Category Archives: Faith

Are We Ready for the Crush

Every day since Jesus rose into the heavens we have come one day closer to his return. This is an obvious statement I know, but I believe sometimes Christians seem to forget that. While we busy ourselves with work and church and service and children and all the worries of life, we forget that the Lord’s plan for this earth still carries on.

I have done a lot of reading lately about the prophecies of the end time. It has become quite obvious to me that up until the day Christ returns our life on earth as a Christian will become increasingly more challenging. When I say challenging I mean that many non-Christians will literally hate us.

This should not be a surprise to anyone who takes time to read the Bible and study the word. I am going to include a few verses in this post to highlight this, but I want you to study the subject on your own. Read through the books of the New Testament in the next two months. If it has been a while since you have read through these, I guarantee you will find this beneficial. Each time I read through these I get something new from it. One reason is your perspective changes as you grow older and see the world change.

1 Peter 4:12-19 Dear friends, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal that has come on you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice inasmuch as you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed. If you are insulted because of the name of Christ, you are blessed, for the Spirit of glory and of God rests on you. If you suffer, it should not be as a murderer or thief or any other kind of criminal, or even as a meddler. However, if you suffer as a Christian, do not be ashamed, but praise God that you bear that name. For it is time for judgment to begin with God’s household; and if it begins with us, what will the outcome be for those who do not obey the gospel of God? And, “If it is hard for the righteous to be saved, what will become of the ungodly and the sinner?” So then, those who suffer according to God’s will should commit themselves to their faithful Creator and continue to do good.
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Why should we keep doing good for a world that hates us?

1 Peter 2:15 For it is God’s will that by doing good you should silence the ignorant talk of foolish people.
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Why do the unbelievers hate us?

1 John 3:12-13 Do not be like Cain, who belonged to the evil one and murdered his brother. And why did he murder him? Because his own actions were evil and his brother’s were righteous. Do not be surprised, my brothers and sisters, if the world hates you.

Jesus told the Disciples directly that the world would hate them because of His name.

John 15:18-23 If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first. If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you. Remember what I told you: ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted me, they will persecute you also. If they obeyed my teaching, they will obey yours also. They will treat you this way because of my name, for they do not know the one who sent me. If I had not come and spoken to them, they would not be guilty of sin; but now they have no excuse for their sin. Whoever hates me hates my Father as well.
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When Jesus was talking to the disciples about the end times, he told them not only about the trials that they would face but also the trials of His followers in the last days.

Luke 21:10-20 Then he said to them: “Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be great earthquakes, famines and pestilences in various places, and fearful events and great signs from heaven. “But before all this, they will seize you and persecute you. They will hand you over to synagogues and put you in prison, and you will be brought before kings and governors, and all on account of my name. And so you will bear testimony to me. But make up your mind not to worry beforehand how you will defend yourselves. For I will give you words and wisdom that none of your adversaries will be able to resist or contradict. You will be betrayed even by parents, brothers and sisters, relatives and friends, and they will put some of you to death. Everyone will hate you because of me. But not a hair of your head will perish. Stand firm, and you will win life. “When you see Jerusalem being surrounded by armies, you will know that its desolation is near.
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See also Matthew 24 and Mark 13

Are we ready for this crush? Are we ready to return love for hatred? As the pressure of the world’s push to force everyone to believe in the same thing increases, so will hatred of anyone who disagrees with those beliefs. If you don’t believe this, pull your head out of the sand, and scroll through the comments on news stories related to any contentious issue where religion might be involved.  That will wake you up real quick.

Yet through all of this, the greatest of our responsibilities is to love. The love of Christ is the first thing that anyone should see from us, not condemnation, not accusation, but love.

We Must be Out of Our Mind…

http://bible.com/111/2co.5.13-15.niv If we are “out of our mind,” as some say, it is for God; if we are in our right mind, it is for you. For Christ’s love compels us, because we are convinced that one died for all, and therefore all died. And he died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again.
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Are you out of your mind? I’ve been thinking a lot today about the internal conflict I have between my nationalistic principles and Christ’s love that is supposed to be working within me.

I’m starting to think that the two may actually not be in conflict. There would be too much typing for me to explain how I came to that conclusion. But, just know that the largest generation in the history of our country is retiring.

Subsequent generations are much smaller due to families having less children. Our country has aborted three times as many people as have immigrated here (or more). So, like it or not, we need more tax payers to take care of this older generation and to staff a sizable volunteer military. Otherwise our nation will fail to be a powerful voice for democracy around the world and default on the massive debt that we have incurred.

What say you?

How Might David Pray Today?

This has been a rough election year in Arkansas. I have never seen so many half-truths in campaign ads. This year is especially full of negative ads and untruthful insinuating in the Senate and Governor’s race.

I was reading R. Kent Hughes’ book “Disciplines of a Godly Man” in chapter 11 today. This chapter is about disciplining the tongue. He referenced this chapter in Psalms that I thought really fit for this election year.

Psalms 12:1-8  Help, Lord , for no one is faithful anymore; those who are loyal have vanished from the human race. Everyone lies to their neighbor; they flatter with their lips but harbor deception in their hearts. May the Lord silence all flattering lips and every boastful tongue— those who say, “By our tongues we will prevail; our own lips will defend us—who is lord over us?” “Because the poor are plundered and the needy groan, I will now arise,” says the Lord . “I will protect them from those who malign them.” And the words of the Lord are flawless, like silver purified in a crucible, like gold refined seven times. You, Lord , will keep the needy safe and will protect us forever from the wicked, who freely strut about when what is vile is honored by the human race.
(Bible.com)

Romans 5 & 6

I’m reading Romans 5 & 6 today (NIV version). Sometimes when I read the Bible I read it in my mind as though the words are being spoken by a fiery and robust southern preacher. Sweat on the brow and handkerchief in hand. I was reading today while walking around for some excercise at work. When I got to about the middle of chapter 6 I started to recognize that I had been so into the sermon that I was walking rather briskly with a little hop in my step. I don’t think I shouted for joy but I was close if I didn’t. So, be warned, the word has a tendency to add vigor to you steps.

The False Teachers

First and second Peter, two short books with a lot to say. I found myself there this week. Many times when I am reading the Bible I come across things that I just have to share. Almost like I have the only remaining Bible on the planet and I must share what I am seeing. It’s not the fact that I may have never read that verse before that makes it new and exciting. Rather, it is events, circumstances, and my own experiences in the world that have changed to the point that the verses now has a deeper meaning.

You probably have your own stories of people in a position of religious authority who may not be teaching or expounding upon the word quite the way you remember hearing it taught in the past. Maybe it is totally wrong and void of theological correctness, but it is more inclusive and less harsh. Yet it gets more people on-board, and the tithes roll on in.

Let’s look at what the Apostle Peter has to say.

2 Peters 2:1-3 – 1 But there were also false prophets among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you. They will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the sovereign Lord who bought them—bringing swift destruction on themselves. Many will follow their depraved conduct and will bring the way of truth into disrepute. In their greed these teachers will exploit you with fabricated stories. Their condemnation has long been hanging over them, and their destruction has not been sleeping. (www.Bible.com)
2 Peters 2:9 – 12 But these people blaspheme in matters they do not understand. They are like unreasoning animals, creatures of instinct, born only to be caught and destroyed, and like animals they too will perish. (www.Bible.com)
2 Peters 2:13b – 22 – 13b They are blots and blemishes, reveling in their pleasures while they feast with you.14 With eyes full of adultery, they never stop sinning; they seduce the unstable; they are experts in greed—an accursed brood! 15 They have left the straight way and wandered off to follow the way of Balaam son of Bezer,who loved the wages of wickedness. 16 But he was rebuked for his wrongdoing by a donkey—an animal without speech—who spoke with a human voice and restrained the prophet’s madness.
17 These people are springs without water and mists driven by a storm. Blackest darkness is reserved for them. 18 For they mouth empty, boastful words and, by appealing to the lustful desires of the flesh, they entice people who are just escaping from those who live in error.19 They promise them freedom, while they themselves are slaves of depravity—for “people are slaves to whatever has mastered them.” 20 If they have escaped the corruption of the world by knowing our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and are again entangled in it and are overcome, they are worse off at the end than they were at the beginning. 21 It would have been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than to have known it and then to turn their backs on the sacred command that was passed on to them.22 Of them the proverbs are true: “A dog returns to its vomit,”and, “A sow that is washed returns to her wallowing in the mud.” (www.Bible.com)

Some of these people say they believe in God, but they try to twist around the word of God and manipulate the meaning of verses in order to fit their desired lifestyle. In the Bible, Paul tells us in both his letters to Timothy what to look for in the later times concerning marriage, diets, and all sorts of daily activities that will be twisted around. (1 Timothy 4:1-4, 2 Timothy 3:1-5). He said that false teachers and prophets would suggest that what is right is bad and what is wrong is good. These people have consciences that are seared. They will quarrel about words and meanings and will give up their beliefs for money (1 Timothy 6:3-10). Paul gives Timothy this charge: 1 Timothy 6:20-21 –  “20Timothy, guard what has been entrusted to your care. Turn away from godless chatter and the opposing ideas of what is falsely called knowledge, 21 which some have professed and in so doing have departed from the faith.” (www.Bible.com)

Our job as believers is not to pass judgement, but to point these people back to grace and truth in Jesus. (Romans 2:1-16) We are not sinless. We are not perfect. We will not be perfect or without sin as long as we live in this world in these fleshly bodies. We simply have to believe in Jesus, that He is God’s son, that He died on the cross and took our punishment, then do our best to live without sin and accept His mercy and grace when we fail.

1 Peter 4:2-6 “As a result, they do not live the rest of their earthly lives for evil human desires, but rather for the will of God. For you have spent enough time in the past doing what pagans choose to do—living in debauchery, lust, drunkenness, orgies, carousing and detestable idolatry. They are surprised that you do not join them in their reckless, wild living, and they heap abuse on you. But they will have to give account to him who is ready to judge the living and the dead. For this is the reason the gospel was preached even to those who are now dead, so that they might be judged according to human standards in regard to the body, but live according to God in regard to the spirit.”
(www.Bible.com)

You see, it won’t be enough for them to lead children down the wrong path and to confuse those who do not take time to test their false teaching. No, their desire will also be to try and discredit the true believers, the ones who know and keep the Lord’s commandments. They will call us haters, war mongers, and any other name you can think of to make people turn against the truth. Giving a person a label is the quickest way to turn people against them. Think on that a minute. Any time someone comes out with a differing view from the mainstream, almost immediately a label is spewed out on them.  Hypocrite, bigot, racist, climate change denier, conspiracy theorist, pro-lifer, redneck, backwoods, so forth and so on.

Jesus spoke of the false prophets this way:

Matthew 7:15-2015 Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves. 16 By their fruit you will recognize them. Do people pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? 17 Likewise, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. 18 A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit. 19 Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. 20 Thus, by their fruit you will recognize them. (www.Bible.com)

In their book “Are We Living in the End Times”, Tim LaHaye and Jerry B. Jenkins write this about false prophets: “Most false prophets have a faulty view of Jesus. Some are blatantly false; the more dangerous ones will accept Him as a god but not God in human flesh. Never trust any teacher who does not believe in the virgin birth of Jesus, His sinless life, sacrificial death, bodily resurrection, and His promise to come again physically to this earth.” (Chapter 4) “Many false teachers are endowed with a natural charisma, which at first makes them seem tremendously spiritual and insightful.” (Chapter 4) They will use the same old tricks they always have. The same type of trick that Satan used on Eve in the beginning. Don’t be deceived.

Even more so now, as the time of Christ’s return draws nearer, false prophets and teachers are popping up almost everywhere you look. Social media web sites are a perfect tool for these false teachers. It is the closest thing that Satan has to being omnipresent. Think about that a minute. How would you distribute false teachings and plant seeds of poisoned fruit to the masses if you were not an omnipresent being? This may be another post topic later.

Grace be with you all.