Seek The Lord in Secret

tent “But you, when you pray, go into your inner room, close your door and pray to your Father who is in secret, and your Father who sees what is done in secret will reward you.” Matthew 6:6 It has been wisely said “The secret of prayer is prayer in secret.

Consider Moses. “Now Moses used to take the tent and pitch it outside the camp, a good distance from the camp, and he called it the tent of meeting. And everyone who sought the Lord would go out to the tent of meeting which was outside the camp. And it came about, whenever Moses went out to the tent, that all the people would arise and stand, each at the entrance of his tent, and gaze after Moses until he entered the tent.” Ex 33:7-8

People are simply drawn to a man or a woman who chooses to meet with and seek after the living God! Don’t try to get others to esteem you as a spiritual person. That won’t last or won’t work. Rather, seek the Lord in private and others will be aware and drawn to you for something about you that simply cannot remain hidden.

When Moses came down from a face to face meeting with God on Mt Sinai. His face glowed because he had been speaking with God (prayer). Mo had the glow that did show don’t you know! Want people to see the Lord reflected in your life? Go spend some time today out in the tent of meeting!

What Is Truth?

“If the world is against the truth then I am against the world.” – St. Athanasius

Standing up for the truth will make you a pariah in a world that has always and will always suppress the truth that condemns man’s proclivity to sin.

Jesus said at His trial that He came to bear witness to the truth. At this statement, Pilate sneeringly replied “What is truth?”
Indeed that same attitude exemplifies a world utterly adrift in the sea of post modern humanism.

Yet all Pilate did was to prove convincingly, that many people cannot see the truth even when it is staring them in the face!

Today, well known social activist and speaker Tony Campolo has announced he is changing his position on Gay marriage (see link below to read his full statement).

Let us be crystal clear, the God who created every person engaged in homosexual sin and then sent His Son die for those very sins has never and will never change His position on this subject.

Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil; Who substitute darkness for light and light for darkness; Who substitute bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter! (‭Isaiah‬ ‭5‬:‭20‬ NASB)

Campolo’s Statement

http://bereanresearch.org/tony-campolo-calls-for-full-inclusion-of-lgbt-into-the-church/?utm_campaign=shareaholic&utm_medium=facebook&utm_source=socialnetwork

Good Morning!

Good Morning

Why do I love the early morning so much? I mean after I actually wake up and my brain comes back on-line again. There is something about being alive, aware, and alone with God. I realize He is granting me yet another day to know, love and live for Him! I don’t deserve it based on how I handled yesterday, but I’m truly humbled and grateful His mercies are yet new this morning. I need some and so I’ll take some. Good morning indeed!

Shall We Pray?

Natl Day of Prayer

Shortly after Dallas Seminary was founded in 1924, it almost folded. It came to the point of bankruptcy. All the creditors were ready to foreclose at twelve noon on a particular day. That morning, the founders of the school met in the president’s office to pray that God would provide. In that prayer meeting was Harry Ironside. When it was his turn to pray, he said in his refreshingly candid way, “Lord we know that the cattle on a thousand hills are Thine. Please sell some of them and send us the money.”

Just about that time, a tall Texan in boots and an open-collar shirt strolled into the business office. “Howdy!” he said to the secretary. “I just sold two carloads of cattle over in Fort Worth. I’ve been trying to make a business deal go through, but it just won’t work. I feel God wants me to give this money to the seminary. I don’t know if you need it or not, but here’s the check,” and he handed it over.
The secretary took the check and, knowing something of the critical nature of the hour, went to the door of the prayer meeting and timidly tapped. Dr. Lewis Sperry Chafer, the founder and president of the school, answered the door and took the check from her hand. When he looked at the amount, it was for the exact sum of the debt. Then he recognized the name on the check as that of the cattleman. Turning to Dr. Ironside, he said, “Harry, God sold the cattle.”

Today we are being asked to spend some time seeking the Lord in humble prayer for ourselves and our nation.

President Abraham Lincoln wrote this in 1863 calling the nation to prayer.

“We have been the recipients of the choicest bounties of Heaven. We have been preserved, these many years, in peace and prosperity. We have grown in numbers, wealth and power, as no other nation has ever grown. But we have forgotten God. We have forgotten the gracious hand which preserved us in peace, and multiplied and enriched and strengthened us; and we have vainly imagined, in the deceitfulness of our hearts, that all these blessings were produced by some superior wisdom and virtue of our own. Intoxicated with unbroken success, we have become too self-sufficient to feel the necessity of redeeming and preserving grace, too proud to pray to the God that made us!”

Will you Believe? Shall we pray!

God’s Love And What It Isn’t

God is love

There are many today who say they are motivated by love for their fellow man and simply wish everyone else would be empowered by such a glorious high ideal.
Certainly, love is the greatest commandment according to Jesus. The Bible says in essence “Love God and your neighbor as yourself” and you will fulfill all God requires of you! (Romans 13:8-10) Wow! Who then, could possibly disagree with love?
Yet, the Bible also helps us to understand that love has genuine manifestations as well as expressions that are not true expressions of God’s love. For instance, the Apostle John clearly states:

“For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments.” 1 John 5:3

And again…

“But whoever has the world’s goods, and sees his brother in need and closes his heart against him, how does the love of God abide in him? Little children, let us not love with word or with tongue, but in deed and truth.” 1 John 3:17-18

In other words, God measures our love, not by our feelings or our words alone but by our doings. In particular, we can’t claim to love God while we are neglecting or rejecting God’s clear Biblical directives.

Some people re-define “love” as allowing them to do whatever it is that they happen to want to do. This is seen in the young man who pressures his girlfriend to have sex with him by alleging “If you loved me, you’d let me!” Of course, it is obvious to most of us if he loved her, he wouldn’t be demanding!

Today, April 28th, 2015, arguments are starting to be heard by our United States Supreme Court regarding same-sex marriage and whether it is a constitutional right or not.
Groups on both sides of the issue have gathered outside the Supreme Court to exercise a right that affirmed by both sides. One of those in support of same-sex marriage, Thea Filippatos, a 23-year-old New York University student was quoted as saying “If I was heterosexual, I could get married anywhere in this country and not have a problem.” Looking at the anti-gay marriage signs, Filippatos said, “Whatever happened to love thy neighbor? That’s what I learned about Christianity when I was a child.”
Is it just me or is what is shaping the narrative on this issue the very same illogic of “Hey! If you loved us, you’d let us”?
No truth of the Bible can be safely isolated from its overall context within Scripture and from the whole of the Bible. Whenever this is done, you can easily begin to use the Bible even to disprove the Bible!

Killing The Giant

Lust & Pornography

Sin has the power to be addictive and to enslave. When you are in bondage to any sin, especially a sexual sin, it is both depressing and embarrassing as well as destructive to your intimacy with the Lord as well as your spouse (if you are married). Pornography being a “secret sin” winds up being particularly persistent and dominating and also gives the Devil, the accuser of the brethren a lot of ammunition to shoot at you!

The good news is Jesus didn’t die for “some sins” or “most sins”. He died to forgive and free us from “All sin”! I know you believe this to be true even if it has not been your personal experience with finding deliverance and victory over this particular temptation yet.

Your confession to someone other than the Lord is a good sign and asking for prayer is a great step in the right direction.

“Therefore, confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another so that you may be healed. The effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much.” James 5:16 

Many Christians are addicted to porn. The statistics are staggering and saddening. Nonetheless, there is victory over lust, porn, and sexual sin.

For a brief paper I wrote about his some time ago see: http://cc-ea.org/documents/Lust%20Is%20There%20Victory%20Tract.pdf

In addition I recommend:

1. Don’t fight his on your own! Find a weekly accountability partner. Ask them to have a weekly face to face meeting where they ask you the hard questions: “Have you looked at any porn this week at all?”

Decide you will be honest with them and make they are willing to pray ofr you daily

“Brethren, even if anyone is caught in any trespass, you who are spiritual, restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness; each one looking to yourself, so that you too will not be tempted. Bear one another’s burdens, and thereby fulfill the law of Christ.” Gal 6:1-2

 “Two are better than one because they have a good return for their labor. For if either of them falls, the one will lift up his companion. But woe to the one who falls when there is not another to lift him up.”  Ecc 4:9-10

2.  Destroy all pornography as well as any access you have to it in any form!

This means deleting any known porn you have on your computer as well as installing blocking filters on all computers/tablets and smartphones. It will include blocing access to adult sites if you have access on cable or satellite.

Use this site for accountability with someone. http://www.covenanteyes.com/

For desktop blocking use OpenDNS (free) and have your wife/friend put in a password so you cannot bypass it. There are similar blocking apps/setting for mobile devices – Find and install them today.

  1. Develop and Maintain a Spirit-filled determination to stay pure!

“But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart. “If your right eye makes you stumble, tear it out and throw it from you; for it is better for you to lose one of the parts of your body, than for your whole body to be thrown into hell. “If your right hand makes you stumble, cut it off and throw it from you; for it is better for you to lose one of the parts of your body, than for your whole body to go into hell.” Mt 5:28-30

You need to be more than apologetic about this kid of sin – you must get “surgical” with it! Someone has pointed out that Jesus is speaking about lust and goes onto mention the eye and the hand – some feel he is referring to masturbation. In any case, he is saying that the answer is to get radical about stopping both the lust (a heart issue) as well as the physical means of fulfilling that lust (the eye/hand). Certainly Jesus isn’t advocating self-mutilation but extreme measures to stop the performance of the sin.

I personally believe that the pornography addiction among men/Christians has skyrocketed in large measure due to the internet and the secret availability of porn. Yes, it’s still a heart issue however the Bible clearly warns:

“But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh in regard to its lusts.” Rom 13:14

Men have lusted and been addicted to sexual sin long before the advent of the internet. However, if perhaps an analogy might be to consider a man who drinks alcohol and tends to get drunk in certain settings. Then suddenly he moves into in a bar for his personal residence and serves alcohol day and night. The temptation factor for him now goes through the roof. He needs to move.

Just as an alcoholic cannot have a beer or drink some wine socially so neither can you have occasional involvement with pornography. There is no healthy exposure. It must be eradicated and the underlying craving put to death.

God’s Word explains the answer to sin is more than merely removing the performance of that sin. It also will involve a new way of thinking, living and acting. It requires a power from God, given by the Holy Spirit Himself to experience and live in victory!

“For if you are living according to the flesh, you must die; but if by the Spirit you are putting to death the deeds of the body, you will live.” Rom 8:13

“But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh.” Galatians 5:16

This last verse is a promise not just a principle. It doesn’t mean you won’t have the ability to lust. It means that as you discover how to be Spirit-filled and Spirit-led on a moment-by-moment basis you will be able to have God given self-control (Gal. 5:23) and the a supernatural ability to say “No!” to your own fleshly cravings.

As you stop the addiction and aggressively protect yourself from the temptation (2 Timothy 2:22) you will see the power of sexual temptation diminish and its domination in your life broken. As you live in victory, you will avoid those things that will bring you temptation all the more as you know the great joy of pleasing the Lord and the horror of hurting both the Lord and your spouse (if you are married).

Victory in this area was paid for at the cross! You are forgiven in Christ and invited to live in the victory that cost Him his life

“Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.”  Rom. 8:1.

May the Lord give you what is yours in Christ!

“It was for freedom that Christ set us free; therefore keep standing firm and do not be subject again to a yoke of slavery.” Gal 5:1

Jesus Saves and Jesus Serves!

“Now they were seated before him, the firstborn according to his birthright and the youngest according to his youth, and the men looked at one another in astonishment. He took portions to them from his own table, but Benjamin’s portion was five times as much as any of theirs. So they feasted and drank freely with him.” Gen 43:33-34

Joseph’s brothers had betrayed him and sold him off as a slave. Yet later, they find themselves brought into his house in Egypt and served by him personally! They deserved and were even expecting judgment but instead they found grace, amazing grace!

Later we find Mephibosheth, a grandson of King Saul who was crippled when he was a little boy. Most of the family of Saul was wiped out after he fell in battle with the Philistines and was replaced by David. Years later, we find David bringing Mephibosheth into his very own palace and feeding him daily at his own royal table! Mephibosheth, expecting judgment, instead finds grace, amazing grace!

The Bride says of the Bridegroom “He brought me to his banqueting table and His banner over me is love” Song of Solomon 2:4

Jesus says in His coming kingdom you will be more than a citizen, you will be His honored guest, indeed even his beloved bride! He told His disciples a parable in which He describes a future meal that you will be attending.

“The servants who are ready and waiting for his return will be rewarded. I tell you the truth, he himself will seat them, put on an apron, and serve them as they sit and eat.” Lk 12:37

What? Jesus serving me? In the Kingdom? Wow! Talk about a role reversal. I thought I would only be serving Him! After all, He has already been the Servant of all and then He is to be exalted above every name, right? He returns as the King of Kings! So why would he bring me into His house, sit me down and serve me???

It’s called amazing grace! And guess what? It’s eternal!

Whatever He Says To You…

The world economy is on the verge of collapse. There is not enough food and the people seek an answer from the government. Not sure what to do himself, Pharaoh then says these words…

“Go to Joseph; whatever he says to you you shall do.”

Wow! What an amazing story. What a powerful plot. God has set up the back story to bring the world to see it’s need not just for some thing (bread) but for some one! Go to Joseph (their savior). Whatever he says to do you shall do! They do and they are saved physically from the famine.

The wedding is in full swing. People are making merry, laughing, eating, dancing! It is a picture perfect wedding feast. Everyone is having a great time. Then, in the back room, the one in charge of the supply of wine sees a problem for the first time. The wine is gone!

The rabbi’s had a saying “Without wine, there is no rejoicing”. Like the old Planter’s Peanuts commercial, if we run out, the party is over and everyone is heading home. Talk about an embarrassment to the groom and his family!

Someone shares the problem with Mary, the mother of Jesus. Maybe she was helping coordinate the reception? In any case, Mary has no clue what to do so she takes the problem directly to Jesus. She evidently thought, “If anyone will have any ideas, it will be him!”

Mary comes to understand this isn’t a need they will work on together as a team. She will need to release it to Jesus and walk away allowing Him to handle it however He chooses. Her wisdom is displayed by her direction to the servants at the feast with these seven words:

“Whatever He says to you, do it.”

Sound familiar? So to borrow and improve on a familiar song..

“When I find myself in times of trouble, Mother Mary comes to me. Speaking words of wisdom… ‘Whatever He says to you, Do it!’

A Time To Speak Up

The Prime Minister of Israel has delivered a controversial address to the U.S. Congress, even with the disapproval of the US President and his party. Still, he calls the U.S. administration to realize that history appears to be repeating itself.

Drawing on allusions from the book of Esther, in which the Persian King authorizes the genocide of the Jewish people through the evil schemes of Haman, Benjamin Netanyahu indicated that once again Iran (ancient Persia) is seeking the annihilation of the Jewish people by seeking to develop nuclear weapons.

Even as a brave Esther summoned her courage to use her voice and speak up against the evil plan to destroy her people, the Jews, so the Prime Minister delivered his message (using his voice) to appeal to the U.S. Congress and Administration to prevent the current “deal” with Iran from being approved. It is a deal that does not do enough to stop Iran from developing it’s obvious goal of nuclear weapon capacity. Iran has repeatedly made clear that it has the desire to completely destroy Israel from existing as a nation.

Esther appealed to the king and was successful even as her people prayed for her. Righteous Mordecai (her uncle) had encouraged Esther to speak up saying to her that it was perhaps for this very reason (her access to the king) that she had come into the kingdom “For such a time as this…” They prayed and Esther was in fact able to prevent the scheme from being carried out.
So too, we must pray for the success of Benjamin Netanyahu’s appeal to the U.S. Congress and ultimately the U.S. President to prevent the current plan from being executed.

As I leave Israel this morning, II see children dressed up to celebrate Purim, the very holiday that commemorates the success the Jews achieved through Esther. What amazing timing! So too, we must pray for the success of one brave person who uses his voice to speak up for the protection of the Jewish people. For such a time as this!

Indeed Asaph gives us the perfect prayer to pray in Psalm 83

“Keep not thou silence, O God: hold not thy peace, and be not still, O God. For, lo, thine enemies make a tumult: and they that hate thee have lifted up the head. They have taken crafty counsel against thy people, and consulted against thy hidden ones. They have said, Come, and let us cut them off from being a nation; that the name of Israel may be no more in remembrance”. (‭Psalms‬ ‭83‬:‭1-4‬ KJV) ‬‬‬

“And The Darkness He Called Night”

light and darkness

From the beginning, we see God, distinguishing between things. God separated the light from the darkness and called the light “day” and the dark “night”. This teaches us that God intends there to be a clear identification and contrast between that which is right and that which is devoid of His righteousness. For, John writes “In Him there is no darkness at all.” (1 John 1:5)

Isaiah writes

“Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil; Who substitute darkness for light and light for darkness; Who substitute bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter!Isaiah 5:20

The Lord’s vision is never clouded with moral relativism or a million shades of gray. God sees clearly and distinguishes truth from error and right from wrong in every case. God’s heart longs for the day when His people will do the same.

  “They will be Mine,” says the Lord of hosts, “on the day that I prepare My own possession, and I will spare them as a man spares his own son who serves him.” So you will again distinguish between the righteous and the wicked, between one who serves God and one who does not serve Him. Malachi 3:17-18

In our day, it is more imperative than ever that we saturate ourselves with God’s Word. It is the only way by which we can measure truth from error. Isaiah sounds the alarm in his own day:

“To the law and to the testimony! If they do not speak according to this word, it is because they have no dawn.”  Isaiah 8:20

 What are we to say about the issues of our day? Some suggest we are welcome to think as we wish (that is our right) but say nothing that ever offends (because that isn’t ever right!). Indeed, Jesus said He was hated because he testified that men’s works were evil. (cf John 7:7) Sounds like Jesus was still in the habit of not only seeing darkness for what it was but declaring it clearly for what it was.

Jesus said  “It is enough for the disciple that he become like his teacher and the slave like his master. If they have called the head of the house Beelzebul, how much more will they malign the members of his household! (Matthew 10:25)

I guess the only question that remains is “Is it enough for you?”