No Spirit of Fear!
Sometimes life gets tough and we get down on ourselves and beat up on ourselves. Satan loves that because he sees you being defeated, then he works on you to believe the lie that God has abandoned you. Don't believe it. God loves you more than we can even begin to imagine. His love to us is immeasurable. If the scriptures are true and sure, and it says in scripture that He loves us and will... " never leave thee, nor forsake thee. " Heb. 13:5 (King James Version).
Satan will try to make you believe the opposite is true if you let him. Don't believe the lies and don't let yourself down by beating up on yourself. Trust Him whom is true and sure.
Yes, be a fighter, only losers quit. You are not a loser, for God made you in His image
"for in the image of God has God made mankind." Genesis 9:6 (New International Version, Copyright 2010)
"For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind." 2 Timothy 1:7 (King James Version)
In ancient China it is said that during the 3rd to 5th century B.C. there was a state called QI. The king was fond of listening to music played on a Yu, a wind instrument. He brought together a band of 300 players. Every day at tea time the band was called to play the Yu for his majesty. One of the player, a Mister Nan Guo, knew nothing about playing the instrument, but by pretending to play the instrument he was believed to be a part of the orchestra. No one knew the truth.
Finally the king died and the prince became the king. But the new king did not enjoy hearing an orchestra, but preferred the sound of solo players. Gradually he called each musician to play before him solo. The time came for Nan Guo to play and of course he was found out to be what he really was.
This story is likened to the parable of the wheat and the tares told by Jesus. (Matthew 13:24-30) There are those in the kingdom of earth who appear to be playing the Yu, who appear to be Christians by their walk and talk. But the time will come for them to show whom they really are.
Unger says that in the Holy land there is a tare (weed) called the "bearded darnel," which is a poisonous grass. Apparently it looks very much like the wheat which grows there. Side by side it is very hard to tell them apart. But when they are matured it is easy to tell them apart.
Also apparently the roots of the darnel intertwine with the roots of the wheat. That is why the farmer ordered his workers not to rip out he tares until it was time to harvest. Otherwise the roots of the wheat would be damaged likely killing the wheat.
While we await our Lord's coming, we are commanded to; " Let our lights so shine...." Matt 5:16 Jesus said: "Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven." (King James Version)
So how about you? Are you playing the Yu in the orchestra, pretending to be a follower of the Lord, or are you truly playing the Yu so that "your light may so shine before men?"
When the Lord comes and separates the tares from the wheat, which one will you be, the tare or the wheat?
I would pray that you all will be gathered together with Him to eat at the Feast of Lamb where He will say to you; "Well done, good and faithful servant; ( ) enter thou into the joy of thy lord." (Matthew 25:23. King James Version)
There are so many people in this world who put on the appearances of how they want others to see them You may be able to fool them, but before Jesus you will seen to be whom you really are
So may I encourage you to study your lessons, study scripture, pray in all things continually and to play the Yu in the orchestra so that you will be found to be a good and faithful servant seated with Him at the Feast of the Lamb.
I am reminded of the story we used to hear when I was a kid about the frog whom had fallen down a well. Every day he would make great effort to climb out. He would gain so much then he would fall back a bit. But eventually, because he was determined to get out. he kept striving towards his goal and eventually made it out.
Christ knows that we will have days when we will fall back some. But He also is honoured and glorified when we make the attempt to strive forward towards the goal of being holy. And of course He is always there beside us to give us that extra boost, that extra nudge as we strive to be like Him.
Wait on the Lord!
Have a great week.
Get Connected with God!
"And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God."
Romans 12:2 (King James Version)
Who Are We?
We must know who we are before we know what to do, when to do it, where to go, and how it's done. Identity is a first step in the Christian life. Before Jesus' public ministry, the Father proclaimed Jesus His beloved Son in Whom He was well pleased (Mt 3:17). As soon as Peter recognized Who Jesus was, Jesus announced to Peter: "And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it." Matthew 16:18 (King James Version).
Paul repeatedly told believers who they were. He called us the holy ones, the chosen ones, the adopted sons and daughters of the Father (Eph 1:1-5). We are the redeemed, the forgiven, the gifted of God (Eph 1:7-8). Likewise Peter proclaimed: "But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light;" (1 Pt 2:9. King James Version).
The first question in life is: "Who is Jesus?" The second is: "Who am I?" All the questions of life are based on these first two. Jesus asks each one of us: "Who do you say that I am?" (Mt 16:15 (New International Version, ©2011))
When we recognize Jesus as Lord and Messiah, we reverse the situation and ask Him, "Who do You (Jesus) that say I am?" We tell Jesus who He is, then He tells us who we are.
The Christian life is a struggle to believe in our God-given identity. It is an identity crisis. Our heavenly Father tells us the truth about Jesus and ourselves while the devil tells us lies. For example, after the Father proclaimed from the heavens that Jesus is His beloved Son, the devil's first words in tempting Jesus were: "If you are the Son of God..." (Lk 4:3 (New International Version, ©2011)).
In the same way, the devil tempts us to doubt our identity. He substitutes question marks for God's periods and often adds the word "if," but the Father through Jesus tells us who we are, and this is confirmed by the Spirit.
Father, may we not be conformed to the world but transformed by the renewal of our minds in the Holy Spirit (Rom. 12:2).
THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
Live for Him!
Take care and have a great and Godly week.
Suffer for the Cause of Christ
Since time beginning people in power have always and will continue to power trip over those of whom they are in authority over.
It seems to give them satisfaction to belittle others. Jesus as we know was perfect and had no faults, and we know what was done to Him.
Jesus told us to turn the other cheek and so we must as hard as that is to understand and do at times. Last year at the construction site I wanted so badly to punch out my foreman. But I knew that was not the right thing to do. I put up with all kinds of verbal abuse. Still, I held my tongue and clenched my fists to my sides rather than striking him. In the end God will make all things rights, and He will make those who abuse us to pay. Remember Deut. 32:41 & Rom. 12:19 "Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord." (Rom 12:19 King James Version)
Christ's people will always be the targets of abuse. People hate the fact that we follow a code of righteousness and not the ways of the world. So the fact that you are being targeted by others is a sign of your faith in Christ. Remember, too, when the disciples and Paul told how they were abused, imprisoned etc. because of their faith, and yet they counted it joy that they could suffer for the cause of Christ.
Scripture tells us that if we are true disciples of Jesus, we can expect persecution, especially in these last days. So hold your head up high, and count it all joy as well, "for your redemption draweth nigh." (Luke 21:28 King James Version)
No Spirit of Fear! (A Response to an Email from a Member of a Christian Online-Group)
(...) As always, there will be those who treat you badly. Jesus commanded us to pray for those who persecute you. In doing so we pour hot coals over their heads. Meaning that when we treat them with kindness when they treat us badly, we put them to shame, in the hope that our kindness in the midst of their bad treatment of us will draw them to the Lord.
(...) This life, this Christian walk is not about us, it is about God, Jesus. He is the life giver. It is because of Him that we live, and move, and have our being. Acts 17:28
Kings will give their crowns backs to Him. We shall return to Him glory, worship Him, bow before His throne to Him. Yes, it is all about Him.
And yes, He makes no junk, those whom will reject Him, will know without a shadow of a doubt, that He will one day grant justice by sending them to hell, because they wanted a world without Him. They wanted a world of darkness, and so they shall receive their just reward. They shall receive what they wanted, a world without God in their lives.
As you say, the past is past, and the bad things that have occurred in our lives have occurred to to bring Him glory. We need to learn and grow that He may be glorified. What others intended for evil for us, as in Joseph situation, God intended for good.
Again stand and be thankful; that "For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind" (2 Tim 1:7. King James Version).
Have a great day.
Metamorphosis - The Transformation of a Believer
"I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God."
(King James Version)
When I think of the word transformed, I am reminded of Transformers, the kids toys which can be twisted from one form to appear as something else.
For example a humanoid looking robot can be twisted and transformed to look like a fighter jet or a car.
Metamorphosis is another word which conjures up the image of transformation.
We are all familiar with the metamorphosis of the Monarch Butterfly which goes through a few transformations from the egg stage to the adult butterfly.
Another transformation is the complete change of a tadpole which eventually loses its tail, grows legs and no longer breathes with external gills.
The last stage of a tadpoles transformation of course is an adult frog.
The word Transformation comes from the ancient Greek word Metamorphosis. Which means a transformation, a marked change in appearance, character or function.
Turn to Rom. 12:1-2 and let us read what Paul wrote about the word Transformed.
From the New King James Version we read; ``Rom 12:1 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service.
Rom 12:2 And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.
From this reading we see that Christians are involved in a kind of metamorphosis.
The difference however is that we do not change outwardly in appearance once we believe, but rather our transformation begins the moment we believe the gospel message.
What happens at that moment is a miracle which involves the Holy Spirit and is called Sanctification.
You are at that moment changed in a moment and are set apart as a child of God into His Kingdom.
That is not all that happens at that point.
At that moment you are born again, the Holy Spirit begins an inside job in you.
He begins a cleaning within you, changing you, transforming you gradually to become more and more like Jesus.
That is, your old ways begin to change. Your way of thinking begins to change. You are no longer concerned for the things of the world but thinking more and more of the things of God and our eternal destiny with Him.
A character change in other words begins and continues until we are perfected and taken home to be with Jesus.
As Paul wrote in 2 Cor. 5:17,Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new. (King James Version)
The prophet Ezekiel likewise wrote regarding the Jewish nation, that God will one day:
Eze 36:26-27: A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh. And I will put my spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and ye shall keep my judgments, and do them. (King James Version)
God is likewise doing the same thing to us.
He gives us a new heart, He puts a new spirit within us, He takes out our old sinners heart of stone and replaces it with a new heart, one which is in harmony with His ways.
We no longer desire to be conformed with the ways of the world, but desire to be transformed and following and obeying His ways.
Instead of being conformed to the ways of the world we are gradually being conformed instead to the image of his Son. (Rom. 8:29 King James Version)
Paul again reminds us of this gradual transformation in 2 Cor. 3:18 "But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord. (King James Version)
Though this metamorphosis is a work of the Holy Spirit working in us, we have our own part to do as well.
Just as your muscles will not grow if you do not exercise them, our spiritual growth also needs a spiritual workout.
We do this with daily with time spent reading and studying His Word and meditating on what we are learning.
This is also accomplished in our talking with Him in prayer and in associating and spending quality times with other fellow believers, not only here in the church building but in other situations as we gather together in fellowship through various other get-togethers.
We grow closer to God as well when we put into practice the things we have learned through His Word and as we listen to His still soft voice speaking to us, guiding in our day to day living.
Listen to this quote from Oswald Chambers: QUOTE
The reason some of us have not entered into the experience of Sanctification is that we have not realized the meaning of sanctification from God`s perspective. Sanctification means being made one with Jesus so that the nature that controlled Him will control us. Are we prepared for what that will cost? It will cost absolutely everything in us which is not of God. The resounding evidence of the Holy Spirit in a persons life is the unmistakeable family likeness to Jesus Christ, and the freedom from everything which is not like Him. Are we prepared to set ourselves apart for the Holy Spirits work in us? When I pray, Lord show me what sanctification means for me, he will show me. It means being made one with Jesus. Sanctification is not something Jesus puts in me; it is Himself in me .Sanctification means nothing less than the holiness of Jesus becoming mine and being exhibited in my life. Sanctification means the impartation of holy qualities of Jesus to me. It is the gift of His patience, love, holiness, faith, purity, and godliness that is exhibited in and through every sanctified soul. Sanctification is not drawing from Jesus the power to be holy, it is drawing from Jesus the very holiness that was exhibited in Him, and that He now exhibits in me. Sanctification is an impartation, not an imitation. Imitation is something altogether different. The perfection of everything is in Jesus Christ, and the mystery of sanctification is that all the perfect qualities of Jesus are at my disposal. Consequently, I slowly but surely begin to live a life of inexpressible order, soundness, and holiness kept by the power of God. 1 Pet. 1:15
END OF QUOTE
God in His awesome power created some creatures to undergo a metamorphosis. In so doing we are witnesses to His almighty power and awesome beauty in creation. It is said in Romans that the heavens display the glory of the Lord.
Unlike the creatures of the world in their awesome beauty, God did something very special with us that He did not do in any other of His creations.
God created you, you, you, you and all of us whom are called of Him and have answered that call to bear His very image.
He loves each and every one of you with an everlasting love that is un- measureable to our limited mindset.
He has put within us all His very image and His very image includes the ability if we but grasp it and allow Him to work within us a transformation, a metamorphosis to change us from convicted sinners doomed to eternal death, to everlasting life, made perfect in His image to dwell eternally with Him.
If He can make creatures transform from one stage of life and cause them to be transformed into another awesome beautiful creature, what do you think He wants to do to your life whom He loves more than any other of His creations?
Are you ready to be morphed more and more into His image?
Then if so, take time each and every day to spend more time with him in his Word, in private one on one time with him in prayer, studying and immersing yourself in His love letter to you.
David when he wrote one of His Psalms wrote: Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me. (Ps. 51:10 King James Version)
Create in me a clean heart, O God,
And renew a right spirit within me.
Create in me a clean heart, O God,
And renew a right spirit within me.
Cast me not away from Thy presence O Lord
Take not Thy holy Spirit from me.
Restore unto me the joy of Thy salvation;
And renew a right spirit within me.
(Lyrics: Keith Green)
LET US SING Change My Heart O God page 654 in our hymnals:
Change my heart, O God
Make it ever true
Change my heart, O God
May I be like You
You are the potter
I am the clay
Mold me and make me
This is what I pray
(Written by Eddie Espinosa)
Is God making a difference in you? Are you being transformed daily being morphed into His image? If not it could be that you are not spending any quality time with Him, or perhaps you are Grieving the Holy Spirit.
And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption. Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice: And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you. (Eph 4:30-32 King James Version)
Now is the time, the day of salvation of redemption, of transformation. Again,
Create in me a clean heart, O God,
And renew a right spirit within me.
Create in me a clean heart, O God,
And renew a right spirit within me.
Cast me not away from Thy presence O Lord
Take not Thy holy Spirit from me.
Restore unto me the joy of Thy salvation;
And renew a right spirit within me.
(Lyrics: Keith Green)
Well Done, Good and Faithful Servant!
"Well done, good and faithful servant." Matt. 25:21 (NKJV);
May you be doing the will of the Lord.
May you walk the walk,
And be not merely talking the walk.
May you not bend to temptations,
1 Corinthians 10
"1Moreover, brethren, I would not that ye should be ignorant, how that all our fathers were under the cloud, and all passed through the sea;
2And were all baptized unto Moses in the cloud and in the sea;
3And did all eat the same spiritual meat;
4And did all drink the same spiritual drink: for they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them: and that Rock was Christ.
5But with many of them God was not well pleased: for they were overthrown in the wilderness.
6Now these things were our examples, to the intent we should not lust after evil things, as they also lusted.
7Neither be ye idolaters, as were some of them; as it is written, The people sat down to eat and drink, and rose up to play.
8Neither let us commit fornication, as some of them committed, and fell in one day three and twenty thousand.
9Neither let us tempt Christ, as some of them also tempted, and were destroyed of serpents.
10Neither murmur ye, as some of them also murmured, and were destroyed of the destroyer.
11Now all these things happened unto them for examples: and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come.
12Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall.
13There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it." (KJV)
Therefore pray the Lord guide your steps
Pray He will prepare ye the way
To follow after Him, and be found well pleasing
where He may again say,
"Well done, good and faithful servant." Matt. 25:21 (NKJV).
Have a good and Godly week,
for what lasting value is a good week,
If it is also not a Godly week.
The Jesus Manifesto
The dawning of the 21st century finds the church of America in a moral and spiritual crisis. Decades of self-centered living and worldliness have taken their toll. Years of compromise and toothless gospel preaching have had their effect. And now we have reached the moment of truth: Either we wake up, stand up, speak up, and act up, or we run the risk of becoming a mere historic curiosity, an irrelevant religious sideshow, an entertaining, harmless spectacle. Something must change, and it must change now. There is no other choice.
Forty years ago, a counterculture revolution swept through America, resulting in a sudden, steep moral decline. Since that time (from the early 60s until today), the divorce rate has doubled, the teen suicide rate has tripled, reported violent crime has quadrupled, the prison population has quintupled, the percentage of babies born out of wedlock has risen six-fold, and couples living together out of wedlock has risen sevenfold. And the end is not in sight.
The last generations counterculture of rebellion has become this generations establishment of revulsion, and what was unthinkable forty years ago daytime talk shows celebrating adultery and incest; homosexual love scenes on major network TV; eleven year-old multiple murderers; massacres in our schools and houses of worship is a matter of course today. We need a revolution!
But this revolution will be different than other revolutions including the revolution that birthed our nation more than 200 years ago. This revolution will not be fought with earthly weapons of destruction not with guns and knives and bullets and bombs. It will not be fought with hatred, anger, intimidation, or brute force. No. It will be fought with the message of the gospel, with the love of God, with the power of the Spirit, with radical holiness, with sacrifice, compassion, and courage. It will be a Jesus revolution, an intense clash between two spiritual kingdoms, a heavenly attack on the enemys strongholds, a no compromise stand for morality and truth. And it will impact society in a lasting way. It must!
Revolution means upheaval. Revolution means the overthrowing of the status quo. We dare not downplay the significance of the word. Revolution is a matter of life and death, and our revolution flows from the blood of the Savior to the blood of the martyr. We put down our sword and take up our cross, overcoming Satan by the blood of the Lamb, by the word of our testimony, and by not loving our lives so much as to shrink from death (Rev. 12:11). Nothing can stop a revolution like this!
Our revolution is fueled by the power of the gospel, and the gospel does violence to the forces of hell. We must recover the fullness of the gospel of Jesus! It is nothing less than a direct assault on the kingdom of Satan, a frontal attack on hostile, spiritual powers, a mortal confrontation of light against darkness. It brings about the ultimate counterculture conflict.
Thats why Jesus said to His disciples, 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 the words I spoke to you: No servant is greater than his master. If they persecuted Me, they will persecute you also. If they obeyed My teaching, they will obey yours also (John 15:18-20).
Thats why Paul explained that everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted (2 Tim 3:12), reminding the disciples that, We must go through many hardships to enter the kingdom of God (Acts 14:22). Gods people march to the beat of a different drummer. Gods obedient people will always offend the world, no matter how much we seek to be peacemakers and to walk in compassion and love. Our very lifestyles are a reproof to the ungodly.
Thats why Joseph Parker could say more than a century ago, The man whose little sermon is repent sets himself against his age, and will for the time being be battered mercilessly by the age whose moral tone he challenges. There is but one end for such a man off with his head! You had better not try to preach repentance until you have pledged your head to heaven. The gospel means conflict and confrontation, and all who stand for righteousness will be resisted.
Thats why Jesus was accused by his own people of being a Samaritan and demon-possessed (John 8:48), why Paul and Silas were accused of throwing cities into an uproar (Acts 16:20) and causing trouble all over the world (Acts 17:6), why Paul himself was mistaken for being an Egyptian who started a revolt and led four thousand terrorists out into the desert (Acts 21:38). The gospel is subversive. The gospel is a threat to the kingdom of darkness. The gospel is revolutionary.
Were in a war, and war means conflict, hardship, and sacrifice. As Leonard Ravenhill wrote, When a nation calls its prime men to battle, homes are broken, weeping sweethearts say their good-byes, businesses are closed, college careers are wrecked, factories are refitted for wartime production, rationing and discomforts are accepted all for war. Can we do less for the greatest fight that this world has ever known outside of the cross this end-time siege on sanity, morality, and spirituality?
Satans strategy is to institutionalize the Church, to turn the Body of Christ into a powerless religious system. If that tactic fails, he tries to desensitize us and lull us to sleep until we lose our convictions and our sense of outrage is gone. And he is always seeking to seduce us into sin until we become just like the world, enslaved by its passions and lusts. And when he thinks he has succeeded, when he no longer feels threatened by the people of God, then he gets aggressive and brazenly puts forth his agenda. Hes doing it today. We need a revolution!
The cat is out of the bag. The secret is no longer a secret. Anti-God forces are after the soul of our nation, and if we dont wake up now, if we dont take a stand now, if we dont repent and pray and rise and speak and act now, then instead of this great country being the land of the free and the home of the brave our nation could become the land of sleaze and the home of depraved. We need a revolution!
DNA tests to find out who fathered the baby are here. (In fifteen of our nations largest cities, more than 90% of the babies born to teens are illegitimate.) Legalized same-sex civil unions are here. Childrens textbooks encouraging adolescent fornication are here. School hallways splattered with teenage blood are here. Bans on using the name of Jesus at our graduations are here. Topless, feminist worship services on our college campuses are here. We need a revolution!
We live in a time of ethical madness and social uncertainty, a time when talk of a moral revolution should be everywhere. Instead, the best-selling revolutionary books are books about new diets. What does this say for us as a people? When we need to be talking about the call to die for the gospel, we are talking instead about the call to diet for good looks. What a sad indictment! And what does it say of our self-deception and lack of discipline when we are at one and the same time the worlds best-read nation on diet and nutrition and the worlds most obese? Even our pets are overweight. We need a revolution!
The United States boasts the highest percentage of professing evangelicals in the industrialized world, with more than 36% of Americans meaning more than 90 million people classified as born-again. Yet America has:
The highest percentage of single-parent families in the industrialized world
The highest abortion rate in the industrialized world
The highest rate of sexually transmitted diseases in the industrialized world (the rates of syphilis and gonorrhea transmission are almost 500% higher than the highest rates in the other industrialized nations)
The highest teenage birth rate in the industrialized world (by far!)
The highest rate of teenage drug use in the industrialized world
We need a revolution!
Our society is deteriorating all around us and even non-believers sense that something is wrong. Why? It is because we, the people of God, the army of the Lord Jesus, the messengers of liberation, the ambassadors of reconciliation, have been sidetracked by the love of this world and distracted by the cares of this age. As a result, we have not changed this generation. This generation has changed us!
Rather than seasoning the world like salt and brightening the world like light, we now smell and taste like the world, and its darkness is snuffing out our lamps. Rather than setting captives free by the power of Jesus blood, many of us are being ensnared and enslaved, making a mockery of that sacred blood. Rather than making disciples of sinners and teaching them the ways of God, many of us are being discipled by them, learning their ways, imitating their lifestyles, and conforming to their values.
A 1997 survey conducted by George Barna used 152 different items to compare the church and the world. He found virtually no difference between the two. In fact, the divorce rate today among evangelicals is higher than the divorce rate among atheists. We need a revolution!
Communist educators visiting America have been shocked by the materialism and worldliness of many of our Christian young people, while Islamic leaders are appalled by the rampant sexual sin and shameless immodesty among many who profess Christ as Lord. The ideals of the unsaved are often more lofty than the ideals of the saved. We need a revolution!
Just consider how far things have fallen, despite decades of 24-hour gospel radio and TV, hundreds of Bible colleges and seminaries, thousands of Christian schools and bookstores, and churches and ministries too numerous to count. Forty years ago, men having sex with men and women having sex with women was considered perverse. Now it is considered perverse homophobic, hateful, mean-spirited, and bigoted to call such behavior wrong. We need a revolution!
Forty years ago, not even science fiction writers would have predicted that American companies would be making money off the sale of the skin and brains and limbs and spinal chords of aborted babies. Today, Congress will not even pass legislation to make this thriving practice illegal. We need a revolution!
Jesus rebuked the leaders of his day who said of themselves, If we had lived in the days of our forefathers, we would not have taken part with them in shedding the blood of the prophets (Matt 23:30) and then they took part in shedding the blood of the greatest Prophet of them all. How hypocritical! Yet we do this very thing, saying, If we had lived in the days of our forefathers, we would not have taken part with them in the detestable sin of slavery. We would never have tolerated such evil. We would surely have done something about it.
Yet on our watch, in our day, we have tolerated an even more heinous sin: the slaughter of forty million babies in their mothers wombs. In what way have we been better than our forefathers who tolerated slavery or better than the European Christians who tolerated the Nazi extermination of six million Jews? How much have we really done to stop this generations holocaust?
Bloodshed pollutes the land (Num 35:33), and the blood of these helpless victims oceans of blood of these aborted little ones has been crying out for justice for decades. What will our God do? We need a revolution!
In 1960, only 2.3% of percent of white women had children out of wedlock. By 1997, more than 25% a ten-fold increase! were having children out of wedlock (despite millions being aborted before they ever left the womb). In the African American community, that number rose from 23% percent to more than 68%. We need a revolution!
In 1962, the Supreme Court outlawed organized, public prayer in our schools (without citing a single historic precedent to back its decision), and we complied with that ruling. In the year 2000, the Court has banned voluntary public prayer in our schools. Why have we complied with this ruling too? At what point do we say, We must obey God rather than man? At what point do we say, Enough is enough? We need a revolution!
On April 12, 2000, at Pearl River Central High School in Carrierre, Mississippi, the Spirit of God fell upon the students attending a voluntary, pre-class assembly led by the Fellowship of Christian Athletes. As students lined up fifty deep to confess their sins and get right with God and one another, the principal, Lolita Lee, herself a Christian, decided to let the meeting go on through the day. Civil libertarians were outraged, but, as Time magazine reported (June 5, 2000, p. 61), The school received hundreds of congratulatory e-mails. Thank you for your courage, wrote an Ohio man to Lee. You have done the equivalent of not moving to the back of the bus. Isnt it time we follow suit? If not now, when? What more needs to happen?
For more than two hundred years, the Bible was commonly used as a textbook in our schools, and generations of children learned the ABCs with a Scripture truth for each letter. But in 1963, the Supreme Court banned required reading of the Scriptures from our schools, and once again, we complied with the ruling. Why? By 1980, the Court had ordered the removal of the Ten Commandments from public view in our schools and by 1985, it outlawed benedictions or invocations in formal school activities. Some lower courts even ruled against students praying out loud over their cafeteria meals. We need a revolution!
When the governing authorities seized the apostles and charged them not to speak in Jesus name, Peter replied, Judge for yourselves whether it is right in Gods sight to obey you rather than God. For we cannot help speaking about what we have seen and heard (Acts 4:19-20). And they kept speaking! As a result, they were arrested, whipped, and strictly ordered not to speak any more in Jesus name. But, Scripture records, The apostles left the Sanhedrin, rejoicing because they had been counted worthy of suffering disgrace for the Name. Day after day, in the temple courts and from house to house, they never stopped teaching and proclaiming the good news that Jesus is the Messiah (Acts 5:41-42). Can we learn something from this?
Christians around the world today are severely persecuted because they refuse to obey oppressive, unjust laws. Many of them are model citizens in every way, obedient, respectful and peace loving. But when the government or religious establishment forbids them to read their Bibles, forbids them to baptize, forbids them to share their faith, forbids them to gather together, forbids them to make disciples, then they say with the apostles, We must obey God rather than man. At what point does this apply to us?
Our persecuted brothers and sisters around the world have been discriminated against, deprived of their livelihoods, imprisoned, tortured, and killed, all because they refused to render to Caesar that which does not belong to Caesar. Yet we are afraid to take a stand for Jesus if it would threaten our income, or cost us a scholarship, or make us unpopular. Why this double standard? Why do they refuse to comply even when threatened with imprisonment and death while we willfully comply, even when there is no threat? We need a revolution!
When Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego were commanded to worship an idol or be subject to a fiery death, they refused to bow down (Daniel 3). But today, with no one commanding us, we freely worship the idols of our society, bowing down to the gods of unclean entertainment, sensual fashion, and unbridled materialism and greed. Our obsession with sports is idolatrous as well, to the point that many churches throughout the land make sure their Sunday services end in time for the afternoon football games, canceling their meetings entirely the night of the Super Bowl. We need a revolution!
When Daniel was told that an edict had been passed declaring that anyone who prays to any god or man during the next thirty days, except to [the] king, shall be thrown into the lions den . . . he went home to his upstairs room where the windows opened toward Jerusalem. Three times a day he got down on his knees and prayed, giving thanks to his God, just as he had done before (Daniel 6:10-12). Its time that we follow his lead. Godly defiance spells triumph while retreat spells defeat. We need a revolution!
Year by year our religious freedoms have been taken away, while special rights and freedoms have been given to those whom the Bible calls unrighteous (see 1 Corinthians 6:9-11; in the Scriptures, homosexual activity is classified along with adultery, fornication, theft, drunkenness, hatred, anger, greed, and hypocrisy, and all who practice such things are called unrighteous). Thus the Supreme Court ruled that a school full of Christians cannot choose to have prayer before a school sporting event since it would offend and exclude the minority who dont want to pray. But when homosexuals introduce childrens textbooks into our schools outlining in graphic detail the intricacies of gay sex, the offended majority is told to accept it. Right is now wrong and wrong is now right, and the will of the godless is imposed on the will of the godly. We need a revolution!
When a gay man is beaten to death because he is gay this is a reprehensible, despicable act that every decent person should abhor it causes a national uproar, with loud voices in the government calling for new legislation against hate crimes. And we should speak out against such deplorable crimes. But when Christians students are shot to death as they profess their faith in God, the government raises its voice to forbid the placing of memorial crosses on school property. The handwriting is on the wall. The strategy is clear. We need a revolution!
Teachers in our public schools can give condom demonstrations to our teens and use books like Heather Had Two Mommies to teach our kids to read, and we are required to support this with our own tax dollars. But let a teacher read from the Scriptures to a seeking, needy student, and that teacher could be out of a job all because of the First Amendments so-called separation of Church and State.
But that is not what the First Amendment intended. It simply stated that, Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof, meaning, first, that the government could not form a national denomination (like the Church of England of old) and require all Americans to be part of it, and second, that there would be religious freedom for all. As emphasized by Stephen Carter, professor of law at Yale University, The wall of separation of church and state is not there to protect the state from the church; it is there to protect the church from the state. It stands as a divide to preserve religious freedom. And one needs to protect the church from the state because the latter will utilize its enormous powers to do what the state has always done either subvert the religion or destroy it. If we continue our slide toward a state that breaches the wall of separation whenever it is convenient, then I worry about the great risk to religious freedom. In the end, such a breach could destroy our ability to form the communities of resistance that are crucial if we are going to have a chance to transform the nation.
Our forefathers wanted to ensure that the government would not be able to impose its will on the church. For more than one generation now, this has been totally reversed and stood on its head, and the price has been very high, with skyrocketing crime rates and plummeting rates of morality and literacy. And what has become of the First Amendments guarantee of the free exercise of religion when the courts tell us that we cannot use religious symbols on public property, cannot post the Ten Commandments in government buildings, and cannot use the name of Jesus in public school events? We have lost our religious freedom. We need a revolution!
In 1999, a bill was brought before Congress that would have required businesses which by implication could have included churches and religious institutions to hire gays and lesbians if they were qualified for the job in question, despite their sexual preference. And the bill failed by only one vote! Even more distressing is that if the bill did pass, there was another bill ready to follow, calling for a ban on even speaking against a persons sexual orientation. (A similar bill has now been passed in Canada.) Such speech would be deemed hate speech, punishable by law, and potentially meaning that a pastor simply expounding the Scriptures to his flock could be arrested. Yet this is the very thing from which our Founding Fathers were trying to protect us. So much for the First Amendment and religious freedom! The fact that such laws could even be crafted for Congress proves that we have long since passed the breaking point yet some Christian leaders would have felt obligated to obey these laws if they had passed. We need a revolution!
We have gone from debating a womans right to choose to sucking out the brains of third trimester babies (with the backing of the courts!), from arguing about the medical definition of death to legalizing physician-assisted suicide, from needing metal detectors at airports to needing metal detectors at schools (and soon at houses of worship?), from tracking down absentee fathers to trying to figure out who the father is, from the outlawing of mandatory school prayer to the outlawing of voluntary school prayer. We need a revolution!
Without a holy, counterculture revolution, America could become a society where candid religious expression is outlawed, a society where it is almost impossible to keep our children free from the pollution of the world, a society teetering perilously close to the thunderous judgments of God. Such things have happened to other nations, and such things could happen to us.
But all is not lost! The gospel has changed societies before, and the gospel can change societies again. For countless centuries, India engaged in the practice of widow-burning, where the widow of a deceased man was sometimes burned alive with her husbands corpse. This horrific practice was outlawed through the tireless efforts of missionary William Carey. Both slave-trading and unjust child-labor laws were abolished in Britain through the fearless work of the Christian political leader William Wilberforce. And this followed on the heels of Englands transformation through the sacrificial labors of John Wesley and his Methodist followers, saving the nation from the anarchy and violence of the French Revolution. Around the world today, whole communities are being impacted by united prayer and evangelism, and here in our land, there is a rising momentum of concerted, twenty-four hour worship and intercession not seen for decades.
There are pockets of spiritual renewal throughout the country, and the tides of a radical youth revival are rapidly rising. Another Jesus people movement could be near, a heaven-sent revolution far greater than the worldwide Jesus movement of 1967-1975, when hundreds of thousands of hippies and radicals were swept into the kingdom. Even now, it is at the door. And not only will multitudes of lost sinners be truly saved, but multitudes of casual church goers will also be truly saved. Just think of what would happen if even one-quarter of Americas professing believers got totally and uncompromisingly right with God and then each of them touched just five or six other people. It would quickly reverse our nations moral decline. Despite our perilous condition, its still not too late!
If our nation could be changed for the worse in one decade this is what happened in the 1960s, despite progress in Civil Rights and some other social areas it can be changed for the better in one decade. If angry student protests on college campuses could help stop an international war (Vietnam), what could holy student protests on our campuses accomplish?
America can be impacted for the good, and as followers of Jesus, we are called to make that impact. We do it by walking in the light, as He is in the light; by calling the lost to turn back to God in repentance; by preaching the gospel and making disciples; by proclaiming liberty to the captives; by pursuing righteousness in every area of public and private life; by acts of kindness, mercy, and compassion, overcoming evil with good; by prayer, fasting, and the power of God; by living holy lives and setting holy examples; by being a prophetic voice and a moral conscience to society; by Spirit-led community involvement and godly political action; by non-violent resistance of injustice and oppression.
What else should Christians do? Should not the presence of tens of millions of believers be felt in a nation? Should we not make a difference for God? Should we not be a force for spiritual and moral reformation? Should we not actively extend the kingdom of God? Should not the Great Commission leave tangible results in its wake?
This is our sacred moment, our solemn time for action. If we will unshackle ourselves from the love of this world from our lusts, our addictions, our obsessions and give ourselves wholly to the purposes of God, we can shake this nation. If we learn the principle that to save our lives is to lose our lives, while to lose our lives for the Lord is to save our lives, then we can really live. As Martin Luther King declared in 1965, A man dies when he refuses to stand up for that which is right; a man dies when he refuses to stand up for justice; a man dies when he refuses to take a stand for that which is true. Its time we take our stand!
The counterculture revolution of the 1960s began when people said, Something is missing. Something is wrong. There must be something greater than this. And they were right! There must be something greater than eating and drinking, working and sleeping, existing. There must be something greater than the American dream. There must be something greater than simply getting a good education so that you can find a good job and have a good family so that your kids can get a good education and find a good job and have a good family so that their kids can a get a good education . . . . Is this really it? Is this why God put us here on this earth? There is more!
Our goal is revival, not survival, the transformation of the human race, not the preservation of the human race. There is a divine purpose and destiny to our time here on earth. Even atheistic revolutionaries understand that there must be a higher purpose to life, and they give themselves for their cause, freely dying for their revolution so that their families can live in what they hope will be a better world. And they do this without the promise of heaven or eternal life. How much more should we give ourselves to the cause of our Master? How much more readily should we hear the call?
Nate Saint and Jim Elliot, martyred as missionaries in 1956, understood this well. They recognized that life was far more meaningful, far more rich, far more significant than most of us ever realize, even if we live to be 100 years old. As Nate Saint wrote, People who do not know the Lord ask why in the world we waste our lives as missionaries. They forget they too are expending their lives and when the bubble has burst they will have nothing of eternal significance to show for the years they have wasted.
Yes, everyones bubble will burst one day. The dust will return to dust and the spirit will return to God who gave it (see Ecc. 12:7). On that day, only one thing will matter: Did we fulfill the purpose of God? Did we make a lasting impact for Jesus? Did we leave behind a blessed legacy for the generation to come? All the silly little things that seemed so important to us during our few years here on earth will seem utterly insignificant when they are viewed in the light of eternity.
How wise it was for Jim Elliot to write these now-famous words: That man is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose. And how wise it was for him to lift up this petition before the Lord as a young man in college: God, I pray, Thee, light these idle sticks of my life and may I burn for Thee. Consume my life, my God, for it is Thine. I seek not a long life, but a full one, like you, Lord Jesus. Oh, that all of us would lead truly full lives!
Columbine martyr Rachel Scott was not wrong when she wrote in her journal, I have no more personal friends at school. But you know what? I am not going to apologize for speaking the name of Jesus. I am not going to justify my faith to them, and I am not going to hide the light that God has put into me. If I have to sacrifice everything, I will. I will take it. If my friends have to become my enemies for me to be with my best friend Jesus, then thats fine with me. Jesus is worth it to the end!
Fellow-soldiers, holy servants of the risen Lord, blood-bought disciples of the Master, heed the call. Its now or never, time to put up or shut up. Either we take a stand once and for all or forever we hang our heads in shame. History is eagerly anticipating our next move. This is the hour we have been waiting for. So, on with it by life or by death. The revolution wont wait.
*The Jesus Manifesto: A Call to Revolution (Copyright © 2000, 2005, Michael L. Brown) is distributed jointly by FIRE School of Ministry (www.fire-school.org) and ICN Ministries (http://askdrbrown.org/). It may be reproduced and distributed freely in any form, provided that it is reproduced unedited, in its entirety, and with proper attribution, and is not sold or distributed for profit. Some material in The Jesus Manifesto has been adapted and excerpted from Michael L. Brown, Revolution! The Call to Holy War (Ventura, CA: Gospel Light, 2000).
Ray Vanderlaan: Walk as Jesus Walked (DVD)
Revolution!: The Call to Holy War
Michael L. Brown (Author)
Paperback: 339 pages
Publisher: Renew; Revised edition (September 2000)