Monday, September 1, 2014

THE OSTRICH SYNDROME - THE PROOF (TWO YEAR SURVEY OF SHAME)

WHY AMERICAN PASTORS STAY SILENT IN FACE OF ......(New Barna Survey)

We laid out the theory, backed by allegorical evidence of the Ostrich Syndrome in the previous discussion of this self-inflicted malady afflicting the western church. (Click here to read THE SILENCE OF THE LAMBS). Well now we have definitive proof, and it is a lot worse than first thought.


Christian researcher George Barna spent two years to discover where self-proclaimed Biblically-sound American pastors and other church leaders were theologically, in practice. Specifically, the survey team wanted to know about the silence of the church on the great issues of our time. The results were shocking, absolutely absurd and horrifying for both these pastors personally on Judgment day and for the Body of Christ, general.

Here is what Barna said about these preachers, when he appeared on American Family Radio recently to discuss his findings on their "TODAY's ISSUES" program. This research was done on behalf of the American Culture and Faith Institute. George Barna said "What we're finding is that when we ask them about all the key issues of the day, [90 percent of them are] telling us, Yes, the Bible speaks to every one of these issues. Then we ask them: Well, are you teaching your people what the Bible says about those issues?--and the numbers drop...to less than 10 percent of pastors who say they will speak to it. When researchers ask those pastors what else they are willing to do to get their people active in the political process, Barna said ‘it's almost nothing.’ (Emphasis mine)

Did you catch that?! Less than 10% are even willing to preach what the Bible says about anything- morality, sin, marriage, raising children...what about that is offensive to these preachers?! Why are they even in the pulpit, frankly, is the question? They swear to represent the God of the Bible and who wrote the Scriptures, through men, but they are worse than King Asa, because these modern versions of Asa, know better, have tasted of the riches of Jesus Christ. Then Barna said the pastors are willing to do ALMOST NOTHING to get their people involved in "the political process". Now the "political process" is not about campaigning for candidates, but being aware of what politicians and their activists are doing, and how it relates to Biblical Christian living. That is all it is. It is about living what you say you believe. It is also about voting according to Biblical principles. Most Christian people do not realize God will hold them accountable for whom they vote! The mess in America today is due to Christians who voted for it, or did not participate. Here is another consequence of the survey findings.

Just look at that photo above for the evidence of why God's under-shepherd, America's pastors - from Osteen to Warren to Andy Stanley to...name them remain silent in the face of societal and global evil. To be sure, there are local pastors who are standing for the Truth and not just in their prayer meetings. In almost Dietrich Bonhoeffer-like boldness, the local Lutheran preacher but up a bold sign to pray for "Iraqi Christians", on a major route which sees thousands of cars drive by it, each day! Several of my preacher friends shout it from the pulpit top when they can and nationally, men like Franklin Graham, David Wilkerson's ministry and others are standing up for the Body of Christ, on the global level.

The latest Barna survey is horrifying on so many levels. George Barna did this survey over a period of two years, so it is not fly-by-night political poll. He put a lot of work and thought into this....and it is worse than we thought. Here are the TOP FIVE REASONS WHY AMERICAN PASTORS WOULD NOT SPEAK OUT AGAINST ANYTHING UNGODLY, ANYWHERE:
- ATTENDANCE
- GIVING
- NUMBER OF PROGRAMS
- NUMBER OF STAFF
- SQUARE FOOTAGE

While this sort of result was suspected for a while, it is stunning to see it confirmed with Barna's Survey numbers! Now the average attendance of the American church is not what we see or think we know - hundreds or even thousands. The average church in the US runs between 60-90 every Sunday! I am sure a lot of these smaller congregations still fall into the same trap as their medium and large church sisters who gave us this terrible confirmation.

A lot of the larger megachurches have become country clubs and would not speak out against sin, the culture or take a biblical stand on "gay marriage". They will speak out about partial- birth abortion or a pro-life issue on a Sunday, maybe once a year. But they will NOT go any further, being fearful of losing numbers to their "services". Even after Bill Hybels admitted that his and Rick Warren's "seeker-sensitive" movement was a miserable failure that failed to produce Disciples, America's megachurches are doubling-down on water-down "cultural Christianity".

You have a guy in Houston who refuses to preach on sin, because it is not cool or positive enough. You have the prosperity clowns with their private jets, multi-million dollar homes, multi-media empires etc. You have another preacher in Dallas appearing on stage with boats and expensive beds, along with his expensive foreign car, telling people "they are Ferrari"....and more and more of this garbage. On some TV network, there is spectacle called "PREACHERS OF LA", about five uber-rich prosperity gospel speakers and their typical southern California lifestyle, which is an absolute incredible piece of heresy.

So there is no wonder those people care more about attendance (and therefore the money attendees to their churches give). If they lose some of their "congregation", there go the money folks, and especially the rich ones....and how else are these guys and their trophy wives going to afford the $100 slim cut jeans, Starbucks daily and four or five bodyguards, on the way to the next pop psychology conference?

These top five items are what we get when we have people losing sight of what the mission of any church is. There is nothing in these serious and deadly revelations which glorify the One Person, which these pastors are supposed to be representing - Jesus Christ. These spoiled fat-cats cannot hold a candle to men like John Knox, of whom Mary, Queen of Scots once said "I fear the prayers of John Knox than all the armies of Europe combined". They cannot hold a candle to men like Bob Warren, or Jim Elliott, or the Moravians or Peter Muhlenberg of the American Revolution. They cannot hold a candle to men like Pastor Saeed who has led 30 people to the Lord in prison in the past year, while the muslims in Iran are merciless in their torture.

If anyone is wondering why there is no national religious (re: Christian) leader calling for Repentance, Return to Righteousness and Prayer for the Persecuted (except Franklin Graham and a couple others), just look at the five reasons all US pastors told Barna, in general. Judgment Day for them will be really interesting. What should concern the rest of us lowly folks is this - we should be very sure of our own actions. Let us not be caught up in that snare, but let us be resolved to do what we can, in our own small way. These people will answer for their massive sins of omission. In our own walk, we must be careful to pray, stay humble and to love others.

Our Agape Love should be so strong, that we care more about their eternal destiny than what they can do for us. Our Godly concern for the lost and hurting and hopeless should inspire us to reach out in unconditional caring and compassion. This is what the Word of God - our Bible - calls us to do and what our own Lord and Savior strongly desires. His Desire is our calling to action. Let's not just speak out in our own circles, but look up - pray up and stand up....stand up, for Jesus. Amen.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

BOB WARREN, GOD'S FORWARD - A MAN FOR ALL SEASONS

Everybody has come across that one person in your life who has made a HUGE difference and even changed the direction of where they were heading. One such person, was prime among the very small group of Godly men who mentored me in Ways of the Lord. The Bible – the pure and powerful Word of God – is an integral part of me, now more than ever. It was not always so until I understood – from that same Bible – what victory Christ actually won for me at the Cross….and not just me, but all mankind for all time.

I would not have understood that victory or where the written proof was, were it not for a man named Bob Warren. Bob is my most unforgettable person in life. When he passed from this world on Monday morning, August 25, 2014 – he left behind a legacy which touched thousands of men, women and young people which most American preachers would give their big salaries for (maybe). The last time I saw Bob a couple or so summers ago, he was asking permission to pour his teachings into my oldest son, who showed an interest during camp and stayed up late for Bob’s late night mega bible studies. That was the kind of man he was. He reached into the inner city and the poorer counties and gave youngsters (boys and girls) a chance a summer camp experience they could never otherwise have .

He deeply affected both my sons’ lives because his BASIC (Brothers And Sisters In Christ)
The last leadership training for Summer Camp at
 Bob Warren's THE HILL, this past July 2014
Training was all about the Lord Jesus Christ, the Bible and walking it the Christian life. The sadness I saw in them trumped the deep loss I felt at the passing from the scene, of this hero of the Faith. So who was Bob Warren and why did he mean so much to those who knew him?  The lanky 6 ft. 4 inch athlete from Hardin, KY grew up on his folks hog farm and rose to such prominence in the late 1960’s in the South East Conference (SEC) in basketball, at Vanderbilt University, that he was drafted by both the NBA and the NFL! (Hardin, Kentucky, is just to the east of Paducah and the home of Murray State University). The SEC was well loved at that time, since the New York Jets had scored big with a quarterback named Joe Willie Namath of the Alabama Crimson Tide.

Bob turned down the NFL in New York (Giants) and chose the National Basketball Association, where he ended his career with the San Antonio Spurs, current reigning NBA Champs. To those who knew Bob, his stellar basketball career was not his biggest accomplishment in life.  He always talked more about the Lord than the guy he used to be who "put a round piece of leather through a round piece of iron"!! When the Lord Jesus Christ delivered him from the dominion of darkness and saved him, Bob entire life went straight into a whirlwind. At once, it was both his biggest victory and the most critical time of his life. As he told the intimate groups he spoke to, being born-again into the Kingdom of God cost him his marriage. His unsaved and non-believing wife immediately left him and Bob never dated for 25 years after that. The great athlete spent the next quarter century alone, but he was not alone. (He remarried later in life. His wife is Kimberly and his only son is Benjamin).

Bob Warren (1946-2014)
Bob Warren moved back to his dad’s farm after retiring from the NBA and immersed himself in the Word of God. He studied the Bible so much, he wore out a new Bible every two years. Bob knew the Bible so well, the Lord revealed more and more to him which he selflessly shared and passed on to anyone who asked.  I became acquainted with Bob Warren through a good brother in Christ – Bryan McKenzie, who was also our church youth pastor over a decade ago. He was injured while playing for the NFL’s Atlanta Falcons and completely at a loss about what to do next. Being from Kentucky himself, Bryan sought out Bob who was now well known as the premier Bible teacher of the Bluegrass State!  Bob told him to read the Bible four times and then come back and speak with him. Bryan read it once and went back to Bob.  Thus began an association which then spread to Illinois and hundreds of coaches, high school kids and athletes over the past 15 or so years. McKenzie went on to found the Central Illinois Chapter of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA) which is now the largest FCA in the state of Illinois.

One year, a long time ago, he handed me a set of cassette tapes of teaching from Romans chapters 1-8, by Bob Warren. Then he told me not to give it back to him until “I got it”. I did not know what that meant…i.e. “got it”. So I listen to the friendly southern preacher Warren explaining every verse of every phrase of eight chapters of Romans. I listened once – did not get it, even though I understood it.  The second time through – I can still remember the moment it hit me! I GOT IT! I got why this Book of Romans was not only the Book that launched the Reformation, but explained my Redemption!  I was free at last, just like Martin Luther! I was saved 13 years before, but I did not understand the Victory until I got through Romans 6 – 8 (twice) and felt myself completely living in the victory! If you think this was good news of the revelation of the Victorious Christian, this same study led a good friend of mine to being born-again just before I had gone through the study.

“PM” grew up in the ritualistic Greek Orthodox tradition and did not Christ as Lord and Savior  - until Bob’s teaching on Romans 1-8 opened his eyes. When he gave that testimony at a men’s breakfast several years ago, there was not a dry eye in the place. These are just a couple of the countless other such testimonies. More and more, Bob’s amazing revolutionary teaching from the Word reformed many, such as the guy who had his light come on while driving and pulled over to the side of the highway after listening to Bob, and knelt by the side of the road to give his life to Christ! My next step was asking myself “what more was I missing”? If I had just gotten the same revelation as Luther, Warren and McKenzie, there had to be more in that Bible – like 64 and ½ books worth more! Sure enough, I discovered Bob had a teaching on how to study the Old Testament!

Like most Christians, we tend to avoid the “Old Testament” as, well, “old”, not knowing that almost ALL the End Times prophesy were delivered from Heaven by the Old Testament prophets! By the time I had spent several weeks almost daily, stopping and playing those old cassettes, I was so familiar with the period of the Kings, their doings and How the Lord moved through human history…I sought out a local Messianic congregation to find out more about Hebrew roots of the Scripture. I am still friends with many in the national messianic Jewish movement, who look to Yeshua as Savior. My hunger and thirst for the Word of God and love for the Savior and Kingdom work, and primarily to connect the dots to such an extent that I can explain it to someone else, is partly the legacy of this great man – Bob Warren….and not just me, but God alone knows how many others!

On learning of the passing of such a great influence and friend in my life, the shock turned to joy once I overcame the grief, knowing that Jesus was giving him the rest and reward he truly deserved. The man who taught kids at his annual weeklong summer camp, the value of not just the Word but application (all kids had to go help a local farmer with his chores or repair projects) was now finally home, in the Abode of the Master.  His last book series, which he never got to finish was called “God’s Heart” and it was on selected topics of the Faith – from predestination to living in Hope. But while he will never finish writing them, he did not really have to – the lives of those whom he influenced and loved to Jesus,  are already living examples of God’s Heart to a perishing world. Thank you, Bob Warren, formerly of Hardin, Kentucky! Walk on, brother – as you always said – walk on in the streets of Gold, where you are now, for all eternity….until we meet again! Amen.

BobWarren’s website: “LIFE ON THE HILL”
Click here to purchase the Life-Changing teaching on Romans 1-8 from Amazon.com

The only known video message from Bob is an amazing testimony to a man whose walk was closer than most! You have to watch this:

Sunday, August 17, 2014

HIS FAITHFULNESS IS TO ALL GENERATIONS


Remember your word to your servant,
    in which you have made me hope.
50 
This is my comfort in my affliction,
    that your promise gives me life.
51 
The insolent utterly deride me,
    but I do not turn away from your law.
52 
When I think of your rules from of old,
    I take comfort, O Lord.
53 
Hot indignation seizes me because of the wicked,
    who forsake your law.
54 
Your statutes have been my songs
    in the house of my sojourning.
55 
remember your name in the night, O Lord,
    and keep your law.
56 
This blessing has fallen to me, that I have kept your precepts

Psalm 119:49-56 (ESV)


These are horrible times for the Faithful - the true Children of God, and those who are called by His Name. We see the product of the tolerance of demonic cults, where Christians (and Kurds etc) are being literally wiped out by islamic hordes in northern Iraq, the Biblical region of Nineveh and in the ancient mountains of Syria. The latter used to house the last remnants of those who spoke the biblical language of Aramaic.

While persecution has always been with the followers of Christ: from the original eleven disciples and Apostle Paul, to the early church fathers and those who bucked the Roman system until the Reformation of the Middle Ages, down to present, the vile nature of the current genocide is staggering. The west and western pastors/church leaders - from the American prosperity and purpose-driven proponents to the majority of liberal mainline apostates - are so silent (to their shame on day) that even the secularists are asking them about their silence. 

Dietrich Bonhoeffer once said "'Silence in the face of evil is itself evil: God will not hold us guiltless. Not to speak is to speak. Not to act is to act.".  But it is not enough to point out these things, Our part is to encourage the saints, pray for the persecuted and make sure that we are also in the Word and found in Him.

Psalm 119 in its entirety is such a wondrous ode to the Word of God and His Commands. But in these time of pain, persecution and peril, Verses 49-56 speak to us loudly, about the Promises and True Purposes Driven by God. He is the God of all Truth, Compassion, Comfort and Care and His mercies never fail. Great is His Faithfulness to us, to all generations. 

In the verses above, the Word says "when I think of Your rules of old, I take comfort, O Lord" and "Your statutes (Your Living Word) have been my songs...." Psalm 30:5 says "though weeping may last for a night, Joy cometh in the Morning". For many of our brothers and sisters, this does seem like the longest night and their earthly tomorrow may never come. But the Good News, which their persecutors cannot say is that the Saved of the Lord  - the True Christians - wake up on the other side of Glory, in the Presence of the Savior. As the old saying goes "this is as good as it is going to get for those in the world, this is as bad as it will get for the people of God"


Let not your heart be troubled, our Lord and Savior has gone ahead to prepare a place for us. For now, let's pray and support wherever and whenever we can. In Jesus' Name, amen.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

SINK OR SWIM?....PUT ON THE LORD JESUS....

A good brother in Christ of mine, brother Bob, did an illustration at a recently concluded meeting, which both he and I attended, where he took a peeled orange and dropped into a full pitcher of water. It immediately sang to the bottom. Then he took an unpeeled orange (with its skin on) and dropped it in the same water. It floated on the top.  Now that is a good example of the Apostle Peter - before and after - he tried to walk on the water.

However, it is also a great illustration of what would happen to the man or woman of God who goes out daily into the world, without the protective covering of Christ in their lives. To the unsaved, this will make absolutely no sense. The devil has convinced the entire world that he does not exist and is just the figment of some thousands year old book - the Bible - made up by Christian "extremists" to keep people from "having fun". So the corrupt culture, media, politics and academia tell us to go "for the gusto" and "if it feels good, do it"! 

To be honest, the majority of those professing Christianity in the west are all down with that worldly sentiment. Any mention of sin and evil in this world is called "intolerance and  being judgmental". They think that way because the devil does not bother them. Why should he? They sure ain't bothering him!  

I just heard the most popular pastor in the world, who tells everyone that their "Best Life" is NOW, when we in the remnant know our Best Life is Yet to Come, slam those who question his prosperity gospel theology and shallow preaching as judgmentalism.  While it is absolutely true that we all live, preach and teach the unconditional Love which God has for us, that "Love" by itself does not save. That kind of Love is a precursor to Salvation - but this is a subject for the next post to flesh out.

The person who is following Jesus Christ intentionally, and who is sold-out disciple and adherent to the Holy Scriptures, has a major bulls-eye on his or her back. This man or woman of God is hated by the hierarchy of hell, who hates the fact that we wake up each day to serve and obey God in Heaven through Jesus Christ. This is the remnant and actually, according to recent Pew and Barna Surveys, the US number is less than 15% of the population. In Great Britain and Canada, it is between 2-5%! There is absolutely NO reason we should walk around, even in this perverse Romans 1 Culture, with our collective heads down when we have the Truth and they do not!

Too many of us are that orange at the bottom of the pitcher. The question we all need to ask is are we the peeled orange at the bottom of this water-filled jar or are we going to float? You and I should resolve to "put on the Lord Jesus Christ" (Romans 13:14a) and not be like those other people, the majority who call themselves Christians but do not know the meaning of the word.

We put on the Lord Jesus, in order that we may float on the turbulent waters of Life and through the storms ahead. 
We put on the Lord Jesus to keep from sinking.
We put on the Lord Jesus to keep from stinking thinking whereby we start believing the lies of the enemy, but now He enables us to reject the lies of the enemy.
We put on the Lord Jesus when we put on the shoes of the Gospel and tell someone else what Christ has done for us...as much as we can.
We put on the Lord Jesus when the Belt of Truth so girds us that our level of discernment about the tricks and false doctrines of the world will reveal that we are more than conquerors, through Him Who has overcome the world.

We put on the Lord Jesus when the Breastplate of Righteousness of Christ guards our hearts, minds and souls so that we grow in sanctification and receive the full measure of His Holiness which He is just so willing for us to walk in. 
We put on the Lord Jesus when the Helmet of Salvation leaves on room for confusion and doubt, because this Helmet - or head covering - is permanently on our head. We cannot lose our salvation because the King said so - nothing will snatch us out of His Hands. Therefore operate in this Truth and win!

We put on the Lord Jesus when the Shield of Faith, one of the major defensive weapons God has equipped us with, is so hardened by battle and experience that all the slings, arrows, 50 cal guns and Howitzers from Hell will fall off like the annoying pests they are.
We put on the Lord Jesus when we hold up the only pro-active and weapon of mass instruction God has given us - the Word of God! We may think that the Word of God is only a literal book called the Bible....well, that's only the physical manifestation of the Living Breathing Mind and Thoughts and Plans of God. Ignore at your own risk and accept to your eternal benefit.

Knowing all of the above, when we "put on the Lord Jesus Christ", is there ANY reason at all we followers of the Way, the Truth and the Life, should be downcast, oh my soul? Is there any reason we should be a sinking orange when we can sail through the choppy seas of Life to God's Golden Shores? Ask thyself, seek the Lord and He will direct to and through the paths of all Truth, Comfort and Hope! Amen.

Thursday, August 7, 2014

THE FINAL PRAYERS OF JESUS: PART 2 HIS FOLLOWERS - YOU AND I

THE HIGH PRIESTLY PRAYER

20 “I do not ask on behalf of these alone, but for those also who believe in Me through their word; 21 that they may all be one; even as You, Father, are in Me and I in You, that they also may be in Us, so that the world may [a]believe that You sent Me.

Their Future Glory

22 The glory which You have given Me I have given to them, that they may be one, just as We are one; 23 I in them and You in Me, that they may be perfected [b]in unity, so that the world may [c]know that You sent Me, and loved them, even as You have loved Me. 24 Father, I desire that they also, whom You have given Me, be with Me where I am, so that they may see My glory which You have given Me, for You loved Me before the foundation of the world.
25 “O righteous Father, [d]although the world has not known You, yet I have known You; and these have known that You sent Me; 26 and I have made Your name known to them, and will make it known, so that the love with which You loved Me may be in them, and I in them.”

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

THE FINAL PRAYERS OF JESUS: PART 1 - FOR HIS DISCIPLES

THE HIGH PRIESTLY PRAYER


John 17:1-19New American Standard Bible (NASB)

17 Jesus spoke these things; and lifting up His eyes to heaven, He said, “Father, the hour has come; glorify Your Son, that the Son may glorify You, even as You gave Him authority over all flesh, that to [a]all whom You have given Him, He may give eternal life. This is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent. I glorified You on the earth,[b]having accomplished the work which You have given Me to do. Now, Father, glorify Me together with Yourself, with the glory which I had with You before the world was.
I have manifested Your name to the men whom You gave Me out of the world; they were Yours and You gave them to Me, and they have kept Your word. Now they have come to know that everything You have given Me is from You; for the words which You gave Me I have given to them; and they received them and truly understood that I came forth from You, and they believed that You sent Me.I ask on their behalf; I do not ask on behalf of the world, but of those whom You have given Me; for they are Yours;10 and all things that are Mine are Yours, and Yours are Mine; and I have been glorified in them....

Sunday, July 27, 2014

THE OSTRICH SYNDROME PART 1 - SILENCE OF THE LAMBS

The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing (Edmund Burke)

Just as the Nazis marked Jews during World War II, with the word "JUDE", their World
War II allies - radical islam - are now the rampaging moslem hordes of ISIS through biblical Iraq/Mesopotamia are marking the homes of Christians with an "N". This N stands for Nazarene, as in Jesus the Nazarene. One of their spiritual fathers was the Grand Mufti Haj Amin al-Husseini of Jerusalem. (Al-Husseini was appointed by the British and himself supported the execution and persecuted of Christians. He met with Hitler in 1941. Click here for the photo of their meeting and more information).

Before the US invasion of Iraq in 2003,  over 1 million Chaldean Christians have lived in what had been their home for almost 2000 years! Strangely enough, they were protected by Saddam Hussein. Since the persecution began shortly after the liberation, less than 500,000 remained until this current conquering by the Mohammedans of ISIS. The sheer brutality of this mob of dangerous invaders into the ancient land of Abraham is unsurpassed. It is not just enough for them to burn down churches and steal homes and businesses of Christians. They have issued an ultimatum of flee, "convert to Islam" at the point of a gun, or face execution. Most have fled, but as they were fleeing with their meager possessions leaving their homes behind, they are being harassed, robbed and tortured.

While close to a half a million of God's people are persecuted in stunning intensity in Iraq.....while their Syrian brethren are decapitated and run out of their Aramaic-speaking villages...while Coptic Christians were murdered by the muslim brotherhood....and even in Nigeria, while entire Christian villages, schools, pastors, homes and people are being wiped out - American church leaders and most of their flock say and do NOTHING!  Absolutely nothing!

This stunning lack of courage (or caring) has been so bad that US Congressman Frank Wolf called out two well-known American preachers in November 2012, for being silent in the West while their brethren were persecuted in increasing numbers and brutality worldwide. The two preachers he called by name were John Piper and Rick Warren. John Piper is the retired pastor of Bethlehem Baptist Church in Minnesota and his Desiring God website does contain messages on the Persecuted Church. However, there is no one speaking out nationally to even ask for a concentrated prayer movement for these saints. No one expects to hear from the big money prosperity gospel preachers like Joel Osteen, Copeland and others of the Word Faith movements. Thank goodness for men like Franklin Graham who just called for Christians to stand for righteousness, truth and Biblical values. Franklin, son of Billy Graham, seems to be the only one of God's men who stands for rightouesness and Jesus Christ in these last days.

Why is this so? Why is the Western church in general, and America's wealthy preachers
silent in the face of evil and loss of religious freedom? Why are they more like a combination of the two churches of Revelation 3 (rich and squishy Laodecia) and Sardis? Jesus said He would vomit the church of Laodecia out of His mouth (Rev. 3:16) due to their safe and comfortable lukewarmth. He said of the church at Sardis in Revelation 3:1b "I know your works, that you have a name that you are alive, but you are dead." America has had the reputation of being a "Christian nation". Jesus knows us better than that - we are dead. The church in America is navel-gazing and caught up more in self-aggrandizement than intercession, evangelism and even being a Romans 1:16 kind of church. We seem to be more interested in getting along with the world and its pagan religions, cults and culture than the one thing which has eternal consequences - the Truth of the Gospel.

The great Moody Church pastor Erwin Lutzer recounted the testimony of a member of a small German country church during World War II whose conscience led him to repent of participating in "singing louder" as the Nazi trains carrying German Jews to the death camps of the Holocaust, so they could drown out the screams. Week after week, they sang louder and louder. In the West, we don't have to sing louder because the amplified electric guitars are drowning out the screams of the persecuted world wide. All that is left for the comfortable western church to do is to keep their heads firmly planted in the sand.
Associated Press Photo from Google Images.

What's the solution to this "Ostrich Syndrome" where these lambs (as Jesus called His church) and their well-off under-shepherds, ( those pastors and elders who have already gotten their reward on earth)? Well, the remnant should pray...and never let up. Pray and where possible, support Voice of the Martyrs and other such ministries like Gracia Burnham's financially, rather than giving to some organization so a celebrity "worship" leader can buy another $150 pair of jeans to perform on stage on Sunday morning.  This is the very least we can do. When one of our brethren hurts, we, who are turned into the Body and Will of Christ, should hurt and intercede on their behalf.  It is the very least we can do.
(Google Images)

Saturday, July 19, 2014

THE EYES OF THE LORD PART 3 - "ON THE RIGHTEOUS"

“ Behold, the Eye of the LORD is on those who fear Him (Psalm 33: 18 )…..”the Eyes of the LORD are toward the Righteous and His Ears are open to their cry (Psalm 34:15).
The razor sharp eye of the Hubble Space Telescope (HST) easily resolves the Sombrero galaxy, Messier 104 (M104). 50,000 light-years across, the galaxy is located 28 million light-years from Earth at the southern edge of the rich Virgo cluster of g...
(Photo - NASA)
You have heard it said that “eyes are windows to the soul”. This is absolutely true. I have street evangelized in all kinds of settings for many years, and come face to face with souls that are dark and seemingly lost to perdition.  Those are HUMAN eyes. These are NOT The Eyes of the LORD! The all-powerful; all-seeing; all-knowing and all-wise Eyes of our Great God in Heaven  are good. They are alive. They were alive in Eternity past and can see the end from the beginning.

So, what about this seeming difference between Psalm 33:18 and Psalm 34:15 (AS SEEN ABOVE)? What does He mean by both “The Eye of the Lord” and the “The Eyes of the Lord”? Is the Lord using a different “eyes” for different functions? Well, no – God does not compartmentalize. 

Look at it this way: in Psalm 33:18 we see that “the Eye of the LORD is on those who fear Him”. This is general statement.  God Himself said in Proverbs 1:7 that the “fear of the Lord is the beginning of Knowledge” and in Proverbs 2: 28-29, He says “Then they will call on me, and I will not answer. They will seek me diligently and I will not answer because they hated knowledge, and did not choose the fear of the Lord”. The word for knowledge, which HaShem uses is also a Hebrew root word for "Truth"! Therefore, if you KNOW Truth, you will "fear" Him - which is to have the proper reverence, awe and understanding of Who God really is. Those who have no knowledge of the Holy, do NOT fear, reverence, worship, adore or even have the slightest clue Who He is....and increasingly, this goes for the majority of evangelicals (mostly young) and mainline churches.

At one point in time, America was known as the most God-fearing nation in the world.  Because of that, the late 19th and the first six decades of the 20th centuries were America’s time.  The favor of God was upon this country.  Everything most industrialists touched almost seemed  to gold.

A person could have come from the worst background, from any country in the world and with the Grace of God and hard work, build something completely out of nothing. To a certain extent, this can still be done - with perseverance. But corrupt politicians and a godless educational/cultural/judicial system has turned the mind of the hopeful into complete hopelessness. Now, those who have transformed this unique God-fearing country which God does not recognize anymore, will pay on Judgment day when the books are open before the Great White Throne, but as long as there is life, there is hope.
This is the Corporate "Eye of the Lord" - the Eye which sees entire tribes, tongues and nations - like America. You and I should be more interested in the "Eyes of the Lord" first, because once we find favor in THOSE Eyes, then we can work on being a society and a people favorable unto Him!

Scripture says "the Eyes of the LORD are toward the Righteous and His Ears are open to their cry (Psalm 34:15). 1 Peter 3:12 quotes this exact passage of this psalm in order to emphasize the Lord's point. The full quote used by Peter is For the Eyes of the Lord are on the righteous, and His ears are open to their prayer. But the Face of the Lord is against those who do evil.”(1 Peter 3:12). Both uses of this passage represent a conditional offer to man.  The majority of humanity alive today has chosen the latter, even if they don't think they are evil, or do evil. If they are not following Christ as Lord and Savior, they are already completely separated from God. They will enjoy the same "rain which falls on the just and the unjust" but that is only for this brief life. Those who walk in unrighteousness by following false and fraudulent religions and cults other than Biblical Christianity should get a notion what the full attention and "Face of the Lord" really means. This is no picnic!

What about you and I who are completely sold-out and committed disciples of Christ? 

Well, we have two wonderful promises here:
First, "the Eyes of the LORD are toward the Righteous": that alone tell us that He is for us! Just as God's Face is AGAINST those who practice iniquity, His entire gaze is TOWARD us - His elect, saved and set apart for eternity. We are not Righteous because of anything we have done, but are thus because we accepted the same offer that He made to even those who will face His wrath. The word "toward" means "on the basis of"....Christ the Advocate, being our Lord and Savior, that is the reason for His Loving Eyes on us!

Secondly, "His Ears are open" to our cry" (or prayer) is a definite promise that because we have His personal attention (EYES - as in both EYES), He listens. The fervent and effective prayer of a righteous man avails much (James 5:16). But it is more than that. When Scripture (and therefore God) promises that His "Ears are  open", the literal terminology used by the Holy Spirit in Scripture, in essence, means Abba Father is continually and perpetually bent towards giving us an audience when we approach Him in the proper manner of Prayer. He always answers our prayer. Even if we do not like the answer, He answers!

In the final analysis, this is what we should strive for, during our short time on this wonderful creation called Earth.  We should strive for the Favor of His Divine Gaze upon us, all our families and our goings and comings.  We cannot earn a single measure of it, and once we have it (through Mark 1:15 - repent and believe the Gospel and be saved), we can sure mess it up. But if your heart and mine and set on Above and are completely loyal, devoted and "all-in" for Him, when His Eyes go across the whole earth in search of those who are so, they will land on us and His entire sensory perception will be directed to us, lovingly. Do you know any better promise? Are you His? Do you know Him? If not...do not waste another moment.