Sunday, September 14, 2008

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“Christians, Let Us Hearken to the Voice of the Lord!”

The present world events that are unfolding seem to be so very troubling. I recently heard a quotation; "Evil triumphs when good men keep silent." Related to this was a conversation on TV about how anyone who disagrees with the "Progressive", or liberal, point of view in Hollywood, especially if they were new comers into that business, could not risk joining in on any politically oriented conversations which disagreed with the present trend of beliefs for fear of forever being ostracized in the business. This does not seem to be pervasive only in Hollywood, but more and more throughout the country and world in general. My point is not to up lift one political party over another. I believe that whether one is Republican, Democrat, or Independent, our government in general is not just broken, but turns a deaf ear to those who profess a belief based upon Judeo-Christian ethics. We are no longer a government of the people or by the people. The larger majority of American citizens profess to be Christians. Yet we have become a nation that is governed by the minority who would deny the place of God’s teachings, but exalt humanistic thought to the supreme level. I believe the true struggle is not between political parties but rather between the ever-increasing struggle to replace Christianity with Humanism in our country and in the world. The word tells us, (Proverbs 29:18) “Where there is no vision, my people perish.” In addition, the Lord has told us (Rev.3: 14 -16) “And unto the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write; these things saith the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of the creation of God; I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot, So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spew thee out of my mouth.” Our time here on Earth is short and must not be squandered. I pray that I shall not be one that is deemed by my Lord to be neither hot nor cold for Him. We, as Christians, are in a perilous position today. I pray that the Lord will open doors for these writings to be used in His service, not to incite division or anger, but to inspire and provoke each of us to indulge in serious thought and searching of our own hearts. For those who willingly turn to a good book to search for knowledge and wisdom, I pray that you may be led to search within the good book, the Holy Bible that you may be (Ephesians 4:23) “renewed in the spirit of your mind.” Let His light be shed abroad in our hearts. (Psalm 139:23, 24) “Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me and know my thoughts: and see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.”

I believe that this country was originally founded upon Judeo- Christian principles. Yet, today it seems that if a Christian tries to take a stand for the standards as taught in the word of God, he/she is now labeled as standing up for stale, old, outdated, and, yes, even "foolish" ideas that are proclaimed to be outmoded ideas of days gone by. As Christians, even we are not all united in standing strong, without wavering, for what God has deemed as precious and valuable. Today we even see the body of Christ willing to have the value of life chipped away slowly but surely. Standing up to protect the life of the unborn today is less and less acceptable and is even considered to be something upon which we should we willing to compromise. Christians who do take a strong stand against abortion are depicted as dangerous, bigoted, and persons who have “Not had their consciousness raised sufficiently” to the higher level of correct thinking, or persons who have no compassion. Having said that, I wish to affirm that I am not saying that there is never a valid reason for aborting a child. However; it seems that if one is to be considered truly intellectually correct today, one must be willing to put God’s Word secondary to the individual “choice” of each woman. God said, "I knew you before you were in your mother's womb." How much more precisely could it have been stated as to when life begins? God said it, I believe it, and for me personally, that settles it. I wish to remind the reader here that this discourse is directed towards other Christians, not to unbelievers who of course don’t even know our Lord, much less care about His ways. Legislation in our Supreme Court has already placed abortion in the secular realm. I do not stand in the position of being judgmental of any one who has had an abortion. On the contrary, I know that, except for the grace of God, I could also have had to face that very decision myself as a woman. I thank God that I personally never did have to face that choice. I also thank the Lord that I could seek and receive His forgiveness had I fallen into that sin, just as King David was forgiven of murder. At the same time, I praise God that, when my teenaged daughter was faced with that decision, she did choose life for her son. Because of her decision, which was not forced upon her by us as her parents, for we knew it had to be her decision and not ours, we have the gift of our grandson, Devin. Where is it going to end? Some people have been ridiculed for “choosing” to have special needs babies, as if it were deemed as being wise to abort children that may not be perfect. Look at the lives of some that have come into this world without legs or arms and yet have brought wonderful gifts of art into the world. Or perhaps, just by their shear willingness to strive to do and be the very best that they could be, they became an inspiration to those of us who have been born “normal”. This is only one example of just how much our world has changed and is moving away, step by step, from the teachings of the word of God. Little by little, people are being taught that man’s evolving opinions are above and more important and "relevant" to life today. More and more we are being led to believe that there are no absolutes, no real right and wrong, but that everything is subjugated to how things have evolved to fit man's opinions at the time. How significant is this to the word of God, which also tells us “a man's ways are right in his own eyes." Another scripture tells us that there is a time when man will always be seeking and searching up and down every avenue endeavoring to learn, and yet will refuse to learn the truth. How explicitly does this describe the generation of today? We are willing to look towards the teaching of every Buddha, and every other guru that comes along, and yet we turn away from the truths as taught by the one true living God. I know that statement alone will turn off many, and I can just hear the gears of," how foolish, or brainwashed, she is to believe in only one way to God." Lord, grant me the courage to be forever willing to be a fool for Christ rather than join the ranks of those that presume to hold their own opinions as more precious and higher than the truths of God. The truths of God never change for He is the same yesterday, today and forever. Christians of America are standing at the crossroads that will forever determine if we are a people who truly stand for Christ and endeavor to be “salt of the earth.” Or are we willing to slowly, but surely, let His teachings be chipped away, diluted and pushed aside and designated as out of date and irrelevant in today's world?

I single out only a few of the "issues" that are slowly but surely being eroded away, knowing that these are not the only issues to be considered. As a Christian, I know that in putting myself out in the realm of diversity, I am also putting myself out there for ridicule and maybe even persecution. But I do not want to stand before my Lord one day and have to say I am sorry to Him for not having stood up for Him and His word at a time when I could have. I do not want to have to report to Him that I stood by and neither said nor did anything while His teachings were continually, one by one, being eroded, distorted, perverted, and even thrown out. Neither do I want to loose an opportunity to share the love of God with someone in hopes that even one more might come to the saving knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ.

As Christians, we must NOT succumb to the politically correct way of thinking and begin to accept man’s opinions rather than God’s unchanging word. The present day teaching that we must accept homosexuality as just another life style, and not sin, is just one example of how man is promotes his “opinion” as superior to what God says. Don’t take that statement and go off into a tangent saying that I, or God, hate homosexuals. The person who claims to be a Christian and protests against homosexuality while holding up a sign that says “God hates Homosexuals”, is committing as great a sin as the sin he/she is protesting against. We are all sinners and come short of the mark. Yes, God does hate all sin, but He loves us all and calls each of us to Him to be saved. He says to come as you are, but thank God, He loves us so much. He promises to continue to do a good work within us, to change us more and more into His image, that we may truly know Him and receive His blessings. Understand that Lot did not leave Sodom and Gomorrah because of a “difference in attitude about the acceptance of a ‘lifestyle’ ”. Christians, the teachings of the Lord, are not up for debate or compromise. Either we stand with Him, or we stand against Him. “A house divided cannot stand.” We cannot sit on the fence or be double minded, or we allow ourselves to be blown in whatever direction that the present politically correct “wind” chooses to blow. At the same time, we are reminded that we are to love our neighbor as our selves. We are not called to be self righteous and spurn others because they are lost in sin. At one time, we were being told that we should not accept someone into our home because that person was a practicing homosexual. We searched our hearts and the Word, and reminded ourselves that while we were yet sinners, God did not tell us to “straighten up and fly right, and then I might consider to draw you unto me.” No, He demonstrates His love for us just as we are. We believe that choosing a lifestyle that is not according to what God’s plan for our best, does not mean that he casts us aside. If He loves us and asks us to come to Him just as we are, then who are we to choose to act just the opposite? Perhaps the love we show to others will be the only chance for us to show how unconditional God’s love for us really is. I don’t mean that we are to accept the sin; rather we are to love and accept the sinner just as God does for each of us. Then we wait upon the Lord to bring forth the conviction of sin and cause the heart to repent and turn to Him.

Yes, there are many paths to take in this life. But there is only one straight and narrow path-Jesus said, “I am The Way, The Truth, and The Life. No one comes to the Father but by me.” As Christians, are we going to stand for, support, and be obedient to the truth as God reveals it to us in His Word? Are we truly going to be doers and not just hearers of His word? Or are we going to give into the modern and “politically correct” way of thinking that is deemed so highly by the world at large today? Either His Word is our standard, or it is not. We cannot say to ourselves, “Well, Jesus did not really say that (when it is something that is hard for us to hear, especially when it is a matter that hits a target close to our hearts).” Jesus did not come to do away with the word, but that the word would be fulfilled through Him. Every time we change or dilute His word it is kind of like a kid saying to his parent, “You did not say for me not to take the candy. You only said for me not to let you see me take the candy.” If it is in the word of God, then that word is from God the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit for they are three in one and the Holy Spirit inspired all of the word. We cannot pick and choose which parts we are going to believe or obey. That is why, as Christians, we are encouraged to (II Timothy 2: 15) “Study (the word) to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of God.” If we Christians dilute, take away from, change or add to the word of God, how then are we to be the salt of the Earth? By what standard do we choose to live, by God’s Word or by our own fallible opinions?

You know, I am one of many seniors in this world today. From that point of view, I guess I should be glad for any and everything that the government of America might want to give to seniors as entitlements. Yet I do not believe that it is right for the government to take away from some, who may have more than I, to bare the responsibility of providing for my needs. When the government takes it upon itself to provide entitlements to be freely handed out, regardless of a person's willingness to work and strive for his/her own "American Dream", it promotes at least a portion of that generation that does not strive to become the best he/she can be, but rather one that chooses more to be mediocre and reach out for what is perceived as owed them by the government and others. When the colonies were being founded, some thought that work was beneath them and so finally, on at least one occasion, the rule had to be laid down, "If you don't work, you don't eat." II Thess. 3: 10 “For when we were with you, this we commanded you, that if any would not work, neither should he eat.” I do not say that we are not to help our brothers and sisters. Charity, giving and helping others, has always been one of the cornerstones of Christian faith. As an individual, I praise the Lord, for the many times in my life when others have reached out in love and helped my family and me. I know what it is like to be the giver and the receiver of such blessings. I do believe when we, as a country, seek to have our government pay for everything for everyone, without regard to the individual's own responsibility to contribute, it is only serving to promote a self-centered,
self-serving generation within our culture. In doing so, the government is crippling and disabling a portion of our society. They are being robbed of the opportunity to receive the blessings of the fruits of their own labor, and the true use of the blessings of their God given talents and abilities. Also, when the "giving" is held in the hands of our government, we then find that each of us is then linked, willingly or not, in helping to financially promote actions that we would normally choose not to be a part of. True charity begins in the heart. Giving with cheerfulness is done out of choice, not out of demand from an outside source.

Judeo-Christian beliefs are becoming more and more watered down in America and throughout the world.
Everywhere you look it is increasingly popular to remove any and all signs of God our creator, who bestowed
upon us certain unalienable rights. God is being replaced with the religion of Humanism- the idea of the brotherhood of man whereby man himself is being lifted up as little gods who no longer need God because of their own inherent “goodness, superior intellect, and ability to reason.” Nothing could be farther from the truth.

At one time, God told King Saul to go in and kill the entire enemy in an area, including even the animals, and not to return with any of the spoils of war. Well, he did kill the enemy, but as he was returning, one could hear the bleating of the sheep taken from the enemy camp. What had Saul done wrong? Nothing. However, he had not done what he was told to do, and it caused great consequences to him and to his country. In not being obedient, he had committed a sin of omission instead of commission. We are often like that today. We want to say to God that we choose to obey these certain commandments and yet with others we seem to set them aside and behave as if they do not exist. Again, we are being Christians that want to pick and choose to obey the commandments of God only as they happen to fit into our own life style of what is acceptable to us at the time. God does not ask us to sacrifice for Him. Instead, God has made all of the sacrifices for us, specifically when He sent His Son to pay the price for our sins that we might be saved through grace and not through any works of our own. We are saved that we might then do good works through Him within us by the power of His Holy Spirit. I repeat, He does not ask us to sacrifice. He only asks us to be His obedient children. Obedience to Him then enables us to share in the riches of His Kingdom beginning with receiving His Son Jesus as our Savior and Lord, and ultimately reigning with Him in eternity.

When we stand before our Lord, we will each stand responsible for our own individual choices. We cannot say,
"Well Lord, I had to listen to the voices of the many others around me. After all, the people now say that this is acceptable, and surely your word didn’t really mean what it said literally." In my own experience, I remember there was a time that I was so afraid to truly ask the Lord to be my Savior and Lord of my life. I knew that He would change my life. At the time, my husband was not saved. I was fearful that God might somehow change my life so drastically that He would take Rick away from me. Yet, praise the Lord, the Holy Spirit convicted me that I could not wait on Rick, and I had to trust in the Lord first. Being persuaded or deceived by others is of no excuse. Each of us will be responsible for our own choices and decisions throughout our life. Each of us will have to take responsibility for our own choices and sin, either sins of commission or sins of omission. Because the Holy Spirit convinced me that I must put my trust in the Lord, my husband did receive Jesus later on that very same year.
He proved that I could truly trust in Him and in His word. (Matthew 6: 33) “Seek ye first the kingdom of God, and His righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you. Because He has made us one, both in the flesh and the spirit, our lives have truly been changed. Our love for our Lord and for one another has grown stronger and deeper throughout the years.

The fight against sin in my life is a daily battle that I would continually lose if it were not for the power of the Holy Spirit. Sin is sin, none is lesser or greater than another. (Galatians 5: 16) “This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh.” (Ephesians 6: 11, 12, 13) “Put on the whole armor of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. Wherefore take unto you the whole armor of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all to stand.” I know that I personally have to fight against the wicked sin of worry. Why is worry so bad? For me, it represents disobedience, for the Lord tells us not to worry, but to cast all of our cares upon Him. I continually have to ask His forgiveness. Worry brings doubt and unbelief along with it. I thank the Lord for His mercy and grace.

God has given us His commandments to follow, not to reign over us as a tyrant, but rather to enable us to walk in freedom from the chains of sin. When horrible sicknesses come upon mankind, people, even believers, want to place the blame on God. At such times we are more likely to hear remarks like, “How can a loving God let such horrible things happen?” I would like to use a human analogy to illustrate the fallacy of such thinking. Parents give “commandments” to their children, not to exercise tyrannical control, but to protect them from danger. For example, a parent will give the commandment, “Thou shalt cross a street only at the cross walk after you have looked both ways and verified that no traffic cometh.” The parent will give this commandment repeatedly, and even act it out with the child. Then after a reasonable period of time, when the parent is sure that he/she has done everything possible to teach and demonstrate why this commandment must be adhered to, the child is then given the freedom, or free will, to actually go out on his own. Sometime later, the child chooses to “sin,” or disobey the parental commandment. If an on-coming car then kills the child, it does not matter if the sin was one of commission or one of omission. The final outcome is the same. Do we then point the finger of blame at the parent saying, “How can a loving parent let that happen to his child?” Of course not, we understand that the parent did all he could do to equip the child with all the necessary information and practice to walk in safety and freedom from danger. God has done the same for His children. So when man has to suffer the consequences of his own behavior that was based upon choosing to live according to his own “opinions” and refusing to live by God’s commandments, why do we then try to blame it all on God? Also, we live in a fallen world where good and bad things are going to happen to both good and bad people. The true issue is whether we are going to handle the adversities of life trusting in the Lord to help us through those trying times, or are we going to trust in ourselves and live as though God did not exist.

Are we going to be true followers of Christ and take a stand to support the doctrine of Judeo-Christian beliefs, or are we going to stand by silently and go down that slippery slope of compromise while God’s word is slowly diminished to the point of non- existence? Are we going to hold fast to the instruction and correction of the word of God that the Bible may continue to be the standard by which we endeavor to live, or are we going to give into the intellectualism of mankind and promote a world where right is wrong, wrong is right, and God and His Word is outmoded and perceived to be foolishness? Are we going to be satisfied to be found within the Laodicean Church that has the outward appearance of religion, but denies the power of the one true Living God? Christians we have been asleep too long. We must hearken to the voice of the Lord, and take up the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of the Lord. We must be a beacon and let His light shine in us. Let us unite as one in the Spirit of the Lord and proclaim His Word to the world with boldness as the disciples did when they were empowered by the Holy Spirit. (II Timothy 2: 14, 15) “Keep reminding them of these things. Warn them before God against quarreling about words; It is of no value, and only ruins those who listen. Avoid godless chatter, because those who indulge in it will become more and more ungodly.” (II Timothy 3: 1-7) “But mark this; There will be terrible times in the last days. People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God- having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with them. They are the kind who worm their way into homes and gain control over weak-willed women, who are loaded down with sins and are swayed by all kinds of evil desires, always learning but never able to acknowledge the truth.” Acknowledging a belief in the reality of Jesus is not what makes one a Christian, for even the devil and all of his demons know who Jesus is. Trying to be a “good person” is not sufficient, for we are all going to fail and “fall short of the mark.” Only by yielding to the power of God the Father, Son, and Holy Sprit and letting Him reign as Lord in my life can I endure to the end. Lord, help me to choose daily to die to myself and let you create in me a new heart that I may become more Christ-like and glorify you in all my ways. You are the potter, and I am the clay. Melt me and mold me more and more each day into your image.

Once again I repeat, “Evil triumphs, when good men are silent.” We are called to intercede for our country and for one another. (II Chronicles 7: 14) “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.” Let it begin in me.

Ginger Rahn


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