WHAT CAUSES LUKEWARMNESS?

REVELATION 3:15-16: “I know your works, that you are neither cold nor hot. I could wish you were cold or hot. So then, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will vomit you out of My mouth.” NKJV
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OBSERVATION: What causes one to become lukewarm in their devotion to Jesus Christ? As I look at my walk of faith, am I hot, cold, or lukewarm? Is there even such a thing as lukewarm faith?

When something is lukewarm it is not useful for anything. People enjoy a piping hot cup of coffee or a nice iced coffee, but who enjoys a lukewarm cup of coffee. Have you ever put your foot into a lukewarm tub of water? How about a delicious bowl of lukewarm soup? You get the picture. No wonder Jesus said – “…because you are lukewarm and neither cold nor hot, I will vomit you out of My mouth.”

These are strong words. Yet, they are words of love and truth. It is easy for people to convince themselves they are walking in faith when they are not. James expresses it this way in his epistle.

  • “You believe that there is one God. You do well. Even the demons believe—and tremble! But do you want to know, O foolish man, that faith without works is dead?” ‭‭James‬ ‭2:19-20‬ ‭NKJV‬‬

To James, faith without works, the evidence of obedience and God’s righteousness working through us, is no faith at all. A mere belief in God and church attendance will not cut it. To believe we are in right standing with God, simply because we surround ourselves with the trappings of faith, is to be lukewarm. Jesus would rather we be honest with Him and ourselves. It is better to be on fire for God or simply dismiss Him altogether. We cannot walk the fence between Jesus and the world.

What is the evidence of being lukewarm? What is the test we can apply to our lives to make sure we are on fire for God? When a person is lukewarm they are not aware of their deep spiritual need. They are self-righteous, complacent, and satisfied. They are fully unaware of their true spiritual condition. Jesus says,

  • “Because you say, ‘I am rich, have become wealthy, and have need of nothing’—and do not know that you are wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked—”. Revelation‬ ‭3:17‬ ‭NKJV‬‬

What does it mean to be on fire for God? It means that we know and understand our true condition without Him. Without Jesus, we are wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked. We realize that we are in desperate need of His daily forgiveness, cleansing, and grace. We run to Him and hear His words…

  • “I counsel you to buy from Me gold refined in the fire, that you may be rich; and white garments, that you may be clothed, that the shame of your nakedness may not be revealed; and anoint your eyes with eye salve, that you may see. As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten. Therefore be zealous and repent. Revelation‬ ‭3:18-19‬ ‭NKJV‬‬

To be on fire for God is to realize our need for Him. To be zealous literally means to be heated and brought to a boil. If this is not the definition of being hot, I don’t know what is. And, Jesus links this action with another important act – repentance. When we realize our need for Jesus Christ we live in a posture and attitude of repentance. This is what it means to be on fire for God! Anything less is really to be cold. There is no place for a lukewarm response in the call to faith.

I think it is wonderful how this letter from Jesus to the church of Laodicea ends. In essence, this church has pushed Jesus out of their lives. He is not in their midst, but He is now standing outside. Yet, He does not turn His back on this church. Jesus stands at the door and He knocks! He calls out to them with a wonderful invitation to be restored.

  • “Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me. To him who overcomes I will grant to sit with Me on My throne, as I also overcame and sat down with My Father on His throne.” Revelation‬ ‭3:20-21‬ ‭NKJV‬‬

This morning I need to take my temperature. Am I hot, cold, or lukewarm? Am I self-righteous, complacent, and satisfied, or am I aware of my deep need for Jesus? Have I pushed Jesus off the throne of my heart, or have I welcomed Him anew as my Savior and Lord? Whatever the answer – He stands knocking. His promise to forgive, cleanse, and restore, is extended to me. I have a choice to welcome Him in or to ignore His invitation.

The question I must answer is – “Am I listening?”

  • “He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.” Revelation‬ ‭3:22‬ ‭NKJV‬‬

In Jesus Name!

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WHO IS REALLY IN CHARGE?

REVELATION 1:4-8: “John, to the seven churches which are in Asia: Grace to you and peace from Him who is and who was and who is to come, and from the seven Spirits who are before His throne, and from Jesus Christ, the faithful witness, the firstborn from the dead, and the ruler over the kings of the earth. To Him who loved us and washed us from our sins in His own blood, and has made us kings and priests to His God and Father, to Him be glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen. Behold, He is coming with clouds, and every eye will see Him, even they who pierced Him. And all the tribes of the earth will mourn because of Him. Even so, Amen. “I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End,” says the Lord, “who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty.” NKJV
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OBSERVATION: What country is the greatest superpower in the world today? What ruler holds the greatest influence over the affairs of man? What government will outlast all governments on the face of the earth?

WHO IS REALLY IN CHARGE?

It may surprise you. It is not the United States, Russia, or China. It is not the combined influence of the United Nations. No one ruler holds this power in his or her hand. There is only one person who rules over the affairs of man. This person is Jesus Christ!

  • “Jesus Christ, the faithful witness, the firstborn from the dead, and the ruler over the kings of the earth.”

Many misunderstand the life and ministry of our Lord Jesus Christ. The statement above seems like a misnomer. If Jesus Christ is ruler over the kings of the earth, then why is the world is such a mess? Why doesn’t Jesus simply step in and straighten out this confused and broken world?

There are two distinct purposes for the coming of Jesus Christ into the world. Jesus came the first time, as a humble human, born of the seed of God and the seed of woman. He lived his life as a mere carpenter until the appointed time the Father had determined for His ministry to begin. He revealed the will of the Father. He taught the people and worked miracles among them as proof of His divinity. And, He took our place on the cross to die for our sins so that we could be restored into a right relationship with God the Father.

  • “To Him who loved us and washed us from our sins in His own blood, and has made us kings and priests to His God and Father, to Him be glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.”

Jesus ascended into heaven after His resurrection from the dead to sit at the right hand of the Father. He rules from this position of authority and power until the appointed time of His return. As we await His return, He has commissioned us to fulfill the purpose of His first coming. He has called us to be His kings and priests in this world. We are called to proclaim the Gospel, the good news of salvation through His blood, to all nations. All of HIs authority is invested in this endeavor. And, it is the fulfillment of this call that must take place before His return.

  • “And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Amen.” ‭‭Matthew‬ ‭28:18-20‬ ‭NKJV‬‬

Note the phrase – until the end of the age. This brings us to the purpose of Jesus’ second coming. As the world goes on, as people look to rulers and governments to bring forth a better world, there is only one who will be able to accomplish this – Jesus Christ!

  • “He is coming with clouds, and every eye will see Him, even they who pierced Him. And all the tribes of the earth will mourn because of Him. Even so, Amen. “I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End,” says the Lord, “who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty.”

Rest assured – JESUS IS IN CHARGE!

He is ruling over the affairs of man. He is working through His church to complete the mission of His first coming. He is extending His grace and mercy to a rebellious world so that all who will – might be saved. And, one day, He will return, in the same way, that He ascended into heaven. It will not be from a lowly manger that He will appear but in the glory and power of the heavens. Then the entire world will know that He rules over the kings of the earth. The Jewish nation will embrace Jesus as their Messiah. And, Jesus will set up His Kingdom in Jerusalem and reign on this earth for 1000 years.

To some, this sounds like the writings of religious myth. Almost the entire nation of Israel missed His first coming, as did the world around Him. There will be scoffers and doubters until that final day. Yet, for those who are called, chosen, and redeemed, these are words of certainty and hope. Just like Jesus came over 2000 years ago to redeem mankind from their sin, so He will come again to redeem the world and establish His eternal kingdom!

  • “For all creation is waiting eagerly for that future day when God will reveal who his children really are. Against its will, all creation was subjected to God’s curse. But with eager hope, the creation looks forward to the day when it will join God’s children in glorious freedom from death and decay. For we know that all creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time. And we believers also groan, even though we have the Holy Spirit within us as a foretaste of future glory, for we long for our bodies to be released from sin and suffering. We, too, wait with eager hope for the day when God will give us our full rights as his adopted children, including the new bodies he has promised us.” ‭‭Romans‬ ‭8:19-23‬ ‭NLT‬‬

Jesus is no longer a lowly babe in the manger. He is no longer a carpenter from Nazareth. He is no longer the suffering servant who hung on the cross for our sins. He is the risen, glorified, and living King of kings and Lord of lords. All power and authority are in His hand. Make no doubt about it…

JESUS CHRIST IS IN CHARGE!

When I read these words, as a son of God, I am encouraged. And, as the world continues its course of brokenness and confusion, I am looking upward and awaiting that glorious day!

Where are you looking?

In Jesus Name!

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DOES IT PAY TO SERVE GOD?

MALACHI 3:13-15: “Your words have been harsh against Me,” Says the LORD, “Yet you say, ‘What have we spoken against You?’ You have said, ‘It is useless to serve God; What profit is it that we have kept His ordinance, And that we have walked as mourners Before the LORD of hosts? So now we call the proud blessed, For those who do wickedness are raised up; They even tempt God and go free.’ ”. NKJV‬‬

OBSERVATION: Does it pay to serve God? When you look at the world around you sometimes you can grow discouraged. The proud are blessed and the wicked prosper. Those who oppose God’s Word are esteemed while those who stand up for the truth are vilified. We too might be tempted to say – “It is useless to serve God; What profit is it that we have kept His ordinance?”

If you have ever felt this way, or if you feel this way right now, you are not alone. There is a whole Psalm devoted to this very topic, Psalm 73. Throughout the ages God’s people have wrestled with the question – “Why do the wicked prosper?” The wicked, under a cloak of darkness, seems to get away with their disdain for God and His truth. Meanwhile, as we endeavor to be faithful, we are ridiculed and marginalized.

Is God even listening?

God is always listening. He hears the cry of our heart and he understands our fear and pain. Yet, we also need to understand the heart of God. When we fall into this pattern of doubt and questioning, when we allow our thoughts and words to echo these questions, we grieve the Holy Spirit of God. Malachi writes the word of the Lord,

  • “Your words have been harsh against Me,” Says the LORD.”

Sometimes we feel like we can say anything to God. He is big enough to take it. While this is true, and the book of Psalms is a testimony to this, it is not without consequence. Our Heavenly Father grieves when we turn our backs upon Him. When we fall into doubt and unbelief we grieve the Holy Spirit who dwells within our hearts. We must realize that whatever does not proceed out of faith is sin. And, the only remedy for sin is repentance.

  • “If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” I John‬ ‭1:8-9‬ ‭NKJV‬‬

So, what do we do when we find ourselves in the grips of doubt and despair? We come to the Lord in repentance. We humble ourselves under His mighty hand and ask for more grace to endure. We replace our words of doubt with the truth of His Word. We reaffirm what He has said and who He is. And, as we do…

HE LISTENS!

  • “Then those who feared the LORD spoke to one another, And the LORD listened and heard them; So a book of remembrance was written before Him For those who fear the LORD And who meditate on His name. “They shall be Mine,” says the LORD of hosts, “On the day that I make them My jewels. And I will spare them As a man spares his own son who serves him.” Malachi‬ ‭3:16-17 NKJV‬‬

Let’s break this down. When we cry out to the Lord, when we humble ourselves before Him, He always listens. He understands our struggles and our weakness and He gives more grace to the humble. The humble are those who fear Him, reverence His name, place themselves in His care. He remembers every prayer and every sacrifice of faith and praise that we have offered in His name. He writes them in a book of remembrance. They are always before Him!

Then, He declares His love and faithfulness over our lives. God’s justice will come to this world. The unrighteous will one day give an account for their lives. Those who are clothed in His righteousness will shine forth like a jewel. They will be preserved and protected on the day of judgment. They will enter into the joy of their Master and they will know that it truly pays to serve the Lord!

  • “Then you shall again discern Between the righteous and the wicked, Between one who serves God And one who does not serve Him.” Malachi‬ ‭3:18‬ ‭NKJV‬‬

Lord, this morning I succumbed to discouragement. I questioned Your faithfulness in my life. I wondered if it all mattered. Thank You for Your Word that always rescues us in our time of need. Forgive me for my doubt. Cleanse me and make me new. Give me the grace to face today and to know that You have not forgotten my yesterdays and that You always hold my tomorrows.

In Jesus Name!

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WHO IS GOD? DOES GOD EXIST?

ZECHARIAH 12:1: “The burden of the word of the LORD against Israel. Thus says the LORD, who stretches out the heavens, lays the foundation of the earth, and forms the spirit of man within him:”. NKJV
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OBSERVATION: Who is God? Does God exist? Why are Christians so adamant that the Bible, the self-defined Word of God, should be the rule and standard for our lives? Is there only one church, one Spirit, one hope, one Lord, one faith, one baptism, and one God and Father of us all? (Ephesians 4:4-6).

The prophet Zechariah, speaking under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, and prophesying to the remnant of God’s people that had returned to Jerusalem after the Babylonian captivity, introduces them to the one true God. In fact, it is not even Zechariah that is speaking. Zechariah is simply writing the personal introduction of God Himself. It is in these words that we discover who God is and why we need to heed His Word.

  • “Thus says the LORD, who stretches out the heavens…”

While man endeavors to understand the universe, to chart the galaxies, and to reach the moon and beyond through space exploration, it is God Himself that set all of this into motion and existence. Every star, every galaxy, every constellation, was formed by His mighty hand. Paul writes in the book of Colossians these words about our Lord.

  • “For by Him all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers. All things were created through Him and for Him. And He is before all things, and in Him all things consist.” Colossians‬ ‭1:16-17‬ ‭NKJV‬‬

The New Living Translation translates verse 17 like this,

  • “He existed before anything else, and he holds all creation together.”

Not only did God (the Father, the Word (Jesus), and the Holy Spirit) create everything in the heavens – He holds all creation together! Why doesn’t the earth collide with another planet? Why doesn’t the sun scorch the earth? God keeps the entire cosmos together. Man cannot – but He can! Look up into the heavens and see His handiwork. The heavens proclaim that God exists!

  • “Thus says the LORD, who…lays the foundation of the earth..”

Not only do the heavens declare the existence of God, but our earth also proclaims His glory and majesty. Take a moment to look out at the massive oceans, the majestic skyline of a mountain range, the beauties of a coral reef, or the wonder of an eagle soaring through the sky. In every sight, one can see the handiwork of Almighty God. Paul declares in the book of Romans,

  • “For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, because what may be known of God is manifest in them, for God has shown it to them. For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse.” Romans‬ ‭1:18-20‬ ‭NKJV‬‬

Paul is clear. To dismiss God one stands under the wrath of God. God has declared His nature and existence in the world that we see. A world of majesty and beauty did not happen from an accident of nature. In this world, we see the divine design, order, and the hand of a Creator. Man cannot create or replicate the wonders of what God has done through the power of His hand.

  • “Thus says the LORD, who…forms the spirit of man within him…”

One of the greatest arguments and proofs for the existence of God, the reality of eternity, and the truth of God’s Word is- the spirit of man. Ecclesiastes says that God has put eternity in man’s heart. There is a yearning in man for something more than what this physical life can offer. Even the ability to conceive of an eternal life is proof of the Spirit of God’s imprint upon mankind. This has been marred by sin, man’s disobedience to God’s Word and command. However, this spark still exists in all men and is the strongest proof of God’s existence!

  • “…For when Gentiles, who do not have the law, by nature do the things in the law, these, although not having the law, are a law to themselves, who show the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and between themselves their thoughts accusing or else excusing them ) in the day when God will judge the secrets of men by Jesus Christ, according to my gospel.” Romans‬ ‭2:14-16‬ ‭NKJV‬‬

Paul argues that Gentiles, those who had not received the Word of God as the Jews had, when they do by nature what is written in the Word of God, give evidence to the divine imprint of God in the spirit of man. Without the spirit man is nothing more than mere bones and tissue. It is the spirit that separates mankind from animals. Man is given a spirit from God. This spirit became dead to the things of God through sin. Yet, this spirit can be made alive once again through faith in Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord!

  • “Jesus answered and said to him, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.” Nicodemus said to Him, “How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter a second time into his mother’s womb and be born?” Jesus answered, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.” John‬ ‭3:3-6‬ ‭NKJV‬‬

When we look into the heavens – we see the evidence of our Creator. When we look at the majesty of this earth – we see the testimony of His handiwork. And, when we look into the heart of man – we see a spirit whose potential is only realized through faith in Jesus Christ. God created the heavens and earth through His Word, and we are born again in our spirit through His Word! There is no other way.

  • “…Having been born again, not of corruptible seed but incorruptible, through the word of God which lives and abides forever, because “All flesh is as grass, And all the glory of man as the flower of the grass. The grass withers, And its flower falls away, But the word of the LORD endures forever.” Now this is the word which by the gospel was preached to you.” I Peter‬ ‭1:23-25‬ ‭NKJV‬‬

Does God exist? Is His Word true? Is Jesus truly the way, the truth, and the life? Look up into the heavens. Look at this majestic earth. And, look into your heart and see the place of yearning that only He can fill.

Repent of your sins. Give your life to Jesus Christ. Receive Him as your personal Savior and Lord. And – begin to live the life that you were created for!

In Jesus Name!

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DON’T MISS THE SMALL THINGS!

ZECHARIAH 4:10: “For who has despised the day of small things? For these seven rejoice to see The plumb line in the hand of Zerubbabel. They are the eyes of the LORD, Which scan to and fro throughout the whole earth.” NKJV
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OBSERVATION: Don’t miss the small things! When you are going through a time of trial and testing, it is easy to only focus on the needed outcome and miss the small celebrations of victory along the way. We must learn to celebrate the small things on the way to God’s breakthrough in our life!

Zechariah was called to speak prophetically to the remnant of Judah who had been allowed to return to Jerusalem after the Babylonian captivity. They entered the once great city that had been burned and ravaged by the enemy. The walls were broken down. The gates lay broken on the ground. And, the Temple of the Lord was reduced to a pile of rubble on the site where they used to gather to worship Yahweh.

It is easy to miss the small things when everything around you is falling apart. The Jews in Jerusalem had returned with great hopes of rebuilding but they soon became discouraged. They had built homes to dwell in, yet the Temple stood in a pile of rubble. Zechariah was called to prophesy to the leaders and inhabitants.
The Lord called them to rise and build the Temple. Through the vision of Zechariah, they were assured of God’s intervention and provision. As they looked upon the rubble of the former Temple site, the word of the Lord spoke to Zerubbabel…

  • “This is the word of the LORD to Zerubbabel: ‘Not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit,’ Says the LORD of hosts. ‘Who are you, O great mountain? Before Zerubbabel, you shall become a plain! And he shall bring forth the capstone With shouts of “Grace, grace to it!” ’ ” Moreover the word of the LORD came to me, saying: “The hands of Zerubbabel Have laid the foundation of this temple; His hands shall also finish it. Then you will know That the LORD of hosts has sent Me to you.” Zechariah‬ ‭4:6-9‬ ‭NKJV‬‬

Yet, at that moment, the people did not see the Temple rebuilt. They heard the word of the Lord, but they only looked upon Zerubbabel holding the plumb line in his hand. There still was no construction. The ruins still lay in a mountain of debris before them. And, it is in this context that the Lord continued to speak these words…

  • “For who has despised the day of small things? For these seven rejoice to see The plumb line in the hand of Zerubbabel. They are the eyes of the LORD, Which scan to and fro throughout the whole earth.”

What seemed to be a small thing to the Jews in Jerusalem was nothing small at all. It was the beginning of God’s restoration of the Temple and their worship of Him. The seven lamps and the seven eyes are a picture of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit was standing there to empower Zerubbabel and the remnant of Israel and Judah. What was impossible within their strength was possible in the anointing and power of the Holy Spirit!

  • “Not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit,’ Says the LORD of hosts.”

It was not Zerubbabel’s skill or craftsmanship that would win the day. It was the anointing of the Holy Spirit. God loves to come into our impossible situations with His power and might. It is when we know that there is nothing left that we can do that the Holy Spirit empowers us to do what only He can do. And, God gets all the glory! This is the way that it should be. Paul echoes this truth when he says,

  • “He who glories, let him glory in the Lord!” (I Corinthians 1:31).

As I am writing this, our house is being remodeled. This is a good thing, but it is also something that has proved to be more than I anticipated. I feel like Zerubbabel, looking on a heap of rubble, wondering if this will ever be done. Dust is everywhere, furniture is piled up in the center of each room, and we are living like we did when we first got married and had nothing. Then this week something happened. The tile in one of the rooms was grouted. We could finally see a glimmer of what we were moving towards. It was a small thing – but it was real and tangible.

Over the years I have learned to celebrate the small things. I am doing this now as we remodel our home. I have learned to do this during prolonged illness and recovery several times in my life. I have been called to this in my years as a pastor as I planted three different churches. In each situation, the promise seemed so far off. Yet, God was always faithful to show me the small beginnings. These small beginnings became pieces to the puzzle of His fulfilled promise. As I began to give God praise for these small beginnings I found my faith grow and His peace sustaining my heart. Like Zerubbabel, I might have only a plumb line in my hand, but I also had the indwelling presence and power of the Holy Spirit working in my life!

If you will begin to celebrate the small things along every step and turn of your life, you will find yourself walking in faith and peace along the way. One day you will wake up to realize that His promise has been fulfilled. It was not in one cataclysmic event. It was one step, one open door, one small beginning at a time.

Lord, help me to celebrate and praise You for each small beginning in my life!

In Jesus Names!

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WHY EVERYONE SHOULD CALL FOR A VERIFIED RECOUNT IN THE CONTESTED STATES…

HABAKKUK 1:4: “Therefore the law is powerless, And justice never goes forth. For the wicked surround the righteous; Therefore perverse judgment proceeds.” NKJV
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OBSERVATION: Everyone should call for a verified recount of all the contested states in our presidential election! Why? It is not to help get a certain candidate across the finish line. It is so that justice will be established and the will of the people will be upheld.

Habakkuk lived in the final days of the Kingdom of Judah. Judah was filled with corruption. God’s judgment was coming upon her through the nation of Babylon. When Habakkuk looked over the condition of his people, he could only cry out,

  • “Therefore the law is powerless, And justice never goes forth. For the wicked surround the righteous; Therefore perverse judgment proceeds.”

Politics have always been corrupt. All one needs to do is read the records of history. Cheating, slander, and underhanded tricks have been the norm, not the exception. Yet, in the midst of all of this, we still stand as a nation with one of the greatest democracies in the history of the world.

The government is supposed to be an expression of the people. Abraham Lincoln, in his famous Gettysburg Address, eloquently said,

“…that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.”

This is why every person who voted, Democrat, Republican, or Independent, should insist on a verified recount of the contested states. We need to have a verified vote to insure all Americans that there was no cheating or political games in the election of our president. It does not matter at this point who wins. What matters is that the will of the people, without interference, without fraud or manipulation, is upheld.

The issue for me as a follower of Jesus Christ is truth and justice. I voted my conscience, but I do not put my trust in a candidate for the future of my life. My trust is in the Lord Jesus Christ! However, I believe that as a Christian I must stand up for justice and the rule of law. All I want to know is that my vote counted, and yours did too! Whoever wins, honestly, without collusion, without manipulation, will be my president. I will pray for him earnestly and sincerely.

So, what do we have to lose as a country in verifying the vote of the contested states? Absolutely nothing! What do we have to gain? Everything! We cannot afford another 4 years of a president who is entering office being accused of an illegitmate presidency. We need to unite as a country and call for free, fair, and verified elections. Period!

Lord, I feel some of the despair that Habakkuk felt. As I listen to the news and the pundits, it would be easy to lose heart. Rise up in our land. Let the words of Abraham Lincoln sound forth once again. Bring Your truth and justice to bear upon our land. Let the duly elected president be established. Let the church come together and pray as we walk through this uncertain time!

In Jesus Name!

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THE FINAL FAMINE…

AMOS 8:11-12: “Behold, the days are coming,” says the Lord GOD, “That I will send a famine on the land, Not a famine of bread, Nor a thirst for water, But of hearing the words of the LORD. They shall wander from sea to sea, And from north to east; They shall run to and fro, seeking the word of the LORD, But shall not find it.” NKJV
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OBSERVATION: There is a famine approaching. It is not a famine of food or provision. It is a famine of the words of the Lord. As mankind continues to harden their hearts and reject the Word of God, God will give them the desires of their heart. They will ever be seeking the truth and never able to find it. A day of darkness is approaching. A day when the light of this world is taken away.

At first appearance, these words seem dark and without hope. Yet, they are as true today as they were when Amos spoke them thousands of years ago. In Scripture and the study of Biblical prophecy, there is always a prefillment and fulfillment. The judgment of Israel and Judah was the prefillment. The end of this age is the fulfillment.

The period between the prophet Malachi and the coming of John the Baptist, preparing the way of the Lord, was about 400 years. The nation of Israel had returned to Jerusalem, but not as a sovereign nation. They were a nation under foreign rule. The temple had been rebuilt, but the prophetic word had ceased from the land. Where once the word of the Lord flowed freely, now a form of religious observance replaced the living worship that had once marked the life of God’s people.

They had the written word, but the living, breathed upon word of the Holy Spirit, enlightening their hearts, was almost non-existent. It lived in a remnant of God’s faithful. However, the nation as a whole had closed its heart. When John the Baptist began to prepare the way of the Messiah, the nation for the most part misunderstood his ministry and the coming of the Chosen One. When the prophetic word came alive in the life and ministry of Jesus, they dismissed it, and ultimately crucified the very Son of God who had come to redeem them.

We wonder if such a day could ever happen again. We are witnessing the stage being set for such a spiritual famine. As the world clamors for a one-world utopia, as human secularism and moral relativism begin to take over the religious landscape, we are poised for such a day. A famine is coming and it will make the famine of Amos’ day look like child’s play.

When will this famine take place? It will be fully ushered in when the rapture of the church takes place. The church is the only thing preventing this famine. As long as the church is in the world, the Holy Spirit, and the prophetic word, are going forth in the world. It is the time of the final end-time harvest. God is calling men and women everywhere to be saved. The time is short. When the church is raptured and removed from this earth, the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit, and the prophetic word will be also. The Antichrist will arise and men and women will be deceived in the darkness of this spiritual vacuum.

  • “For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work; only He who now restrains will do so until He is taken out of the way. And then the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord will consume with the breath of His mouth and destroy with the brightness of His coming. The coming of the lawless one is according to the working of Satan, with all power, signs, and lying wonders, and with all unrighteous deception among those who perish because they did not receive the love of the truth, that they might be saved. And for this reason, God will send them strong delusion, that they should believe the lie, that they all may be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness.” II Thessalonians‬ ‭2:7-12‬ ‭NKJV‬‬

When Paul writes, “…He who now restrains…”, he is speaking of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit indwells the hearts of all born again believers. We are the Temple of the Living God and the dwelling place of the Spirit of God. When the church is removed from the earth at the rapture so will “…He who now restrains.” It is then that the lawless one will have his full reach and power. The final years of the Tribulation will begin to countdown.

These seem like words of doom and gloom. Amos was not very popular when he spoke these words. The King of Israel told him to leave if all he was going to do was prophecy the coming famine. We would like to believe that the future holds a rosy sunset and a future of never-ending prosperity and blessing. Yet, if we are honest, all we have to do is look at the news to see that these are empty words.

YET THERE IS HOPE!

No one needs to be a part of this great famine. God has made a way of escape. He sent Jesus Christ to die in our place, pay the penalty for our sins, and secure our future and life with Him in heaven. If we die before He calls the church home, we enter into His presence. If we remain, we will experience one of the most glorious moments in history – THE RAPTURE OF THE CHURCH! This day will remove every believer in Jesus Christ from the coming Day of the Lord, the day of judgment, and the wrath of the Antichrist.

  • “For this we say to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord will by no means precede those who are asleep. For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord. Therefore comfort one another with these words.” I Thessalonians‬ ‭4:15-18‬ ‭NKJV‬‬
  • “But let us who are of the day be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love, and as a helmet the hope of salvation. For God did not appoint us to wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, who died for us, that whether we wake or sleep, we should live together with Him. Therefore comfort each other and edify one another, just as you also are doing.” I Thessalonians‬ ‭5:8-11‬ ‭NKJV‬‬

IT IS TIME TO DO TWO THINGS!

First, we must proclaim the Gospel of Jesus Christ to as many people as we can in these last days. God is not willing that any should perish. He is warning all men and women of the coming famine and judgment. We are His ambassadors and are called to call all men and women to be reconciled to Jesus Christ! Will everyone heed our call? No, but some will. We must be faithful in our call to make disciples of all nations in these last days.

Secondly, we must comfort one another with the promises of the rapture and the coming of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. He is coming first for His church to rescue us from the wrath that is to come. There is a banquet table that is set in heaven. We are not destined for the famine and the wrath of God. We are destined for salvation and eternal blessing. These are words of great comfort and hope.

JESUS IS COMING FOR HIS CHURCH! ARE YOU READY?

Lord, grant me the grace to proclaim the Gospel of Jesus Christ and Your words of comfort and hope. May I walk in the full assurance of faith that You will never leave me nor forsake me. Give me an ear filled with anticipation to hear the Trump of God that will sound on that glorious day. I pray that the church will lift up her voice and that there will be an end time harvest, the likes of which we have never seen.

COME LORD JESUS!

In Jesus Name!

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STOP THE INSANITY!

HOSEA 10:12-13: “Sow for yourselves righteousness; Reap in mercy; Break up your fallow ground, For it is time to seek the LORD, Till He comes and rains righteousness on you. You have plowed wickedness; You have reaped iniquity. You have eaten the fruit of lies, Because you trusted in your own way, In the multitude of your mighty men.” NKJV
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OBSERVATION: Have you ever thought – “This is insane!”? A colloquial definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. We can see traces of insanity in our personal lives and the life of our nation.

The current racial unrest that we are experiencing is a throwback to the 1960-1970s. I lived through these tumultuous times. I remember being in the crosshairs of racial rioting in the very corridors of my High School. And, I remember the proposals that were supposed to end the strife. If we only had more programs, more education, more tolerance, more understanding, and more government subsidies. Does this sound familiar?

After almost 50 years, countless programs, and billions and billions of dollars, we are back to square one. And, politicians and pundits are proposing the same remedy as they did over 50 years ago. If we only had more programs, more education, more tolerance, more understanding, and more government subsidies. To be honest, this seems to be the height of insanity.

What is the disconnect?

The disconnect is sin and personal responsibility. We have redefined almost every form of sin that is revealed in the Bible and have relabeled it sickness or addiction. We cannot hold anyone responsible for being sick or overcome with addiction. Then, we have pointed the finger for our problems at everyone else other than ourselves. It is the government’s fault, my parent’s fault, the education system that has failed me, and the lists go on and on.

We continue in our brokenness and the cycle of insanity because we fail to look within.

Hosea prophecies to Israel and gives them an honest assessment of the mess that they find themselves in. Looking at God’s impending judgement through the nation of Assyria, Hosea writes,

  • “You have plowed wickedness; You have reaped iniquity. You have eaten the fruit of lies, Because you trusted in your own way, In the multitude of your mighty men.”

Israel couldn’t blame anyone else for the impending judgment. They were reaping what they sowed. They plowed wickedness and they reaped iniquity. James, in his epistle, declares the same thing in a personal way.

  • “Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am tempted by God”; for God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does He Himself tempt anyone. But each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed. Then, when desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, brings forth death.” James‬ ‭1:13-15‬ ‭NKJV‬‬

What do Hosea and James agree on? Personal responsibility! We may have been dealt a bum hand in life but it is our choice of what we do with it. We can allow our circumstances to control our life, we can buy into the victim mentality and blame others, or we can take personal responsibility for our situation and do something about it. So, what does God call us to do?

  • “Sow for yourselves righteousness; Reap in mercy; Break up your fallow ground, For it is time to seek the LORD, Till He comes and rains righteousness on you. “

First, we need to break up the fallow ground of our hearts. In West Texas, the sun is so hot, and the rain is so limited, that the ground forms what is known as a “hardpan.” This is a hard layer of dried dirt that keeps anything from germinating. You can throw seed onto this ground and nothing will grow. You first have to break up this “hardpan” and then you can sow seed. Breaking up the fallow ground of our heart is a call to repent of our sin and take personal responsibility for our actions!

Next, we need to start sowing seeds of righteousness. This means that we need to align ourselves with God’s Word. We need to seek the Lord with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength. We desperately need His wisdom and we must earnestly desire His understanding. Wisdom is seeing life from God’s perspective. Understanding is learning to apply the principles of His Word to our daily lives. And, as we seek the Lord, we need to embrace His mercy for our lives. This mercy must also be extended to the lives of others. We must forgive those whose we have blamed so long and begin to pray for God’s mercy and blessings upon their life.

What will happen? The insanity will stop!

God will answer our repentance, our personal responsibility, our obedience, and our mercy – with the outpouring of His love and righteousness. The sin that we could not overcome will be broken. The unforgiveness that we harbored in our hearts will be washed away by His mercy and grace. The broken patterns of living will be replaced with the pathway of righteousness and healing.

Before I committed my life to Jesus Christ I was a very angry young man. I could not identify the source of my anger, yet it affected every area of my life. I treated my mother poorly. I had a very short fuse. And, I always thought other people were out to hurt me. I was caught in a cycle of anger, hurt, and frustration. When Jesus came into my life He washed me with His mercy, forgiveness, and love. It changed how I viewed life and others. I will never forget the day I drove in my car and shouted (with my windows rolled up), to everyone I saw – “I love you, man!” I was free!

I have learned that it is never insane to repeat something that works. When I feel that life is getting the better of me. When my attitudes begin to slip. When I am tempted to fall into old patterns and blame others for the situation I find myself in. I repeat what I know will work!

  • “Sow for yourselves righteousness; Reap in mercy; Break up your fallow ground, For it is time to seek the LORD, Till He comes and rains righteousness on you. “

Lord, this morning, keep me from insanity. Help me to run to You, break up the fallow ground of my heart, sow seeds of righteousness, seek You with all my heart, and wait for Your rain of mercy, forgiveness, and love!

In Jesus Name!

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WE NEED A REVIVAL IN OUR LAND!

HOSEA 4:1-2: “Hear the word of the LORD, You children of Israel, For the LORD brings a charge against the inhabitants of the land: “There is no truth or mercy Or knowledge of God in the land. By swearing and lying, Killing and stealing and committing adultery, They break all restraint, With bloodshed upon bloodshed.” NKJV
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OBSERVATION: Why are our cities burning? Why are people looting in the streets? Why is there no respect for our police departments and authority figures in our country? Is it President Trump’s fault or is something else behind this continual rise of evil and unrest?

To blame a sitting President, regardless of which party they are affiliated with, for the outbreak of evil and lawlessness in our land is foolish. We have bought into the victim mentality so much that we have forsaken the foundational truth of personal responsibility. Just yesterday another man was shot by the police in Pennsylvania. We have video footage of the man charging police with a knife and refusing to stand down. And, we have footage of the police shooting the man in what appears to be an act of self-defense.

What is the response in the streets? Violence and looting. This is even before all the facts are in. It is always tragic when someone is shot and killed. Yet, our police are facing a growing sense of aggression and violence. Men and women are emboldened to resist their authority and use violence against the men and women, of all colors, who are risking their lives to protect us. Are all of our police corrupt? Is it their fault that someone charges them with a knife when they are called to respond to a risky situation? We need to ask some hard questions!

Hosea hits the nail on the head when he writes,

  • “There is no truth or mercy Or knowledge of God in the land.”

We have forsaken the truth and knowledge of God in our land. We have removed God from the public square. We have forbidden our schools from teaching the Ten Commandments. We have embraced evil for good and eschewed good for evil. We protest prayer in public schools and we celebrate rioting and burning in the streets as peaceful protests. We have sown to the wind and we are reaping the whirlwind.

  • “By swearing and lying, Killing and stealing and committing adultery, They break all restraint, With bloodshed upon bloodshed.”

Yet, as with Israel and Judah, so with America, God’s mercy is always extended. God never judges a nation simply because of the evil that exists. God judges a nation because of the faithfulness or lack thereof of His people in that nation. God would have spared Sodom and Gomorrah if there were only 5 righteous people. There were only 3! It is not too late for America. It is up to the church. It is up to God’s people. We need to do much more than vote on November 3.

WE NEED TO REPENT!

  • “When I shut up heaven and there is no rain, or command the locusts to devour the land, or send pestilence among My people, if My people who are called by My name will 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. Now My eyes will be open and My ears attentive to prayer made in this place.” II Chronicles‬ ‭7:13-15‬ ‭NKJV‬‬

I remember an America where children were raised up to fear God. I remember an America where we were proud to stand for our National Anthem, respected our flag, and took pride in helping our fellow man. I remember an America where we respected authority and the golden rule was taught and emulated. And, I remember an America that believed in prayer.

America has been special because it was founded upon the principles of God’s Word. Our Founders knew that the Republic that they were forming could only succeed if America was a moral nation. We can point out all of America’s sins and faults. However, the church in our history has risen against the evils and God has answered in our history with waves of revival to turn the course of our land.

We desperately need another revival!

Lord, pour out Your Holy Spirit upon the church in America. Move the hearts of Your people to repentance. Turn the tide of lawlessness and godlessness in our land. Bring revival once again!

In Jesus Name!

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AND THE WINNER IS…

DANIEL 2:20-22: “Daniel answered and said: “Blessed be the name of God forever and ever, For wisdom and might are His. And He changes the times and the seasons; He removes kings and raises up kings; He gives wisdom to the wise And knowledge to those who have understanding. He reveals deep and secret things; He knows what is in the darkness, And light dwells with Him.” NKJV
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OBSERVATION: And the winner is? This is the question that an entire nation is waiting for as we face a momentous presidential election in just a few short days. The television and radio airwaves are filled with advertisements and pundits quoting their latest predictions. Millions of people have rushed to the polls for early voting. There is a growing sense of uncertainty and tension as we await those anticipated words…

AND THE WINNER IS…

For the Christ-follower our hope should never be on the answer to this question. We are called to pray for our nation, to be peacemakers and lights of His righteousness, and to fulfill our civic duties which include paying taxes and voting. Yet, we know that the outcome of an election is not really in the hands of man. The results of this election are in the hands of Almighty God!

  • “For wisdom and might are His. And He changes the times and the seasons; He removes kings and raises up kings…”

These are not the words of someone who is poising himself for the possible defeat of the candidate whom he voted for. These are words of reality and words of hope. As upside-down as this world may seem to be right now, the God of all Creation holds the future of this world in His hands. He is moving all of history to His final purposes. His purposes will not be thwarted by a political party or a political candidate.

God is in control!

This prayer of Daniel was offered to God amid a hostile regime. Babylon had destroyed Jerusalem and conquered all the surrounding nations. Yet, we see the hand of God upon Daniel’s life working amid this hostile situation. God gives Daniel favor, helps him interpret Nebuchadnezzar’s dream, and establishes him with favor in the Babylonian nation.

God was in control!

God established Babylon as an instrument of judgment against His people and the sinful nations of the world. When Babylon began to be puffed up in pride, God established the Medes and Persians to judge Babylon. And, God used the Medes and Persians to restore His people back to Jerusalem after 70 years of captivity in Babylon. To one standing amid the forest, it would appear that it was the earthly cast of characters that were orchestrating these events.

Yet, it was Almighty God who was in control.

What is our takeaway from this as believers as we face the upcoming election? We may be divided on the candidate that we want to see win, but we must be united on this unchangeable truth. God is in control! He is not moving this world toward a Utopia. He is moving this world toward the final judgments and the second coming of Jesus Christ. The events that are unfolding right before our eyes are part of this plan. The prophetic stage is being set for the final act. We may be moments away from the trumpet call that will rapture the church into His presence.

This is an exciting time to be alive!

So what if our government takes a turn for the worse? What do we do? We don’t despair. The New Testament church thrived under an evil Roman government that took pleasure in persecuting believers. Their faith, their continued testimony, turned their world upside down. God provided for His church and His grace was always sufficient. The church multiplied under the very worst of situations. Where sin abounds – grace abounds much more!

God is in control!

I am praying that our nation will return to the Christian roots and heritage from which it was founded. I love the United States of America. However, I love God more. I am not seeking an earthly kingdom, but a heavenly one. I have lived long enough to see the full circle of man’s sin and brokenness. What I witnessed as a young man I am witnessing all over again. Mankind has never been able to fix things on their own. Sin always gets in the way. There will be no lasting peace until the Prince of Peace returns to set up His Kingdom! And, it is this kingdom that I seek!

On election night, or possibly weeks later if there are issues with all the mail-in voting, I will hear the answer to our opening question. If my candidate does not win, if policies are put in place that run counter to my Biblical values and convictions, if we move ever closer to human secularism and moral relativism, I will not despair. I know who holds my life. And, I know what I have been called to do! The Great Commission has nothing to do with the style of government that we find ourselves in. The Great Commission is founded solely on the Sovereignty and Authority of our Lord Jesus Christ!

  • “And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Amen.” Matthew‬ ‭28:18-20‬ ‭NKJV‬‬

Lord, help me to remember these truths. All authority is in Your hands. You raise up rulers and you take them down. You have called me to make disciples of all nations. And, You have promised to be with me always – even to the end of the age!

AND THE WINNER IS – JESUS!

In Jesus Name!

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