Posts Tagged ‘Scripture’

Many Christians are up in arms over Jars of Clay front man, Dan Haseltine’s comments on gay marriage. If Dan was directing his comments to believers I would probably agree with his very outspoken critics. But I believe in the context of his comments that he was speaking more to unbelievers. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/04/25/jars-of-clay-gay-marriage_n_5214742.html

Using Scripture against same-sex marriage is perhaps the most misplaced argument that I’ve heard during this heated debate. People who believe in Biblical morals have every right to use their beliefs to influence what goes on INSIDE their churches. However, according to the Apostle Paul it should stop there.

“But actually, I wrote to you not to associate with any so-called brother if he is an immoral person, or covetous, or an idolater, or a reviler, or a drunkard, or a swindler—not even to eat with such a one. For what have I to do with judging outsiders? Do you not judge those who are within the church? But those who are outside, God judges. REMOVE THE WICKED MAN FROM AMONG YOURSELVES.” (1 Corinthians 5:11-13)

If Scripture and God’s moral law for believers was the primary force driving secular law, divorce and adultery would be illegal and criminally prosecuted. It’s a very paper-thin argument and that is why it is not taken seriously among the courts or most state authorities.

…So how about lightening up on our brother.

I have heard of a lot of people who have found themselves in abusive relationships. Sometimes it begins very subtly. But there are always red flags for people if they only pay attention to them. Although abusers are commonly men, it is not uncommon for an abuser to be a woman.

Below are some tips to help you recognize the red flags that you may be in an abusive relationship:

1. They want you all to themselves and make an effort to keep it that way. They do not understand that you have a life outside of the relationship and work to keep you from family and friends.

2. They call you derogatory names then say they are joking. Abusers sometimes cover themselves by blaming you, saying that you need to lighten up or that you are too sensitive.

3. They throw tantrums or attack you verbally and blame everything on someone else, namely you.

4. They try to intimidate you with violence, dominance or power tactics.

5. They punish you if you do go somewhere or do something without them even if others are also there.

6. They feel entitled to be treated like royalty and expect you to be a willing servant, doing everything they ask.

7. They are often jealous of you, other people and even your dreams and goals.

8. They are manipulators and will sulk, threaten to leave, and emotionally punish you for not going along with his or her idea of how things should be.

9. They will try to make you feel guilty any time you exert your will and what is right for you.

10. At times the abuser may appear to be apologetic and loving but their “remorse” doesn’t last long; the abuse begins again when the abuser feels he or she has you back.

If you are in an emotionally abusive relationship, there is a good chance that eventually things may get physical.  At first, the abuser might pull your hair, push you, or grab you so hard that you bruise; these may only be warning signs that things can escalate further. A partner with an explosive temper who has reacted with violence before (breaking things, punching the wall, getting into altercations with others) may very likely physically abuse you.

Scripture plainly lays out what type of people we can have a healthy relationship with.

For women seeking a man:

They should be above reproach, temperate, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, not given to drunkenness, not violent but gentle, not quarrelsome, not a lover of money. He must not be a recent convert, or he may become conceited and fall under the same judgment as the devil. He must also have a good reputation with outsiders, so that he will not fall into disgrace and into the devil’s trap. He should be man worthy of respect, sincere, and not pursuing dishonest gain. They must keep hold of the deep truths of the faith with a clear conscience. Don’t be afraid to test them; and then if they possess most of these qualities it is safe to pursue a relationship with them. (From1 Timothy 3:1-10)

For men seeking a woman:

She should bring good and not harm. She should eagerly work with her hands to provide food for her family. She works vigorously and her lamp does not go out at night. She opens her arms to the poor and extends her hands to the needy. When it snows, she has no fear for her household; for all of them are well clothed. She has strength and dignity so she can laugh at the days to come. She speaks with wisdom, and faithful instruction is on her tongue. She watches over the affairs of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness. Remember guys, charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised. Seek after a woman with most of these qualities and you will save yourself much grief in the future. (From Proverbs 31:10-31

The most important thing for believers to remember is that no matter how attractive, wealthy, or witty someone may appear to be DO NOT become romantically involved with an unbeliever.

Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness? What harmony is there between Christ and Belial? What does a believer have in common with an unbeliever? What agreement is there between the temple of God and idols? For we are the temple of the living God. As God has said: “I will live with them and walk among them, and I will be their God, and they will be my people. Therefore come out from them and be separate, says the Lord. Touch no unclean thing, and I will receive you. I will be a Father to you, and you will be my sons and daughters, says the Lord Almighty.” – 2 Corinthians 6:14-18 –

I have had my share of bad relationships because I didn’t pay attention to the red flags and what Scripture plainly teaches about it. Today, God has blessed me with a beautiful godly wife; but it took nearly 40 years! We knew each other in high school but at the time I was too self-absorbed to realize that the best thing in my life was right in front of me! Don’t make the same mistake I made and waste 40 years in unhealthy relationships. Get the very best that God has for you.

“And God has appointed these in the Church: First apostles, second prophets, third teachers, and after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, administrations, varieties of tongues. Are all apostles? Are all prophets? Are all teachers? Are all workers of miracles? Do all have gifts of healings? Do all speak with tongues? Do all interpret? But earnestly desire the best gifts. And yet I show you a more excellent way.” (1Corinthians 12:7-11, 28-31)

Note that the above Scripture specifies that such Spiritual gifts, if genuine, are appointed by God. In spite of the growing number of false teachers and false prophets in the church today, doesn’t this scripture passage imply that these spiritual gifts are real? Let’s look at what scripture teaches about true and false prophets:

“But the prophet who presumes to speak a word in my name, which I have not commanded him to speak, or who speaks in the name of other gods, that prophet shall die. And if you say in your heart, ‘How shall we know the word which the Lord has not spoken?’  When a prophet speaks in the name of the Lord, if the thing does not happen or come to pass, that is the thing which the Lord has not spoken; the prophet has spoken it presumptuously; you shall not be afraid of him.” (Deuteronomy 18:20-22)

“Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves. You will know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes from thorn bushes or figs from thistles? Even so, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit.” (Matthew 7:15-18)

In 1 Thessalonians 5:21 Paul says we should test all things. So we can discern the difference between true and false prophets by testing what they say with scripture.

So are there true prophets of God today? In Acts 2:17-18, the Apostle Peter quoting Joel 2:28-29 states, “And it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh: and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams:  And on my servants and on my handmaidens I will pour out in those days of my Spirit; and they shall prophesy.”

Now there is a big difference between someone who prophecies and a true prophet of God. It’s been my experience that 99% of all so called ‘prophetic ministries’ are in fact, managed and controlled by false prophets. These ravenous wolves in sheep’s clothing that the Lord warned us about are the ones who have made it difficult for God’s true prophets. Prophetic words are to be judged and should never be used to rule your life. We are held responsible to test all things. I have seen numerous people led astray by so called prophetic ministries. Many people have followed them from meeting to meeting much like worldly people follow fortune tellers.

I believe that true prophets of God exist today.

Leonard Ravenhill, Keith Green, and David Wilkerson are men that I would consider to be true prophets of God. Leonard Ravenhill was labeled a radical and considered to be legalistic by some. Keith Green was criticized by some in the Christian Music Industry for his stand on not selling his music for the sake of the gospel. David Wilkerson was mocked by the media and scorned by some Christian circles. It was only after their deaths that some began to acknowledge their godly work.

But how many of us listened to their messages? How many today would pat them on the back and tell them how much they were admired but would think to themselves, “Just don’t expect me to do what you ask!”

Leonard Ravenhill was a British Christian evangelist and author who focused on the subjects of prayer and revival. He is best known for challenging the modern church through his books and sermons. His most notable book is ‘Why Revival Tarries’ which has sold over a million copies worldwide. In the 1980s, Ravenhill moved from England to a home near Lindale, Texas, a short distance from Last Days Ministries Ranch. He regularly taught classes at LDM and was a mentor to Keith Green. David Wilkerson, Ray Comfort, Tommy Tenney, Charles Stanley, Paul Washer and many others were also influenced by him.

Leonard Ravenhill was a man sent from God and like Elijah, was sent to battle the priests of Baal on their own mountain top and to shame the careless priests at the altar! He fearlessly stood against sin in the church and pastors who watered down the gospel of Christ. And he warned people who were being led astray by them. He was not an easy companion to the complacent. He insisted on being a Christian all the time and everywhere he went. He was sick inside when he saw the children of God acting like the sons of the devil. That marked him as being hard headed and at times, legalistic. Where have men of such fiery zeal as Ravenhill gone? Click here: Leonard Ravenhill

Keith Green was also recognized as a prophetic voice, crying out to us like John the Baptist, and cutting like a two-edged sword. On one hand, his words offered hope and joy — the Lord is coming! On the other hand, they required us to change our lives. Because of his love for Jesus and for the Word of God, Keith’s zeal drew thousands to his message during his few short years of public ministry before his untimely death. His sole desire was to see men, women and young people become free from spiritual darkness, confusion, and lukewarm Christianity. Keith’s boldness unsettled the more complacent Christians, as he pressed into the life of a true disciple, sometimes risking a successful career, his reputation, and personal finances — all to discover how to overcome worldliness and sin, and the surest road to God’s heart. Because Keith spoke for God and Him alone, his was one of the clearest, truest voices of our time. Click here: Keith Green Story

David Wilkerson was probably one of our greatest prophets of the 20th century. He served as a pastor in small churches in Pennsylvania, until he saw a photograph in Life Magazine in 1958 of seven New York City teenagers charged with murder. He later wrote that as he felt the Holy Spirit move him with compassion, he was drawn to go to New York in February 1958. It was then that he began a street ministry to young drug addicts and gang members, which he continued into the 1960s. He also founded Teen Challenge, an evangelical Christian addiction recovery program, with a network of Christian social and evangelizing work centers.

He gained national recognition after he co-authored the book ‘The Cross and the Switchblade’ in 1963 with John and Elizabeth Sherrill about his street ministry. In the book, he tells of the conversion of gang member Nicky Cruz, who later became an evangelist himself and wrote the autobiographical ‘Run Baby Run’. In 1967, David Wilkerson began Youth Crusades, an evangelistic ministry aimed at middle-class youth who were restless and bored. His goal was to prevent them from becoming heavily involved with drugs, alcohol, or violence.

In 1986, while walking down 42nd Street in New York City at midnight, David Wilkerson felt God calling him to start a ministry in Times Square. There he founded and became the pastor of Times Square Church, which opened its doors in October 1987. The church first occupied rented auditoriums in Times Square and later moved to the historic Mark Hellinger Theatre, which the ministry purchased in 1989 and in which it has operated ever since.

On April 27, 2011, while driving east on US Route 175 in Texas, David collided head-on with a tractor trailer and was pronounced dead on the scene. His last blog post stated, “To those going through the valley and shadow of death, hear this word: Weeping will last through some dark, awful nights and in that darkness you will soon hear the Father whisper, I am with you. I cannot tell you why right now, but one day it will all make sense. You will see it was all part of my plan. It was no accident.”  Click here: A Call to Anguish – David Wilkerson

Ezekiel was one of God’s greatest prophets recorded in the Old Testament. He brought God’s message of impending judgment to the Israelite people held captive in Babylon. God told Ezekiel that the people would not listen to him because of their unrepentant hearts. The message of the Old Testament prophets is the same message as the prophets today. The message of repentance!

That is what Israel failed to recognize about their God. They could not bring themselves to recognize their own sin. In failing to recognize their sin, they failed to recognize the holy God that they were called to serve. And as they continued to sin, they assumed that God’s blessings would always be upon them no matter what they did because they were God’s people and  they were in the covenant of promise. Because God had blessed them in the past, they felt that they were secure, that they couldn’t be moved from the firm foundation of Zion. That false assurance was further cemented in their mind by the false prophets who came along and preached: ‘Peace, peace’, when there was no peace. And when they could no longer ignore God’s prophet they humiliated and ridiculed him. This true prophet of God called them to repent but they refused to listen and ended up paying the price.

It is no different today. For decades God has been sending his prophets to warn us of His impending judgment, but we refuse to listen to them and continue to sin and instead listen to the false prophets who preach, “Peace, peace!” when there is no peace.

In 1973 David Wilkerson received a vision regarding the future of the United States and subsequently published a book called ‘The Vision’.  Below are some excerpts from this book. Keep in mind that he received this vision in 1973!

Economic Crash Coming

“There is worldwide economic confusion just ahead. In my vision this is the clearest thing I have seen… Not only is the American dollar headed for deep trouble, but so are all other world currencies. I see total economic confusion striking Europe first and then affecting Japan, the United States, Canada and all other nations shortly thereafter.” (P13:p1-2)

Everyone Will Be Affected

“…A recession of such magnitude that it will affect the lifestyle of nearly every wage earner in America and around the world. Countries that now control huge amounts of Western currency are going to be in very deep trouble also. Arab countries will be especially hurt.” (P13: p3)

Economists Confused

“The world’s greatest economists will be at a loss to explain the confusion and an international crisis of fear will develop. *(The economics profession has been unprepared and helpless to deal with the calamity has recently come upon the world.)

False Boom

“A false economic boom will precede the recession – but it will be short lived.” (P13-14: p4)

Uncontrolled Credit Debt

“Credit debt will become nearly uncontrollable. I see, very clearly, just a few years of tremendous affluence and continued economic prosperity. Inflation, costs and wages will spiral higher and higher. ” (P14: p1-3)

Bankruptcies of Major Corporations

“I believe we are going to witness the bankruptcies of some of this nation’s major and most popular corporations. I see tremendous difficulty arising for credit corporations. There are going to be many people unable to pay off their heavy obligations to major credit card companies, causing near chaos. Thousands of small businesses will also be forced into bankruptcies.”

Government Panic

“The United States government is going to “overreact” to the confused economic developments…. I see a flurry of near-panic decisions being made by various government agencies – but these hasty efforts to shore up the economy will backfire.

Building Industry Setbacks

“The building industry is going to face many setbacks. Housing starts will level off. There is a terrible squeeze coming to the building industry.”

Social Aid Programs Will Be Cut

“Social aid programs are going to be cut back and curtailed and minority groups are going to be affected the most. These cutbacks, along with the curtailment of many government projects, will cause widespread unemployment among these groups.”

DRASTIC WEATHER & EARTHQUAKES

“The world is about to witness the beginnings of great sorrows brought about by history’s most drastic weather changes, earthquakes, floods terrible calamities – far surpassing anything ever yet witnessed.”

Outbreaks of Epidemics

“In the aftermath of famine, floods and earthquakes, mankind faces the threat of new epidemics. There will a major cholera epidemic sweeping through various underdeveloped countries. “

FLOOD OF FILTH: MORAL DECLINE

“Be warned – in the not too distant future X-rated porno movies will be show on select cable networks after midnight…  Also available will be the same triple x rated video tapes for private home use. These videotapes can be played on any TV set with an electronic attachment.”  *(Remember; this was written in 1973. This was before cable TV and VCRs became popular!)

Teenage alcoholism

“Teenage alcoholism will increase. We are going to face a critical drinking problem with teenagers between thirteen and sixteen years of age.”

For decades God has sent his prophets to warn us to repent! But we refuse. Even when we have proof that a prophet was among us, we still refuse to repent. But desiring to have our ears tickled we follow the false prophets who preach, ‘Peace, peace’ when there is no peace.  To those of you who do not believe that God brings judgment but only wants to bless, remember what Isaiah 45:7 says: “I form light and create darkness, I make well-being and create calamity. I am the Lord who does all these things.”

The hour is late! And God’s judgment on an unrepentant church is eminent! “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 do not obey the gospel of God?” (1 Pet. 4:17 NIV) It is time for the church to repent of its worldliness and wickedness; fall on our face before God in tears and anguish, and allow Him to fill us with His fire so that we can become a light in a darkened world.

Click here: Keith Green – Asleep In The Light (live)