Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Sodom Still Knocks At The Door...

Gen. 19:5-8 [The men of Sodom] called to Lot, “Where are the men who came to you tonight? Bring them out to us so that we can have sex with them.” 6 Lot went outside to meet them and shut the door behind him 7 and said, “No, my friends. Don’t do this wicked thing. 8 Look, I have two daughters who have never slept with a man. Let me bring them out to you, and you can do what you like with them..."  (New Living Translation)

This story has always held a sort of fascination/horror for me. I cannot imagine a father offering to give up his two daughters (virgins or not; I still can't fathom it!) to the perverted crowd that was hammering at his door, screaming in a lunatic lust for the two angels that Lot was entertaining in his home at that moment. I have two beautiful daughters, and although they have, at times, frustrated me to the point of tears and heartbreak, I still cannot imagine sacrificing them to a mob of enraged perverts screaming for their lewd desires to be sated.

And yet...

In today's society, there is a frenzied, lunatic, perverted society that is hammering at the doors of Christian families who are, or should be, entertaining the presence of God in their homes.

Were this to happen literally today, we would be pleading the blood of Jesus while simultaneously dialing 911 and calling on every other resource available to come to our rescue. The sad truth, however, is that this is NOT happening literally, but merely through a variety of media technology, including (but not limited to) television, computers, game consoles, iPads, smart phones, DVD rentals, internet, etc.

And so, instead of pleading the blood of Jesus and barring the door, refusing to surrender our own virtuous children to the perverted horde of Hollywood, we instead are opening not only the front door, but every other door we can find, and inviting this carnal, sensual, devilish environment into homes that SHOULD be an environment of entertaining angels.

I heard it said years ago that "Video is the trojan horse that has ushered Hollywood into the living rooms of apostolics." I'm not so sure that I agree with that, because even back then, many Pentecostals were cautious about video technology. I'm not saying the person who made that statement was wrong, but in my own opinion, what Hell couldn't accomplish through the use of video technology, it has accomplished through every other resource available to us. And if internet access, DVDs, "free online TV", smartphones, tablets, or other devices don't break down the door, you mark my words: Hell will keep hammering away until even more doors cave in.

God deliver us from the spirit of Lot. I don't want to be guilty of sacrificing my children to the perversion that permeates this devilish world.

Let us quit looking for open doors to invite Sodom in; let us stand even more firmly against this onslaught of evil, and let us not sacrifice one more daughter or son to the sin of Sodom.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Let Us Hear From God!

Thinking back on the old wooden church pictured in my Facebook "Cover Photo" (the one that reads "Landmarks"), I still recall the Sunday evening service in that tiny little church when—as I mentioned in a previous post—I first recall distinctly feeling the powerful anointing of God on my life as I preached my little handwritten sermon titled "Let Me Hear From God".

What has come to mind here of late is the subject of that little sermon: I had taken my text from Jer. 37:17 where Zedekiah the king had secretly inquired of Jeremiah the prophet, asking "Is there any word from the Lord?" And Jeremiah replied, "There is."

Today, just as powerfully (if not more so), I am convinced that amid all the sermonizing and fanciful orations that are being delivered across pulpits today, what this world needs—indeed, what the Church needs—is "a word from the Lord". We need men of God who have been locked into prayer, men who have committed themselves to a fresh anointing, men who have weighed the cost and purposed in their heart that, whether the message is popular or not (and chances are, it won't be!), the next message they deliver will come straight from the heartbeat of God Himself.

We need preachers who will set aside the "talking head" sofa-style delivery; preachers who shun the modernistic "just a friendly chat" barstool teaching; preachers who step directly from private prayer into a public pulpit and will boldly declare, "Thus saith God", regardless of the end results of the message. As preachers of the Word of God, we are in danger of becoming (if not already so) so results-oriented that we base our messages—and our faith in hearing from God—on whether anyone steps to the altar or not. Keep in mind, man of God, that the message sent from God is not always positive, uplifting, upbeat, encouraging; it may often be a message of repentance, humility, a change in lifestyle...subjects that are extremely unpopular with today's "itching ears" that love to be told how wonderful they are, and how they need not change anything about themselves.

In a world that reeks of carnality and filth, there simply MUST be a fresh breath of Heaven that fills our sanctuaries, that fills our pulpits, that delivers not what we preachers THINK people should hear, but what God KNOWS we need to hear. Your congregation, pastor, may be starving to death all the while you pride yourself on constantly "putting corn in the crib". If what you're feeding them is all cotton-candy and fluff, they may walk away with their spiritual sweet tooth satisfied, but malnourishment is ever present.

That Sunday night at County Line United Pentecostal Church in FairPlay, TX (Google it!) has come roaring back into my heart with a renewed passion: I no longer want to simply preach a sermon; I want to both hear AND deliver a word from the Lord. It is not in my own intellect, not in my iPad-prepared sermons, not in my PC Study Bible or Olive Tree Bible software (although I enjoy the knowledge found in both, and use them regularly) that any message will ever come that has life-altering, soul-saving, heart-cleansing power and authority. Rather, it is when I realize that spiritual authority and anointing only comes as the result of much prayer, much communication with God, seeking the face, the heart, the mind of God for a word that is desperately needed for desperate times.

Men of God, we need to preach, in the famed words of Richard Baxter, "As a dying man to dying men." God forbid that we should be guilty of stepping into a pulpit prayerless, unstudied, unprepared for the warfare. These are desperate times, and they require men who are desperate to hear from the mouth of God. When you next approach that sacred desk of God, look through the eyes of the Spirit and see your congregation imploring you: "Man of God, is there any word from the Lord?"

And as that old weeping prophet Jeremiah replied, so should you be prepared to also declare "There is."

Wednesday, May 01, 2013

Worship Is Your Weapon

Anybody can pick up a sword and swing it at an imaginary enemy; anyone can practice "kata" (the motions and techniques used in martial arts) without stepping into a ring against an opponent; and pretty much anyone can pick up a rifle and shoot at tin cans. 

Anyone can worship when things are going well.

When you worship in the face of adversity, however, you put the sword to use against an adversary; you step into a ring of combat against an enemy.

Suddenly it's no longer easy; suddenly it's no longer just practice; suddenly, you're faced with a host of reasons why you SHOULDN'T worship. But worship in the face of adversity is a weapon of devastating destruction. Satan cannot stop worship. Hell cannot thwart the power of praise. Nothing, Nothing, Nothing, Nothing, NOTHING can stop the power of your worship! It is a spiritual force that all the powers of Hell and darkness tremble at. A child of God who can worship when life has turned upside down is a formidable foe.

I doubt there's a single sermon that's ever been preached—anywhere, by any preacher—that caused Hell to tremble; but let the least-known saint of God begin to call on the Name of the LORD, and every devil in Hell begins to scream in fear.

Worship. It's the best—yet probably the least-used—weapon in your spiritual arsenal. Use it!

Monday, April 01, 2013

It's Not YOU That's Being Attacked

Concerning the whole story of David and Goliath, did you ever notice this:

1 Sam. 17:10 - Goliath says "I defy the armies of Israel..."

1 Sam. 17:25 - The men of Israel told David, that Goliath had come up "to defy Israel".

1 Sam. 17:26 - David questions who would be bold enough to "defy the armies of the living God".

It wasn't for Israel that David's righteous indignation was kindled, but rather for the God that David served. In David's eyes, Goliath wasn't defying Israel, but God.

David knew that Israel would have their hands full trying to defeat Goliath, along with the armies of the Philistines; he had no such reservation when it came to God's ability, however. It was this confidence in the God that he knew and served that caused a young shepherd boy to stand up and tell a gigantic warrior, "God will deliver you into my hand, and I'll smite you, and I'll take your head from you, and I'll feed your carcass to the buzzards." I can almost imagine Goliath's consternation at the gall of this young upstart speaking to him that way!

I wonder what would happen if the Church quit taking all this hate-filled rhetoric as a personal attack, and started seeing this as an affront to the power and ability of our God?  This whole assault from the liberal media, from the Hollywood elite, and even from what appears to be an anti-Christian government, etc. is not about us, as a church, or an organization; it is a personal affront to the God that we serve and represent, an obscenity screamed at our God by a godless world, and by the evil that controls them. It irks me to no end when I hear Christians—and especially Spirit-filled apostolics—whine about things that are happening in the world, yet our "righteous indignation" is only stirred up on our own behalf, not on behalf of the God we serve. Without even realizing it, we have somehow still managed to make this "all about us", instead of about Him. Victim mentality prevails: Woe is us! Poor down-trodden Christians!

Don't get me wrong: God doesn't need us to defend Him or His honor. But something should get stirred up within the church of God when His Name is assailed, His righteousness is twisted, His power is questioned, His glory is mocked.

By the help of God, I refuse to let a godless society have their way against the Church. It is time we return to prayer, to fasting, to laying aside some weights, to seeking a revival and restoration of the power of God. I don't see anywhere in the Scripture where God is going to just throw His hands up and say, "It's no use; I might as well let the heathens have their way..." 

Keep in mind, the same Bible that says, "In the last days, there will be a great falling away..." also says that "In the last days, saith God, I will pour out My Spirit..."

Somebody needs to pick up a sling and a handful of stones...

Thursday, March 07, 2013

Patience, My Child...

Confession: In a recent season of prayer, I began to point out to God just how faithful I had been, sort of reminding God, I guess, of what a "good, trusting servant" I had been up to that point: "Lord, I've trusted you with my life, with my heart, with my whole being…I need to learn how to wait patiently on You…"

Instantly, I felt God speak into my spirit, very softly, very gently…

"If you really do trust Me with these things, as you say you do, then patience will come naturally to you. You'll have no problem waiting on me if you really trust Me."

God has spoken to me at other times, and I feel comfortable with His voice, so I knew it was Him. I must say, however, that I'd never heard His voice so gentle, so caring, so much like a Father to a child as He was to me at that precise moment. 

Immediately following that prayer, I felt God reveal something about "patience" that I'd never realized before. Allow me to share what I felt in my heart:

Patience is a natural by-product of trust. When we trust God, we have no problem waiting patiently on Him; neither the direction nor the duration of the journey will sway us from following after Him.

I look at the life of Abraham—one of my favorite heroes of Scripture—and I see an absolute trust in a God whom he (Abraham) didn't even know. How was it possible for Abraham to pack up his household, his belongings, his family and servants, and follow this unknown voice, this unknown God into a land he'd only heard of? To make the story even more interesting, God spoke to Abraham and said, "Follow me to a land that I'll show you..." God didn't even tell Abraham where he was going; He simply said, "I'll let you know when you get there."

What an absolute display of complete, unadulterated trust! Yet I believe it was that trust that kept Abraham walking with God for all those years, all those miles, through all the hardships that he faced along the way. Genesis 15:6 confirms this by telling us "And [Abraham] believed in the Lord, and He accounted it to him for righteousness."

Did Abraham make some mistakes along the way? Of course. There are a couple of almost-laughable boneheaded blunders that come to mind—the result of Abraham's trust momentarily wavering. And in that brief wavering of his trust in God, Abraham grew impatient, and tried to make something happen on his own that God had already promised would come to pass. Yet in spite of those blunders, in spite of trying to get ahead of God and figure out how this was all supposed to happen, Abraham continued to trust and obey. And continue the journey.


I've told my wife on many occasions, it would be interesting to hear some of the conversations that Abraham and Sarah must have had during those years they followed God...Abraham following God, and Sarah blindly following Abraham. Were there times that Abraham (or Sarah) questioned? I think so, for in spite of his brilliant display of trust and faith, Abraham was still human. But the patience he exhibited throughout the course of his life, his walk with God, his blind trust in a God he didn't even have a name for...I believe this is what ultimately caused God Himself to refer to this mortal man as "Abraham, my friend" (Isa. 41:8)

Patience. I'm not overly endowed with it, I admit. And it doesn't help that today's culture is so frantic, so fast-paced, so advanced—yet so hurried—that everything should happen at the flip of a switch, or push of a button. 

Understand, I'm not necessarily referring to standing in the "slow line" at the bank, or the grocery store, or being stuck in rush-hour traffic. But patience with God's control of my life, my situation, my crisis-of-the-day... This sort of patience can only come as a result of my absolute trust in Him.


One of the most valuable lessons I ever learned—yet one that I have to constantly remind myself of—was simply this: God is more concerned with the direction you're going than with the speed in which you arrive.

Keep patiently waiting. Walk with God, and become His friend.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Where I Lead Him, Will He Follow?

Woke up this morning with this old hymn running through my mind; haven't heard it in years, but I still remember the words to the old chorus:

"I will follow where He leadeth;
"I will pasture where He feedeth.
"I will follow all the way, Lord;
"I will follow Jesus every day."

Almost immediately, I was struck with the thought, "What if I were the one leading? Would God follow where I'm going?" I understand that the concept may be difficult to fathom. I mean, we follow God, understanding that He knows the end from the beginning, that He created all things, and that there is nothing in our unseen future that He's not already aware of. 

We follow Him; not the other way around.

But... If I were leading Him, would He follow?

Just before He left this earth at His transformation, Jesus told His disciples, "I will be with you always..." So we, as Spirit-filled Christians, understand that the Spirit of Christ goes with us everywhere, at all times. We take comfort in this during our times of hardship, pain, grief...but what about all those other times when we're not feeling our need of His comforting Spirit quite so strongly? What about when times are good, and we're not leaning on His Spirit quite so heavily?

If He's with me at all times, no matter where I go or what I'm doing, would my steps take Him anywhere He's uncomfortable? If I lead Him, will He follow?

I have absolutely no doubt that anywhere and everywhere He leads me, I'll go; there may be—indeed, there will be—times and places that I don't understand, and no, it may not always be comfortable. However, I know that He's never going to lead me into places or situations that compromise my integrity, my relationship with Him, or the purity of my own heart.

If I were the one leading, would He feel the same?

Observe your own steps today: the pathway you walk, the conversations you have, the material you watch, read, or listen to; take note of your own actions (or reactions), the things you engage in, the words you speak to (or about) others. Would Jesus be comfortable tagging along with you every step of your day today?

At the close of the day, look back over your shoulder and ask yourself the question, "Did I lead Him anywhere He wouldn't have taken me?"

We understand, of course, that God will not allow sin in His Presence, and would never compromise His own Righteousness. Think about your steps today, however, the words you speak, the choices you make, the things you do, and ask yourself this question: 

"Where I lead Him, will He follow?"

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

What Did Mary Hear?

Scripture tells us that Mary "sat at [Jesus'] feet and heard His word."

We have no idea how long she sat there; we have no idea how long any of the disciples that invaded Mary and Martha's home that afternoon sat there listening to Jesus teach. We can gather, however, that it must have been quite awhile, because the scripture tells us that "Martha was cumbered about much serving..."

With no modern appliances, preparing a dinner took some time; obviously, if it were long enough for Martha to prepare, cook, and serve those uninvited guests, it's probably safe to say that Mary and the others were sitting at the feet of Jesus for quite awhile. It was long enough that Martha finally reached her breaking point, and went and demanded that Jesus send Mary back to the kitchen.

Interestingly, Jesus did not reprimand Martha for being busy; He didn't belittle her, nor did He play the comparison either direction. Jesus didn't tell Mary that she ought to be more like Martha—busy about the work of the kingdom—nor did He chastise Martha for not taking the time to sit down and listen to Him, as Mary had. He simply pointed out that "Mary has chosen that good part, which shall not be taken from her".

What could possibly have been "good" about Mary just sitting there at the feet of Jesus, listening to Him speak?

What possible good can it do to spend an hour...a half-hour...fifteen minutes, even?...sitting here and just "reading the Bible". Ho hum...what a waste of time. There are so many things to do; I have so much to get done; how can I possibly take a half-hour of my morning to just sit and read the Bible? Or pray? You expect me to pray for an hour, when I have so little time of my own already?

What did Mary accomplish in the time she sat there listening to Him speak? The only thing we have record of is that she was berated by Martha, but commended by Christ Himself. We don't find her lost in worship and adoration; she wasn't crowned Chief Apostle or given any special attention, other than when Jesus refused to send her back to the kitchen.

But what did Mary hear?

In all likelihood, she heard something Martha never heard: some soft-spoken words of wisdom, a promise, assurances that everything would be okay in the days to come...Perhaps Mary even heard some words that caused her to hang on to hope when her brother Lazarus lay dead in the tomb for three days.

Martha had the same opportunity, but she chose to spend her time bustling about "doing" stuff. I've always found it slightly amusing that Martha felt it her duty to provide a meal for the One who had just fed over five thousand with only five loaves of bread and two small fish. 

Sometimes I wonder if I suffer from the same malady; do I feel this compulsion to "serve", when what I really should be focusing on is just listening to Him? In all my "busyness" of serving Him, and proving to Him (and hopefully to all those around me who will recognize how spiritually-minded I am by all the work I do for the Kingdom!) how faithful I am, is it possible that I may be missing those quiet words of reassurance, of promise, of hope, of a Love beyond my comprehension?

In the mad rush of today's society, it seems—it really does seem—that 24 hours in a day just isn't enough anymore. And the idea of sitting down with my Bible, or kneeling in my prayer closet, for an hour—or even thirty minutes—of the precious little time I have left for "myself"'s easy enough to become convinced that that would just be time "thrown away".

Time spent with Jesus, however, is never time wasted, nor thrown away. We are so focused on having immediate results, however, that if we spend a half-hour reading our Bible on Monday morning, and something miraculous hasn't happened before Wednesday night prayer meeting, we fall prey to that mentality that "it's not really accomplishing anything".

Hear me: Time spent with Christ is never time wasted. You may not see immediate, external results; you may not feel goosebumps, or spine-tingling chills; you may spend an hour in prayer, and your Monday be as mundane as always. 

Time spent with Jesus Christ is never time wasted.

It is in those times that you devote to Him, that your focus is completely on Him, on listening to Him speak into your life, that you may find that promise, that encouragement, that strength to keep you going when your world collapses. 

I think it's sad that Martha never really heard Jesus speak. 

I don't want to be like Martha. 

I'm thinking I'll just find me a place at His feet, and just listen for awhile. 

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Let's (Not) Get Physical...

In the beginning, when God was creating the worlds and all that was in them, He looked at Adam and plainly noted, "It is not good for man to be alone. I will make him a help [companion] meet [suitable] for him."

God then placed Adam into a "deep sleep", and from Adam's own flesh, God created the woman, Eve.

This passage alone should be scriptural proof enough that God never intended to engage in acts of physical intimacy with His creation. 

While I understand the professions of love and adoration that many of today's Christian songwriters are trying to express, it still bothers me that in today's society, so many are attempting to turn our relationship with God into something that is corporeal, even slightly lascivious, carnal.

God loves His creation, ladies and gentlemen; that doesn't mean He is interested in becoming your supernatural boyfriend. The "Bride of Christ" that is mentioned in Scripture is made up of countless born-again Christians, and there is no act of physical intimacy that takes place between the Holy Spirit and a single physical human being. This includes "laying back against [Him] and breathing" or "dancing with [Him] in a field of grace" (or any other foliage, for that matter).

I also find it interesting to note that Jesus—the physical manifestation of the Almighty God—dearly loved His friends, yet throughout His earthly ministry, Jesus never failed to keep the line of separation clearly drawn, making Himself distinct from His followers. "Ye call me Lord, and ye do well, for so I am..." The twelve whom He personally called were His disciples, His followers; He referred to them as His friends, while stipulating "...if ye do whatsoever I command you." (Most of us would have serious issues with someone who told us we could be considered their "friend" only if we did whatever they told us!)

Today's society is so far removed from a true understanding of adoration that it is difficult for many to wrap their mind around the idea of "loving" someone, yet simultaneously holding that person in a position of high esteem, superiority, reverence. 

Yet we simply MUST hold God in the highest position of reverence and honor, and cease trying to bring Him down to a carnal level where we can express our love in some base manner that He never intended.

He alone is God, the Holy and Faithful King of Kings, and we should never attempt to bring Him down to our level, when He went to such great lengths to call us up to His.

Monday, February 11, 2013

It's About Time

Many people have absolutely no problem giving God their heart, their finances, even their children. Giving Him your time, however, is another story altogether.

Relationships are built on time and communication, however, and the unique thing about a positive, close relationship is that, the more time you spend with that person, the more you communicate with them, the more you enjoy it, the more you desire to. 

Study the lives of the great men of God throughout the Scriptures—both Old and New Testaments—and the one common denominator with those who had that "special" relationship with God: Time.

Abraham comes to mind, because he was personally referred to by God as "Abraham, my friend". David was personally referred to by God as "a man after mine own heart". Although he made an egregious error and displeased God, Moses still pleased God enough to merit one-on-one conversations with God, was allowed to look upon God, and ultimately earned a special burying place that only God knew.

Plenty of us—and I did say "US"—will grace a church pew on Sundays, will faithfully give of our finances, and have (or will) dedicate our homes, our children, our families to God. But the longer I live, the more I become convinced that the true Bride of Christ is going to be made up of those who long to be with Him, who crave spending time with Him, who cherish those hours of prayer and communication with God. 

God is not looking for a "marriage of convenience", ladies and gentlemen; He desires a Bride whose desire is toward Him, a Bride that will spend time being with Him, not just enjoy the benefits of His Name. 

If you want to enjoy that special, unique relationship with God, it all boils down to time. How much you're willing to give Him will determine how well you know Him, and how well He knows you. 

Monday, February 04, 2013

Gracious Words...

Just as food doesn't have to be presented on the finest china in order to create a good meal, so also the Word of God doesn't have to be presented in eloquent format in order to vital and nourishing to the hungry heart.

Presentation, however, can make a world of difference in how that meal—or Message—is received. The man of God should never, EVER feel carefree or cavalier about his presentation of God's Word; to be entrusted with the delivery of God's Word is the highest calling man could ever be given, and the man who takes that calling, and delivery, lightly with no forethought of how he performs in his duty, is a man who has no true realization of the task he has been given.

Those who approach the delivery of their message with the thought, "I'm just the vessel..." need to realize how true that statement is: You ARE the vessel; as such, you should always strive to be a vessel of honor, and never one to dishonor God or His Word by poor, unprepared, or cheap presentation.

While preaching is not—and never SHOULD be—considered a "competitive sport", we should always strive to present this Truth in our finest form, with "gracious words", as Jesus Himself did. Your presentation may determine whether that message from God is accepted or rejected.