Sunday, June 28, 2015

When popular culture goes against God

Two days ago the men and women of the Supreme Court took it upon themselves to change the meaning of marriage. As has been happening since Adam and Eve succumbed to Satan in the Garden, man has decided to play God in this world.  This isn’t the first time, and until that great day when Jesus returns to earth, sadly, it won’t be the last.

For the last two days I have been in such inner turmoil over this because I have been wrestling with my responsibility as a believer to say something.  Silently I have been watching the world I live in and so many people I love embrace and support a culture that has arrayed itself against our Lord and his Biblical direction for us.  My struggle has been over WHAT to say.  How do I express what I feel without sounding like I am superior to those that believe differently?  How do I word this so that I acknowledge my imperfection as a human who has made more than a boatload of mistakes and sinned against God and His Word countless times even today as a believer?  What do I say about this, when what is happening here on earth goes so much deeper and involves so much more than just this one decision to alter the meaning of something divinely given to us by our Creator?

As a Christian utterly committed to God my Father, I have consciously and willingly dedicated my life to Him.  As a Believer, in order not to succumb to a culture where Satan has become so entrenched in everyday life,  I have to wake up and say to God each day, "Lord, Your will NOT mine be done.  Guide me to live each day for Your glory and for Your kingdom.  Forgive me for my sins, for my weakness, and for my fear. Break my heart for what breaks Yours, Lord.  I seek You today, what will You have me do for You?"  I NEED to say these things to God each day, because if I don't I tend to fall into seeking MY will and thinking about MYSELF far to much.

I want love and acceptance for all people. I believe that we were all made in God's image, and as such are all loved deeply by God.  Does God love the homosexual as much as the heterosexual?  I believe the answer is absolutely yes.  Does God love the murderer as much as the missionary?  I believe the answer is absolutely yes.  Does God love the sinner as much as the saint?  Yes, yes, yes. The argument here is not and never has been about who God loves and who God doesn't love.  God LOVES the sinner, but God HATES the sin.  Period, end of story.

So here I am, struggling because I know I must say something.  Silence sends its own message, and for better or worse, when God made me He did not make me the silent one. God also made me a lover of people, and I do not want my words to be hurtful to those I love.  I believe I can still love you, even if I don't agree with you.  This should not be a battle for who is right.  God will sort that out in due time.  BUT, because I love you, I must share my feelings with you.  I must share God's Word with you, because it is what He has asked of me.  We all have been given a job here on earth.  A purpose for why we are here.  It may have taken God 40 years to finally get through to me, but now that He has, I cannot sit silently by while people in my circle of influence struggle to find salvation.

At the end of the day, I am still struggling to find the right words.  I will continue to pray for all of us, because decisions like this shuttle this world further and further from God.  In the meantime, this post by Benjamin Watson says everything I feel so well.  I'm grateful for believers who are unafraid to speak the truth, even at great risk to themselves.  I hope you will take time to read- it is long, but very much worth it.

Benjamin Watson- Love Wins

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Do you believe in Demons?

I just read an article titled: Christian Heretics: The Devil Is Grateful When You Tell People He Doesn’t Exist that my husband sent me last night.

After reading that article I took some time to think about what it is saying.  I also thought about what I would have thought had I read it 5 years ago, or even 3 years ago.  Wow, things have changed.

After reading and digesting this a bit, this is what I have to say about it.  I agree.  100%.  But my main thoughts on this article aren't really about believing in demons or staying away from games that might invite demons in.  I hadn't quite thought about summoning demons and the dangers of these types of activities in this way, so it was interesting to read.  What really caught my attention though, and what I want to comment on is his statement that the "majority of US Christians don't believe that Hell or Satan are real".  Really?  THE MAJORITY?  That's pretty sobering.  Especially given the sheer number of times the Bible talks about Satan and Hell.  How do you become a Christian and not believe in Hell?  What would be the point?

I truly believe that in order to be saved you cannot pick and choose what you want to believe about God and His word. At one point in the article the author referenced comments made by people to his original Facebook post. One of those people said “I have to believe in Demons or I’m not a Christian? That is so far from the biblical basis for being a Christian I don’t know whether to laugh or cry. The requirement for salvation is only that I confess Jesus as Lord and believe in my heart that God raised Him from the dead.”

OK, let me first say that I am absolutely NOT the authority on Christianity. Far from it, actually. As a matter of fact, I am pretty sure you could put my maturity level as a Christian somewhere around that of a toddler, given how recently I have come to my salvation in Christ. That said, in the last few years I have immersed myself in God’s word and learning as much as I can about it. I have read many authors’ writings in addition to the Bible, and continue to learn as much as I can. One thing I believe for CERTAIN- if you confess Jesus as Lord and believe that God raised Him from the dead, and truly and completely believe this, then by the power of the Holy Spirit you will be a changed human. If you are a God-changed, saved human being, which is what happens to those who truly believe and give their lives up to Christ, then you cannot and would not pick and choose what parts of God’s word (the Bible) to believe. No matter how hard some of it is to wrap our heads around or quite frankly, believe, we do and we must. Because it is God’s word, and God does not lie. God is infallible and His word is The Word, whether we like it or not.

I know some my friends on Facebook do not believe in God, and many of those friends simply don’t read what I post anymore now that my posts have gone decidedly “evangelical”. There are others who say and believe they are Christians, but fall into the same camp as the Facebook commenter quoted above, AS DID I UNTIL A FEW YEARS AGO. The camp of “I believe God is a good and loving God and would never throw a “good” person into Hell just because He/She doesn’t believe in every single word of the Bible”. Still others say they believe in God, but have no idea what else they believe about Him and His Word, and so they lurk and ping pong between differing “opinions”, finally latching on to the ones that “feel” the best.

Friends, the hardest thing for me to get my head around, and the thing I have fought the most, is the fact that God has non-negotiable, immovable standards. I have STRUGGLED with believing that God will absolutely punish for eternity even good people who do not believe and FOLLOW his Word because that would be…. mean. That would be horrible. That would not be the behavior of a unicorns and rainbows God that I have always wanted to believe in. That would mean that some of those I DEEPLY love may not get into Heaven if they keep believing the way they believe. That really sucks.

The fact is, God doesn’t change in order to fit into what is “politically correct” or what will make people happy and feel good. So many of us have been raised in an era of watered-down, lukewarm Christianity where God has become all about the loving God of lollipops and roses and less about the other side of our God, the vengeful, wrathful God of the Bible. The Bible teaches us that God is BOTH. God loves us, and God gives us grace. God forgives us when we are truly sorry and reach out to Him and repent.  God is always there for us, and carries our burdens with us.  God ALSO hates sin. God punishes those who go against Him. God has brought wrath down on man many times, according to the Bible, and God will return to claim this world back and bring complete destruction to non-believers and Satan himself as detailed in Revelation. The Bible states VERY clearly that many will seek to enter heaven, but few will actually enter. You can find this in Luke 13:22-24 and 28, Matthew 7:13-14 and 21, Matthew 22: 13-14, among other places in Scripture.

Think about that.  Who else could these passages be referring to other than many WHO CLAIM TO BELIEVE?  Who else could they be referring to?  Certainly not atheists, Muslims and other non-believers- those people never claim to be "seeking to enter heaven" because they don't believe in it. They must then be referring to some who call themselves Christians, but are not worthy in God's eye because they do not believe ALL THE WAY.

Gosh I could go on and on here. I've thought a lot about this.  I've read a lot about this.  I'd love to talk a lot MORE about this, because it is a really important topic, but I've written enough already.

If you don’t believe AT ALL, I pray for you. If you say you believe in God and call yourself a Christian but do not fully believe the Word of God as written in the Bible, then I really pray for you because you are under the impression that your salvation is assured.  The Bible would tell you differently, if only you would listen.