PRIDE


luciferPride is an odd fellow to have living with you.

He always makes you feel good about yourself, but can cause you to make others feel bad about themselves. He can cause you to strive to be your very best, but rarely lets you see the best in others.

He can cloud your judgment and make you feel superior to others. He can make you think that you are the only one who has it right.

Remember: Lucifer was an archangel, the worship leader of heaven’s choirs, the most beautiful of all the angels, and Pride caused him to be cast down from God’s presence.

©  Simply Consider This, 2013.

SHIPWRECKED


shipDoes anyone know where the love of God goes when the waves turn the minutes to hours? — from “The Wreck of the Edmond Fitzgerald” by Gordon Lightfoot 1976.

Day 35
My passengers are surprisingly calm.  We haven’t seen the sunshine for days. It  has been raining for over a month.  I’ve never seen anything like it. Just one more week and we can all get off this ride.  I know its going to be tough when we land.  We wont know anyone–there probably wont be anyone to know.  We will just have our family to rely on, and to be quite honest, they are getting pretty edgy.  At least I know that God is with us or we wouldn’t be here now.
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I got on the boat heading the opposite direction from where I knew I was supposed to go.  Everything was going good until the storm came up and then the crew started getting all superstitious about why they were getting pummeled by the storm.  I knew it was my fault they were in this fix, so I told them to throw me overboard.  I don’t think I’ll ever eat fish again.

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I new I was supposed to get on that boat.  Everything in me said, “Get there at all costs.”  Now this big storm comes up and the crew is terrified.  I knew that even if the ship collapsed, everyone on the ship would be safe, or at least live through it.  I kept telling them that, and when the ship did capsize, every one ended up on the shore.  A little worse for the wear, but alive and well.

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We all knew he was tired.  I mean, c’mon. The guy had been teaching and healing for days on end.  It seemed like he could go forever, but we all knew that sooner or later he would need some rest.  We were just headed across the lake.  A quick trip for us seasoned fishermen.  Then came the biggest storm we had seen in a long time.  It just seemed to come out of nowhere.  We were all sure we were going to drown, and we didn’t want him to drown in his sleep, so we tried to wake him up.  My goodness, he was tired.  I thought at that point he could sleep through anything.  Finally, he woke up and told the wind and waves to be still.  I don’t know what we were worried about with him in the boat.

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No matter what storms come against the boat you are in, God is still there to protect you and set your feet on solid ground.

TOLERANCE


The Gutenberg Bible displayed by the United St...

This post may seem like it borders on the political.  It is not.  It is a call to prayer.  It is a  call to action.  It is a call to the Church to be prepared for the days to come.  It is a call to all people calling themselves Christians to stand up and DEMAND that they be heard.
The United States is heading for a fall similar to that of the Roman Empire. This is not a new statement, nor is it any prophetic revelation on my part. It is just a simple fact. As we watch our country’s leadership fight over the economy, LGBT (Lesbian Gay Bi-sexual Transvestite)  rights, abortion, gun control, military and financial support of other countries, and dozens of other issues that “plague” our nation today, one thing is never discussed in the media.  That is the subject of religious freedom.
Religious freedom is the main reason that the Puritans left England, went to the Netherlands, and finally came to this country.  They were looking for more radical changes in the Church of England than was accomplished through the English Reformation.  Like the Pilgrims, as Protestants, they wanted to be free to worship in the manner of their choosing and not be forced to owe their allegiance to, and follow the practices of the Church of England.  Is it not strange that, nearly five hundred years later, their freedom of religion has been replaced by the freedom from religion?
You might say, “There isn’t any persecution of the church in THIS country.  We are free to worship however we choose and. oddly enough, anything we choose.  It is our choice how, and whom, we worship and the government can’t take that away.”  WAKE UP!!!
As the baby boomers get older and die off, so do the moral values of  that generation and the generations before.  There is still a remnant of believers from teen to middle age, brought up by those dear Saints of God. but they are vastly outnumbered by the up and coming agnostics and those who profess to be atheists.  Why do you suppose that is the case?  Tolerance.
Those who lay waste the ideals and values of Christianity are the very same who claim that Christians are intolerant, bigoted, selfish people who think that their way is the only way to live.  They feel that Christians want to push their beliefs on others just to add to their numbers.  If they are unsure of what they believe, as with agnostics, those Christians will stop at nothing to convince them that their own beliefs are flawed.  Most serious Christians will stand up for their beliefs and defend them to the death, or will they in the U.S.
We have stood idly by and watched as prayer was removed from schools.  In fact, in most cities and small towns today, the Baccalaureate Ceremony held in years past, prior to graduation from high school, has been abolished or must be subsidized by a local church, but can not be sanctioned or required by the school.  This is in direct response to the misguided impression that our Constitution says that there must be separation of Church and State.  There is no such law on the books.  The Constitution says that Congress shall make no law concerning religion (paraphrased).
If that is the case, why would there be any stipulations on a 501(c) 3 organization  if a leader speaks out against the LGBT lifestyle?  If a Pastor stands before his congregation and states Biblical references about how God feels toward ALL immorality, then spells out exactly what that means, especially in regards to LGBT, that Pastor runs the risk of losing the tax exempt status of the church if someone is offended and takes it to court.  The reasoning: Sexual orientation is protected by the Federal Government and can not be disputed. (Please correct me if I am wrong.)
If this were not the case, why did the Pastor who was asked to give the invocation at the recent inaugural decline, when it was learned that he had once, twenty years prior, spoken the Biblical truth about homosexuality.  Now, it seems, that nearly every television program you watch on the four major networks, either has LGBT characters, or some sexual reference, either outwardly presented or embedded within.  Homosexuality has been with us since nearly the beginning, but now it is presented as The New Normal.  I DO NOT hate, or even dislike, those in the LGBT community.  I have my own sin to deal with.  God loves the sinner, but not the sin.  This is not about LGBT rights, it is about sexual immorality, which we are to TOLERATE because it is the way the world is leaning.
We, as Christians, stand by and watch our society deteriorate. We are to be a “peculiar people,” set apart from the world.  If we are continually bombarded with the world telling us that we are the intolerant ones, soon we start to believe it. We back down on our principles and beliefs. We start to tolerate more and more of the ideals of the world around us and try to incorporate them into our theology.  The more we twist the Word to suit the world’s needs, the more twisted it becomes, until we don’t even know what we believe any more.  Then the Truth we were once grounded in becomes shallow and meaningless. The world has won.  Another agnostic is formed.
So, what can we do to “change the world?”  Of course, pray.  Pray like there is no tomorrow, for there may not be one.  Stand up for what you believe.  People all over the world are being persecuted and killed DAILY for their Christian beliefs.  It is coming to this country, too.  Be prepared for the soon coming day when our government is no longer led by God.  God-less-ness is on the upswing in the United States.  Anarchy and chaos will follow. Who will be blamed for the problems of the day?  Christians.  Just as Nero had the city set on fire and blamed the Christians for the act.  It will happen here. The government is trying to blame guns for violence as we speak, instead of holding the gun pointer accountable for his actions.
And here is a novel idea: Contact those pollsters who are all saying that Christianity is on the decline and demand a recount.  Demand to be heard. Yes, let us be intolerant when it comes to OUR freedom, while we still have it.
If  anyone is offended by anything I have said, remember that this country was founded on Biblical principles:
The Bible is the most offensive book ever written.  It offends the intellect of the so-called wise. It offends the heart of the hardened criminal.  It offends the soul with a call to repentance.  It points out flaws and gives us hope with wisdom that is hard to accept at times.  All we have to do is to believe and it can lead us to a personal relationship with the Living God.  Accept and live with Him forever, Deny and Perish.  It’s in the Book.

©  Simply Consider This, 2013.

LIGHT


Light of the World

A man was searching frantically under a streetlamp when another man passed by and asked him what he was looking for.
“I dropped a quarter and I need to make a phone call.”
“Where did you drop it ?” the man asked.
“I dropped it down the street in the middle of the block.”
Puzzled, the other man asked him,  ”So why are you looking here if you dropped it way down there?”
“There is more light down here.”

From the very beginning, there has been a distinction between light and darkness, aside from the obvious difference of being able to see better. — You rarely ever hear of anyone groping about in the light trying to find his way.–
In Genesis, the Bible tells us that God saw that the light was “good,” and at the risk of drawing assumptions, there must have been something wrong with darkness for Him to feel that He need light in the first place.  It was more than a daily separator, it was a way for God to divide good from evil.
If we wanted to accept the theory of evolution and believe that men evolved from and lived like animals, the separator– the distinction of man– is when they supposedly “discovered” fire.  Fire gave them warmth and the ability to cook meat, but more importantly, it gave them light in the darkness to keep the beasts away.  Light meant security.
Light is an important feature of every day life.  We really don’t give light much thought, but if we have to do without it, depression sets in.  The statistics show that there is more depression during the winter months and doctors attribute this to not only being inside but to a lack of sunlight as the daylight grows shorter.
Why are prisoners of war often placed in solitary confinement?  It is always a small space with very little, if any, light.  Without light, the mind withdraws and before long the spirit is broken.
We need light.  God knew that.  He didn’t have to create light so He could see what He was doing.  I’m sure He could figure that out on His own.  He brought light into the world so His creation could see.  So they could see things around them and they could see the wondrous beauty He had created for them.  He brought light into the world to separate the darkness.
We need the light.  Not just the light from the star we call the sun, but we need light from the Son of God.

John1:1-5–   “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.  He     was with God in the beginning.
Through him all things were made that has been made.  In him was life, and that life was the light of  men.  The light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not understood it.”

The Apostle Paul, then Saul, on the road to Damascus, was struck down by a blinding light–a vision of Jesus–and then left in blindness (darkness) for three days.  It was not until Paul fully believed, and trusted, in Jesus that his physical blindness was lifted. He had been in the darkness of religion just like the rest of the Pharisees who Jesus called “blind guides.”  He was blinded by the darkness of the world he believed in, but when he finally came to believe in the Light of the world he was able to “see” and became one of the most exuberant witnesses for Christ this world has ever known.  The Light within him shone through and the darkness of his old world was gone.
People too often stop too soon when quoting John 3:16.  The most compelling statement actually begins at verse 19 through 21.

John 3:19-21:    “This is the verdict.  Light has come into the world, but men loved darkness instead of     light because their deeds were evil.  Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the     light for fear that his deeds will be exposed.  But whosoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so     that it may be seen plainly that what he has done has been done through God.”

So where does this leave us?  Groping in the darkness for the answers?  I think not.

Jesus explained further,  “I am the light of the world.  Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness,     but will have the light of life,” (Jn 8:12) and again “As long as it is day, we must do the work of him     who sent me.  Night is coming, when no one can work.  While I am in the world, I am the light of the     world.” (Jn 9:4-5)

Just like day and night for us now in the physical, there will be a darkness like that over the surface of the deep before God spoke light into existence.  Jesus is still in the world through the Holy Spirit and those who seek Him in spirit and in truth will find Him.
There will come a day when His Spirit is withdrawn from this earth and no amount of reasoning will convince those who do not have the light that there is, or ever was, anything but the physical light from the sun.

Will you be left groping in the darkness?  Longing for the light of the truth when all around you is darkness and chaos?

Seek the light while it can still be found.

©  Simply Consider This, 2013.

 

THE EASY PART


The Death of Jesus

The Death of Jesus (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

When I was born, it was a disgusting place for me to be.
In a stable with the smell of urine and feces all around.
Shepherds came down to visit and I didn’t get much sleep at first.
That was the easy part.

As I grew older, my parents couldn’t find me.
They had to go back to the temple where they left me.
I was explaining scriptures to the priests.
That was the easy part.

Later, after John baptized me, I went out into the desert.
Without food for forty days.
I was weak but still had the strength to stand against Lucifer.
I sent him away without giving in.
That was the easy part.

After that, I spoke with authority.
I healed the sick, and commanded demons to leave.
People marveled when I raised someone from the dead.
When I fed the masses with virtually nothing,
or calmed a storm, my disciples were amazed.
That was the easy part.

When the Pharisees had me arrested.
I was beaten, spit on, called a blasphemer and sent to Pilate.
He, in turn, had me beaten with rods,
and then whipped with a cat of nine tails.
There wasn’t a square inch of my body that was not in pain.
With blood pouring from my body,
They jammed a crown of thorns on my head.
I was made to carry my own cross
as far as my human body could handle.
I was led to Golgotha,
where they drove spikes into the joints between my hands and wrists
and through the tops of both my feet to hold me up
and then lowered the cross into its place.
There. I was mocked even more.
They cast lots for my clothes.
And, as I hung naked, they continued to mock me
As my mother and John looked helplessly on.
Beaten,  bleeding, in excruciating pain, barely able to breathe.
That was the easy part.

When the sins of the world were placed on me
So that  you could be forgiven. I accepted it willingly.
When I cried out to my Father and He did not answer.
When I knew I was alone.
When I no longer felt my Father’s presence because
He could not look on sin.
When I cried out. “ABBA.  ABBA. Why have you forsaken me?”
And I knew He did not hear.
Being separated from my Father’s love.
That was the hard part.

©  Simply Consider This, 2013.