking away from them? I am being completely honest because I believe it is a good first step toward change. We must see our weaknesses and the reasons behind our emotions in order to make plans to readjust our thinking. Preparing for the future is definitely going to require a transformation in our conscience and a strong renewal within our heart. Being an overcomer in the last days is not going to happen with those who have not made definite lifestyle changes. Those who are weak in their faith will not be able to endure the challenges that will require standing for God’s truth. Selah. Far beyond the stockpiles of food and water is the highest priority of our life and that is our personal relationship with Christ. I cannot imagine the chaos and violence of trying to go to the grocery store if it was announced that today all stores will be locked down indefinitely. We would still need to maintain the integrity of being a Christian even in the middle of an angry riot. We cannot lose our sensitivity and become as a blinded barbarian over a loaf of bread. This may come as a huge surprise to many Christians but there is coming a day where WE WILL actually need to live by FAITH! Ha, brother you are hilarious! I have been living by faith for years, what are you talking about? Oh really, I know we say prayers and ask God for things. I know we pray for the sick to recover and for God to do miracles if it is His will but have we ever really TRULY had to LIVE by faith alone where your daily life depended on it? I doubt it. Aside from the times we have suffered a serious illness or a loved one has been stricken with a serious situation, we have probably not had to depend on God that much. We are so spoiled living in this country that we do not have a clue to how good we have had it. Have you ever had to dig through the garbage to find something to eat? Have you ever slept under a bridge or shivered in the cold trying to sleep in a cardboard box? While much of the world has been eating rice and drinking dirty water, we have been enjoying steak and lobster. I am reminded of Elijah by the brook and how the birds of the air brought him meat to eat. Do we have this level of faith? Do we believe that God would take care of us the same way? Do you think that now is the time to develop this level of spiritual faith or will you just wait until you will need to believe in these kinds of miracles? How shocked will most of us be if we were to awaken in the morning and everything was different? Will it ever happen like this?
Like we have said before, there are many different suggestions to how the New World Order will come into place. After thinking about the scenario of a total economic collapse in one day, I really feel that something of this proportion would not be likely. I tend to lean toward the notion that as our situation becomes critically near to collapse, that summit meetings from the world’s superpowers would negotiate a financial restructure that would impact the world economy. The falling of the American Empire would be a perfect opportunity for the anti-christ to step forward and become a miracle maker on the world’s stage. His ideas and strategies will be praised by the rulers of darkness and these new reforms will seem to be a rescue of the planet’s financial woes. This of course will project him into a strong leadership position that would be more like the President of the world. He will become a king among the kingdoms of the earth and one who is highly admired by the masses. How will this affect America? It is possible that the penalty for this nation’s ignorance will be the sacrifice of its independence. Money is power and those who have no money – have no power. When the strong man is bound, he cannot rule his house and the sins of the United States will destroy the ability for this nation to rule anything! The once strong and mighty nation will be reduced to a slave and will have no influence or respect to say anything or do anything. The restructuring of our economy may include the rules and regulations from the world government and in order for anyone to function in this new society they will need the “mark” of allegiance to this new world system of the beast. Like all the other fallen empires we will suffer ruin and all of the devastation and misery that is found within a humanistic vision. If this is the picture of our fallen country, where will the Christians be found? Could it be that within the new government of the anti-christ, that he will implement new “world” laws that will prohibit the teaching of Christianity? Could it be possible that the new system will be so aggressive against God’s Word that anyone will be imprisoned or even killed if found spreading the gospel? I know, we would rather not think about such a thing… it is too disturbing. We would rather live in denial and hope the rapture rescues us before we suffer persecution. Selah.
Prayer and faith are highly popular religious words that we like to throw around because they make us sound like we are really walking in His Spirit. The old nature loves to look good in front of others and is always willing to take whatever glory it can get. The truth is that we will only be prepared for the future as much as we are prepared this moment! If we know how to get into God’s presence and consult Him without wavering today, then the chances are good that we will not have a problem with faith when the bottom falls out. If we are a carnal Christian and spend very little time in God’s presence now, how in the world will we be able to take a crash course in connecting with the Holy Spirit when our mind is disoriented, confused, afraid and in shock? This is why believing that God’s Word is perfectly true is so crucial to our spiritual life. Our relationship with God is built completely on TRUST – the “unseen”. How can we have faith in something we are not sure of? We cannot! We must read His Word and listen to His voice NOW and this will help prepare us for whatever trials are included in our own unique destiny.
THE SECRET PLACE
Abiding under the shadow of the Almighty
PREPARING FOR THE FUTURE II
It is not a secret to the person who is following Christ that we are in what Jesus called, “the beginning of sorrows.” When reading Mathew chapter 24, we notice between verse 8 and 9, a drastic change of the atmosphere and evidently a sudden shift in the laws of the world. In verses five through seven Jesus is talking about the hardships and struggles of the world with natural disasters, famines and wars. The news is filled about these things every day now and it seems we have even become numb to the chaos and destructive forces that happen almost daily around our planet. We have talked about this before but it is true that we are being bombarded with so much negative information that we can hardly sleep at night from the stress and anxiety of the world’s problems. However, the conversation turns drastically in verse 9 when Jesus continues by saying something that changes the scenario from something we hear about – to something we are directly involved with. “Then shall they deliver YOU up to be afflicted, and shall kill YOU: and YOU shall be hated of all nations for my names sake.” Did you notice how quickly his context went from something that is happening around us – to something that is happening to us? I believe this is a warning sign and significant revelation to how sudden things can and will change in the world we live in.
I am concerned that many Christians including myself are living in a “coma” like state of mind because we are tired from working all the time. It is normal to look forward to having time off and to anticipate and enjoy our weekends and vacations however; many times we are not aware that our life could change very quickly. We run to the security and coziness of our homes each night as we try to rest and relax from the stress and harshness of the world but we should also remember to pray diligently that our discernment and sensitivity of the Holy Spirit will be sharp in order to hear God’s instructions. May we not become soft and weak while waiting for Jesus to come and rescue us in a pre-tribulation rapture. When He does return that will be a glorious day and we will definitely Praise Him but if He does NOT come when you think He will, there is no doubt you may be required to do things you never dreamed you would need to do. As we have said before, the world will continue to spiral down into darkness and this includes becoming more hostile toward God and His people. The world “hates” Jesus and the authority of God’s Word and this increasing animosity will include eliminating the Christians. This statement has no intention of causing fear but rather a trumpet warning call to spiritually prepare NOW as one would secure their house before a storm.
Within our generation we have witnessed this nation shake its fist in the face of God and now we grieve with sorrow. There have been very intelligent people in the past trying to guide and inform our government about decisions but carnal Politian’s have surrendered to the temptations of corruption. Human nature is weak when it comes to being blinded with power and control, and politics is the highest arena where men and women can promote their own agenda on a very large stage. There may be humble beginnings when passionate people begin their quest into the political world but they all seem to fall prey to the lobbyists who operate like the mafia that whispers secrets in the shadows. It does not take a Politian long to understand how the games are played. The tragic disappointment is realizing it is not the political office that really has the power – it is the outside interests that actually make the decisions. Money controls political offices and they use public officials like puppets to get what they want all the while taking care of those who cooperate. With career politicians, it is either go along with what the rulers of the world desire or face the consequences of losing everything.
We must remember that Christians cannot change Biblical prophecy that God has already seen and written. This world is controlled by a system called the beast and a handful of good people who desire to change it will not overturn it. We have been called to be overcomers of sin in our own life – NOT force the masses to embrace Jesus. If we can live a life of obedience with abiding in the vine of His truth, we will be a reflection of His image. The Holy Spirit convicts those who “see” Christ in us and this is what God has called us to do. The witness of how we live is much more convincing than what we say. Selah. The world has always hated Jesus because He exposed their depravity and would not compromise just so He could be seen as a “nice guy”. His ministry was not a campaign platform but rather a sacrifice of His life so that everyone could experience the freedom of His truth. It is this very truth that has the power to redeem and deliver the soul from being eternally damned. Are we not to stand for certain issues, absolutely! But the key is to be led according to God’s gentle voice – not to speak or react within the logic of our emotions. Yes, we must pray for our government and our politicians because we cannot conquer evil with our physical strength and intelligence. We “wrestle” against the system of darkness through spiritual warfare but this is only developed with spending time in the secret place. Without the spiritual anointing of sensitivity and discernment it is easy to become sidetracked which breaks our concentration away from our personal mission.
Let us edify one another and say that even though we are heading into “deeper waters” so to speak of the last days, we can rejoice in knowing that Jesus IS returning! Each day that passes is a day closer to seeing the face of Christ and adoring Him in all of His GLORY! Amen! Shout and dance in the streets my brothers and sisters for we have so much to be excited about! Yes, the problems and troubles of this life are very heavy but cast off the spirit of heaviness and put on the garments of PRAISE! Enduring to the end is all about staying strong in the power of God’s might and keeping our focus on HIS face. This is not the time to throw in the towel because we are exhausted. It is time to be refreshed by the fresh wind of the Holy Ghost and rekindle the embers of our spiritual joy into a bonfire of zeal. Instead of backing off in the ministry may we step forward and commit even more time and resources to His Kingdom. Christianity was never intended to be a “tithe” of our money and time! It is a TOTAL dedication and complete sacrifice that reveals our highest priority! “He that has my commandments, and keeps them, it is he that loves me: and he that loves ME shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him and will manifest myself unto him.” (John 14:20)
Why not pray about starting a mission in your town that helps the poor and feeds the hungry? Why not pray about starting a new Holy Spirit led ministry? Why not pray about being a missionary? Why not pray about starting a radio program that teaches God’s Word? Why not pray about teaching Sunday school? If there is anything that you are complaining about that you believe your community NEEDS then maybe you are the one God will use to start it. If you do not see it happening maybe God will use YOU to make it happen! We are twenty first century people needing first century Pentecostal power but we must arise from our comfortable slumber and rebuke the intimidation and fear! Will you be a voice crying in the wilderness or will you just roll over and pull the covers over your head? Selah.
THE SECRET PLACE
Abiding under the shadow of the Almighty
PREPARING FOR THE FUTURE
I have noticed lately how the center of my conversation has been focused around what is coming in the future. It seems that with most every Christian that I speak with either in person or through the computer always ends up talking about what is coming. I personally believe it is normal to be concerned about our economy and the deterioration of our morals even though in reality there is not much we can do about it. I realize that many Christians today are just trying to live day by day (in survivor mode) and at the end of the day just want to find a little peace and quiet before they go to bed. However, I feel that avoiding the issues and turning our thoughts away from the truth can hinder our spiritual development because it is not preparing us to deal with the ever increasing boldness of evil. Ok, so what exactly is coming and WHEN is it coming? Well, that is a very good question and not one that many people want to explain in definite detail. There are many ideas and opinions about what “could” happen if certain things came to pass but there are a few facts that we know is coming because Jesus said it would. As far as “when”, we can look to God’s Word to find a general timeline and realize our highest priority is to be found abiding in Him with being ready to trust His voice.
One of the most thought about and talked about concerns in our daily life involves the probable collapse of the American economy. Some people that are intelligent about finances are literally bracing for the unthinkable. It is a fact that we are borrowing money at an alarming rate and our national debt is going through the ceiling. Those of us who manage our own finances do not need to be a professional economist to know this lack of responsibility spells disaster. The question of the hour is just how long can we continue in this destructive direction? I am sure there are many who choose to ignore this situation and roll their eyes as they believe that no one can be trusted to tell the truth and that most of our economic problems are just the exaggeration of ignorant fear mongers. However, I believe that history provides a clear picture of what other nations have experienced while going through the same patterns that America is going through now. In this light, we can at least put to rest the idea that our troubles are NOT just a religious panic or a figment of our imagination but rather has the potential to drastically change our lives forever.
We have heard much discussion about why other nations and societies have risen to power and then crumbled under their own mistakes, but none is more widely discussed than the fall of the Roman Empire. I would like to share some of what historian Joe Tremblay has written as he has chosen five reasons (among many others) why Rome collapsed and to carefully observe the parallels that it had with our nation today. Tremblay says, “The most important of the five have to do with the breakdown of religion, morality and the family. Secular humanist will disagree but the truth is that everything else ripples from these three major principles.
1. Family disintegration: Bachelors became more highly esteemed than husbands and fathers in society. In the second and third century of the Christian era, it had become a stigma for men to be “tied down” to families. Sexual liberation, especially among men, was lauded.
2. Low birth rate: During the centuries that followed Christ’s ascension into heaven, the Roman Empire had already experienced a precipitous drop in the birth rate. This trend started when Augustus, the Roman emperor, reigned. Even he tried to promulgate incentives for families to have more children; but it was too late. Before Augustus it wasn’t unusual for couples to have up to 12 children. In the decades which followed, couples, much like today, only had one or two children at the most. Eventually the city of Rome went from a million inhabitants to less than 50,000. Depopulation had a devastating effect on both Rome as well as Ancient Greece.
3. Fragmentation of religion: There were so many gods for so many special causes and towns – especially because the Roman religion imported gods from the Hellenistic culture (Greek culture spread throughout the Roman Empire) that the ancient pagans despaired of having any uniformity. Over the years, religion became so chaotic they increasingly found it difficult to find meaning in their rituals or to understand the faith of their own creeds.
4. Centralization and expansion of government: Take for instance the third century A.D. (200s) Ralph Martin Novak, author of “Christianity and the Roman Empire”, provides a sobering statistic of third century Rome which serves as a warning to our U.S. government. He states, “It is estimated that whereas at the start of the third century A.D. the Roman emperors employed only about 300 to 350 full-time individuals in administering the Empire, by 300 A.D. this number had grown to some 30,000 or 35,000 people.” The central government of the Roman Empire had become so bureaucratic and top heavy that in order to sustain it the sources of wealth eventually ran dry through heavy taxation. Caesar and the Roman Senate had ceased to be an instrument of service to the people and instead, they made themselves an end in itself. Of course we all know that our government is an out of control, twisted monster that is wasting all the money and accomplishing nothing except causing the people more suffering.
5. The culture of death was alive and well. Consider the following practices which had political, legal and social sanction:
a. Baby exposure: This practice of infanticide, back then called “baby exposure,” couples would simply throw unwanted babies away. They would either kill them outright or take them out to the garbage. This was widely practiced. Seneca, a Roman philosopher, said this about killing babies: “We drown our innocent children who at birth are weakly and abnormal. Yet it is not anger, but reason that separates the harmful from the sound.” Today abortion is perfectly justified.
b. Gladiator games: Gladiators, slaves and prisoners would be killed in these blood sports for the purpose of entertaining the unemployed masses that became addicted to violence and the shock factor. Seneca, the same Roman philosopher who approved of infanticide and who was later forced to commit suicide by the Emperor Nero, said this about a gladiator game he saw: “I come home more greedy, more cruel and inhuman, because I have been among barbarian human beings. By chance I attended a midday exhibition, expecting some fun, wit, and relaxation…but it was quite the contrary…these noon fighters are sent out with no armor of any kind; they are exposed to blows at all points, and no one ever strikes in vain…in the morning they throw men to the lions; at noon they throw them to the spectators.” Without a conscience there is no spiritual sensitivity.
These five factors made the Roman Empire vulnerable to outside foreign forces starting in 410 A.D. St. Augustine witnessed the beginning of its collapse. Dr. Phil Jenkins, author of “The Lost History of Christianity: The Thousand-Year Golden Age of the Church in the Middle East, Africa, and Asia and How it Died,” once wrote the following: “De-Christianization is one of the least studied aspects of Christian history. Partly, the lack of interest in vanishing churches is a matter of practicality, in that dying organizations tend not to produce records of their own extinction.” The fact is that if the Church goes down, the nation goes with it. This has been a recurring reality throughout world history. Dictators know this more than anyone. Joseph Stalin, former dictator of the Soviet Union, had this to say: “America is like a healthy body and its resistance is threefold: its patriotism, its morality and its spiritual life. If we can undermine these three areas, America will collapse from within.”
Strange to say, that in 1948 Bishop Fulton Sheen warned of a similar fate for America if the Gospel would ever cease to serve as its moral compass. Even then he was concerned about this great nation. He said, “It is characteristic of any decaying civilization that the great masses of the people are unconscious of the tragedy…Men do not want to believe their own times are wicked, partly because it involves too much self-accusation and principally because they have no standards outside of themselves by which to measure their times. The basic reason for this false optimism he attributes to the fact that our civilization is mechanical rather than organic.” In other words our flesh is very easily influenced.
So we see that much of what was happening in the past continues to recycle around and around leaving the same results every time. The consequences of sin are like the laws of gravity and can be counted on for consistency throughout any age and with all types of humans. I was thinking the other day about how the family has been attacked by so many external forces that it would be impossible to shelter children from being exposed to the corruption of sin. However, this has been true since day one and cannot be blamed for the deterioration of our society. We can accuse the devil all day long and his clever influences but the breakdown of the family has come from within the family itself – more bluntly from the parents as a whole. Discipline is one of the key factors in the development and maintenance of a healthy and spiritually strong life. Any nation can be seen as a reflection of the discipline of the family unit. What parents stand for and follow through with will be incorporated into the children’s conscience and will have a powerful impact on the thoughts and actions of that generation. We all can see that our nation began to lose the desire and motivation to remain disciplined in the early nineteen hundreds and shifted into second gear in the nineteen fifties. Discipline is what built strong walls of integrity and compromise was the wrecking ball that tore them down. Selah. Everyone wanted freedom to do whatever they wanted and just like a spoiled child, this nation became as a rebellious juvenile delinquent. Parents refusing to spank their children and putting the Bible on the shelf because they would rather watch television allowed Satan to move in. The church failed because they compromised God’s truth. They just wanted to live like everyone else…and they did. “Father, teach us to not depend on the security of this world, but rather may we develop our faith and learn how to completely trust you even when we cannot see. Open the eyes of our heart that we may know you, amen.”
THE SECRET PLACE
Jesus is not a place you go – but a person you know
EVERYONE FOLLOWS A VOICE
Is the Lord your Shepherd today? Well brother, I believe in Jesus and doesn’t that automatically make me a sheep of His fold? Well, believing in God is not always the same as following God because the devil believes in God. If we are truly born-again, we are indeed a member of His family however, that also does not mean we are ABIDING in His Spirit. Actually this is a complex subject and presents some interesting questions like; is it possible to be saved and NOT have the nature and characteristics of a (sheep) disciple? Many would say that rebellious individuals who act more like a “goat” would fall under the category of backslidden and lukewarm. In some cases, this might be true if they once were obedient and now have become intentionally rebellious, but what about the ones that profess Christ as Savior but have never embraced Him as their Shepherd? Do you believe it is possible to have an “emotional” salvation experience that “feels” like a spiritual transformation? Do you believe there are many people today that go to church and know all about God but do not actually know Him? I am convinced there is an ETERNAL difference between head knowledge about God – and the spiritual reality of knowing Him as Lord! The majority of people in America say they believe in God and many represent the traditional church, but do all of them know what it means to be a disciple of Christ? Being religious has nothing to do with a personal relationship with Jesus, except that it looks clean and decent on the “outside”. We can tell others we are a Christian and appear to be a moral person of integrity, but as the Pharisees discovered this does not automatically make us a true child of God.
Did you realize that everyone follows some type of voice? Within our free-will is the built-in voice of reason that is connected to our conscience. Proverbs warns us to NOT “lean” on our own understanding, because that is contrary to the idea of salvation about Jesus being our Lord. The reality of being saved includes the genuine trust and obedience that comes from our love for God and the “work” He is doing within us. This spiritual connection transforms our spirit, conscience, attitude, our personality and “changes” the way we think! There is nothing more dangerous than to presume we are saved and have met His requirements, and yet have never been redeemed by the fountain of His blood. In the natural, shepherds lead their sheep and the sheep obediently follow and trust them and the concept in the spiritual realm is very similar. The reason why many people are suffering and are discouraged is because they have made the deliberate decision to NOT follow Jesus! Why? Because He is not their shepherd! We can put a beautiful paint job on it and decorate it with flashing lights in order to lessen the ugly truth – but then all we are left with is a definition of religion. This is a reality that many people refuse to even consider because they know when they do an inventory within their heart they are going to find some disturbing facts and most will avoid reality if they possibly can.
There are many beautiful promises in God’s Word and everyone loves to read them, but most do not embrace and incorporate them into their lives. I have noticed at funerals, there are usually comforting writings on the cards and keepsakes that speak of the loving kindness and mercy of God. However, most people do not have a clue that it is possible to “ABIDE” in this realm as a lifestyle. It is true that we can live in God’s presence constantly and enjoy His overwhelming love and grace every moment! Unfortunately, there is this one small problem – we are so filled with our own carnal way of living, He cannot release His presence. He has designed His beautiful plan of salvation to include the requirements of us becoming a living sacrifice and in turn He will cover us in His glory. He is not a social service organization that supplies all of our desires without us surrendering our will! Humans always cry to Him when they NEED something, but when everything is going fine, He does not even cross their mind. This is NOT Christianity – it is an INSULT to God! This is another example of being deceived into a “distorted” religious lie that believes God can be fooled. Being saved involves the EMPTYING of our old heart, so that God can FILL us with Himself. This may not happen overnight, but these signs of genuine deliverance must be evident – or something is wrong.
In the places of the world where sheep are raised, it is common for two or three different shepherds to bring their herds to a body of water so the sheep can drink. The herds will naturally mingle together and become all mixed up, while the shepherds rest and talk, seemingly unconcerned with what would seem to be an impossible task of sorting and identifying each sheep back to its own fold. After the sheep are finished drinking, the miracle begins when the shepherds begin to walk away in their different directions and start “calling” their sheep. Amazingly, the sheep begin to head in the direction of the shepherd’s voice and eventually, every sheep will be perfectly secure with where they need to be. How does this happen? They have spent so much time with the shepherd and have come to recognize his voice. The sheep have learned to never follow strange voices and do not even trust their “own” sense of direction. They have sacrificed their independence for obedience and this gives them peace. They trust him and love him with everything they have – even their life. Selah.
People have a habit of asking, “How are you doing?” And, most reply that they are doing “fair”. Maybe we are really confessing (without realizing it) just how we are walking in the will of God. This sounds more like our reply if we were living on a deserted island trying to survive on our own! Many times our words reveal the condition of our soul. Our brains and common sense cannot save us, as we were never called to walk in our own will. Remember, we are to be like the sheep that lives completely in FAITH and TRUST. If we are following God and allowing Him to guide our every decision we would be doing WONDERFUL! How much more perfect could we be doing with God leading us along with our determination to submit to Him. We obviously are always looking to the earthly realm and it seems we never consider acknowledging His divine reality. This is one of the most difficult things to do in life, because our nature wants to take control and act on what WE THINK about our flesh! When we lean on our own understanding we have already taken the wrong exit, and very quickly, we can become lost and confused. Thank God this is when Jesus leaves the ninety-nine and goes to search for the one lost sheep. He loves us even when we stumble and is constantly trying to get our attention however, if we continually REFUSE to listen to Him – it can become a very serious situation. If He turns us over to a reprobate mind and allows our conscience to be seared, we will never have the sensitivity to fall on our face to Him. If we take Him for granted and believe He would never do such a thing then maybe we should get to know Him better.
We become aware of His holiness and perfection in our reverential fear of Him. We seldom consider what it would be like to stand before Him because in our minds eye we do not imagine such a place. Our minds wander and drift so much that we can hardly pay attention to a two minute prayer. We are like the disciples that could not stay awake when Jesus was praying in the garden. We are weak and easily distracted and this is the main cause for our lack of spiritual maturity. We must be careful in our assumption of God’s willingness to meet with us and that He demands our highest respect. We may be able to talk with Him casually but that does not mean we lose focus that He is the Almighty God of all things. The holiness and reverential fear of God came from the legitimate teachings and instructions to the earlier followers and was given as an example of how we are to approach Him. Moses was told to remove His shoes because the ground he was standing on was holy and later his countenance was literally glowing from being in God’s presence. In Isaiah the temple was filled with the smoke of God’s presence and on Pentecost the flaming fire of the Holy Spirit was upon their heads. We forget that God spoke the universe into being with the words of His mouth and He rules the kingdoms of an infinite heaven with the power of His majesty. He created an eternal hell for all those who are disobedient to Him and has made every person’s soul to live forever in either heaven or hell. He is compassionate but will not be made into a cosmic vending machine where the blasphemers and deceivers come to get their selfish pleasures. We should teach that God can be approached when we are sincere and in awe of His holiness. Woe to those who are teaching that God will accept any type of offering and any type of disrespectful attitude. We must approach Him with brokenness and a sincere heart of repentance and sorrow. There is an imposter parade that religion has implemented as holy and the churches of man with all of their rituals and ceremony has been an attempt to “display” God’s splendor but much of it has been reduced to the pride of man’s glory. Let us be filled with a clean heart of gratitude, humility and praise for His enduring mercy toward us. It is a privilege and honor to spend time with the God and should be taken with the purest intentions. Some have fallen like dead men at the feet of angels and this should be a hint to how much more serious we should be about His presence.
Peace is a beautiful state of mind and spirit. Many today are filled with fear and anxiety about what is coming because they choose to NOT have Christ as their Shepherd. Asking God for the burden for lost souls, humility, holiness, repentance, and agape love, should be our priorities in this last hour. If He is our Shepherd, we will not want or really need anything else. As we empty ourselves and become filled with His presence, He will bring us to lush, green pastures of abundance and fulfillment. He will lead us with His Holy Spirit, beside His still waters. If we are struggling with stress, fear, discouragement or a crisis, and we are sincere about committing our life completely to Him – He will restore our soul. Breathe deeply and slowly and cast aside all of your doubts and worries. Lay your entire life at His feet and worship Him for who He is. For His patience, love and forgiveness – He is worthy of our praise and adoration forever! Trust His wisdom, and know in your heart that He delights in you and wants the best for you. Selah.
THE SECRET PLACE
Abiding under the shadow of the almighty
THE CHRISTIANS GREATEST NEED
“Well brother that is a very broad statement! I would think there would not be anything higher than love.” I see where you are coming from and in no way would I disagree. However, there are such things as foundations and principals that are developed through what is called, “divine order”. There are many spiritual fruits and specific attributes that make up the identity of Christ but as in all things there must be the plowing of the ground, the sowing of the seed, the care of the young growth, the development of the plant, watering, weeding, pruning and of course time to allow the plant to M-A-T-U-R-E. Many times, I believe Christians are convinced within their own mind they already have the complete “structure” of love, and believe that Agape love is just an automatic part of the salvation package. It may be true that being born-again creates a new spirit and the potential to “develop” this new seat of the soul, however, to presume that spiritual maturity is manifested without determined labor and sacrifice, is to be deceived. The fruits that we are so familiar with and are so desperate to see manifested do not appear with immaturity but rather are noticed when the plant becomes strong and stable enough to produce its purpose. And so it is with the Christian life. We begin to reflect the image of Christ when we have devoted our life completely to Him. Maturity is not necessarily going to church, reading religious books, giving money, doing good deeds, being baptized, graduating seminary or demonstrating spiritual gifts. I know people who do these things and they still live carnal and are babies in God. Spiritual maturity begins as we willingly lay down our will before His throne and sincerely crown Him the Lord of our life. It continues to develop maturity when we embrace the revelation of the reverential holiness and fear of God.
“So brother, I have been a member of the First Church of God for 40 years, does that not prove that I have spiritual maturity?” Well, I hope that we would all become more mature as we grow older, but as I was saying – even age or years of service has really nothing to do with being transformed into a new person. Being aware of the Father, being filled with The Holy Spirit and allowing Jesus Christ to be our Lord is not really about bumper stickers, t-shirts, necklaces with crosses or cute little trinkets. It is all about understanding the knowledge we have about God – and obtaining the revelation so that we might know Him personally. Amen! The Pharisees had lots of religion but were void of spiritual maturity because they did not have an intimate, personal relationship with God. They knew all “about” Him but did not know Him, similar to how we may learn all about a famous person in history but never worked with them, lived with them or spent any time with them.
The person who loves to argue about doctrine but never takes the time to pray has no spiritual maturity. These are the usually the most involved and the most popular in the congregations. They are ready to fight at the least little thing that presents a possible change from their comfortable traditions but they never consult the Lord to see if maybe it is HE who is initiating the change. We realize there are people that have been involved with religion for most of their lives but have never “grown” into the responsible representative of God’s Kingdom. The exterior has become older but that does not mean they have advanced in wisdom or faith. Mature Christians are not always identified from their much speaking or hyper participation, but rather from a quieter and more stable approach to every situation. This is the result of spending time in prayer and fellowship with the Father. On the other hand, a person that is controlled by a religious spirit can be found constantly judging and criticizing the music or the preaching yet has never attempted to do it themselves. What about the bragging Christians who will blow their money on every silly, wasteful thing they come in contact with, yet never think about helping someone in need? What about those who are always trying to pull splinters out of other people’s eyes and never realize they have a log on their own eye? What about those who think they know everything about the Bible but have hardly ever read it let alone have ever studied it? What about those who scream, shout, jump, and dance at a ballgame, but never move an eyelash when they are in a praise and worship service? What about those who claim to be at the head of God’s table and on the cutting edge of wisdom and maturity yet become easily depressed, discouraged, angry, unforgiving, mean, aggressive, lustful, jealous, envious, hateful, a gossip and controlled by their carnality? There is not enough space to describe the consequences from spiritual immaturity and it is easy to comprehend that maturity is no doubt the Christians greatest need. Selah.
So, what else can be noticed about a mature Christian? Well, I believe a good place to further our understanding of the word would be the dictionary. Allow me to list several of the attributes of the word mature; “fully developed, duly careful and adequate, complete, ripe, full-grown, seasoned, perfected, refined, polished, readiness, consummation and bring to fruition.” I believe that volumes can be written about the importance of allowing Christ to re-mold us and re-create our conscience so that we can be transformed into His image. One thing that comes to my thoughts is how maturity establishes the foundation of our identity as a Christian. The stronger and more seasoned we become in knowing who God is and who we are in Him, the more confident we will be to trust His promises. Those who read and absorb His Word are less likely to be persuaded to follow the views of the world. I realize that in today’s environment of social issues, there is a growing acceptance of freedom to live however one pleases without the rules of truth that establishes the limits of human behavior. Through the last several generations, the convictions of our society have deteriorated and unfortunately the respect for God’s Word has been discarded. What was once regarded in “general” as a message from heaven is now being laughed at and seen as a fable. Our grandparents and even our parents held the Bible in high esteem, honor and admiration as a compass to lead one’s life and teach them how to live. However, The New World Order of today has scarred the conscience of the masses and has intentionally taught the erroneous errors of dark knowledge. Satan’s evil demons have influenced the attitude of our religious and political landscape with a false truth and are now leading the blind and arrogant into the depths of a hopeless hell. So, what does all this have to do with spiritual maturity? Let us continue.
I recently received a comment about this year’s series of weekly articles and they pointed out how often I have mentioned the gay lifestyle. Even though this advice was coming from another Christian, I was literally being warned to stop making negative comments about this issue or face the consequences of everyone blocking me from their mailbox. It was being explained to me that the old thinking about sin was not being embraced by the people anymore and that society was going to not only win this battle but force all Christians to accept them as perfectly normal. In other words, the conservative diehards were going find themselves preaching to the walls because the masses were tired of hearing someone beat a dead horse about issues that cannot be changed. Of course the end of the conversation was that all Christians should just love and tolerate people no matter what they believe or do. Now, did that message come from a mature saint whose intent was to pass along God’s way of thinking and obeying? Or was that a fear based opinion that has decided to compromise instead of standing for God’s truth? I believe this is a question that needs to be answered because we are all standing at this door. Many of you have already been faced with trying to discern God’s will concerning difficult social issues and definitely becomes more personal when a loved one becomes entangled in its power. What would Jesus do? Well, I have noticed that He did not hesitate to mingle with the sinner but is that not because He knew they did not know God’s truth? Is it not different when someone knows the truth yet intentionally disregards it in order to willfully sin? Yes, Jesus forgave people – but He commanded them to go and sin no more. In other words, God is compassionate toward the ignorance of truth, but He is also demanding in His promise to judge according to the disobedience of what we know. In this particular article I will throw this ball into your court and ask that you consider these questions carefully.
This leads me into asking even more questions about how we are seeing our personal mission and destiny. Is there not supposed to be a noticeable difference between a Christian and a non-Christian? I will never believe that God’s original plan for His people were to live as undercover agents. How will people who desire to know more about God – know who to turn to if we are hiding in the shadows? How can God be pleased if our desire is to blend in and not stand for what is right? You would think the more spiritually mature we become, the more confident we would be to stand strong in the face of error. The church is losing its reverential fear of God and is replacing it with the love of the world. The church world may appear healthy on the outside but are becoming skeletons on the inside. Allow me to quote A.W.Tozer, “The low view of God entertained almost universally among Christians is the cause of a hundred lesser evils everywhere among us. A whole new philosophy of the Christian life has resulted from this one basic error in our religious thinking.” Let us consider in closing that if we compromise in any area of God’s will, we will end up being considered a supporter of sin and an enemy of God. Where will our compromising end? Selah. The world loves a “non-resistant” path to the pleasures of sin. This is why the world HATES Jesus and the outspoken Christian who refuses to play patty-cake with the lies of Satan. I thought the calling of mature Christians was to blow the trumpet in Zion and sound a holy alarm. Hmmmm.
THE SECRET PLACE
Abiding under the shadow of the Almighty
A WORLD WITHIN A WORLD II
“For we know that the law is spiritual: but I am carnal, sold under sin. For the things that I do – I do not approve of; and the things that I desire to do, I fail to do. Instead I end up doing the things I hate. For the good that I would like to do – I do not: but the evil which I am preaching against and trying to avoid – I do.” (Romans 7:14,15,19) We are a servant to whom we obey, whether of God or self.
We are continuing with the seven sins of Proverbs:
A Hand that Devises Wicked Schemes – When a person has committed murder, involuntary manslaughter is usually a lesser charge than premeditated murder. The definition of “premeditated” means the murderer planned and schemed well ahead of time before they committed the act. They predetermined to kill someone so a person (a hand) that devises (plans ahead of time) wicked (evil) schemes (predetermining) is a sin that God hates. King David was such a man and God used Nathan to point this evil out to David. David did repent, (Psalm 51) but the fact remains that David schemed ahead of time about how to get rid of Uriah so that he could marry Bathsheba who was already pregnant by David in an adulterous affair. Sadly, King David gives Uriah a message to give to his commander which turns out to be orders for his own death. David paid dearly for this, losing his son and his marriage along with more of his family that faced much turmoil, and eventually the death of his older son Absalom. This level of sin is not without consequences.
The hand that devises wicked schemes is not limited to murder but includes anyone that plans ahead of time to do evil. This would include burglarizing homes knowing when the occupant(s) leave, or a burglary after a store closes, sabotaging someone’s car with a bomb, waiting in a dark alley to rob someone, or stalking a woman in order to rape or kill her. Anyone that plans ahead of time to do harm or evil to someone is a person that God is personally opposed to and everyone someday will give an account for every evil deed they do in their lifetime (Mathew 12:36, Romans 2:6). Some may say, “well I have never robbed, killed or raped anyone” and that might be true, however Christians can still be guilty of this sin when they secretly devise ideas and imaginations to deceive others for the purpose of personal gain. This could include everything from cheating on our taxes to backstabbing a co-worker to make ourselves look good in front of our boss. What about befriending an older person or dating someone wealthy with the sole intention of getting their money? What about an automotive repair shop that lies about services completed that was never done or someone that manipulates (bribes, blackmails) others for evil purposes? There are thousands of examples of evil secret schemes but whatever the case we can agree that God knows all of them and will judge in this life and the next. Those who have not believed in Jesus Christ and trusted Him as their Lord and Savior will face the Great White Throne Judgment and give an account for all their lifetime deeds. (Revelation 20).
Feet that are Quick to Rush into Evil – This is a person that is always eager to take part in an evil deed with others or to make a quick decision to do something harmful to another person. If their feet are quick to run into evil, they are already predisposed and already have an open attitude to rob, murder, hurt, lie, humiliate, or cheat others. They do not even need to think about it. They instantly run to do something where they see an easy opportunity. It is as if they are excited and thrilled to take advantage of someone in a vulnerable position, like someone leaving their purse on a restaurant table or finding someone’s wallet on the floor and rushing to pick it up and quickly taking it for themselves. Have you ever known a person that had a “quick” mind and could think of insulting things to say to others for the purpose of embarrassing them just to get a laugh? We should guard our mind and our mouth even if we do have a “gift” of being able to think fast. Actually, I know several people that when in a large crowd, they do not hesitate to heckle or stab someone with rude embarrassing insults.
A person that doesn’t even have to think about doing something wrong is always quick to do it. They rush ahead, not even thinking of the consequences, so they are either not a Christian and are without conviction from the Holy Spirit about thinking twice about it – or a carnal Christian that has no self-discipline. Whatever the case, their only goal is to take advantage of someone else for personal gain. The human heart, without the Holy Spirit, is desperately wicked and thinks nothing of jumping at the chance to do something wrong (Jeremiah 17:9). A Christian has to battle their conscience because God’s Spirit is attempting to restrain their behavior by “convicting” them to think about the consequences. Jumping at the opportunity with the intent to do something we know is inherently wrong is SIN.
A False Witness Who Pours Out Lies – Once again, we go back to the root of all sin: Pride. A prideful person is quick to lie about others in order to make themselves look better. Accusing others falsely shifts the blame from something they did or something that they should have done onto someone else. I have seen this happen many times in the workplace and even among family members. Some will constantly blame others for their own lack of responsibility and when things go wrong, they are always quick to point the finger. It is a common phrase in today’s world to hear how someone threw another person “under the bus.” This means the real victim was blamed for something that they did not do in order for the lying person to look like the one who was really trying to do what was right. They fail to shoulder the blame for something that they should have done or actually did do in order to accuse an innocent person who is not present to defend themselves. Even if no one was at fault, we should not look for someone to be the sacrificial lamb. This type of behavior is extremely harmful for the morale of any group and lowers the dignity of fellow human beings. As a Christian we should be strong and confident to speak the truth even if all fingers are pointing to us.
A false witness will lie in court, perhaps even at the risk of perjury, just to get out of a crime that they committed, or to steer away from the truth for some other reason while assessing the blame on an innocent party. A person who “pours out lies” loses all credibility in time and eventually, people will tend to not believe anything they say. Lies catch up with a person because they have to speak other lies to cover up the first one and many times they become so entrapped by their many lies that they become like a fly ensnared in a web. Their web gets so tangled up with their fabricated stories that they often become confused and it ends up backfiring on them and exposing them for who they are. We sometimes excuse an individual with saying they “exaggerate” which is a more socially acceptable way of saying they do not tell the truth. It is crucial to remember that our word represents the type of person we are. If our word has no character or integrity – then our heart cannot be trusted or be at peace in fellowship with God.
A Person that sows discord among brethren – This last but not least sin is one that has divided many churches. GOSSIP is one way to stir up conflict and divide even the closest of friends and family. A person who stirs up this type of conflict is like someone that throws gas on a fire that God is trying to put out. This “gas” comes from an evil heart filled with pride because it usually ends up being over how one side believes they are correct. Instigators love to bring up old issues that might have been resolved but are drawn to stir up the issue over and over again. When these people whisper their secrets it spreads like coals of a flame and becomes hotter and hotter until it eventually erupts into a devastating forest fire. The person who is continually stirring up division usually believes they are doing a great service by “warning” everyone of the potential danger. In their mind they are fighting for what is right but most of the time actually it is a rebellious mental and spiritual sickness and possibly a demonic influence to spread the seeds of discord. Like an infection our back-stabbing words of darkness can produce fear, doubt, anger, and a world of destruction.
Paul had many problems with the churches in this area and a person who stirred up conflicts would have at least been excommunicated because they were dividing the church – the Body of Christ – and this is a serious sin to Jesus who is the Head of the church. Paul taught against spreading rumors in his letter to the Corinthians as he comments, “That there should be NO schism (division) in the body; but that the members should have the same care one for another” (I Corinthians 12:25). It is all about having “genuine” respect for each other and truly loving each other as Christ commands for us to do as genuine Christians. The problem is that sometimes the church members become so carnal with bad attitudes like envy and jealousy, they cannot embrace each other in the Spirit of the Lord. Listen to Paul as he continues, “And when one member suffers, all the members suffer with them; or one member be honored, all the members rejoice with them”. (Verse 26) You know as well as I do that it takes “walking” in the Holy Spirit to genuinely live at this level. Carnality does not care when other people suffer and jealousy is envious when someone is blessed. Our level of love measures who we are. Those who love to criticize and are first to spread rumors do not feel the conviction of the Holy Spirit because they do not have God’s Spirit of LOVE. When there is division in the church as there was in the Corinthian church, the cause of Christ and His witness is hurt and God will most definitely discipline those who are responsible.
To what extent will He judge you might ask? There is a very interesting example of God’s discipline that happened in the ministry of Moses found in the book of numbers (Chapter 16) that pertains to those who sow discord among the brethren. The Lord had placed Moses and Aaron in charge of leading the children of Israel. They had endured many things together in their journey and were the anointed and called “pastors” and teachers of God’s law. There was a man named Korah that evidently was also a respected leader but he did not agree with how things were going. Korah gathered 250 other trusted men of renown and came before Moses and Aaron to complain and criticize. They said that Moses had lifted himself up above the people and had “assumed” too much authority. Moses responded by saying that God would make that decision and PROVE the next day whom He wanted to lead the people. They gathered the next day and the Lord spoke to Moses and Aaron to “move away” as I am about to “consume” this entire congregation. Moses and Aaron fell on their faces and pleaded before God to spare the people. Moses told the people to move away from Korah and all those who side with him. The ground opened up and swallowed Korah and those who agreed with him including their tents and all their belongings, and then fire came out from the Lord and destroyed the 250 men of renown. The next day the people began to murmur again and accuse Moses and Aaron of having many good people of God killed. Again the presence of the Lord covered the tabernacle as a cloud and His Glory appeared and again He spoke to Moses to move away from the people as He was about to destroy all of them. And again Moses and Aaron fell on their faces to stand in the gap for the people. They took fire from the alter and burned incense and began to make atonement for the people. God instantly began to release His wrath in a deadly plague and before Moses and Aaron could come between the dead and the living, 14,700 people died. God in His great mercy stopped the plague when the atonement was made for their sin of rebellion.
Arrogance is at the heart of rebellion and is opposite of the reverential fear of God. We should have a fear of God’s anger for coming against God’s people. If we believe the leadership of God is not discerning correctly we should be quiet to others and instead make our concerns known to the Lord in private. It takes just as much energy to pray for others to see God’s truth, than it does to call over town and rail against their decisions. Satan encourages church people to confide in others and voice their opinions (disguised as worries). These judgments always appear innocent but are blatant disagreements that reveal just how highly we think of ourselves. The more pride we gather within our heart – the less respect we have for what others are doing and leads to our disregard for what God desires. To oppose something that is genuinely evil is one thing – but many times our rebellion falls under the category of doing great damage within God’s agenda. Jesus is the Head of His Kingdom and He will not allow the leaven of sin to permeate through His body and infect His people without consequences. Genuine holiness, humility and sanctification cannot co-exist with haughtiness or the spirit of riot and mutiny.
As we close this two part series about the seven deadly sins and the serious danger of becoming unintentionally entangled in their deception, I would like to share just a moment about some things I am experiencing. Lately I have been writing privately about the struggles of trying to raise the bar of Christian living. I say privately because even though I have been releasing a strong line of articles about sanctification, I have also been writing a booklet titled, “The Possible You”. It includes the joy of realizing that we can become the fulfillment of God’s “perfect will” along with the sobering reality of the war we will encounter if we so choose this direction. What I have been struggling with and I am sure you have also, is the unbelievable resistance of our mind to “change”. It seems the more I am determined to do what I need to do, the more I find myself not doing it – just like Romans seven explains. Dear Lord, please help us to be strong and at the same time completely reliant on you. We desperately need you. In Jesus Name, amen.
THE SECRET PLACE
Abiding under the shadow of the Almighty
A WORLD WITHIN A WORLD I
“Having therefore these promises dearly beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.” (II Corinthians 7:1) Lord, convict us to be holy – from the inside out. Amen.
Is God saying to sell everything we have and go sit on a mountain top and wait for His return? Is He saying to become an isolationist and close all communication between us and the world? Well, of course I believe every child of God needs to know exactly what God is telling them to do, but the point is that we must live at the feet of Jesus while functioning in the natural realm. As we abide in this world within a world, we can remain pure and allow holiness to influence our thinking as the discernment of our convictions, but we must not allow our heart to become calloused and numb to the sights and sounds of compassion. The world of today is becoming the introductory class for tomorrow’s eternity of darkness, but we are not of this world – we are citizens of heaven. We were born of flesh but have now become reborn in the Spirit of God. The shelter of His presence is our home and author of our salvation. “The Name of the Lord is a strong and mighty tower; the righteous run into it and are safe.” (Proverbs 18:10) He is refuge for our soul and the “green pastures” of our thoughts. If we are restless in our mind, discouraged and heavy in our conscience – He is not the one that has moved away. Somewhere in the everyday distractions of life we have drifted away and sin has brought its deception and depression into our life. When we become lukewarm, our new spirit cries out to restore fellowship with Father but in our rebellion and pride we fight against it and will continue falling away until we make the decision to stop. Selah.
Everyone sins and there has never been a human who has never sinned, with the exception of Jesus Christ. All sins are an offense to God Almighty Who is Holy, but some sins are specifically mentioned as an abomination to God. Allow me to say here that the key to being filled with joy is staying on our knees in repentance. The cleaner we are the happier we are! When we are dirty, we are miserable and difficult to be around. Our mind tells our heart that we can “carry” our load of sins and that we really do not actually have that many. The truth is that sin piles up and becomes heavy if not dealt with. One way to know we have fallen away is to measure how passionate we are to pray and worship God! If we go to church and stand there and look out the window – something is wrong. Either God is not there or we have turned our attention away from Him. Many times we create a distance between us and Jesus and this “barrier” prevents us from being like a little innocent child that wants to run into their Fathers arms. Another indicator is how diligent our prayer life is. If we do not have a burning passion for the lost or for the needs of others – something is wrong. There is a strong chance that focusing on our own problems and needs has become a higher priority than anything or anyone else. With selfishness taking charge of our energy and “king carnality” sitting on the throne of our heart, our flesh has now become the master and lord of our life.
I want us to agree on something and like I was saying a few weeks ago, I realize that most people do not want to face the reality of who they really are or what they do. The truth is that humans are depraved. If we were not so bad – Jesus would not have needed to be tortured and killed for us to be redeemed. All people are born in sin and most live their entire lives filled with darkness. Jesus is the only deliverer that can rescue someone from sin and forgive them, however, that does not necessarily mean they will not have a problem with sin or temptation. Christians can not only be sinners but can be alarmingly “infected” with “problems”. How long can they continue in this state? Only God knows, but I want us to look closely at the seven deadly sins of Proverbs to see if we are guilty of committing these crimes against the Lord and to know we can lay them on the alter to be consumed with God’s forgiveness. We can be set free from the agony of a double life.
“There are six things the LORD hates, seven that are detestable to him: haughty eyes, a lying tongue, hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that devises wicked schemes, feet that are quick to rush into evil,a false witness who pours out lies
and a person who stirs up conflict in the community.“ Proverbs 6:16-19)
The number seven is special to God. It took seven days to create the world. A week has seven days in it and God rested on the seventh day. In ancient Israel, they were to rest on the Sabbath and the seventh day was a commanded day of reflection and assembly to worship God and was the fourth commandment given. The root word for the number seven in Hebrew means “to be full” or “to be complete.” Being full and complete, means that nothing could be added to it or taken away from it. It is a number of completion and perfection. So if anyone has these particular seven sins, they are in a sense, in a complete state of sin as far as God is concerned. To not have an interest in this topic, or to be ready to close this page, is a sure sign that we are avoiding the truth and actually do have a problem with these trespasses. What are these seven deadly sins that Solomon warned us about in the Book of Proverbs? Let us look closer with the honest eyes of our heart.
Haughty Eyes (Pride) People who have haughty eyes look down on others and they are full of the first sin ever recorded. Before mankind was even created, pride was the cause of Lucifer’s fall whose name was later changed to Satan or the Devil as recorded in Ezekiel 28:17: “Your heart became proud on account of your beauty, and you corrupted your wisdom because of your splendor. So I threw you to the earth.” Lucifer meant “light-bearer” because he was the most beautiful of all the angels God created, but in deception he became prideful and believed he was worthy to overtake the throne of God. He was cast down and became known as Satan, which in Hebrew means adversary and the accuser. The Devil’s name literally means “slanderer” in Greek. Today, Satan in Revelation 12:10, is said to accuse the brethren (the church) before the throne of God day and night.
Haughty eyes are filled with arrogance and are actually at the root of all sin. That is why it is listed first because pride is first and foremost inherent in all sin. Haughty eyes look condescendingly on people. They perceive others as inferior in a pompous way and see themselves as superior to everyone else. This is why God hates it. Proverbs 16:18 says, “Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall”. This is exactly what happened to Satan and what still happens to humans who boast, brag, and are arrogant. Pride and evil are tied together in God’s mind as it is written, “The fear of the Lord is hatred of evil. Pride and arrogance and the way of evil and perverted speech I hate” (Proverbs 8:13). The Lord actually considers the proud as the enemy and is absolutely against them. It is very difficult to minister or reach out to the arrogant because they are so strongly deceived. “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble” (James 4:6).
A Lying Tongue – God detests a lying tongue and in fact, all liars are destined to be cast into the lake of fire in the Second Death (Rev. 21:8). This is the final place for the Devil and all his fallen angels (demons). This place is an eternal torment filled with regret and the agony of hopelessness. Again, we go back to the first and foremost detestable thing that God hates as pride is the root cause of all sin, and when we lie, we want to make ourselves look good, and everyone else lower than us. It is deceiving to make excuses for our not doing the right thing and we often accuse others of something that they did not do – all in order to make us look better. We believe we are deceiving others but we do NOT deceive God who searches the heart and knows our evil intent (1 Kings 8:39, 1 Chronicles 28:9).
We think that little “white lies” are harmless, but a lie is a lie! It’s like someone saying that they are a little pregnant or a little dead. They are either lying or not. Lying hurts the person who is telling the lie but it also hurts others as Proverbs 25:18 says, “Like a club or a sword or a sharp arrow is one who gives false testimony against a neighbor.” That doesn’t sound harmless at all. James recognizes the destructive force of the tongue, “The tongue is a small part of the body, but it makes great boasts. Consider what a great forest is set on fire by a small spark. The tongue also is a fire, a world of evil among the parts of the body. It corrupts the whole body, sets the whole course of one’s life on fire, and is itself set on fire by hell” He continues, “All kinds of animals, birds, reptiles and sea creatures are being tamed and have been tamed by mankind, but no human being can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison. With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse human beings, who have been made in God’s likeness. Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers and sisters, this should not be”. (James 3:5-10)
Hands that Shed Innocent Blood – One great example was the blood that was shed of Jesus Christ. The spotless, sinless, perfect Lamb of God, Jesus Christ, was slain by guilty hands. He was completely innocent but those who shed His blood were completely guilty and sinful. To me, abortion is the shedding of innocent blood. A child is inside the womb of a woman and defenseless – completely innocent, yet 42 million abortions are performed every year in this world and 1.37 million per year in the U.S. This is nothing short of genocide since God knew us before we were born and knew us by name in the womb (Jeremiah 1:5-10). Today shedding innocent blood can involve burglaries gone bad, murders, inducing others to buy and get hooked on drugs, influencing others to drink (and then to drive), drunk drivers killing innocent victims, spousal and child abuse, and the list goes on. Jesus said that we even commit murder in our heart even if we hate someone (Mathew 5:21-26). No human is innocent before God but by Him saying that He abhors those who shed innocent blood, He means that criminals and everyday people have killed those who did not deserve to die. God alone is the author and giver of life and only He has the right to take a life. Here again, pride is a root cause of murder. Anger and rage involve someone else doing something we don’t like or to steal from others who have something we want. James equates murder’s motives quite well in saying, “What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don’t they come from your desires that battle within you? You want something but don’t get it. You kill and covet, but you cannot have what you want. You quarrel and fight. You do not have, because you do not ask God. When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures” (James 4:1-3). We may say that we are not guilty of shedding innocent blood, but we must realize that if we support the legal system to enforce laws that enables others to sin, are we not participating? How can we approve the freedom and rights of others to sin and yet preach against the horrors of offending God? Let us not be double-minded concerning the will of God. Selah.