Saturday, August 30, 2008

Lost A Christian You Love?

How did it happen that they went away?

Costly in the sight of the Lord… —Psalm 16:15

Christian, have you ever lost a loved one, a friend who is a believer, a close family member …or maybe more than one? Please know that our gracious heavenly Father shares in your sorrow. I feel so sorry for people in pain.

Billy Graham once said: "Our confidence in the future is based firmly on the fact of what God has done for us in Christ. Because Christ is alive we need never despair, no matter what our situation may be; ‘Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with Him... For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord' (See Romans 6:8, 23)."

From Him, who loves me and my brothers so well, what power our souls can long sever? Shall life or death, or earth or hell? No—we are His and in Him forever.

We who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord. —1 Thessalonians 4:17

Do you feel like talking about your particular type of grieving? Maybe it wasn’t something bad at all, but someone you know got a job promotion or a transfer and moved away. Then again, perhaps you’ve lost a Christian friend …that’s still living. Did someone close to you backslide or just wander off?

Man, I hate that about life on this planet. How painful, but prodigals can still return. I have seen em and I have been one.

Yup, I've experienced loss before in different ways …sometimes more than once. You see, my wife, Liney and I have had the privilege of raising teenage boys—rascals, who have each respectively, had their plan. Some felt they should be "the head of our household" on occasion. You say, No, that could never happen. Oh yes, and they wouldn't mind me telling you this! One of them, who didn't get what he wanted, ran away from home two times before he reached adulthood and a new life as a soldier in Iraq. He ran from a little hammer so to speak, to a bigger hammer. Looking back, he can now chuckle about it. And in the military, they don't always give him what he wants either, but he's growing up.

I also remember wanting to be in charge at that age ..and sometimes earlier—"When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child; but when I became a man, I put away childish things" (1 Cor. 13:11).

Maybe you've experienced something like that before even with your grown-up kids. Whatever, God knows what that's all about. And what flawed Christian parent doesn't experience such trials at one point or another? Sometimes decent pastors and employers experience something akin to that… as well as loss.

I believe that parents must believe right, live right, love right, remain in agreement, try to understand and win in all domestic power struggles …and I'm not talking about power struggles with God or each other. Because of course, we are called to represent and properly submit to God's authority …and to each other in the Lord. And the husband has most of the responsibility in the home. He must humbly lead with God's strength, and first he must listen and follow …Christ! Christian parent, to firmly hold on to what you know is biblical, loving and right …might cost you. It might introduce you to a pain you've never experienced before. But it's worth it to stay uncompromisingly focused on Jesus! He can help you through the valley of the shadow of death and every other valley.

I have a few friends that have lost loved ones through death lately and now, as you can well imagine, they find themselves in a very painful grieving process that they never invited …and my heart really goes out to them. God's heart does even more! I don't know their exact pain; I don't understand why it happened, but I wish I had the right words with which to comfort them. God does—fitting passages in the Bible. He understands far more than we can. Christ wants us to, "Comfort one another with these words" (1 Thess. 4:18).

The psalmist told God, "Your promise revives me; it comforts me in all my troubles" (Ps.119:50), "Great peace have those who love Your law" (Ps. 119:165)…"You shall increase my greatness, and comfort me on every side" (Ps. 71:21). At times it's so understandable for the bereaved to feel angry at the circumstances, at the evil, at…

Hey, please don't be mad at the One who is hurting with you, the One whose fault it is not… the One who deeply cares and stands ready to help you most.

The Bible says, "Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of His saints" (Ps. 16:15).

Read More (and some comforting verses at the end)…

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Denn Er Wird Dein Schicksal

What do you put in your mind on a regular basis? What do you sow to?

Paul said, "…whatever a man sows, that he will also reap" (Gal. 6:7). Herr Rainer Osterloh from Celle, Germany sent us this a couple days ago and I thought I'd pass it along to you so you could be blessed as well (Danke Rainer):

Achte auf Deine Gedanken,
denn sie werden Deine Worte.
Achte auf Deine Worte,
denn sie werden Deine Handlungen.
Achte auf Deine Handlungen,
denn sie werden Deine Gewohnheiten.
Achte auf Deine Gewohnheiten,
Denn sie werden Dein Charakter.
Achte auf Deinen Charakter,
denn er wird Dein Schicksal.

Like me, maybe you've heard that before in English…

Sow a thought, reap a word. Sow a word, reap a deed. Sow a deed, reap a habit. Sow a habit, reap a character. Sow a character, reap a destiny. —Anon.

…but I really like how he put it in his mother tongue which goes: "Pay attention to your… for they will become your…" It seems like a stronger command that way. This is so important, for the battle is for the mind today. It's imperative that we take control of the thoughts that go into our minds, for we need no destructive habits forming.

Pete said, "Wherefore gird up the loins of your mind…" (1 Pet. 1:13). Paul exclaimed, "..we have the mind of Christ" (1 Cor. 2:16).

Paul put it this way to Christians, "Don't be misled. Remember that you can't ignore God and get away with it. You will always reap what you sow! Those who live only to satisfy their own sinful desires will harvest the consequences of decay and death. But those who live to please the Spirit will harvest everlasting life from the Spirit. So don't get tired of doing what is good. Don't get discouraged and give up, for we will reap a harvest of blessing at the appropriate time. Whenever we have the opportunity, we should do good…" (Gal. 6:7-10, nlt).

We can only take others as far as we ourselves have come. We can only export what we've first imported …for it is written, "The hardworking farmer must be first to partake of the crops" (2 Tim. 2:6). We could be too passive if we choose, but why be like that when there are so many people around us who are really hungry spiritually? So many people are drinking from the wrong well and they will indeed thirst again. The Bible encourages us not to be lax or inert saying, "He who observes the wind will not sow, and he who regards the clouds will not reap" (Eccl. 11:4). Sowing the seed of God's Word is important (first in ourselves and then into other's lives) …for more than mere decisions inside some church building. We can sow His seed everywhere we go--that's never out of season!

Toiling through the changing seasons in the sunshine and the rain,

Zealous sowing with compassion yields a wealth of golden grain. —Anon.

When it comes to tellin' unbelievers the Good News, I myself could also act like some uber-cautious tentative farmer who tends to keep his eye on the weather conditions... you know, looking for the perfect day to plant crops. Yes, as a Christian, I could become lazy in sowing to the Spirit instead of obeying His voice. That's so wrong... there's no time for in trepidation or excuses.

On a farm, the season of harvesting could quickly pass right by and there's the farmer who has sown nothing...empty handed—how sad! That opportunity is gone, and the harvest can be lost (see Eccl. 11:4). I could choose to remain fearful of the potential listener's response and then wonder, "Is this person even ready to listen to the Gospel? Is this the time to tell them?" Hey, who can tell what's going on in their mind or heart unless we try to talk with them? Some people might be feeling depressed and lonely..dwelling in darkness yet longing for someone to come along and lead them into the light.

We must recognize that there's limited time for all of us sow and reap. Remember the Ethiopian eunuch sitting in his royal limo of sorts. He could have passed right by if Phil was twiteling his thumbs too long. That guy in his luxury chariot seemed to have it all together like a lot of up-and-outers that I know (see Acts 8:27) but he was ready. This eunuch enjoyed much prestige, power and esteem I'm sure, yet inwardly he felt empty and he was out searching for the truth. He became ready because the Holy Spirit (in a "para experience") made him totally ready. He was multitasking; traveling and reading Isaiah's clear promise of the suffering Savior. He was trying to come to understand those words. But then Philip suddenly showed up and took the opportunity to explain to this man the Message about Jesus (v.35) and God's salvation plan. Phil obeyed the Spirit and went to him. Ask God to use you this week like that you sow to the truth in love and keep your eyes open watching for people who are open and willing.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Americans Really Love To Win Right

Been watching the Olympics in China and this political race lately? Competition doesn’t always have to be a bad thing, OH NO IT DOESN’T! It can be real good! Man, I feel like fighting the good fight today; like doing my P.H.D. homework (Pray Hard Daily) in advance before the election. Yup, I woke up feeling patriotic. As I watch Obama and McCain, it makes me want to talk with their Maker. I think none of us should ever underestimate how much we Americans love to win one of the candidates seems to be in the habit of doing. Can you imagine running for high office in this Land and totally miss-assessing what the people are really like that you hope to lead?

Of course none of us here are perfect by any means, but winning is indeed in our blood. Americans are can-do, hardworking, generous people ..and hopefully Americans will always be that way as long as we are a nation on this planet. And Americans like to W-I-N right! We must never forget that we win most when we pray to the Father fervently.. in Christ ..according to the will of God ..with expectant faith! That address with our p-mail if very important (many miss that).

Man, I love our great nation, our heritage of sacrifice, and the people here! I want to do my part; my duty. God loves Americans too …just as much as He loves those of other nations that He wants us to serve and reach with the Gospel by His power. And God is the ultimate optimistic-Winner too ...that we all would do well to emulate as we return to the Bible for the purpose of wisely applying it. He will win even if it costs Him a whole lot. I've noticed that about Him.

Don't believe me? Just look at the cross and read to the end of His Book. You know, I love being on His winning team, even if the team unfortunately stubs its toes from time to time. What team are you on? Did you know that you can join this team as well, through repentance and faith in the Bible Jesus? There's no other way. Why not join Him now? God always wins and the devil is a major loser who will soon be trashed into the lake that cooks. Why be on his team?—yes, why not get off the devil's team today by getting on the only Other team?

I think Paul felt like I do today. He declared, "Now thanks be to God who always leads us in triumph in Christ, and through us diffuses the fragrance of His knowledge in every place. For we are to God the fragrance of Christ among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing. To the one we are the aroma of death leading to death, and to the other the aroma of life leading to life" (2 Cor. 2:16). He was also grateful saying, "Thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ" (1 Cor. 15:57).

My soldier son, Nathan, in Iraq just called yesterday. He gives us good and fascinating reports and I feel so grateful for the successful surge he and all his comrades have brought about over there. They are doing a good job to protect us here at home. It was a hard-earned victory in Iraq that of course is not over yet. I'm also grateful for General David Howell Petraeus, the current Commanding General over there and for all the soldiers who have paid the price in both invasions. Man's sin is why wars happen. Personally, I hate the killing kind of wars, but I do want to do spiritual warfare and win …over and over and over again. Don't you?

Yes, whether we're talking about the Olympics in China, or football here at home… or about the military, or the economy… we Americans simply like winning and love proper leading that helps us to win. That's why we need to keep praying for this nation—that's why we need to live exemplary lives in Christ seven days a week! And that's why we want a president who doesn't give into pessimism, smooth-lying or wimpy-ness! We need to go with those who are closest to God's heart (as revealed in the Bible) in the issues, in character and in lifestyle. Their words matter.

It's interesting watching how things are going spiritually, economically and politically right now. While one candidate touts the successes of the victory regarding the surge in Iraq, the other one downplays it big time. I don't get it, but I do know this… Americans like to get on board with a humble leader who serves a greater cause, other than that of his own self interests. America loves a leader who is an incessant winner; who has a firm relentless determination in their gut; one who speaks with clarity and interminable conviction inside about protecting our people and doing what is right domestically ...and even internationally.

Of course you and I are to be more concerned about who will be in God's house ...than who will end up in the White House, but that doesn’t mean we can’t use what little influence we have. Jesus is the ultimate Answer for Dems and Repubs. He rolls up His sleeves and reaches across the isle, if you will. Saved Dems and Repubs are really beautiful people that gain a unity that’s enviable. That's why together, we want to pray believing for authentic biblical awakening ..seeking relentlessly, to see God's will done in America!

This great experiment—this nation—is too young to crumble. It was founded on the principles of Jesus and He is the One to flee to from the coming wrath. We must start with what is and work from there to see this Land be a place that is conducive for innovative evangelism minus compromise,
that is conducive for proper law making, and for missionary sending endeavors. You know, even if every worker in the White House ended up being a red hot “balanced” Christian after November, it really wouldn't be near enough to turn back the tide of wickedness. It’s too late for that now, but it’s not too late to win; to vote wisely, to live godly, and to jump down on to our knees daily to fight like men with a purpose ...until we simply see the results! America needs wise voting plus...

Read More And Pray For America

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Stoner Saints?

"For you have spent enough time in the past doing what pagans choose to doliving in debauchery, lust, drunkenness, orgies, carousing and detestable idolatry" —1 Peter 4:3, niv

Are you a Christian who likes to do illegal or legal drugs for the effect, but you are trying to control this habit to a degree so that you won't suffer any loss of reputation or something even more dear to you? Did you know that an estimated 12.8 million Americans; about 6 percent of the household population aged twelve and older, use illegal drugs on a regular basis (meaning within the past thirty days)?

And too many so called Christians are also caught up in this experimenting with drugs today. Christians have the Answer for this broken world, but too many are too busy getting loaded to even care. It ain't about you here…or about me, It's about knowing and serving Jesus Christ unencumbered. God designed you to serve a Cause that's bigger …other than that of your own self-interests. This drug thing with so called Christians deeply pains God as He watches people damage or destroy their destiny. He loves you and wants His best for you. It's severely crippling of His great fishing endeavor too—world evangelism—which every addict could be involved in, if they would first get right with Him. It destroys their testimony, their effectiveness, their brain cells and their bodies fast. Their decent non-selfish ambition and pure motivation inside just evaporates away.

I'm thankful for skilled doctors and how they've helped me in the past, but the number of Americans treated for abuse of legal painkillers has surged 321 percent from 1995 to 2005 and federal statistics show a trend here. According to federal data, nearly 7 million Americans abused prescription drugs in 2007—more than cocaine, heroin, hallucinogens, ecstasy and inhalants such as marijuana combined. That figure is up 80 percent since 2000.

Did you know that the number of TV drug ads have increased forty-fold from 1994 to 2000? Don't you just hate listening to all their gross verbal disclaimers too—all that fine print read at lightening speed. Did you know that since 1999, the average American sees at least nine prescription drug advertisements on television every day? According to statistics from AARP the average American over the age of 75 has more than 11 drugs prescribed yearly.

Ruth Sanchez-Way, the director of the federal Center for Substance Abuse Prevention says many older people are ashamed to admit that they have a drug problem today. Her agency estimates that 17% of Americans age 60 and older abuse prescription drugs or alcohol now. She also says that prescription drug abuse often goes hand in hand with a drinking problem.(1)

Although I'm grateful to God that people are getting prescriptions that really help them like never before in history, and that most patients use their medications properly as directed, abuse of, and addiction to prescription drugs are becoming more and more a public health problem for Americans and so called Christians.

Let me ask you… do you unnecessarily have a drug of choice (or more than one) from the doctor(s) or some druggie-friend like: oxiconton, cannabis, hashish, crack cocaine, paint fumes, meth, or H (heroin)? Do you have a mind altering substance someone you really trusted turned you on to? Have you dropped acid before? Are you one who enjoys wrongly using prescription drugs so that you can at least appear somewhat upright in the community and keep your job?

James warned, "But each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed. Then, when desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, brings forth death" (Jam. 1:14-15).

A drug of course, is any substance that produces physical, mental, or psychological changes in the body of the user. History is replete with people who have both experimented with drugs to find ways to help other hurting people needing attention medicinally, but also with those trying to escape from problems and the harsh realities of life through the misuse of a drug.

Hundreds of millions of young and old people around the globe today are doing drugs regularly; drugs which range all the way from the gateway type like weed, to drugs that are deeply addictive such as heroin and cocaine. I unfortunately used to use some of these myself to party with along with my friends. But listen, the pleasures of sin are only fun for a short season. They're not worth it, because the wages of sin is flatlining—death. I've never met a happy addict, or one who didn't wish he or she never started with their friends in the first place. As a lost teenager, I'm certainly not proud to say that I used to imbibe in this hideous chalice for pleasure's sake ...that is until I got real sick of it and called out for help… I did until Jesus Christ came in and rescued me out of that sticking pit. And check it out... what He did for me He can do for you (..or for your "baked" Christian buds ..or for your unbelieving pothead friends).

Read More

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Character Matters for Leaders and Followers

I got home kind of early last night and together with Liney, heard Warren (who I haven't always agreed with, but he does adhere to the Essentials and is strongly pro-life) a follow-up interview after the McCain and Obama deal say something very profound (to Hannity and McComb on 8-18-08) that's worth sharing and it went kind of like:

The important political issues change with time; they come and go, but the character of the man is much more important to me. And the character of a man incidentally is not made in a crisis-trial, it is merely revealed in one ..during those very stressy hard times. For President Bush, 9-11 only revealed his true character that was already there in him; it wasn't developed in him while he was in
New York or in Washington during 9-11.

How true! The Apostle Paul who endured some painful trials, said of Christians, "…we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance; and perseverance, character; and character, hope. Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us" (Rom. 5:3-5).

When you think about it, there are really only two kinds of people… //1. Lost and //2. saved. Christian, you are either //1. Going forwards spiritually or //2. Going backwards spiritually. There are only three kinds of people… //1. The natural man (he's lost—spiritual dead inside) and, //2. The carnal man (He's saved and miserable, with one eye on Christ to meet his needs, and one eye on the world to meet his needs) and, //3. the spiritual man (they are saved and thriving; good soil open to the working of the Holy Spirit—see the parable of the sower). When you think about it, there are really only two kinds of Christians: //1. Soul-winners, and //2. Those who need to aggressively grow and advance in order to become better worshippers of Christ who win souls.

You are either: //1. A fishing-missionary or //2. A mission-field that needs the former. When you think about it, there are really only three kinds of people. //1. Those who don't succeed, //2. Those who achieve success temporarily, and //3. Those who become and remain truly successful. The later are thriving in Christ! Having good character and obeying Christ—that's the only way to basically sustain real success. Yes, having an authentic and close relationship with God through Christ is the only way to sustain real fruitfulness—He is the One who sustains it in your life as you abide in Him. No matter how talented, charismatic, educated, rich, famous or attractive people become, they will not be able to outrun their own character. We make or choices and then our choices make us. Individuals of inferior character tend to blame their bad choices on others or on circumstances around them. But ethical people of character make consistently good choices regardless of the circumstances or people they encounter. And if they make enough good choices, those choices will begin to create better conditions for themselves and those around them.

Talking about character and the need for prayer… my little brother, Kyle, informed me yesterday about: 36 Americans who have been accused of spousal abuse… 7 who have been arrested for fraud… 19 who have been accused of writing bad checks… 117 who have directly or indirectly bankrupted at least 2 businesses… 3 who have done time for assault… 71, repeat… 71 who cannot get a credit card due to bad credit… 14 who have been arrested on drug-related charges… 8 who have been arrested for shoplifting… 21 who currently are defendants in lawsuits and 84 who have been arrested for drunk driving in the last year.

Guess which organization all that is referring to? Now, I checked this report out at Snopes and shockingly it's the 435 members (our leaders) of the United States Congress… the same group that cranks out hundreds of new laws each year designed to keep the rest of us in line.

Of course I don't always want to come off as some sermonic-blog-maniac, but where are you at? I feel it's time for each of us to be praying more... discerning better, avidly in the Word and controlled by the Spirit as twenty-four-seven-three-sixty-five evangelistic Christians. It's time for godly character to be in you, in me, and in all those who we will allow to lead us in the future! Let's get up off our blessed assurance and do something about this!

Monday, August 18, 2008

Human Rights Need To Be Recognized At Conception

A couple days ago (on 8-16), Rick Warren a soul-winning Christian pastor and author from the OC in my home state, asked both presidential candidates (who each claim to be Christians): at what point does a baby get "human rights," Obama, who has strongly supported abortion rights his entire career, then responded to Warren saying: "… whether you're looking at it from a theological perspective or a scientific perspective, answering that question with specificity … is above my pay grade."

He then went on to talk about women's rights and reiterated his view that it was important for us to try and reduce the number of unwanted pregnancies.

Obama also said that the rate of abortions hasn't gone down in the last eight years with anti-abortion-Bush in office, but Obama’s statement was untrue if you’ll look at the stats. Abortion has gone down some. It’s currently at its lowest level since 1974. But remember, since Roe verses Wade there have been over 40 million abortions in America.

Evil and Human trafficking was discussed some. Obama chose not say that he thinks he should destroy evil when it is found, but McCain did say that should be. Did you know America is number one in incarcerations worldwide.... that there are 150 violent crimes committed every hour in the USA? Did you know there are currently 27 million people still in slavery worldwide... and that there are currently 148 million orphans in the world? There is a devil who unfortunately does not go on vacation to wake-board or to water ski on the lake of fire with asbestos planks ..or even stop to take a nap (duh).

Republican presidential candidate McCain, who followed Obama onto that same stage of this nationally televised event, answered the same question as any (biblically literate) Christian would respond. He was quick, blunt and more emphatic about this extremely serious issue.

McCain said that a baby's human rights began "at the moment of conception … I have a 25-year pro-life record."

Now I will not say if I "believe" each of these men, or one of them, are authentic Christians or not. That is not for me to say, but only one gave an appropriate answer to that direct question.

The conversation these three men had that evening did get me and my family personally thinking about their responses in light of what God has actually said about conception.

And suppose the future President could help reduce future abortions in America, how would they or anyone be able to determine which preborn baby..this one or that more deserving or more valuable among all unwanted babies to let that child keep on living?

And when Obama actually helps to reduce the number of unwanted he says he hopes to do ("if" he becomes the President) wouldn't that be like: "Hey staff, we are aiming to have less babies be killed this year, but we must of course keep this option of killing babies open for future American parents who enjoy pleasure with each other, in case some want to go kill their offspring. They should have that right of course, because the parent is more valuable and more deserving to live …above that of their child." (Neither candidate has said that, but think about how it will play out).

If Obama gets his way …as he at least has expressed, you know for sure that the reducing of this type of killing would never bring the pre-born death toll to zero domestically. In England I guess it took a lot of years for the legislators to finally do away with their nation's involvement in the slave trade that was killing people (a no-brainer-evil that should have been fixed quickly). Abortion is also a no-brainer! Hello, when will we board the clue bus?

But it was interesting to me that neither of the two candidates, when asked to explain about their day-to-day Christianity and personal worldview, even came close to adequately saying anything about "obedient relationship with God" or how they inquire of the Lord for direction and prayerfully follow what the Bible teaches. The whole evening was "nice" though—a softball event.

It bugged me A LOT that there was only one question for each candidate dealing with abortion and with Obama, there was no follow-up question after his blatant sidestepping of Warren's simple question about it. If you disagree with me, then tell me when (in the child's womb-development) did Obama say that a baby would get human rights?

Some issues are clearly more important than other ones that people are interested in because they deal with an Amercan's life or death, but that so called debate (that was really a non-debate) somehow made all issues look equally important. It's true that Obama seems to have everything our Hollywood-influenced-Americans want. He's tall, young, charismatic, thin, a crowd mover—he makes people feel good about themselves. McCain has some great military background. Personally, I wish we had someone better than both of these guys to lead us (and one day soon we will have such a Leader here…), but until that time, we just need to look closely at the issues instead of how we feel.. we need to look closely at what God says regarding these issues, and keep praying that Christians will be discerning enough not to be duped.

Would you like to know what God says about human conception and abortion?

Here's What God Has To Say About This Stuff

God Creates Life:

The Bible doesn't ever use the term "abortion." But it does clearly let people know that every life is very valuable and precious to God (we each are made in His image)… the very Author of the Bible and He is the Person who gave each of us life. When you get real old and weak, He is also the Person who doesn't want people putting you to death.

Is God pro-life? Yes! Read these Scriptures:

The LORD God formed the man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being (Genesis 2:7).

You gave me life and showed me kindness, and in your providence watched over my spirit (Job 10:12).

Did not He who made me in the womb make them? Did not the same one form us both within our mothers? (Job 31:15).

Know that the LORD is God. It is he who made us, and we are his; we are his people, the sheep of his pasture (Psalm 100:3).

God treats a fetus (baby) in the womb as a living person.

Did not he who made me in the womb make them? Did not the same one form us both within our mothers? (Job 31:15).

Yet you brought me out of the womb; you made me trust in you even at my mother's breast. From birth I was cast upon you; from my mother's womb you have been my God (Psalm 22:9-10).

For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother's womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place. When I was woven together in the depths of the earth, your eyes saw my unformed body. All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be (Psalm 139:13-16 this whole chapter).

This is what the LORD says—he who made you, who formed you in the womb, and who will help you...(Isaiah 44:2).

Listen to me, O house of Jacob, all you who remain of the house of Israel, you whom I have upheld since you were conceived, and have carried since your birth. Even to your old age and gray hairs I am he, I am he who will sustain you. I have made you and I will carry you; I will sustain you and I will rescue you (Isaiah 46:3-4).

And now the LORD says—he who formed me in the womb to be his servant to bring Jacob back to him and gather Israel to himself, for I am honored in the eyes of the LORD and my God has been my strength (Isaiah 49:5).

The word of the LORD came to me, saying, "Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations" (Jeremiah 1:4-5).

When Elizabeth heard Mary's greeting, the baby leaped in her womb, and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit. In a loud voice she exclaimed: "Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the child you will bear! As soon as the sound of your greeting reached my ears, the baby in my womb leaped for joy" (Luke 1:41-42, 44).

God says murder is sin and people that perform an abortion, they murder the fetus. The Bible is very clear about "murder."

"You shall not murder" (Ex. 20:13).

The Bible commands the civil authorities of a land to administer justice "upon him that doeth evil" (Romans13:4).

A child's life is radically important to God! God calls us to protect the defenseless, including children.

The Bible teaches us to look out for the welfare of the poor, weak, and helpless. Many Scriptures make this very clear. In addition to the following verses, read what James wrote in the New Testament about religion that is pure and faultless (James 1:27). Although James was not writing about abortion, the principle is clear: We should be concerned and proactively protect those wisely who are unable to care for, or protect themselves.

Defend the cause of the weak and fatherless; maintain the rights of the poor and oppressed. Rescue the weak and needy; deliver them from the hand of the wicked (Psalm 82:3-4).

Rescue those being led away to death; hold back those staggering toward slaughter. If you say, "But we knew nothing about this," does not he who weighs the heart perceive it? Does not he who guards your life know it? Will he not repay each person according to what he has done? (Proverbs 24:11-12).

Become a real Christian today! Why live with the guilt and shame if you have been one to discard a baby? God is the only One who can forgive someone who commits murder (or abortion) ..when anyone turns to Him with humble contrition, true repentance and also believes in Jesus' finished work on the cross. Repentance with confession in Jesus Christ, means being done with a lifestyle of sinning. It means to feel very sorry about the fact that you (and I) have broken God's commandments… it means you feel so sorry when you do something wrong, that you choose to never to do it again.

Jesus said, "The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life…" (Jn. 10:10). Please read these verses in their own context to get the full picture. How can we fish for people who are dead before we can get to them?

Read More And Pray Earnestly For Our Nation

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Rocking on Nationwide TV?

Liney and I were watching the evening news last night (8-16-08) as they briefly showed Minister Huckabee speaking to a large crowd in an open-air rally in Washington D.C. yesterday (and from what I heard him say.. he did a good job).

I was also glad to see some Christians apparently repenting and praying for this nation their activities were explained to me. There was definitely some good happening there. We certainly need more of that going on, especially at a time like this with our nation's election right around the corner. But one couldn't help but notice a tall Christian man standing some five feet right behind Huckabee on the platform.. rocking back and forth.. not a little bit, but some two and a half feet forwards then backwards, over an over again all through his speech (but the speaker couldn't see him).

It was as if that man was some lead guitarist in the middle of a wild concert the way this guy was bobbing …yes, all during Huckabee's speech it went on (but there was no music for the guy to keep time with and he wasn't playing any background music himself). Physically he was OK and it might have had some entertainment value if the man was performing in a concert. But there was no good reason for this behavior. The man's actions (I'm not talking about Huckabee's) seemed to be saying, please notice me too; I am important and spiritual, as well.

Hmm, maybe there is something I don't know, but it certainly appeared to be very inappropriate and religious. I wont' judge his heart. I simply believe this man was there desiring "revival phenomena" from the Lord and wanted to see this kind of thing spreading, but what he was actually producing was manufactured. And God doesn't want Christians disrupting others who are there to listen and be edified. Again, he wasn't slightly doing this and it seemed he was trying to draw people's attention away to himself ...away from a message of truth that was being delivered in that Christian meeting. Maybe the news commentator should have explained what was going on better.

But it made me think of Jesus when He was here walking on this earth Who constantly pointed people to the Father. He never spazzed-out for attention's sake. When Christ was in a place of worship, He never disrupted or distracted people away from the reading of the Scriptures. And Paul agreed with Christ's style saying, “Let all things be done decently and in order” (1 Cor. 14:40). What was happening reminded me of the Holy Spirit's character too, Who has always pointed people to Jesus rather than to Himself, even though Jesus and the Spirit are both equally God. Historically, it was Mr. LuCifer who was the one who sought the limelight, sought a central position and to draw attention to himself. And look where that prideful presumption got him!

Anyway, upon seeing this man, my wife immediately commented, "How strange is that?" ( we hadn't ever seen that type of distracting religious behavior countless times before. I wish we haven't ever seen it). Religiosity gets so nauseating after a while. No wonder secular people have become tentative and indifferent about vertical Christian commitment and feel so reserved even when visiting really safe churches.

Keep back thy servant from presumptuous sins. The Bible says Love “vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up, doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own” (1 Cor. 13:5). It says, “Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself. Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others. Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus” (Phl. 2:4).

Now, of course no one got "slain by the Spirit" there in Washington like they commonly do on Christian TV or like what happened with Ananias and his wife Sapphira when they got weird. I'm sure you also remember that story and how Pete rebuked those two asking, "…Why have you conceived this thing in your heart? You have not lied to men but to God Then Ananias, hearing these words, fell down and breathed his last" (Act 5:4-5 – that passage by the way, is the only biblical precedent for being slain by the Spirit).

But there were other so called believers there in Washington with quivering motions, with similar radical-Islamic-looking rocking to and fro, and even with spasmodically jerking about. Other than that, these young and old Christian participants looked like they were fairly up with the times. But think about it… with such strangeness on that platform; with lots of money spent to set it up for the purpose of representing the Lord right… the distraction obviously shoots effective evangelism in the foot. That type of junk simply scares away potential new converts who understandably wouldn't want God to make them into people with that kind of problem (that many Christians unfortunately call a non-problem and normal). Were these people, like so many have been, doing the quaking and shaking because they were taught that this activity is good and very spiritual?

I've got a question... If self-control is a fruit of the Spirit, why would the God who gives that fruit to us suddenly remove a Christian's self-control when the Spirit comes upon them?

One of the greatest weaknesses stemming from aberrant Christian churches and movements today is a lack of sound Bible teaching—many are lacking this teaching that carefully informs believers how to live practically, authentically spiritual, winsome in their witness of an extremely charming and practical God … and be non-distracting when someone is speaking truth to a group publicly. There still appears to be way too much preoccupation with "experience," with "feelings," with purposeless "miracles," (and I do believe God works miracles and uses Christians with gifts) but experiences, feelings and impressions often get placed above the Word of God and that's wrong. As a direct consequence of this, some Christians become known for their strange and unscriptural practices and doctrines that quickly proliferate.

Christians, it is of utmost importance that we allow the Bible to be the final authority for our faith and practice. Any time we Christians begin to allow "experiences," "feelings" or "impressions" to become the criteria for our doctrine or beliefs (like say, when we feel we should be doing some major rocking and steal the show so to speak...) we have lost Biblical authority. Guess what will happen then as a result?—distraction or confusion. And that type of thing presents a bad witness to the world. It actually gets in the way of God's fishing enterprise.

My wife, Liney and I, have personally come in contact with well-meaning people who claim to be spiritual and witness of remarkable and exciting experiences …and sometimes these are frightful crazy experiences that they say came from God. The Mormons, for example who falsely tell us that Jesus Christ is the brother of Lucifer (the devil), like to falsely "bear witness" to the experience of the truth of the Book of Mormon. When they go on a mission overseas or even when they go knocking on their neighbor's doors here in America, encourage their hearers to pray in order to get "a burning in the bosom"—yes, to pray for an experience that will verify that the Book of Mormon is 100% true (even though it ain't). Please don't waste your time like they do, and base things on what you feel or on man's opinions that are only as good as the next guy's.

Sure, worse things have been done in Jesus Name other than rocking, jerking, quivering and quaking on the News, but please walk in the Word and go fish for souls right. Avoid evil and all apearance of evil. Stay focused on Christ, but don't forget the lost people who need to hear the Gospel and might be watching you!

Read More Online From My Cali-pastor On This Topic

Friday, August 15, 2008

Sipping Soul-winners?

You Sanctified Or A Silly Sippin' Sinning Saint?

Are you a Christian who likes to get a buzz going with alcohol? Do you consider yourself a righteous social drinker and you enjoy that buzz and it loosens you up to meet and talk with people? Do you use it as much as you can get away with …or are you one who likes to get buzzed on something else.. something "natural" that grows freely here on God's earth? May I ask why?

Billy Graham said, "The Bible teaches that there is deliverance from the things that come upon the world ... not by chemicals, but by Christ, bringing the mind and heart into harmony with God through submission to His will and accepting His forgiveness... In Christ alone there is deliverance from man's tortured thoughts and freedom from the sordid habits which are destroying so many people. Why does the Bible so clearly denounce drunkenness? Because it is an enemy of human life. Anything that is against a person's welfare, God is against."

You know, sipping doesn't really have to be an issue with every Christian, but how much do you sip and for what purpose? Motives and personal convictions have a lot to do with it whether sipping is right or wrong for you. Are you trying to escape something? Is it a wing or a weight? Do you know with your wine… where is the line? We all want to please and cling to God for victory constantly and never be self-confident like I've got this wired. Remember Pete by the fire, remember the Israelites and Ai, remember that no Alcoholic ever planned on becoming addicted. Hey, if you never drink, you'll never fall into this sin of drunkenness.

Listen, you don't need to get buzzed, plastered, blitzed, wasted ...blasted. That only hurts you and the work of God. So stop that! God has something better for you—He wants to fill you with His Spirit, power and His peace...for a purpose. He wants to use you to wisely fish and hook people; those He is targeting. Do you have an evangelistic passion and vision of how He specificlly wants to use you in reaching out? There really are no good reasons for Christians—fishers of people—to drink alcohol. There are actually many good reasons why we should totally avoid it all together:

Domestic arguments or fights

Marital strife

Crashing into precious people

- About 185,000 people are killed each year in drunk driving accidents

- Three in every 10 Americans will be involved in an alcohol-related crash in their lives (MADD).

Family breakdown

Violence even among friends or coworkers

The economic costs involved

It brings a reproach on the Cause of Christ and upon your Christian witness

It causes pain and harm …or worse to innocent people

It leads to crime in general

Losing self-control and sound thinking

Giving yourself serious health problems such as liver damage and literal shrinkage of the brain

You trash your calling, testimony and ministry potential

God is not pleased to use sipping or buzzed saints in His evangelistic enterprise. Why be put on the shelf? He'd rather use godly Christians to build His Kingdom

Allow me ask you this: Are you good at telling the difference between a "no-doubt Christian" and a "maybe Christian" today? You know, I'm not always good at it, but I think there will indeed be spiritual results in a real Christian's life—hard evidence—in the life of the real Christian. There will be fruit, faithfulness and the holy fear of God! The real Christian will daily be in hot pursuit of knowing and serving Jesus better and won't be periodically getting buzzed …that is for sure.

I would say that here in America today (where it is socially acceptable for people to get drunk), what is considered bona fide Christianity by many people would not at all have even qualified as a real conversion experience in the early church of the first century. To Paul in his day, it was full commitment or no commitment, red hot spiritually or freezing cold, in or out, heaven or hell. Jesus was Lord of all or not at all. Are you for or against Christ, gathering with Him or scattering?—there's really no in-between.

Represent Him! Let us no longer sleep as others are doing, but be sober and non-strange! Christian, you've come too far to digress spiritually now. Repent if you need to. Do what ever it takes. You might need to sever a relationship that is pulling you downward. Paul said, "But let us, who are of the day, be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love; and for an helmet, the hope of salvation" (Thess. 5:8).

Sadly there are a lot of Christians today who are messing around, when they should be praying around …the globe. The battle ground is viewed as merely a playground. You've gotta be—you must be—strong now for too much is at stake with those around you ...who are looking to you!

Take Some Time To Read The Entire Deal

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Know How Much A Plane Ride To Nepal Would Cost?

Along with language school, me going overseas to arrive in Nepal would cost a huge chunk of change—a think wad of cash! I would have to travel domestically and preach in a lot of churches or work my brains out, just to raise enough money to go witness of the love of Jesus Christ in Nepal.

But guess what …today I made friends with two wonderful guys who are very easy to get along with, who just happened to move here from that country.

Their names are Beemall and Nearitz. Yup, and Beemall knows English really well… better than Nearitz, but both can understand what is being said to them in CaliTexanish (like what I speak). Their store is kind of slow so they enjoy conversation with Americans—we had an excellent lunch together! I've heard it said that there are only two kinds of people in the world today: 1) those who know English and 2) those who want to learn English. That seems to be true. And I don't mind explaining things.

Man, I love doing Subway for lunch—it's very healthy, they toast their bread now; Jared lost a lot of pounds there (you should see the pant size he used to wear), and these two young men named Beemall and Nearitz …that I had the pleasure of meeting today work there! In fact, there are several Hindu workers from Nepal that are employed at this North Dallas location and I have now met all of them. They even like me and know my name (which is of no real consequence). I bet they all will sell countless sandwiches in the future because they really know how to make a guy feel at home! Next time you're in Dallas maybe we can go by there together and visit.

Anyways the whole strip shopping center where they do their thing is not so busy and they wanted to hear my story of how I met the Lord, so I told them, just like I told Beepin and Shreelate the other day.

It was a good start. Please pray I will get more opportunities to share my faith and about that crimson stained cross of Calvary in a simple way (..with God's power, and even go on more missions trips). And please pray for these four people that they will also come to know the greatest Person that I have ever met—the Bible Jesus. Knowing Him is like an exciting adventure every single day!

Is God bringing valuable people from the mission fields of the world to your neighborhood, to make it easy for you to reach them with His love? Ask the Lord to introduce you to them and to use you, as well.

Did you know that Paul asked for continued prayer support requesting that, "God would open unto us a door of utterance, to speak the mystery of Christ, for which I am also in bonds: That I may make it manifest, as I ought to speak. Walk in wisdom toward them that are without, redeeming the time. Let your speech be alway with grace, seasoned with salt, that ye may know how ye ought to answer every man" (Col. 4:3-6).