Monday, June 3, 2019

We Are Family!

     I heard a sermon today on (Mt 12:46-50). These verses say, "While He was still speaking to the crowds, behold, His mother and brothers were standing outside, seeking to speak to Him. (47) Someone said to Him, "Behold, Your mother and Your brothers are standing outside seeking to speak to You." (48) But Jesus answered the one who was telling Him and said, "Who is My mother and who are my brothers?" (49) And stretching out His hand toward His disciples, He said, "Behold My mother and My brothers! (50) For whoever does the will of My Father who is in heaven, he is My brother and sister, and mother." (Also see: Mk 3:31-35, Lk 8:19-21) 

    The pastor then went on to explain these verses. There are several interpretations of these verses, and I am not going to get into that in depth here, but one thing that I personally see in these verses is Jesus saying that if God the Father is our Father, then we are the family of Jesus. He loves those who share the same Father as Him just as much He loved His own flesh and blood family.

     I also combine this with what I believe our relationships with other believers in Heaven will be like one day.  What do you think these relationships will be like? Do you believe that you will have more love for your father, mother, husband, wife, or children in Heaven than you will for everyone else? Do you believe that you will spend more time with them in Heaven? I don't. I believe that one of the greatest things about Heaven is that we will have equal love for all of those who are with us for eternity. Everyone will be our family! We will have no more love for one than another. I can't wait!

     Think about these two paragraphs above. If Jesus loved His "spiritual family" just as much as His own flesh and blood family, then shouldn't we do this also? And, if one day we will equally love all believers who are in Heaven with us, then shouldn't we consider doing this now? What if we did? What if we loved, and treated all fellow Christians just like our own families? What if we made them FAMILY? What would the body of Christ look like?

      This being said, I believe one more thing should be added. If we want a piece of Heaven on earth in our relationships, then we need to consider what we will be doing with our "family" in Heaven. I don't know everything we will be doing, but I do know this: everything will be God-focused. We will worship Him. We will long to spend time with Him. We will desire to know Him better and more deeply. Therefore, it seems clear to me that the interactions with our "family" in Christ right now on earth should share the same desire, right? In other words, our chief desire when we interact with our "family" (fellow believers) should be to worship, glorify, and grow deeper in the Lord.

     Honestly, I believe almost every Christian is missing everything I have said to this point. However, I also believe most are longing for it. They know something is missing, but they don't know what it is. Many jump from church to church looking for it (I know many personally). They seek "friendships" or "community." Sometimes they find it in dinners, youth groups, singles groups, senior events, social get-together's, fun days, etc, at their church, but the emptiness still seems to remain. Why? Because what they really need is a taste of Heaven. A "family" in Christ that loves them just like their own flesh and blood family. A "family" that isn't centered on "fun," but on God. (Seriously, you can focus on God, and still have fun!)

     I know they are looking for this, and it breaks my heart. But, how do I convince so many that this is what they need, and are longing for? Have you ever had that moment when you just know what a person just needs, and if they will listen to you, their life would be so much better? Of course, many times we experience this when we are born again, and begin a new life with Christ. We want all of those who are unsaved to know what they are missing, but we usually can't get them to understand. The same is true for this. 

     Over the years, I have experienced the life changing power of having a "family" in Christ. We have shared our lives with each other, prayed for each other, and laughed and cried together. But, most importantly, we have spent time pushing one another to become more and more like Jesus (Eph 4:13,15)(Phil 3:12-14)(2 Cor 3:17-18)(Rom 8:29), and growing together in our relationship with God by studying His Word. God is at the center of what we do together. It has been life-changing, and I am so thankful for my "family" in Christ. I love them.

     At this time in my life, God has blessed me with two "families" (groups) that I lead where we do just what I describe in the previous paragraph. I long for people to join us. I want to grow the family. However, I have had little success. In my own church, I have reached out to what I estimate to be over 200 people. I introduce myself, and spend a little time getting to know them. Then, I share with them what our group does, and invite them them join us so we can get to know them better, pray for them, and study God's Word with them. Over the years, of all the people I have invited, less than 10% have accepted... (Thankfully, others have come on their own.)

     It is discouraging, and being real here, I tend to take it a bit personally... even though my "family" tells me not to. When a classic introvert steps totally out of his comfort zone to reach out to people, to invite them into the "family" and a deeper relationship with Christ, and is rejected over and over..... In fact, yesterday at church, I didn't invite anyone. It isn't the first time either. Sometimes, I just can't face it. But.., I am sure I will push on. Please, pray for me on this.

     Friends, I realize that things in Heaven will be a little different than they are on earth right now, and that while we live on this planet, we do have a responsibility to take care of our biological family, but there is a bigger "family" out there that needs you, and you need them. That is your "family in Christ." I pray that you will come to see this, that you will see them as "family" (just like Jesus does), that you will love them like "family," and that you will grow your "family" on earth as it is in Heaven.

Saturday, May 18, 2019

A Mind Controlled By Satan

     When does life begin? More specifically, when does a "human" life begin? The Bible clearly tells us that life begins at the moment of conception. It says that God knew us before we were even conceived, and He fashioned us in the womb (Ps 139:13-16)(Jer 1:5)(Isa 44:24)(Isa 49:1). In fact, the KJV Bible does not even use the term "pregnant," but rather, it uses the term "with child" (2 Sam 11:5)(1 Sam 4:19)(2 Kin 15:16)(Mt 1:23 / tie to Mt 1:20)(Mt 24:19)(Mk 13:17). At conception, a woman is with child.

     But, I ask the above question because there are many who deny this truth. They do not believe that life begins at conception. But again, if it isn't "at conception," when is it? I ask this because the state of Georgia just passed legislation which makes abortion illegal after 6 weeks, when a fetal heartbeat can generally be detected. (They are actually the 4th state to do this, with Ky, Ms, and Ohio having previously done so.) The "furor" that has followed this decision is astounding, and it is why I write this blog today. 

     This is a picture of a fetus at 6 weeks old. 

     This fetus (infant), with a beating heart, is what the "pro-choice" movement is fighting for the right to terminate, under the guise of "a woman's right to control her own body." A fetus like this, with a beating heart IS life! I don't think any rational person can deny this.

     This is where the title of the blog comes in. For a woman (or man) to say that a woman should have the right to silence this heartbeat if she so chooses is simply "demonic." It is "a mind controlled by Satan." No Christian, no one with the mind of Christ, could advocate for a woman's right to take this life. This is the realm of Satan. It is his specialty. The Bible calls him the "god of this world" (2 Cor 2:2), "prince of this world" (Jn 12:31)(Jn 14:30)(Jn 16:11), and "prince of the power of the air" (Eph 2:2). He "blinds the minds of people" (2 Cor 4:4). He is "a liar, and the father of lies" (Jn 8:44). He is a "deceiver" (Rev 12:9)(Rev 20:7-8,10).

     Look at some of the responses from those in Hollywood when this legislation was passed: 

A well-known Hollywood actress called for all pro-choice women to refrain from having sex (because "we just cannot risk pregnancy," and therefore may need an abortion) until this legislation is overturned. 
(Note: Christians actually support this stance, as we have been advocating for "abstinence" all along, thereby greatly reducing the number of unplanned pregnancies and abortions performed!)

A well-known model just posted a naked picture of herself on Instagram in protest. (How does she even think this will help??)

Several well-known Hollywood directors are offering the proceeds from movies they are making (in Georgia) to fight the new legislation.

     While not directly connected to this legislation, a few weeks ago, a pro-choice Pennsylvania state representative, in two separate incidents, shot video of himself bullying 3 teenage girls, as well as an elderly woman who were quietly praying in front of the clinic of an abortion provider. (He offered $100 to someone who would dox the 3 girls...)

     In response to this, a counter, pro-life rally was held at the same spot where this Pennsylvania representative harassed these people. A well known blogger named Matt Walsh was one of the speakers at this rally. Afterwards, he posted this on his Twitter page: "Over the last 24 hours pro-abortion people have threatened to kill me, kill my family, rape my wife, rape my daughter, and assault me. They've wished death on me, on my children, on all pro lifers. They've wished rape on my wife and my daughter." (He has posted a number of these threats as he has received them. It is chilling!)

     This is all simply "insanity." It is irrational hatred. It is from "a mind controlled by Satan." And, in some cases, it is even "demon possession." It is happening all over this country on a daily basis, and it isn't going to end. In fact, it is only going to get worse. The Bible tells us this will happen in the end times:

People will be: lovers of themselves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, lack self control, fierce, despisers of those that are good, traitors, reckless, lovers of pleasure more than lovers of God, have a form of godliness, but denying its power (2 Tim 3:2-5).

     However, this does not mean that we are to stop fighting for the unborn. God hates the shedding of innocent blood, and calls us to defend the weak and helpless: (Prov 6:16-17)(Prov 31:8-9)(Ps 82:2-4)(Ex 23:7). Nothing is more innocent and weak and helpless than an unborn infant. Through the power of God, abortion may one day be greatly curtailed, but one way or the other, it will continue. Just as Prohibition could not stop the flow of alcohol, making abortion illegal will not stop abortions. In addition, the persecution of those who stand up for the rights of the unborn, and for God's standards in the Bible will only increase. However, we must press forward.

     The Christian life is to be one of sacrifice. The Bible tells us to we are to die what our "flesh" wants (Gal 5:24)(Col 3:5)(Eph 4:22). In addition, the Bible says in (Jn 15:13) "Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends."Jesus did this very thing (Jn 10:11)(1 Jn 3:16), laying down His life so that those who place their trust in Him could have eternal life. However, this Bible verse doesn't simply mean to "die" for someone else, but also to put the interests of others ahead of our own. Ladies, if you are fighting for "your rights" over the rights of your unborn child, you are fighting the wrong fight. "Lay down your life" for the life of your unborn child. This is God's way.

P.S. Let us be in prayer for our President, Vice-President, and those in Congress who are standing on the side of the pro-life movement; for strength, guidance, and protection. Let us pray for those in the Supreme Court, who most likely will rule on this issue, that they will stand on the side of defending the unborn. Let us pray for those who were bold enough to pass this legislation, and for leaders in other states to stand up for the unborn. Since this legislation in Georgia passed, two more states have now joined the pro-life legislation movement, with Missouri banning abortions after 8 weeks, and Alabama enacting the strongest the strongest legislation ever, banning virtually ALL abortions, at any time, with criminal penalties for those who perform abortions. Praise God!

     Of course, let us also be in prayer for those whose minds are being controlled by Satan, that they may be set free through the power of Jesus Christ.

We Are Family!

      I heard a sermon today on (Mt 12:46-50). These verses say, "While He was still speaking to the crowds, behold, His mother and bro...