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aaaaaa10) You might be in sin if you regularly find yourself saying that what you like to do is not sinful.

9) You might be in sin if you regularly find yourself saying the Bible is wrong on many issues, especially the issue you regularly say is not sinful.

8) You might be in sin if you regularly find yourself saying the people who point out sin are legalists, pharisees, fundies, or hypocrites.

7) You might be in sin if you regularly seek out people who prefer and/or agree with the same ‘questionable’ things that you do.

6) You might be in sin if you regularly point out the sins of others.

5) You might be in sin if you regularly say that ‘regardless’ of your behavior, Jesus loved sinners and hung out with them.

4) You might be in sin if you regularly misquote Bible verses about judging others.

3) You might be in sin if you regularly say that you’re not hurting anyone else.

2) You might be in sin if you regularly hear a still, small voice telling you what you’re doing is sinful.

1) You might be in sin if you respond to this post with an excuse I didn’t think of.

Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!  (Isaiah 5:20)

Avengers of Wrath

“Let every soul be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and the authorities that exist are appointed by God.” (Romans 13:1)

As per chapter 13 of the Book of Romans, God appoints governing authorities for a specific purpose. Here it is: “For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to evil. Do you want to be unafraid of the authority? Do what is good, and you will have praise from the same. For he is God’s minister to you for good. But if you do evil, be afraid; for he does not bear the sword in vain; for he is God’s minister, an avenger to execute wrath on him who practices evil.” (Romans 13:3-4)

But if you do evil, be afraid

In theory, those who are appointed by God to these authoritative positions, be they police officers or Presidents of the United States, are Obama Face Palm-240x180to be ministers of God’s goodness, but this is not their only calling. They are also avengers (those who take vengeance), called to execute wrath (strong and fierce punishment) on those who do evil, for the sake of God’s righteousness and for those who abide by His laws. Never should they condone evil practices or suggest that those who long for justice are ignorantly riding their horses highly.

But Wait!

Didn’t God say, “Vengeance is Mine!” Is there not coming a day when God will pour out His wrath on an unrepentant world?

Yes, these things are true, but clearly, as the Romans 13 text demonstrates, God does not expect (or require) that the law-abiding world stand idly by while satanic-driven terrorism floods our streets. Prior to proclaiming [that] vengeance belongs to God, the Scripture maintains that whenever possible we’re to live peaceably with all men and to not exact punishment ourselves – God has appointed governments to exact certain punishments. The ultimate vengeance that belongs to God alone concludes with condemnation. Men and governments have no such authority, but neither must we wait to douse the fires of those who desire to set us ablaze. We are free to eliminate them and then trust God to judge them and us accordingly.

Meanwhile…

With God’s help, we’re to love and pray for those folks who do evil, remembering that Jesus took their sins to the cross, as well as ours. If they’re not aware of that Good News, then it’s our duty to tell them, if and when God affords us the opportunity to do so.

Hold Them Accountable

Don’t be fooled into believing that our only option is to be found in the voting booth. In America, the authorities that govern us (appointed by God) have also provided us many liberties. Let us boldly utilize them, while never forgetting to pray for the leadership of this country and also how God would use us.

Frankly, our leadership is not effectively doing the job God appointed them to do. The Romans passage quoted above tells us that ‘if you do evil,’ you should be afraid of the governing authorities. When I look around the world today, I don’t believe anyone looks at our president with fear. Based on his words and actions they may in fact see him as an ally or a sympathizer. This should not be and it’s okay to say so.

In this light, it’s okay to vocalize our concerns and to pray for these problems to be rectified. All of this certainly, and yes Biblically, falls into the category of submission to authority. So pray for salvation for those who may need it and also for Holy Spirit revival for those who need that. Pray for obedient boldness for those [who] God may be calling to leadership positions and that others may step down for their failure to uphold the tenets of their offices.

Hope

Our ultimate hope is in Jesus Christ, but let us also be good stewards of the goods and governments He has provided. Let no one neglect them as they wait for Christ’s return.

“Jesus taught peace, love and forgiveness. He came to give His life for the sins of mankind, not to take life. Muhammad on the contrary was a warrior and killed many innocent people. True followers of Christ emulate Christ — true followers of Muhammad emulate Muhammad.”

Franklin Graham

This Thread We Walk

Behold, when we come into the land, thou shalt bind this line of scarlet thread in the window which thou didst let us down by: and thou shalt bring thy father, and thy mother, and thy brethren, and all thy father’s household, home unto thee. Joshua 2:18

threadThe world is enormous and it is wicked, and her ruler is the evil one, but through it all there runs a scarlet thread. And while it is true that Christians are not of this world, it is upon, yes upon this fine and delicate thread we trek.

All the paths of the LORD are mercy and truth unto such as keep his covenant and his testimonies. Psalm 27:10

For certain this thread is fine, but only in the sense that it is elegant, beautiful, and splendid. It is not paltry, gaunt, or slender. It is only a person’s posture and position that could create such an illusion, imaging ourselves larger than actuality, and being of a distance whereby large things appear small. If this thread seems slight, it’s our vantage point that is askew — we stand afar off thinking we are bigger than we are.

The secret of the LORD is with them that fear him. Psalm 27:14a

Nor is it delicate; it is of the strongest something men will ever know. It cannot be stretched, twisted, or broken. It is immoveable. Neither is it a tightrope whereby we must acquire great agility and balance. It is, as we move closer (acknowledging our smaller stature), an able path, not so broad we lose sight of its borders. It is the thread we tread, narrow yes, but a safe and trustworthy thoroughfare where if we stumble there is no risk of falling off, and where we’ll always find a helping hand to get us back upon our feet. Of course if we desire to exit, it is our choice.

Mine eyes are ever toward the LORD; for he shall pluck my feet out of the net. Psalm 27:15

This passage, this scarlet thread, runs through everything we encounter. In the good times it might seem wide and in bad times it may appear slim, but before these occasions we know nothing about it has changed. This route, this path, this Way is of the Lord and all who travel it will make it safely home.

For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light. Matthew 11:30

It is also upon this thread we are changed. As we begin to move forward upon it we have a strong sense of its difficulty. Others along the way are perceiving the same thing, and they endorse the sensation. It’s not unusual to hear someone say, “Well you know God said in this life there will be trials and tribulations!” This is so true, but it does not (and will never) contradict what Jesus said.

If the word’s of our Lord and Savior our true (His yoke is easy and His burden is light) and we’re not in agreement, then something is wrong with us: we’re walking in our flesh and not by His Spirit. Understand, this errant sensation is supposed to happen. It’s within this occurrence (and upon this path) that Jesus is allowing us to see the weakness of our flesh and simultaneously the strength of the Holy Spirit. So if we sense this walk of faith is difficult and burdensome, that’s great news! Jesus is letting us know that our flesh is still in control. Let us stop saying how hard the walk is and start thanking God for the changes He is making in us. The Christian life is not difficult, but walking in the flesh as a Christian is.

I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.  And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good,and acceptable, and perfect, will of God. Romans 12:1-2

The LORD is righteous in all his ways, and holy in all his works…The LORD standeth up to plead, and standeth to judge the people. (Psalm 145:17, Isaiah 3:13)

bbRelax

The title of the blog is a hoax, but let me ask you — what if it were true? Would you have an opinion regarding this judge? What if somebody brutally attacked and killed your loved one, and wound up before this same judge, and what if in his ruling he said,

Because the defendant has done a lot of good things in his life, and he said he was really sorry for killing an innocent person, and because I am a loving and forgiving person myself, I find him not guilty.”

We would never condone this behavior from our judiciary, so why do so many of us believe that our Heavenly Judge rules in this manner? Why are there so many people who believe a ‘loving and forgiving’ God would never send anyone to hell. Why do we believe that if we do enough good, we can tip the scales of justice in our favor when we would never stand for it in our society?

Right-ness

If God is perfectly righteous (and He is), He must find every offender guilty. If God makes any exceptions, His perfection goes right out the window. Either our LORD is righteous in all his ways, and holy in all his works, or He is not. In God’s courtroom, sin is always ruled sin and the verdict is “Guilty!” a million times out of a million times.

But Wait!

The same God who stands to judge the people is the same God who stands to plead our case. How can our Judge and our Defender be one and the same? It’s at times like these, when our very lives hang in the balance, we should not ask too many questions or perhaps more accurately, not allow our lack of perception stand in the way of redemption. If there is an opportunity to appear guiltless before the Creator of the universe and sidestep the penalty of sin, than we should lunge towards it and grasp at it with both hands! This is not the time to hold onto the false notion that our good deeds will get us out of this jam or hope the judge is inconsistent.

Jesus stands before the Father and pleads the case for His brothers and sisters, essentially saying, “Your Honor, I have taken their guilt upon My shoulders, I bore it to the cross, and I paid the penalty.” If justice has been served; if there was a guilty plea and the punishment was paid, and if the defendant believes in his Advocate, then the Judge must dismiss the case.

For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. (Romans 6:23)

It’s Not Debatable

“[T]he natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.” (1 Corinthians 2:14)

UNLESS you’re talking to an unsaved soul about salvation (i.e., sin, its consequences, and deliverance brought about by faith in Christ), in most cases it is a frustrating waste of time discussing other unrelated Biblical doctrine. How so? Because the Bible explicitly says that it’s only natural for people ‘void of the Holy Spirit’ to perceive these things as foolishness.

HSHOWEVER, as it pertains to salvation, the Holy Spirit will come along side a person to give them understanding as per their sinful condition and NEED for a Savior.

I SUSPECT that there is somebody, somewhere who came to Christ Jesus after being won over in a debate about Creation or Jonah or Noah, but they’re a unique exception to the rule and I could probably argue that someone else planted and nurtured ‘salvation’ seeds before you came on the scene.

FOR THIS REASON, focus on the Gospel and the message of Salvation through Christ alone. And if your listener wants to debate these other issues, tell them the truth – hand them your Bible and let them read aloud 1 Corinthians 2:14. Then explain to them that no mathematician ever started with trigonometry or calculus, but with basic arithmetic.

The ROMANS ROAD is an excellent Biblical method to explain salvation to a person. As your listener reads each short Bible passage, the Holy Spirit is there to bear light and give understanding. Oh that’s not to say that they might reject or deny the truth, but they will (at least briefly) understand these words as the truth before dismissing them. From this point forward, this seed you plant will either blossom in redemptive glory or grow to haunt them the rest of their lives.

HERE is the Romans Road. Simply highlight the passages in your Bible and get in the habit of having easy access to it all of the time. There’s really not much to memorize – God has done all the work for you! Number the passages and move from one to the next, letting them read the verses. Go through the text asking pointed questions. For example when they read Romans 3:23

For all have sinned , and come short of the glory of God,”

Ask them, “What does the word all mean,” or “What does it mean to fall short?” Don’t forget to mention the Law and how God uses it to show us our sin and need for salvation. With the Holy Spirit present, there’s a great possibility (especially if you got them reading from the Bible), that the conversation will miraculously flow in the direction the Lord desires.

REMEMBER, stay on point. Salvation is the critical issue we want to discuss, everything else will likely just be a distraction. Get in the habit of reeling your audience in, preventing them from taking the discussion down a rabbit trail. In most cases, these are nothing more than premeditated diversions that the listener employees to control the conversation and avoid looking at their own sin. Be a polite listener yourself, but remind them these are weighty issues (recall the math illustration) and one does not commence to undertake them on a collegiate level.

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“My God hath sent his angel, and hath shut the lions’ mouths, that they have not hurt me: forasmuch as before him innocency was found in me; and also before thee, O king, have I done no hurt. Then was the king exceeding glad for him, and commanded that they should take Daniel up out of the den. So Daniel was taken up out of the den, and no manner of hurt was found upon him, because he believed in his God.” Daniel 6:22-23

Everyday approximately 250-300 Christians (on average) are caaamurdered simply because they believe and follow Jesus Christ. I have often wondered why Jesus doesn’t *spare His faithful as He spared Daniel or as He protected Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego in the fiery furnace. Despite occasional bewilderment, to this truth I cling: Jesus saves — He always has and He always will. Daniel could have been eaten alive that day, but he would have still been saved. Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego could have burned, but yet saved.

The reality is that Daniel did eventually die and Jesus spared him again (and permanently this time) from the lion; Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego all died, and again they were spared from the fiery furnace, but this time for eternity. You see, the lion’s den and the fiery furnace, although quite real to Daniel and the boys, is a picture of hell for us; a visual depiction of God’s promise to protect His children. However, for those unrepentant souls who falsely believe they can destroy a Christian, there is no such sparing. For them the lion waits and the furnace burns.

He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him. John 3:36

Rejoice Not

Rejoice not when thine enemy falleth , and let not thine heart be glad when he stumbleth; Proverbs 24:17

As you pray for the persecuted church, pray also for those who persecute. Remember, the Apostle Paul was once a vile persecutor of the brethren, but he turned away from evil, turned to Jesus, and his life was spared. Everyday there are stories of evil men rejecting the gods and tenets of their false religions and being saved when they turn to Jesus Christ. I’m not certain how our prayers fit into the equation, but nevertheless, the Holy Spirit is coming along side these men and convicting them by their own wicked deeds, and they are repenting!

Remember to also pray for how the Lord wants to use you in your religious freedoms, I should add, ‘while you still have them.’ Christian persecution has arrived on the shores of America and has taken root. I say that, to say this: it will never be more easy to share your Christian faith as it is right now, as tomorrow brings more detractors and new deterrents. Do not fear the mouth of the lion or the heat of the furnace, for from these things we have been spared.

I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish , neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand. My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father’s hand. I and my Father are one. John 10:28-30

*Note: Jesus does still occasionally  ‘spare’ his children from earthly atrocities. I remember hearing first hand from a Christian pastor (in India) who himself was tied to a tree to be burned. They piled wood about his feet and doused it with kerosene. When the match was struck and tossed upon the wood, it did not ignite. Match after match, nothing happened. In frustration, they left him tied to the tree with the promise to return in the morning to finish the job. In the middle of the night one of these men, convicted by his evil deeds, returned and cut him loose.

We give thanks to God and the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, praying always for you, Since we heard of your faith in Christ Jesus, and of the love which ye have to all the saints, For the hope which is laid up for you in heaven (Colossians 1:3-5a)


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“Only do not rebel against the Lord, nor fear the people of the land, for they are our bread; their protection has departed from them, and the Lord is with us. Do not fear them.” Numbers 14:9

breadRemember Joshua?

To him, the giants of life were more than obstacles to overcome, they were nourishment for spiritual growth. That narrow path we walk is not a place free of trials and hardship, but rather a place of refinement where adversities are but fuel for our sanctification.

Truly our giants are bread for us!

And Jesus said unto them, I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger ; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst . John 6:35

Of course it was Jesus who said that He is the bread of life — we are sustained eternally when we feed on Him and His word. It could also be rightly said that when our lives are submitted to Christ, we are positioned to be nourished by everything that comes down the pike, be it good or evil. The adage is true: in Jesus everything is either a bless’n or a lesson.

But as for you, ye thought evil against me; but God meant it unto good, to bring to pass, as it is this day, to save much people alive. Genesis 50:20

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