Discipleship Thinking, Waiting On The Voice From Heaven

Waiting On The Voice from Heaven

As bible teachers all over the land exhort the people of God to “wait on the Lord”, “listen for His voice”, and any other phraseologies that encourage people to listen with patience to the Lord for direction in their lives there is often a misconception or misunderstanding that goes forth. So many believers find themselves paralyzed by un-surety.  “Does God want me to do this…”  “Maybe God is saying this…”  “What if I hear Him wrong”.

Where we have failed the people of God is to give some practical explanation to “hearing from God”.  Here I will give just one application and hopefully it helps a little.

One of the ways that we hear from God is by moving in a direction in faith.

This is not to suggest that we have not prayed on a particular thing before moving, it is to point out that sometimes waiting on the voice from heaven requires movement.  What type of movement?  Well, recently someone close to me asked for my counsel on a decision to purchase a car.  In their deciding they had essentially come to the mindset that “whatever God has for me I am willing to receive”.  This is a great place to be!!!

This is the only thing though: how can you know what God has for you unless you go out and gather (this is a practical expression of faith) information that will allow you to make an informed decision?  You see, sometimes waiting on the voice from Heaven requires movement.  Whatever God has for you He has for you but make sure you are not accepting something just because you are expecting Jesus to appear at the point of decision and say “Yea” or “Nay”– it doesn’t work that way 🙂   though I wish it did to sometimes LOL

Without going into the person’s story step by step suffice it to say that when I was updated along the way it was wonderful to see how God was moving in their life.  I am one that loves to see God moving in the lives of those around me; this is especially true when I can be witness to growth spurts in those that long for the Lord and to please Him.

When we are moving in a direction trusting that the Lord will guide us along the way we will experience the very manifestation of Faith in Christ that we long to have.  Why?  Well, because sometimes waiting on the voice from heaven requires movement and His answer is then manifested by the information we gather or things we see along the way.

This waiting on the Lord thing is a life long wrestling match with our “self”, but the above is one way (there are several) to approach your desire to hear from and follow the King of Creation.

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Responding to the President

Responding to the President

While I have not “come out of the closet” with my own response.  I thought Pastor Eric Redmond’s recent article in the Baptist Press was worth reading.  Here is a link to his blog.  Let me know your thoughts.

Judgement of Success

Judgement of Success

Star Athletes, Great Dancers, Astute and Successful Business people, Successful parents, and the like all have very similar habits and characteristics.  Simply put, success principles and the road to success is always charted on the same map.  This is not to say that success is the same for everyone.  Success is relative, meaning it is measured subjectively depending upon one’s own definition.  At least this is true for worldly measures of success.

Success is Christ, on the other hand, is not relative.  It is an objective truth measured only by the act of One, not the continued process of the act’s beneficiaries – the believers.  Success in Christ is salvation through Christ.  That being said,  I believe there are, however, measures of success that we as believers strive for in Christ.  That success is measured in an evaluation of our relationship with Christ.  The problem here is that again we make the measure of success subjective,often times evaluating this relationship on the basis of feelings and other experiential dimensions.

If we could entertain this subjective evaluation for just a minute, the question may be how do “achieve” greater levels of success in Christ — as an objectivist and absolutist as it pertains to the Word of God and Christ this is a leap for me but I do ask that you walk with me on this a little while longer being confident that I do not intend any heretical rhetoric just a thought.

Well, like the people I mentioned above that have and operate under the same success principles, a believer that desires to walk pleasing (successful) to the Lord must also have and follow specific principles.   The athlete, dancer, businessperson, stay at home mom, working fathers and mothers, etc. all have some type of catalyst that pushes them to continue to get and do better.  Let me offer this:  in the NBA you have generally three types of players, mediocre, good, and stars.  What separates them?  Some may say stars are more gifted athletically.  I would not completely agree with that assessment.  I would submit that a star/hall of fame player has a different work ethic.  They are the one’s that look for others that can challenge them to their limits knowing that this will help them achieve greater levels of success.

In like manner believers that desire to know Christ in a more intimate way (that is the believer’s measurement of success – or should be in my humbled opinion) should have or seek to have around them people who cause them to aggressively seek God.  Too often, we align ourselves with people we can dominate.  When we align ourselves with these type of people we are never challenged to grow beyond  our present state.

My sons and I love video games.  We play them together and on our own.  One of the things I ask my sons when I watch them dominate the computer in the game they are playing is “what level are you playing on”, “EASY” is often the response I get.  “Why”, I ask.  “Because I just like to win.”   Many people live there lives in this mediocre mindset.  One must consider that all of the NBA player types that I mentioned have experienced winning.  The truth of the matter is that in life it is not how many times you win that makes you successful, it is when you win and on what level you win.

Those that are “Mediocre” and “Good” can dominate their circles of friends.  They will typically only keep around those that “look-up” to them.  Great leaders lead leaders.  They operate under the wisdom principle found in Proverbs 27:17 (a favorite of many men’s fellowships), understanding that only iron can sharpen iron.

Becoming one that seeks the Lord in this fashion with others of the same mind you will find that you will lose many friends and often the covering of some family members.   You may have to endure being considered “holier than thou” and “judgmental”– these are often unwarranted charges from unbelievers and un-submitted believers.  You may be called “fake” and all sorts of other things – again coming from the same camps of people .   Remember first that we should not hold strife against those that oppose our path — for the Lord requires us to forgive.  We also should encourage, however we can, all believers to continue to seek the Lord and pray for the salvation of the lost.

Becoming one who seeks the Lord in this fashion will also heighten your thirst for our Lord.  Life is the catalyst that operates as the salted oats which causes our spiritual dehydration and adversely our longing to reach the oasis of fallen humanity’s Protagonist — the chief cornerstone of our faith.

It is not how many spiritual experiences (“wins”) we have that makes us successful in Christ, it is what we believe about Him and how we show what we believe in our submission and the manner in which we seek Him that shows our success in Christ – if of course we could actually measure/judge our success in Christ ).  And this is my Judgement of success.

General Articles, Indecent Proposal

Indecent Proposal

Well, we are quickly arriving upon the greatest show on earth.  Yes, I am referring to the circus that takes place every four years as the forces of frivolity wage war, a staged reenactment of sorts, but none the less war, against their cross party opponents.  Yes, the circus is coming and what an exciting time this is!

It is always exciting to witness the race, aka rehearsal, prior to the center ring show.  That is, which two proponents — excuse me I meant opponents — will face off.  It is almost like watching a WWE storyline develop over the course of the year until the two greats face off at WrestleMania.  Election Day, where the MILLIONS [  “and the MILLIONS ” ] of the Political Process’ fans chant for the candidate in the red corner or the candidate in the blue corner.

No doubt that during this time amidst the bombardment of “persuasive” ad campaigns and the tattle tale-ing we will hear a few proposals from our candidates.  In fact we have already heard much of what we will hear over the next several months already.  And within all of the rhetoric there is and remains the question of faith of the candidate.

For our current Commander in Chief a firestorm of accusation coming from the “conservative right” demands he is not a man of faith.  In reality they are referring to the Christian faith.  Interestingly enough the man that they are apparently choosing to be the spokesman for their cause is also not of the Christian faith — he being a “progressive conservative”.

These are just thoughts, now on to the reason I am writing today.

When we say that we are of a particular faith then our actions should show that what we say is who we are.  Unfortunately, this is no longer the case.  For many saying the right thing is more important than doing the right thing.  This dog and pony (or rather elephant and donkey) show is no more evident than in the political arena.

Though there was a time in our country when politics was driven by religion ( not Christianity but a civil look alike) that time has long passed.  We are in a country, and have been for some time now, where you are condemned for the very hope you have; that is if you believe in Jesus Christ.  I am referring to the Jesus in the Bible not the propagandized Jesus made in the minds of men and stamped by the inspecting culture for genuine authenticity.

Let me not leave my statement regarding the words and actions of people.  On the campaign trail there are many proposals and promises that are made.  I do find it a compelling reality that now the majority of candidate believers do not hold that person to the words, promises or proposals, that are made during their rise to the White House.  In fact many people will make excuses for the candidates/presiding ruler on their own.  It is a blame game.  I admit that even I fall into this category of people, however different my reasons may be, being a labelled conspiracy theorist and all.

Several Presidential and other Political office candidates have claimed the Christian banner yet the civil policies and agendas that they support, ascribe to, and write into law are so far from Scripture that a true believer would have to at minimum question the genuine-ness of the said persons faith in Jesus.  Again, I am referring to the Jesus in the Bible not the propagandized Jesus made in the minds of men and stamped by the inspecting culture for genuine authenticity.

We live in a generation that has decided what its truth is; a generation that has made truth a subjective reality and not an absolute eternality.  We live in a generation where the avoidance of offense is more important than the offense that produces growth (we can actually be imprisoned for offending someone); a generation that chastises segregation but promotes diversification — the prior being enforced by government the latter being encouraged by government (local or federal).

What do we make of these promises and proposals of our “elected” leaders?  Anything?  Here is a different question, can politics and Christianity co-exists.  Though I am sure there are many that would respond in the affirmative I personally am not convinced or swayed to think so.

Here is a proposal:  I propose that a candidate means what they say backing up their speech with identical action.  I propose that we move our democratic process under the governance of a theocratic system.  That would mean that before writing something into law/policy it must first meet the approval of the objective truth as opposed to the moving target of subjectivity that it now satisfies.  I further propose that the 1st Amendment be upheld for the Politically Correct and those of us the are Politically Incorrect.  I propose that our country’s leaders openly define in which god we trust.  I propose that marriage stands juxtaposed to civil unions…

I propose these and could propose several more biblically derived things which I am persuaded would all be deemed as an Indecent Proposal.

“Now therefore fear the Lord and serve him in sincerity and in faithfulness. Put away the gods that your fathers served beyond the River and in Egypt, and serve the Lord. And if it is evil in your eyes to serve the Lord, choose this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your fathers served in the region beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.  Joshua 24:14-15

The Cup of Compromise, The Cup of Compromise Pt.2

The Cup of Compromise Pt.2

In my previous post I began to look at the difference in the types of compromise.  Here I will suggest at least one of the veins of compromise that leads to the devolution of what is seen in the body of Christ today.  I would like to encourage the reader that has not read that post to do so at their convenience.

If a person was to trace the progression of modernistic thought they would gain some interesting insight on the agenda of intellectuals.  Regardless of era, from premodern thought through postmodern thought and into the present, these philosophical approaches used to define humanity, our purpose, vitality, mortality, etc., are reflected in the foundations of a “progressing” community.

Without delving in too deeply here, and staying with the focus of compromise, it should be understood that modernistic thought has bullied its way into the Church, severely damaging how many approach the Scriptures.  This has ultimately caused the malnourishment of the body of Christ as a whole.   And what we see today is an anorexic church body — at least here in America but I would venture to say that its affects are reaching out globally at this point.  This is an affect of indulging in the cup of compromise.

One of the many roots of this adherence to compromise (that is, giving in to the pressures of culture) is relative thought.  Relative thought  (or relativism) is the absence of absolute truth.  In other words, what is true for you may or may not be true for me.  This is not true (lol).

Modernists have submitted to the buffoons (of which I am one) that there is no absolute truth. My response to that is it’s a good thing I am not a thinker!  If I was I might consider that statement to be oxymoronic since it couldn’t be true by its very nature (1 Cor. 2:6-8; 1 Cor. 2:13-16).

This idea of relative thought (Relative Truth) has crept into the Church and is a cause for the continued consumption of compromise by many professing Christians.  Paraphrasing one theologian ‘intellectuals speak in profound ignorance against the things of God’.  How this statement translates  and finds application in the Church can be found in the very word we allow to invade our lives (A few passages to meditate on).

False teachings are the result of a compromised gospel.  A compromised gospel is not the gospel which leads to salvation.  The intellectual guise of relative thought, under which false gospels are often preached, and which many churches have adopted (knowingly and unknowingly in some cases),  produces unbiblical faith; that is, it produces a type of pseudo-faith that is not commanded by the one true and sovereign Lord.

Relative thought and the removal of truth have several crippling effects.  In his book “Postmodern Times” author Gene Edward Veith says this in correlation with the jettisoning of truth, “… The intellect is replaced by the will.  Reason is replaced by emotion.  Morality is replaced by relativism.  Reality itself becomes a social construct.”

While I do not intend to go into the depths of what social construction is and how it works here I will mention that it is the idea that within the secularization of our communities (African-American, Hispanic, White, etc.) what we think and how we think is our reality and that reality is the “real” truth.

What is sadly becoming the norm is that within the community of professing believers there  resides this very type of thinking — an how one thinks effects how they will approach, discern and communicate the Scriptures.  This is relative thought.  

The thought that we can and should do what is comfortable to us and that that comfort will be ok with the Lord regardless of what is written is an infectious lie.  The thought communicated is, “After all… your interpretation is not my interpretation” or “What feels right for you must be right.”  I insert here an emphatic ABSOLUTELY NOT!  This is relative thought.  This is the cup of compromise…

General Articles, The Cup of Compromise

The Cup of Compromise

I do not doubt (maybe to much of an assumption but I’ll go with it) that most people would agree that there is a difference between coming to a compromise and making a compromise.  Although in the today’s culture it appears that the two contexts are used or heard synonymously.

The former context suggest that parties of some sort have come to a type of settlement after subjecting themselves to mutual concessions.  In other words, the two sides of an agreement have given and taken in order to come to an agreement that would benefit the two.

The latter context is a concession of character, integrity, or some other vital attribute that defines a person, persons or an organization.   It is a given over or given in to something or someone to the demise of the one compromising.

Recently, in my garden time with the Lord,  He has had me in three main places.  They are: Leviticus, The Prophets, and 2 Timothy.  In Leviticus there is the description of the Law the sacrifices and the actionable items of the priests of God.  In the Prophets there are the several oracles of coming judgment to the people of God, the surrounding nations as well as globally.  Lastly in 2 Timothy there is the overarching themes of loyalty to sound doctrine, the surety of suffering for the gospel, and remaining submitted to the will of God in light of the suffering.

Leviticus, with all of its laws, offering types and requirements, descriptions of acceptable worship and the necessity of being ‘clean’ before the Lord (to name just of few of its contents) express to its readers the proper way to approach a Holy God.  It is God’s directions on how to approach Him.  Which would indicate there is a right and acceptable way and a wrong and unacceptable way (Lev. 10:1-3).  There was no room for compromise (in either of the contexts I have written).

As I stated above the Prophets spoke about the coming judgement on the people of God (as well as others).  This judgement was due to their compromise of the Laws of God.  What seems to be a very central point is that Israel and Judah compromised who God called them to be and drank the cup of compromise based on the culture of their time.  They served the gods of that culture as so many professing believers do today.

In 2 Timothy Paul reminds Timothy that the one that keeps guard of sound doctrine does not need to be ashamed of that testimony since it comes from the One who enlisted him in the army, Christ Jesus.  The masses of followers follow a Jesus dressed in the chaos of this cultural’s “progression”.  Several branches are spiritually cross-dressing and passing off the gender specificity in earthly life an leadership ordained by God as an archaic and unintelligible approach to the Living Word.

The Cup of Compromise is not being sipped on my the people of God, but they (the people of God) have become the greatest of bootleggers in the distribution of this purple concoction.  We see it in how we mimic the world.  In mimicking we are indeed imitating.  I for some reason remember reading that we are to imitate Christ not the world.

For example, so many of our beloved “gospel” artist have no more of the gospel in their music than any of their secular counterparts.  Here is a thought: if you want to do secular music do that, if not don’t dress Jesus in culture for the sake of airplay.  For many people these “inspirational” play lists are “blessings”.  Hey I like some of the songs too; however, it is not gospel.  Let me state it this way:  Inspiration does not have in it the words of life leading to salvation; ONLY the Gospel has that.  They may help us get through, but getting through is one thing, Victory is altogether different!

I am sure there will be some that read this and consider that I am critical and will probably begin quoting Matt. 7 (one of the compromise drinkers favorite passages), however, I will give a warning for those that operate in the sphere of non-criticalness (I may have just made a new word).  But let me first state this, if I am critical (and I believe I am), my criticisms are saturated in the compassion of scripture.

Now, a world without criticism (especially criticism as given in the word of God) is a world without Light.  We often see God in His grace and mercy without receiving that He is also just, righteous and Holy.  We often miss scriptures of chastening and reprimand, or disregard them, exchanging them for only the grace and love verses (which mind you are just as true and valid).  Remember this: No divinely inspired scripture outweighs, trumps, or in any way disregards any other inspired scripture.  That means it all works together.

Yes God is a God of love but His perfect love is accomplished because He is Holy.  In other words, He perfectly loves because He is first in essence Holy. — I will have to go a bit deeper into this in another post —

We are called to holiness as God deems holiness not as defined by man.  We can not afford to be ignorant of proper understanding of His word.  We must be careful of the one that says, “God says” and “I am being led by the Holy Spirit” when the words that they are saying are no where confirmed in the Word of God…

Seeking Christ, The Prosperous and the Pressed

The Prosperous and the Pressed

In the churches today we have a slew of clichés to get us through any number of situations.  Many of them have now become “scripture”, a prescription for any number of situations.  We hear so often that God wants to bless His people.  We hear, or at least it is insinuated, that your blessing is waiting on your faith.  This is especially interesting considering that there is a measure of faith that have been divinely assigned (Rom. 12:3) with specific function for the edification of the whole.  Does everyone have this?  I do not intend to expound on this right now.

Another spiritualization that has overtaken the Church is the idea of anointing.  We hear about how preachers and worship leaders all over are declared to be heavily anointed.  We have gone to the point where the anointing of God is measurable by the response of the people.  In other words, a “truly” anointed person of God can be spotted by the size of the human response to the message spoken, sung, etc.

I am not speaking against the truth that the people of God are anointed.  Scripture already speaks this truth (1 John 2:18-27).  However, I do find it interested that several of those that consider themselves believers are still searching for an ‘anointing’ as if it is something we can attain.

When prosperity (tangible measurements – aka “blessings”) is at the center of the messages coming from pulpits all across the land we remain in a weakened state as the body of Christ.  When items like cloths, water, and oil are declared by the priests of God to have divine power then they, like the bronze serpent, become idols of worship.

Consider this: What if we were measuring the anointing incorrectly?  What if the anointing of God was not measured by God’s people in how much you gain but by how much you gave?  In fact I believe this to be true.  So many people are looking for the blessing of God instead of becoming the blessing of God.  Jesus was “the most” anointed man (that is, human) to ever live.  Let’s consider Him.

Before being taken before the priests and leaders of God and the government for public ridicule and execution, Jesus was found in an olive grove garden name Gethsamane, which means “oil-press”.

It was olive oil that was used to anoint the priests of God (Aaron and his sons).  Not just any olive oil though, the best olive oil.  The best olive oil in biblical times was made from beaten olives.  This type was produced by placing olives that had been crushed in baskets and letting the oil drip through.  Crushed and Beaten olives produced the anointing oil!  The Anointed One of God was beaten that the many might be anointed.

I am sure that many find there blessings and their rest in what God provides materially.  Truly you are blessed.  For those that are being beaten and crushed by the enemy, sometimes even being handed over by the very people that claim to be of the same fellowship, I submit to you the following: The lamps in the temple required oil that had been beaten.

Many of God’s people will continue to ask, speak and plead the blood of Christ for the oil of the anointing of God to fall into and cover their lives.  But I wonder how many of God’s people will ask, speak and pray with the same fervent urgency to become the very oil that anoints His people.