Saturday, July 25, 2009

Prophetic Justice

The prophet Amos confronted several social issues in his day, 750 b.c., because the kings of Israel and Judah, along with the priesthood, were out of covenant with Yahweh. Amos was commissioned by God, with the authority of Deut. ch5, to keep these kings in line. The following were the social issues he confronted, which unfortunately we see in some of the Church and government of America. May we heed and learn from Amos's warnings.
1) Ruthless business practices were out of control. What they did is like Bernie Madoff. They would cheat the poor and fill their own pockets.
2) No integrity in the courts made justice bitter. The judges detested the plea of the just. They were enemies of righteousness and takers of bribes.
3) There was luxury in the midst of poverty. Those elites did not consider what was devastating the people and the country.
4) They lived in a delusion. The officials did not believe in consequences to warped ways of living. They did not believe it was a privilege to serve.
5) Complacency. They thought they had eveything they needed. There was an ease in Zion. God finally said you will not have a famine for food or water, but a famine for the Word of God!
I, Russell, am taking a class at VCU and we discussed the above. Please keep praying for the Church and government to come back into covenant with God. With God all things are possible!

Thursday, June 4, 2009

MORE THAN A SPOKE IN A WHEEL

JESUS IS MORE THAN A SPOKE IN A WHEEL!

Russell, in his religion class, took part in a debate/discussion on all religions. And, it provoked this post. We must be able to know and speak up for what we believe.

Is Christianity just a spoke in a wheel?
Do all religions lead us to God?

All these questions can be answered several ways. Today I will just briefly try to dispute the idea that all religions are the same and focus on the deity of Christ.

Logically, all religions canNOT be true. Truth by nature is exclusive. Christianity is exclusive (Christ said I AM THE WAY THE TRUTH AND THE LIFE... NO ONE COMES TO ME EXCEPT THROUGH THE SON. There are other Scriptures that support this as well.)

All religions do differ on who God is, how we get to heaven, and who Christ was/is. Logically, they can't all be true. How can God be personal (Christianity) and impersonal (Hinduism)? How can we get to heaven only through Christ and not works (Christianity) and just through good works and not Christ (Islam)? How can Christ be God (Christianity) and also not God, but just a prophet (Islam) or just a magician (Judaism)? How can you be sure of salvation (Christianity) and unsure (every other religions)? How can God be true (religions) versus nonexistent (atheism)? When we are confronted with relativism (all paths lead to God, all religions are different spokes on the same wheel, all religions are different facets of God), we must steer the conversation towards CHRIST! Who do you say that Christ is?

The Bible specifically states that CHRIST IS GOD. (Of course, we believe historical data supports this as well.) But for today, ask yourself how you would answer the skeptics. Could you defend your faith? I sure want to be able to, so I am writing down these Scriptures. You could keep some handy with you. This would also be a great thing to give Jehovah's Witnesses, who deny the deity of Christ and yet claim to support the Bible.

Isaiah 9:6
A coming child. Heb. Yeled- something or someone born.
The child would be:
Wonderful: pele
Counselor: ya’ats- The Supreme Counselor.
The Creator to the created.
Mighty God: El Gibbor- El = God, The Lord
Almighty One. Everlasting Father: Father of time and eternity.

Isaiah 7:14
“A virgin shall bear a son and his name shall be called Emmanuel.”
God with us.

John 1:1
The Word was with God
The Word was God
He created all things- Creator
Pre- existence
Divine
v. 14 The Word was made flesh and dwelt among us.

John 10:33
“For good works we do not stone you, but for blasphemy, and because you being a man make yourself God.”

John 8:58
“Before Abraham was, I AM. They immediately picked up stones to throw at him.”

eimi i-mee': a prolonged form of a primary and defective verb; I exist (used only when emphatic) -- am, have been, it is I, was.

Luke 1:68
“Blessed is the Lord God of Israel, for He has visited and redeemed His people.”

Philippians 2:6
Who being in the form of God thought it not be robbery to be equal with God.
Greek. Huparcho and morphe
Literally- “who subsisting in the form of God by which he from eternity had appeared to the multitude of heaven yet not thinking that this equality with God should be retained; he emptied himself glory and honor to assume the form of a servant and become a man“.

Colossians 1:15
The image of the invisible God. Greek. eikon- outward and bodily image.
Invisible in relation to distance.

John 3:16
You must be born again. Greek. gennethe anothen. Transformation from God and a renewal of righteousness and true holiness.

I John 5:11-12
“And this is the testimony; that God has given us eternal life and this life is in His Son. He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son does not have life.”

I Timothy 3:16
“And great and important and weighty, we confess, is the hidden truth (the mystic secret) of godliness. He [[God] was made visible in human flesh, justified and vindicated in the [Holy] Spirit, was seen by angels, preached among the nations, believed on in the world, [and] taken up in glory.”

εφανερωθη verb - aorist passive indicative - third person singular phaneroo fan-er-o'-o: to render apparent -- appear, manifestly declare, (make) manifest (forth), shew (self).

Lord and God
Both words are used of Jesus as God.
Hebrew Greek
Yahweh = Kyrios (Lord) or Despotes (Lord God)
Jesus told the Jews, “Before Abraham was, I AM.” I Am = Yahweh.

Firstborn
prototokos- used only for Messiah in His eternal relationship to the Father, used in Colossians to express both that he was the first born before all creation (eternal) and that that he created everything.

Son
Three Greek words for son, Son and child.
son/ huios- offspring to a parent, spiritual or natural. used for believers.
Son/ Pais- This greek word is only used for Jesus, as in the “Son of God“.
It refers to the manifestation of God, Yahweh, in human form/Represents the eternal relationship of the Son to the Father. God from God.
The expression of character and image and likeness.
child/ teknon- used in the natural sense. Children. Sons of Abraham etc...

Jesus told Phillip, “If you have seen me, then you have seen the Father.”
Jesus told the Jews who wanted to kill him, “I and the Father are one.”

“I will dwell in them and I will walk among them”
Ezekiel 37

“God was manifested in the flesh, justified in the spirit, seen by angels, preached among the Gentiles, believed on in the world and received up in glory.”
I Timothy 3:16

Some say Jesus never said He was God. He did... Look at what he told Phillip. JESUS was killed, because He claimed to be God! That is why the Jews hated Jesus. That is why today all religions can be defended in America, but watch out when you mention JESUS CHRIST! The name above all other names. The only name by which men can be saved.

One other major thing that sets apart Christianity...
I have NEVER seen anyone transformed INSIDE OUT in Buddha or in Allah or in karma. I have only seen a TRANSFORMED LIFE IN CHRIST, when someone surrends to the Lordship of JESUS CHRIST. JESUS alone can change a heart, break a person free from addiction, fear, and torment, and mend a torn life. JESUS ALONE IS LORD AND GOD! WE HAVE GOOD NEWS!

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

IS THERE NOT A CAUSE?

I Peter 5:8 Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. 9Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that your brothers throughout the world are undergoing the same kind of sufferings. 10And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast.

The following things concern us for various and yet SIGNIFICANT reasons.

1. A lot of our president’s appointed officials. Take for example, the Secretary of the Treasury Department, Timothy Geithner. The character of some of his elected officials is questionable to say the least. And take for example, the head of Homeland Security, Janet Napolitano, what she said. Yes, according to an official document of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, many of us are now right-wing extremists and a potential threat to our government.

2. A lot of things other things our president has said concern us. i.e. We are not a Christian nation. Citizen link has a lot to say about what has been taking place in this culture war.

3. We are also concerned about laws that hang in the balance that would greatly inhibit our freedom of speech!

4. We could say so much more. We are concerned about the interpretation or even disregard for the Constitution and the move for one world government, religion, government spending, abortion, the slumber of the Church, etc., etc.

BY THE WAY- This is not meant to be anti-President Obama or anti-government. We believe we were founded as a Christian nation, though a lot of greed and sin were definitely apart of our beginnings. We believe that our Forefathers had the divine wisdom to write the Constitution and set checks and balances in our government. We believe that they saw the wisdom in small government and the dangers of tyranny and big government oppression. We believe the majority of our current Congress, our President, and even several Justices of the Supreme Court desire to strip our country completely of religious freedoms and entitlements. We believe that when you strip religious freedom and personal freedom (right to bear arms, right to speech, right to have own healthcare) that you open up a PANDORA BOX to a world we have not known, do not know, and NEVER want to know. These are historically the first steps of Socialism. Religious institutions are a buffer between (any) government and personal rights.

We believe that the majority of our government WANTS us to look to them and not to our God. The two can definitely oppose one another. And, we don’t believe in conspiracies. We believe 9/11 happened. We believe that terrorists (extremists, not all Muslims) are our ENEMIES. We believe the Devil wants us to continue the way we are headed as a nation and God does not. We believe the Church makes the difference and the Church alone (not our President, not our Congress, and not our media)! We believe the Church seriously doubts this!

We believe that if we truly believed our nation hangs in the balance that we, God’s people, would examine ourselves. We would stop playing church, stop hiding behind excuses, stop being afraid of what’s going to happen, stop loving our lives and pleasure more than God, stop living primarily for ourselves, and stop weighing our personal costs. We would decide to live for Christ, through Christ, and by Christ! We would start praying, start allowing God to reveal our wicked ways, start turning towards God in our weaknesses and sin. We would start praying as if it all depends on God and start working as if it all depends on God.

If we really believed the danger of the hour we would act NOW! We would stay informed and pray without ceasing. We would speak and not be silent. We would help those who suffer for speaking! We would put much, much more energy into the saving of our free, democratic nation! We would pray like never before that it remains UNDER GOD! We would pray for our President--- that he would encounter Jesus Christ. We would pray for the fear of God upon our officials and the mercies of God upon our lives. We would pray for safety! We would preach from the pulpit what is happening. We would go to church and want to hear the truth. We would learn what is happening and how to give an answer. We would dialogue with those who disagree. We would ask God for compassion and tears and insight. We would teach our children how to follow God and truths about our nation’s history. We would not quit and we would not give up now. We would have hope in Christ alone (not our President, not our Congress, and not even ourselves)!

You may not agree with all our “issues” or why we even mentioned something. Hopefully, however, you will see the dangers of restricted freedoms and larger government. Hopefully, you will agree that we have One Savior, Jesus Christ (and not our government). Hopefully, you will agree that there needs to be much, much more accountability and integrity in our Church and then, in our government. Hopefully, you will agree that we are in serious danger of losing freedoms we take for granted and that being a Christian could get much, much harder and costly here in our country. If you disagree at all, please let‘s dialogue!

And, now for some things that encourage us.
It’s not over yet. A LOT OF PEOPLE are praying, believing, and acting. A lot of people want to see the change God desires. And, in hardship the Bible prepares us for times such as these. It is in these times that those who sit on the fence of Christianity must decide. They must count the cost, because there will be a growing cost. It makes our faith purer, truer, more real, and more effective.

Praise came from several men who were beaten, prisoned, and even martyred for their faith. The Bible came through these men. They saw beyond themselves to a risen Christ. They saw multitudes that needed Christ and His Salvation. When forced with a decision, do I obey government or God, they obeyed God. They did not compromise praying. They did not compromise sharing. They did not compromise living, as a Christian. And, some faced lions, others fire, others prison, and many death. How could they do it? How could they stand to lose everything here? How could they lay down their lives? How could they continue faithful to the end? No doubt through Him and in Him and by Him they overcame.
Romans 11:36 and I Timothy 3 and 4

This is our hope, that no matter the journey, no matter the road, WE CAN remain faithful to Christ, our source, our Savior! May the Church reflect the Risen King and may many come to His light.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

ALWAYS WITH US

If ever I have been tempted to be shaken, it has been within the last year. In my family, there are a lot of transitions. We will probably move, my husband is changing careers, and I have two ever-growing little people to care for and love. Most of all, I see what is happening in our nation and wonder if the country we love will exist for my children's children one day. I can only pray that it will and that we the people of God will resist the enemy, submit to God, and pray for freedom and truth in Christ to exalt us as a nation again. Today I simply want to say that no matter what God brings you and me through, nothing will separate us from His love. My comfort, my joy, and my strength come from His constant, unchanging presence. God bless you today with an unshakeable faith!

No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons,neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 8:37,38 Laurie