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Very rarely does someone stop in the driveway at Planned Parenthood, roll down the window, and begin a civil conversation. If they do it’s usually to babyshare an expletive, a middle finger, or both.  Today was different.

“I need to explain something to you,” she started, “when you already have five children, and can’t afford to feed them, this (abortion) is your only choice.”

I was polite.

It’s never my intention to shame these mothers because of the poor choice they’re about to make (or have already made), nor do I display pictures of aborted babies in the hopes the gory image will change their minds. I believe if I can reach out with the Gospel message (or at least a small portion of it), the mom might be saved and she will in turn save her own baby.

Her car slowly moved forward as she finished her sentence. No time for the Good News today.

“I’ll adopt your baby,” I said calmly before changing it to a question, “What if I adopted your baby?”

What if I adopted your baby?”

The car stopped abruptly and she looked back through her window. She paused a second, then shook her head and said, “Nope! I don’t want anyone else raising my baby,” as the car inched forward.

I was taken aback that she used the term my baby.

“You’d rather kill it?” I asked, kind of ashamed for calling her baby an it.

Without too much emotion she replied, “Yes, I’d rather have the doctor here kill it then let you have it.”

She pulled into the parking lot and behind the building, completely out of my sight. I couldn’t pursue her because it’s private property and I’m restricted to my little portion of sidewalk out front.

“Jesus loves you,” I called down the driveway. “Jesus has a plan for you and your baby! Please come back and talk to me!”

She didn’t come back.

I left about two hours later and did not see her again.

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And you shall present an offering made by fire as a burnt offering to the Lord: two young bulls, one ram, and seven lambs in their first year. Be sure they are without blemish. Numbers 28:19 

Cream of the Crop 

If the scriptures are true (and they are), if “The earth is the Lord’s, and all its fullness, The world and those who dwell therein,” (Psalm 24:1) and if, “every beast of the forest is (His), And the cattle on a thousand hills,” (Psalm 50:10), and if indeed, “The silver is (His), and the gold is (His),” (Haggai 2:8) why then does God require we bring and sacrifice the best of the best to Him?

There’s a reason 

I touched on this subject a while back and I could not get the notion out of my head — love is the reason God wants these things, or to be more accurate, it’s His love for us. Let’s take a step back and gaze at the picture God has painted that we might better understand.

Consider the Sacrifice

When we view the Old Testament, regardless of the type of sacrifice being presented, God required that it be perfect and without blemish. Perfect? Maybe He doesn’t realize just how hard a request that is. I submit to you that He does know, and that it is precisely the reason He asks for it.

Imagine God said, “I want you to sacrifice to Me a perfect horse without blemish.” So you set about doing what must be done to produce the perfect steed. Finally, after much toil and effort, a fine young colt is produced and it’s offered it to God. God then says to you…

Now, look behind you.”

What do you see?

You’ll likely see the fruit of your God-inspired labor and effort to please Him — a stable full of thoroughbreds! In our obedience to produce one unblemished thing to give to God, He has entrusted to us the abundance (the leftovers if you will) which is the byproduct of hard work. If God had asked for anything less than perfection, our blessing from Him would have been proportionately less. God wants our best effort. He wants us to appreciate worth and the value within the sacrifice.

So we can get the glory?

No, so God gets the glory, lest we think it’s something we accomplished!

His lord said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant; you have been faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things. Enter into the joy of your lord.’ Matthew 25:23

Are you abundantly blessed? Then you likely have obediently positioned yourself to continually please Him; giving back to Him the best He has given you.  The blessed individual understands, at least in part, that love breeds love. He is also keenly aware that he does not deserve any of it.

A Picture of Jesus

It’s also vitally important that we don’t lose sight of this truth: the perfect sacrifice, without spot or blemish, is a picture of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. God has been painting this picture all along that we might know.

Our reality is that we have never been able to offer anything perfect that could appease God and atone for our sin. God demanded perfection and only He could provide it for Himself in Jesus. As we give Christ Jesus our all, the Father once again says to us, “Now, look behind you.”

And Abraham said, “My son, God will provide for Himself the lamb for a burnt offering.” Genesis 22:8

  1. What do these say of God?
  2. What do they say about us?
  3. What’s our recourse?

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But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come: For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good, traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having a form of godliness but denying its power. And from such people turn away! 2 Timothy 3:1-5

The Central Elementary School (part of the Wall Township Public School system, Wall, NJ), had a Lip-Sync Show at the school over the course of two evenings on January 26 and 27, 2012.  I happened to notice the event because someone posted a YouTube video of the school teacher’s lip-sync rendering of Lady Gaga’s ‘Born This Way.’ Of course it was performed for all students (kindergarten through fifth grade) and their parents who were in attendance.

Here are a few selected verses from the song in case you’re not familiar:

It doesn’t matter if you love him, or capital H-I-M
Just put your paws up ’cause you were Born This Way, Baby…
Just love yourself and you’re set…Don’t be a drag – just be a queen
A different lover is not a sin…
No matter gay, straight, or bi, lesbian, transgendered life…
I’m on the right track baby, I was born to survive

Considering the make-up of the audience, I have a problem with this. Who has given permission to our schools to begin advocating sinful life styles to our children?  Was there a vote?  If so, I didn’t receive my sample ballot in the mail. I’m kind of thinking that the schools should go back to teaching English, and mathematics, and history, and leave these moral issues for the parents to deal with.

You say you’re ok with the whole homosexual thing? Please read on — Born this Way barely scratches the surface of what’s wrong here.

The Kid’s Perform

When the ‘Born This Way’ video uploaded on YouTube, I observed down the right side of the webpage a variety of other videos from Central’s 2012 and 2011 lip sync shows. I was shocked to see and hear the perverse songs these young children were singing to. Did they select their own songs to perform to? I kept wondering aloud,

Didn’t anyone at this school think to check these song lyrics before they allowed the kids to perform them?

Here’s a sampling of some of the more offensive lyrics:

From the song, “Dj Got Us Falling In Love”

So we back in the club…
Gonna burn this mother f * * ker down…
So dance, dance, like it’s the last, last night of your life…

Really?  Can you imagine your fourth-grader lip-syncing and gyrating on stage to that? Were the parents squirming in their seats listening to this or were they clapping along oblivious to what their kids were singing.

From the song, “Twist My Hips”

In the club party rock look up on your girl
She on my jock non stop when we in the spot
Booty on the way like she on the block
What the track I gots to know…
I’m runnin through these hoes like drano…
One more shot for us, Another round, Please fill up my cup
Don’t mess around, We just wanna see, You shake it now
Now you wanna be,Your naked now

“I’m runnin through whores like Drano? One more shot for us?” What in God’s name are we teaching our five through ten-year olds?

From the song, “Ice Ice Baby”

I’m killin your brain like a poisonous mushroom…
Girls were hot wearing less than bikinis…
Shay with a guage and Vanilla with a nine (those are guns people)
Gunshots ranged out like a bell
I grabbed my nine — All I heard were shells…
Fallin on the concrete real fast
Jumped in my car, slammed on the gas…
Police on the scene, You know what I mean
They passed me up, confronted all the dope fiends
If there was a problem

That’s wonderful! Let’s glamorize gang life, drugs, and murder. Again folks, this is an elementary school performance by children. Where is the adult supervision?

From the song, “If I Had You”

There’s a thin line between the dark side and the light side,
From New York to LA getting high rock n’ rollin
Get a room trash it up ’til it’s ten in the morning
Girls in stripper heels, boys rolling in Maseratis…
What they need in this world is some love
It’s a fair line between a wild time and a flat line baby tonight
It’s a struggle gotta rumble tryin’ to find it 

In a time when teen suicide is at an all time high, do we really want our pre-teens proclaiming the line, “It’s a fair line between a wild time and a flat line, it’s a struggle…tryin’ to find it.”  I’m quite sure we do not.

From the song, “Let’s Get It Started”

To lose the inhibition, follow your intuition
Free your inner soul and break away from tradition…
Get stupid…
Lose control of body and soul, Get stoned (Come on!)
Let’s get cuckoo…Get messy…Loud and sick…
Your mind past normal on another head trip…
So, come dumb now do not correct it…
Let’s get ignorant
Let’s get hectic

‘Get stupid?’ I believe we have! These lyrics are insane.  Is anybody out there seeing this?

From the song, “Halo”

Remember those walls I built, Well, baby they’re tumbling down
And they didn’t even put up a fight, They didn’t even make up a sound…
I found a way to let you in But I never really had a doubt
Standing in the light of your halo I got my angel now…
It’s like I’ve been awakened Every rule I had you breakin’
It’s the risk that I’m takin’ I ain’t never gonna shut you out…
Everywhere I’m looking now I’m surrounded by your embrace
Baby I can see your halo You know you’re my saving grace…
Think I’m addicted to your light.

Is this the message we want our daughters to hear? Two more songs to go (there were many more YouTube posts from this event that I did not post):

From the song, “The Time”

I came up in here to rock! Light a fire, make it hot!
I don’t wanna take no pictures! I just wanna take some shots!
So come on, let’s go! Let’s lose control!

Let’s do it all night! Until we can do it no more!

Keep on rocking to the sound! Turn it up and watch it pound!
We gon’ rock it to the top, Until the roof come burnin’ down!
Get hot in here! The temperature!
Has got these Ladies! Getting Freakier!

I got freaky, freaky, baby! I was chilling with my Ladies!
I didn’t come to get boogie! I came here to get crazy!
I was born to get wild! That’s my style!
If you didn’t know that, well, baby, now you know now!

Okay, you know what the song is about, right?  If you don’t, ask your ten-year old what it means (she probably learned about it in school).

From the song, “All I Do Is Win”

All I Do is win, win, win, no matter what…
my hands go up and down like strippers booty’s go…
dirty money bitch you better get your mud right…
we come together holding hands and holla thug life…
it’s like thug life…
heat in the Kitchen, pot on the stove,

water getting boiled, dope getting sold…

hit the lick, hit it back,.hit the trick, jump the track

bitch I want my money back…
time and time again while I’m sipping on this gin

Prostitution. Drugs. Gangs. Nice.

I am appalled. Are you?

Mr. Greg Storts, the principal of the Central Elementary School and the Wall Township School Board should stop this atrocious behavior immediately or resign from their posts.

Folks, this kind of activity is going on across this great country of ours and most likely in the majority of our school districts.  It must stop now.  All we need do is look at the moral decay of our children in these last few decades to understand how this whole scenario will ultimately play out.  It’s not getting any better and we have to stop the trend.

Call your school and tell them enough is enough.

Although the public school system is not willing to hear it, I’ll say it anyway: “The solution is salvation found in Christ Jesus alone.” If Jesus is still rejected, then at the very least, some degree of moral decorum must be restored to our schools.

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Should Christians seek to acquire direction and doctrine from non-Christian sources for the purpose of spiritual development, missional advancement, or Church growth and is the practice a violation of God’s will for His children?

I recently observed this quote posted on Facebook by a Christian:

Everything else can wait, but your search for god cannot.  Paramahansa Yogananda

Is that a true and valid statement?

Paramahansa Yogananda as depicted on the cover...

The accuracy of the remark is not the issue. The problem is with Mr. Yogananda. He is not a follower of Jesus Christ; he is a Hindu.  It isn’t that his citation is wisdom-less, but rather that it is tainted beyond usability because of his direct link to a perilously false and deceptive teaching. An unsuspecting public sees this smidgen of wisdom, takes note that it was posted by a Christian, and then falsely assumes that Mr. Yogananda is a valid source of information.

God Says…

In the Bible, God warns us repeatedly to not blend the wisdom of this world with His truth. There is light and there is darkness — there is no gray area.  When we attempt to blur the lines between these two realms, we run the risk of leading people to their destruction.  God has supplied all our needs; we have the Holy Spirit, the Bible, the Church, and qualified Christian leadership. These are the resources for our spiritual growth and this is the tenet that will keep us on the straight and narrow path.

Legalist

If you are a Christian and you don’t agree, then I lovingly ask you…

Have you read your Bible?

The reality is that many believers have fallen prey to seeker-friendly, overtly tolerant, culturally over-adjusted, churches where the Word of God has either been altered, adapted, reformed, or abandoned.

For that reason I’ve listed several Bible verses (NKJV) and cues pertaining directly and indirectly to the issue. If you are one who would disagree on the matter, please take the time to mediate on these words, asking the Holy Spirit for clarification and guidance.

The way of the world often seems right, but it is tainted — that which sustains us is from God alone…

1 John 2:15-17, “Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world–the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life–is not of the Father but is of the world. And the world is passing away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides forever.”

We were once of the world and did as the world did; why would we want to go back…

Ephesians 2:1-3, And you He made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sins, in which you once walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit who now works in the sons of disobedience, among whom also we all once conducted ourselves in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, just as the others.”

The world has their way and we have our Way…

Romans 12:2, “And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.”

When we draw on worldly devices for our spiritual growth, we are at great odds with the Father…

James 4:4-8, “Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Whoever therefore wants to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God. Or do you think that the Scripture says in vain, “The Spirit who dwells in us yearns jealously”? But He gives more grace. Therefore He says: “God resists the proud, But gives grace to the humble.” Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded.”

Abstain from worldly values; Jesus is our provider…

1 Thessalonians 5:22-24, “Abstain from every form of evil. Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you completely; and may your whole spirit, soul, and body be preserved blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. He who calls you is faithful, who also will do it.”

We came out of darkness, why would we think we could garner anything of value there.  God says have no fellowship…

Ephesians 5:6-11, “Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience. Therefore do not be partakers with them. For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light (for the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness, righteousness, and truth), finding out what is acceptable to the Lord. And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather expose them.”

God does not want worldly things and ideas in His house…

John 2:16b, “Take these things away! Do not make My Father’s house a house of merchandise!”

The worldly have rejected God; their techniques are steeped in sin…

Romans 1:28-32, “And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a debased mind, to do those things which are not fitting; being filled with all unrighteousness, sexual immorality, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, evil-mindedness; they are whisperers, backbiters, haters of God, violent, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, undiscerning, untrustworthy, unloving, unforgiving, unmerciful; who, knowing the righteous judgment of God, that those who practice such things are deserving of death, not only do the same but also approve of those who practice them.”

What the world offers seems so good, but the price they will ultimately pay far outweighs their profit…

Psalm 73:3; 16-20, For I was envious of the boastful, when I saw the prosperity of the wicked… When I thought how to understand this, it was too painful for me–Until I went into the sanctuary of God; then I understood their end. Surely You set them in slippery places; You cast them down to destruction. Oh, how they are brought to desolation, as in a moment! They are utterly consumed with terrors.  As a dream when one awakes, So, Lord, when You awake, You shall despise their image.”

The wisdom, understanding, knowledge, and wise counsel we grow by is of God

Proverbs 24:1-6, Do not be envious of evil men, Nor desire to be with them; For their heart devises violence, And their lips talk of troublemaking. Through wisdom a house is built, And by understanding it is established; By knowledge the rooms are filled With all precious and pleasant riches. A wise man is strong, Yes, a man of knowledge increases strength; For by wise counsel you will wage your own war, And in a multitude of counselors there is safety.

Did you know the worldly system hates Christians…

John 15:19-20, “If you were of the world, the world would love its own. Yet because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you. Remember the word that I said to you, ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you. If they kept My word, they will keep yours also.”

The worldly system seems prosperous, but at the end of the day it is vanity…

Colossians 2:8, “Beware lest anyone cheat you through philosophy and empty deceit, according to the tradition of men, according to the basic principles of the world, and not according to Christ.”

We’re not just talking marriage folks…

2 Corinthians 6:14-17, “Do not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers. For what fellowship has righteousness with lawlessness? And what communion has light with darkness? And what accord has Christ with Belial? Or what part has a believer with an unbeliever? And what agreement has the temple of God with idols? For you are the temple of the living God. As God has said: “I will dwell in them And walk among them. I will be their God, And they shall be My people.” Therefore “Come out from among them And be separate, says the Lord. Do not touch what is unclean, And I will receive you.”

We know the where truth is found, let us not cast if off…

Job 28:12-13, 28, “But where can wisdom be found? And where is the place of understanding? Man does not know its value, Nor is it found in the land of the living… ‘Behold, the fear of the Lord, that is wisdom, And to depart from evil is understanding.’ ” 

But Didn’t Jesus Eat with Whores and Tax Collectors?

Yes He did, but take note that He never engaged in their sinful nonsense. His purpose in being amongst the sinners was to give, not to glean. For that reason we have not been called to shun the world, after all, they are our mission field. Not only are we free to shop in their stores, partake of their services, and purchase their wares, we are encouraged to do so. However when it comes to our spiritual growth, we must reject their counsel.

In light of the scripture references, what are you thoughts?

  1. Are you challenged by God’s mandates?
  2. Having read the Bible passages, do you agree or disagree?
  3. Why?

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This is the day the Lord has made; We will rejoice and be glad in it. Psalm 118:24

I am continually using things for purposes other than what they were designed. Hammering a nail with half a brick, cleaning my ears with any sharp object, or my personal favorite — driving my vehicle backwards and slamming on the brakes in order to close the passenger side door or empty the truck bed. It’s no wonder why I have bruised thumbs, infected ears, and dented doors.

Having a Bad Day?

If you are having a bad day, then there is a good chance you’re not using it for what it was intended. Have you ever stopped to consider that God made this day and that He designed it for a very specific purpose? Well He did; and you know what else? He designed you in the same fashion. This day, you, and everything else for that matter, were made by God and for His purpose. Don’t believe it? Check out this verse:

For by Him all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers. All things were created through Him and for Him. Colossians 1:16

So the likelihood of your having a rotten day is magnified if you are working outside of the will of the One who created it. How can any person possibly feel fulfilled if they are striving to please themselves and not the Creator? Show me an individual who only recognizes God as Creator for one hour on Sunday morning and I will show you a despondent and confused person. Fulfilled Christians are those who are seeking to fulfill the will of Christ Jesus.

Consult Your Owner’s Manual

I once ruined a transmission because I towed a camper that was beyond what the vehicle was capable of pulling. I’d like to say that I didn’t read the owners manual, but the sad truth is that I did read it — I just chose to ignore the instruction that it provided.

The Bible tells us all things, including mankind, were made by Christ Jesus and because our Lord is so loving, so faithful, and so providing, that He gave us an owner’s manual, His Word, the Bible. It stands to reason that if we are not running well; if we are hesitating, stalling, or just stuck in park on the side of the road, then we are not following the instruction He has supplied. Smooth performance comes as a result of operating within the Makers mandated (not recommended) specifications.

By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.” John 13:35

We are blessed by God not for our pleasure, but for His.

  1. Are you depressed?
  2. Have you identified the root causes?
  3. Is Jesus Christ your Lord and Savior?
  4. What have you done today to satisfy His will?

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The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge, But fools despise wisdom and instruction. My son, hear the instruction of your father, And do not forsake the law of your mother; For they will be a graceful ornament on your head, And chains about your neck. Proverbs 1:7-9

The year I believe was 1965 and the place was the Fireman’s Fair in Long Branch, New Jersey. The fairgrounds were located near the beach, behind the West End Firehouse on a few acres of land where a tiny strip mall now sits. I was probably about 7 years old. I recall the noise and excitement amid the dozens of extravagantly lit, red and white striped tents that sheltered food stands, clackity carnival wheels, and other assorted games of chance. To my silent displeasure dad ignored most of the canvas commotion; we went to the fair for the rides and maybe, if we were good, a cotton candy – in my family we rarely questioned my father’s decisions. However on this occasion, as we walked past a ring-toss game and the gigantic stuffed animals, I chanced it and asked dad if I could give it a try.

As I expected, dad said no, sternly citing that winning was a near impossible feat to pull-off.

I persisted.

Dad, I know, but I can do it. Please?”

Mom stood by nervously knowing precisely where this exchange was headed as dad repeated his veto, but I knew dad was wrong this time and so again I rolled the dice.

“Please?”

What happened next was pretty ugly, even by 1960 standards, but incredibly dad yielded and plopped down the quarter (I believe) for the bucket of twenty or so, small, red rubber rings. Grabbing the first, I confidently tossed it towards the cases of empty Coke bottles, absolutely positive I would get a ringer on the first throw.

I didn’t.

Twenty more times that stupid ring bounced in every conceivable direction except the one that would have won me a prize. I couldn’t believe it. Surely after twenty attempts, one should have accidently fallen into place. Too embarrassed to look at dad, I stared in total astonishment at the bottles just shaking my crew-cutted, seven year-old, little head.

Dad tried to spare me this indignity the best way he could, but I was relentless. While I accepted the fact that he was more knowledgeable, I believed given an opportunity, I would succeed; I would master what my wise father could not. Alone, I could find satisfaction. Dad lovingly warned and I selfishly ignored.

Our Father Lovingly Warns

And God gave Solomon wisdom and exceedingly great understanding, and largeness of heart like the sand on the seashore. Thus Solomon’s wisdom excelled the wisdom of all the men of the East and all the wisdom of Egypt. For he was wiser than all men… 1 Kings 4:29-31a
Solomon was a Godly man and the wisest on the face of the planet; that is until he neglected God’s counsel and began his private quest for all things worldly. He soon discovered that a thousand women were insufficient. Godless wisdom and knowledge were of no value (Ecc. 1:16). Diverse amusements, pleasures, and alcohol were inadequate (Ecc. 2:1-3). Increased wealth and elaborate hobbies brought little comfort (Ecc. 2:4-6). Pampering himself and lavishly entertaining was futile (Ecc. 2:7-8). Even pouring into his career left him unsatisfied (Ecc. 2:10).

In the end this was Solomon’s assessment:

I hated life because the work that was done under the sun was distressing to me, for all is vanity and grasping for the wind. Ecclesiastes 2:17

Using Solomon as the ultimate example, God graciously warns the rest of us that if the wisest and richest man who ever lived; the best of the best (aside from Jesus) couldn’t do it, neither can we.

We know these things to be true, but yet there seems to linger inside every one of us the notion that given the chance, we could do it better than Solomon or Trump or Gates. God is saying without any equivocation, no we cannot. Without Jesus Christ, no human being can ever be complete or entirely satisfied. Solomon, the poster-boy of worldly achievement tried and failed and in the end he hated it all.

Do I think I can do better than Solomon?

Do I think I can do better than Jesus?

Trust in the Lord with all your heart, And lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He shall direct your paths. Do not be wise in your own eyes; Fear the Lord and depart from evil. It will be health to your flesh, And strength to your bones…My son, do not despise the chastening of the Lord, Nor detest His correction; For whom the Lord loves He corrects, Just as a father the son in whom he delights. Proverbs 3:5-8, 11-12
It’s truly time to accept the fact that Father knows best and it’s our best move to take Jesus at His word.  Oh, He will allow us to try life as a solo-man, but in the end, like Solomon, we will fail.  Like my dad, God would like to spare us that indignity — His yoke is easy and His burden is light.

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“Honor your father and mother,” which is the first commandment with promise: “that it may be well with you and you may live long on the earth.” Ephesians 6:2-3

Is there ever an occasion that a child can disobey a parent? The short answer is yes — if what the parent is demanding is sinful and in direct opposition to the will of God. Having said that, if you believe disobedience is justified, you better be prepared to back-up your act of defiance with sound Biblical doctrine, otherwise you stand to sin twice.

The Stupidity Defense

What if my parents are stupid, or more precisely, what if I’m smarter than my parents; then can I disobey them?

No

There’s a good chance you’re in error, but for the purpose of an illustration, let’s assume that you are smarter than your parents. If that were truly the case, you would be in very good company.

Remember this story?

“Now so it was that after three days they found Him in the temple, sitting in the midst of the teachers, both listening to them and asking them questions. And all who heard Him were astonished at His understanding and answers. So when they saw Him, they were amazed; and His mother said to Him, “Son, why have You done this to us? Look, Your father and I have sought You anxiously.” And He said to them, “Why did you seek Me? Did you not know that I must be about My Father’s business?” But they did not understand the statement which He spoke to them. Then He went down with them and came to Nazareth, and was subject to them, but His mother kept all these things in her heart. And Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and men. Luke 2:46-52

We can all agree that Jesus was smarter than His parents. Therefore, that makes Him the ultimate example as to what we should humbly do if we were to find ourselves in a similar situation.

Jesus actions confounded His parents, but it’s clearly established in the text that Jesus was subject to them. As a result, He increased in wisdom and in stature, thus pleasing both the Father and men. The Father gave us the same promise within the Fifth Commandment. Paul (in the Ephesians passage) teaches it to us and Jesus is the living proof that the Father is true to His word.

Taking the Fifth

All of our earthly institutions, whether they are parental, marital, or governmental, were designed after the Divine, triune, eternal relationship already established in Heaven. When we practice compliance in these spheres, it models obedient submission to the Father. In contrast, if we struggle rebelliously against these institutions, obedience to our Father in Heaven will be a complicated affair. The solution, regardless of age or position, is total submission to God’s will and authority.

Questions:

  • Do you struggle with those given authority over you?
  • Given the Bible texts, what is the solution?
  • What stands between you and the solution?

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(You) should no longer walk as the rest of the Gentiles walk, in the futility of their mind, having their understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God, because of the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart… Ephesians 4:17-18

Futility of the mind – do you remember what that was like? Before we knew Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior there was not much of a point to our lives. We had no purpose, no focus, no direction, and those deceitful lusts that had promised us so much satisfaction, instead brought misery and heartache. Oh, we knew about God, but we were to busy with ourselves. We later discovered that the result of our folly was recorded accurately in the Book of Romans.

“Although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened. Professing to be wise, they became fools…” Romans 1:21

Professors of Foolishness

We seem to have this tendency in our country to honor our fools, regardless if we have turned aside from our foolish ways or not. We hoist them up, applaud their status, and in many instances, without thinking, assimilate their faulty values. To illustrate the point, let us consider for a moment the top-ten professors (arguably) of this age:

Lady Gaga: “It’s more self-worship, I think…I’m teaching people to worship themselves…I felt, and I still feel, that I was sent to this planet from my planet, Planet Goat, to create a ruckus.”

Pastor Joel Osteen: (Answering the question, ‘Is a Mormon a true Christian?’) “Well, in my mind they are…I’m not the one to judge the little details of it.”

Kathy Griffin: “Now, a lot of people come up here and thank Jesus for this award. I want you to know that no one had less to do with this award than Jesus…Jesus, this award is my God now!”

Pastor Benny Hinn: “I’m a super being. Say it! Say it! Who’s a super being? ‘I walk in the realm of the supernatural.’ Say it!…You want to prosper? Money will be falling on you from left, right and centre. God will begin to prosper you, for money always follows righteousness…Say after me, ‘everything I ever want is in me already.’ “

President Obama: “We do not consider ourselves a Christian nation…I believe that there are many paths to the same place, and that is a belief that there is a higher power, a belief that we are connected as a people.”

Pastor Rob Bell: [The Bible is a] “Human product…rather than the product of divine fiat (authoritative decree)…The writers of the Bible had agendas.”

Oprah Winfrey: “If you’re not comfortable with the word God, it doesn’t matter…One of the mistakes that human beings make is believing that there is only one way to live…there are many paths to what you call God…There couldn’t possibly be just one way.”

Paris Hilton: “Jesus loves me, Biff. He really loves me. Isn’t that neat? And not just because I’m rich and I’m hot. He would love me even if I wasn’t rich and hot, thought I don’t know why anybody wouldn’t want to be rich or hot. Or why god would want to love people who aren’t rich or hot.”

Pastor Creflo Dollar: “And then God produced more gods with flesh and then gods with flesh produced more gods with flesh. And then gods with flesh produced more gods with flesh until THE God of gods with flesh showed up one day with flesh and dwelt among the other gods with flesh to demonstrate to the other gods with flesh how to have authority over the flesh! So follow Him! Follow Him! This is our history I’m telling you about! This is the history the religious church wants to hide away from you so you don’t know who you really are!”

Bill Maher: “If I thought the Lord was speaking to me I’d check myself into Bellevue, and I think you should too…The Bible looks like it started out as a game of Mad Libs.

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I am sure you know that this is just the tip of the heretical ice berg and that the Biblical remedy to this nonsense is abstinence; a total rejection of both the fool and the rubbish he or she spews. We must begin to disclaim those who deny Jesus Christ or pervert His name ~ It would help us to remember that they are our mission field, we are not theirs.

As you have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him, rooted and built up in Him and established in the faith, as you have been taught, abounding in it with thanksgiving. Beware lest anyone cheat you through philosophy and empty deceit, according to the tradition of men, according to the basic principles of the world, and not according to Christ. Colossians 2:6-8

Questions:

  1. Are you trying to live in two worlds?
  2. What are the dangers of entertaining opposed philosophies?
  3. Are you submitted to Jesus and His teachings?

Blessed are the pure in heart, For they shall see God… Create in me a clean heart, O God, And renew a steadfast spirit within me. Matthew 5:8 + Psalm 51:10

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…May (God) give to you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him, the eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that you may know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints… Ephesians 1:17-18

An Abundant Life?

What is the hope of His calling? What are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints? It was Paul’s desire that the saints would see deeper into God’s will so that we might know true prosperity and the primary purpose behind it.

Sadly, far too many Christians believe that God’s blessings are entirely evident in their amassed possessions, thus they’ve become about as discerning as a three-year old choosing between an ice cream cone and a savings bond. Regardless of value, they opt for immediate satisfaction every time. They lack the spiritual capacity to see the bigger picture and are unable to appropriately distinguish between temporary and eternal.

For everyone to whom much is given, from him much will be required; and to whom much has been committed, of him they will ask the more. Luke 12:48b

Those who cling to prosperity are not prosperous; they are idol worshipers. The Father would have us know that an abundant life is realized when we understand that our inheritance is found in Christ and not in earthly treasures that He allows us to possess for a season. These things are of God, but they are not designed as rewards for our faith – prosperity is the means by which we can bring honor, glory, and praise to Jesus.

Consider This Lady

Her worth is far above rubies. The heart of her husband safely trusts her; So he will have no lack of gain. She does him good and not evil All the days of her life. She seeks wool and flax, And willingly works with her hands. She is like the merchant ships, She brings her food from afar. She also rises while it is yet night, And provides food for her household, And a portion for her maidservants. She considers a field and buys it; From her profits she plants a vineyard. She girds herself with strength, And strengthens her arms. She perceives that her merchandise is good, And her lamp does not go out by night. She stretches out her hands to the distaff, And her hand holds the spindle. She extends her hand to the poor, Yes, she reaches out her hands to the needy. She is not afraid of snow for her household, For all her household is clothed with scarlet. She makes tapestry for herself; Her clothing is fine linen and purple. Her husband is known in the gates, When he sits among the elders of the land. She makes linen garments and sells them, And supplies sashes for the merchants. Strength and honor are her clothing; She shall rejoice in time to come. She opens her mouth with wisdom, And on her tongue is the law of kindness. She watches over the ways of her household, And does not eat the bread of idleness. Her children rise up and call her blessed; Her husband also, and he praises her:”Many daughters have done well, But you excel them all.” Charm is deceitful and beauty is passing, But a woman who fears the Lord, she shall be praised. Give her of the fruit of her hands, And let her own works praise her in the gates. Proverbs 31:10b-31

The virtuous wife is a heavenly portrait of prosperity with a purpose and an example for every believer. She has received the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him. Her eyes have been enlightened. She knows the hope of His calling and the riches of the glory of His inheritance. She doesn’t give more than she gets, she gives as she gets and therefore lacks nothing. She’s submitted and obedient to Jesus.

Meditate

Read Proverbs 31 again and note the action(s) that follow the word ‘she.’

  1. Who is her provider?
  2. Who is her motivation?
  3. What are her expectations?

I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me. Galatians 2:20

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Stand fast therefore in the liberty by which Christ has made us free,

and do not be entangled again with a yoke of bondage.

Galatians 5:1

It’s the law!

Imagine if it were the law, that when you met a young man or woman and became ‘serious’ you must write love letters, you must hold hands, or you must buy flowers. It certainly is an inane concept isn’t it? It’s silly because when you fall in love with a person these types of things come naturally — they do not need to be legislated.

Love Does More

This is essentially Paul’s message to the church.

We are free of mandatory rites and rituals of religion; we are free because love does more than legalism. Legalism (just so we’re on the same page) is that doctrine that says, Salvation is by faith in Jesus Christ ~and~ something else.”

There is no something else.

It’s just faith in Jesus Christ. If anyone adds the word ‘and’ after the sentence, “Salvation is by faith in Jesus Christ, ” run away. Jesus proclaimed that He finished the work on the cross.

It stands to reason that if legalism can drain the passion out of an earthly relationship, it will consume a spiritual one as well. All we need do is examine the church to see all the depleted souls who have given up on Christ because of man’s imposition of religious duty. This ought not to be.

Faith in Christ Jesus on its own will result in free display of passion; enthusiasm, zeal, and love. They cannot be legislated.

If that statement is true, why then do we see flocks of faithful people, those who had routinely declared, “It’s not a religion; it’s a relationship,” walking away from the church?  It’s no wonder why legalists felt it necessary to impose rules and regulations as an aide to salvation.  In that slim, sliver of light, legalism is an admirable, albeit misguided, gesture.

What’s the Answer?

Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Amen. Matthew 28:19-20

Focus.

The reality is that many seemingly faithful people leave the church because they have not been properly discipled. In far too many instances they don’t even know what the word faith means!  Webster’s 1828 dictionary defines the word in this manner:
Evangelical, justifying, or saving faith, is the assent (obedience) of the mind to the truth of divine revelation, on the authority of God‘s testimony, accompanied with a cordial (sincere) assent of the will or approbation of the heart; an entire confidence or trust in God’s character and declarations, and in the character and doctrines of Christ, with an unreserved surrender of the will to his guidance, and dependence on his merits for salvation. In other words, that firm belief of God’s testimony, and of the truth of the gospel, which influences the will, and leads to an entire reliance on Christ for salvation.”
Chances are if a person struggles with a definition that implies belief, submission, and obedience to God, they probably won’t stay in church very long. Then there are others who remain, but choose to redefine the Christian vocabulary to meet their own desires.  As a result we have always had false teachers who impose their liberal and concocted interpretations on the unschooled, which is all the more reason why Christians must be discipled in the Word, the Way, and the truth of God.
The properly discipled believer will gratefully subject himself to the authority of Jesus Christ — simply put: rules and regulations are not necessary.

Bashing Religion

Never!

Although I used the words religion and religious in a negative context, I am not bashing those institutions. I savor the components of religion (prayer, worship, communion, baptism, marriage, etc), for these are the things I get to do. I do not consider them the things I must do.

Nor do I worship the components — I worship Jesus!

For me, religion is the word that defines the elements of my faith that can bring me into a closer relationship with the Lord. In that context, being religious is not the horrible thing that some believers have made it out to be.

I willingly confess, “I am religious!”

I pray religiously, I study the word religiously, I go to church religiously, I partake of Communion religiously, but I only worship, honor, serve, and obey my Lord and Savior.

And not only that, but we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ,

through whom we have now received the reconciliation.

Romans 5:11

How about you?

  1. Are you a victim of legalism and/or religion?
  2. Are you faithful in the truest sense of the word?
  3. Are you allowing yourself to be discipled in God’s word?

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