Wednesday, October 31, 2012

You Can Do Whatever You Want

You can choose to believe what you want. You can choose to believe that certain things of the Bible are cultural, no longer relevant and that God's love will win out in the end so that everyone will be saved. You can believe what was considered sin in the past is no longer sin today and that what was important is no longer important. You can believe these things but it doesn't make it right.

You can do whatever you want. For the most part society has thrown off the restrictive teaching of the Church and does whatever it sees fit. Forget society, the same attitude is found in the Church. Everyone wants to live the life they choose and they do not want to be judged for it.

There are Christians who will argue to my face that homosexuality is permitted by God. I visit their tumblr and find it filled with profanity, half-nude pictures and things that fly in the face of God's holiness. They are desperately seeking but never finding. There is no judgement in my heart or thoughts, only sorrow, because their tumblr is also filled with hurt, loneliness, fear, depression. All these things that Jesus saves us from but they have cut off the rescuer and have decided to do what they feel is right. The Church is filling up with these people but is no help to them.

The Church needs help. She does not need help or direction from the world or those lost in the world. She needs help from her source of existence, the Holy Spirit. She needs a cleansing, purifying, renewing moment with the Groom. She needs to remember that she is the Bride and stop prostituting herself.

We are a very intelligent people. God created us well. We can learn great things, build great things, achieve great things. We can honestly pretty well do what we want to do, whatever we put our mind to do. But that doesn't mean we should. We can build a church on our own strength. We can create powerful religions. We can start charities, climb mountains, fly to the moon. 

We can choose whatever path we want to in this life. We can become whatever we want to be. We can do whatever we want to do. We can carry the name Christian while we do it. We can convince ourselves of anything while we do it. We can do terrible things out of desperation and excuse it. It is amazing how the human mind and heart will distort values, truths and reality to preserve our psyche. But it still does not make it right.

We have certain freedoms in God's grace but it doesn't mean we should exercise them. God is very patient but it doesn't mean we should test his patience. We need to remember that even in this freedom we desire to be controlled by the Spirit. Yes, I said controlled. I need to be controlled because I do not trust my heart or mind. I don't trust my human nature. I don't trust my perception. I want to be controlled by the Spirit so I don't fill my life with emptiness but instead with the glory of Jesus.

The Spirit tells us this:

“Everything is permissible for me”—but not everything is beneficial. “Everything is permissible for me”—but I will not be mastered by anything. “Food for the stomach and the stomach for food”—but God will destroy them both. The body is not meant for sexual immorality, but for the Lord,and the Lord for the body. (1 Corinthians 6:12-13)

There is absolute truth and it is not found in the thoughts of man. Yes, you can do what you want but not everything you do is beneficial. You can think what you want but not everything is truth. You can shape God however you want but it doesn't mean that idol you have created is God. We use to shape gods out of stone, wood, silver and gold. Now we shape gods out of words, thoughts and ideas. There's no difference, they are still not God.

If you face loneliness, depression, and feelings of being lost there is an answer. Set aside your idols and discover the real Jesus. You will discover the real meaning of what he meant when he said, "If the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed". Everything is permissible for me ( a lie from the enemy) but not everything is beneficial. Too many things in your life are poison to your soul. Discover the healer, the great lover of your soul.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Being Tossed About By Empty Words Is Far More Dangerous Than the Winds Of A Hurricane

It's just words. It's just a book. It's just a movie. It's just a show.

Words are never innocent. They are not benign. They are never without power and effect. Just the opposite. Words melt hearts, change minds, bring peace and cause wars. Words plant ideas, thoughts, deep rebellions, spark revolutions. Words deserve respect, fear and measuring.

As followers of Jesus we must understand that everything we subject ourselves to has an effect on us. If we are aware of that then we can always be on our guard against those things that would try to separate us from Jesus. If we are not aware then we could become victims of words just like Eve.

It doesn't mean we don't listen. I hope we are stronger in our faith than that. But as you listen weigh the words that are spoken. Undress the ideas presented and examine their validity against the Word of God. We have nothing to fear from words unless we accept the wisdom of man to be of greater worth than God's.

There is the crux of the matter: We must be centered on the Word of God, with a sure foundation of solid faith beneath our feet. We must get the Word of God in, have a good healthy understanding of his wisdom, as well as a great revelation of his love and plan. Without it we will be mugged by every "brilliant" thought and idea presented to us.

Paul warned the Ephesians and the Spirit warns us:

Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of such things God’s wrath comes on those who are disobedient. Therefore do not be partners with them. (Ephesians 5:6-7)

When Jesus is left out of them and the wisdom of God set aside from them, words become empty of any value. We are told not to be partners with them. If it is not supported by the Word of God we must not allow those words to plant themselves in us, rejecting and denying them for the sake of God's truth. There are a lot of people being deceived because they study the empty words of man over the wisdom of God. They call themselves Christian for a time but their fruit speaks the truth.

We only have a short time here to serve our Lord and to become spiritually mature. We don't have time to waste on empty words that produce nothing but death. You have to choose wisely what you read, watch and listen to. Too many of us waste too much time on music that entertains but that does not edify. We waste hours on scrolling through social media that numbs our mind and distracts us from our purpose. We never have time to study the Word but we have plenty of time to waste on television, internet, music, games, FaceBook and tumblr.

What are we doing?

Who do we belong to?

What are we filling our head with?

Our pursuit in life should be to gain greater spiritual maturity. You are not going to achieve that watching "The Big Bang Theory". Our desire should be to increase in our revelation of Jesus' love. That's not going to happen listening to "Lady Gaga". Our purpose should be to reveal Jesus to every person lost in this sick, dying, and very dark world. But that's not going to happen as long as you are lost in the world of "Fifty Shades Of Grey". Don't be entertained by the darkness and allow it to seed it's empty words into your heart. Instead, bring the Light to the darkness. Make a real difference. Make an eternal difference. Weigh those words. Measure them against Jesus. Seek maturity:

Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of men in their deceitful scheming. (Ephesians 4:14)

Monday, October 29, 2012

Changing The Culture Of The Church

Today I am responding to my blog from yesterday. I wrote about the need to be honest with our God about the secret sins we tuck away. We need to develop a healthy attitude toward confession and repentance. It is the only manner in which to rob sin of it's hold over us; to bring it out of the darkness and expose it to the light of God. Sin no longer has authority over us, unless we give it authority. But for this attitude of confession and forgiveness to happen things have to change in the North American Church.

What would happen in your church if a leader confessed they had fallen? Would they be removed from their responsibility? Perhaps told to leave the church? Would everyone look at them differently? Would they be thought less of? Probably some if not all of the above, right?

Perhaps in your church it depends on the sin. For some reason we have categories of sin, as if some are worse than others. Jesus said all but one sin is forgiven, even blasphemy against him. The only sin that is not forgiven is the sin against the Spirit which is the rejection of the Spirit's conviction of salvation. Does this not mean that our churches should be centers of forgiveness? Should we not have a natural culture of forgiveness? Should our churches not be centers of restoration and recovery?

Why would anyone want to risk dragging their sin out into the light of God's love when the Church is ready to crucify anyone with any signs of imperfection? We have seen it time and again when pastors have been forced to keep their sins hidden, giving authority to that sin over their life, dragging them even deeper into it's ugliness. Imagine how quick the recovery would have been if they were able to confess that fall at the beginning so that healing and restoration could happen quickly.

The only sin that should be dealt with harshly is the sin held by an unrepentant heart. When sin is discovered and the one responsible refuses to acknowledge it, refuses to repent of it, refuses to humble himself before God, it must be dealt with harshly for the sake of the one who smells of death. The elders have the responsibility of trying to restore this lost soul, but if that person refuses then they have no choice but to remove that person, as hard as it may be. But this is the exception and not the rule.

Sin is devastating and if we give it authority then it can be powerful. It's greatest power is found in our fear of being exposed. But God knows our weakness. He already knows us. It is not like we are exposing ourself to God but instead we are exposing the sin so we can see it compared to God's glory. As we expose it we discover it for what it is. It is not as sweet as it seemed in the dark. In fact we realize how wretched, ugly and pathetic it is when exposed to the light. We want churches that make it easy for people to do this, in a culture of love and forgiveness.

Bullies pick on those whose weaknesses are exposed in order to keep attention off of their own weaknesses. The Church is full of bullies who would rather live a pretend life, looking down their noses at the honest sinner who only wants to have a real relationship with Jesus. These people were known as Pharisees in Jesus' day and the Church is full of them today. Repent you Pharisees and you too can find freedom in your confession. Bring it into the light. Let it be exposed.

For the sake of us all, the current culture of the North American Church must be changed so that forgiveness and love flow for everyone, regardless of their position. We have to stop acting so pious.  We are all just one decision away from sinning. Without Jesus we are all weak and pathetic. We all face the same dangers. Understand then that God will judge what secret things remain hidden in the dark places of our heart so let us make sure that everyone feels welcomed and encouraged to expose every inch of it to the light of God. Forgive as you have been forgiven.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Are You A Pretender?

There is more to Christianity than just words. There is more to it than just attending Church. There is more to it than being born to parents who are Christians. There is more to it than traditions and ceremonies. Anyone can claim to be whatever they want to be. I can claim to be a doctor. I can buy a white lab coat and carry around a stethoscope. I can read all the latest medical news on the internet. I can speak the right words and sound like a doctor. I can even carry some Tylenol in my pocket. But these things do not make me a doctor any more than claiming to be a Christian, doing the right things, saying the right words and going to church makes me a Christian.

This was Paul's concern with the Ephesians and the Spirit's concern with us. To be a Christian means to die and be raised to new life in Jesus. That means the old us is gone and replaced by the transformed and transforming us. Christianity means a totally transforming re-birth. Some people may try to fake it and may even fool a lot of people but they can't fool God. Understand this clearly: You may fool parents, friends and even your spouse but you cannot and will not fool God. Perhaps you get away with it right now but when it is time to enter eternity the truth will be known.

Let me ask you, what is more important, eighty or ninety years in this dying world or eternity with the one who loves us?

This is what Paul wrote to the Christians of Ephesus, not the people of the world:

For of this you can be sure: No immoral, impure or greedy person—such a man is an idolater—has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God. (Ephesians 5:5)

We read this as if it is a message for the world but is a truth for the Church, the Body of Christ. There will be no pretenders in the Kingdom of God.

We are not talking about those who are sincere in their faith and love for Jesus but instead of those who secretly live behind closed doors with sin. Sin can be hidden from man's eyes but not from God. Those who are sincere in their love gladly confess when they fall and trust God's love to provide the grace to cover those sins. We should not fall but if we do we don't hide it, we deal with it. Consider the great king David. God loved him because of his heart for him.

David was far from perfect and wasn't even the greatest king of Israel, The Word says the king Hezekiah was greater than any king before him and after. But David was sincere in his love and when he sinned he repented. Even if God had to draw it out of him through the words of a prophet, David responded from his love for God. This is what our Father wants from us; honesty, sincerity, faith, trust and love.

Our Father has no interest in punishing people. Did he not send his Son to save the world? But just because he does not want to judge the sins of the world does not mean he won't. He is a just God who had delayed justice for the age of grace to save as many as would desire to be saved by love. But justice is coming, even for those who worship him with their lips but their hearts remain hard and closed to him.

Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them. (Ephesians 5:11)

Again, not about the world but about us. He is not talking about exposing the evil in this world but the evil we have tucked away in our heart. Confess it to God, bring it into the light so you can see it clearly for what it is, and allow the holiness of our God to destroy the power that thing has over you. Be free from the secret things that dominant you and allow the love of Jesus to reign freely. It is time for some honesty with our God who knows all things. It is time for our hearts to be fully devoted to our King. It is time to stop pretending and deal with it. Deal with it today.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

These Are Improper For God's Holy Children

I have preached it hundreds of times and I will continue to push it: The Church is not about conformity but transformation. We preach too many sermons that resemble self-help, self-empowerment seminars. Christianity is not about positive thinking. It is not even about possibility thinking. It is not about conforming to a certain set of principles and rules. It is a difficult thing for some people because Christianity is about the transforming love of God forming us into the image of the Son. It is about a force other than self-will re-birthing us into something new.

Wherever we find lists of what we are not to be and what we are to be as followers of Jesus we need to see them as road signs. It is reminding us that if we see these things in our lives that we know something is wrong in our relationship with Jesus. For instance, we read this in Ephesians 5:

But among you there must not be even a hint of sexual immorality, or of any kind of impurity, or of greed, because these are improper for God’s holy people. (v. 3)

I appreciate how Paul states this so simply: Because these are improper for God's holy people. If you find these things in your life there is a problem in the relationship. The power of God's transformation has been blocked and we have allowed sin to take the throne again. Without Jesus we have no power of our own to refuse the authority of these things over us, but with Jesus we have been freed from such authority and have the power to reject such things from our life. Emphasis here on the authority of Jesus.

You can try to stop sinning all you want, you can approach it from will power, and self-determination, but the only thing that prevents sin is when we allow the character of Jesus to assume the throne of our being. As the character of Jesus replaces our character, as the power of the Spirit permeates our every fibre, as the love of God becomes the motivation of everything we do, things change:

Nor should there be obscenity, foolish talk or coarse joking, which are out of place, but rather thanksgiving. (v. 4)

What once belonged to our sin nature is evicted in favour of the character of Jesus. Thanksgiving should be the theme of everyday and it is, when we allow Jesus to be our everything. If we hold anything back we are giving a foothold for our old nature to get back in. Our part in the transformation is to permit it to happen, to surrender every day to God's will, to daily die to ourself, seeking the control of the Spirit. Seriously, the only thing that should matter to us every day is Jesus and our obedience to him.

We live in an age where people excuse away what is "improper" for God's "holy" people. We see double-mindedness, hearts that are divided, and a lot of carnal attitudes. Sexual immorality is accepted in the Church under the pressure of society. Let's be clear on this, sex outside of marriage is not acceptable among God's holy people, neither is homosexuality nor anything else that is birthed from the self-centeredness of sin. People can lie to themselves all they want, they can harden their hearts to the conviction of the Spirit but the sign posts are there for a reason. If you have any part in these things you have no part in Jesus.

The fact remains, when we live a surrendered life to the glory of Jesus the transformation process continues. We are a new creation. The old has gone; the new has come. We have thrown off the old garment and have been clothed in the new. We no longer think and act like those who belong to the darkness but instead are now possessed by the mind of Christ. We need to remember this because as we work with the Father in the rescue of the lost, the power of sin continues to call to us, selfish attitudes creep in, sin threatens to overwhelm. We must, at all times, keep our eyes on Jesus and surrender ourselves daily to his authority and power. We do not control ourselves but instead allow the Spirit of God to control us. We are the holy children of God, given to the transforming power of God, not the conformity of man.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Genuine Imitations

Be careful, the values, priorities and patterns of our society do not belong to us and must not be part of us. Just because it is accepted in society does not mean it is accepted by our Holy God. There is real danger here. It seems that originality and individualism are highly prized in our society, even though most people conform to the image of society. We however do not desire to be an original; we want to be imitators, but not of society:

Be imitators of God, therefore, as dearly loved children. (Ephesians 5:1)

You know that attitude, when children are of the age of seeing mom and dad as their heroes. That is when their greatest aspiration is to be just like dad or just like mom. As followers of Jesus that attitude must remain our desire, to be imitators of God.

We are dearly loved children and our Father has given us an example to follow. He gave us Jesus as the first born, the one who opened the door for us, set the path, showed us how it is done. Along with that we have the Spirit who is transforming us into the likeness of Jesus. There is no other measuring rod for us. We do not compare ourselves to society, successful people, even heroes of the faith. There is only one example we follow and it is Jesus, our big brother, friend, Saviour, Lord and King. Let the world mock us and call us names but Jesus is our hero and our desire is to be just like him.

His is example is based on one foundation and we have a lifetime to search the height, breadth and depth of the matter, not just to understand it but to live it:

Be imitators of God, therefore, as dearly loved children and live a life of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God. (Ephesians 5:1-2)

Love is the foundation of all of creation and of our lives. I don`t know how people miss this message in the Word of God. The example we follow, the power that transforms, the life we are to live is that of Jesus' love. Not our love because it is too pathetic in nature to be of any use; it has to be Jesus`love. This love is sacrificial and fragrant.

Quick, look at your life before you notice yourself looking. Quick glance! What do you see? Is it a life of sacrificial love or something ugly and pathetic? I am not saying you are pathetic but what we try to be becomes pathetic in nature because we try to live for God in our love and strength. If we could do it ourselves Jesus would not have had to die. We have to live his love. We have to be transformed by his love, made new, different eyes to see, different priorities to live. We must be permeated by that love which calls us into action and provokes us to serve God beyond our pain and circumstances.

Here is your test to see if you love Jesus: Do you do what he has told you to do? Do you obey?

Here is your test to see if you love people: Do you consider them more important than yourself?

A Christian life is not weak or pathetic, controlled by poverty or circumstances. A Christian life is not clouded by struggles and personal opinions. A Christian life is powerful in love, joy, peace and hope. A Christian life is filled with the powerful sacrificial love that changes every situation and life it touches. Powerful I say!

Be imitators of God: live a life of love. This should be the desire of our heart as we serve Jesus every second of our life, living for his glory by sacrificing our lives for others, investing into them the love of our Lord Jesus Christ. Anything else makes us cheap imitations. I don't know about you but after living my life here, I don't want to have to explain to Jesus why I only had a cheap life, with a cheap faith and a cheap love. I want to be as rich in my love as Jesus is because I want to be lust like him.

I am not there yet, but it is my desire to be. So every day I surrender my will, my heart, my mind, my strength to Jesus so that he may live through me. And as he does, I am changed and made more like him. Anything less will not do. My friends, are you genuine imitations?

Thursday, October 25, 2012

You Are Beautiful

Do you have any idea how beautiful you are? I mean, you are drop dead gorgeous. It has nothing to do with your face or your body shape, as fine as those may be, and everything to do with the Jesus in you. When you are controlled by the Spirit of God all the beauty of Jesus is seen in you and you stand head and shoulders above everyone else in this world. Because this is our goal, to allow Jesus to be seen in us, we have to be careful that we do not allow the pattern of the world to diminish that light.

What I mean by this is that we cannot allow the goals, agenda and attitude of this world to superimpose itself on our life. We cannot allow the negative to impact the positive and we cannot allow the dark to diminish the light. It should be the opposite. The more we grow in Jesus the more the positive impacts the negative and the more the light gives chase to the dark. Negative thoughts and emotions must no longer find a place to root in us. After all, darkness plays no part in the brilliance of light.

Consider for a moment what should not be found in the life of a beautiful child of God:

Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. (Ephesians 4:31)

Again, this is not given as a self-improvement list but instead as a road marker. If these negative things are found in you there is a problem in your relationship with Jesus. I find here the most dangerous of these to be bitterness and malice. These two can fool us into thinking we are okay. They can lay buried in us for a long time and surface when we least expect them to. The whole world can think we are nice people but instead we are plotting our revenge and evil intent toward others.

How many times do we hear in the news "but he was such a nice neighbour"; "he was a quiet guy, wouldn't hurt a fly"; "he was very nice, generous, always willing to lend a hand". That is until the malice in him overflowed into some horrible act of violence. There is a lot of darkness in people, hidden but active. It is why the world needs Jesus. But those of us with Jesus have to make sure that we are not allowing any of these negative seeds to take root. We have to make sure these things are not lying beneath the surface while we put on a good act.

If any of these things come near us we have to allow the light to chase them out, to expose them. When they are exposed and we see them we need to deal with them. And how do we deal with them? By allowing all the goodness of Jesus to wash them away:

Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you. (Ephesians 4:32)

The big thing here is forgiveness. There is nothing more beautiful and powerful than a forgiving person. Forgiveness prevents bitterness and malice from taking root. Forgiveness cuts off rage, anger, brawling and slander before they can mature into action. Forgiveness is never an option when a person has been changed in the revelation of God's love. To be frank with you: If forgiveness is not an easy thing for you you don't know Jesus. Jesus made it plain, forgiveness is a priority. He said that if you do not forgive, you will not be forgiven. He didn't say it just once but many times.

The way to get rid of ugliness is to allow the beauty to increase in you. When the ugliness is revealed in you allow the beauty of Jesus to overwhelm it. When negative thoughts and emotions come knocking allow the love of Jesus to turn them away. Allow the forgiveness you have been shown to de-root all bitterness and malice. If there is stuff that has deep roots, confess it, talk about it, expose it to the light of God and allow the Spirit to dig it out. You are beautiful, don't let anything rob you of that beauty.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

How To Tell If You Are Going Deaf

Can you imagine how hard it must be to be deaf? Well, most of us are; that is, deaf to God. When is the last time you heard from him? We Christians live as if God gave us a book of instructions and left us on our own, like a parent leaving a detailed list of do's and don't s and then disappearing for the rest of our lives. Our God doesn't roll like that.

Jesus didn't tell us to go and then just leave us. He told us to go and promised to be with us until the end of the age. He said he had to return to the Father so that he could send us the Spirit, and that is the part we keep forgetting. While here in the flesh Jesus could only be in one place with one small group of people. When he left he sent the Spirit so he could be with each and everyone of us, giving us direction and power to live for his glory.

Why do we ignore this fact? Why do we live as if we are on our own? Why can't we read in the Word when we are told to live by the Spirit? Jesus warned us that we could say what we want about him but never to say any thing against the Spirit:

And so I tell you, every sin and blasphemy will be forgiven men, but the blasphemy against the Spirit will not be forgiven. Anyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven, but anyone who speaks against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven, either in this age or in the age to come. (Matthew 12:31-32)

Please note, these are Jesus' words. The apostle Paul, that great man of the Spirit of God, through whom much of the Spirit has been revealed to us, simply said:

And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. (Ephesians 4:30)

How does one grieve the Holy Spirit of God? By not listening and, doing what we want instead of what he leads us to do. We are grieving him, living as if we are deaf to him. We don't quiet ourselves to listen for his instructions, we just do what we think is best. We shout over his voice in a world filled with noise. We dismiss the convictions he puts on us and we slowly train ourselves not to hear him any more. We have become deaf to God.

For those who say that the Spirit is only given as a deposit guaranteeing what is to come and he has no other purpose than this, I want you to consider a couple of scriptures:

Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good. (1 Corinthians 12)

I consider 1 Corinthians 12 one of the greatest insights into the Church and how we are to live in the Spirit. Each of us is empowered by the Spirit to do our part, to live for the glory of Jesus.

You, however, are controlled not by the sinful nature but by the Spirit, if the Spirit of God lives in you. And if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Christ. (Romans 8:9)

Obviously we are not on our own and we don't get to do whatever we think is best. We are to be controlled by the Spirit.

If we really want to live for the glory of Jesus we need to start giving the Spirit the authority that is rightfully his in our lives. We have to stop living as if we are on our own following a book if instructions. We have to submit ourselves and accept the fact that we need the Spirit to teach us the real revelation of the Word and to live according to his power and not our flesh. We need a real move of the Holy Spirit again, to ignite God's children in the power he intended us to have in the Spirit. Stop training yourself to be deaf and start listening.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

How Is Your Mouth Doing?

So, between us, how's your mouth doing? I know, surrounded by what we are surrounded with, it's hard sometimes not to add colourful words to our vocabulary. I tell my kids that to choose to use such vulgar language shows a lack of imagination and vocabulary. But there are worse things than a poor choice of vocabulary that comes out of our mouth. Words are mean, destructive and powerful if misused and abused. It is amazing what a terrible force of evil our words can be, spoken, sung or written.

Words are like seeds. Once released they can never be taken back; they are never forgotten. They plant themselves in hearts and minds. There they grow into other things, changing people, sometimes igniting wars:

Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths ... (Ephesians 4:29)

People read that and think like we have talked about here, that it is about crude and vulgar language. Yes, the use of such words hurt and disturb but there is a greater unwholesome talk. There is the talk that tears down and destroys people. There is the spreading of nasty rumours. There is the name calling and labelling. There is the finger pointing and false accusations. There is the complaining and rebellious words spoken in hatred. Yes indeed, there are a lot of words of hate spoken throughout the day. All of this and more is what is unwholesome. Consider what Jesus explained:

What goes into a man’s mouth does not make him ‘unclean,’ but what comes out of his mouth, that is what makes him ‘unclean.’ (Matthew 15:11)

What is coming out of our mouth that reveals the hidden secrets and condition of our heart? We are showing more of ourselves than what we release. I knew that much even as a kid. I was always quiet and was very picky who I spoke with because I did not want to reveal too much of myself. Our words are a window into our heart. But now that Jesus is the occupier of that heart I can't talk enough. I want my heart to be seen so people can see Jesus. That's why the words I use must be a reflection of my King:

Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. (Ephesians 4:29)

The words that come out of our mouth should be words that are useful, important and used for the benefit of others. Words worth speaking are those that encourage and build people up. Our words should defend those who are defenceless, cover those who need forgiveness, comfort those who are in need of  comfort, love those who are loveless. There are seeds that will continue to grow and bear fruit long after we are gone when they are birthed from the love of Jesus.

Our vocabulary is very important and should be a vocabulary of love. You know I am not talking about romance but a selflessness as is revealed in 1 Corinthians 13. Most of you who read this are people of words, of expression, of deep thought. Then consider well your words, whether they are wholesome, and whether they are of benefit to be spoken. There is a reason why our mother's told us "If you have nothing good to say don't say anything at all". But we who are of Christ always have something good to say in every situation, because of his love. Speak well today my friends.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Do Something Useful With Your Hands

What is your perspective on work? Is it a necessary evil? Something that has to be done just so you can afford some things in life, like food? I remember as a teen I thought books were the essentials in life. Forget food, clothes and shelter, it was books that sustained us. I remember sitting in a barber's chair one day and thinking that all I wanted in life was to get a small job that gave me enough money to pay for food, rent and books. My plan was to live alone and read all day long, except for when I had to work. But there is more to working than just a means to afford the essentials of life.

In Paul's address to the Ephesians, as he was explaining what it is to live as children of the Light, he told them this:

He who has been stealing must steal no longer, but must work, doing something useful with his own hands, that he may have something to share with those in need. (Ephesians 4:28)

There was a saying around where I grew up, "A good day's work will make an honest man out of you". It's more like an honest man will do a good day's work. Work is something we were created to do. When Adam was put in the Garden it wasn't to lay around all day, he was there to work:

The Lord God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it. (Genesis 2:15)

We never do well when we spend all our days reading, watching TV, or filling our hours with video games, FaceBook and Tumblr. It always does our spirit good when there is work for our hands to do. It is essential for us as followers of Jesus because the Spirit prompts us to be generous. It is not just about having provision for our family but it allows us to give to those in need.

Perhaps we have forgotten that this is a natural thing when we are living in the Spirit. The first Christians lived as if everything was in common. What was mine was yours and vice versa. People would sell off pieces of land to help those who were in need. After the great persecution in the Church in Jerusalem most of the Christians fled and spread out. Those who were left behind were facing difficult times as they were considered like lepers. So Paul took up a great collection among all the cities with congregations to benefit those left in Jerusalem.

So when we work it should not be with the thought that it is for ourself. We would do much better if we can see ourselves working for the Lord so we can contribute to the Church and to those who are in need. We need to provide for the Church so the Church can look after the widows and orphans. We need to work so we can be generous and share with those in need. There is purpose in keeping our hands busy. It goes beyond 10%, a tithe to a full giving, where everything we have belongs to God.

We need to work, it is only natural. We need to give, it is only natural. We need to work so that we can give, it is who we are in Jesus. There is greater purpose in our work than just providing for ourself and our family. As followers of Jesus, the essentials in life include generosity.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Weapons Against Discouragement

Discouragement is powerful, deceptive and common among God's children. We should ask ourselves why it is so common. Considering who our God is and what he has done, is doing and will do for us, discouragement should never come near our door. We should be able to hear his message to Joshua as a personal reminder to us:

Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged,for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go. (Joshua 1:9)

I find that we often read this as "Have I not commanded you TO be strong and courageous," but we need to read it as "Have I not commanded you? SO be strong and courageous". Joshua, it is me, the Creator of all things who has told you to do these things. Because it is me you can have boldness and confidence. Because it is me who told you to do this you are operating in my authority so be strong and courageous. If you allow yourself to be terrified or discouraged you are showing the world you have no trust and confidence that I am who I say I am.

Joshua's confidence was never found in the pitiful army that was Israel but instead in the fact that the Creator of all things was with him wherever he went. This was the same confidence Moses had. When God threatened not to go with them to the Promised Land, Moses told God he may as well kill him there on the spot because it would be useless to go without God.

I think we too easily forget who our God is and who is really in charge of this world. I think we too easily forget the promises given us and who we are in Jesus. I think we too easily forget that we were told what faith is and that it is required in order to see God. I wish you could be with me this morning as I encourage my congregation with the Word of God but I want to give you a snap shot of why discouragement comes knocking on our door and what we are to do about it. In a nutshell:

The enemy loves to discourage us with doubt and fear:
     - with Eve in the garden "Surely God did not say ..."
     - with mighty king Saul, who hid amongst the baggage at his inauguration
     - with prophet Elijah, who hid out in a cave because he was afraid and discouraged
It's more common than we realize but we have been given tools to combat this thing that threatens to suck the life out of us.

1. Remember what God has done for you:

Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. (Romans 8:1)

2. Remember we are a new creation and we are different from this world:

Those who live according to the sinful nature have their minds set on what that nature desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires. (Romans 8:5)

3. We are no longer controlled by what we were but instead by what we have become:

You, however, are controlled not by the sinful nature but by the Spirit, if the Spirit of God lives in you. And if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Christ. (Romans 8:9)

4. Remember that God addresses us as his children:

For you did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again to fear, but you received the Spirit of sonship. And by him we cry, “Abba, Father.” The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children. (Romans 8:15-16)

4. We have a different perspective on this place and our lives in it. We don`t live for ourselves any more:

I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us. (Romans 8:18)

5. We are never left on our own, and even when we don`t know what to say it is already being said for us:

In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express. And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints in accordance with God’s will. (Romans 8:26-27)

And from this foundation we have powerful scripture that should rip the victory right out of the grasp of that spirit of discouragement and send him back to the pit from which he came. Here they are. Write them down. Better yet, memorize them and use them against any dark spirits that would try to trip you up:

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. (Romans 8:28)

If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things? (Romans 8:31-32) 

No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. (Romans 8:37)

If you really want to give discouragement a good kick in the butt pray through the entire Romans 8 and see what the Spirit does for your spirit. Sometimes facing discouragement can be a good thing as we are reminded who our God is and who we are in him. But we have a choice in discouragement. We can stay there and die under the weight of it or we can get up and remind ourselves of the glory of our God:

Why are you downcast, O my soul?
    Why so disturbed within me?
Put your hope in God,
    for I will yet praise him,
    my Savior and my God. (Psalm 42:5-6)

Choose wisely today my friend. It is not about who you are and what you are doing but instead it is all about who God is and what he is doing through you.Who has commanded you? Where is your confidence found?

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Giving The Devil A Foothold

When you live with clutter and garbage long enough you stop seeing it. It simply becomes part of your life. Have you noticed that we are failing to live by the standard Jesus set for us? Of course not. We have lived with it for so long we have stopped seeing it. Jesus' teachings:

You have heard that it was said to the people long ago, ‘Do not murder, and anyone who murders will be subject to judgment.’ But I tell you that anyone who is angry with his brother will be subject to judgment. (Matthew 5:21-22)

You have heard that it was said, ‘Do not commit adultery.’ But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart. (Matthew 5:27-28)

Just two quick thoughts. Look at them again. How far below this standard are we living? I am not talking about self-improvement here. I am not suggesting we have it in ourselves to live this standard but with Jesus in us we have been given the freedom of choice, been given the power to live this standard. We are no longer slaves to sin. We now have the power to say no. We have the ability to choose Jesus over temptation.

Some would argue "grace" but we have become grace abusers. We have been called to holiness and have been warned not to use grace as an excuse to sin. The problem is that we have been living with it so long we don't even notice it. We don't notice the bitter and angry heart. We don't notice the mean words we speak. We don't notice the hateful and lustful thoughts we have.

In Ephesians 4 Paul warns us, "do not give the devil a foothold", but we do all the time. Every time we allow a wrong thought to build a nest we are inviting the enemy in. Every time we choose not to reject a thought but instead to mull if over we are inviting temptation.

It is natural to feel anger with someone when something is done against you but the love and grace of Jesus is our standard and quickly overcome that moment. However, it is when we decide to hold on to that thought, to go over that moment again and again in our thinking, that we invite the enemy in. He makes sure that our thoughts turn into hatred which is an ugly thing in a Christian. Our immediate response to anger in us should be forgiveness born of love.

It is natural to admire the beauty of a person, which hopefully goes deeper than the skin, but the love of Jesus is our standard and provokes respect in us. However, it is when you concentrate on the physical aspect of a person and start imagining things that you invite the enemy in and he makes sure that these thoughts lead to other things. Once you give lust a foothold it becomes a very destructive force in your life.

Actually examine and pay attention to Jesus' teachings and you will soon discover that God is not concerned about appearances as much as the condition of our heart. Our inner condition is what he came to transform and Jesus warned us that it is by our fruit that we are known. Not a surface thing that we do in conforming to a set of standards, but the fruit that is produced by the standard we become due to the transformation of Jesus in us. But we have a choice. We can still slip back to what we were simply by giving the devil a foothold, by not rejecting those thoughts that do not belong to a disciple of Jesus. Before Jesus we had no power to reject such things but with Jesus we possess the power to do exactly that; reject.

We have to stop living with the garbage and the clutter we are failing to see. Ask the Spirit to open your eyes to your real condition and then surrender it all to Jesus. Ask the Spirit to show you the various footholds in your life that you have given the devil, and surrender them to Jesus. He set before us a standard to measure ourselves against so we will know whether we are living a surrendered life or a selfish one. It's about the heart. It has always been about the heart. Make sure it belongs to Jesus and nothing or no one else.

Friday, October 19, 2012

In Your Anger Do Not Sin

I used to be a very angry man. When I was young I would slam doors, punch walls and throw things as an expression of that anger. Many people who know me now would never believe that about me, would never have suspected. I used to be very passionate in my anger and it was wrong. The Lord had to save me from that passion, and he did. Some would say that I am a very patient man now but I see it more as a man who has learned to trust the King who changed me.

It is not that I am void of anger, I have only learned that I am not the center of the universe. Consider it for a moment: What causes us to become angry? Is it not when we consider that someone has wronged us, when someone has trampled on us or on something we love or when they steal something away from us? This is an opportunity to show yourself to be a disciple of Jesus, possessed by his peace and here to serve others. Consider what Jesus taught:

- love your enemies
- do good to those who hate you
- bless those who curse you
- pray for those who mistreat you
- If someone strikes you on one cheek, turn to him the other also.
- If someone takes your cloak, do not stop him from taking your tunic.
- If anyone takes what belongs to you, do not demand it back. (Luke 6:27-30)

Of course the only way to have such an impossible attitude is to experience the love of Jesus. There is no way we can find it in our humanism to live such an attitude with no resentment without a great revelation of God`s love. Jesus taught this:

If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? Even ‘sinners’ love those who love them. And if you do good to those who are good to you, what credit is that to you? Even ‘sinners’ do that. And if you lend to those from whom you expect repayment, what credit is that to you? Even ‘sinners’ lend to ‘sinners,’ expecting to be repaid in full. But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back. Then your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High, because he is kind to the ungrateful and wicked. (Luke 6:32-35)

Again, impossible without the revelation and possession of God`s love. Quite radical even in this enlightened age we live in. Most people are charitable but they are not willing to be abused for that charity. Most people love those who are kind to them but they still hold grudges and seek vengeance.  Most people look for justice and hope to profit from someone else`s hurtful actions. Essentially we are a very angry society because we are a very selfish society, stumbling around in the dark, trying to survive with no consideration of the true light Jesus brings to us and is to us.

Paul wrote to the Ephesians:

“In your anger do not sin”: Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, and do not give the devil a foothold. (Ephesians 4:26-27)

He is quoting Psalm 4 here. The passage reads:

In your anger do not sin;
    when you are on your beds,
    search your hearts and be silent. 
Offer right sacrifices
    and trust in the Lord. (Psalm 4:4-5)

The secret to having control over your anger is the last part; have a right relationship with God and trust Jesus. Trust that he uses all things for your good. Trust that he is looking out for you. Trust that you can leave all your personal concerns in his hands while you are busy with the Kingdom's work. Trust and consider others more important than yourself. Consider that Jesus set aside all his personal interests and self-preservation and laid down his life for you. He in turn tells you to love others in this same manner.

If you are truly passionate about Jesus then there is no room in your heart  for self-centered anger. Vengeance is mine says the Lord. He is a just God which means we really need to pray for our enemy, that they would come to know Jesus before they come face to face with our just God. If you are a true disciple of Jesus you will obey his teachings. If you truly love him, you will do what he has commanded. With love, true love, self-sacrificing love, there is no room for selfish anger.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Have Nothing To Do With Lies

Truth. We think we want it but when it presents itself we hate it. We think we want to know it but we really don't. We would rather our version of truth. We would rather reality be what we perceive it to be. We would rather twist truth into something that matches the desire of our heart. We would rather it be something that doesn't have a cost attached to it.

We can't handle the truth. There aren't many sources of truth. There aren't many versions. Truth is not abstract. True is absolute. And what the world can't stand is that truth has one name:

"I am the way and the truth and the life". - Jesus the Christ (John 14:6)

Do you have any idea how many times Jesus is quoted as saying, "I tell you the truth ..."? Look it up.

It is Jesus who said, "If you hold to my teachings, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free." (John 8:31-32)

Truth is not found in the limited philosophy and knowledge of man. It is not even in our laws of "do" and "do not". We have a system that tried to make it a level playing field for everyone but there is no truth in it. There is no equality in our system, as hard as we try to believe there is. But there is a level playing field in Jesus. There is equality in Jesus. There is always equality in truth. There is freedom in truth. Freedom in Jesus.

We must hold to the teaching of Jesus Christ. We must do what he did. We must walk in his path. When we walk in the light we become children of the light. When we walk in the truth we become children of truth and no falsehood can be found in us. We cannot be of Jesus and speak lies. We cannot lie.

Then you will know the truth and the truth will set you free. From the bonds of sin. From the life of lies. There can be no falsehood in a child of God.

"Therefore each of you must put off falsehood and speak truthfully to his neighbour, for we are all members of one body." (Ephesians 4:25)

What does it matter that we are all members of one body, the Church? The Church must be the safest place in all the world to bring light to the dark; to reveal falsehood and lies by the truth. The Church is a place of repentance and forgiveness. It is not a place where we accept and tolerate sin but it is a place where sinners find freedom in truth and forgiveness in love. What is truth? We were all sinners. We all have fallen short of the glory of God. While we were still sinners Jesus died for us. Jesus set us free from the bondage of the dark, the bondage of sin, the bondage of lies.

Let's not speak about what we have done to the Church, what we have turned her into but instead let us bring healing to her by speaking the truth of what she is in the Spirit. Let us speak truth to the Church so she will be free from the bonds of man's religious thinking, from fear and judgement, from condemnation and death. Let's live this truth:

"So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed." (John 8:36)

Let us allow the Son to throw off the bonds of the lies that keep us from our destiny. Let us speak the truth to one another in love. Let freedom reign in our hearts, minds and Church. Let truth purify our lips. Let us throw away every word and deed that belongs to the darkness. Let us walk in the light, the truth which is Jesus and let us serve this dying world in love.

Truth: His name is Jesus.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

It's All Or Nothing

You can't serve two masters. You can't be double-minded. You can't have a divided heart. It is either all or nothing.

There is nothing "normal" to being a follower of Jesus Christ. There is nothing about it that the world can accept and reconcile it's thinking toward the Church. Jesus was totally radical in everything he did which was contrary to the heart of man. Love your enemy? Pray for those who persecute you? Those who are last will be first and the first last? Those who try to hold on to their life will lose it but those who give it up will save it? Deny yourself, take up your cross, and follow him? If you are luke warm he will spit you out?

This is not the foundation of some new humanity make over. It is not some new world order. It is the Kingdom of God in the hearts of man. It is the visible outward sign of an incredible inward transformation. A transformation not achieved by good thoughts and good deeds but brought about by the transforming power of the blood of Jesus Christ applied to those who make the decision to give up their lives for Jesus.

I hope you heard that: Who give up their lives. Repeat: give up .

There are no half measures with Jesus. He said we are either with him or against him. To make a decision not to make a decision is to have made a decision against him.

There can be no mistaking what the Word of God clearly tells us. We cannot serve two masters. We cannot have the world and Jesus. We have to decide which master we will follow and obey. If you say to yourself, "I will serve no one. I serve myself and humanity", then you have chosen the world; you have chosen rebellion; you have chosen death. If you choose Jesus then you have chosen light, life, and love. You have chosen a new birth, a transformation, a radical change:

You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness. (Ephesians 4:22-24)

It is a decision.

It has always been a decision.

We make the decision to accept Jesus' invitation to follow. We make the decision to step into his love which gives us the power to decide to put off our old self and to put on the new self. It is nothing we can do but it is a decision we make. A work of art cannot create itself. It is our Father who transforms us through the blood of Jesus but we have to allow the transformation. We have to make the decision. We have to deny ourself to take up the cross to follow Jesus.

We can try to serve two masters but we are only lying to ourselves because the Son of God has told us that we can't do it. We can try to have both Jesus and our desires but we will be total failures because Jesus told us that it can't be done. He told us plainly and simply, it is all of us or nothing. Either everything is surrendered or nothing is. Either he has all of our heart or none of it. There are no half measures. There are no moments of our day that belong only to us. Jesus cannot accept a portion of our life, he has to have the whole thing.

And when you truly know his love, you wouldn't want it any other way.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

There Is A Difference

Have you given much thought to the reason why we are in the world but not part of it? Did you even know that? It is not all that popular to preach these days. We are too busy on our self improvement stuff to realize we don't belong here. We are so busy worrying about fitting in that we have forgotten there is nothing here to fit into.

Seriously, what is occupying our heart and thoughts? How are we being entertained? Why did Jesus say that we are not to be unequally yoked (joined together)? What does that even mean? It means you are different and you cannot allow yourself to become again like those who are still in rebellion. You can't allow yourself to be sucked into their way of thinking. You can't be entertained by the same things or have the same goals. Remember:

They are darkened in their understanding and separated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them due to the hardening of their hearts. Having lost all sensitivity, they have given themselves over to sensuality so as to indulge in every kind of impurity, with a continual lust for more. (Ephesians 4:18-19)

Sometimes we forget. Sometimes we forget that we are different, that we don't belong here. They can't see what we see, hear what we hear, think how we think. We really need to accept the fact that we are a new creation and they are not. They are still separated from God. They are ignorant because their hearts are hard. They have no spiritual sensitivity and do not even realize the things they indulge in are offensive to God.

The teachers you sit under teach from this kind of heart and mind. Respect them but filter what they teach by the Word of God and the Holy Spirit in you. Your boss leads from this kind of heart and mind. You need to forgive him and work instead as if you are working for the Lord. Even parents without Jesus parent with this kind of heart and mind. So it can be hard to stay on track when we are constantly surrounded by such influence. This is the reason we need time with Jesus.

We can't go to church once a week and think we will be okay. We are engaged in warfare and we are in the enemies camp. The enemy is engaged in psychological warfare and he is after our heart and mind. He is not greater than Jesus in us, not even close. However, if we do not allow Jesus in us to be everything then we can unwittingly allow the enemy in. Once he is in then we too can become ignorant again.

We need to practice the presence of the Lord throughout the day. Talk to him about everything. Don't stop praying. Face every situation with the Lord by your side. Don't just say the words but act as if he is physically there with you. Study the Word of God everyday and listen to the Spirit. He is speaking to you, he always is. And understand he wants to do supernatural things through you. We call them the Gifts of the Spirit and they have been given to you for a reason; to use. Jesus has to be the only influence in our lives.

So stop listening to the ignorant philosophy and darkened wisdom of this world. They don't know any better but you do. You are without excuse. You know the beauty of the King and have experienced his love. Throw off the creeping vines of the enemy and grab hold of the holiness of God. Light cannot be joined with darkness. Stay in the light and do not allow the shadows to approach. You are a child of the Light not a creature of the dark. Remember that and stand your ground.

Monday, October 15, 2012

You Are Designed To Be Odd

I can't emphasize this enough: Christians must be different in this world. We are different from everyone else. We think differently, speak differently, act differently, respond differently, see differently. It's not because of us but because of Jesus in us. This means we have to make the decision not to be like everyone else in this world. We have to allow the power of Jesus to work itself in us which means we make the decision not to be like the world:

So I tell you this, and insist on it in the Lord, that you must no longer live as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their thinking. (Ephesians 4:17)

It isn't that we have the power to make the changes that need to be done but we have the ability and freedom to choose Jesus over everything else. It is Jesus who works the change.

The world, with all of it's distractions and temptations, will always have a pull on us. Sin is always attractive at first. Sin fits into the human thinking. It is logical to man. The greatest desire is to fit in, to be accepted, to be liked and even loved. We want to feel appreciated, like we matter, that our life is worth something. We sometimes allow ourselves to think that the world can offer this but it can't.

Man, in all his logic, is still a being of rebellion and selfishness. Even the best of the best is not good enough. All the world has to offer is more destructive sin, hate, loneliness, despair, war. Even if it is not in you it is in the world and it infects. Right now much of the Western world is focusing on the problem of bullying. Yes, we can preach it is not acceptable, but it will not change the human condition. It will not change the selfish heart of a child. To say that hatred is not acceptable will not stop hatred. But those who bend their knee to Jesus have the ability to set those things aside and choose the one who does offer what the world cannot.

We may not have the power to love but we have the ability to choose not to hate. When we turn aside from hate the power of God's love is able to fills us. We cannot be everything we desire to be but Jesus has the power to get us there. Our part is to turn away from the futility of the thinking of this world, to turn from its pattern, to reject it:

Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will. (Romans 12:2)

The Bible is very clear on this, to be possessed by Jesus is to be different from this world. If people cannot tell you are different from your speech and actions then you have a problem. To be like Jesus in this world will set you apart as an oddity. You cannot be like Jesus and "fit in".

For a teen it can be tough because most just want to fit in, go unnoticed, to not draw any attention to themselves. To do that is to choose the world. To choose Jesus is to reject the world and walk in the will of God. It is to allow the power of Jesus to transform us into what we were designed to be. The amazing thing is that the power of Jesus gives us the ability to face giants, to win over bullies. Look at the bully David faced and defeated. Consider how God won over the king bully because of Daniel, when Daniel rejected the pattern of the world in favour of God. Amazing stuff.

By the way teens, it is not that much easier as adults. Bullies grow up into bullies and some even become presidents and prime ministers. But with the power of Jesus we are able to overcome even these powerful bullies.

To be a Christian is to be a target in this world, and it is becoming increasingly so. What is worse, there are portions of the body that have decided to reject the truth of God for the acceptability of the world. It will not end well for them. I hope you will make the decision that Jesus holds more for you than this world could ever offer. I hope you will reject the world's futile thinking and destructive pattern. I hope you will choose life and be different in this world.