6 All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the Lord hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.
Exodus 3:5King James Version (KJV)
5 And he said, Draw not nigh hither: put off thy shoes from off thy feet, for the place whereon thou standest is holy ground.
Our country is at a crossroads. Politically, we seem to be divided 50-50 on almost every issue. The values that made this nation great are teetering on the brink. We have seen a slow decay of godly morals and values and a lifting up of the profane and ungodly.
In the 1960's we saw prayer removed from schools and the removing of the ten commandments. Worse, our children are being taught that they were not created special by a loving God. No, they are just a genetic mistake who can do as they will and create their own right and wrong. This led to the aborting of millions of unborn children. CHILDREN!!!!!!
Now, children are taught that they are not born male and female. Now, in spite of their genetics, they can choose what gender they wish to be. What madness! The courts are even forcing gay marriage down the countries throats!
As Br Arnold once said, "Right is wrong, wrong is right. And whatever's gray, have a happy day."
Why is our economy barely hanging on? Why is there rioting in the streets? Why is evil seemingly winning the day?
Proverbs 14:34King James Version (KJV)
34 Righteousness exalteth a nation: but sin is a reproach to any people.
We have left righteousness behind and are exalting sin. Only in a return to Jesus can we hope to stem the tide of evil overflowing our country. If ever we needed revival, it is today!
Government cannot make policies to lift us out of our mess. Businesses cannot invent products that can cover over our sins. The military could defeat every nation on earth and still we would be a fallen nation.
We need Jesus! We need Jesus! WE NEED JESUS!
Let us remember from whence we have fallen and fall on our faces before God almighty! Let repentance and rededication be the heart cry of every red blooded human being!
Let us come before him like Moses- removing anything in our lives that could hinder us from being right with God.
Lord, please forgive our sins and help us to walk uprightly before you and stand against the tide of evil in our world. Let us return to prayer. Let us return to fasting. Let us return to lifting you up before an ungodly world and declare that Jesus is the only way! Help us Lord, before it is too late!
28 Likewise also as it was in the days of Lot; they did eat, they drank, they bought, they sold, they planted, they builded;
29 But the same day that Lot went out of Sodom it rained fire and brimstone from heaven, and destroyed them all.
Not since the civil war has America been so divided on a subject. Even though sexual orientation is 100% the choice of the individual (and not like a race that you are genetically born with), the liberals in this country have managed to frame the debate as a "civil rights" issue. Recent polling shows that Americans are almost 50-50 when it comes to gay marriage. And the Supreme Court will bring forth a ruling next month that will likely decide the issue for generations to come. We need to pray that they choose rightly and godly.
But, even if they choose to say that same sex marriage is not a right, this will surely not end the debate. If they choose to say it is, the debate will still rage. Like it or not (and we, as Christians can neither like nor support it), according to the words of Jesus in Luke 17, the day will come where widespread immorality (including gay marriage and God knows what else) will be the law of the land.
So, is there a solution that would work for all? Is there something that could be done that would level the playing field and work for all involved?
Step 1) Remove marriage from the purview of all governments- federal, state, and local. Rather than issuing marriage licenses (and charging taxes- err, fees- to those who wish to be married), why not have the states just issue legal civil unions to all couples? The governments can then have varying (if ungodly, in some cases) classes, or types of civil unions. Then, whoever wishes to join in a union is free to do so.
Step 2) Return marriage to religious organizations. In this way, whatever religion you follow, it can join you in marriage. You don't back down on your beliefs. You don't have to compromise your convictions. Nobody has to. You get married. Then, you fill out the necessary paperwork for the civil union. Then, the government recognizes your union.
Step 3) Strengthen and maintain (or create, where you have to) religious protection laws. In this way, no person, or business, is forced to take part in ceremonies (or give benefits to) of any couple that goes against your religious rules. This protects everyone involved.
Will this make everyone happy? NO. The left is hell-bent on forcing everyone to accept gay marriage. Many of us on the "religious right" are doubling down for a fight to defend marriage. But, what about "blessed are the peace makers?"
To me, this seems to be the best (albeit unfortunate) way to bring peace to a bad situation. Is it perfect? NO. But, I think it's the best we will be able to do until the Lord returns. What say you?
5 Walk in wisdom toward them that are without, redeeming the time.
6 Let your speech be always with grace, seasoned with salt, that ye may know how ye ought to answer every man.
I try, sometimes successfully, to live my life in obedience to this passage of scripture. It is never my intention to hurt anyone on purpose. But, sometimes, you just have to say what needs to be said and hope it will help others- at worst, maybe they will be "pricked in their hearts." (Acts 2:36-37)
So, here goes:
We live in a troubled time. The economy is floundering. Our national leaders seem clueless. Gangs and violence are on the upswing. Our schools no longer teach true science, history, and math. Entertainment is all about sex, parties, and violence. Our churches seem to be more concerned with preaching prosperity and collecting funds to fix up the bathrooms than they are with reaching and teaching the lost. On the whole, there appears to be no hope on the horizon.
But, behind the scenes there's a fervent prayer going up from God's remnant. The ones who want the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. And my friends, God is listening. And according to scripture, there will be a revival.
But, as good as that sounds, lets look and see the events that lead up to revival in scripture.
Acts 2:36-37King James Version (KJV)
36 Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly, that God hath made the same Jesus, whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ.
37 Now when they heard this, they were pricked in their heart, and said unto Peter and to the rest of the apostles, Men and brethren, what shall we do?
Notice here, it says the hearers were "pricked in their hearts."
The term pricked here means: "to pain the mind sharply, agitate it vehemently, especially of the emotion of sorrow." The word "heart" here means, in part, "the center of all physical and spiritual life."
My friends this is not a fun feeling. This is not a warm, fuzzy feeling. As the world's fitness freaks like to say, "No pain. No gain."
Revival always starts with pain- a pain that gets into the deepest parts of your heart. It changes you from the inside out because it causes a total reevaluation and revamping of everything you are and believe. People never change as long as we're comfortable. Change never happens to the coddled. Today's "pat you on the back" sermons are just a modern version of what Paul says of the people "having itching ears." (2 Timothy 4:3)
Modern congregations, too many times, have no interest in truth. All they want is someone to tell them what they want to hear. And many preachers know that if they don't play the game, they will be out on their ears with no income. Yes, truly, "the love of money is the root of all evil." (1 Timothy 6:10)
Acts 5 tells the story of a couple who lied about how much money they made from the sail of a possession. They then gave part of the price to the church- claiming that they gave it all to make themselves look better in the eyes of the people. They were struck dead- BY GOD- for lying to God about what they had done. The result: revival broke out because people realized that God meant business.
Are we ready for this type of a move of God?
In Acts 6, revival broke out because the church was organized in a godly manner to reach out to the needs of the people and (at the same time) keep on preaching the truth.
This is what the modern church needs to do. Reorganize in a way that fits the scriptures. This is one of the few times in scripture that revival came without the judgement of God. Why? Because the church changed! Oh, Lord Jesus, let us do the same in this day and hour!
In Acts 8, church persecution began. This was a dark time for the early church. However, when the church was scattered into the countryside, revival broke out everywhere they landed. When God moved his mighty hand and converted Saul (later to be known as Paul), the persecution lessened. By then, many had become children of God, as a result of the great persecution and loss of life of God's people.
In Acts 12, great persecution again began, this time at the hand of the king. Again, great revival broke out everywhere the people of God fled. This continued until God struck down the king.
Do we see the trend? In the early church, it was pain that caused repentance, and repentance brought revival.
We live in dark times. We are praying for revival. God wants revival. So, why should we be surprised that times are dark? Persecution of God's people is beginning anew. Followers of Jesus are being beheaded in foreign lands. Followers of Jesus are being ran out of business here in America for standing for their faith. Prayers are beginning to rise to the heavens for revival.
How bad will the times get in order to bring this revival? I don't know. How many will have to die before revival begins? I don't know. But, God allows his children to go through pain so that we remember that it is in HIM that we move and breath and have our being. And when we repent, it will effect the whole country and bring revival.
So, as bad as things seem to be- as bad as things will get- let's keep praying and keep our eyes on Jesus. If we do, he will change us and bring the revival that he wants to bring to our currently very ungodly country and world.
If mypeople, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.
By the which will we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ oncefor all.
I want to start off by making something crystal clear: I am an Apostolic Pentecostal believer. I believe that Jesus is God all by himself and that the only plan of salvation is found in obeying Acts 2:38 and in holiness thereafter.
That said, I learned something today. I felt impressed to read John 16 this morning. In doing so, verse 9 jumped out at me.
John 16:9King James Version (KJV)
9 Of sin, because they believe not on me;
Jesus said here that the spirit of God would convict men of sin. That part is not an earth shaking revelation. We all know that.
What was a revelation to me was the fact of the sin that was listed. He didn't name the 10 commandments. He didn't even name the two greatest commandments. What he said was, we would be convicted of our sin of..... NOT BELIEVING IN HIM.
Did you catch that?
Why did he say that? Why didn't he say the sins of (this), (that), and (the other)?
Here's the simple answer: Because he died once for all! Because he shed his blood as a sacrifice for all of our sins- past, present, and future.
Did you catch that? He paid the price for all of our sins! The only thing left is whether or not we will believe and obey him.
If we believe in him, we will obey him. We will repent of our sins, be baptized in Jesus name, allow him to fill us with his spirit, and strive to live for and follow him for the rest of our lives.
If we do not believe in him, we will go to hell. But, the sin that will send us there is not the cursing, drinking, carousing, and such. No. All that's already paid for. The sin that will send us to hell is because we chose not to believe in him.
He spends 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, trying to get our attention- trying to gain access to our hearts. He died so that we might have a real relationship with our creator. He places stop signs in our paths to try and get us to change directions and go to him. He will keep trying to have that relationship with us until our final breath.
But, if we refuse, we will burn for eternity for the simple reason that we rejected his forgiveness. We rejected his love.
So, what will it be my friend? Your sins are already paid for because God almighty became a man and died to wash them away.
Will you do as he says and believe, repent, be baptized in Jesus name, be filled with the Holy Ghost, and follow him daily?
Or, will you reject his sacrifice and die in the one sin that is left: failure to believe him.
Failure to believe who he is. Failure to believe in his love. Failure to believe in his mercy. Failure to obey his words.
The choice is yours. There's only one sin left. Can you not let that one sin go and believe?