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Posts Tagged ‘Lies’

The determination to continue traveling a road you know is not taking you toward your hoped-for destination will cause you to travel to places you didn’t want to be—meeting challenges and problems you hoped you’d never incur—dealing with consequences you aren’t prepared to endure. The only explanation for continuing such a journey is your refusal to admit you’re going in the wrong direction.

A number of years ago, on a very dark night in the swamps of the Florida Everglades, I found myself in that position. And my stubborn refusal to admit I was wrong could have cost my life as well as the life of a good friend traveling with me.

I shudder remembering the events of that Alligator Alley evening.

We were on our way to an art show in Marco Island the next day with a scheduled stop-over at Darlene’s brother’s house in Naples, Florida for the night. Due to a gas shortage, the lines were long as we made our way through South Florida. I made the decision not to sit in a long line and wait and hoped we’d make it to Naples—what a foolish choice. And somehow in the process, I missed a turn and wound up on a dead-end road which fed us onto Alligator Alley.
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Rather than admitting my mistake, turning around and back-tracking, I turned west onto Alligator Alley knowing that road would eventually lead us to Naples. But determination and foolishness flooded my soul when, after driving a few miles on this two-lane highway through the swamp in the utter blackness of night, the engine of my car sputtered and died. We were out of gas—alone and defenseless—on this notorious killer highway that ran through the Glades!

In a nano-second I had a crash course in the fact that attempting to reach a planned destination is never successful when you choose to travel the wrong road. But it was too late. We were stranded. Frightened out of our wits. And my stubborn stupidity had placed us in extreme danger.

Yet all these years later, I listen as the non-stop news blaring the same situation playing out in towns and cities all over America—stubborn, rebellious people, insisting on having their way—in spite of the fact the road they are traveling is dangerous, even lethal, to them and all those they are dragging along this treacherous trip.

Souls full of rebellion are being played the fools by covert enemies determined to destroy them and our nation. Enemies who don’t give a rip about those they’ve convinced their highway to lawlessness is the right road. These enemies of America are emboldened to create chaos and upheaval, by continually stirring the pot of lawless hatred, driving their targeted victims into a huge frenzy of hatred while these foolish victims fail to understand in their refusal to forgive who they perceive to be enemies, they have become the captors of the real, bona-fide transgressors.

And unless God intervenes, all Americans will eventually realize this road to destruction will never intersect with the only road that leads to a righteous destination. America is dooming itself to perish.
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Anger, hatred, and lack of forgiveness cripples’ individuals, families, and nations. God warns us throughout His Word that anger and a lack of forgiveness turns into a wretched root of bitterness that soils and spoils everything it touches.

“See to it that no one comes short of the grace of God; that no root of bitterness springing up causes trouble, and by it many be defiled…” (Hebrews 12:15 NAS).

The defiled quagmire of anger, unforgiveness, hatred, and bitterness, will color your life’s lens and blind your ability to find the true and only road to a righteous destination in the Lord Jesus Christ. But God allows you to choose—His truth or Satan’s lies. God’s peace or Satan’s chaos. God’s love and mercy or Satan’s hatred and destruction. A fulfilled life with Him or an eternity of pain and torture in hell with the father you’ve chosen…the devil.

The days of choice, however, are racing to an end. Never in the history of our nation has there been so clear a daily definition, splayed across the screens, between righteousness and unrighteousness. Many of you have already scoffed and turned away or shrugged and made light of this pivotal moment in history. Storm clouds of darkness deepen and gather to attempt an overthrow of this Republic, like the black swamp of Alligator Alley threatened to consume Darlene and me that awful night so many years ago.

I stared into the heavens that night and cried out to God against whom I’d rebelled. I confessed every sin I’d committed and pleaded for God to please help us.

In the distance headlights of a car approached, then slowed to a stop. A man and woman in the car rolled down the window and asked if we needed help. Darlene threw open her door, raced around the front of our car shouting, “Yes! Yes! We need help! DiAne, get out of the car so they can see we’re helpless girls.”

The man got out, checked, and surmised we’d run out of gas. He said he was a contractor, handed me his business card and said he had gas at his building site and suggested we ride with them to get the gas because it wasn’t safe for two women alone in this swamp. Darlene was already in the car, so I climbed in beside her and prayed we weren’t jumping from the frying pan into the fire.
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He asked if we wanted to call our husbands while he filled a gas can. After calling our guys, he and his friend drove us back to the car, filled the tank, and wouldn’t take a dime for their trouble, but followed us back to Naples.
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We were beyond thankful, but the impact of this rescue didn’t register until we returned home, and the following day when my husband called to check the phone number on the card and the street address he’d written down. “I called to thank them.” He paused then whispered, “There was no such business. No such phone number.”

“But I was there, honey. I saw it with my own eyes.” My mind raced.

“See what you can find out. I’ve got to work.” He hung up and I grabbed the card and phoned the Better Business Bureau in Naples.

“Not only do we not have a business by that name, but we’ve never had such a business at that address. It’s a vacant warehouse. Been vacant for years.” The lady gave me another number to check and see if there was even such a business by that name in the State of Florida—there was not.
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My heart pounded. Were they angels? I had no other explanation. I knew God had answered my prayers for rescue. But since that night I’ve been very careful to travel roads where there’s an easy access to fuel and help should there be an emergency; and I travel life roads where I have access to spiritual food, where brothers and sisters in Christ serve as sounding boards to help me make wiser decisions, and encouragers to help me keep on keeping on.

If America is to survive every citizen must make those same choices. This battle is not about skin color or racism, that’s just an ensnaring ploy. It’s about dividing and conquering. This is about Jesus or Satan—righteousness or unrighteousness—God’s kingdom or the lake of fire… and you must choose…or perhaps you already have.

Scrub-board Theology 4

“Therefore, however you want people to treat you, so treat them, for this is the Law and the Prophets. Enter by the narrow gate; for the gate is wide, and the way is broad that leads to destruction, and many are those who enter by it. For the gate is small, and the way is narrow that leads to life, and few are those who find it.

Beware of the false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly are ravenous wolves. You will know them by their fruits. Grapes are not gathered from thorn bushes, nor figs from thistles, are they? Even so, every good tree bears good fruit; but the bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot produce bad fruit, nor can a bad tree produce good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.

So then, you will know them by their fruits. Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven; but he who does the will of My father who is in heaven. Many will say to Me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?’

And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness.” (Matthew 7:12-23 NAS).

The Word of God gives us information about a time when a man whom God identifies as “the man of lawlessness” will appear and seem to be the answer to the world’s problems. He will come on the scene shortly after the church suddenly vanishes. Then after seven years of rapid and increasing chaos and havoc—judgments foretold in Revelation—the likes of which have never been, this age will end with the physical return of the Lord Jesus Christ and His bride…The Raptured Church.

King Jesus will appear with His armies to kill them by the sword coming out of His mouth. The false prophet and the beast will be cast into the lake of fire. The carnage of the battle will leave soldiers’ blood up to the bridles of the horses and running two hundred miles like a river in the valley of decision. Satan will be bound in chains and thrown into the bottomless pit for 1,000 years.
But the choice is yours. Just consider me the gal holding the warning sign that reads… STOP! DANGER AHEAD!

The road you’re currently traveling, unless God intervenes like He did with me that night on Alligator Alley, is a good indicator where you’ll be in that day. If you don’t know or aren’t sure, let me share with you the ABC’s of settling that question.

Admit you are a sinner. Romans 3:10, Romans 3:23
Believe in your heart Jesus is Lord and He died for your sins. Romans 6:23
Call upon the name of Jesus to receive His gift of salvation. Romans 10:13

“Behold, I stand at the door and knock; if anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him, and will dine with him, and he with Me. He who overcomes I will grant to him to sit down with Me on My throne, as I also overcame and sat down with My Father on His throne” (Revelation 3:20-21 NAS).
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“For God so loved the world, He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. For God sent not His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved” (John 3:16-17 NAS).

You can find DiAne’s complete story about “that” night at Amazon.com in Cecil Murphey and Twila Belk’s book Heavenly Company…Entertaining Angels Unaware

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Part Two of this post brings me to a truly enormous learning curve.

It’s not all about me.

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And that’s one of the major problems we all face in today’s culture. Bombarded with the deception if it feels good—do it, we are led to believe we deserve to be happy.

A group of hot-shot educators began teaching this philosophy over fifty years ago. And we’ve allowed at least two generations of young people to believe life is all about them. They are special. And our tax dollars have paid and will continue to pay that costly bill. Parents bought the lie that their kid’s self-worth is the most important value we can teach them. And the P.C. police have pushed so far that everyone on the team gets a trophy…everybody’s a winner.

But we’ve failed to teach our children the Truth of the Word of God…without which, in the end, nobody wins. And you can’t teach what you don’t know, believe and practice.

God created the family first. He didn’t create government, entertainment, or even the church first. Family was and is first. A nation is no stronger than its families. Which leads me, after the fact, to consider the importance God places on the family. Satan dealt us a two-fisted-knock-out punch with no-fault divorce, and we cheered.  Now there is no difference between divorce rates inside or outside the church.

Am I qualified to speak on this issue? You bet I am. In the old days of all about me, I packed up two small children and hit the door of our house, running straight to the courthouse.  I chose divorce. I wasn’t happy. I made a wrong mate choice.  I couldn’t tolerate another minute. But forty plus years later, I’ve come to understand I’ll never know what God could have done in that marriage had I trusted and allowed God time to change both of us.

And the consequences of my choice bled a permanent stain into the lives of me, my ex-husband, our new spouses, our parents, our friends, my children, and goodness knows who else. Has God forgiven me? Oh my yes. God is full of mercy and grace and when we repent, He always forgives the sin. But those stinky consequences lurk alive and well in the lives of angry children and my new-found knowledge I didn’t trust God. I knew about Him, but I didn’t trust Him as Lord and Savior. Because, at that time, my life was all about me.

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All the “buts” don’t matter. And we always have a list of them, don’t we? “But I made a wrong choice in the first place.”  “But he or she doesn’t meet my needs.”  “But I don’t love him or her anymore.” God is either sovereign over all things or He is sovereign over nothing. And when He said, I hate divorce, there was a reason. And, after the fact, the consequences have taught me—just like what He told Judah in Jeremiah 2:19:

“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.”

Guess what, when I walked out that door, I forsook God’s authority over my life. Leaning to my own understanding, I pushed the fear of disobeying Him behind me, and I toted all my dirty laundry into a second marriage and Dick drug his rotten baggage along too. Divorce solved nothing.  We had to begin all over again–with our old problems and a stack of new ones too. We had to learn the lessons of faith and trust and Holy Spirit produced love God knew we must learn, else there would be a longer string of broken homes, broken lives, and broken people. Perhaps even people lost forever in the darkness and lies of it’s all about me.

Television, songs, movies, and of course, FaceBook scream words of unforgiveness, anger, and hatred, and we mimic what we hear, but God’s Word says, “If you don’t forgive others, I won’t forgive you.” (Translation by DiAne). In recent years I’m learning what that really means and sometimes the lessons are really hard.

Jesus Christ forgave me for every single evil, hateful thing I’ve ever done—past, present, and future on that night in January. My despicable thoughts, actions, and deeds were nailed as an indictment against Him when He hung on that cross, suffered, and died for me.  How then can I refuse to forgive every person who has been ugly, evil, or mean to me? And that’s the next lesson after life is not all about me. Refusing to forgive each other is not an option in the heart and life of a believer.

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I am still learning, but have made great strides, in the dysfunctional use of my tongue. I don’t have to voice an opinion about everything and sometimes I just need to be silent. And most times, silence is preferred. I came from a loud and boisterous family and old habits and personality disorders die hard. I must choose to put them to death. Crucify them with the help of my Lord Jesus. Sure cuts down on the marital feuds and helps trend peace in my family and with others.

My ramblings, I hope, will strike a needful cord of help to some of you along the way. And, if you’d like, I’d love to have the opportunity to share more of those hard life lessons. Ours wasn’t always a peace-filled, loving forty years. I was taken to church from the nursery on. I walked the aisle at twelve with a group of girlfriends. But when we came to faith and trust in Christ in January of 1989, all things changed. Forever. The Spirit of God moved in, threw out a raft-a-garbage, tore down self-constructed walls, installed light that radiates into the dark, secret corners, and began a life-long remodeling job in our hearts, our home, and our lives.

Dick and I made a pledge to plaster prayer—together—into our daily lives. A praying plaster that cements that strong “cord of three strands” talked about in Ecclesiastes 4:12—The Father, Dick, and me—together ‘til He comes or we go to be with Him.  ‘Cause it’s real hard to be screaming hate and throwing a tantrum when the three of you are involved in a life-changing, life-long conversation together.

Hope your old-house make-over is well underway too! And I pray you younger couples, at whatever age and stage you find yourselves today, have the extreme joy and faith and trust to reach forty, fifty, maybe even sixty years together with your spouse and the Lord Jesus Christ.

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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.

First John

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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I have a younger brother—eight years younger. During my teen years, he resided in brat mode. One spring morning the windows were open and little brother’s loud voice rang out. Outdoors. Underneath my window. Reciting my diary.

The little varmint had swiped my secret treasure and was sharing it with the neighborhood. I immediately petitioned for parental power, “M-o-o-om! Get ‘im.”

If he wasn’t doing brat, did I enjoy my brother? No, I ignored him as a necessary nuisance. Just like I’m apt to ignore God. But like me hollering for Mom, when things aggravate, hurt, or frighten me, I shout “Get ‘em God,” and assume that the Holy God of the Universe is my go-to-guy in times of trouble.

At least that’s what we’ve all fooled ourselves into believing.

We’ve mistaken His patience for tolerance and His mercy for acquiescence. Ignoring Him when times are good and demanding His appearance when we can’t make it through the dense fog of grief, the brick wall of financial problems, or the heartache of family chaos. Then we turn to Him and whine.

We’re in good company, the prophet Habakkuk did the same thing before Babylon invaded Israel in 597 B.C. He experienced the same things we are experiencing in 2013. Probably worse. The temple goers were acting just like the non-temple goers. Judges were making unjust decisions—money bought favorable rulings in those days too. The governing class was downright corrupt. And robberies, murders, and psychopaths—just like our world today—filled the local news.

Righteousness was a joke, truth stumbled in the streets, and the desire to be holy? Oh, give me a break—just like today.

In Habakkuk 1:2-3 the prophet cried out:

“O Lord, how long shall I cry, and thou wilt not hear? Even cry out unto thee of violence, and thou wilt not save. Why does thou shew me iniquity, and cause me to behold grievance? For spoiling and violence are before me; and there are that raise up strife and contention…”

But Habakkuk slapped his hand over his mouth and said:

“I will stand upon my watch, and set me upon the tower, and will watch to see what He will say unto me, and what I shall answer when I am reproved.”

Habakkuk knew God and was aware of his position before Him.

Do we? Do we realize there is a time to turn off the spicket of our groaning and complaining? Do we bow before the might, power and sovereignty of the Lord God Almighty, realizing everything comes from His hand—the good, the bad, and the ugly—because He is Holy, Righteous, and Just. He see’s the whole picture and He’s in control. We’re not.

In Chapter Two, God answered Habakkuk. And the prophet’s finger pointing was turned back on his own people. Yikes! Do you suppose if we quit griping and sat silent before Him, God would do the same with us? Would we listen?

I’ve spent a lot of years in front of the TV—finger-pointing. I grew up in the fifties and sixties, the time when the church went inside and shut the doors to keep the bad stuff out. Guess what? We are the bad stuff and it came inside with us.

God told us to “go tell and stand firm.” He didn’t say, “circle the wagons and hunker down.” We are suffering the consequences of our failure to obey. The church, like the Israelites, has become like the pagan, idol-worshipping, world. We want enough of God to dodge hell, but not enough of Him to be holy. To be transformed into the image of His only Son, Jesus, but just a little bit. Not complete transformation.

America has been sent warning after warning. God calls, “Return to Me so that I may return to you.” And we turn a deaf ear.

Habakkuk asked and God gave him a vision of what was to come. And come it did—in wide-screen, surround-sound, HD.

Chapter Three records Habakkuk’s response. He prayed. And the closing sentences of his prayer should require us to zip our lips and ask ourselves “Could I make Habakkuk’s confession of faith in God and really mean it?”

“Although the fig tree shall not blossom, neither shall fruit be in the vines; the labour of the olive shall fail, and the fields shall yield no meat; the flock shall be cut off from the fold, and there shall be no herd in the stalls; Yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will joy in the God of my salvation. The Lord God is my strength, and He will make my feet like hinds’ feet, and He will make me to walk upon mine high places.”

This is not a fictional assumption of what’s to come. Just turn your TV on this morning and watch the pictures of the Philippine Islands last weekend. The terrifying loss of life and the devastation of their land, in just a few short horrific hours, could have happened anywhere in the world. Not by typhoon, but perhaps by fire, earthquake, tsunami, hurricane, tornadoes. Or war.

Principles of truth in our nation cannot stand without righteousness. Principles of righteous cannot stand without justice and judgment. This nation was built upon these cornerstones. America’s foundation is anchored in the truths of the Word of God and belief in the mercy and grace provided by the death of our righteous Passover Lamb, Jesus Christ. But over half of our people have taken pick-axes to this foundation and are chunking God’s truths on the trash heap.

When the foundation of a nation crumbles, the people perish.

What about you? Your family? Your church? When the grocery shelves are empty, and there are no crops in the field, and no sign of provisions on the horizon, will you still confess that the Lord God is your strength and Jesus is your Lord?

When everything you’ve put your trust in: your home, your possessions, your job, your health are gone, will you still find joy in the God of your salvation? And will you trust Him to give you the strength to walk with Him upon His high places. Or will you still be hollering “get ‘em God?”

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Last week I opened my email to find a death threat. Whether this was spam or  the real deal is yet to be determined.

The officer asked if I owned a gun and suggested I might want to keep it handy and be aware of my surroundings. These words sent me scurrying to the closet to pull out my Smith & Wesson. I loaded the pistol with bullets my husband had stored all these years.

Realizing we were low on ammunition, I let my fingers-do-the-walking in an attempt to find replacement ammo. A number of calls later I located a store and told the clerk I’d see them first thing next morning.

I tucked the weapon into a safe hideout and crawled in bed for what I hoped would be a good night’s sleep. Before closing my eyes, I asked God to keep me safe through the night. My gun was loaded. I knew how to use it. I was prepared.

Early next morning I loaded myself and the revolver into the car and headed for the gun shop. And to be honest, a little concerned. I had never been in a gun shop and didn’t know what to expect. But walked in like I knew what I was doing and handed my gun to the man behind the counter, informing him it was loaded. Just wanted to be sure I bought the right bullets.

He emptied the chamber, held the bullets out and said, “Mrs. Gates, if you are going to shoot someone you’d best be sure you have real bullets, these are just for target practice. You’d make someone mighty angry if you’d shot ‘em with these.”

I gulped as the bullets slid from his hand into mine. And I stared down at the silver and gold cartridges. They looked real. They fit in the gun’s chamber. They smoked when fired and the cartridge shot deep in the ground when I pulled the trigger yesterday afternoon. Yet they weren’t real? My confidence and preparation cracked like a sheet of thin ice. Into very small slivers.

I thought I had a powerful means of protection. But I was uninformed. Powerless. Deceived.

The shells were fake. And using these fake shells would probably have caused me greater harm in the event of a break-in.

After allowing this new found truth to sink in for a moment, I was grateful I didn’t know the night before I had sissy-bullets. Wouldn’t have slept a wink. Would you?

We laughed. Well, kinda. I made my purchase of  the right stuff, and left for home. But I drove home asking myself how many other things in my life looked real but were powerless to protect me? Just like those fake cartridges.

A six figure life insurance policy? A large bank account? A portfolio full of stocks and bonds? My name on a church roll? Or perfect attendance at church—Sunday  after Sunday?

Financial assets can be swept away in a single market crash. And my name on the roll of the local church and perfect attendance means nothing without a personal, trust filled relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ. Without obedience to His Word. And without love for all my brothers and sisters in Christ.

I can sit in church clothed in my Sunday’s best. I can maintain a loving expression pasted on my face. I can even appear to be hanging on every word the pastor utters. But the litmus test? What’s going on in my heart. Worship of the Lord God Almighty or worship of the idol of self?

Am I depending on a sissy faith, a spiritless faith, a powerless faith to see me through the trials of this life and into the kingdom to come? No wonder fifty percent of the folks want nothing to do with religion.

Religion is like target practice bullets—smoking and loud but always missing the mark. Faith and trust in the blood of Jesus Christ is the only true power to save us now and in the days and ages to come.

In that day when I stand before the righteousness of God and He holds the fragments of my life in His hands will the evidence of my faith be fake or real? Will my name be written in The Book of Life? Has my life on earth given testimony and honor, fruit of the Spirit, to the Lord Jesus Christ or to the gratification of self?

Standing in the presence of God will He recognize His Spirit in me or will He say:

“Many will say to Me on that day, Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles? And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness’”  (Matthew 7:21-22 NAS).

Last week I had the opportunity to replace those powerless gun shells for the real deal. In that day it will be too late—no opportunity to exchange a deception for The Truth.

What are you relying on for protection?

The blood of the Lord Jesus Christ is the only real salvation, now and in the kingdom to come. God’s Passover Lamb is waiting to exchange your sin for His righteousness. He is waiting to pour out His mercy and grace over you, in spite of who you are, where you’ve been, or what you’ve done. And He is waiting to fill you with the power of His Spirit so that you will know He is God.

Now and forever. He’s the only deal. The real deal.

 

“Come, let us worship and bow down; let us kneel before the Lord our Maker. For He is our God, and we are the people of His pasture, and the sheep of His hand. Today, if you would hear His voice. Do not harden your hearts…”(Psalm 95:6-7 NAS).

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