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Archive for August, 2016

If My People

Here is a convicting and truth filled blog by my friend, Ernie Carrasco.

Ernie's Musings

solomons-temple

If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land. (2 Chronicles 7:14)

Fear hangs like a dark, menacing storm cloud over our nation. Insecurity saps the courage of our people to venture into the unknown. Anger and hostility ignite flames of anarchy in our streets and everyone yearns for a savior. Our nation is deeply troubled. Anyone with any sense of awareness can see it. Many feel helpless to stem the tide, while many others tenaciously cling to the hope that the downward spiral can be arrested and reversed through a spiritual awakening and revival. The latter frequently quote, “If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and…

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“He’s been married and divorced at least four times…He’s got a big mouth and doesn’t know how to control his tongue…He’s a nut…He’s a liar…He’s a flip-flopper…He doesn’t know what he’s talking about and won’t tell us what his solutions are…He’s so vague…He can’t be a Christian, he didn’t even know how to say the name of a book of the Bible…His life bears no fruit…He is not presidential…He said he doesn’t need to ask anyone for forgiveness…”

“And such were some of you!” (1 Corinthians 6:9-11 NAS)

I’d hate to see the headlines in the Heavenly Herald if a bio of my life was front-page featured today. How about you? You see, we all suffer from the same malady—we are human beings, and as such the fatal disease of sin has defiled and clogged our gene pools. If it weren’t for Jesus willingness to take on the miracle of transforming my life and yours, we’d all be without hope.

But that meant He had to die.

He suffered. Bled. And died.

For you. For me. For me!

Every one of us has lied. And if you say you haven’t, oops, there’s one for your record book. We’ve all lost our temper and said things we regret. But we were blessed a microphone wasn’t shoved in our face at the time. As for judging the spiritual condition of anyone—I’ve lived long enough to understand there are gonna be folks in heaven I never dreamed would make it; and many will be absent that I’d put money on would be seated next to the Throne. But God alone knows my heart, your heart, and Donald Trump’s heart.

And God alone knows the purpose and plan He is bringing to pass in each of our lives—including Donald Trump’s life.

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If you and I had been on one of those fishing boats with Peter, Andrew, James, and John I doubt we’d have voted to have their words recorded and read and studied for over 2,000 years. But that was after Jesus transformed their lives, and it took Him over three years to get them battle ready. And look how they behaved and what they said during those first hours after the skirmish in the Garden and outside the Court where Jesus endured that vicious scourging.

And such are some of us.

Shameful cowards.     DSCF4893

Spouting angry words.

On Social Media.

Wouldn’t we be better off spending time in prayer asking God to give light and wings of the wind to the one He has ordained to lead America during such a time as this—for either revival or judgment?

But it makes us feel better, for the moment, to vent our frustrations, attempting to persuade folks to agree with us so we can feel good about our lack of faith in God. That’s right, I said lack of faith in God.

If God is in control, and the Word says He is, then I believe He has ordained this moment in time, and chosen the candidates…giving us two very opposite choices. Then wouldn’t I be well served to stand in lock step with Him?

When contemplating the future, it’s always good to temper those thoughts with facts from the past. The first election I was old enough to participate in was John F. Kennedy vs. Richard Nixon in 1960. During those days Democrats had a firm grip on the South. I remember the big hoopla in the Bible Belt was the fact Kennedy was a Catholic! Why a Catholic could not possibly serve as President of America—or so the protestant populous proclaimed. Now my folks were died-in-the wool Democrats. Cut them and they would bleed blue.

But they were faced with what they considered an untenable choice—a Catholic or a Republican. So they sat home and refused to vote. And many, many God fearing evangelicals did the same thing. Rather than vote for the evil (they presumed) Catholic or Republican—they sat on the sidelines and fumed.

Please tell me, what good they accomplished? Did they behave as responsible citizens? Did they have a part in Kennedy’s election or defeat? Probably, but the fact is they were non-players. Irresponsible citizens. Zeros.

Not me! I listened and liked what this young Kennedy said. “Ask not what your country can do for you, but what can you do for your country.” And I saw nowhere in God’s Word where it said thou shalt not vote for a Catholic.

Fast forward to Mitt Romney’s bid for the presidency. Same song, second verse. You remember, protestants went nuts over the fact Romney was a Mormon. And many, too numerous to name, repeated the actions of my irresponsible parents—they sat home and pantomimed Zeros. Only this time Evangelicals lack of action again completed the long awaited birth and access of the Trojan Horse of Obama’s fundamental changes to America to take firm roots and flourish.

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Now at this point you’re either cheering or downright irked at me, either of which deters you from looking squarely into your own heart and into God’s Word. This is not a time for cheering or anger or casting stones at one another. It is a time for fervent prayer, searching the scripture, and listening quietly for God’s direction. Right this moment you are still free to make choices.

About 3,000 years ago God elected Jeremiah to carry the condemning news of His impending judgment about to fall on His people. They were out of choices.

“For My people have committed two evils: They have forsaken Me, the fountain of living waters, to hew for themselves cisterns; broken cisterns, that can hold no water” (Jeremiah 2:13 NAS).

Is America guilty of forsaking God?

“Your own wickedness will correct you, and your apostasies will reprove you; know therefore and see that it is evil and bitter for you to forsake the Lord your God, and the dread of Me is not in you,’ declares the Lord God of hosts” (Jeremiah 2:9 NAS).

When we dread and fear the here and now rather than fearing and dreading the judgment of God, folks we’re in deep trouble.

Yet God still gave Israel hope.

“Return, faithless Israel,’ declares the Lord. I will not look upon you in anger. For I am gracious,’ declares the Lord; I will not be angry forever. Only acknowledge your iniquity, that you have transgressed against the Lord your God and have scattered your favors to the strangers under every green tree, and you have not obeyed My voice,’ declares the Lord.”  (Jeremiah 3:12-13 NAS).

But they refused to hear and return.

“Wash your heart from evil, O Jerusalem, that you may be saved. How long will your wicked thoughts lodge within you?” (Jeremiah 4:14 NAS).

“Your ways and your deeds have brought these things to you. This is your evil. How bitter! How it has touched your heart!” (Jeremiah 4:14 NAS).

“For My people are foolish, they know Me not; they are stupid children, and they have no understanding. They are shrewd to do evil, but to do good they do not know” (Jeremiah 4:22 NAS).

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And dear friends, Americans stand in that same place today, dangling along the precipice of stupidity, waiting for the other shoe to drop—just like it did for Judah. Perhaps God will show us His mercy if we develop fear and faith of and in the Sovereign God of the Universe and His Son, Christ Jesus.

And God said to Jeremiah, just like He did to Abraham concerning Sodom and Gomorrah:

“Roam to and fro through the streets of Jerusalem, and look now, and take note. And seek in her open squares, if you can find a man, if there is one who does justice, who seeks truth, then I will pardon her” (Jeremiah 5:1 NAS).

Jeremiah makes a search and finds not one. And in the ensuing years God in fact sent His army from the north—Babylon and Nebuchadnezzar—to destroy Jerusalem and take the people captive. For seventy years, just like He promised. Many died during their trek to this foreign land. Many died in Babylon. And many never returned to their promised land.

But God brought back His remnant. He always does.

Fast forward to August, 2016, it’s less than three months ‘til that moment in the voting booth—should we be allowed the opportunity and privilege to vote—so let’s do a quick assessment, keeping in mind, we have brought this on ourselves by forsaking our sovereign God and His Son Jesus Christ and by not teaching and requiring our children to obey Him.

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Many of us asked God to provide strong Christian candidates—godly men and women who would stand for the truths of His Word—and God gave us at least four. And what did the American people do? Rejected all four Republicans who qualified as a Christian candidates. Which left us with a green Washington outsider and an up-to-her-eyeballs-and-beyond old school Democrat dredged in the new-world-order-candidate.

We now have an inner-circle of old school Republicans who refuse to support and vote for the party’s nominee. Out of this group, most all are globalist, falling right in line with their Democratic conspirators. Do I need to explain that term? In short, one world government. Big names, money names within party politics. Names who stand to lose financial power if the combined establishment parties forfeit control. I’m bettin’ a hunch they already have tickets on private jets outta here just in case the American people develop brains and backbone.

Then we have a Democratic candidate who has a recorded history of years of public employment (notice I did not say service) tainted by verified scandals, an unexplained and under-investigated trail of murderous crimes, a candidate caught-on-tape chanting perpetual lies.

A party with a candidate who promotes murdering babies—in and out of the womb—and selling their body parts for profit. A party and a candidate who support homosexual behavior, having set aside God’s law of one-man-one-woman marriage upheld since the beginning of time and railroading through the courts same-sex marriage. A party and a candidate who have voted and supported the surrender of our nation’s sovereignty, abuse of our money to special interests, supported enemy governments with large, unaccounted for monetary support, security breaches, dictating those who are not held to the same level of accountability within the Law of the Land. And a party and a candidate who refuse to stand with Israel.

And your tax dollars pay their salaries. The common thievery of their candidate extended to stealing property belonging to the American people when they left the White House after the husband’s term in the presidency.

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 Now many Americans are deceived and determined to re-elect this candidate. This avowed socialist who was fired from her first job in government for lying. She has used her life and her office to sell loyalty to the highest bidder, regardless of country of origin because this candidate and this Democratic party are also globalists. This party has a history of destroying our military. This candidate expressed within the past few weeks that Christians were just going to have to have a change of mind about their Christian principles and beliefs. Would you call it a change of mind? Really? Is that what you call your faith in the principles and precepts of our God?

So it boils down to this folks—your choice. Vote for an avowed enemy of God and America, or vote for a man we know is NOT a globalist. A man with a proven record in business. A man who is already showing wisdom by the choices of those he will put in places of authority, like a pastoral council, a conservative Vice President, wise financial advisors, conservative Supreme Court Justices, and the assurance of a continued conservative voice in the House and Senate. A man who pledges to stand with Israel. A man who God may be using to test the faith and fiber of the American people.

Is Donald Trump green in the presidential aspect? Yes, but so was Abraham Lincoln, and many others who followed in his steps. And Donald Trump may be God’s ordained man for such a time as this. Ask God with an attitude of “God, I don’t have a clue. But I want to do what You want me to do.” Then be sure God is speaking to your spirit—not the enemy of your soul.

Voting is a privilege paid for by the blood of the patriots and forefathers. Ask the people in Iraq who stood in spite of threats to their lives and voted. For any American to choose to sit home and not exercise their privilege and responsibility is irresponsible. Your choice in this election will control the future of America for at least a century, should Jesus tarry. But this election could also end American democracy forever.

Or like my parents back in the ‘60’s, will you stiffen your neck and get angry at my words, choosing in this pivotal hour in the history of our nation to be a Zero?

An irresponsible, sit-at-home and do nothing, ZERO.

 

 

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The echo of his words hung heavy in my heart. Stinging. Stabbing. Next morning, in full apology mode, he said “I’m sorry.” But isn’t he always?  After the fact.

When Sorry's Not Enough

Sorry isn’t a bad thing to say—if you mean it and if you aren’t constantly mouthing I’m sorry for the same offenses over and over again. There comes a time when sorry’s just not enough. There must be change.

When words erupt with the express intent of inflicting pain and harm utilized by a prior knowledge of the target’s weakness or scars—sorry’s not enough.

When behavior continually patterns itself in a manner that causes others to despair and lose hope—sorry’s not the correct response.

When troublesome behavior patterns or thought processes are pointed out and the person blames others or blows off the wisdom of God’s Word rather than listening and looking at their own heart—sorry’s not an option.

When there is no appetite for the Word of God, but a ferocious appetite to consume everything the world has to offer—sorry is a worthless excuse.

You can mouth sorry ‘til the cows come home, but nothing changes—not in the heart. And that’s where relational problems occur. Chanting I’m Sorry while the fog of ignorance of God’s Word smothers a deceived heart, rendering it incapable of understanding the hopelessness of habitual actions, while  continuing to slice and dice innocent bystanders with a fiery tongue.

God’s Word instructs “With our tongues we bless our Lord and Father; and with it we curse men, who have been made in the likeness of God; from the same mouth come both blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not to be this way. Does a fountain send out from the same opening both fresh and bitter water?” (James 3:9-11 NAS)

Only five minutes of nightly news will qualify we live in a time where deceived, depraved hearts are the norm rather than the exception—even in the church.

“Justice is turned back, and righteousness stands far away; for truth has stumbled in the street, and uprightness cannot enter. Yes, truth is lacking…” (Isaiah 59:12-15 NAS).

Truth stumbled in the street

But we were not meant to live that way. To stay that way.

Coming to faith and trust is the Lord Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord isn’t about mouthing I’m sorry for my sins. Then like the person referred to in Corinthians, turning away from the mirror, forgetting what he looked like. We’re all sorry when we get caught with our fingers in the cookie jar. Anyone will mumble I’m sorry in order to dodge the consequences of wrong actions. And many kiddos have been raised to think I’m sorry is the magic phrase that dispels consequences.

And the Word warns, “They sow the wind, and they reap the whirlwind.” (Hosea 8:7 NAS).

Spring Tornado

Jesus knew God was going to raise Him from the grave three days later, but He carried the consequences of our sins and suffered God’s judgment that should have been yours and mine on that cruel cross. He bore the penalty—the guilty verdict—for every one of my sins and every one of yours. And we fool ourselves into thinking a brief I’m sorry quipped in the heat of an emotional moment at the altar makes nice? Makes saved?

We can’t make anything nice. We can’t save ourselves. We can’t change our actions or our hearts—only the Holy Spirit of God, given at the moment of choosing Christ, can and will change your heart.

So the questions are… Am I truly saved, but grieving the Holy Spirit by refusing to allow Him to change me? Or…Did I walk the aisle, get dunked in the water, by mouthing a trite I’m sorry, with no intention of or desire to have Him change my life? Was it just an emotional moment of conviction that would hopefully keep me from frying in hell forever? But I certainly didn’t give Him permission to change my heart, my life, my attitude, and my mind. About anything. No sir, no holy-roller, religious freak for me. Nuh-un. I’m okay, just like I am.

Precious reader, if you find yourself answering yes to either of the above questions there is still hope. But there’s a problem. God is not willing for any to perish. That’s why He has delayed the return of the Lord Jesus—giving you time to come to the end of yourself and willingly give control of your life to Him—And that means change. That’s why Jesus gave us the gift of His Holy Spirit—to teach us—to transform us—to make us like Jesus. And that means we’re gonna be changing ‘til Jesus comes.

We all sin. We still live in natural or sinful bodies. But it’s the pattern of your life that counts. You can’t be a born-again child of God and continue to live and act in the same manner you did before you were saved.

The Word tells us, “Therefore, if any man is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come. Now all these things are from God…” (2 Corinthians 5:17 NAS).

A truly born-again child of God will be the most miserable person on the planet if he/she attempts to keep walking in old behavior patterns. Their lives will bear no fruit. Oh, on the outside they may fool others for a time, but their souls will begin to look like parched Texas corn with no rain, who doesn’t fool God.

But God’s mercy is new every morning. His grace is still available. As long as there’s life and breath there’s hope. That’s why Jesus suffered and died—just for you, just for me.

Are you tired of saying I’m sorry? Are you tired of always feeling guilty and suffering shame? There’s hope. Jesus stands at the door of your heart and knocks (Revelation 3:20 NAS). Will you open the door and let Him make His home with you?

God is not willing

 

 

 

 

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