Friday, November 18, 2011

Milk Is The Cause of Cancer!

My wife and I were talking the other night about repentance and what it really means to repent. I understand this concept very well in my own heart. As the saying goes, "He who is forgiven much, loves much." But I often struggle to articulate the degree and severity that Jesus meant when He said, "Repent! For the kingdom of Heaven is near!" The Holy Spirit gave me a parable of sorts that night that says it more clearly than I have ever heard:

Let's say that I was able to definitively prove to you that the drinking of milk other than human was the direct cause of cancer as much as blood is the vehicle for transferring AIDS. Would you continue to drink milk? At all? Would you say, "I love milk, but I know it's bad for me, so I will start weening myself off slowly. This month I will drink only 10 glasses. Next month I will drink 9. And so on." This person would either have to be insane or they didn't actually believe the truth in the beginning. But it is true! So what would be the proper response? Stop drinking milk! Now! Then, I would start finding out what was made with dairy. Anything that had any dairy in it would be cut out of my diet.

This is the difference between a Paul-like conversion and the majority of 'Christians' I meet today. Many treat sin and purity flippantly. They assume that their life operates on their own time-table. They use grace as a scapegoat for sin.

"Sure you want to do good things and stay away from the bad. But we are all forgiven in the end anyway. Don't be so uptight about it. Enjoy your life and trust in Jesus"

These thoughts pass through a lot more heads than speak it. But there is an increasing number who are starting to speak it as well. Repentance means going out on the battlefield and defeating the enemy head on at the outset. And once the battlefield has been won you go throughout the towns and countryside routing out the enemy, leaving none alive. This is what repentance and the Christian walk should look like. Yes, you will be under constant attack from the flesh until the day you die. But you should be defeating the massive frontal enemy at the outset.

If a drug addict was trying to get clean the first step would be... stop taking drugs! Then he would begin routing out the causes of his drug addiction. The dealers, the co-dependents, the enablers. Then he would dig deeper and rout out the emotional causes of his drug addiction: depression, hurt, bitterness, regret, selfishness. In this way he would win the lifelong battle, but it begins by not taking the drugs! He can't say, "This month I will only take two hits of crack a day. And next month only one hit a day." That would be ridiculous! Everyone knows that wouldn't work and no one would believe he was serious about getting clean.

We all face the same battle and demon in varying ways. Stop sinning! Then find and cut out the things that make your sin possible. Then find out why you are committing the sin in the first place. This is the process of sanctification. This is holiness. Remember Jesus' words,

"If your right eye causes you to sin, gouge it out and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to be thrown into hell."

Friday, November 11, 2011

Repent! For the Kingdom of Heaven is near!

"Now learn this lesson from the fig tree: As soon as its twigs get tender and its leaves come out, you know that summer is near."

Solomon had it right, "There is nothing new under the sun." What has been will be again. And it is. Jesus first coming was heralded by many prophets, but one man in particular paved the way, John the Baptist. His message was of repentance, commitment and purification. The Messiah came and conquered the world through spiritual victory and is coming again to conquer all kingdoms physically. But there is someone who will be coming in between these two comings that Christians have been anxiously looking for as well, the  Antichrist. The Beast. The abomination that causes desolation. And I believe his appearance is immanent.

Biblical prophecy is being set up and fulfilled around us everyday. First, I want to address a subject that is under much contention. The physical nation of Israel. Some say they are still God's favorites. Some say they are irrelevant. And many say a lot of things in between. There is no doubt that God favored and was fighting on their side in the Old Testament. Jesus definitely gave them the land of Israel as their inheritance. The question is was this promise nullified or revoked when the New Covenant was ushered in or because of the Jew's rejection of Jesus through His death on the cross. Generally speaking, most have no scriptural basis for this belief. At least I have never heard of any and don't think any can be found because of Paul's words to the Romans,

"I ask then: Did God reject his people? By no means! ... God did not reject his people, whom he foreknew... Again I ask: Did they stumble so as to fall beyond recovery? Not at all! rather because of their transgression, salvation has come to the Gentiles to make Israel envious... I do not want you to be ignorant of this mystery, brothers, so that your may not be conceited: Israel has experienced a hardening in part until the full number of Gentiles has come in. And so all Israel will be saved... for God's gifts and his call are irrevocable."

Israel's inheritance was not apart of the Old Covenant. It was an gift that stemmed from Abraham's faith and faithfulness. Israel was carried off into captivity and occupied many times, but none of these revoked their ownership of the land. Israel was even occupied in Jesus' day by the Romans. But as in Elijah's day, He has always kept a faithful remnant for Himself. And the promise and the inheritance is not revoked for the faithful on account of the unfaithful. The geographic land of Israel belongs to the Jew's ,the natural sons and the adopted sons, and it is where He will return to. It is where he will set His city. And He will fight for it.

"This is the word of the Lord concerning Israel. The Lord, who stretches out the heavens, who lays the foundation of the earth, and who forms the spirit of man within him, declares:  “I am going to make Jerusalem a cup that sends all the surrounding peoples reeling. Judah will be besieged as well as Jerusalem.  On that day, when all the nations of the earth are gathered against her, I will make Jerusalem an immovable rock for all the nations. All who try to move it will injure themselves.  On that day I will strike every horse with panic and its rider with madness,” declares the Lord. “I will keep a watchful eye over the house of Judah, but I will blind all the horses of the nations.  Then the leaders of Judah will say in their hearts, ‘The people of Jerusalem are strong, because the Lord Almighty is their God.’
 “On that day I will make the leaders of Judah like a firepot in a woodpile, like a flaming torch among sheaves. They will consume right and left all the surrounding peoples, but Jerusalem will remain intact in her place.
 “The Lord will save the dwellings of Judah first, so that the honor of the house of David and of Jerusalem’s inhabitants may not be greater than that of Judah.  On that day the Lord will shield those who live in Jerusalem, so that the feeblest among them will be like David, and the house of David will be like God, like the Angel of the Lord going before them.  On that day I will set out to destroy all the nations that attack Jerusalem.

I say all this to get to this: I believe the Beast and his false prophet are walking the Earth. Jesus it the descendant of the child of the promise, Issac. The false Christ will be a descendant of the false son, the illegitimate son, Ishmael. There has been some very alarming events in the news lately. This is the most disturbing:

"Iran’s Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad are convinced that the End of Days has come. They believe the Shia messiah known as the “Twelfth Imam” or the “Mahdi” will appear soon to establish a global Islamic kingdom known as the caliphate. What’s more, they believe the way to hasten the coming of the Twelfth Imam is to annihilate Israel (which they call the “Little Satan”), and the United States (which they call the “Great Satan”). We should not, therefore, be surprised that Iran is probing for weaknesses in American intelligence and homeland security. Khamenei told Iranians in July 2010 that he personally met with the Twelfth Imam. He also claimed to be the personal representative of the Mahdi on earth, and said all Muslims must “obey him.” Meanwhile, Western intelligence agencies say he continues to work with Ahmadinejad and the Iranian military to develop nuclear warheads and the ballistic missiles to deliver them.

Read more:

There is a lot of time spent studying Biblical eschatology(end times study), and there should be. But take some time and read some Islamic eschatology sometime.  It is eerily similar to ours. Governments overthrown. Evil eradicated. Righteousness reigns. Messiah. God  reigning on earth. You would think you were reading Revelations. Except the names and winners are changed. You have to understand that the Antichrist and false prophet are not going to be against Christ. Satan never wanted to oppose Jesus. He wanted to be Jesus and have everything that He has. And He has been mimicking him ever since the beginning.

The world is so interconnected that globalization is the only option at this point for the politicians. We are in a bubble here in America. We see Islam and Muslims as fringe and obscure. And we still have a sense of Nationality and freedom. But

"As of 2009, over 1.5 billion or about 23% of the world population are Muslims.[1] Of these, around 62% live in Asia-Pacific, 20% in the Middle East and North Africa, 15% in Sub-Saharan Africa and around 2% in Europe & Americas" - Wikipedia

And this was in 2009. Islam is sweeping the world. I've often wondered why the U.S. is not mentioned in Biblical prophecy. We have such a instrumental place in the world. We are the concentration of the vast majority of wealth and power. We are said to be founded on Christian principles. Most Americans probably cringe inside every time the hear the word Islam or Muslim after 9/11. We know that the southern half of the U.S., at least, is armed to the teeth. How on Earth could this be true?: "All inhabitants of the earth will worship the beast". I think Americans have demonstrated, despite our failings and disregard for Jesus' commandments, that we would fight to the death over our freedom. So how would America ever be in submission to an Islamic, Antichrist, world government? Maybe it is because we are not here. Everyone knows how much Muslims, and particularly Iraq, hate Israel and the Jews. But this fact is mysteriously absent from the headlines: Israel is the "little Satan" to them. America is the "Great Satan". And when all this World War lll starts going down who do you think will be their first target? God promised to fight on Israel's behalf and to secure His kingdom on that land. There was no such promise made for this land.

Be watchful. Be ready. Repent! Do not give the Devil a foothold. Remember  Jesus' words,

"Do not worry about what you will eat, or what you will drink, or what you will wear. Do not worry about your life."

"Anyone who loves his father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; anyone who loves his son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me"

"If anyone is to go into captivity, into captivity he will go. If anyone is to be killed with the sword, with the sword he will be killed. This calls for patient endurance and faithfulness on the part of the saints."

There is a great delusion coming and is already showing it's head today. Your enemy, the Devil, will use any and every tactic to devour you and get you turn away from Jesus. Purify your lives and be ready to give anything and everything for His name. Repent! For the kingdom of Heaven is near!

Feel free to comment or ask questions! 

Monday, November 7, 2011

Baby, I was born this way!

When Jesus created us and placed us in the garden he said that we were very good. We were ignorant and immature and yet, He was pleased. And then came the fall. We added knowledge to the mix and the the deal changed. The standard changed. We now had to follow a strict set of rules and guidelines to be righteous. None of us could do that though. That is not what we were created for. We were sheep entering a cheetah race. There was no way we could ever be complete and faultless. This is what the Old Covenant meant: we would have to be everything to anything and everyone at all times. We would have to have every answer right, every step right. Perfect wisdom that not only accomplishes His purposes in the moment, but for all eternity. We were not  created for this. This is why no one would every be able to fulfill it. The Law was a description of God and so God would have to fulfill it. And Jesus did. Then He gave us a New Covenant.

What is a covenant? Is it a free give-away flyer in the mail? Is it a loose deal between friends? I think the best way to describe a Biblical covenant is to use the definition of the Old Covenant. The Old Covenant was not optional. And the standards and requirements were not different for anyone. What is the difference between the Old and the New Covenant? It is the standards and requirements. Let me give a parable of sorts to demonstrate these:

The Old Covenant was like a standardized test. You have to study, study, study. Take the test and if you pass your in. And everyone gets the same test. Except, it was a pass/fail test not a sliding grade. And that is where the mistake comes in. People grade themselves against the Law and get A's, B's, C's and so on. Only, if you get a 99%, you still fail. And the test is on the complete realm of knowledge and wisdom. Everything that ever was, is, and ever will be. We could never possibly know. And that is why  Jesus had to come take the test for us, because only God could ever be that.

The New Covenant is more like a track race. The catch though is that there isn't a start or a finish line. You can start wherever you are on the track and there is no finish line for you to cross. Your only job is to run. Many prefer the Old Covenant to the New Covenant because it gives them a standard to judge themselves on. That is self-righteousness and it pales in comparison to the righteousness that the Old Covenant describes. There is no way to grade yourself on the race, the New Covenant, because you can't show how far you've run or how long until you cross the finish line or even how well you are running compared to your fellow racers because they are not running on the same track as you, though you can still see them. It's only about how much passion you run with. Have you ever been to a High School gym class? Some are giving it their all. Some are merely participating. Some are not participating at all. Have you ever seen an Olympic track race. That look in their eye; that desire and passion that they run with is what Jesus is looking for. Does it matter how fast or how well you run? Not at all. Have you ever seen a Special Olympics track race. The faces are the same. The passion and desire is the same. The speed is not. That doesn't matter, because you are not judged on the Law and if you have perfection in athleticism. You are judged on how well you ran the race you are in. This is the same parable that Jesus told in the parable of the talents:

  “Again, it will be like a man going on a journey, who called his servants and entrusted his wealth to them. To one he gave five bags of gold, to another two bags, and to another one bag, each according to his ability. Then he went on his journey. The man who had received five bags of gold went at once and put his money to work and gained five bags more. So also, the one with two bags of gold gained two more. But the man who had received one bag went off, dug a hole in the ground and hid his master’s money. “After a long time the master of those servants returned and settled accounts with them. The man who had received five bags of gold brought the other five. ‘Master,’ he said, ‘you entrusted me with five bags of gold. See, I have gained five more.’  “His master replied, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!’  “The man with two bags of gold also came. ‘Master,’ he said, ‘you entrusted me with two bags of gold; see, I have gained two more.’  “His master replied, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!’  “Then the man who had received one bag of gold came. ‘Master,’ he said, ‘I knew that you are a hard man, harvesting where you have not sown and gathering where you have not scattered seed. So I was afraid and went out and hid your gold in the ground. See, here is what belongs to you.’   “His master replied, ‘You wicked, lazy servant! So you knew that I harvest where I have not sown and gather where I have not scattered seed? Well then, you should have put my money on deposit with the bankers, so that when I returned I would have received it back with interest. “‘So take the bag of gold from him and give it to the one who has ten bags. For whoever has will be given more, and they will have an abundance. Whoever does not have, even what they have will be taken from them. And throw that worthless servant outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’

Run with passion. Give it your all. Take the truth that you know and live it to the fullest. Like all good athletes, always be looking for a way to improve you technique and performance. Make your coach proud. But don't ever think that your performance will be approved because of the ground you have covered. You can never reach a certain point and rest or run with less drive. Your race will sometimes be fast and some times slow based on the terrain and heat around you, but always remember that it's not the speed and distance you cover, but the eagerness with which you run. This was the original purpose. This is what you were created for. You were born this way. Run!

Feel free to comment or ask questions! 

Friday, November 4, 2011

Clean out the rot from among you

     "Then an Israelite man brought to his family a Midianite woman right before the eyes of Moses and the whole assembly of Israel while they were weeping at the entrance to the Tent of Meeting.  When Phinehas son of Eleazar, the son of Aaron, the priest, saw this, he left the assembly, took a spear in his hand  and followed the Israelite into the tent. He drove the spear through both of them—through the Israelite and into the woman’s body. Then the plague against the Israelites was stopped."

          When did we stop believing that God disciplines those He loves? The modern thought among Christians is that sin was something of the Old Testament and that now days Jesus views it more as an inconvenience that He will tolerate until  He returns and makes all things new; that He will gently persuade someone as long as they want to be persuaded, but that He is a gentleman and will not force His desires and beliefs on us. According to this bunch,  all the punishments of the Old Testament were to atone for their sins, as if God didn't have a choice in the matter. He did love them and that is why Jesus came, so that He wouldn't have to be so harsh and demanding with us anymore. Consider this,

"Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor male prostitutes nor homosexual offenders nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God."

"The acts of the sinful nature are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God."

Jesus has standards. He desires purity. "Be Holy, as I am Holy". Holy doesn't mean perfect, it means set apart for a special purpose. "You adulterous people, don't you know that friendship with the world is hatred toward God? Anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God." and, "He who is not with me is against me, and he who does not gather with me scatters." The hot words of our generation are compromise and tolerance. These words are not in God's vocabulary. I'm not advocating preaching fire and brimstone or aggressiveness towards the world. This message, this language, is against those who call themselves Christians and live as if they were apart of this world. Remember Jesus words,

"I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other! So, because you are lukewarm--neither hot nor cold--I am about to spit you out of my mouth."

Did you see the word He used there? "I know your..." Not faith. Not beliefs. Deeds! How you act. These worldly Christians argue for mercy and say that Jesus doesn't hold their sin against them. But that is not what His mercy is for. When Jesus completed and did away with the Old Covenant He didn't leave it at that. He established a new one. Which means He does something for you and you do something for Him. Will He accept us at the judgement throne if we live worldly lives? No. He will tell us, "I never knew you!" Does this mean He will give up on us if we turn our backs on Him while still alive? Never! "If we are faithless, he will remain faithful, for he cannot disown himself." So what does He do? He disciplines. "For anyone who eats and drinks without recognizing the body of the Lord eats and drinks judgment on himself..."

Is this eternal judgement? The final Judgement?

"...That is why many among you are weak and sick, and a number of you have fallen asleep."

If you sin against Him under the New Covenant He may strike you physically or He may even kill you to keep you from poisoning the rest of the fellowship and dishonoring His name. Or He may discipline you verbally through another believer like He did Peter through Paul.

"When I saw that they were not acting in line with the truth of the gospel, I said to Peter in front of them all, "You are a Jew, yet you live like a Gentile and not like a Jew. How is it, then, that you force Gentiles to follow Jewish customs?"

So what should we do about the unfaithful among us? We were commanded in this respect as well,

"If your brother sins against you, go and show him his fault, just between the two of you. If he listens to you, you have won your brother over. But if he will not listen, take one or two others along, so that 'every matter may be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses.' If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church; and if he refuses to listen even to the church, treat him as you would a pagan or a tax collector."

This is clear in it's command. Confront sin, rebuke your brothers and sisters in love, if they will not listen and change their ways put them out of your fellowship and treat them with hostility as you would someone who worships Satan or another false god because if they will not submit to Christ that is what they are. He demands purity and submission. It is not optional.

How strict should we be about this? How strongly should we hold to this? This brings us back to the passage that I opened with. Take a minute and go read the 25th chapter of Numbers, it's exciting. No censuses or genealogies, I promise. So here we have the Israelites gathered together as an assembly. They have just heard directly from God regarding their most recent sin and have been given a direct command. Moses and the elders are before the Tent of Meeting weeping and repenting when this guy walks right by them chatting it up with a prostitute. Not Moses, not Aaron, not Eleazar, but Phinehas gets up and says, "No way, this stops right here, right now, today." He then proceeds to follow the guy into his tent carrying a spear. And while the guy is on top of his hired lady friend he drives the spear through both of them. This appeases Jesus and then the plague lifts. It wasn't the Israelites gathering together that made His anger pass. It wasn't their repentance or contrite hearts. It was action. So what is the mercy that Jesus bartered for us for? For ignorance and immaturity. "Anyone, then, who knows the good he ought to do and doesn't do it, sins." If you didn't know any better or are new and weak, there is mercy. If you have been told or are a seasoned believer, there will not be mercy.

But this is not only about eternal consequences, it has application to the here and now. A day is coming when the Antichrist will be revealed and I believe it to be soon, certainly in my life time. He is not going to be obvious. He is going to be the best "wolf in sheep's clothing". We must be diligent and not allow impurity and compromise to be among us. "Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour." And devour us He will. If you think you are too strong or too wise to be deceived or devoured you make the greatest mistake in confrontation; underestimating you enemy. What makes a wall safe and secure? A strong foundation and quality construction. If we allow impurity in the materials or poor workmanship in the things that make up our life we will not be able to stand in the day of trouble. He will divide us and pit us against one another. And He will conquer us. And will there be mercy if the master comes and finds us defeated?

"But now he has reconciled you by Christ’s physical body through death to present you holy in his sight, without blemish and free from accusation— IF you continue in your faith, established and firm, not moved from the hope held out in the gospel."

Feel free to comment or ask questions!