SPARE THE ROD AND SPOIL THE NATION.
Once again we are seeing marches and riots in the steets due to another shooting of a black man. The death of anyone before their time is a tragedy. Also the senseless destruction of property is totally uncalled for and only helps to fuel the division between races. As I’ve watched and sought to understand what led to these untimely deaths I’ve come to this conclusion, spare the rod and spoil the nation!
There seems to be one common denominator in most of these tragedies and that is a total disregard for authority. Invariably when confronted by the police these victims refuse to obey the orders of those in law enforcement and consequently end up loosing their lives because of it. Where does this rebellion come from?
I have a good friend who back in the late seventies wrote a book on spanking. For several years the book sold well but then over time the tide turned against both the author and the book. Spanknig was soon considered a form of abuse and anyone holding that viewpoint, let alone practicing it, was labeld unbalanced. My friend received all types of correspondence denouncing his fanatical views. While I can undestand the world not agreeing with his thoroughly scriptural teaching, I find it hard to believe that so called Christians would also side against it.
Rebellion if it is not confronted early through loving discipline will eventually spill over into society. God’s word makes it clear that rebellion or foolishness is bound up in the heart of a child but the rod of reproof will drive it far from him. (Proverbs 22:15.) The percentage of black children with no father present in the home is at an all time high. With no loving leadership these children grow up with little or no consequences for their actions. This is not only true of black children but all children. It’s not uncommon to hear of pre-teen children roaming the streets at night when they should be home studying or in bed. When the rod is removed from the home, society ultimately suffers.
There is no doubt in my mind that there has been some serious miscarriages of justice on the part of some toward our black brothers and sisters. The same is also true of those who have misused the rod; turning it from an instrument of loving discipline to a tool of hated and abuse. That said, we shouldn’t throw the baby out with the bathwater. God’s word declares uniquivically that when we spare the rod we spoil the child and ultimately the nation.
THE GREAT SIN OF THE EVANGELICAL MOVEMENT
Could it be that the majority of the Body of Christ made an all too common mistake in choosing Trump as their presidential candidate? Was Trump really God’s first choice? Did the Evangelicals do what the Prophet Samuel almost did when he first saw Eliab? You recall how God had revealed to Samuel that one of Jesse’s sons was to replace Saul as king. The moment Samuel laid his eyes upon David’s oldest brother Eliab, he thought “Surely the Lord’s anointed is before him”. Samuel looked at Eliab’s height and appearance and became convinced this man was Saul’s replacement. Fortunately, unlike our nation’s current batch of spiritual leaders, Samuel was sensitive enough to the Spirit to hear God’s small voice; “Do not look at his appearance or the height of his stature, because I have rejected him; for God sees not as man sees, for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” Surprisingly it was David, the under-dog of the family that God anointed to replace Saul.
Speaking of the heart, the scriptures teach us “out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks”. Trump has repeatedly revealed what’s in his heart. Every time he opens his mouth we hear nothing but derogatory statements about others while he continuously boasts about his own achievements and greatness. I believe this constant boasting is the most offensive sin in the eyes of God and could well cost both he and us the presidency.
Do you recall what happened to David after he became king, he called in Joab the commander of his army and asked him to carry out a particular task. Joab’s response was quick and clear. He tried to convince the king not to proceed with his plan. David insisted, however, and Joab was forced to comply. David’s actions resulted in the death of seventy thousand men.
We all recall David’s sin of passion when he lay with Bathsheba, Uriah’s wife. God’s judgment was to take the life of the child they had conceived together. Hollywood has forever immortalized David’s passion in film after film. David’s sin of pride, on the other hand, is rarely ever mentioned. What David asked Joab to do was to determine how strong he was militarily. What seemed like an innocent enough order was highly offensive to God. David had taken his eyes off God as Israel’s deliverer and was relying on the size of his army instead. When David’s heart troubled him for what he had done he said to the Lord, ”I have sinned exceedingly.” God’s response was to take the lives of 70,000 men. David’s sin of passion cost him one life; his sin of PRIDE cost himseventy thousand lives.
I firmly believe as evangelicals we have looked at Donald Trump in the same way that David looked at his army. We have taken our eyes off the Lord and placed our confidence in a man, believing that he will save us. In doing so we like David have sinned exceedingly and will, I believe, suffer the consequences for our actions.
Few of our national leaders called the Church to pray but chose rather to believe Trump alone was all we needed in order to win. I cannot overemphasize the vileness of that sin in the eyes of the Almighty.
Finally, this thought crossed my mind the other day that Trump may well save America and do irreparable harm to the Church. Hillary on the other hand may well destroy America but in turn bolster the Church’s faith. Let me explain. Trump may save America’s economy, military, and Supreme Court but the Church will no doubt wipe her brow and say, “Thank God we dodged that bullet,” and then settle back to her old passive routine of business as usual. Hillary, on the other hand, may well destroy America as we have known her to be in the past and promote a progressive and godless agenda with little or no regard for Christian principles and values. This could result in the Church finally coming to terms with the truth “that unless the Lord builds the house we labor in vain that build it.” Invariably when Israel was in dire straights it caused her to cry out afresh to God. Likewise stripping the Church of everything but God could be the best thing that has happened to her. A.W.Tozer said “God is more concerned about our holiness than our happiness.” Hillary may well be God’s agent to bring that to pass.
Jim Cymbala’s Easter Story
F. Jim Cymbala preaches at a church in the slums of New York. He tells the following story: It was Easter Sunday and I was so tired at the end of the day that I just went to the edge of the platform, pulled down my tie and sat down and draped my feet over the edge. It was a wonderful service with many people coming forward. The counselors were talking with these people.
As I was sitting there, I looked up the middle aisle, and there in about the third row was a man who looked about fifty, disheveled, filthy. He looked up at me rather sheepishly, as if saying, “Could I talk to you?” We have homeless people coming in all the time, asking for money or whatever. So as I sat there, I said to myself, though I am ashamed of it, “What a way to end a Sunday. I’ve had such a good time, preaching and ministering, and here’s a fellow probably wanting some money for more wine.”
He walked up. When he got within about five feet of me, I smelled a horrible smell like I’d never smelled in my life. It was so awful that when he got close, I would inhale by looking away, and then I’d talk to him, and then look away to inhale, because I couldn’t inhale facing him.
I asked him, “What’s your name?” “David.” “How long have you been on the street?” “Six years.” “How old are you?” “Thirty-two.” He looked fifty—hair matted, front teeth missing, wino, eyes slightly glazed. “Where did you sleep last night, David?” “Abandoned truck.”
I keep in my back pocket a money clip that also holds some credit cards. I fumbled to pick one out thinking, I’ll give him some money. I won’t even get a volunteer. They are all busy talking with others. Usually we don’t give money to people; we take them to get something to eat. I took the money out. David pushed his finger in front of me. He said, “I don’t want your money. I want this Jesus, the One you were talking about, because I’m not going to make it. I’m going to die on the street.”
I completely forgot about David, and I started to weep for myself. I was going to give a couple of dollars to someone God had sent to me. See how easy it is? I could make the excuse I was tired. There is no excuse. I was not seeing him the way God sees him. I was not feeling what God feels.
But oh, did that change! David just stood there. He didn’t know what was happening. I pleaded with God, “God, forgive me! Forgive me! Please forgive me. I am so sorry to represent You this way. I’m so sorry. Here I am with my message and my points, and You send somebody and I am not ready for it. Oh, God!”
Something came over me. Suddenly I started to weep deeper, and David began to weep. He fell against my chest as I was sitting there. He fell against my white shirt and tie, and I put my arms around him, and there we wept on each other. The smell of His person became a beautiful aroma. Here is what I thought the Lord made real to me: If you don’t love this smell, I can’t use you, because this is why I called you where you are. This is what you are about. You are about this smell.
Christ changed David’s life. He started memorizing portions of Scripture that were incredible. We got him a place to live. We hired him in the church to do maintenance, and we got his teeth fixed. He was a handsome man when he came out of the hospital. They detoxed him in 6 days.
He spent that Thanksgiving at my house. He also spent Christmas at my house. When we were exchanging presents, he pulled out a little thing, and he said, “This is for you.” It was a little white hanky. It was the only thing he could afford.
A year later, David got up and talked about his conversion to Christ. The minute he took the mic and began to speak, I said, “The man is a preacher.” This past Easter, we ordained David. He is an associate minister of a church over in New Jersey.
And I was so close to saying, “Here, take this; I’m a busy preacher.” We can get so full of ourselves.
TRUMP, Triumph or Tragedy?
America is declining faster than anybody could ever imagine possible. Everywhere we turn we see this once great nation slowly but surely sinking in a sea of debt, moral depravity, racial division, and progressive left wing ideology.
I’m reminded of the prophet Habakkuk who cried out to God reminding Him that everywhere he turned he saw violence, iniquity, wickedness, destruction, strife and contention. He went on to say the wicked surround the righteous and therefore justice is perverted. Habakkuk’s day was virtually identical to our own.
Habakkuk was convinced that God was not listening to his cry for help. “How long will I call and Thou wilt not hear?” God breaks in and tells Habakkuk He is aware of what’s going on and is also doing something about it.
I’m sure God’s initial response was met with great relief by the prophet. That was until God told him exactly what He was doing. “I’m raising up the Chaldeans.” Habakkuk must have been stunned, bewildered, confused, angered, and a thousand other emotions must have gripped him in that moment. Why, he wondered, was God allowing a nation known for their terror, treachery and wickedness to judge God’s people and land?
You and I would feel exactly the same. Especially since Habakkuk had been earnestly and consistently interceding for his people and land. His was no casual prayer, but rather a prolonged intensive season of prayer, perhaps for months or years. “How long, O Lord will I call for help?”
What if God’s answer to our prayers is to allow ISIS to take over? The fact is that the Chaldeans were the ancient ISIS of their day. Or what if instead of ISIS, God is sending us Donald Trump, not as many suppose as a blessing, but as a agent of judgment?
Why would I say such a thing you might ask? Well for starters I see the vast number of evangelicals flocking to Trump like flies to honey. Trump for many is the new savior; the man who is going to right all the wrongs and restore America to her greatness once again.
What we are failing to see is that America’s cup of iniquity is full or very close to it. God is not going to stand by and ignore the blood of 53 million babies that cry out for justice. “God is not mocked. Whatsoever a man (Nation) sows that will it also reap”.
Added to this is the greater sin of placing our hope and trust in a man. David’s greatest sin, was not his sin of passion; that of taking Uriah’s wife Bathsheba, but rather his sin of pride. When David took his eyes off God as his deliverer and instead placed his trust in his own mighty army God took the lives of seventy thousand of David’s men.
I believe the church has taken her eyes off God and instead placed her confidence in man (Trump). Following God’s judgment, David wrote, “Some trust in chariots and some in horses but we will remember the name of the Lord our God” and “A horse is a false hope in time of war.”
I dare say if Trump becomes our next president it won’t be long before we are once again acknowledging that, “Unless the Lord builds the house they labor in vain that build it”
What I’m not hearing from our evangelical leaders is any urgency regarding prayer for our nation. As my father use to say, it is not , Our father which art in the White House but rather, “Our Father which art in heaven”
Our false assumption is, if we can only get Trump into office our problems will be solved. The fact is that our problems may increase. Making America Great Again is a good and catchy slogan, but the good is always the enemy of the best, I’d rather have IN GOD WE TRUST!
“The Islamic State executed 25 prisoners by lowering them into a massive vat of highly corrosive nitric acid, according to Iraqi news reports.
All 25 victims were executed on charges of spying in the northern Iraqi city of Mosul, the de facto ISIS capital in Iraq. The mass execution is the latest abhorrent method used by the terrorist group. Other executions include public beheadings, crucifixion, lighting caged prisoners on fire and running them over with tanks.”
“The most horrific persecution of Christians is happening right now. Christians are being killed and tortured in the most demonic and cruel ways you can imagine, and it’s happening in Mexico. Hundreds of thousands of people slaughtered, countless innocents forced under the yoke of the most horrific and sinister tyranny.” (Above excerpts taken from Shoebat.com)
Reports like these are all too common these days. We are told in the Book of Revelation; “the devil has come down knowing his time is short.” Jesus warned us that one of the signs of His coming would be; “you will be hated by all nations on account of my Name” This diabolical hatred of Christians is not going to diminish but only increase during these last days. What then should our response be?
First of all we need to be praying more. For years in my own personal prayer time I prayed for my family, friends, nation etc. One day as I was reading through the Book of Hebrews, I came across a verse I had no doubt read numerous times before, but had failed to obey. The verse is found in Hebrews 13:3 and states, “Remember the prisoners, as though in prison with them and those who are ill-treated…” Ever since that day, I have endeavored to remember my brothers and sisters who are imprisoned for the gospel’s sake as well as those who this very day will lose their lives by torture or execution. Please join me in praying for them.
Secondly, we need to be prepared to suffer and even die for the cause of Christ. America is not exempt from these atrocities. When Jesus said we would be “hated by all nations” He meant, “ALL NATIONS.” Do you love Him enough to die for Him?
Thirdly, a true Holy Spirit heaven sent revival could certainly dilute the enemy’s plans and change the moral fiber of our nation. You can only revive a body that has had life; therefore, the Church needs to be revived first. Once the Church is truly revived, evangelism should then become the norm once again.
Pray that God would indeed show us mercy despite the fact that we deserve judgment as a nation.
Finally, pray that God would raise up godly men throughout this nation who will hold fast to His Word, whether they function in politics or the pulpit.
TRUE or FALSE?
Just the other day I picked up a book that I have had for quite some time. The book was about grace. Grace, as most of you are aware, has become the most written and talked about doctrine of the past decade. Yes, grace for most people certainly trumps head coverings, tithing, tongues, submission, judgment, and a whole host of other doctrines and teachings. What especially caught my attention about this book was the statement on the cover that read: “Grace is when you can’t do anything to make God love you more and you can’t do anything to make Him love you less.” The more I pondered that statement the more uncomfortable I became. It’s not that I don’t believe in grace, I do! Like Paul the Apostle I too am a debtor to grace. Like you, I wouldn’t be here today apart from the grace of God. I’m saved by grace, kept by grace, and seeking to grow in grace daily.
But now back to the later part of this statement: “…you can’t do anything to make Him love you less.” Love for most of us is a feeling, an emotion, rather than a choice. In other words we tend to think of God having all sorts of warm fuzzy feelings toward us regardless of how we live or what we do. Nothing could be further from the truth. While God chooses to love us that doesn’t mean He is always happy with us, or finds pleasure in us. The scripture makes it abundantly clear that we can insult the Spirit of grace as well as grieve Him. In other words it is possible to change God’s feeling toward you.
Not convinced? Consider these verses; “In all their affliction He was afflicted, and the angel of His presence saved them; in His love and in His pity He redeemed them; and He bare them, and carried them all the days of old. But they rebelled, and vexed His Holy Spirit: therefore He was turned to be their enemy, and He fought against them.” (Isaiah 63:9,10) Now tell me does that sound as though God was pleased with them regardless of their actions? What we need to understand about grace is that it doesn’t stand in isolation. Grace can’t be separated from God’s justice, righteousness, and holiness. God would be unjust if He were to treat me a certain way because I’m His child and yet punish a potential child of His for doing the same thing.
What troubles me the most with this line of reasoning is that it has a tendency to lower God’s standards while allowing His children to live any way they please. After all if we can’t do anything to make God love us less, then we are using the grace of God in vain. I’m getting tired of the Church using grace as an excuse for sin rather than the means of equipping us to triumph over it.
Perhaps instead of us taking shelter in a false concept of grace we should endeavor by the grace of God to live lives that are pleasing to Him. Why not take seriously Paul’s admonition to the Ephesians: “walk as children of light…trying to learn what is pleasing to the Lord.” Listen also to Paul’s letter to the Corinthians: “Therefore also we have as our ambition whether at home or absent to be pleasing to Him.” Now if we can be pleasing to the Lord doesn’t that imply that we can also be displeasing to Him?