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Posts Tagged ‘consequences’

 A promise of whats to come 4

We study about, talk about, and read about history, but our view of history is so narrow—generally focused on the span of our lives—give or take a few years. Or about a hundred years.

That’s why God gave us sixty-six books of His story. His life, death, life story. So, we would have a constant reminder His plan is far beyond our peep-hole into past, present, and future.  God’s view of history encompasses the beginning through all eternity.

A promise of whats to come 5

 

Scripture tells us: “Whatever things were written in earlier times were written for our instruction, that through perseverance and study of the scriptures, we might have hope” (Romans 15:4 NAS).

But we moan and groan, I don’t understand the Bible. So many words, all the thee’s and thou’s. It’s so confusing. And I just don’t have time to sort out all that stuff.  We can’t understand. Without the stirring power of the Holy Spirit inside our heart and soul, we can’t possibly understand God, His Word, or even believe that Jesus is His Only Son and our only Savior. But every one of us, believer or not, has clearly seen the evidences of God.

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Romans 1:20 says:

“For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, HAVE BEEN CLEARLY SEEN, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse.”

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There is a warfare beyond our ability to comprehend, a battle that began when Satan desired to be greater than God. And then Adam and Eve chose to believe Satan’s deception, rather than believe their Creator—the Holy God of the Universe. So, if you haven’t received Truth, being sons and daughters of Adam and Eve, you can’t tell the difference between God’s Truth or Satan’s lies. But God says “…we are without excuse.”  Because we know that He is and always will be God. And there will be consequences for your choices. Eternal consequences–for life or for separation.

But my question to you today is: What happens to believers when God judges His people during their time of disobedience? I look back at the Nation of Israel in the Books of I and II Samuel, I and II Kings, and I and II Chronicles, and then to the Books of Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, and Lamentations, I see the application in the high definition color of consequences.

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Yes, consequences! A word we’ve failed to define, acknowledge, and teach our children. But God will teach them, and they will learn, the hard way. Because throughout all history His promises show us what is sure to come.

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Let’s go to the Book of Jeremiah and find out what happened to one certain family—good people who were stuck in the middle of God’s judgment. The Rechabites. Ever heard of them? No? I hadn’t either until we studied Jeremiah in Precept Bible Study this year.

Chapter 35 of Jeremiah is all about these nomadic people. God told Jeremiah to call them to the House of the Lord and give them wine to drink. My mind shouted, “Why, God? Why? In the middle of all this battle and judgment would You bringing them into the House of God for a wine tasting?”

But the prophet did what he was told, and when the men came, Jeremiah set out pitchers full of wine and cups and said to them, “Drink wine!”

“But they said, ‘We will not drink wine, for Jonadah the son of Rechab, our father, commanded us saying, ‘You shall not drink wine, you or your sons, forever…We have obeyed the voice of Jonadab the son or Rechab, our father, in all that he commanded us, not to drink wine all our days, we, our wives, our sons and our daughters…” (Jeremiah 35:5-8 NAS).

And God used the obedience of these men to speak volumes to the whole nation of Israel saying:

“Thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel, ‘Go and say to the men of Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem, “Will you not receive instruction by listening to My words?” declares the Lord. “The words of Jonadab the son of Rechab, which he commanded his sons not to drink wine, are observed. So they do not drink wine to this day, FOR THEY HAVE OBEYED THEIR FATHER’S COMMAND. But I have spoken to you again and again; yet you have not listened to Me” (Jeremiah 35:13-14 NAS).

“Therefore, thus says the Lord, the God of hosts, the God of Israel, “Behold, I am bringing on Judah and on all the inhabitants of Jerusalem all the disaster that I have pronounced against them because I spoke to them but they did not listen, and I have called them but they did not answer” (Jeremiah 35:17 NAS).

Then Jeremiah delivered God’s message to these faithful Rechabites:

“Because you have obeyed the command of Jonadab your father, kept all his commands and done according to all that he commanded you; therefore, thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel, ‘Jonadab the son of Rechab shall not lack a man to stand before Me always” ‘ (Jeremiah 35:18-19 NAS).

WOW! How would you like to hear those words uttered about you and your family, and know the promise of standing before God extended to you, your children, and all the grands forever?

A promise of whats to come

Did the Rechabites have to go through the destruction of Judah? Most certainly, but God spared them. They had to endure the battle, see the destruction, live in post-war poverty. However, they also had the promise of God their family would not only be spared, they would stand before God forever.

I don’t know about you, but as we look at our nation and the world can’t we draw a parallel? Hasn’t God spoken to America as a nation, as individuals, and as families? Yet the grand majority refuse to listen. He has called us again and again, but sadly again the grand majority have not answered…and I’m talking about the 11 o’clock crowd on Sunday morning.

Remember the people in this Chapter of Jeremiah were God’s chosen people run amuck. They brought their sacrifices to the temple on the Sabbath. But they remained unchanged. Rebellious, proud, arrogant people who wanted to be more like the world than the God who called them to be “a peculiar people of His own choosing. A holy people.”

Over and over throughout the Old Testament God repeated: “Do not move the ancient boundaries.” We’ve not only moved the boundaries God gave us, we’ve leaped over them, then turned and chopped ’em in pieces.

Where does the Spirit of the Lord find you today? Like the obedient Rechabites who obeyed the teaching of their fathers regardless what the rest of the world did? Or like the people of Judah whose pride lay in the fact they were “chosen,” but had no desire to be holy, and refused to become “a peculiar people of His own choosing.”

Choose carefully, dear friend, because God has promised us what’s to come! It’s clearly seen in all His creation.

NOTE:  For more information on the Rechabites and Jonadab, see Amos 1:9

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                                                         Part Two

                                   SLICING, DICING, AND BURNING

Someone much wiser than me said, “It only takes a generation for a nation to turn away from God.” And the Book of Jeremiah gives the absolute proof certain of this proclamation.

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King Jehoiakim ruled in Judah from 609 B.C. until 597 B.C. He was the son of King Josiah who reigned from 630 B.C. until 609 B.C.

Josiah was a man after God’s own heart, but his son Jehoiakim, was bad-to-the-bone. Josiah cleared the land of idols, destroyed their places of worship, and found God’s word, which had been lost in the temple. (Can you imagine the Word of God being lost in the House of God? Still happens today in some churches, doesn’t it?)

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When Josiah finally heard the Word of God, he tore his clothes and commanded priests and scribes to inquire of the Lord concerning the words of the Book. His story is found in 2 Chronicles 34 and 35 and is so worth the read if you don’t know about this last good king in the land of Judah. God blessed Judah because of Josiah’s obedience. But generational sin lurked like a shroud of judgment, because Josiah’s father, King Manasseh had been the worst of the worst and that gene pool washed like a tsunami over his grandson Jehoiakim.

God sent Jeremiah the prophet, during the days of good King Josiah to remind the priests, rulers, and people of their refusal to listen and obey His Word. To remind them of the judgments He had pronounced against the granddaddy, and remind them of their urgent need to listen and repent.

When Jehoiakim inherited the throne, Jeremiah’s obedience to do what God called him to be and do, proved to be a perpetual pain in this king’s back-side. And the prophet ended up confined, unable to deliver God’s word to the people. But Jeremiah’s work was far from finished. So, the Lord told Jeremiah to take a scroll and write on it the words God spoke to him. God said, “Perhaps the house of Judah will hear all the calamity which I plan to bring on them, in order that every man will turn from his evil way; then I will forgive their iniquity and their sin.”

Even while they were back at their idol worship and evil ways, God was ready to hear and forgive their sins. Just like today, over twenty-six hundred years later, God’s message is still the same. And so is every man, woman, boy and girl—the same. Full of sin without the wisdom to see their great need for salvation through Jesus Christ or the ability to save themselves from God’s judgment.

Well, Jeremiah called Baruch, the scribe, and dictated to him all the words the Lord had spoken to him. We’re not told how long the process took, but remember, God called Jeremiah to be His prophet in 627 B.C. It’s now 606 B.C. That’s a bunch-a-words folks. Written by hand, in pen and ink, on a loooong roll of parchment.

What happened next is worth reading in the 36th Chapter of Jeremiah, verses 10-21. But picture this, the king is sitting in his winter house and there’s a fire burning in the brazier in front of him.

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Jehudi unrolled the scroll and began reading—one column, two, three, and four columns. Imagine the scene, the king is obviously incensed and grabs the scribe’s knife and slices the scroll and pitches it into the fire. Then he sliced and diced the whole scroll containing the Words of God and burned it all in the fire until it was consumed!

“Yet the king and all his servants who heard all these words were not afraid, nor did they rend their garments” (Jeremiah 36:24 NIV).

I’m waitin’ for the lightning and goose-bumps raced across my body as I read this and then again as I’m typing these words to you. Remember his daddy’s reaction when he heard the Word of God? He feared and tore his clothes. Jehoiakim and his crew? Not so much.

I have every Bible I’ve ever owned and if there were a fire at my house, my Bibles would be the first thing I’d race to save. Wouldn’t you? But to cut them apart and watch ’em burn?

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Yet before we cluck our tongues and look down our noses at King Jehoiakim, don’t we reject God’s Word when we leave it in the back of the car from one Sunday ‘til the next. Never thinking about where our copy of the Word is ‘til we leave for church the following week? Or worse yet, we leave it on the end table by our chair, right next to the HD remote. Which gets more use during the week—the Word of God or the remote?

But God didn’t wring His holy hands. No, He told Jeremiah to get another scroll and repeat the process. Which Jeremiah and Baruch did, because we have the words God spoke to Jeremiah in our Bibles today. But listen carefully to the words God spoke concerning King Jehoiakim.

“You will have no one to sit on the throne of David, and your dead body shall be cast out to the heat of the day and frost of the night. (He wouldn’t receive a proper burial. The birds and beasts would pick his bones.) I will also punish him and his descendants and his servants for their iniquity, and I will bring on them and the inhabitants of Jerusalem and the men of Judah all the calamity that I have declared to them” (Jeremiah 36:29-31 NIV).

And God’s Words became reality for King Jehoiakim, the priests, and the people when Nebuchadnezzar and his great armies killed, captured and burned Jerusalem, and carried many from Judah captive to Babylon for seventy years. Why? Because they did not listen to the Words of God to obey them!

God’s Word is the same yesterday, today and forever. Neither Jehoiakim nor any of his descendants will be present in the coming kingdom. His choices brought the consequences of separation from God then, now, and forever. No more chances. His doom was sealed and God’s wrath on him was executed by the King of Babylon. Done. Finished. Forever.

But God’s mercy and grace are still available to us. How will the recount of Jehoiakim’s foolish choices and consequences resonate in your life? The words “…but they didn’t listen…” echo in my ears from 606 B.C., through the corridors of time, to today…

Am I listening? Are you listening? What choices will we make? Will we choose rewards or consequences?

“And He said to me, ‘It is done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. I will give to the one who thirsts from the spring of the water of life without cost. He who overcomes shall inherit these things, and I will be his God and he will be My son.

But for the cowardly and unbelieving and abominable and murderers and immoral persons and sorcerers and idolaters and all liars, their part will be in the lake that burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death’” (Revelation 21:6-8 NIV).

 

Part Three: Weak, Deceived, Can’t Trust – Jeremiah 37 – 38

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Dick and I have just celebrated our 40th wedding anniversary and while it was a great time of celebration, I paused to ponder some of the things God has taught me along the way. Things, in light of our current culture, I’d like to share with those of you who think y’all might not make next year’s anniversary, or those of you who’ve decided marriage isn’t your cup-a-tea.

One of the first amazing facts, I’ve learned to ponder what God has taught me. God tells us over and over to remember—remember what? Remember what we’ve gone through. Remember how He carried us through the bad times. Remember the joy of the good times. Remember His promises to those who love and obey Him. Remember who He is and who we’re not. Remember and act upon what He desires us to become. But remember, you can’t remember what you’ve never learned.

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Expect difficult trials and times. These forty years the hurdles have been many and varied: Job loss, several times. Critical illness. Heart attacks. Death of a daughter. Parenting grandchildren for a year after daughter’s death. Change in family dynamics. Destructive thoughts and behavior patterns. No job, no income, lots of bills. Anger. Rebellion to God. Caring for elder parents in our home. Death of both sets of parents. All of which lead to the third thing I’ve learned.

God never leaves us or turns His back when the going gets tough. He carried us through many of these harsh life experiences and guided us through the rest. God is faithful—even when we’re not. He is my Rock and He’s taught me to lean on Him. Doesn’t mean the grieving wasn’t hard. Stretched me to the limit. But He has never failed us.

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Keep the main thing, the main thing. Today’s culture tends to encourage us to be attentive to the urgent while by-passing the important. Sometimes at the end of a day I just wanted to jump off the crazy train—too much of everything, not enough of me. Then I began to learn about seasons of life and God’s order. Remember, seasons come and go, they don’t stay forever. What we ought to do, we ought to do now. Like education, college and graduation. Career choices. Marriage. Parenthood. Then your teen’s years swiftly turn into empty nest years. And finally retirement and old age. How’s that for a quick, sweeping  broad brush stroke across the seasons of life?

God tells us to do all things decently and in order. He is a God of order. We don’t see a flim-flam creation do we? No. Down to the last intricate detail, God orchestrated all of His creation and freely gave us life. We’re the ones who embrace confusion rather than order. We become bored with order or tantalized by the haram-scaram voice of deception. And that’s where God found me.

Hold your hand in front of you and consider, what would happen if your thumb were replaced by your pinky? Or how about if your index finger took your ring finger’s place and your thumb nestled in beside it to bump the middle finger to the thumb’s place. The answer is weird, fumbling, chaos.

And many of us have experienced fumbling, chaotic points where we by-passed stages of life or jumbled their order. Like an un-wed single mom attempting to get a college degree. Or grandparents forced to take over parenting the grandchildren because the parents rebelled against God.

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All of us have, in one way or another, violated God’s deliberate order of life and many of us end up with a diagnosis of terminal heart failure…stuffing too much, too soon, into an unprepared vessel. God is always in the business of forgiveness, but the consequences of wrong choices or sin continue to trail behind us like super sleuths.

Whether you believe it or not, God is Sovereign over all things. He knew me and He knew you before we were formed in our mother’s womb. I can’t even comprehend that, can you? Not only did He know us, He granted personalities, skills, talents—gifts, to each one of us. We are all unique.  Created for the purpose of glorifying Him. Do you know He loves to hear the sound of your voice—but is the sound He hears from me pleasing or full of discord? He gives me the right to choose.

I don’t know about you, but much of my life brought shame, not glory to God. I knew He was God, but had no clue what His sovereignty meant.  But because God never changes and is always ready to grant us mercy when we change our ways and accept Jesus’ gift of salvation and choose to obey Him—when I came to Jesus and confessed my sin and shame, He forgave me. Then the key word is surrender. I surrendered my will to His will. My wants to His wants. My choices to His choices for Dick and for me. My obedience to God brings order and peace to my life and my home.

Sovereignty means whatever you’re going through did not catch God by surprise. He’s not pacing the heavens shouting, Oh no! What am I going to do now? He’s in charge of what’s happening—sets the limits of your trials and temptations. Before you were born He knew you. Before a word is on your lips He knows what you’re going to say. And He loves you anyway. Jesus died because of your and my desperate need for a Savior.

And it also means I don’t have the option of allowing my temper to run rough-shod over people. I can’t carry a grudge and be pleasing to Him. I’m accountable to God for every tiny word that comes out of my mouth and every thought I allow to fog my mind. I’m accountable to Him for each minute of every day, whether I choose good or evil. And I don’t get the choice of defining what’s good and what’s evil. God makes the rules. And they’re not old-timey words. His Word will stand forever.

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Next week Part Two: It’s Not All About Me!

 

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Darkness obscured the noise.
Glass crashed and shattered across the floor.
A brick wrapped in brown butcher paper, decorated with hate speech scribbled in black and tied with a string, fell to the floor.
Unable to move, a frightened boy gawked. His saucer-sized-eyes reflected the horror exploding inside him.
Torched by a man saturated in hate, a flaming match ignited the gasoline he’d doused on a cross, illuminating a black football jersey with his brother’s number 22—hung there to fry in hell’s fury.

I sat in the shadows and shook and sobbed as the above scene flashed across the wide screen. Unable to restrain the gush of anguish. Transported fifty years in the past—my early teens—to a street corner in Jacksonville, Florida, just after dark. Where A gang of unruly men in white robes with pointed hoods. Shouted death threats. And burned another cross.

My brother and I were glued to the horror, but unable to look away. Daddy explained these were evil men. “But that’s what America’s all about,” he offered. “Freedom to demonstrate and say whatever you think, even when it’s wrong and folks don’t agree.”

I didn’t believe those words then and I don’t believe them now. Hate is not an acceptable synonym of freedom. If your actions harm another person, those actions aren’t legitimized because you live in America. Those actions testify of the perpetrator’s bondage to lies, hatred, and sin. But like Daddy, many in the 50’s and 60’s rejected the Klan’s evil, but hedged ignorant suspicions on the side of prejudice about anyone not like them. And the black community did the same.

Racial prejudice knows no boundaries.

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Unaware of the imprint those images etched in my soul, I watched this true story played out in HD in the movie, Woodlawn. Those turbulent years in our nation’s history, and the vile words and actions of then governor of Alabama, George Wallace, echoed off the screen and through the years.

I saw again the faces of those satiated with hate on that street corner so long ago, but I also heard and remembered the words of justice and peace spoken by Dr. Martin Luther King. And the maker of this film told the true story how six words transformed the lives and futures of the Woodlawn football team, the school, and the town. One afternoon in Birmingham, Alabama, the entire team of integrated, but deeply divided, angry young men uttered those life-changing words—I choose Jesus and I forgive you.

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Thousands of years ago, in the Book of Deuteronomy, God recited before the people the blessing and the cursing and allowed them to likewise choose.

“See, I have set before you today life and prosperity, and death and adversity; in that I command you today to love the Lord your God, to walk in His ways and to keep His commandments and His statutes and His judgments, that you may live and multiply, and that the Lord your God may bless you in the land where you are entering to possess it…I call heaven and earth to witness against you today, that I have set before you life and death, the blessing and the curse. So choose life in order that you may live, you and your descendants, by loving the Lord your God, by obeying His voice, and by holding fast to Him” (Deuteronomy 30:15-16, 19-20 NAS).

The same God who created the heavens and the earth, is the same God who spoke through Moses to the nation of Israel, and is the same God this nation has worshiped and served over two hundred years. This same God who blessed America would have continued to bless our nation had the people of this land chosen life and blessings and obedience, rather than death and cursings.

King Solomon was right when he said, “Behold there is nothing new under the sun.”
And here we are in 2015 having crossed that same despicable threshold. Again.

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The fabric of faith has been contorted and twisted and shredded across America by the continual lies and rebellion of the enemies of God and His Son, our Lord Jesus Christ.

I listen to the continual words of this president, and those who surround him, and the media, who, like those KKK men of the past, spew their divisive, hate laced words, dividing, vilifying, and separating Americans. Daily choosing death rather than life.

And we see this consequential death displayed in each major city in America every day. We have been sucked back in time and have allowed days of the hideous history of hatred to rekindle and reproduce in our land. Fueled by a willful ignorance of God’s Word, people of every race and creed, deceived by the times and tunes chanted by Satan and his vicious demons, dance to the melody of deception.

They fail to understand fear of The Ku Klux Klan was just another wicked lie established in the South by deceived Democrats intent on keeping the black populous from voting. Democrats controlled the South during those years. The word Republican was whispered, but not on the ballot. And did you know one of the oldest Democratic members of the U.S. Senate was a past Dragon of the Klan? Who knows how many other leaders swore allegiance to the Klan?

But that was the way of the south in the 50’s, 60’s and early 70’s—or so my Daddy believed.

And if we don’t discern and aren’t diligent to seek God’s guidance, 2016 will be the same song, umpteenth verse of this ditty of deception.

God has answered our prayers and raised up a trio of godly patriots, well qualified to seek the office of President. Men who aren’t ashamed of their faith in Jesus Christ. Men who have the courage to speak the truth. But, it’s hard to fight free stuff. Because we’ve raised a generation of folks who believe their have a right to free, refusing to care or comprehend someone has to pay for their free. Scripture instructs, “If you do not work, you do not eat.”

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What’s the point, you ask? The Klan no longer exists.

Really? Are you sure?

Jesus tells us, “If we say we love God and hate our brothers, we are liars and the truth is not in us.”

Anyone who hates another human enough to kill is like a current-day-member of the Klan. Just as despicable and evil. And God says we’ve murdered them in our hearts first. Anyone who chooses the lie of the father-of-lies, rather than obeying the commands of the Lord God, will inherit the eternal consequences of their choices.

Make no mistake, for there to be a heaven, there must be a hell. But God sends no one to that eternal place of torment…they choose hell because they refuse to acknowledge and believe and choose Jesus and refuse to forgive others.

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I highly endorse the movie Woodlawn. And would suggest it for family viewing and discussion.

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Don’t be where trouble can happen.

Grammar excluded, this is a profound statement, isn’t it? My Mama repeated these words to my brother and me often. So often it still plays like a recording in my brain. “See Mama, if you’re peeking through the pearly gates, I heard you all those years ago. And still do.”

But today we’ve thrown out those sayings of years gone by like the baby and the bath water. Why? Could it be pride? Wanting to DSCF4898do things our way—rejecting our parents’ way. After all, their ways are meaningless today, right? Times and people have changed. Or have they? Were those statements based on solid, biblical, historical truth?

It’s obvious we’ve raised several generations of young people on a different foundation than we were taught. A shaky foundation. A weak foundation that is cracking and crumbling. Is the substructure beyond repair? Only time, our response to truth, and God’s mercy will tell.

For the next few weeks I’d like us to dissect some of those ancient words from generations past. Let’s see if they were old wives’ tales or words of wisdom we’ve trashed in this super-sonic age of technology. And if you have sayings from your folks, please share them. Join the conversation and let’s learn from each other.

To know wisdom and instruction, to discern the DSCF4893sayings of understanding, to receive instruction in wise behavior, righteousness, justice and equity; to give prudence to the naive, to the youth knowledge and discretion, a wise man will hear and increase in learning, and a man of understanding will acquire wise counsel…The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge; fools despise wisdom and instruction” (Proverbs 1:2-5, 6 NAS).

Last week, in Dallas, Texas, a seventeen-year-old girl climbed over her boyfriend and out the back window of a moving car. The car ran over her and she died. Alone. In the middle of the night. On a dark city street. Allegedly after partying at a club with friends. Friends who drove off and left her. With friends like that…
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This young woman made a fatal choice to spend her last hours in a place where trouble was bound to happen.

A young mother, shot in the early morning hours—3 a.m.—in the parking lot of her apartment. She too died alone, leaving behind babies and a grieving husband. An isolated parking area in those dark hours is certainly a place where trouble is apt to happen.

Boys love to climb. A young teen climbing on a school roof falls, breaks his femur, and spends the summer incapacitated. Then the teens who broke into a house and were shot by the owner. Dead. Gone forever because of wrong choices.

Two hormonal teens in the back seat of a car, or alone in a basement playroom watching TV long after the parents have retired for the night, a definite opportunity for trouble to happen.
And the list goes on and on. I’m sure while reading mine you recycled your own list, didn’t you?

We’ve all done stupid stuff, gone places we shouldn’t have, taken foolish chances, but the difference is the actions listed above are becoming the norm rather than the exception.

Where have we gone wrong? What could we have done to achieve a different outcome?

Mama had another saying that answers that question. When you do bad things, bad things happen. And in our house, boy did they! Mama called them consequences and she made them happen. This godly woman believed God made bushes for parents to cut switches, and she sent us to cut our own rod-of-consequence. A new switch for each infraction of the rules.

Oh no! Not the dreaded word—rules. Yes, there were rules in our house. Rules set by Mama, carried out by Mama, and enforced by Daddy. There were no time-outs or removal of privileges. Consequences were swift, sure, and tailor-made for the crime. And the only political correctness in our home fled at the sight of Mama’s switch and Daddy’s belt.

The wisest man who ever lived said:

“Where there is no guidance, the people fall, but in abundance of counselors there is victory…Whoever loves discipline loves knowledge, but he who hates reproof is stupid” (Proverbs 11:14; 12:1 NAS).

DSCF4894We’ve pitched the switch, banished the belt, and tossed the baby with the dirty bath water. But Solomon instructed:

“Do not move the ancient boundary which your fathers have set” (Proverbs 22:28 NAS).

Current psycho-babble encourages parents to be their children’s friend. God gives children many friends during their life-time, but He only gives a child one mama and one daddy. If you don’t parent, it won’t get done. We are the ones God appoints and holds accountable to equip our kids with His knowledge and understanding so they can learn to make wise decisions.

Parenting begins at the cradle and ends at the grave. And very often these days, the funeral is that of our children because many of them have failed or refused to make wise choices.

God didn’t give us babies, then leave us without an instruction manual. He gave us sixty-six books, but one in particular teaches the basic principles for living life right—the Book of Proverbs.

The teaching window is brief. The time to begin is now. Don’t wait ‘til tomorrow, because:

“Foolishness is bound up in the heart of a child; the rod of discipline will remove it far from him” (Proverbs 22:15 NAS).

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The moment our feet hit the floor in the morning we have the freedom to make choices. Every day, from morning ‘til we pull the covers under our chin at night, we make countless choices.

We choose our attire for the day—physically, mentally and spiritually. Every time you interact with another person on the planet, you choose your course of behavior. The problem with this statement is we’ve allowed ourselves to be desensitized to the fact we are making choices.

I’ll give you an example. Mom and Dad are seated in front of HDTV with their thirteen year old daughter and fifteen year old son. What should be an X-rated soap opera covers the screen and they all sit and watch the entire program.

Mom thinks, these are things the kids probably shouldn’t be seeing and hearing. But quickly shuts that voice off and counters, they probably hear much worse than this at school. And dad sits in silence too. Watching the garbage week after week after week. And we wonder why daughter and son think it’s okay to choose to have sex, drugs, and alcohol with whomever they choose, whenever the urge manifests.

And Dad and Mom, you’ve taught them by your silence.

I laid in bed this morning, talking to the Lord about the state of our nation. Thinking how we’ve just recognized Sanctity of Life Sunday, at least some churches did. My heart and mind mourned over the catastrophic numbers of precious infants murdered—ripped from the safety of their mother’s wombs—under the guise of choice.

And the Spirit convicted my heart—you’re lukewarm!

I gasped and my heart shattered. Lukewarm? Me?

Right!

And so are you brothers and sisters in Christ.

We’ve lived with this abomination so long we’ve become desensitized to the horrific nature of this crime. We’ve grown calloused and accustomed to politically correct, inane words like, A woman’s right to choose.

Each woman, and man, does have the right to choose—whether to clothe themselves in provocative attire that stimulates the opposite sex. The choice to engage in behavior that arouses fiery passions in another. The choice to take what God calls holy and make the union profane. Yes, each person involved makes that decision. That choice.

What the woman or man does not have the right to do is choose the consequences of their choice. Only God does. And the consequence is very often a baby. Not a fetus. A flesh and blood replica of themselves. With their DNA. Their features. And their reaction very often is murder. Getting rid of the evidence of the sin.

And church, we’ve approved this gross infanticide by our silence.

My heart is twisted and wrung out this morning over my failure to pray daily for those on the front-lines of this battle. My failure to financially support Christian pregnancy centers, not just on Sanctity of Life Sunday. My lukewarm attitude and failure to support single moms who choose to give birth and life to their precious babies.

But our far greater sin is going into the voting booth, election after election, and pulling the lever for candidates we know support abortion. You can salve your conscience by calling it choice, but you know in your heart, abortion is the reaction to the consequences of a wrong choice made months before.

God says:

“Innocent blood will not be shed in the midst of your land which the Lord your God gives you as an inheritance, and blood-guiltiness be on you…you shall purge the blood of the innocent from Israel, that it may go well with you” (Deuteronomy 19:10-13 NAS).

Well Americans, could it be abortion is one of the reasons it’s not going well with our nation?

“There are six things which the Lord hates, yes, seven which are an abomination to Him: Haughty eyes, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that devises wicked plans, feet that run rapidly to evil, a false witness who utters lies, and one who spreads strife among brothers” (Proverbs 6:16-19 NAS).

America is in trouble! We have slaughtered well over fifty-five million innocent babies. And a disturbing statistic is the percentage of Christian women who have believed the lie of Satan and have themselves aborted babies.

Let me be quick to say abortion is not the unforgivable sin. That’s why Jesus had to die. And all of us have pushed that painful crown of thorns into His head. Caused those nails to be hammered into His hands and feet. That sword to be thrust in His side. He bled and died. For us.

God forgives our sin when we come to Him, through the blood of Christ, repenting and confessing and asking for His forgiveness.
So who better to lead the fight than those who know the lifelong consequences abortion brings and have come through the blood of Jesus love and grace into life?

Let their be no mistake, when we allow ourselves to be lulled unaware and unconscious to the screams of millions of tortured, murdered babies—we’ve become lukewarm.

It’s long past time to tear off the rags of complacency. This is a vicious battle and we must recognize the few are manipulating the majority. We can no longer hope someone else will do the work. They haven’t. You. Me. We must shine the light of God’s truth on the lie of choice.

Abortion isn’t a choice. Abortion is a reaction to the consequence of a previously made wrong choice.

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Every day, flush after flush, Americans attempt to rid their lives of three troublesome Christian character attributes like they were dung. The chain is pulled, over and over, sending these necessary principles swirling down the drain as if they were contaminated sewage. Sound ugly? Offend your senses? Sorry. It’s truth. And it’s DSCF2349happening throughout American and within the church. Day after day after day.

We don’t fear God.

We haven’t taught our children to fear God. We’ve danced a little two-step, ever widening the theology around this instruction for years. And now our children fear nothing. Respect nothing. And believe nothing.

We have rebelled against God.

“Fear God? He’s a God of love isn’t He? Why should I fear Him? I just need to show Him a little respect—right?”

No. That’s not what scripture says. The Hebrew word “yare” means fear, terrible thing, stand in awe, reverence. This verb connotes the psychological reaction of fear. To tremble. Be afraid of Him. Be afraid to disobey Him. Be afraid of the certainty of consequences if you do.

Satan whispers deceptive lies in our ears, just like he did to Eve. He twists and turns truth, misrepresenting who God is and what He has said. And, just like Eve, we choose to believe the devil’s lies.

Proverbs says: “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge; fools despise wisdom and instruction” (Proverbs 1:7 NAS).

We don’t love truth, because truth is hard. And we don’t like hard stuff. We don’t like change. And we don’t want God to change us. Oh, maybe a tiny bit, but not a radical change. That’s too much.

The truth is, if He doesn’t change us, we don’t belong to Him. God is perfect love, perfect truth, and perfect righteousness. We cannot come into His presence without being cleansing by the blood and the righteous covering of Jesus Christ.

When you walked the aisle and were dunked in the baptismal waters, if there was no change in your heart, your attitude, and your lifestyle, there’s a problem. If you sleep through life, sermons, and grief, never experiencing the transforming power of God’s love in your life, there’s a problem.

At the time of salvation the Comforter, the Helper, the Spirit of God comes to live in our hearts. From that moment we are given all of the Spirit we will ever have. But does the Spirit have all of us? Scripture instructs “do not grieve the Spirit of God.”

How many reading this blog today have children and grandchildren who ignore you? Want no relationship with you? Disobey your rules? Refuse to show their love, respect, and gratitude for your provision and position in their lives? Their actions hurt and grieve your heart, don’t they?

How much more the Holy Spirit is grieved if we have no desire to allow Him to transform our minds, hearts, and souls. When we refuse to study the truths of His Word, choosing to cling to the things we watch on TV, see in the movies and read in many books, things we know offend our righteous God and offend His Spirit—what does this say about our fear of Him and love for Him?

Earth is a training ground. Training for eternal life with God, under the rule and reign of Jesus Christ, in a place of perfect righteousness. If we’re not happy to be with Him now, why do you think we’d be happy with Him, in His kingdom? What have you learned during your journey on earth that will equip you for eternity? What are your life patterns training you for? Do you love Jesus more with each passing day?

Revelation 21: 8 tells us “cowards, unbelieving and abominable and murderers and immoral persons and sorcerers and idolaters and all liars, their part will be in the lake that burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death. These will not inherit the kingdom of God.”

God is not our fairy-godfather, who waves His hand to make our lives perfect. No. He tells us our hearts are wicked and deceitful. But Jesus will transform us to be like “trees planted by the river of waters” that will bring forth spiritual fruit. That’s not for some time bye-and-bye in the sky. It’s right now.

We are to wake up each morning asking for courage to put to death the deeds of our flesh. We are to walk in obedience to God’s principles and precepts, in spite of the trends of our times. Our lives are to bring honor and glory to Him. We are to show others what Jesus looks like.

I have a terrible temper. I’d love to tell you the Holy Spirit waves His cosmic hand and that nasty nonsense disappears out of my heart and mind. No, I have to make the choice, each day, to put this ugliness out of my life every time it flutters and builds walls in my heart.

When I obey, the Spirit helps me. He bolsters my courage to stand against the deception that lurks in the dark corners of my heart and mind. But I have to pick up the spike and hammer it into this evil character trait, as well as all the other behaviors and attitudes I know do not honor God.

Transformation takes a lifetime, but there must be forward progress. And we can’t muscle our way to change. There must be an individual relationship with Jesus. A longing to spend time with Him. An urgency to know His word. And time learning to trust Him.

The end of this age is drawing near. God’s people are to be watchmen on America’s wall. We are to sound the alarm. And who isn’t alarmed by the swift decent of this nation into calling good—evil and evil—good? We are to battle with one hand on the Word of God and the other hand on the pulse of discipleship. Teaching, comforting, and caring for those God places in our circle of friendship. So when the attacks come the Word of God will slice between truth and lies. Are you blowing a wake-up call to all who will listen?
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The battle will be fierce in the days to come. In order to stand firm our hearts must be trained, full of courage, and being renewed and refilled with the truth of His Word, the knowledge of His love, and the power of His Spirit.

We are called to be committed soldiers of the King. Soldiers who have a healthy fear of The Sovereign God of all creation. A good God who takes care of His own people. But a righteous God who will, on a day certain, judge His enemies. Forever.

Today there’s still time to repent. Time for the Spirit to transform your life. Time to learn to fear God, love HisDSCF0983 truth, and stand with courage.

But God’s clock is ticking. The hour is late. And time is short.

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