Wednesday, February 29, 2012

On the Alter of Pleasure: We lay Our Babies.

Americans are obsessed with comfort, happiness and pleasure.  Pleasure has become the god to worship at all costs, including those of our future generations.  The fetus has become the sacrifice.  Humanism the theology.

hu·man·ism   [hyoo-muh-niz-uhm or, often, yoo-]

Philosophy: a variety of ethical theory and practice that emphasizes reason, scientific inquiry, and human fulfillment in the natural world and often rejects the importance of belief in God.

We are sacrificing our babies on the alter of pleasure of sex, money, self advancement, convenience and prosperity.  Which, as with all of Satan's tactics, is not a new concept.  In biblical times the Hebrews turned away from God and worshiped Baal the god of fertility.  Worshiping with indiscriminate sex, in turn producing babies and sacrificing them to Baal for prosperity.

Sound familiar?

Even with multiple tools to keep from getting pregnant we are still aborting our babies at a rate of about 1.5 million per year. 50 million legal abortions occurred between 1973 and 2008.  Does this go unnoticed by God?  These are people with souls that God had plans for.  He is bringing us into the world for a purpose, not to just do our time and promote ourselves and go to the dust.  Not to advance our personal agenda but His kingdom.  We as a nation are undermining this effort.

You guided my conception and formed me in the womb.
Job 10:10 NLT

You made all the delicate, inner parts of my body and knit me together in my mother's womb.

I knew you before I formed you in your mother's womb. Before you were born I set you apart and appointed you as my spokesman to the world.

It has been noted in "Massacre of the Innocents" by Eric Holmberg that this is seen in Genesis Chapter 19 when the daughters of Lot, rebelling against God, deceived their father into getting them pregnant, then, their offspring worshiped Molech by way of child sacrifice.  Showing itself again in 17th century France as witchcraft in the court of King Louis XIV as satanic ritual with grotesque accounts of child sacrifice.

We can not succeed today with self worship, remaining ignorant to evil and turning away from God yet again.  If we are not advancing the kingdom of God we are only enlarging Satan's borders by enlarging  the borders of selfish desire/pleasure. We can be sure that God will judge our nation.

The Lord says: I will not relent from punishing the Ammonites for three crimes, even four, because they ripped open the pregnant women of Gilead in order to enlarge their territory.
Amos 1:13

Archaeologists have found burial grounds with stone markers in the ancient Carthage, the capital of Phoenicia,  showing that child sacrifice as pretty common.  We don't even mark the graves of aborted children. I shutter to think of what happens to their bodies.  I can only imagine a great repentance if our nation could see the great volume of those killed in this way.

They worshiped their idols, and this led to their downfall. They even sacrificed their sons and their daughters to the demons.
Psalms 106:36-37

Yet with all of our intellectual power we remain ignorant to the plans of evil.

They have built pagan shrines to Baal in the valley of the son of Hinnom, and there they sacrifice their sons and daughters to Molech. I have never commanded such a horrible deed; it never even crossed my mind to command such a thing. What an incredible evil, causing Judah to sin so greatly!
Jeremiah 32:35 NLT

These terminated pregnancies are people being taken away from God's plan for their lives and ultimately for the world.  Possibly this is the front lines of the battle.  In a selfish cowardice act we are throwing our children to the spiritual war-front.  In the end they are not given the chance to advance the kingdom of God.  In the old testament God asked for the first born children to be dedicated to Him.  Similar to God asking for Isaac in Genesis Chapter 22.  Different in the way that Abraham had faith that God had promised a blessed nation through Isaac.

"History and archaeology has shown us that child sacrifice, as with the example of the King of Moab, centered on the first born child. Is it simple irony or coincidence that the majority of children that will face the abortionist's knife in this country are also first born - "set apart for the Lord"?"    -Eric Holmberg

It is also interesting to note that in Eric Holmberg's article that the Valley of the Son of Hinnom (Gehenna in Greek) is possibly where these sacrifices took place.  In Mathew 16:18 Jesus says, "And upon this rock, I will build My Church and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it."  What if Jesus is telling us He will bust through the Gates of Hell (selfish desire) and plant His flag where the devil is no longer welcome.  On the rock of self sacrifice, humility and child-like innocence. 

"Jesus' use of the word Gehenna clearly substantiates that there is no greater manifestation of hell on earth than the sacrifice of children."    -Eric Holmberg

Is our selfish desire, self promotion acting as the gates of hell, protecting Satan?

They have committed both adultery and murder -- adultery by worshiping idols and murder by burning their children as sacrifices on their altars.
Ezekiel 23:37 NLT

Is abortion an unforgivable sin?

I don't believe so.  This is in no way promoting a call to action physically but spiritually. We need to pray, forgive and love those who have fallen into this snare, who are being used as slaves to sin.   We can serve a God who is forgiving in such ways that will blow your mind.  I am not necessarily looking for a change in law but looking for a change in the heart of the nation.  Once again, we do not need an additional law but adherence to God's laws as individuals.  If people begin to turn away from the practice of abortion we can anticipate evil will justify the practice by pointing to God's request for the sacrifice of Isaac and Jesus as the bible promoting child sacrifice.  We can stay ahead of it all if we listen to God's calling.  Love what He loves and hate what He hates.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

What is evil?

The devil's best hand may not necessarily be to make everyone believe he does not exist but rather to redefine evil.  It is all too easy to read the news and find out that evil does in fact exist and is flourishing in this world.  But if he can question what is evil than we can easily be led down the wrong path or through the slaughter gates.  The moment when we are given the keys to define evil for ourselves is the moment we shut the door to God and His wisdom.

Is a serial killer evil?  Absolutely!
How about a murderer?  Sure!
How about someone who aborts their baby? question.
The person themselves may not be evil or have evil tendencies, they have just been led down a path of acceptable selfishness. The devil sits next to a woman looking at a positive pregnancy test and asks, "Did God really say that a fetus has life?" It's an old rusty tactic from satan's first playbook, which we are still falling for.  Mass aborting of babies as a country could easily be defined as evil.  

The serpent was clever, more clever than any wild animal God had made. He spoke to the Woman: "Do I understand that God told you not to eat from any tree in the garden?"
The Woman said to the serpent, "Not at all. We can eat from the trees in the garden.  It's only about the tree in the middle of the garden that God said, 'Don't eat from it; don't even touch it or you'll die.'" 
The serpent told the Woman, "You won't die."
Genesis 3:1-4

Is rape evil?  See, there really are dumb questions.
Is pornography evil?  Depends on who you ask.
Is premarital sex evil?  Well....
Society has recently come to the conclusion that it is okay to live together before marriage and look at pornography as long as we are looking at consenting adults or as long as we are not hurting anyone.  In the interest of full disclosure my wife and I started out this way.  According to statistics we are rare in the fact that we have survived this long.  

Does evil exist?  Look around!
But do you know it when you see it?

We need to turn away from this path we are on.
We need to look to God for what is evil and what is love.
We need to change our hearts, more than our laws, to what God intended for us.  Change our hearts to love God and His laws, not bending the lines of truth in order to match the profile of how we are living.

And that means killing off everything connected with that way of death: sexual promiscuity, impurity, lust, doing whatever you feel like whenever you feel like it, and grabbing whatever attracts your fancy. That's a life shaped by things and feelings instead of by God.
Colossians 3:5 MSG

The further we walk away from the truth of the bible and God's love the closer we walk to the devil and deceit and anguish and confusion and chaos.  The further we get from God, the easier it is to define your own morals.
Satan roams the earth seeking to devour, and if you leave yourself out there without the protection of a shepherd, you will be devoured like a lamb to a lion.

These two topics give us a picture of the two wedges separating each individual family member from each other.
The mother from the child.  The father from the child.
The father from the mother.  The husband from the wife.
Aside from drugs and alcohol these are all the wedges he really needs.
If he can separate us from ourselves and from God we are done.
But we can only be separated from God if we walk away.

Hell has a voracious appetite, and lust just never quits.
Proverbs 27:20 MSG

Dear brothers and sisters, if another Christian is overcome by some sin, you who are godly should gently and humbly help that person back onto the right path. And be careful not to fall into the same temptation yourself.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Rich Man~Poor Man

"It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God."
Mark 10:25

Often times the word of God is taken out of context to benefit an argument that is not in line with what is being said in the bible.  The words of Jesus used as a political football. We as people are drawn to Jesus because he was and is revolutionary in his love for us.  People on the right take his words to beat others over the head with sin and people on the left take his words to wag in the faces of those who do not follow their belief system.  One side holds Him up saying, "This is how you are supposed to be!" and the other side says, "This is how you are supposed to be!" Both saying the same thing, both worlds apart, just how the devil wants us to be.

If you are interested in the truth in it's context you can find it in Mark 10:17-31.  Another example of Jesus forgiving a rich man is that of Zacchaeus in Luke chapter 19.  A very rich chief tax collector who repents for taking more than what is owed to him.  Jesus forgives him after he gives back four times what he had wrongfully taken.  He was not a sinner for being rich because Jesus proclaimed him to have salvation after giving back only half of his wealth.  It was the change of heart that Jesus was looking for.

Rich Man in wealth: can have all the world has to offer and fall short into spiritual poverty by not seeking God.

Poor Man in wealth: can have nothing the world has to offer but be wealthy beyond imagination spiritually, which can only be achieved by seeking God in all things.

Rich Man in Spirit: does not need anything in the world because God is supplying everything he needs by grace.

Poor Man in Spirit: May or may not have worldly wealth and without God's grace can feel alone and bitter and jealous.  People with earthly wealth are not the only ones who can fall victim to greed.

The point being, God can make the impossible possible.  Not to mention there will be no need for commerce in Heaven.  We can only go there after being stripped of all earthly things.
"For the love of money is the root of all kinds of evil. And some people, craving money, have wandered from the true faith and pierced themselves with many sorrows."
1 Timothy 6:10 NLT

It's not the money itself that is evil it is the love of money.  It's not about how much money you or your neighbor do or do not have. It's about where your heart is.  If you love money your heart will cause you to be jealous of what someone else has.  If your heart is with Jesus you will not only be happy with what you have but also happy for what others have for themselves.

Wealth is a relative term.  Someone who is financially poor in this country is most likely wealthier than those in less developed countries.
If you are making $25,000 in this country, compared to the rest of the world you are in the top 10%.  Does this make you wealthy?  Granted we have a higher cost of living, but we also have a higher standard of living.  What is acceptable in the eyes of the Lord?  

He wants your heart, your mind, your body and your soul.
Whether you are rich in wealth or spirit or both.
Whether you are poor in spirit or wealth or both.

To God it is irrelevant how much money we make or how comfortable we are.  He wants us to be able to seek Him in all things and have a relationship with Him.  No matter how awkward it might seem.

"You must love the LORD your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your strength, and all your mind.’ And, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself."
Luke 10:27

Calculator used to determine global wealth standings:

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Adopted by the Father.

God decided in advance to adopt us into his own family by bringing us to himself through Jesus Christ. This is what he wanted to do, and it gave him great pleasure.

Like a lot of people I can easily say growing up was tough. I could almost say that I was raised by a pack of wolves but really I was mostly raised by my two older brothers.  Being raised in the country in the seventies and eighties maybe it was more common to let your children do their own thing, at least in my family it was.  We spent most of our days out in the woods, playing war, fighting with each other, sneaking out in the middle of the night to run down a country road, jumping in ditches when cars went by. We had free reign of our days and nights from what it seemed.  Most of these things aren't bad in themselves but with no fatherly example we were just drifting through childhood.  Most of the time my father was absent whether he was home or not and even when he was around he was full of bitter anger.  He lashed out at us in the most unexpected and unpredictable times, we learned to stay away from him as much as possible.  He was essentially a good man with no reference on how to be a father and especially how to deal with kids.  I'm not going to spend much time railing on him or excusing him and myself because of circumstance.  Thankfully today, I have the privilege to say that my father has found Jesus, is focusing on his walk and is a loving grandfather to my kids.

My point is, I did not have a perfect image of a father, like more and more of us today.  I am thankful that God did not give my wife and I children, prior to becoming followers of Jesus.  I was a horribly selfish, conceded, self-serving, self-centered jerk and it got worse when I was drinking.  There would have been no room for diapers, crying, screaming, hugs, bedtime prayers, talks, walks or love.  I am in no way a perfect father now but I am thankful that I have a footing in Jesus and His love.  He is the image I look to when I don't know where to turn on how to act like a father.

I am thankful that God has found me fit for adoption into His family.

" received God’s Spirit when he adopted you as his own children.  Now we call him, “Abba, Father."  For his Spirit joins with our spirit to affirm that we are God’s children."   [Abba=Daddy in Aramaic.]  
He has adopted us as His own!
I now have the greatest example to look to and believe me I need to look to Him often.  Even putting aside the idea that we can use God the Father as an example on how to be fathers, we can also rejoice that God the Father has taken us in.  That alone is worthy of praise.  If we believe in Jesus, that he has died for us, had been resurrected and ascended to the right hand of the Father, then God has chosen or wanted us to be a part of His family.

"...and if children, also heirs—heirs of God and coheirs with Christ—seeing that we suffer with Him so that we may also be glorified with Him."

Co-Heirs to the throne!!  Are you serious?!
Brothers, Sisters... if you are not with Jesus yet, is this not motivation enough?!
To be a co-heir to the throne is unfathomable and to think christians previous to me have been keeping this to themselves!  It's the greatest secret un-shouted to the mountain tops!
If we are to suffer in this world there is no better way than with Jesus and a Father in heaven.

"Yet what we suffer now is nothing compared to the glory he will reveal to us later.  For all creation is waiting eagerly for that future day when God will reveal who his children really are.  Against its will, all creation was subjected to God’s curse. But with eager hope, the creation looks forward to the day when it will join God’s children in glorious freedom from death and decay."
Romans 8:18-21

"We, too, wait with eager hope for the day when God will give us our full rights as his adopted children, including the new bodies he has promised us."
Romans 8:23


a·dopt   [uh-dopt] 
verb (used with object)
1.  to choose or take as one's own; make one's own by selection or assent: to adopt a nickname.
2.  to take and rear (the child of other parents) as one's own child, specifically by a formal legal act.
3.  to take or receive into any kind of new relationship: to adopt a person as a protégé.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

A Call of Duty.

Husbands, go all out in your love for your wives, exactly as Christ did for the church-a love marked by giving, not getting.

For husbands, this means love your wives, just as Christ loved the church. He gave up his life for her to make her holy and clean, washed by the cleansing of God’s word. He did this to present her to himself as a glorious church without a spot or wrinkle or any other blemish. Instead, she will be holy and without fault. In the same way, husbands ought to love their wives as they love their own bodies. For a man who loves his wife actually shows love for himself. No one hates his own body but feeds and cares for it, just as Christ cares for the church.

Sounds easy enough, right? Just love your wife!
On the face of it, it should be a given, a no-brainer. We shouldn't even have to work at it. But there is a reason that this command is one of few that specifically addresses how husbands are to interact with their wives. If it were easy God would not have been compelled to put it in the bible for men to read. If it were easy everybody would be doing it. The unfortunate truth is that the lack of men actually loving there wives is what is breaking the back of society today.
Breaking the heart of God.

What does it mean to put loving our wives into practice?
How did Christ love the church?

Logically and practically speaking, Jesus Christ literally died for her.
He gave up his life for her, to make her holy and clean.
We are fortunate enough to be able to use His sacrifice as an example rather than a literal command. We are called to deny ourselves so that she can be made right. Regardless of what is deserved, regardless of what she has said to you today, regardless of what she has not done for you lately, regardless of how you feel about denying yourself.

What is love?

Love is patient, love is kind.
Love does not envy, is not boastful, is not conceited,
does not act improperly, is not selfish, is not provoked,
and does not keep a record of wrongs.
Love finds no joy in unrighteousness but rejoices in the truth.
It bears all things, believes all things,
hopes all things, endures all things.
Love never ends.

Love is not a checked box on your list of rewards.
Love is not something to be held hostage.
Love is not a tool.
Love is a fruit of the Spirit!
The Spirit being the Holy Spirit of God and the fruit being the reward there of.

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness,
faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.
Against such things there is no law.


It is not a sin to struggle with this but to not seek God's help is the beginning of decay.
The truth is I am no expert on loving my wife day to day.
The unfortunate truth is it is a major struggle for me.
Fortunately God has superseded my ineptness for the greater good of my marriage.
I have prayed relentlessly that God help me with this.
God has, over time, transformed my heart and attitude toward my wife.
I no longer see a villain or adversary walking into the room but the woman God has chosen for me to spend my life with.
Raise my children with.
The woman I love with all my heart.
The way Jesus has shown me love.
I have proven time and time again to myself, my wife and my God that I am incapable of doing this marriage thing without Him.
Him being Jesus.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

toil: noun.

1. hard and continuous work; exhausting labor or effort.
2. a laborious task.

To Adam he said, "Because you listened to your wife and ate from the tree about which I commanded you, 'You must not eat of it,' Cursed is the ground because of you; through painful toil you will eat of it all the days of your life."
Genesis 3:17

As an owner of a small contracting company, I became very familiar with peaks and valleys.  There were times when I believed God was showering my business with blessings, and other times I perceived Him to be silent. Let's just say the blessings were not financially comparable to other contractor companies.  I had to work for every penny.  Looking back rationally, I know He was there pulling me through it all.

One particular low point was when I was purchasing materials with a credit card that turned out to be maxed out. I had a cart full of lumber excited to start a project made for a carpenter.  The first time the card got declined it was kind of uncomfortable but I assumed the cashier made a mistake.  The second time and third times I asked her to run the card again were down right embarrassing.  I had assumed God had forgotten about me,  my God ordained business and my family.  I guess it was my pride and confusion that sent me into a tail spin.

How could God let this happen to a business He is blessing?
The truth is we are not destined for smooth sailing when we are adopted by God.

I had to push the cart full of lumber out of the way and leave the store to figure out how I was going to pay for these materials and start a much needed project.
As I pulled away from the store I hit a wall of frustration, disbelief and doubt.
I didn't get it, I didn't see it, what was the point of trudging through every moment, every DAY!

Must I toil everyday for such small blessings for my family?
The truth is we are in a fallen world, due to sin.

The answer may not be yes but most likely.  The consequences of Adam's sin, that sent this world into a tail spin is still being felt today.  I had been so focused on seeking the blessings of God that I had missed the point of living every moment for His love.  Seeking the blessings more than the Blesser.
When things weren't going well I focused on the toil rather than what God was protecting me from.
The funny thing is, no matter what financial capacity we are in, we perceive ourselves to be toiling.
Unable to see the blessings through the blessed.

The solution:
Pray continually to be content where God has placed you.

"I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want."
Philippians 4:12