Category Archives: World Events

I Know What I’m Doing, Trust Me

How many times have we heard those words out of people we’ve known? How many times have they turned out to be a bunch of nonsense? People let us down. People are sinners by nature and even though they may have the best intentions, they let us down. At the core level, people can’t be trusted fully. Only One can be trusted to be Faithful and True 100% all the time. That’s God.

So when we read something in God’s word, the Bible, whose meaning is pretty plain, why can’t we trust what He says to be true? Or why can’t we come to believe that a command in scripture is just that, a command? That no matter how we try to rationalize something and filter an event in our lives through our cultural context, God’s word is still true 100% of the time. God cannot lie.

So when we see something like this:

13:1 Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God. 2 Therefore whoever resists the authorities resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment. 3 For rulers are not a terror to good conduct, but to bad. Would you have no fear of the one who is in authority? Then do what is good, and you will receive his approval, 4 for he is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword in vain. For he is the servant of God, an avenger who carries out God’s wrath on the wrongdoer. 5 Therefore one must be in subjection, not only to avoid God’s wrath but also for the sake of conscience. 6 For because of this you also pay taxes, for the authorities are ministers of God, attending to this very thing. 7 Pay to all what is owed to them: taxes to whom taxes are owed, revenue to whom revenue is owed, respect to whom respect is owed, honor to whom honor is owed. (Romans 13:1-7, ESV)

or this:

2:1 First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, 2 for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way. 3 This is good, and it is pleasing in the sight of God our Savior, 4 who desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. (1 Tim 2:1-3, ESV)

Why is it so difficult for American Christians to understand that these very words from God are to be trusted and obeyed?

This past couple of days, with the killing of Osama bin Laden, I’ve seen some of the most disgusting public displays of  un-Christian behavior from some our Christian acquaintances. Behavior that flies directly in the face of what these verses command above.

We, as Christians, are first citizens of Heaven and second citizens of the United States. Our loyalty is to the God of Heaven and Earth first and the USA second. We are representatives of Jesus Christ here on earth first and patriotic Americans second.

When God commands us to respect our leaders, pray for our leaders, and quietly obey our leaders (short of violating scripture), He means just that. God doesn’t mean for us to slander our president, to mock him, or even to openly stir up rebellion against him.

Now I know some may say “So we were to have done just what Hitler said without ever saying a word”?……….Uh, no……..that’s not what these verses imply at all. If this is difficult to be rationally understood, then that might just be where the problem lies.

I’m certainly not advocating that we’re never to speak our opinions nor stand up against injustice. I’m also not saying we aren’t to pray to God for godly leadership. What I am saying is we aren’t to ever mock our president, make fun of his wife, call him names, insult his intelligence,……..or……most of all…….his race. That’s nothing but an arrogant stance before God on our part and is in direct disobedience to the explicit commands of scripture.

The most perfect human being ever created (not including Jesus) falls so far short, is full of sin and rebellion to God, and fails God’s standard every single day. This “perfect” human’s righteousness would be considered nothing more than “filthy rags” before God. Who are we to open our mouths only for the purposes of mocking or insulting our leaders, who are far from perfect, and who have been placed there by God?

Yes, that’s what I said. Barak Hussein Obama has been placed there by God, whether you like it or not. Satan didn’t place him there as president, God did. And guess what……Hilary Clinton was placed in her position also.

So, as a Christian, the thing to do is take God at His word and pray for our leaders and show them respect. Stop grumbling and complaining openly and publicly about our leadership and show humility and respect. Grumbling and complaining about our leadership is nothing more than grumbling and complaining about God’s choice for this day and time in our lives.

You never know, God just might be trying to teach us something. Maybe a little humility?

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Filed under Christianity, Life, Politics, World Events

Hey You! Stop Cryin, I Can’t Hear The TV!

20 But the rest of mankind, who were not killed by these plagues, did not repent of the works of their hands, that they should not worship demons, and idols of gold, silver, brass, stone, and wood, which can neither see nor hear nor walk. 21 And they did not repent of their murders or their sorceries or their sexual immorality or their thefts. (Rev 9:20-21, NKJV)

8 Then the fourth angel poured out his bowl on the sun, and power was given to him to scorch men with fire. 9 And men were scorched with great heat, and they blasphemed the name of God who has power over these plagues; and they did not repent and give Him glory. 10 Then the fifth angel poured out his bowl on the throne of the beast, and his kingdom became full of darkness; and they gnawed their tongues because of the pain. 11 They blasphemed the God of heaven because of their pains and their sores, and did not repent of their deeds. (Rev 16:8-11 NKJV)

As I read this article on CNN this morning I couldn’t help think of these verses in Revelation above.

It’s an article talking about the worries that the supplies of the new Apple iPad will begin to slow due to Japan not being able to supply enough flash memory as a result of the earthquake and tsunami. My intent on posting these scripture verses from Revelation is not to suggest that God punished Japan. I only can say through scripture what God’s will is and He didn’t choose to tell us what is happening in japan.

Nevertheless, as I read the article I couldn’t help but get the picture of a world that, in the middle of one of the more tragic events in recent history our main concern is how our life’s pleasures will be interrupted. The bible clearly says that as we move more toward the return of Christ, the heavens and earth will be shaken. That earthquakes will increase and people will be perplexed by the tossing of the seas. Still in the midst of a cosmic upheaval, not only will people worry more about their stupid iPad supply, but they’ll literally curse God because of it.

The love of many will grow cold.

I have spent a lifetime chasing after my lusts. The money I’ve spent on things I felt like I needed is disgusting. I’ve been far from a faithful steward of God’s money and to be honest, I fear the account I’ll someday give.

I want an iPad. It’s a lust I deal with daily. I’m not saying having one is a sin, yet having one right now is not in God’s plan for me. Yet I struggle with lusts of this sort all the time. The wants and desires of stuff. I guess even in the back of my heart somewhere I get a little angry at God when I can’t have the stuff I want.

Sometimes it takes a tsunami or a great shaking in our own lives to get us to repent. To Get us to look up instead of look to our banks. To get us to realize that if we have food, shelter, and clothing we’re as blessed as the Bible ever promised we will be, regardless of what Benny Hinn or Marcus Lamb claims.

May I never worry more about what this tragedy in Japan will do to my pleasures than what it has done to the thousands who never had a change to hear the Gospel.

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Dirty Little Secrets

I have a confession to make. I, like so many people who grew up in the South or with parents who had grown up in the South, have had issues in my life with racism.

Over the years I’ve said things, thought things, and made jokes that were racist. Before committing my life to Christ I had a real issue with this. However, over the years, I would like to think that I’ve given that up. My best friend in high school was from Chihuahua, Mexico. The best man at my wedding was a black man. Over the years one of my good friends is black and my wife’s best friend is Mexican. In other words I would like to think that I’ve progressed beyond racist ignorance.

But…….

I’m unaware of how things are in other parts of the country, but here in Texas where I live, on the morning of every trash day, we have people who drive around looking for “treasures” that they can use to either benefit their families or sell to make a little money. Most of these people who drive around looking for these “treasures” are Hispanic.

This morning was trash day. Along with our usual trash, I put out a small lighted fishbowl that belonged to my daughter. Afterwards I came upstairs and began working. Not long after I sat down I heard a loud crash and the breaking of glass and I ran to look out the window. Sure enough, standing there by our trash, was a large Hispanic woman who had broken the fishbowl and was kicking the glass with her foot. I saw her walking over to the truck and I became angry because I assumed she was going to leave.

I ran downstairs to confront her and as I headed out the front door I watched what was going on. A little old man was coming over with a dustpan and sweeping up the broken glass. Additionally, they went ahead and took the remainder of the broken lighted fishbowl with them even though it was useless and was actually now really trash.

I have to confess that the first thought of anger that flashed through my mind was something similar to “that so and so Mexican…” I became very ashamed of myself and I should’ve been. These are people who are not only providing a service, but are out in the morning working (though most of us in America don’t view collecting junk for resale as “real work”). These were also people, because of their age, who would’ve had hard time finding regular employment. Yet unlike so many people, they got up early and were driving around working. Yet my first thought when I saw them was one of contempt.

How shameful, arrogant, self-righteous, and full of pride on my part.

I have just completed the last two months reading the prophets in the Bible. That is, the books of Isaiah through Malachi. It, needless to say, was a real eye-opener. Over and over again God chastised the people of Israel for the way they were treating foreigners. It was one of the main reasons the prophets of God were giving for God’s destruction of the nation of Israel.  The way they were treating aliens, strangers, and foreigners in their land that was disgusting in God’s sight.

Israel was viewing the blessing of God as a gift to them because of their faithfulness to God. However, what God was really trying to tell Israel through the prophets was that he was blessing them so they could in turn be a blessing to those that were not the chosen nation of God. Israel was to use their blessings to bless their neighbors so their neighbors would in turn see the true and living God through Israel and come to worship him.

This is exactly what I feel like I’m seeing with the “political Christianity” that’s so prevalent in America today. We think that this nation was founded by God, blessed by God, and gets it’s strength from God because of our invoking his name during the founding of this nation. However, just like God chose Israel from among men to be His blessed nation, so could He not have done the same for America?

In other words, if we are a nation that is blessed by God, it has absolutely nothing to do with our righteousness. It’s nothing more than a sovereign choice of God. And just like Israel was to use their blessings to bless those around them, their neighbors, would it not stand to reason that if America is blessed by God that we’re to do the same?

What I see going on with so much of the politics of today is us looking for ways to blame many of the problems in this country on illegal immigrants. What disturbs me more is that I see so many of us Christians aligning ourselves with the politicians that are spouting this sort of rhetoric. It doesn’t surprise me that non-Christians would look towards foreigners with a certain amount of contempt. What shocks me, however, are the people who have spent their entire life searching the Scriptures of God, looking at the sovereignty of God and how he chooses us to be his special people when we don’t deserve it. How he gave his only son to us when we were enemies to Him and how every breath we take is a gift from God. We are nothing without Him. How these same people are the ones aligning themselves behind the politicians who are screaming against immigration the loudest.

How dare us, as Christians knowing the grace that God has given us in spite of our arrogance and pride, look upon another with such contempt?

When we see these illegal immigrants coming across the border and we begin to fear for our jobs, safety, and our way of life, who is it we’re really looking towards to protect us? Is it God? Or is it the President of the United States? I mean after all, do we trust God to feed us, protect us, and place us where we need to be to accomplish that which he has called us for? Or do we think that it’s every man for himself and we need to protect ourselves?

When we begin to look for things outside of God to be our provider and when we begin to put our trust in the rule of law rather than the sovereignty of God we have now created a big golden calf. And when we, as proud citizens, begin to rally around that “golden calf” waving our flag and telling the illegals to get back across the border, we’ve become totally oblivious as to the reasons God has blessed this nation and blessed each and every one of us as individuals.

Instead, as Christians, we ought to be looking toward this influx of foreigners as a God-given gift allowing us to share with these people the grace of God. When we truly die to ourselves and realize that our home, our money, the cleanliness of our neighborhoods, our jobs, and our culture don’t belong to us but belong to the One who paid the ultimate price for us, we won’t be so quick to rally around the anti-immigration rhetoric of today.

I call each and every one of us, as Christians, to look inwardly toward ourselves. To compare our thoughts that we have toward others such as immigrants, and see whether they really line up with the word of God. I call each and every one of us to lay aside our national pride and realize that as Christians, we’re citizens of heaven first and citizens of the United States second. In other words, God’s ways take priority over our national pride.

Remember when Jesus was asked what the greatest commandments were? It was to love God with all of our heart, mind, strength, and soul, and to love our neighbor as ourselves. When we’re quick to jump on the bandwagon and drive around rounding up everyone with brown skin so we can run them back across the border are we really loving our neighbor as ourselves?

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Nothing On But A Smile On Our Face

This week’s edition of the Pentecostal Evangel has an article called iPhone Churches. The article discusses the new technologies being introduced into churches and how they are revolutionizing the logistics of ministry on Sunday morning. Although the article isn’t specifically on the usage of devices such as the iPhone during a worship service, there are some churches using such devices during worship, such as Amazon’s Kindle device.

Because the uses of these types of technologies are so varied, I haven’t decided which side of the fence I’m on yet. I probably never will. I can say, though, that iPhones (and similar devices) seem to be used more for games and entertainment than actual productivity. In other words technology merely for the sake of technology and not technology for the sake of improving something.

I find myself constantly going back to the book of Acts in the Bible and asking myself, “How would Peter or Paul ever have made it without a Kindle.” They seemed to have done  well with only the clothes on their back and a huge parchment Old Testament. Which, by the way, they didn’t even have 3-piece suits or a pompadour hairdo.

This week, as I was reading the news coverage of the Haiti earthquake, I was floored to see just how difficult it was to get aid to the people of Haiti. All the technology, all the cell phones, all the awesomeness of a world superpower and we couldn’t even get food there for several days.

High usage overloaded sattelite phone bandwidth. Airplanes couldn’t land because there was no fuel to refuel with to allow them to leave and the Haitian government didn’t want the airplanes piling up at the airport. When planes did drop aid, there wasn’t enough trucks to transport it. There was very limited landline phone capability. Merely trying to communicate to the outside world their needs proved difficult. And the list goes on and on.

Technology has awesome power. Technology has awesome potential.

But after seeing the desperation Haiti, it’s clear that there can come a time in each of our lives where it’s just the basics of life. When all we want is a drink. A bite of food. A bandage or some stitches. Someone to help us dig our dead child out of the rubble that was once our house so we can bury her.

All of the apps on an iPhone mean nothing to the people of Haiti, and I’m afraid they don’t really mean much to us either. I mean when we all are laid bare before God someday in our desperation.

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