Monday, 1 September 2014

9 1 1: Prayer for Jerusalem with Anne Graham Lotz

Today is September 1,2014. Anne Graham Lotz is calling on Christians to set aside 1 hour today to pray for Jerusalem and the Jewish people. Please do join us in praying today. The following is the prayer as posted on her website. You can link to it here Anne Graham Lotz 911

9 1 1: Prayer for Jerusalem

Pray for the peace of Jerusalem: 
“May those who love you be secure.”
Psalm 122:6

NOTE:  This prayer may be prayed in one hour, or it may be prayed section by section over a longer period of time. Although it is patterned after Daniel 9, it is my personal prayer. It comes from deep within my heart, because I believe the rapture of the church may be imminent.  When that moment comes, and every born again believer is caught up to be with Jesus, along with the Holy Spirit who indwells them and presently restrains evil, Israel will be more alone in the family of nations than she ever has been since her rebirth in 1948. And I wonder…is it at that moment that God will pour out on the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem a spirit of grace and supplication?  Is it at that moment that they will look on the One they have pierced, and recognize Him as their Messiah?[1] I don’t know the answers to these questions, but I am utterly convinced it’s time to pray for Jerusalem.

Our Father in Heaven. God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.  Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. You are the Eternal I AM.  The One who is age to age the same. There is no shadow of turning with You.  You are fully present in every generation—past, present, and future. You are the All-Mighty.  Your power has not been deleted or depleted over the millennia of human history. We know that You so loved the world that You gave us Heaven’s treasure when You sent Your only Son to die, so that anyone and everyone who places their faith in Him will not perish but have everlasting life. Yet we also know that Your great heart of love still longs to pour out Your blessing on the City and the people that You have uniquely chosen as Your own. Jerusalem. The House of Israel. The Jews.
In this present worldwide climate of unbridled evil, we are becoming desperate!  Nations are unraveling.  Wars are raging. There are rumors of more wars breaking out. Kingdom is rising against kingdom. Our spirits feel the turmoil and agitation that surely is a reflection of the warfare being waged in the invisible realms.  We need You!  For everything!  But our hearts are now burdened for the Epicenter of the world. For Jerusalem and all that she represents at this critical, strategic last hour.
So we humbly turn to You now. For one hour we turn away from our responsibilities and routines, our busyness and our business, our own problems and pressures.  We turn away from focusing on our own nation and the needs of the church.  We turn away from any self-reliance or self-interests, and we look to You.  We run to You.  We join together with one heart and one voice to pray for the peace of Jerusalem. You alone are the One who makes us to dwell in safety.  You alone are the One who makes us secure. You alone are God.  And You alone are our God.  We turn to You, deeply aware we do not deserve in ourselves to address You, yet boldly confident of access into Your most holy presence through the blood of Your Son and our Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ. And so…

We pray with confidence, because You are the God of Creation, Lord of the Universe. Elohim. The Strong One.  You alone are The LORD.  You made the heavens, even the highest heavens, and all their starry host, the earth and all that is on it, the seas and all that is in them.  You give life to everything, and the multitudes of heaven worship You.[2]  We sing Your praises, for You are highly exalted.  No one is higher than You. You are our strength and our song.  Again and again, You have been the salvation of Your people:  from bondage in Egypt, from Pharoh’s pursuing army, from Midianites and Amorites and Edomites and Moabites and Canaanites and Perizzites and Philistines; from captivity in Babylon, from the four corners of the earth, from the Nazi death camps, and now from Hamas and Hezbollah and ISIS and the Taliban and Al Queda and the Muslim Brotherhood and Boko Haram, You alone are able to shatter Israel’s enemies.
Your right hand, O Lord, is majestic in power. And in the greatness of Your excellence You overthrow those who rise up again You; You send forth Your burning anger, and it consumes them as chaff.
Who is like You among the gods, O Lord?  Who is like You, majestic in holiness, awesome in praises, working wonders?  In Your lovingkindness You have led the people whom You have redeemed; in Your strength You have guided them to Your holy habitation.
You will reign forever and ever.  We long for the day when our faith becomes sight and the whole world is filled with the glory of who You are.  Our highest joy will be to see You face to face; to gather around Your throne with multitudes from every tribe, language, people, and nation that you have purchased with the blood of Your own Son, and worship You.[3]

I pray with confidence because _________________

We pray with compulsion for the peace of Jerusalem, and for the whole House of  Israel. Your people and the city that bear Your name are surrounded by a vast multitude of hostile, evil men seeking to kill and destroy.  Men who behead those who refuse to embrace their evil dogma, who bury alive those who refuse to submit to their will, who crucify those who are identified with Your Son.  Your people are under the incessant barrage of enemy missiles and mortars that are destroying farms and families, communities and children.  While one ceasefire after another promises peace, there is no lasting peace.  Are You not the God who rules over all the nations?  Power and might are in Your hand, and no one can withstand You.
We are compelled to pray for Your people because they are facing their enemies without the strength, wisdom, peace, comfort, security and hope that You reserve for those who are indwelt by Your Spirit through faith in Your Son, Jesus.  They have no deep, blessed assurance that their sins are forgiven, that eternal life is theirs, and that a heavenly Home is waiting to welcome them.
We are compelled to pray because…
  • You have promised that You will give Your people a new heart and put a new spirit within them; that You will remove their heart of stone and give them a heart of flesh.
  • You have promised that in the very last days, You will pour out on the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem a spirit of grace and supplication. 
  • You have promised that You will open the eyes of the spiritually blind, and they would look on You, the One they have pierced. 
  • You have promised that all of Israel, tribe by tribe, clan by clan, family by family, will mourn for their sin of rebellion and rejection of their Messiah.
  • You have promised that on that day of national mourning and repentance, all of Israel will be saved. That the deliverer will come from Zion; that You will turn godlessness away from Jacob.
  • You have promised that You will save them from all their sinful backsliding, and You will cleanse them.
  • You have promised that they will be Your people, and You will be their God. 
  • You have promised that You will make an everlasting covenant of peace with them.
  • You have promised that one day, and we believe soon, You will set aside 144,000 from all the tribes of Israel who have been redeemed and on whose foreheads You write Your name, to be proclaimers of the Gospel to the whole world.
O Abba Father! We do not ask for what we want or what we hope.  We are asking You to do what You have said! You are a great covenant-keeping God.  You do not mock Your children. You keep Your word. We are therefore compelled at this moment when faced with problems that have no human solution to pray and hold You to Your promises.[4]

These problems compel me to pray_____________

These promises compel me to pray_____________

We pray with a contrite spirit. We are ashamed and embarrassed to lift up our faces to You, for our iniquities have risen above our heads and our guilt has grown even to the heavens.[5] So now, our God, what shall we say?
We have sinned and done wrong. 
We have been wicked and have rebelled. 
We have turned away from Your commands and Your Word. [6]
We have not listened to Your servants the prophets…like Isaiah, Daniel, Ezekiel, and Jeremiah…who spoke in Your name to our kings, our princes, our fathers, and to all Your people.
We have not obeyed or kept the laws You have given us.
We have rationalized and explained away the evidence of Your greatness that we see in Creation around us.
We have suppressed the truth that we were created by You and for You, and have exchanged it for the lie that we are masters of our own fate
We do not glorify You as God, nor give thanks to You, but live our lives as though we have no accountability to You. [7] 
We have looked to our own strength for salvation and have forgotten Your mighty acts of deliverance in the past.  As though the God of Abraham, Moses, David, and Elijah no longer exists.  Or if You do, You no longer involve Yourself in the affairs of Your people.
We confess that our faith in You and Your strength is weak, as though what we face today is beyond Your ability to overcome. Or beneath Your interest to intervene.
We confess to pride and arrogance that have determined we must face our enemies in our own strength. That this present darkness will pass without Your intervention.
We confess to religious intolerance that condemns those who are not like us.
We confess to religious indifference that gives lip service to You, but lacks sincere faith so that our lives are lived and our decisions are made as practical atheists—as though You do not exist.

This day we are covered with shame.

With a humble, contrite spirit, I confess_____________

We pray with clarity. We ask, great Creator God, that You give sight to those born spiritually blind. Open the eyes of Your people to see You for who You truly are. Don’t let their sight be dimmed or distorted by centuries of religiosity and rejection of the Truth. Open their eyes to Jesus as their Messiah. Then show up in great power, giving Your people supernatural strength to withhold vengeance, to execute justice, to remember mercy, to walk humbly as they acknowledge that victory will be won not by their might nor by their own power, but by Your Spirit.[8] Yet we do ask You for victory over the enemy…
We pray for the enemies who are coming against Jerusalem to be convicted of their sin, for them to repent and turn from it and ask You for forgiveness through faith in Jesus Christ.  But if they do not, we ask that this day, You defeat and destroy them.
We ask that You strip Jerusalem’s enemies of peace and cooperation among themselves, so that they are divided and turn on each other.
We ask that their evil plans would be exposed or fall back on their own heads.
We ask that the face of every man, woman or child that they have slaughtered, beheaded, buried, or crucified be indelibly imprinted on their mind’s eye, filling them with turmoil and robbing them of clear thinking.[9]
We ask that for every man, woman or child who is martyred for their faith in You, ten others would rise up to take their place, so that the persecution would fan revival fires throughout the Muslim world. Please, dear Jesus, keep showing up in dreams and visions and in any form You choose in order to change hearts and minds, melting generations of prejudice and hatred with Your love and peace.
We ask that the fear of the One, True, Living God would fall on Israel’s neighbors…and on Israel.[10]
We ask that the ancient prince of the Persian kingdom and every other demonic force coming against Your City be bound and rendered powerless in the face of the hosts of Heaven.[11]
We ask that the Iron Dome would be 100% effective, and that You would continue to anoint Israel’s engineers and physicists with ability to design systems that would provide a protective shield for The Beautiful Land.
We ask for supernatural wisdom for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, his Cabinet, his counselors, and all government officials, so that they make decisions in line with Your perfect will. Draw the Prime Minister into Your Word; and when he opens and reads it, speak to him through it.
We ask that You turn the heart of The Honorable Nir Barkat, Jerusalem’s mayor, toward You; that he would acknowledge his need of You and issue a city-wide call to prayer.
We ask that You comfort the mothers, fathers, and children living in the farming communities near the Gaza border.  Give them an overwhelming sense of Your presence and love for each of them. As they turn to You, give them peace…and a good night’s sleep.
We ask that You woo Your people to Yourself.  Draw them to put their trust in You, so that You are their refuge and their fortress.  Save them.  Cover them. Be with them in trouble. Command Your angels to guard them and keep them in all their ways. [12]

You are a great prayer-hearing, prayer-answering, covenant-keeping, miracle-working God. Hear our prayer!  Listen to Your children as we pray for the peace of the city on which You have placed Your name.  Rise up, great Lion of Judah, and defend Your people. Deliver Jerusalem from her enemies so that all the nations of the earth may know that You alone are God. Answer us!  For the glory of Your great name!

I ask specifically for____________

We will pray until our prayers are confirmed, because we believe in You.  We believe that Jerusalem’s God is God.  We believe You are as strong today on her behalf as You were in the beginning, and always have been, and always will be. We believe that since the first day we set our minds to gain understanding and to humble ourselves before our God, our words have been heard.[13]We believe that we have asked according to Your will, in the name of Your dear Son, and for His glory alone.  Therefore we expect to receive answers.[14]
Now we await Your confirmation.  We have prayed for the peace of Jerusalem. We don’t know what else to do. But our eyes are fixed expectantly on You.[15]

For the Glory of Yeshua

 To view a printable PDF of this prayer, please click HERE.

[1] Zechariah 12:10
[2] Nehemiah 9:6
[3] Based on the Song of Moses, Exodus 15
[4] The promises above were taken from Ezekiel 36:26; Zechariah 12:10-12; Romans 11:26-27;  Ezekiel 37:23; Ezekiel 37:26, Revelation 7:1-4, 14:1-5
[5] Paraphrased from Ezra 9, Daniel 9, and Romans 1
[6]  Israel has the most liberal abortion laws in the world. Tel Aviv is marketed as the gay capital of the Middle East. Alcohol consumption among Israeli children is surging to the extent that Prime Minister Netanyahu has called it “an epidemic.”
[7] Paraphrased from Romans 1; 42% of Israelis are secular.
[8] Zechariah 4:6
[9] Romans 2:9
[10] 2 Chronicles 20:29
[11] Daniel 10:12-13
[12] Psalm 91
[13] Daniel 10:12
[14] John 14:13-14
[15] 2 Chronicles 20:12

Tuesday, 12 August 2014

How to be a become a beautiful woman....

Proverbs 11: 22 As a jewel of gold in a swine's snout, so is a fair woman which is without discretion

This morning I read my Bible as I like to do each morning. As part of my daily reading this morning, I read 1Timothy Chapter 2. Verses 9 and 10 reads :  In like manner also, that women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with shamefacedness and sobriety; not with broided hair, or gold, or pearls, or costly array;  But (which becometh women professing godliness) with good works

  As I read, I began to wonder why Christian women do not take this chapter to heart. To all the Christian women out there who are careful to be modest in how you dress - may the Lord richly bless you in many ways. To the Christian women who wear revealing and tight clothing may the Lord have mercy on you, I urge you to pray earnestly to the Lord and I pray that you will decide today to honor God in all areas of your life including your dress.
 Verse 9 clearly says that women are to dress in modest clothing - women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with shamefacedness and sobriety; not with broided hair, or gold, or pearls, or costly array;
 1 Peter says women are to be chaste - as they observe your chaste and respectful behavior
I looked up the word chaste in my dictionary and it says - virtuous, pure,simple and restrained in style or taste. Then I looked up modest and it says not showy, but pure and chaste.
Christian women all across our nations are dressing provocatively, so as to lure men to lustful thinking. This is not right. God hasn't just written these things in the Bible for the sake of filling up the pages - No He expects that we do what the Scriptures say. He has written it for our good and we would be wise to obey Him.  God will hold women accountable for wearing the provocative, skimpy, sensual clothing because His Word clearly states that we are to be modest, pure and chaste. Beauty is in one's character, not in sensuality or in showing off your sexy or  flirting. I challenge every Christian woman to put off the sensual way of dressing and clothe yourself as a daughter of the King of Heaven!

Proverbs 31:30  - Favour is deceitful, and beauty is vain: but a woman that feareth the Lord, she shall be praised.

Please take time to read all of the 1Timothy 2:9-15 passage :
In like manner also, that women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with shamefacedness and sobriety; not with broided hair, or gold, or pearls, or costly array;

10 But (which becometh women professing godliness) with good works.

11 Let the woman learn in silence with all subjection.

12 But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence.

13 For Adam was first formed, then Eve.

14 And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived was in the transgression.

15 Notwithstanding she shall be saved in childbearing, if they continue in faith and charity and holiness with sobriety.

Tuesday, 5 August 2014

2nd American aid worker with Ebola arrives in U.S.

Ecclesiastes 9:12  For man also knoweth not his time: as the fishes that are taken in an evil net, and as the birds that are caught in the snare; so are the sons of men snared in an evil time, when it falleth suddenly upon them.

The following article is from Yahoo News - you can link to the page here :  Ebola in the USA

ATLANTA (AP) — An American aid worker infected with Ebola arrived Tuesday in Atlanta, joining a second patient being given an experimental treatment that has never before been tested on humans.
Nancy Writebol, 59, traveled from Monrovia, Liberia, to Emory University Hospital, just downhill from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. She arrived two days after Kent Brantly, a doctor with whom she had worked in Liberia and who also contracted Ebola, showed up for treatment.
The differences were stark in how they went from the ambulance to Emory, which has a highly specialized isolation unit. While Brantly, 33, was able to walk with assistance into the hospital, Writebol — covered from head to toe in a protective suit — was wheeled in on a stretcher.
Still, the 59-year-old Writebol was described as weak but showing signs of improvement.
"A week ago we were thinking about making funeral arrangements for Nancy," her husband, David Writebol, said in a statement read by the president of SIM USA, the aid group with which she was working in Liberia. "Now we have a real reason to be hopeful."
Brantly and Writebol were both infected despite taking precautions as they treated Ebola patients in West Africa, where the virus has been spreading faster than governments can contain it, killing nearly 900 people so far.
The treatment, called ZMapp, was developed with U.S. military funding by a San Diego company, using antibodies harvested from lab animals that had been injected with parts of the Ebola virus. Tobacco plants in Kentucky are being used to make the treatment.
It's impossible to know whether the drug saved these workers, CDC Director Tom Frieden emphasized. "Every medicine has risks and benefits," he said to reporters at a health symposium in Kentucky. "Until we do a study, we don't know if it helps, if it hurts, or if it doesn't make any difference."
If the treatment works, it could create pressure to speed through testing and production to help contain the disease in Africa.
There is no vaccine or specific treatment for Ebola, but several are under development, including ZMapp, made by Mapp Biopharmaceutical Inc. It works by boosting the immune system's efforts to fight the virus. The U.S. Defense Threat Reduction Agency announced last month that it is providing more funding to speed the drug's development.
Brantly and Writebol were working at a missionary clinic outside Liberia's capital. David Writebol remains in Liberia, where he said his wife's care was extraordinary.
"It's not like having a nurse come in every hour to fluff up your pillow," he said in his statement. "It's more like going into a nuclear reactor. The suits are clumsy, hot and uncomfortable. But it was like watching the love of Christ take place right before your eyes."
David Writebol said in his statement that she was able to stand up and, with assistance, to get on the plane in Liberia. Before the flight, she ate some yogurt, he said.
Ebola is spread by close contact with blood and other bodily fluids, and Writebol's duties included disinfecting doctors and nurses entering or leaving the Ebola treatment area.
Writebol and Brantly will be sealed off from anyone who isn't wearing protective gear. Dr. Bruce Ribner, who will treat them, said their families can speak with them through a plate-glass window. On Tuesday, Amber Brantly said in a statement that she has been able to see her husband every day.
Associated Press writer Bruce Schreiner in Hazard, Ky., contributed to this report.

Now consider this....

Are you saved? If you died tonight - where would you spend eternity? None of us knows the day or hour that we will be called and we stand before the God who created this entire universe. The choice is yours - heaven or hell. Choose Jesus and be saved, if you reject him you have chosen your own doom. Jesus is the only way to salvation and to heaven. He died on the cross to save you. He shed His blood to pay for your sins and mine. Receive Him today.

The Way of Salvation
1) All have sinned and are in need of the Savior Jesus Christ. There is no person who is good enough to go to Heaven without having come to faith in Jesus Christ.
Romans 3:23  For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;
Romans 3: 9 - 10  What then? are we better than they? No, in no wise: for we have before proved both Jews and Gentiles, that they are all under sin;  As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one

2) God loves each of us and does not want anyone of us to be lost to hell.
2 Thessalonians 2: 16  Now our Lord Jesus Christ himself, and God, even our Father, which hath loved us, and hath given us everlasting consolation and good hope through grace,
1 John 4:9  In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him.

3) God requires the blood sacrifice of His own Son Jesus as payment for our sin. Nothing else will do.
Hebrews 9: 22  And almost all things are by the law purged with blood; and without shedding of blood is no remission.
Hebrews 9:12  Neither by the blood of goats and calves, but by his own blood he entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us.
1 John 4:10  Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.

4) In order to be saved we must put our faith completely in Jesus alone and believe that He is the only way to be saved, and that He shed his blood for our sin, paid it in full there on the cross where He died, He rose again on the third day, ascended to Heaven and will return to earth at the appointed time. Good works do not save, Jesus is the only One who can save.
Acts 4:12  Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.
Isaiah 64: 6  But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away
Acts 16: 30-31  And brought them out, and said, Sirs, what must I do to be saved?  And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house.
John 3:16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

5) Confess to God that you are a sinner, in need of the Savior Jesus Christ, that you want to be saved now.  Repent of all known sin, turn from it, to live in it no longer. Ask Jesus to save you now.
1 John 1:9  If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
Don't leave this most important decision for another day. Come to Jesus today!

Monday, 21 July 2014

Psalm 13 - God is emotionally invested in our lives

Psalm 13How long, O Lord? Will You forget me forever?How long will You hide Your face from me?  How long shall I take counsel in my soul,Having sorrow in my heart daily?How long will my enemy be exalted over me?  Consider and hear me, O Lord my God;Enlighten my eyes,Lest I sleep the sleep of death;  Lest my enemy say,“I have prevailed against him”;Lest those who trouble me rejoice when I am moved.  But I have trusted in Your mercy;My heart shall rejoice in Your salvation.  I will sing to the Lord,Because He has dealt bountifully with me
Our church is studying through the Psalms this summer, this past Sunday our Pastor took us through Psalm 13, a Psalm of Lament. I took notes as I listened and I would like to post them here today. Perhaps you will be encouraged as you consider my notes.

"How long Oh Lord?" we have felt this and asked the Lord this question ourselves.
Psalm 13 is a lament before God, spoken from the depth of pain.
We have felt stuck in the brokenness of this world.
The Psalms are personal prayers - we can use these to come to God with our own difficulties.
Also as a community - we can use the Psalms as prayers of intercession - speaking and praying on behalf of another person.

Be honest before God - tell Him what is going on in your situation, we must not be fake. We must come before the Lord with truth, telling Him exactly what our situation is and how it is affecting us.
Pray to God with your emotions - with no holding back!

Laments teach us to pray from the depth of our hearts.
In Psalm 13, David accuses the Lord of having forgotten him "How long, O Lord? Will You forget me forever?"

God will never forget us - Has has promised to never leave us or forsake us.  It is His #1 promise.

David demands for God to do something, to show up and to move in his life.
God hears our prayers, we need to be convicted and expect Him to act and to answer our prayers.
God remembers His promises to us.
God does respond to our prayers.

When we are completely open with God, we will sometimes ask Him for things that we should not ask for. Do not worry about this - The Lord can handle this.  Bring it all to God. 
Become real before Him.
He will change us when we are honest with God.
He will teach you to bless and to love that person who is causing you grief.
God can handle us!
We can express our fears, our anxieties, our heartaches to Him - He is touched by our grief.
Be real with God.

Praise is the foundation of our prayers.
David is convinced that God is good! And we also need to be convinced that God is good!
What breaks your heart breaks God's heart as well!
God is emotionally invested in our lives - He cares for us.

God loves us!

Trust in His unfailing love.
His love will hold you!

Friday, 11 July 2014

A Message from Franklin Graham - Heaven is not for cowards!

The following is an article from Decision Magazine. It is written by Franklin Graham. I feel it is a very important message to the church today. Please take time to read this article. You can link to the article here: Cowards or Overcomers?

Cowards or Overcomers: Standing Strong

Franklin Graham speaks on the need for courage May 22 after receiving the 2014 Watchmen on the Wall Award.
Franklin Graham

Heaven is not for cowards! Recent comments I made while speaking at an event in Washington, D.C., have drawn some controversy. In a challenge to those who are afraid to speak out on moral issues addressed in the Bible, I referenced a chilling passage—a warning from God about the most catastrophic indictment the world will face someday:
“But the cowardly, unbelieving, abominable, murderers, sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars shall have their part in the lake which burns with fire and brimstone” (Revelation 21:7-8).
Christians cannot ignore parts of God’s Word because they are unpopular or cause division. Our commission is to proclaim Christ and all He stands for. This is what the church’s presence in the world is all about. We cannot sincerely proclaim the truth of God’s love while ignoring what He hates, and God hates sin. His love pours out the remedy for sin that holds mankind in bondage. It is found in His unmerited grace—the gift of salvation. For this reason, the whole Gospel must be preached, as demonstrated by the Apostle Paul.
“For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes … For in it the righteousness of God is revealed” (Romans 1:16-17). What immediately follows this bold declaration demonstrates the importance of God’s entire message to the human race.
Dmag CoverPaul wrote in connection to the Gospel: “For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, because what may be known of God is manifest in them, for God has shown it to them … so that they are without excuse, because, although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God … but became futile in their thoughts. … Therefore God also gave them up to uncleanness, in the lusts of their hearts, to dishonor their bodies among themselves, who exchanged the truth of God for a lie” (Romans 1:18-21, 24-25).
Followers of Jesus Christ, and especially pastors and church leaders, have a responsibility to speak the truth of Scripture, calling sin what it is, and acknowledging that it has always reigned in the hearts of the human race. It is not any worse today than it was “in the beginning.” After all, sin brought about the Great Fall and then the Great Flood because “the wickedness of man was great in the earth” (Genesis 6:5). It is not just a debate about abortion or homosexuality; all sin is immorality—and all immorality is evil. In America today we are experiencing an epic drought. It is not just the basic misunderstanding of the Word of God; it is the absence of God’s complete Word.
Christians are called to shun acceptance of sin in all forms, not because we are perfect people but as a testimony to the transformation God brings about in a life surrendered to Him; washed clean by the blood of Christ and clothed in His righteousness. We must be people of endurance in the face of criticism or any form of persecution. If we do not exhibit godly courage to stand strong in the faith, we cannot overcome Satan’s seducing spirit that grips the world. The Bible says:
“Now the Spirit [of God] expressly says that in latter times some will depart from the faith, giving heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons, speaking lies in hypocrisy, having their own conscience seared. … If you instruct the brethren in these things, you will be a good minister of Jesus Christ, nourished in the words of faith and of the good doctrine” (1 Timothy 4:1-2, 6).
If we as God’s people refuse to speak about sin because it will make others uncomfortable, we are cowards. We are called to sound the alarm, warning them that God demands obedience to His perfect law, which is designed for the good of the human race. Do not miss the staggering truth that God’s law brings about contentment. “The law of the Lord is perfect … rejoicing the heart” (Psalm 19:7-8). Those who reject this truth reveal that they do not know Him. “Whoever does not practice righteousness is not of God. … His commandments are not burdensome … and this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith” (1 John 3:10, 5:3-4). True faith is what empowers us to speak God’s Word and live it before an unbelieving world.
Someone has said: “To sin by silence when they should protest turns people into cowards.” The definition of a coward is one who refuses to do the right thing for fear of consequences. This certainly falls short of possessing godly character.
We are soldiers in God’s army, and we cannot stand down on biblical issues out of fear of being labeled a homophobe or judge. People make judgments every day. The world’s system passes judgments accepted by governments and citizens. But the world considers Christian judgment to be biased, judgmental and intolerant. Christians have only one standard on which to base judgments—it is called the Bible. Without its instruction and authority, we cannot possibly know how to live, so we are told to “judge with righteous judgment” (John 7:24). It does not matter how mankind defines sin; the ironclad Word of God has already laid it bare, and it is unchangeable.
“If anyone … does not consent to wholesome words, even the words of our Lord Jesus Christ, and to the doctrine which accords with godliness, he is proud, knowing nothing, but is obsessed with disputes and arguments over words” (1 Timothy 6:3-4). Twisting God’s Word leads to rejecting God’s message. We must guard against handling the Word of God in a cowardly fashion but rather preach the entire Word of God because His grace and His judgment flow from His love.
Sin is at the very heart of all that is against Almighty God; it is bowing the knee to worldly living, serving selfish desires so that the things that we used to call sin no longer seem to be sin to us. Some pastors I know say they just want to preach the Gospel and not become targets by speaking out on specific issues that Jesus Himself did not address. Sadly, this reveals a lack of basic Bible knowledge. That would be like suggesting that because Jesus never preached a sermon about jealousy it is not a sin; however, the Bible states clearly that jealousy is a serious sin against God (Galatians 5:20).
Jealousy is the very sin that caused Lucifer to rebel against God. The point is that God’s servants cannot preach part of the Gospel. They must preach the entire Word of God, regardless of how it may impact church attendance or trigger unfavorable tweets! Those who say they stand on biblical principles need to understand that persecution will come in some form, even if only losing popularity, the least of all maltreatment.
The Lord Jesus was certainly a target. Yet He willingly went to the cross and suffered for us. He died, was buried, rose from the grave and ascended to Heaven. That was more than 2,000 years ago, and still today He is a target. He is hated. He is rejected. How can we fear rejection by the world when He gave His all for us? But still He extends His salvation to all who will come to Him. He is the One who empowers us to stand strong in the face of persecution for what the world does not affirm. He gives us the power to overcome sin, and that includes cowardice, triggered by ignoring all that God proclaims.
“Many are my persecutors and my enemies, yet I do not turn from Your testimonies. I see the treacherous, and am disgusted, because they do not keep Your word … The entirety of Your word is truth, and every one of Your righteous judgments endures forever” (Psalm 119:157-158, 160).
If God’s people do not stand strong, who will? Many in the church have accommodated worldliness (a devotion to temporal interests and pleasures to the neglect of spiritual things) in order to be relevant and increase attendance. This approach has desensitized the conscience.
There was a day when God’s messengers was preached against drunkenness. Unfortunately, this is seldom heard from the pulpit anymore; rather, there is widespread acceptance of the intoxicating drug. When preaching falls short of God’s whole truth, it becomes easier to overlook or redefine evil behavior. The result is that we get our worlds mixed up. We are not to become like the world; we are to illuminate the world with the light of Christ and distinguish ourselves from the darkness. There are those who minimize this astounding message in an effort to make sinners comfortable in their sin.
This is egregious to Almighty God, and He has prepared a lake of fire for those who reject His truth. In other words, there is grave danger in not preaching, as the apostles did, the whole Gospel.
Just as our nation has drifted from the strict interpretation of the U.S. Constitution, so has the church seriously drifted from taking God at His Word. Sin is destructive to people, to families, to nations and to the church. Sinful behavior that is excused and repackaged as personal choice is Satan’s greatest deception. His greatest victories today take place within the church by those who remain silent; who are not aware of his divisive presence. The Body of Christ must recognize that we have allowed Satan to distract us with non-essentials. It is time to get back to the basic teaching of God’s Word. It is cowardice to excuse sin by claiming we have no right to judge what God has already judged. There is only one personal choice that decides where we spend eternity; if we choose Christ and all He stands for, we gain Heaven; if we deny Christ’s Word, we are cowards and deserve hell.
“Listen to Me, you who know righteousness, you people in whose heart is My law: Do not fear the reproach of men, nor be afraid of their insults. … You have feared continually every day because of the fury of the oppressor” (Isaiah 51:7, 13). We can be fearless when we stand strong on the Word of God because as Joshua proclaimed, “The Lord your God is He who fights for you, as He promised you” (Joshua 23:10).
What are the characteristics of God’s people? Have we become so accustomed to the worldly system that we fear we cannot overcome it? Or do we draw strength from the One who has overcome? Can we stand with the believers at Thessalonica who did not seek comfort and fulfillment but endured hostilities because of God’s Word? Paul wrote to them: “So that we ourselves boast of you among the churches of God for your patience and faith in all your persecutions and tribulations that you endure, which is manifest evidence of the righteous judgment of God, that you may be counted worthy of the kingdom of God, for which you also suffer” (2 Thessalonians 1:4-5).
Who does not remember the cowardice of Peter, the salty fisherman—the sea-walking but fainthearted follower—who denied Jesus Christ? Out of his anguish he overcame his greatest failure, and a bold and mighty faith emerged. He became a soul-winning fisher of men—the disciple who instructed others in serving as effective shepherds of God’s flock (1 Peter 5:2). He wrote: “If anyone speaks, let him speak as the oracles [the very Word] of God” (1 Peter 4:11). We must understand that the very Word of God is the Bible.
Let’s overcome cowardice with courage. Let’s be fearless ambassadors of Christ and stand strong for the glory of God our Savior, pulling others from the fire of eternal judgment (Jude 23).  ©2014 BGEA
Scripture quotations are taken from The Holy Bible, New King James Version.