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12 February, 2018 10:17

February 12, 2018

“THE CROSS HAS THE FINAL WORD” or did it?

Yesterday was one of those cold icy February days. One look outside made you feel like spending the day in front of a roaring fire drinking hot chocolate. Yesterday also happened to be Sunday and so despite the objections of our flesh my wife and I set off for the early 9 am Church service. The roads were icy as stated by the weather service but I drove carefully only to arrive at an empty parking lot. Yes, the service had been cancelled due to the parking lot being too dangerous to walk on let alone drive on. We headed home determined to go to the second service beginning at 11am. Fortunately I looked at my iPad and found the second service was also cancelled. This was indeed going to be one of those hot chocolate days. ( Perhaps I should have listened to my flesh after all.) The email notifying us of the second meeting closing said that there would be a live broadcast available on the church website. Sure enough right on time the service began with only a handful of brave hearts that had weathered the weather along with one of the worship teams. I settled down to listen. There was one song in particular they sang that got me to thinking. The words were:

The cross has the final word
The cross has the final word
Sorrow may come in the darkest night
But the cross has the final word

Perhaps I’m just wired this way but I found myself saying that’s not true. Now God forbid that I should stand in opposition to the Cross. I too, can agree with the old hymn writer who penned those wonderful words.

In the cross of Christ I glory,
Tow’ring o’er the wrecks of time;
All the light of sacred story
Gathers round its head sublime.

My objection was not regarding the Cross, but the words ‘has the final word.’

We sometimes forget that the Cross as incredible as it was, was altogether pointless apart from the resurrection. There was no final word if Christ had not risen. Listen to Paul’s very poignant word in First Corinthians the fifteenth chapter. “But if there is no resurrection of the dead, not even Christ has been raised; and if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is vain, your faith also is vain.”

The Cross apart from the resurrection, would have left us still in in our sins.

The Cross apart from the resurrection, would have left us powerless over an undefeated enemy.

The Cross apart from the resurrection, would have left us without the hope of Christ’s return.

As much as we emphasize the cross, and rightly so, we need to also magnify the glorious resurrection of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ who conquered the grave, and ascended to the right hand of the Father; and will return one day in God’s perfect timing.

Thank God for the Cross, but the resurrection has the final word!

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9 January, 2018 14:59

January 9, 2018

SOUND DOCTRINE?

I consider myself Pentecostal, Charismatic, Evangelical and Fundamental. In other words I believe in the whole council of God. As the old song states ‘Every promise in the book is mine, every chapter every verse every line.’

Growing up I would often hear my Father emphasize Paul’s words to young Timothy “Preach the word”. By the grace of God I have sought to do that throughout the past fifty three years of ministry. Paul’s admonition to Timothy concerning the last days was that teachers would gather around them followers who would turn from the truth and turn aside to myths.

While what I’m about to say may not fully describe those I’m about to refer to nevertheless, they are edging that way. I’m referring to those who add the word ‘spirit’ to something or someone. For example the Jezebel spirit. Nowhere in the Bible do you find such a term and yet in recent years thousands of tapes and CD’s, numerous books and countless sermons, have been dedicated to this teaching. I vividly recall a well-known prophetic leader in the Body of Christ who has since passed on to glory; thirty years ago he wrote a book on the Jezebel spirit. John Wimber read the manuscript and rejected it for not having a sound Biblical base. Unfortunately that didn’t stop those with ‘itching ears’ from picking up the ball and running with it. First of all we have no right to combine the Jezebel of the Old Testament with the Jezebel of the New Testament. They are two totally different people and therefore we have no right to make a hybrid teaching by combining the two.

Jezebel was a self-appointed prophetess who seemingly taught and led in such a way that her teaching led to acts of immorality. Perhaps this was a perversion of the grace message, that all future sins have already been forgiven, therefore live as you please. What we do know is that the Spirit of God told the angel of the Church of Thyatira that Jezebel had been given time to repent; not that she had a spirit that needed to be bound or cast out.

Now I know that when you place the word spirit after some aberrant teaching that it helps to sell books and CD’s but it can also damage the lives of those who simply need to repent and yet are branded as some type of witch. As a former pastor I’ve had to deal with some of the fallout this type of labeling has caused.

Only the other day I was reading an article that was warning people about the Ichabod prophets. Once again this is a figment of somebody’s imagination and not a Biblical term. According to the writer, an Ichabod prophet is someone with a harsh or judgmental word. My recollection of why the prophets were stoned to death was not due to some sugary, syrupy word, but rather a word that went contrary to their beliefs and actions.

The point I’m trying to make is that when we begin to drift away from God’s Word and begin to fashion our own speculative theories and doctrines we are treading on thin ice. Remember Paul’s admonition ‘Preach the Word’!

1 December, 2017 11:35

December 1, 2017

IS OUR WORSHIP WORTHY OF OUR KING?

I may be left-handed and tone deaf but I love to sing. My problem is that if I raise my voice too loudly I’m prone to draw the attention and ire of those around me. The only way to overcome this troubling and embarrassment predicament is to have those around me sing louder than I do. While that sounds like a simple solution to my problem it doesn’t help. The fact is, I’m surrounded by fellow believers who barely sing.

I’m a committed member in one of the largest churches in town with an incredibly gifted group of singers and musicians and yet when the worship leader points his microphone out toward the congregation you can hear a pin drop.

Recently our daughter was home from the mission field and after we arrived home from a morning service, she said to me ‘Dad, why don’t they sing at your church?’ I told her that this had been troubling me for some time and thanked her for confirming my own observation. She went on to tell me that the church she attends in _____, the entire congregation sings at full volume drowning out the worship team.

The scriptures abound with exhortations about singing, clapping hands, raising hands, dancing and shouting to the Lord etc. The fact is that according to Peter, we gather as living stones to form a temple in which we are to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.

One of those sacrifices we are exhorted to offer is the sacrifice of praise. Notice though that the sacrifice has to be acceptable. In other words the Great High Priest the Lord Jesus Christ either accepts or rejects our sacrifice depending on whether the sacrifice meets His standard or not. We read all about this in the book of Malachi, where we find God rejecting the sacrifices of His people because they didn’t measure up to His requirement. God even goes as far as to tell the gatekeepers to shut the gates of the temple because their worship from His viewpoint is useless.

In the third chapter of Malachi we are confronted with robbing God due to not bringing Him our tithes and offerings. Everyone knows that this passage is used (and perhaps abused) effectively when it comes to reminding the congregation to give. The fact is this also applies to ‘the sacrifice of praise’ When the congregation assumes the role of being more of a spectator than a participator then we too are guilty of robbing God of the worship due His Holy Name.

The role of a worship leader is to lead. Many times the worship team are caught up in their own world with their eyes closed and lost in wonder, love, and grace. The worship leader especially should be aware of the congregation’s involvement or lack thereof. His role is to inspire, exhort, encourage and stir the people to offer God their very best; not just some half- baked, mediocre, lackluster expression passed off as worship.

Perhaps I just need to forget about those around me and raise my voice regardless. After all, my focus should be God alone and He looks at my heart more than what’s coming from my head.

This is the time of year when we celebrate the birth of Christ and recall the story of the three magi bringing their gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. They clearly understood that their gifts had to reflect the worth of the one to whom they brought them. Shouldn’t our worship do the same?

2 November, 2017 13:53

November 2, 2017

PULLING DOWN STRONGHOLDS

For months prior to our last Presidential election I found myself repeatedly praying that God would bring to light the hidden things of darkness. I’ve continued to pray the same ever since. Much of our political system, I believe, is driven by demonic forces. These spirits seek to manipulate and influence whoever they can to oppose any and all righteousness. Our former President and many of his appointees were pawns to these powerful spirits of darkness. Although we now have a new President in the White House these same forces continue to work to undermine God’s purpose for our nation. One thing is certain and that is that these spirits can’t be banned but they can be bound! No legislative act is going to limit their influence so that means there is no political solution to the problem, only spiritual. The Church alone has been entrusted with the power to change things. That power is released through the fervent praying of God’s people. God has provided us with weapons that are more than adequate for the task. Yes, we can pull down strongholds and effect Godly change in our nation.

I recently read the following article that clearly exposes what is going on in our nation to undermine our current government. Keep in mind that a nation divided cannot stand. Hopefully this article will provide you with some insight as to what is going on behind the scenes. It is then up to us to ask God just how to effectively pray and stop these destructive forces from dividing our nation.

The Enemy Amongst Us!!

"When Krauthammer provides his opinion and facts, he’s definitely someone to listen to!" DS

Oct 11 2017

Krauthammer is about the best and brightest journalist and political analyst we have, in my opinion. His words of warning in the below message should be taken seriously and spread throughout the country so as many of our citizens as possible are made aware of what is happening right under our noses!

An article from the New York Post:

I do not understand how living in a country with its democracy established over 200 years ago, and now, for the first time in history, suddenly we have one of our former presidents set up a group called "Organizing for Action" (OFA).

OFA is 30,000+ strong and working to disrupt everything that our current president’s administration is trying to do. This organization goes against our Democracy, and it is an operation that will destroy our way of governing. It goes against our Constitution, our laws, and the processes established over 200 years ago. If it is allowed to proceed then we will be living in chaos very much like third world countries are run. What good is it to have an established government if it is not going to be respected and allowed to follow our laws?

If you had an army some 30,000 strong and a court system stacked over the decades with judges who would allow you to break the laws, how much damage could you do to a country? We are about to find out in America!


Our ex-president said he was going to stay involved through community organizing and speak out on the issues and that appears to be one post-administration promise he intends to keep. He has moved many of his administration’s top dogs over to Organizing for Action.

OFA is behind the strategic and tactical implementation of the resistance to the Trump Administration that we are seeing across America, and politically active courts are providing the leverage for this revolution.

OFA is dedicated to organizing communities for "progressive" change. Its issues are gun control, socialist healthcare, abortion, sexual equality, climate change, and of course, immigration reform.

OFA members were propped up by the ex-president’s message from the shadows: "Organizing is the building block of everything great we have accomplished Organizers around the country are fighting for change in their communities and OFA is one of the groups on the front lines. Commit to this work in 2017 and beyond."

OFA’s website says it obtained its "digital" assets from the ex-president’s re-election effort and that he inspired the movement. In short, it is the shadow government organization aimed at resisting and tearing down the Constitutional Republic we know as AMERICA.

Paul Sperry, writing for the New York Post, says, “The OFA will fight President Donald Trump at every turn of his presidency and the ex-president will command them from a bunker less than two miles from the White House."

Sperry writes that, “The ex-president is setting up a shadow government to sabotage the Trump administration through a network of non-profits led by OFA, which is growing its war chest (more than $40 million) and has some 250 offices nationwide.

The OFA IRS filings, according to Sperry, indicate that the OFA has 32,525 (and growing) volunteers nationwide. The ex-president and his ‘wife’ will oversee the operation from their home/office in Washington DC.


Think about how this works. For example: Trump issues an immigration executive order; the OFA signals for protests and statements from pro-immigrant groups; the ACLU lawyers file lawsuits in jurisdictions where activist judges obstruct the laws; volunteers are called to protest at airports and Congressional town hall meetings; the leftist media springs to action in support of these activities; the twitter sphere lights up with social media; and violence follows. All of this happens from the ex-president’s signal that he is heartened by the protests.

If Barack Obama did not do enough to destroy this country in the 8 years he was in office, it appears his future plans are to destroy the foundation on which this country has operated on for the last 241 years.

If this does not scare you, then we are in worse trouble than you know.

So, do your part. You have read it, so at least pass this on so others will know what we are up against. We are losing our country and we are so compliant. We are becoming a "PERFECT TARGET" for our enemy!

Charles Krauthammer

7 July, 2017 15:01

July 7, 2017

OVERLOOKING THE OBVIOUS!

The role of any Christian father is to raise his children to be Godly, obedient, polite, hard working, honest, compassionate, prayerful and purposeful. Imagine then having the job of evaluating a father’s effectiveness in his role as a father.

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You begin by checking his marriage license to make sure he is married. Then you talk to his wife to see how they are getting along together. You may even go as far as having him take a complete physical with x-rays and blood tests. Following that you ask to examine their financial records to make sure everything is in order and that they are paying all their bills on time. Having completed that task you then delve into the way the father keeps his home; are his lawns well maintained and does the house need painting? Following this thorough examination you announce that the father has passed with an A+ and is in fact an exemplary father for all to admire.

Perhaps as you read this you thought to yourself did anyone ask the children what their father was really like? If anyone knew what the father was like it would be the children, and yet they were never asked.

I recently attended a church service where one of the board members told the congregation that they had recently been audited by several pastors. These men were brought in to go through the books, to make sure the church was financially sound. Then they spoke in detail to the pastor and his wife all of which took several days to complete. The board member then proudly announced that they were in ‘good hands’ spiritually because those giving oversight had found nothing wrong. My only objection with this whole approach was that the sheep were never asked to give their opinion. Ask any married man how his marriage is doing and he will possibly say, great! Then ask the wife about her husband and she may give you an entirely different story.

This type of assessment is carried on year after year in some congregations without ever hearing from those who sit faithfully in the pews every week supporting the church with their tithes and offerings. Added to this is that in many churches the congregation is taught to honor and respect their leaders no matter what they do. While I am in full agreement with honoring those in authority, we must be careful not to over do it lest we create immunity for those who may be self-serving rather than serving the people. You may recall God’s anger against Eli who honored his sons more than the Lord. He knew they were acting ungodly and yet he let them get by with it. God eventually took their lives as a result of their actions.

Here is my suggestion to evaluating the spiritual condition of a church. By all means go through the financial records, the marital state of the pastor(s) but then randomly select 10-20 people from the congregation who have no official position in the church and ask them for their opinion on how things are going. At least in that way you’ll have a more accurate assessment of the true condition of the church and leader.

8 June, 2017 20:10

June 8, 2017

WHAT KIND OF FATHER WOULD DO SUCH A THING?

Several days ago virtually every media organization in the country covered the story of a 27-year-old father in Oklahoma who went to the home of his estranged wife and held her at knifepoint while he tried to drown their three-month-old twins in a bathtub. Fortunately, a twelve-year-old girl who was in the home at the time ran to a neighbor’s house for help. That neighbor grabbed his revolver, entered the house, and shot the father twice in the back. He died later in the hospital of his injuries.

The two children, a boy and a girl, were airlifted to an Oklahoma City hospital and were released the following day. According to the police the babies are doing great.

There is little doubt in my mind that this father was seriously mentally deranged or demon possessed. What loving, intelligent, compassionate father would ever dream of harming his own children, let alone taking their lives in such a heinous and cruel way?

Stories like this make your blood boil. Jesus defended the little children by stating that ‘whoever offends one of these little ones that believes in Me, it would be better for him to have a millstone hung around his neck and that he be drowned in the depth of the sea.’

While I have difficulty trying to comprehend such evil I can rationalize to some degree that this resulted from man’s fallen, sinful, selfish state. What I really fail to understand is the belief that God the Father would indiscriminately plunge his own creation to eternal destruction, not because of their sin, but simply because He so chooses.

Look at this statement from a nationally known speaker and author.

“But I am not ignorant that God may not have chosen my sons for His sons. And though I think I would give my life for their salvation, if they should be lost to me, I would not rail against the Almighty. He is God. I am just a man. The potter has absolute right over the clay. Mine is to bow before His unimpeachable character and believe that the judge of all the earth has ever and always will do right.”

What the writer is reasoning here is not in favor of a loving God who so loved the world but rather a God who only selected a limited number of souls to be saved. The doctrine of a limited atonement is no different than the Oklahoma man who simply choose to kill his two children for no other reason than his own perverted pleasure. What I find repulsive about this author’s statement is that he basically says that he would willingly offer his own life for the life of his sons thereby declaring his earthly love is superior to God’s.

Didn’t Jesus say ‘If you being evil know how to give good gifts to your children how much more shall you heavenly Father give…’ According to the Bible I read and the God I love, He takes ‘no delight in the death of the wicked.’

Prayer: God forgive us for teaching such a distorted picture of your incredible nature and character. As our heavenly Father you are not willing that any should perish but you ever ‘seek for ways to bring back your banished ones.’

Thank you for not sparing your own Son but freely offering Him up for us all.

You truly are a good, good Father!

5 May, 2017 21:27

May 5, 2017

PRAY

America is in desperate need of a visitation of the Holy Spirit. Our nation is divided not only racially, politically, ideologically, but also theologically. We know from God’s Word that a house or kingdom divided cannot stand. One has to wonder how many more months or years we have left before we experience some type of total collapse?

Only yesterday I was reading through the Book of Lamentations, which opens with this word. “How lonely sits the city that was full of people. She has become like a widow who was once great among the nations.” Jeremiah goes on to tell us. “For the Lord has caused her grief because of the multitude of her transgressions.” One of the reasons Jeremiah gives is, “Your prophets have seen for you false and foolish visions and they have not exposed your iniquity so as to restore you from captivity.”

No one would question America’s greatness in the world. We boast of having the world’s greatest Air Force, Navy, and Army of any nation on earth. What we fail to take into account is that at any moment we could be marred in the hands of the Potter due to “the multitude of our transgressions.” We have evolved into a nation that thinks of itself as being too big to fail. What we have failed to take into account is that there is a God who views the nations as mere grains of sand that can be blown away in an instant.

Just a few days ago Charisma Magazine published an article from a 90 year old Norwegian woman who prophesied years ago about the days in which we are now living. In her prophesy she warned that there would come a day in which, “Christians will not be open to penetrating preaching. They will not, like in earlier times, want to hear of sin and grace, law and gospel, repentance and restoration. There will come a substitute instead: prosperity (happiness) Christianity. The important thing will be to have success, to be something; to have material things…” She went on to say, “Churches and prayer houses will be emptier and emptier. Instead of preaching we have been used to for generations –like take up your cross and follow Jesus –entertainment, art and culture will invade the churches…” This certainly describes the condition of many if not most of our churches today. The message of repentance is very much needed, but sadly, not wanted.

The answer for our nation’s ills is simple. We need revival! The price for revival on the other hand is not as simple. Virtually every revival I read about was preceded by an intense hunger for God coupled with desperate and prolonged prayer. Like the disciples of old we have toiled all night and caught nothing. We desperately need to hear from God if we are ever going to see our churches and our nation changed.

Let me close by giving you a taste of what revival looks like. I’m quoting from the book Rent Heavens. The (Welsh) Revival of 1904 “If one were asked to describe in a word the outstanding feature of those days, one would unhesitatingly reply that it was the universal, inescapable sense of the presence of God… In 1904 the Lord literally rent the heavens, and scattered the satanic foes entrenched therein…A sense of God’s presence was everywhere… It mattered not where one went; the consciousness of the reality and nearness of God followed.” The book continues to describe how that from the mine pits to the amusement parks and from the football fields to the bars, people were gripped by the power of God.

If America doesn’t experience this type of revival we are doomed and will like Jerusalem of old fulfill Jeremiah’s prophetic word, “The kings of the earth did not believe, nor did any of the inhabitants of the world, that the adversary could enter the gates of (AMERICA) Jerusalem.

Pray, and keep on praying!