Monthly Archives: October 2014

Voting Irregularities…

Early voting in this mid-term election has barely begun and already verifiable accounts of voter irregularities, intimidation and fraud are abundant.  And while conscientious citizens are amazed at the lack of attempts that civil authorities make to insure an honest election process and prosecute any law-breakers, I am shocked at what the attempts to illegally vote reveal about those who maliciously engage in that type of activity.

Whereas, we can understand a person’s devotion to a particular ideal, it is more difficult to comprehend how casually some people will sacrifice their soul’s standing before the Lord in order to pursue those personal goals.  Several pertinent questions come to mind as we watch these unfolding events.

1.  Can people ‘defraud others so easily’?  Jesus’ second great commandment, ‘love your neighbor as yourself’, (Matthew 22:37-40) should compel us to value others’ votes as much as we value our own.  Why would we want to cancel their right to be counted equally with us simply because we like our ideas better than we like theirs?  Shouldn’t we consider ‘others BETTER than ourselves’?

2.  Would people ‘sell out their souls so economically’?  Our souls are of infinite, eternal value.  What benefit would it be, Jesus said, ‘if a person gains the whole world and forfeits their own soul’?  (Mark 8:36)  Some say, ‘Well, it’s just an election’.  ‘It’s no big deal’.  If that is true, then why cheat?  It’s about more than that.  Issues of the soul like integrity, honesty, virtue, brotherly kindness and love are at stake, not just the Senate, House of Representatives, Governorships, Judge slots or State Assembly positions.  Let’s fix our eyes on eternal virtues and be done with earthly vices.  Don’t settle for so little.

3.  Will people ‘pervert truth so eagerly’?  God tells us to ‘Buy the truth and never sell it’.  (Proverbs 23:23)  We should always remind ourselves that ‘evil has a say, but it’s not the last say’.  Truth will ultimately win.  It always does.  And when it does, we will want to be on its side.

Let’s be a people who lovingly speak up for and live in ways that are right even when that  is unwelcome or even unnoticed.  ‘For the eyes of the Lord search throughout the whole earth that He might strongly support those whose hearts are devoted to Him’.                          (II Chronicles 16:9)


How can I tell…?

In a so called new and progressive ‘post-modern’ culture that isn’t really new–people have been making up their own rules against God since the Garden of Eden–it is sometimes difficult to discern if an attitude or action is Godly.   Our Heavenly Father tells us to ‘abstain from everything that has the external appearance of being evil’.  I Thessalonians 5:22.  But, how can I tell if I’m about to do something, go somewhere or otherwise somehow dishonor the Lord?

Consider asking yourself these three questions before you decide:

1.  Will this reverse the trends of my faith?  Faith is an active noun.  It is going somewhere, thinking something or doing something.  If an activity or attitude does not point me to Jesus, then there’s a good chance that that activity or attitude will actually work against my faith.  Hebrews 12:1f.

2.  Will this reduce the treasures of my faith?  God rewards faith.  Remember, He said that true faith, saving faith means believing that ‘God exists and rewards all those who earnestly seek Him’.  Hebrews 11:6.  Some activities will erode the rewards that God has planned for us.  II John 1:7-8.

3.  Will this be used to retaliate against the target of my faith?  Our enemy is God’s enemy.  And that enemy lives to tear God down.  Some activities bring great dishonor to the Lord.  Let’s not cooperate in that destructive work, but labor to ’cause the dignity and worth of God to become apparent and be acknowledged’.   Revelation 12:17.

The next time that moment arrives when a decision is to be made about an activity or choice in attitude, just ask these questions and sincerely answer them in faith to the glory of God.




Like most of you, I have watched with some measure of interest our national struggle with issues related to the Ebola Crisis.  Though it is, at least in terms of cumulative fatalities, less significant than the flu or other common bacterial or viral infections, it frightens us because we know so little about it deadly transmission.  We haven’t yet concluded if it is an ‘airborne’ or ‘direct contact’ contagion.  That confusion/uncertainty has contributed much to our fears.

As health care workers wrestle with the disease and frantically search for answers, one recent step taken to improve the protocols related to the care of Ebola patients stood out to me.  Care givers concluded that ‘every bit of exposed flesh should be covered’.  Therefore, we find nurses and doctors draped in ‘hazmat’ uniforms  as they care for Ebola stricken patients.  These concerned care givers wanted to be ‘completely covered’ as they cared for the needy.  The freedom they needed to compassionately care for the sick and dying was provided for them by the protective suits.  Those workers know that they have NOTHING whereby they can protect themselves.  They trust the suit to do that.

In a similar way, we, who have ALL been fatally infected with a sin disease, need to have ALL of our life covered by something in order to protect us from the effects of that deadly infection.  We, too, have NOTHING whereby we can protect ourselves against the infiltration and damage of sin.  We need a covering.  And that covering is the ‘blood of Jesus’ which CLEANSES us from all sin.  God says ‘If anyone be in Christ, he is a new creation.  Old things (the results of sin) are passed away.  Behold, all things become new’.

Thanks be to God, Who gives us new life in Christ.  Thanks be to God that ‘by grace through faith’ we can be covered with the ‘righteousness of Jesus’ and be found ‘complete’ in Him.  Thanks be to God, Who give us the victory in Jesus.

Let’s be a people who reflect in our worship and service to our King our eternal gratitude for His wonderful indescribable gift.

A few lessons from the prayer closet.

I signed up for the earliest prayer slot on our all day prayer vigil for Brother David Miller and our church during this renewal weekend in order to set a good example and be leading in the effort.  The Elders never want to ask the fellowship to do what they themselves are unwilling to do.  So, the early prayer time was mine.

Little did I expect the Lord to reveal some lessons to me as I prayed, but here they are.  As I go through the list, understand that each lesson will be preceded by the phrase ‘PRAYER TIME OBSERVANCE PROVIDES AN OPPORTUNITY TO…’

1.  …FACE OUR FLESH.  Few activities will reveal the inhibiting presence of the flesh quite like an early morning rise, pushing aside all normal activities and praying.  The flesh likes to remind us of the time, time pressures, obligations, weariness, other times to pray and so on.  Many of these reminders may be true to an extent, but if allowed to, will rob us of time with our Savior.

2.  …FACE OUR FRAILTY.  Unwelcome and undisciplined thoughts frequently infringe on our quiet moments with Jesus.  Our frailty is obvious at these times and calls for our petition for grace to pray on while taking our thoughts captive to the obedience of Jesus.

3.  …FACE OUR FEARS.  Going before our Sovereign God and sharing our troubles, our temptations, our failures and our trials while asking Him to act on our behalf is a daunting experience.  The God ‘who spoke and the world was’ is listening to us as we speak to Him and plead for His action.  This awareness calls for caution in prayer.

4.  …FACE OUR FOES.  Few activities, excluding worship, will arouse our enemy’s attention like prevailing prayer.  Prepare for not a few battles with him.

5.  …FACE OUR FRIEND.  Though it is an awesome moment as we talk with the Lord, we are, in reality, speaking with Him who sticks closer than a brother.  We can be confident in His friendship.

6.  …FIND OUR FREEDOM.  Nothing compares to the empirical knowledge that we have been lovingly forgiven, powerfully enabled and amply supplied anew in our walk with the Lord when we say AMEN!  IT IS TRUE!

The chorus of a favorite hymn has great truth:  ‘He is always there, hearing every prayer, faithful and true;  Walking by our side, in His love we hide all the day through.  When you get discouraged just remember what to do—Reach out to Jesus, He’s reaching out to you.’

Let’s be a people who reach up as we learn as we pray.

When is it time for RENEWAL?

We put ‘check engine’ warning indicators on a car’s dashboard to tell us that something in the engine needs attention.  We put mileage stickers on our windshields to let us know that our engine oil needs a change.  A low fuel warning light informs us that we need to be in search of a gas station.  Nurses respond to a loud ‘beep’ that lets them know that an IV line is kinked or in need of attention.  An annoying ‘ding’ reminds us to buckle our seat belt, turn off our lights, retrieve the key from the ignition or close our car door.  The voice in our GPS tells us to turn around or recompute our route.  🙂

But, how do we know that our spiritual life needs attention and renewal?  There are no buzzers, blinking lights or annoying human voices.  But there are indications that we should give attention to our spiritual condition.  And some of those indicators can be identified by looking at the life experience of King Nebuchadnezzar in the book of Daniel.

We can tell we need renewal when…

1.  Our spiritual desire is only for TEMPORARY RELIEF.  In Daniel 2, we find the King traumatically troubled by a dream—and it wasn’t the chile relleno he had for supper.  🙂  So vexed was his soul that he was ready to kill all the wise men of the area if they couldn’t tell him the content of the dream AND its meaning.  God enabled Daniel to do both and the men were saved and the king was satisfied.  BUT, by Daniel 3, the king was ordering an idol to be cast and worshiped by everyone in Babylon.  Certainly, his temporary relief did him little good.  Sometimes we only want God to make our life easier.  That does us little good, because it is only temporary relief and not real growth.

2.  Our RELIGIOUS EXERCISES are substituted for AUTHENTIC SPIRITUALITY.  If we only went by appearances, King Nebuchadnezzar’s words recorded in Daniel 2:47 would seem to suggest that he had had a ‘real’ experience with God.  But, sadly, that wasn’t the case as we see  the king saying words about God WHILE he ‘fell on his face and paid homage to Daniel’.  Think of it.  His words were about God but his actions showed that he worshiped a man.  It is amazing to hear words about God these days while so much ‘to do’ is made about ‘hipster’, ‘relevant’ or ‘successful’ pastors who fly around in jets and live lavishly off the flock.  One Texas mega church pastor recently told his church that if they had REAL faith that they would write down their bank account’s access code, give it to the church and then let the church withdraw what it THOUGHT they should give.  Really?  (I wouldn’t have believed this one unless I had seen and heard him say it on his broadcast.)

3.  Our TOLERANCE for FALSE WORSHIP exceeds our desire for TRUE WORSHIP.  The king was willing to worship an idol if he could still control the masses.  When that didn’t completely work, he sinned further by trying to kill three of his most Godward focused leaders by throwing them into a blazing fire.  Daniel 3:1-23.  It’s puzzling to watch, these days, so much compromise in worship that is tolerated so long as the masses of worshipers are satisfied and keep attending the church.   Church leaders hear their people say that they don’t really believe the ‘six days of creation’ truth of scripture, to which the leaders say ‘no problem.  Just believe what feels right to you’.  Look what’s being tolerated.

4.  Our leaders are more concerned with ‘BODIES, BUDGETS and BUILDINGS’ than they are with HUMILITY.  Daniel 4:28-30 gives us a glimpse of King Nebuchadnezzar’s pride.  He says about himself,  ‘I have built great Babylon by MY mighty power for the glory of MY majesty’.  WOW!  No sooner had he said that than God caused him to become like an ox or beast of the field.  He existed like an animal for 7 years, at which time God granted him humility and the curse was lifted and he was restored.  Inevitably, pastors conversations at meetings with each other and about each other almost always involve the questions, ‘How big is your church?’ or How much is your budget?’ or ‘How big is your campus’ or ‘How many campuses do you have now?’.  It’s all kind of intimidating, especially when you are among pastors of mega churches.  But, I wonder if we’re being wise when we equate size and true spiritual success.

The lessons continue, but this is enough to alert us to the need for renewal.  And to help meet that need, we have planned a Renewal meeting beginning tomorrow night at 7pm.  It is our desire to have you come and be with us as we seek God for true spiritual growth.

Let’s be a people who, at all costs, seek God in sincerity and truth out of a pure heart.