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Archive for December, 2013

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2013 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 29,000 times in 2013. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 11 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

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Do not forget my law, But let your heart keep my commands; For length of days and long life And peace they will add to you. Let not mercy and truth forsake you; Bind them around your neck, Write them on the tablet of your heart, And so find favor and high esteem In the sight of God and man — Proverbs 3:1-4

There is no sense in rehashing all that’s been said regarding the Duck philDynasty, Phil Robertson, and A&E debate. If by some chance you don’t know what the fuss is all about, just Google the last half of the previous sentence and you’ll be up to date. What I wanted to address is how this event is going to effect your faith walk. In other words, what can we as followers of Jesus Christ glean from our brother Phil? I believe the answer to that question is found in the following sentence, spoken by Phil Robertson in a recent prayer.

“I will not give or back off from my path because you conquered death, Father, so we are not worried about all the repercussions.” 

I’d like to share with you what I took away from this historical event (yes, I said historical) and of course, preface my remarks (as Phil did), with the Word of God.

Boldness

Since we have such hope, we use great boldness of speech — 2 Corinthians 3:12

Anyone can be bold. Boldness is a unique trait in that it requires fuel to function. What is fueling your boldness? Is it arrogance, anger, or hatred? They can fuel boldness, but when they do they manifest themselves in ugly ways, such as ‘Westboro Baptist‘ rallies that only succeed in spewing the very things that sustain them: arrogance, anger, and hatred.

Not so with Phil’s example. His boldness is fueled by his hope in Christ. Oh not a worldly version of hope; the wishing for and yearning, without certainty or assurance of getting that which you ‘hoped’ for. No, a Christian’s hope is much different. It can be described as a strong and confident expectation. We know, based on the past performance of our Lord and Savior, that He will faithfully provide everything He has promised. Jesus isn’t our insurance policy, He’s our assurance, positively.

Shame-less-ness

For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes — Romans 1:16

Phil is quite obviously not ashamed of Jesus Christ or his faith. This is apparent because he openly shares about Jesus on a regular basis. There are no apologies either, because there is this recognition that when Biblical truth is shared, there exists the opportunity for salvation. Phil would likely remind us that saving a man’s soul trumps everything else.

Truth

Sanctify them by Your truth. Your word is truth — John 17:17

Bible truth will always be perfect, proper, and pure. Some folks might not agree that the Bible is truth, but that does not negate the fact that it is. Jesus said that He is truth and that obedience to truth is the only way that leads to life everlasting. When Christians share the truth, we don’t do so to win debates, but to win souls. For this reason we must leave our opinions at home and rely solely on the Word of God, lest we muddy the waters.

Humility 

For I say, through the grace given to me, to everyone who is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think soberly, as God has dealt to each one a measure of faith — Romans 12:3

Obedient Christianity cannot operate effectively in arrogance. Anyone who took Phil’s comments to be arrogant surely took them out of the context of love and lowliness he presented them.  For this reason, knowing the Gospel message and sharing our testimonies are vital. The Word mirrors God’s love and our witness reflects servility.

Love

Let all that you do be done in love — 1 Corinthians 16:14

If we hated those who hate Jesus, Christians would remain quiet, but it’s because we love that we boldly share the truth. We view communication as an expression of love and silence as the language of hate. Silence is also cowardly; if we hated sinners, we would not subject ourselves to ridicule, insults, and exclusion. We love because Jesus first loved us to salvation; we were hopelessly lost when Jesus reached out His scarred hand to us. We were dead in our sins and Christ’s work on the cross revived us. It’s our desire to share, not shatter.

Revival

If My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land — 2 Chronicles 7:14

Here’s the sad truth: the Body of Jesus Christ, His church, has by in large fallen asleep. Don’t get me wrong, there are thousands of Christians across this great land of ours who are boldly, shamelessly, lovingly, and humbly sharing the Gospel message. But friends, there are literally millions of people in America who claim Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior who sit idly by. In love, I question their allegiance.

Consider that on September 11th, many souls were aroused and we gathered in the public square professing Christ’s name, crying out to Jesus in our anguish, but we soon relapsed. Since then we have witnessed hurricanes, wars, mass-shootings, and bombings that have brought us back to our knees, but again, when there were signs of recovery, we fell back.

We properly rallied around Hobby Lobby and Chick-Fil-A, buying many knickknacks and chicken sandwiches in support, but yet again we slumbered. Now today, God has allowed yet another event to occur that has caught our attention. In peculiar fashion, American Christians everywhere have become part of reality TV when we opted to stand with Phil Robertson and his right to speak openly about Jesus Christ and all things Biblical, but where will we be standing next week?

Are we poised to fall away once again or this time will we put a death-grip on our revival? Will we embrace boldness and love or return to complacency and compromise? How soon will we forget that thousands of souls are being lost everyday and that God has positioned each of us to make a difference. I submit to you that this is the biggest thing we can take away from the Duck master episode.

Be ye revived!

Therefore He says: “Awake, you who sleep, Arise from the dead, And Christ will give you light.” Ephesians 5:14

I pray you enjoyed the blog. Please share it, like it, subscribe to it, or leave a comment (but please remember to be civil with your remarks or I will delete them).

 

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Confess your trespasses to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much… Brethren, if anyone among you wanders from the truth, and someone turns him back,  let him know that he who turns a sinner from the error of his way will save a soul from death and cover a multitude of sins.” (James 5:16, 19-20)

A while back I had an opportunity to share the Gospel with a stranger at the train station. We were chatting nicely, but as I began to share a bit of my testimony, I noticed her countenance change from cheerful to irritable.

“What’s the matter?” I asked.

“I know you,” she said angrily.

Ugh

As it turns out she did know me, and I knew her. It left me with only one option: I had to confess my sin to her. Essentially I informed her that the person she once knew was the old Dave and that he was no longer with us. I was in fact a new creation in Christ Jesus, submitted to His sanctification process. She wasn’t buying it at first, and frankly, I’m not sure she ever did, but nevertheless her smile did eventually return and I was able to finish our discussion on a positive and truthful note.

“Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; all things are become new.” 2 Corinthians 5:17 

The truth of the matter is that had I not disclosed these things to her, she most likely would have not allowed me to continue; she would have rightly deduced that I was the same old person she knew way back when. This woman would not have been interested in any good-thing I was involved with had she concluded I was still clinging to my old ways.  She had a right to know what I knew: that what I had done was wrong and that I had repented. She was not required to believe me, but I was required to tell her.

You then, my child, be strengthened by the grace that is in Christ Jesus, and what you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses entrust to faithful men who will be able to teach others also. Share in suffering as a good soldier of Christ Jesus. 2 Timothy 2:1-3

All of which leads me to the focus of today’s blog.

Nelson Mandela

nelsonWe can all agree I’m no Nelson Mandela, but can we agree, for the sake of the Gospel, he owed us an explanation? Using the example of my sin soiling my witness, does it not stand to reason that Nelson Mandela’s transgressions, while having a much larger platform, sullied his? I contend that they do. I further believe that Nelson Mandela owed us his testimony. He either came to understand that his pre-incarceration methodology was errant or he didn’t. And even if we put aside the terrorism, murder, and mayhem allegations that preceded his arrest, I need to know how he went about justifying the legalization of murdering babies in the womb after he became president. It matters not that God used him to bring about freedom in South Africa. Lest we forget, God, for His good purposes, once caused a donkey to talk.

Mandela-Phobic 

I want to be clear: I don’t hate Nelson Mandela. What I am saying is that because of his failure to be forthright with his previous enterprises, the man is not worthy of emulation or elevation. While it is true that we can suppose that he repented, I for one needed to hear it from the man himself; his position and status in the world demanded it. Nelson Mandela needed to share with the world how he got right with God, rather than lead us to assume he did. If he did not repent, he is not a role-model. If he did, the world would be a better place, for God’s sake, had he told us. For those who would say the world is a better place, there are approximately a million aborted people (in the Republic of South Africa) who might disagree, if given the chance. Again, I’m not saying I hate the man, nor am I even suggesting he was not a born-again believer. I’m merely saying the man blew his witness — his silence screamed, “It’s none of your business.”

It’s none of your business.”

From a worldly perspective, I suppose that a man’s business is private. After all, what transpires between man and God is personal. However, I assert that if that man wants to be effectively used by God, he must also be transparent in his walk with God. Our relationships with Jesus are personal ones, not private ones. This includes confession to others when confession to others is wise and prudent. I am keenly aware that had I chosen not to be truthful with the woman in the train station, it would have been right for her to exit.

Disagree?

That’s fine. But as Christians we must be prepared to defend the stances we have taken. In other words, if you laud Mandela for his anti-racism/apartheid efforts in South Africa, you will likely be called to justify his other less-than-popular deeds. And if you [rightly] say that you don’t agree with his other atrocities, then you’re left holding a shiny lump of gold atop a pile of feculent matter. Had he only confessed and repented, we could have set all this repugnant baggage aside.

Maybe he did.

I hope he did.

We’ll never know.

These are the things you shall do:
Speak each man the truth to his neighbor;
Give judgment in your gates for truth, justice, and peace

Zechariah 8:16 

*You may or not agree with my remarks. If you wish to leave a comment, please refrain from being cruel or abusive. I do respond to every remark. Contextual Bible verses are always welcome additions.

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