Posts Tagged ‘christian music’

As a father myself, my heart breaks when my children are bitter towards me. I remember years ago when I was living in New Mexico I paid for my daughter to come and visit me. After she arrived she spent most of her time with her cousins and  other family members while ignoring me. One day I began complaining to God. I said, “God, I paid for her to come here so we could spend time together and she’s spending time with everyone but me. I’ve done so much for her and she just ignores me as if I wasn’t even here and…” Then I stopped myself and said, “ Oh God, is this how I made you feel when I ignored you? I am so sorry. Please forgive me.”

In 2013 my wife and I discovered that our oldest granddaughter was sexually abused when she was 11 years old by her then step-father. We took steps to gain legal custody of our grandaughter in order to keep her safe. The step-father was later charged and convicted of child abuse, but was only sentenced to probation. My daughter still blames us for her ex-husband’s legal problems and for destroying her marriage. Currently my daughter still refuses to speak with me or allow my wife and I to see our grandchildren.

How much more must it break God’s heart when He sees His children ignoring Him and His word while behaving so badly toward each other with instances of everyday nastiness, foolishness, lack of empathy and shortsightedness. 

I remember when my grandfather was on his death bed and called his for his children to come to his hospital bed. After my aunts and uncles arrived they asked my grandfather what he needed. He just smiled and told them that he didn’t need anything. He just wanted to be surrounded by his children without having them fight with each other.

The Day of Atonement (September 27th – 28th, 2020) is a solemn day when God instructs us that we must set aside our usual family and commercial activities to fast and pray and mentally review our actions over the past year, identifying all those whom we have caused pain, or behaved unjustly towards. And to seek out those whom we have frustrated, angered, discarded casually or otherwise betrayed and offer them a complete and sincere apology—and recompense them, if necessary. This is God’s will for the requirement for forgiveness—so long as the apology is real. 

I challenge all of God’s people reading this to take a cue from God’s word and use the Day of Atonement (And every day) to repent, fast and pray and make amends with those you have hurt with either your words or actions. 

“With the tongue we bless our Lord and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in God’s likeness. Out of the same mouth come blessing and cursing. My brothers, this should not be!” (James 3:9-10)

“Behold, how good and pleasant it is when brothers dwell in unity! It is like fine oil on the head, running down on the beard, running down Aaron’s beard over the collar of his robes. It is like the dew of Hermon falling on the mountains of Zion. For there the LORD has bestowed the blessing of life forevermore.” (Psalm 133)

William Booth, the co-founder of the Salvation Army with his wife Catherine, embarked upon his ministerial career in 1852, desiring to win the lost multitudes of England to Christ. He walked the streets of London to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ to the poor, the homeless, the hungry, and the destitute.

Booth abandoned the conventional concept of a church and a pulpit, instead taking his message to the people on the street. His fervor led to disagreement with church leaders in London, who preferred traditional methods. As a result, he withdrew from the church and traveled throughout England, conducting evangelistic meetings.

Thieves, prostitutes, gamblers, and drunkards were among Booth’s first converts to Christianity. To congregations who were desperately poor, he preached hope and salvation. His aim was to lead people to Christ and link them to a church for further spiritual guidance. His renown as a religious leader spread throughout London, and he attracted followers who were dedicated to fight for the souls of men and women. 

William Booth was a remarkable man, who had a passion to save men’s souls. He was a man born into poverty and who worked in the midst of poverty his whole life. He was given the title “The Prophet of the Poor.” His life could be summed up in his own statement, “Some men’s passion is for gold. Some men’s passion is for art. Some men’s passion is for fame. My passion is for souls.” 

I believe that William Booth would be very disappointed if he could see how the Salvation Army and many church members have changed. The Salvation Army has become more of a social services center, concerned only with meeting people’s physical needs, more than their spiritual needs. And churches today are not much different.

It’s been reported from people who attended the evangelistic meetings of William Booth that many in attendance would begin to shake so at his preaching that they would tear at the hymnals in their laps! Where is that type of preaching today?

When Charles Finney, a revivalist preacher during the Second Great Awakening during the 1830s, preached at his meetings, whole communities would be converted! Taverns and theaters were turned into places of worship! When he would visit factories, people, would fall to their knees weeping in repentance by the power of the Holy Spirit, without Finney even speaking a word! Where is that spirit in the churches today? Where is the fire of God’s word?   

The following is a poem written by Howard Clinebell, a former professor of pastoral psychology and counseling at the School of Theology in Claremont, California. It describes perfectly the state of the church today:

The Little Lifesaving Station 

On a dangerous seacoast where shipwrecks often occurred, there was once a crude lifesaving station. The building wasn’t much more than a small hut, and there was only one boat. But the few devoted members kept a constant watch over the sea, and with no thought of themselves, went out night and day tirelessly searching for the lost.

Many lives were saved by this wonderful little station. So much so that it became famous for its rescue efforts. Some of those who were saved and various others in the surrounding area wanted to become associated with the station and give of their time and money for the support of its work. New boats were purchased and donated to the station and crews were trained to improve the rescue operations of the station.

As the little lifesaving station grew some of the members were unhappy that the building itself was so crude and poorly equipped. They felt that a more comfortable place should be provided for those who were rescued from the sea. So the members raised funds for the station and replaced the emergency cots with beds and placed better furniture in an enlarged building.

Soon the lifesaving station became a popular gathering place for its members. They decorated it beautifully and furnished it so exquisitely that it became sort of a club. The lifesaving station’s logo still prevailed on the wall above the fireplace and its name was still used to raise funds,  but  fewer members were now interested in going out to sea on lifesaving missions. They even hired lifeboat crews to do the work that they used to do themselves.

About this time a large ship was wrecked off the coast and the hired crews brought in boatloads of cold, wet, and half drowned people. These people were dirty and sick. And some of them were foreigners who couldn’t speak English. The beautiful club was thrown into chaos. The property committee immediately had a shower built outside the club building with an attached closet filled with clean clothes so that the victims of shipwrecks could be cleaned up and dressed properly before coming inside.

At the next club meeting there was a split in the membership. Most of the members wanted to stop the club’s lifesaving activities because it was unpleasant and a hindrance to the normal social structure of the club. Some members insisted that the lifesaving operations were the primary reason for them being there and pointed out that they were still called a lifesaving station. The latter were finally voted down and were told that if they wanted to save the lives of all the various kinds of people who were shipwrecked in those waters they could start their own lifesaving station further down the coast. That’s exactly what they did.

As the years went by, the new station experienced the same changes that had occurred in the old one. It evolved into a club and later another lifesaving station was founded.

History continues to repeat itself and if you visit that seacoast today you will find a number of exclusive clubs along its shores.  Shipwrecks are frequent in those waters, but sadly, most of the people there drown.

We have all witnessed the angry protests and riots in cities throughout our country after people of color were unlawfully detained and even killed by police officers. We have all read accounts of children being abused, neglected and killed by those who were supposed to love and care for them. And we have also seen how social media has blown up with hateful comments from both sides of political issues.

And yet, so many professing Christians continue to live their lives as if this is a type of “new normal”. THIS IS NOT A NEW NORMAL! This is not normal at all! Don’t you see that God has been trying to get our attention for years now? He has been trying to get us to repent. But you refuse to listen! How can people study God’s word for so many years and still not understand it or obey what it says?

Churches today are preaching a convenient gospel. One that teaches that all you have to do is confess your sins, accept Jesus in your heart, and you’ll be saved. But without repentance—a change of heart and lifestyle, there is no true conversion and thus, no real salvation. When someone truly repents they become a totally new creature. Their old life is dead and buried with Christ. (2 Corinthians 5:17; Acts 3:19)

Our salvation cost Jesus his life! So how can we expect it to cost us any less? How can we take it so lightly? This is not the gospel that Jesus or the early Church preached. They preached a gospel of repentance and a gospel that brought real change to people’s lives! But if you preach a gospel of convenience—a gospel that makes people comfortable—you will be loved by the world and make yourself an enemy of God! (James 4:4) One of the primary purposes of the gospel is to make people uncomfortable so that they will repent and turn to God. 

The apostle Paul, writing to Timothy, said: “But understand this: In the last days terrible times will come. For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, unloving, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, without love of good, traitorous, reckless, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having a form of godliness but denying its power. Turn away from such as these!” (2 Timothy 3:1-5)

Jesus prophesied that “lawlessness will abound” in the end times. (Matthew 24:12) That people will overwhelmingly reject God’s laws, and that this lawlessness, unrestrained by the laws of God, will bring this earth to the point of almost complete destruction.

But the Bible also predicts that there will be a very small group—a remnant, who will not embrace lawlessness. In fact, these people will be defined by the how they live their lives by God’s laws, (Isaiah 10:20-21;1 John 5:2-3) and reject the traditions of man taught in the churches, which will make them stand in stark contrast to the world (and worldly Christians) around them. While people’s love grows cold, God’s faithful will hold to the law that teaches love, care and concern for others. (1 John 5:3) But they won’t be honored and respected for their way of life. Jesus said they will be “…hated by all nations for My name’s sake.” (Matthew 24:9) 

Today there are over 2 billion professing Christians in the world—making up the world’s single largest religious group. And about 60 percent of the world’s nations have a majority Christian population. That means that the remnant—those who live their lives according to God’s word—is a minority among those calling themselves Christians. The people of “all nations” who hate and persecute God’s people will include billions of people who claim Christianity as their religion. 

But why will God’s remnant be so violently hated? What could they possibly do to receive such scorn? Because just like the prophet Elijah, John the Baptist, Jesus, Stephen and the apostles who were persecuted for boldly proclaiming the need to repent of sin, God’s remnant will preach the truth that those around them won’t want to hear. Particularly the portion of the gospel message that calls on people to repent, change and align their lives with God’s law. Sadly, most people in churches today stubbornly refuse to repent and obey God’s laws. And because of that, true Christians will be hated—by the world and other Christians. 

I understand that not everyone will agree with everything, but I have read more civil language on social media by professing atheists than from professing Christians! I myself have been a target of hateful rhetoric by professing Christians after posting comments about repentance or obeying God. Why would this be offensive to a true Christian? How can you say that you love God and continue to use hateful speech toward your brothers and sisters? (1 John 4:20-21)

   

Right now, we are experiencing a time when God’s people aren’t facing violent persecution in most places. In fact, in much of the world this may be the safest time in all of human history to be a true follower of God. But as the days get closer to the end, that will change radically—maybe in the next few years. As deception and lawlessness increase, hatred against true Christians will surge. The good news is that God will shorten those days “for the elect’s sake.” (Matthew 24:22) Jesus Christ will come to save His people from those who violently hate them. 

Christian! Don’t you realize how the hate of the world has become like a cancer and has infiltrated and affected your walk with God? As Christians, we are to be the light of the world for all to see but, the Bible tells us we must “put aside all such things as these: anger, rage,  malice, slander, and filthy language from your mouth.” (Colossians 3:8) 

The apostle James wrote, “With the tongue we bless our Lord and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in God’s likeness. Out of the same mouth come blessing and cursing. My brothers, this should not be!” (James 3:9-10) And yet here we are. 

If the unbelievers in this world can’t tell the difference between you and sinners then your religion is worthless!  Are you comfortable living like the world?  (1 Corinthians 3: 1-3) Do you preach a gospel of convenience? A gospel that does not offend? Then I beseech you, repent now! And be true to God and His word! Ask Him to lead you by His spirit into His truth and live your life according to His word. Remember Jesus said, “Not everyone who calls out to me, ‘Lord! Lord!’ will enter the Kingdom of Heaven. Only those who actually do the will of my Father in heaven will enter.” (Matthew 7:21 NLT)

It is time for believers to stop following the traditions of man and dive into what God’s word says.

This is a song I wrote with my brother Mick Byers. Listen to it here: https://www.reverbnation.com/jonahreubenmusic/song/12837080-tears-of-god

My prayer is that this song will speak to your heart and encourage you to repent and turn back again to God.

Tears of God

You don’t call my name except when you swear

Hours for TV and no time for prayer

Your promises are empty while your pockets are full

Your shield has grown rusty and your sword’s become dull

Your lips sing my praises while your heart’s far away

Going through the motions with your worn out cliches

Oh the tears that nobody sees

You think cause I’m God that I don’t have to weep

But I cry but nobody sees

The heartache this world gives to me 

Behold I am standing at your door and I knock

But your lights are turned down and you’ve bolted the lock

You’re bound up with hatred and you’re bound up with fear

Too blind to see and too scared to hear

Oh the tears that nobody sees

You think cuz I’m God that I don’t have to weep

But I cry but nobody sees

The heartache this world gives to me 

The heartache My church…gives to me

Christians! Wake up from your slumber! Repent of your sins and return to God! Begin to again live according to God’s word…

“Let no unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building up the one in need and bringing grace to those who listen.” (Ephesians 4:29) 

“But now you must put aside all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your mouth.” (Colossians 3:8) 

“The night is nearly over; the day has drawn near. So let us lay aside the deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light. Let us behave decently, as in the daytime, not in carousing and drunkenness, not in sexual immorality and debauchery, not in dissension and jealousy. Instead, clothe yourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the desires of the flesh.” (Romans 13:12-14)

God is our ONLY hope to become a great nation again. Turn and live for God…Before it’s too late! 

“For it is time for judgment to begin with the family of God; and if it begins with us, what will the outcome be for those who disobey the gospel of God? And, if it is hard for the righteous to be saved, what will become of the ungodly and the sinner?” (1 Peter 4:17-18) 

 

If you have been wondering how and why the church today has become so weak and ineffective, all you have to do is look at what they’ve done over the years.

Churches have repeated the motto: “Every is welcome here.”  This may sound harsh and intolerant, but everyone is NOT welcome into churches! The enemy is very subtle and very seldom plans a direct attack. Like a frog that is slowly boiled in water, he will start so slow so that most will never sense what he’s trying to do until it’s too late.

At first the church welcomed unbelievers into their worship services with open arms. Then in order to make them feel even more welcomed, they allowed them to be part of the congregation by allowing them to join the choir or work in the church nursery. Then they allowed them to teach a Sunday school class. And before you know it, they‘re preaching their unbiblical and humanistic views from the pulpit! 

Haggai dealt with the same problem in his day. This is how he handled it: He asked a priest, “If a man carries consecrated meat in the fold of his garment, and it touches bread, stew, wine, oil, or any other food, does that item become holy?’” “No,” replied the priests. So Haggai asked, “If one who is defiled by contact with a corpse touches any of these, does it become defiled?” “Yes, it becomes defiled,” the priests answered. Then Haggai replied, “So it is with this people and this nation before Me, declares the LORD, and so it is with every work of their hands; whatever they offer there is defiled.” (Haggai 2:12-14)

I’m not suggesting that we post guards at the church doors and check people for their salvation. But I am suggesting that we become more discerning on who we invite to worship with us. 

Many have told me that they invite unsaved friends and loved ones to join them at church so they can hear the gospel. Then they need to repent of their laziness and share the gospel with them theirself as Jesus commanded! There is not one place in Scripture where we are commanded to invite unbelievers into a congregation so that they can hear the word of God.

Go ahead and check. I’ll wait.

If you wash your hair, shower and put on deodorant, and then hug a skunk, will the skunk begin to smell good, or will you become stinky? If you are in good health and visit a contagious friend in the hospital, will your good health make your sick friend well, or will his contagious disease make you sick? It is the same with sin. As the apostle Paul wrote: Do not be deceived: “Bad company corrupts good character.” (1 Corinthians 15:33—Taken from Deuteronomy 7:25)

This has been proven true time and time again when our teenagers get “mixed up in the wrong crowd” and get into trouble.

It would do us well to remember Psalm 106: 32-43: “…but they mingled with the nations and adopted their customs. They worshiped their idols, which became a snare to them…So the anger of the LORD burned against His people, and He abhorred His own inheritance. He delivered them into the hand of the nations, and those who hated them ruled over them.”

The attitude of most church goers has gotten so bad that it’s hard to tell the difference between those who CLAIM to be believers in Jesus and those who refuse to even acknowledge that God exists! 

So many Christians talk about how we are living in the last days before Jesus returns, but we need to remind each other that judgment will begin in the house of God. (1 Peter 4:17) So let us pray for God’s people to repent and return to God, seek His face and obey His word. 

To obey is better than sacrifice

I don’t need your money

I want your life

And I hear you say that I’m coming back soon

But you act like I’ll never return

Over the past few months I have noticed how many people have been taking to social media to voice their displeasure with the recent presidential campaign and the ultimate election of Donald Trump.

The most disheartening aspect of this has been the hateful language from professing Christians from both sides and their slanderous postings. (Many from fake news sights)

The Bible makes it clear that followers of Christ should not be involved in this type of thing:

Exodus 23:1You shall not spread a false report. You shall not join hands with a wicked man to be a malicious witness.

Psalm 34:13Keep your tongue from evil and your lips from speaking deceit.

Proverbs 20:19Whoever goes about slandering reveals secrets; therefore do not associate with a simple babbler.

Proverbs 26:20For lack of wood the fire goes out, and where there is no whisperer, quarreling ceases.

When we repeat such reports from one to another (whether true or false) they provoke us to mutual anger, enmity, and contention; but where there is no whispering of rumors and slander, the quarreling ceases. Animosity, hatred, and quarrels will die away—Just as burning coals eventually die out and are no more than cold ashes under our feet.

But at the same time, dead coals laid on burning coals, or wood on fire, increases the heat and flames of contention. All contentions, whether between private persons, families, churches, or nations, are begun and carried forward by pride. And pride can often lead to unkind tempers and provoking words that produce quarrels and enmities, which destroys all peace and embroil people in endless hostilities against one another.

This should not be happening within the body of Christ.

I realize that this election has left many with great fear—fear of the unknown, fear of what will transpire in the next four years and beyond, and fear that our greatest fear will come upon us. (Job 3:25) But God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and love and self-control. (2 Timothy 1:7)

In Isaiah 41:10 God reassures us to, “Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”

As I was writing this, a heavy wind storm caused some things to crash around outside. When I went out to survey the damage, I discovered that it was just a ladder that had fallen onto my deck. But I was suddenly amazed that my next door neighbors’ trees were being violently tossed to and fro in the wind, but the tree in my back yard was completely still, unaffected by the wind in my neighbor’s yard! Standing there I was reminded of  the verse in Ecclesiastes 11:5 that says, “Just as you do not know the path of the wind and how bones are formed in the womb of the pregnant woman, so you do not know the activity of God who makes all things.”

Wherever we are, whatever is happening in our lives, we can always trust that God is in control—if we choose to do it. But if we magnify every little difficulty and start objections and quarrels, we will never be able to fully trust God. Winds and clouds of tribulation are in God’s hands, designed to test us. And God’s work will always agree with his word, whether we see it or not. So we need to trust God to provide for us and protect us, without our anxious, disquieting cares. For in due season, in God’s time, you shall reap—if you do not give up. (Galatians 6:9)

Sadly, American Christians have become fat and soft over the years. We have become more dependent on our own strengths and on our political system than we are on God and his system of government.

We claim that our religious rights are being attacked because of some states’ decision to remove monuments of the Ten Commandments on the Capitol grounds, or schools disallowing religious displays, or praying at public meetings, or changing the greeting of “Merry Christmas” to “Happy Holidays”.

But right now, Christians and religious minorities around the world are literally facing death, simply for maintaining their faith.

In Northern Nigeria, Boko Haram has waged a years-long campaign of violence, mass abductions, rapes and village raids against local communities. In many cases, they’ve targeted Christians, as well as more moderate Muslims. Schoolgirls who have been captured have been forced to convert to Islam before being made to become child brides and even suicide bombers. Videos of public executions of Christians have been posted on the Internet to strike fear in the hearts of other believers. There have been reports of Christian aid workers being publicly beaten and even made to watch their own children being tortured in an effort to get them to renounce their faith, before being publicly crucified.

Do you think that our Christian brothers and sisters in these countries argue amongst each other about their political choices?

Our world is changing. What we see happening in other countries will eventually happen here as well. The apostle Paul writing to Timothy said, “In the last days terrible times will come. For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, unloving, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, without love of good, traitorous, reckless, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having a form of godliness but denying its power.”

He related his own persecutions and said, “What persecutions I endured! Yet the Lord rescued me from all of them. Indeed, all who desire to live godly lives in Christ Jesus will be persecuted, while evil men and imposters go from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived.” (See 2 Timothy 3:1-16)

Even Jesus himself said: “…They will put you out of the synagogues. Indeed, the hour is coming when whoever kills you will think he is offering service to God. And they will do these things because they have not known the Father, nor me.” (John 16:1-3)

So instead of fighting amongst ourselves, we should be strengthening each other and preparing ourselves spiritually for what is to come.

Because, “If racing against mere men makes you tired, how will you race against horses? If you stumble and fall on open ground, what will you do in the thickets near the Jordan? (Jeremiah 12:5) In other words, if issues like the banning of public prayer and  Christmas greetings weary you, what will you do when real persecution comes?

As a child of God, we no longer have to fear…Anything!

“All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.” (2 Timothy 3:16-17 KJV)

I have heard many Christians quote that verse in 2 Timothy when discussing if the Bible is true. Some modern versions even translate that verse as, “All scripture is God breathed…” And yet most Christians today rarely (if ever) have read anything other than the New Testament writings.

We must remember that when the apostle Paul wrote his second letter to Timothy, the only Scripture that was available at the time was the Tanakh; the first Hebrew letter of each of the Masoretic Text’s three traditional subdivisions: Torah (“Teaching”, also known as the Five Books of Moses), Nevi’im (“Prophets”) and Ketuvim (“Writings”) hence the name, TaNaKh. It is also known that the majority of the things that Paul wrote in his letters were taken from the Tanakh, or the Old Testament.

So am I saying that the New Testament writings are not inspired by God? Certainly not. But I don’t believe that the New Testament writings are any more inspired by God than say, the writings of John Bunyan, George Whitfield, Charles Finney, Andrew Murray and so many others.

But for someone to read only the New Testament writings is like reading a Bible commentary without studying the verses themselves. And yet, so many do exactly that when they only rely on pastors to explain snippets of Bible verses from the pulpit on Sunday mornings.

If you ask anyone who knows the story of the great flood, “Did Noah warn the people?” Most people would answer something like, “Yes, he warned them that a flood was coming and preached for them to repent for 100 years but the people didn’t believe him and even laughed at him.” But after searching the Scriptures I could not find anything conclusive which indicates that Noah said anything to anyone about the impending judgement to come. And there’s a good reason why.

In Genesis 6: 2-8 we read: “When man began to multiply on the face of the land and daughters were born to them, the sons of God saw that the daughters of man were attractive. And they took as their wives any they chose…”

It goes on to say that the Nephilim (the offspring of the sons of God i.e.; fallen angels) were on the earth in those days and because of this, the wickedness of man became so great that every intention of the thoughts of people’s heart was only evil continually. So much so that God regretted that he had even created man on the earth. So the Lord said, “I will blot out man whom I have created from the face of the land, man and animals and creeping things and birds of the heavens, for I am sorry that I have made them.” But verse 9 states that, “Noah was a righteous man, blameless in his generation.”

Many have been taught that Noah was the only person on earth at that time who was without sin, but the Bible states that there in no one who is righteous. (Ecclesiastes 7:20, Psalm 143:2, Romans 3:10) So what could this mean for Noah? Strong’s translates the Hebrew word  for “blameless” (H8549) as: without blemish, perfect, without spot.

The Nephilim were doing such a good job of breeding with humans and creating more Nephilim that the human bloodline was almost completely destroyed. God saw the corruption and knew that the only way to get rid of it was to destroy the earth and everything on it. But then God noticed Noah; a blameless man—a man whose bloodline had not been corrupted by the Nephilim—i.e.; without blemish.

When the door to the Ark was shut, there was probably room for more people. But if everyone else on earth were corrupted by the Nephillim, why would God want Noah to warn them so that they could storm the ark at the last minute? Both 1 Peter 3:20 and Genesis 6:3 indicate that God waited a period of time before judgement, but not that they were warned of the coming judgement. Why? Perhaps God wanted to protect Noah and his family from the wicked people and Nephillim who would no doubt pollute their bloodline. Notice that there was only one door—which was not closed by Noah, but by God. (Genesis 7:16)

Often when preachers teach things about Scripture they make unbiblical assumptions when they try to fill in some gaps and we end up repeating them as truth. I am amazed at how most people today get their ideas about the Bible from movies, TV specials and greeting cards and how little is said about the the importance of the deep study of Scripture.

Some may say, “But I don’t understand a lot of the Bible; so I have to rely on my pastor or other more experienced Bible scholars to explain it to me.” Then you need to repent of your laziness, go out and buy yourself a Strong’s Concordance (or go to one of the many online Bible sites) and set aside some time to really study the Bible.

Noah heard God and believed and obeyed him by faith.The Apostle Paul writes, “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast.” (Eph. 2:8–9)

This is exactly how Noah was saved. Not because he more righteous spiritually than anyone else, but because he had faith in God. Noah realized that he could only be saved by God’s grace, through faith. Genesis 6:8 tells us that “Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord.” Noah’s salvation, like ours, was by grace. Had Noah not listened and obeyed God through faith, he and his family would have been destroyed with all the rest.

I discovered a great truth in studying the story of Noah and the great flood in Scripture.

Included in God’s instructions for building the ark, God told Noah, “Make yourself an ark of gopher wood. Make rooms in the ark, and cover it inside and out with pitch.” (Gen. 6:14) Strong’s translates the Hebrew word for “pitch” as atonement. (H3722)

You see, pitch was used on the ark to prevent anything on the outside (water) from getting into the inside. So Noah and his family were literally protected by the atonement God directed Noah to apply to the ark! And just like Noah and his family were protected by the atonement covering the ark, we too, by faith, are protected by Jesus’ atonement. And by grace through faith in Jesus, when we repent and turn from our sins, Jesus’ atonement prevents anything on the outside (sin, and worldliness) from getting into the inside of us.

We read in Matthew 24:36-39 that Jesus said, “But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, but My Father only. Just as the days of Noah were, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be. For as in the days before the flood, they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark, and did not know until the flood came and took them all away, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be.”

As we see what is happening in the world today, can there be any doubt that we are living “as the days of Noah”? But unlike the days of Noah, you don’t have to be left unaware until tit’s too late. Repent, turn from your wickedness and be cleansed and transformed by God’s atonement through his son, Jesus.

This is true for Christians as well as unbelievers. God wants more from you than just your belief in him. He wants you to act on your faith by living it out in every part of your life. That’s the only way you can grow closer to God and let others know that your faith is real, so they’ll be inspired to seek God themselves.

Casting Crowns – Jesus, Friend of Sinners

The Church today needs to follow the advice of this song. Love first and stop judging others who don’t yet know God and the salvation that is available to them through His son, Jesus. We get so caught up in trying to change a person that we sometimes forget why we are here—to show others His love.

“Our country is in trouble, and I don’t have a whole lot of faith in the political parties,” Franklin Graham said in a video posted on his Facebook page this week. He also referenced the tragic events of the past week: “Shootings, riots and protests now claim the headlines about America, and that’s heartbreaking,” he said. “We are in desperate need of Divine intervention. We need healing. Prayer is what can make a difference in America.”

As Christians, we are to be set apart from the world:

”But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.” (1 Peter 2:9)

But lately I have been disappointed to hear such hateful speech and crude joking coming (mostly) from those who profess to be Christians! I have also read similar posts on Face Book and other social media sites.

Sadly, I have heard (and read) more compassionate speech from self proclaimed atheists than I have from confessing Christians. And if the world can see no difference in us and those who don’t believe, what use are we? I pray that Christians everywhere will live and speak as those who represent our Lord.

Not that we should become humorless, straight-faced legalistic people of God or that we should not speak out against injustice when we see it—but we are to do all things in love. Consider what the Bible teaches:

With the tongue we bless our Lord and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in God’s likeness. Out of the same mouth come blessing and cursing. My brothers, this should not be! (James 3: 9-10)

“But now you must put them all away: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and obscene talk from your mouth.” (Colossians 3:8)

But among you, as is proper among the saints, there must not be even a hint of sexual immorality or impurity or greed. Nor should there be obscenity, foolish talk, or crude joking, which are out of character… (Ephesians 5:3-4)

“If anyone thinks he is religious and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his heart, this person’s religion is worthless. (James 1:26)

I don’t care whether you’re Catholic, Evangelical, Reformed Christian, Methodist, Mormon, Pentecostal, or Baptist. If you say that you believe in the Bible and profess that you’re a follower of Jesus, then start living like one!

How much sadness God must  feel when he sees his children, who are called by his name, treating each other as if they were mortal enemies—talking trash behind each others’ backs, slandering them on Face Book and silently wishing for their failure. It’s unreal to me.

How do you think you’ll ever be able to convince someone that they should become a Christian if the Christianity they see is judgmental, condemning and negativity towards others? Have you ever considered that you’re actually hurting Christ more than helping him with how you treat other people? Do you think that just showing up on Sunday morning or singing in the choir is going to impress God?

Christ said that you should “let your light so shine” so that others will want come to Him. (Matthew 5: 15-16) Instead…you’re like the basket, extinguishing any light that might be burning faintly within others.

So if you call yourself a Christian, then just start loving others and overlooking their faults. Become ambassadors of mercy instead heavenly bounty hunters and you’ll never have to beg someone to listen to your message about Christ again…They’re already listening.

“Christianity is not about building an absolutely secure little niche in the world where you can live with your perfect little wife and your perfect little children in your beautiful little house where you have no gays or minority groups anywhere near you. Christianity is about learning to love like Jesus loved and Jesus loved the poor and Jesus loved the broken.” ―Rich Mullins

Why America is no longer great

Last year I posted a blog titled, “An Open Appeal For Revival”. It was copied from a letter that I had sent many years ago (before the popularity of the internet) to almost every pastor in my town with the hope that they would begin preaching on the subject. I also mailed copies to several famous radio evangelists.

Sadly, I received no response.

Since then I have often wondered, “Why is there no revival today?”

Anyone who reads a local newspaper or watches the evening news will have to admit to the fact that America is in deep trouble.

We’ve replaced the Bible and prayer in our public schools with metal detectors and police security; We’ve given up the security of family values and replaced them with immoral ideas and attitudes; We’ve traded the value of honest work for enslavery to a bureaucratic government system of relief; Sanctity of life is no longer fought for, and more often is legislated against; Our children have become uncontrollable beasts who murder without conscience; And those who were designed to help us, protect us and be examples for us—from parents and teachers to the local minister on up to the President, have instead led us to the brink of destruction.

And yet, people still believe that if we just elect the right person, he or she will make our country great again.  But Psalm 146:3 states: “Do not trust in princes, In mortal man, in whom there is no salvation.” (NAS) I like how this verse translated in the New Living Translation: “Don’t put your confidence in powerful people; there is no help for you there.”

For decades, instead of putting their trust in God, people have put their confidence in powerful people—and discover that there is no help from them. Consider who the candidates for the next presidential election are. One of them who is leading in the polls is a man who is narcissistic, brash, insulting and often goes into obscenity laced tirades against anyone who disagrees with him. Another one is promising a political nirvana where the government will take care of everyone—from education, to healthcare, to job equality. Many of the other candidates have been so busy attacking each other that the real issues get lost in the shuffle.

In his book, “Why Revival Tarries” Leonard Ravenhill writes:

“Solemnly and slowly, with his index finger extended, Napoleon Bonaparte outlined a great stretch of country on a map of the world. ‘There,’ he growled, ‘is a sleeping giant. Let him sleep! If he wakes, he will shake the world.’ That sleeping giant was China. Today, Bonaparte’s prophecy of some one hundred and fifty years ago makes sense.

Today Lucifer is probably surveying the church just as Bonaparte did China. One can almost behold the fear in his eyes as he thinks of the Church’s unmeasured potential and growls, ‘Let the Church sleep! If she wakes, she will shake the world.’ Is not the Church the sleeping giant of today?”

Years ago Keith Green recorded his song, “Asleep In The Light” about how the Church has become so comfortable in their salvation that we have become oblivious of the suffering and danger all around us. It is as pertinent now as it was then.

America cannot be great again without repentance! 

Year after year we have all heard the sound bites of presidential candidates promising to make America great again. But without repentance, all they are are useless sound bites.

Repentance means more than just being sorry. Someone once said that the road to destruction will be paved with the souls of the sorrowful. I’m sure that all of the fallen angels are sorry now that they followed Satan in his failed revolt against God.

There are two types of sorrow. There is worldly sorrow—like when someone is sorry they got caught, but not for their actions. We have seen this time and time again with political leaders. They tend to speak about the consequences of their sin but never take responsibility for the sin itself. Godly sorrow is when someone is truly sorry for their actions and the nature of their sin; and also take responsibility for it. (See 2nd Corinthians 7:10)

Results of true repentance will be a new life washed clean by the spirit of God. The person repentant of sin will no longer be pleasing themselves but will strive to please God and others. Those things that were once important to the flesh will no longer matter as much. Those who truly repent will work at making a better home, a better workplace, a better community, and a better world.

All of the reasons why America is not experiencing power and greatness today can be explained with one word: REPENT!

Consider the prayer of the prophet Daniel:

Then I turned my face to the Lord God, seeking him by prayer and pleas for mercy with fasting and sackcloth and ashes. I prayed to the Lord my God and made confession, saying, “O Lord, the great and awesome God, who keeps covenant and steadfast love with those who love him and keep his commandments, we have sinned and done wrong and acted wickedly and rebelled, turning aside from your commandments and rules. We have not listened to your servants the prophets, who spoke in your name to our kings, our princes, and our fathers, and to all the people of the land.To you, O Lord, belongs righteousness, but to us open shame, as at this day, to the men of Judah, to the inhabitants of Jerusalem, and to all Israel, those who are near and those who are far away, in all the lands to which you have driven them, because of the treachery that they have committed against you. To us, O Lord, belongs open shame, to our kings, to our princes, and to our fathers, because we have sinned against you.To the Lord our God belong mercy and forgiveness, for we have rebelled against him and have not obeyed the voice of the Lord our God by walking in his laws, which he set before us by his servants the prophets. (Daniel 9: 3-10)

Notice that Daniel confessed the sins of his kings and princes as if they were his own! We must come to God now and acknowledge our sin to him—And the sins of our leaders, past and present as if they were our own!

We are in critical condition and are in need of true revival by the spirit of God! We need to stop relying on political leaders and surrender ourselves to God and receive His forgiveness and mercy. Only then will America be great gain.

Until the Church repents of her sins and turns from her wickedness, we will never witness the healing of our land:

“Ah sinful nation, a people laden with iniquity, a seed of evildoers, children that are corrupters, they have forsaken the Lord, they have provoked the Holy One of Israel unto anger, they are gone away backward…Come now, let us reason together saith the Lord. Though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool. If ye be willing and obedient, ye shall eat the good of the land, but if ye refuse and rebel, ye shall be devoured with the sword. For the mouth of the Lord hath spoken it.”  (Isaiah 1:4, 18-20)

I don’t think the world has ever been in a greater sense of turmoil than it is at this moment. I don’t think our nation has. All the blasphemy, all the unbelief, all the dirty stories, all the lying, all the deception, all the sexual perversion, and all the drunkenness—this tremendous iniquity goes up in the sight of God. The shadow of darkness and death is over this generation like nothing we’ve ever had before. And yet, the greatest tragedy of all is this: We have neither the vision nor the passion, nor at this moment, the intention of setting our house in order.

We need to learn from history what happens when people forsake God.

When Solomon finished the house of the Lord and the king’s house, and surveyed all that he had successfully accomplished, Solomon celebrated by throwing a gigantic party and feast for eight days!

Then the Lord appeared to Solomon in the night and said to him: “I have heard your prayer and have chosen this place for myself as a house of sacrifice. When I shut up the heavens so that there is no rain, or command the locust to devour the land, or send pestilence among my people, if my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land. But if you turn aside and forsake my statutes and my commandments that I have set before you, and go and serve other gods and worship them, then I will pluck you up from my land that I have given you, and this house that I have consecrated for my name, I will cast out of my sight, and I will make it a proverb and a byword among all peoples. And at this house, which was exalted, everyone passing by will be astonished and say, ‘Why has the Lord done thus to this land and to this house?’ Then they will say, ‘Because they abandoned the Lord, the God of their fathers who brought them out of the land of Egypt, and laid hold on other gods and worshiped them and served them. Therefore he has brought all this disaster on them.’  (See 2 Chronicles 7:14:11-22)

Could it be that the reason America is no longer great, that our leaders have become weak and scorned by other nations is because we, like Israel of old have forsaken the one true God and held onto other worldly gods?

Remember God’s warning to His people through the prophet Isaiah:

“Woe to the sinful nation, a people whose guilt is great, a brood of evildoers, children given to corruption! They have forsaken the LORD; they have spurned the Holy One of Israel and turned their backs on Him. Why should you be beaten anymore? Why do you persist in rebellion? Your whole head is injured, your whole heart afflicted. From the sole of your foot to the top of your head there is no soundness—only wounds and welts and open sores, not cleansed or bandaged or soothed with olive oil. Your country is desolate, your cities burned with fire; your fields are being stripped by foreigners right before you, laid waste as when overthrown by strangers…Take your evil deeds out of my sight; stop doing wrong. Learn to do right; seek justice…If you are willing and obedient, you will eat the good things of the land; but if you resist and rebel, you will be devoured by the sword. For the mouth of the LORD has spoken.” (See Isaiah 1:2-20)

It is my hope and prayer that America, just like Nineveh of old, will repent of its sins—from the president on down to the youngest child. And we will be saved from God’s wrath. (Jonah 3:1-10)

But Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me and do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of heaven.” Matthew 19:14

Randy Stonehill and Phil Keaggy recorded a song called “Who Will Save The Children” for Compassion International, a Christian charity dedicated to helping children in poverty. But it could very well be a song for abused children. 

Today the world is facing many problems. High unemployment, poverty, homelessness, illegal immigration, racial unrest, gun violence and threats of terrorism—just to name a few.

And yet one of our most tragic problems that has spread world-wide barely gets a bi-line in the news—sexual child abuse.

There have been plenty of reports about the sex trafficking trade and the efforts that some law enforcement agencies have taken to combat this crime. We will even hear reports on how famous pedophiles like Subway spokesman Jared Fogle, are being arrested and prosecuted for their heinous crimes against children.

But it seems that nothing is being done to stop pedophiles who sexually abuse children in their own homes!  Most victims know and trust their abusers. It isn’t strangers our children have to fear most—It’s those who live in their own home!

Children who live with a single parent that has a live-in partner are 20-30 times more likely to be victims of child sexual abuse than children living with both biological parents. Studies show that 1 in 4 girls and 1 in 6 boys will be sexually abused before the age of 18. That means that there will be 500,000 babies born in the US this year that will be sexually abused (Many in their own homes) before they turn 18, if we do not prevent it!

In it’s most recent study, the CDC estimated the lifetime cost to society for dealing with all issues related to child abuse of just one year’s worth of traumatized kids is $585 billion! An astonishing figure that obviously repeats each year!

One of the reasons that the public is not sufficiently aware of child sexual abuse as a problem is that 73% of child victims do not tell anyone about the abuse for at least a year. 45% of victims do not tell anyone for at least 5 years. And some never disclose their abuse.

Another reason is that many people rely on the court system and law enforcement alone to take steps to protect children from child predators who would do harm to our children.

But the Nebraska Legislature finds that sex offenders present a high risk to commit repeat offenses. They further find that efforts of law enforcement agencies to protect their communities, conduct investigations, and quickly apprehend sex offenders are impaired by the lack of available information about individuals who have pleaded guilty to or have been found guilty of sex offenses and who live, work, or attend school in their jurisdiction. (nebraskalegislature.gov/laws/statutes/ 29-4001.01 – 4003) http://nebraskalegislature.gov/laws/statutes.php?statute=29-4001.01

In spite of this, many judges continue to issue light sentences and probation to child sex offenders. And many people believe that once a sex offender is convicted, he or she is restricted on where they can live and travel.

It may surprise many to know that in many states the only restriction imposed on a convicted pedophile is that he or she register as a sex offender at the sheriff’s office within the required time. (Usually within 72 hours)

That means that someone convicted of sexual child abuse may freely visit schools, public parks, children museums, public swimming pools and beaches—basically anywhere that children frequent.

From the Nebraska Sex Offender Registry website:

ARE THERE ANY RESTRICTIONS REGARDING SEX OFFENDERS?

The Nebraska Sex Offender Registration law does not have any restrictions on registered sex offenders.  This is a common misperception.  The SOR law also does not have the legal jurisdiction to prevent an offender from attending events, limiting employment, restrict an offender from entering any facilities, or refrain from living with or socializing with children or vulnerable persons.  The SOR law can only mandate the offender to register his or her required information under statutes 29-4004 and 29-4006 at the sheriff’s office within the required time.

IS THERE ANY RESTRICTIONS AS TO WHERE A SEX OFFENDER CAN LIVE?

Nebraska legislation simply enacted guidelines in July 2006 for those cities who wish to adopt a living restriction ordinance. It is not a state-wide law. Therefore, it only applies to those cities or designated entities that pass such an ordinance which only applies to schools and day cares; furthermore, it will be up to the local agencies to enforce the restrictions if adopted. The city ordinance only applies to sexual predators that moved to the reported address after July 2006. Sexual predator means an individual who is required to register under the Sex Offender Registration act, who has committed an aggravated offense and who has victimized a person eighteen years of age or younger. The Nebraska State Patrol does not track which cities choose to enact or enforce the ordinance. Please contact the local city office, police department or sheriff’s office of the city in question. https://sor.nebraska.gov/FAQ

I experienced the pain and anguish of this crime personally when my granddaughter was sexually molested by her step-father several years ago. After two years of attending hearing after hearing in court, the judge only sentenced him to two years probation. Less than ten days later he was arrested again on charges of physically abusing another child still living in the home! The remaining children were placed in foster care and the father is currently serving a year in the county jail. Because Nebraska has no Grandparents Rights Law, we have not been able to visit our grandchildren in foster care.

I wrote to 18 Nebraska senators about this and out of the 18, only Senator John McCollister responded to me. We recently met for coffee to discuss my concerns about this. He is planning on setting up a meeting with me, himself and another senator to see if we can come up with a solution that will allow grandparents visitation rights to grandchildren in foster care and protect children without violating the perpetrators’ civil rights.

Protecting our future

We have all heard politicians and others quote that “children are our future”. If that is true, (And I believe it is) then why are we so bent on destroying our own future? Adult survivors continue to deal with physical symptoms of sexual child abuse even when the abuse occurred long ago.

A 2001 study supported by the CDC showed that early childhood abuse could affect areas of the brain that impact language, cognitive and emotional development and mental health. This could result in hyperactivity and sleep problems. Another CDC study revealed that the risk of adult chronic diseases such as heart disease, cancer, obesity, high blood pressure, liver disease and high cholesterol is increased.

When a child is abused, emotional and psychological trauma can result. A long-term study by the CDC found that, “As many as 80 percent of young adults who had been abused met the diagnostic criteria for at least one psychiatric disorder at age 21.” These disorders include anxiety, depression, eating disorders and suicide attempts. Child abuse victims may also suffer from learning, attention and memory problems. Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is another common problem for child abuse survivors, resulting in constant frightening memories and thoughts, feeling emotionally detached or numb and sleep problems.

Adults who suffered abuse often turn to drug or alcohol abuse. A report from the National Institute on Drug Abuse states that, “as many as 2/3 of people in drug treatment programs report being abused as children.” Additionally, some adult survivors turn to lying, stealing or other illegal criminal behavior and end up arrested and incarcerated.

Things you can do to protect your children:

  • Talk to your child about the dangers of sexual abuse. And talking about personal safety should be an on-going dialogue, not just a single event.
  • Teach your children appropriate names for their body parts.
  • Use everyday situations to keep the conversations about personal safety ongoing.
  • Set the rules about internet safety and your values early on.
  • Learn about the websites your children use regularly and limit how much time they spend online.
  • Visit websites such as Facebook, Twitter, and other sites your child visits.
  • Teach your children that they should not seek relationships with online friends and that they should never meet online friends in the real world. If you think that your child is smarter than that, think again. Many teens and pre-teens get involved in online relationships only to find out later that the “other teenager” is actually a middle aged pedophile. So make sure that your child has a support system in the real world.

Above all, build trust between you and your child so they know that they can talk to you about anything.

Think about this: I once attended a dedication ceremony of a friend who just had a baby. As the father was holding the baby in his arms, the pastor asked him, “Who are you to this child?” The father replied proudly, “I’m his father.” “No.” the paster answered. “You are God.” As the father gave the pastor a confused look, he continued, “You are the only God this child will know. So as far as he knows, you ARE God. And it is up to you to teach him all he will know about God.”

If we may be the only God that a child will know and that child experiences abuse from us or another adult, what will that child think  about God? What will his impression be of God?

Collin Raye – 11th Commandment