Thursday, December 21, 2006

The Blitzkrieg of Bubba!

Blitzkrieg is a German word which means “lightning war”. It is used to exemplify the speed with which a military campaign can be waged; fast like lightning. And there is no better enemy at the blitzkrieg than Satan. God said it best to Cain:

“You will be accepted if you do what is right. But if you refuse to do what is right, then watch out! Sin is crouching at the door, eager to control you. But you must subdue it and be its master.” Genesis 4:7 (New Living Translation)
Did Satan waste much time when he was given the “go ahead” against Job? Absolutely not! As fast as the messengers could come, they had reports of destruction. And that is the same way he is towards you. He is lying in wait for you to open the door to him, and then he will pounce with lightning speed.

Consider the case of Bubba. OK, his name isn’t really Bubba, but the story is true. He is a member of the men’s accountability group I attend every Tuesday night. He is a born again Christian and father. He attended church regularly and was self employed. Two things happened that started the attack. Bubba’s divorce was finalized at the same time that he had an incredible month of prosperity in his business. He was left with a stack of cash and a license to party.

“For the turning away of the simple shall slay them, and the prosperity of fools shall destroy them.” Proverbs 1:32 (King James Version)

The attack started with a thought: “I wonder if you still have it? I wonder if any woman will still find you sexy?” And then the thought started to germinate. That’s when the bottom fell out and the lightning war began.

Less than three months later Bubba was back in the group. He was telling about spending time with the wrong crowd, going to strip clubs, doing drugs, having anonymous sex, bringing porn into his house, and even stealing his son’s Ritalin to crush and snort.

The grace of God is an amazing thing and his mercy endures forever! God will fire a shot across the bow to warn you that destruction is eminent. Here was Bubba’s shot. He was standing in line at an after hours sex club where he was waiting to go inside. The police came screeching up and raided the place. He got away. Had he been inside, he would have been arrested and lost everything including custody of the son he loves. That’s when he shared a moment with the “prodigal son”. Scripture says the “he came to himself” and he and Bubba both wondered “what the hell am I doing”?

There is a Chinese proverb that says “A man falls seven times, but he gets up eight”. Bubba has confessed, repented, and gotten back in the saddle to ride. The lesson he learned is how fast the destruction can come once the door is opened to the enemy.

May God be praised that he will leave the 99 and go after the one lost sheep.

If you think it could never happen to you or me
read this and let it soak in:

Dear brothers and sisters, if another believer is overcome by some sin, you who are godly should gently and humbly help that person back onto the right path. And be careful not to fall into the same temptation yourself. Galatians 6:1 (New Living Translation)

Monday, November 20, 2006

The Least Of These

There is only one ritual in the church that almost every denomination can agree upon, and that is the taking of communion. We celebrate the last supper where Jesus broke the bread and gave the cup. The words he said are timeless: "Do this in memory of me"”.

What do you think about when you remember Jesus? Many will remember him doing miracles. Many will see him teaching. Some will think about the bloody and cruel Passion Week. But for me, I think about the type of people he chose to hang around with. It wasn'’t the elite "cream of the crop" that he surrounded himself with. It was the lowest by man's standards. His disciples were stinky fishermen, tax collectors, and zealots. And he did much of his ministry to those who were shunned by society: prostitutes, lepers, and the like. He showed unconditional love to those who were unlovable. And he gave a second chance to many who had completely screwed up their lives.

If we are to be "Christ like"”, we must do the same. In fact, he tells us that during the judgment, we will be held accountable on how we loved the unlovable.

"Then those 'sheep' are going to say, 'Master, what are you talking about? When did we ever see you hungry and feed you, thirsty and give you a drink? And when did we ever see you sick or in prison and come to you?' Then the King will say, 'I'm telling the solemn truth: Whenever you did one of these things to someone overlooked or ignored, that was me, you did it to me." Matthew 25:39-40 (The Message)

It'’s easy to love those who love us back, and associate ourselves with the movers and shakers of society. It's fun and it feeds our ego. But what about the homeless, addicts, offenders, terrorists, AIDS victims, and murderers? Can we love them and welcome them into the church with open arms? God has another perspective because he is a God of grace, and His mercy endures forever.


I'’ve loved the musicianship of Richard Thompson ever since the late sixties when he was a founding member of Fairport Convention. This song might sum up the entire New Testament in three minutes. Turn up the speakers. It's called "“God Loves a Drunk"”.

"And if anyone gives even a cup of cold water to one of these little ones because he is my disciple, I tell you the truth, he will certainly not lose his reward." Matthew 10:42 (New International Version)

Do something for someone who can never repay you. They just might be a special person to the one who made them.

Monday, October 30, 2006

What Do You Think?

I came across an interesting scripture this morning in my quiet time. Have you ever had one just jump off of the page? This one did for me.

Let the wicked forsake his way, And the unrighteous man his thoughts; Let him return to the LORD, And He will have mercy on him; And to our God, For He will abundantly pardon. Isaiah 55:7 (New King James Version)

We both know that there is nothing wasted in the Bible. Every word has been put in there for a reason. So why would it talk about the wicked man forsaking his way, and the unrighteous man forsaking his thoughts?

Napoleon Hill said it best in his great book "Think and Grow Rich" when he wrote that "thoughts are things". And since the battleground for this great spiritual warfare is the mind of man, it makes sense that there should be a twofold approach to that scripture. Wicked people just need to flat out stop doing their wicked actions. But someone who is not right with God is in a different place. He hasn't actually DONE anything wicked...but he is thinking about it. And he too needs to squash the thought of sin before it becomes an action of sin.

I haven't seen one place in scripture where it says that we will never have an evil thought. Come drive your car in Dallas, Texas and you will have plenty of evil thoughts. But I do see where we are admonished to control our thoughts.

"For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ, and being ready to punish all disobedience when your obedience is fulfilled." 2 Corinthians 10:4-6 (New King James Version)

Jesus knew that the thought life is paramount when he said:

"You have heard the commandment that says, ‘You must not commit adultery.’ But I say, anyone who even looks at a woman with lust has already committed adultery with her in his heart." Matthew 5:27-28 (New Living Translation)

So what do you think? Solomon said that as a man THINKS in his heart, so is he. Do you think thoughts of peace and power? Do you meditate on the positive promises of God daily? Or do you give your mind a steady diet of the negativity of the world, the lust of the sex industry, the pessimism of the news, or the doubt of humanistic academia? If we think like the world, we will have what the world has: a distance from God. But if we do what God says in that scripture (forsake our unrighteous thoughts) He will draw close to us. And that is something to think about!


Saturday, October 07, 2006

Walmart Apples and God

I went shopping for groceries the other day at a Walmart Neighborhood Market and began my ramble in the produce department. I love Washington delicious apples and they had a whole area dedicated to apples. I started the process that everyone does who is shopping for fruit: search through the myriad of apples on display for the ones that were appealing. I began the selection process by picking up potential candidates and looking them over. Many of them had flaws. There were worm holes, and discolorations. There were some that were bruised so badly that they were too soft in one part and others weren’t ripe enough yet. They were all rejected. The two apples that went home with me were gorgeously red, firm to the touch, nice and big, and looked delicious.

“For many are called, but few are chosen.” Matthew 22:14

The next day I couldn't wait to treat myself to one of those apples. They were both firm, red, plump, and looked scrumptious. As I took a bite from the one on the left, I immediately spit it out. The inside of the apple was brown and rotten. How could that be? It looked great from the outside. In my experience, one can tell when an apple is rotten because the outside starts showing signs of deterioration. Not in this case.

“What sorrow awaits you teachers of religious law and you Pharisees. Hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs—beautiful on the outside but filled on the inside with dead people’s bones and all sorts of impurity.” Matthew 23:27 (New Living Translation)

I immediately grabbed a knife and took the second apple. I wondered if it was rotten like the first. When I cut it in two, there were two of the freshest, juiciest halves I had ever seen. The second apple was one of the best apples I had eaten in a very long time. I pondered that very strange scenario. How can two apples look identical but be so drastically different on the inside? There were so many spiritual lessons I learned at Walmart that day. In the Bible there are five places where we are called the “apple of God’s eye”. (Zech 2:8) God is searching the whole earth for some tasty fruit to enjoy. He is standing at the bin looking, feeling, and sometimes squeezing apples to see who will be selected.

“You can identify them by their fruit, that is, by the way they act. Can you pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? A good tree produces good fruit, and a bad tree produces bad fruit. A good tree can’t produce bad fruit, and a bad tree can’t produce good fruit.” Matthew 7:16-18 (New Living Translation)

The only time I ever read where Jesus cursed anything was a fig tree that bore no fruit. Producing fruit is extremely important in the grand scheme of things. And the Bible is clear that rotten apples will be chunked into the fire.

“Even now the ax of God’s judgment is poised, ready to sever the roots of the trees. Yes, every tree that does not produce good fruit will be chopped down and thrown into the fire.” Matthew 3:10 (New Living Translation)

So today would be a good day to evaluate yourself on what kind of fruit you have been producing lately. Are you a barren tree? Are you gorgeous on the outside but rotten on the inside? Are you tasty and juicy to God? All things are created for his pleasure, you know. (Revelation 4:11) I remember the old days when being called “a fruit” was a bad thing. Let me give you a new perspective on being in the Walmart apple cart.

"I am the Real Vine and my Father is the Farmer. He cuts off every branch of me that doesn't bear grapes. And every branch that is grape-bearing he prunes back so it will bear even more. You are already pruned back by the message I have spoken. Live in me. Make your home in me just as I do in you. In the same way that a branch can't bear grapes by itself but only by being joined to the vine, you can't bear fruit unless you are joined with me. I am the Vine, you are the branches. When you're joined with me and I with you, the relation intimate and organic, the harvest is sure to be abundant. Separated, you can't produce a thing. Anyone who separates from me is deadwood, gathered up and thrown on the bonfire. But if you make yourselves at home with me and my words are at home in you, you can be sure that whatever you ask will be listened to and acted upon. This is how my Father shows who he is—when you produce grapes, when you mature as my disciples.” John 15:1-8 (The Message)

Monday, September 18, 2006

Bothering God With Piddly Stuff!

There is a part of me that still thinks it was just a coincidence. And there is a part of me that knows it was a miracle from a God who is interested in the minor intricacies of our lives. But yesterday, it stopped raining for exactly 26 minutes. And that was precisely what I had prayed for. Here'’s what happened.

A friend of mine got married yesterday and it was awesome. When he was at our Tuesday night men's accountability group last week, he was excited about his wedding. But his one concern was that the outdoor ceremony was scheduled on a day where rain was in the forecast. I told him that I would pray that God would stop the rain for his ceremony. Everyone was kind of amused at the fact that such religious and bold words would come out of my mouth. Actually, so was I.

God did say in Isaiah chapter one that we could reason together, so I took him up on the offer. I asked God to rebuke the rain off of Randy's wedding ceremony. I reminded God how hard they had fought to remain sexually pure until after the ceremony. And I reminded God how far Randy has come in his faith. When he started the men's group, he was in a crisis of faith about God and his relationship to us mere mortals. But now his light shines brightly!

Yesterday I drove from Dallas to Arlington in the pouring rain. I prayed all the way there for God to stop the rain but had an umbrella with me anyway. Ten minutes before show time, people were ushered into covered places to watch the ceremony. But like clockwork, the minute the minister came to the front, the rain miraculously stopped. I sat in the seats uncovered with my umbrella closed for the whole ceremony. When it was over, the rain began once again. Coincidence? I am beginning to think that God might be more intimately connected to us than we give him credit for. Look at this story about a miracle that has always made me marvel.
The company of the prophets said to Elisha, "Look, the place where we meet with you is too small for us. Let us go to the Jordan, where each of us can get a pole; and let us build a place there for us to live." And he said, "Go." Then one of them said, "Won't you please come with your servants?" "I will," Elisha replied. And he went with them.

They went to the Jordan and began to cut down trees. As one of them was cutting down a tree, the iron axhead fell into the water. "Oh, my lord," he cried out, "it was borrowed!" The man of God asked, "Where did it fall?" When he showed him the place, Elisha cut a stick and threw it there, and made the iron float. "Lift it out," he said. Then the man reached out his hand and took it. 2 Kings 6:1-7 (New International Version)

I love the fact that some of the Bible versions say that the axhead swam to the surface. Strange, right? Not really. Is it strange to think that an axhead could swim, or is it stranger to consider that the power of God would be released in miracle proportions for the losing of a borrowed tool? Maybe we ARE that important to God. Maybe he REALLY DOES care about us that much. If he will stop the rain for a wedding, and make an axhead swim for a workman, what would he be willing to do for you?

Who is like the LORD our God, the One who sits enthroned on high, who stoops down to look on the heavens and the earth? He raises the poor from the dust and lifts the needy from the ash heap; he seats them with princes, with the princes of their people. He settles the barren woman in her home as a happy mother of children. Praise the LORD. Psalm 113: 5-9 (New International Version)

Monday, September 04, 2006

Go To Jail! Go Directly To Jail!

I learned an interesting lesson the other day, and I really believe that it was from the Lord. Here’s how it goes:
“If we live like we are in prison, we will be free. If we live like we are free, we will be in prison”. It has taken me a while to understand this, and now it makes perfect sense to me.

There are people in the world with exorbitant amounts of freedom that are really in bondage. The freedom to go where we want, do what we want, eat whatever we want, sleep with whomever we want, and look at whatever we want has actually brought us into massive amounts of bondage, Our bodies are fat, weak, and addicted. Our minds are polluted with the world’s philosophy. Our hearts are constantly seeking selfish things. And this “freedom” to pursue earthly pleasures has helped us become a race that is losing it’s spirituality with lightning speed. When an obstinate feminist shrieks “It’s my body, I do what I want” she is opening herself up to eventually reaping the bondages of abortion and sexual promiscuity. When a man thinks he has finally gained the power where nobody tells him what to do, he has become his weakest.

Then Jesus explained: "My nourishment comes from doing the will of God, who sent me, and from finishing his work.” John 4:34 (New Living Translation)

Can you think of anyone who was freer than Jesus? And yet he came here with a purpose: to be a servant. He had one thing on his mind and could not be distracted from the mission of doing the will of his Father. If he is our earthly example, maybe we should learn from him what true freedom really is.

In prison, men are put on a disciplined regiment. They do the actions daily and regularly which will benefit their progress. What would it be like if we were commanded to do certain disciplines daily and we had no control over them? What if a spiritual warden made us pray daily with power and self sacrifice? What if we were forced to read the Bible with wild abandon? What if we had “witnessing time” every day at four where we were encouraged to share our faith with others? What if boundryless sex, porn, being drunk, drugs, laziness, and leading a secret life were outlawed and punishable with grave consequences? Personally, I think we would develop a deeper relationship with our Creator in the absence of such self destructive behaviors.

“You've all been to the stadium and seen the athletes race. Everyone runs; one wins. Run to win. All good athletes train hard. They do it for a gold medal that tarnishes and fades. You're after one that's gold eternally. I don't know about you, but I'm running hard for the finish line. I'm giving it everything I've got. No sloppy living for me! I'm staying alert and in top condition. I'm not going to get caught napping, telling everyone else all about it and then missing out myself.” 1 Corinthians 9:24-26 (The Message)

What an interesting analogy Paul makes to an athlete in training. Olympic hopefuls don’t have the freedom that everyone else has. They are in a self imposed prison of discipline and training, but they are among the freest of all people. And that is the type of life where limits lead to limitless power. Decide today to put yourself into a prison where discipline and dedication are commonplace! Decide today to cast off the “freedoms” that actually hinder you! Decide today to bring yourself under the control and servitude of Jesus Christ. And watch how much more liberty you will have as one under the control and supervision of God.

“Jesus said, "I tell you most solemnly that anyone who chooses a life of sin is trapped in a dead-end life and is, in fact, a slave. A slave is a transient, who can't come and go at will. The Son, though, has an established position, the run of the house. So if the Son sets you free, you are free through and through.” John 8: 34-36 (The Message)

So Jesus said, "You've observed how godless rulers throw their weight around, how quickly a little power goes to their heads. It's not going to be that way with you. Whoever wants to be great must become a servant. Whoever wants to be first among you must be your slave. That is what the Son of Man has done: He came to serve, not be served—and then to give away his life in exchange for the many who are held hostage." Matthew 20:25-28 (The Message)

Monday, August 28, 2006

I'm A Total Studmuffin And Chicks Dig Me!

Ecclesiastes chapter 3 tells us that there is a time for every purpose under the heavens. One thing that is doesn’t mention is the fact that there is a time for us to start thinking with the right head. Because of our God given libidos, men are the most self deceived beings on the planet. We all want to appear sexy and attractive to the opposite sex. That is the reason we suck in our guts on the beach as a hot woman walks by. (admit it, you’ve done it at least once in your life)

But there is a reason why the “gentlemen’s club” business is booming in America. We love to deceive ourselves. “There are more than 2,400 strip clubs in the United States; annual revenue at some clubs is as high as $8 million.” Stop Pretending, Candi Dushman. World Magazine, 5 August, 2000.

Is it actually possible that a smoking hot sex kitten half our age would ACTUALLY be turned on by our fat, balding bodies? Are we so irresistible to young beautiful ladies that they want to get their clothes off as quickly as possible and grind against us for hours on end? The answer should be popping into your head right now. But if it didn’t…it’s “NO”!

There is a spiritual reason for that phenomenon, and Solomon nailed it almost three thousand years ago.

For on account of a harlot a man is brought to a piece of bread, and the adulteress stalks and snares as with a hook the precious life of a man. Proverbs 6:26 (Amplified Bible)

The adulteress will actually hunt for men’s lives that are precious to God. They may be thinking that they are just out for the money. But they are unwittingly being used by our enemy to bring the Christian warriors into bondage. We’ve all seen it. The fastest way for a Godly man to be instantly neutralized and see his ministry totally vanish is for him to be caught with a naked bimbo. And that is exactly why we are hunted. Satan knows exactly what kind of bait to use. He is the master fisherman. And believe me; every piece of bait contains a deadly hook inside. It’s just not worth it!

And lastly, I want to relate a story to those who think that hanging out in strip clubs or “titty bars” is a victimless thing to do. This is for all those who have deceived themselves into thinking that those beautiful young ladies are “really into you” and want to be with you.

I was the manager of a furniture rental store in Arlington, Texas back in the 80’s. People would come in to rent furniture to furnish apartments because they didn’t own any, or were transient at the time. We had many strippers as customers. One in particular was named Lisa. She was in her early twenties and was drop dead gorgeous. She was smart, eloquent, funny, and always came in to make her payment with a big stack of one dollar bills which were still wet with baby oil. She would say it was just a part of her act, and the bank never had any problems accepting them. She was right. One day she came in to the store and had a huge scab on the inside of her right calf. It looked horrible and seemed very painful. I asked her what had happened. She let me know that she had gotten on the back of the motorcycle of a customer who was leaving the club because she needed a ride home. Her calf was against his hot exhaust pipe and literally cooked like hamburger meat. When I asked her why she didn’t feel anything, she let me know that she had been extremely drunk at the time. I asked her why she got so drunk at work. She replied with words that haunt my soul to this day: “Do you think I could do that if I wasn’t drunk?”

May we always be a part of the solution and not a part of the problem!

"Abstain from all appearance of evil." 1 Thessalonians 5:22

Monday, August 21, 2006

Start Punching Back!

We have all heard the story about Paul and his "thorn in the flesh". You should be familiar with the amazing passage of scripture in 2 Corinthians 12. He has just been talking about the great revelations he has received from the Lord. Having been taken up into the third heaven fourteen years before, he heard things that he wasn’t allowed to talk about to anyone else. The same thing actually happened to John in his journey through the heavens when he was about to write down something he heard and was stopped by his prophet guide. (Rev 10:4) It makes one wonder what is going on up there that we aren’t supposed to know about yet. But let’s get back to Paul.

“And lest I should be exalted above measure by the abundance of the revelations, a thorn in the flesh was given to me, a messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I be exalted above measure. Concerning this thing I pleaded with the Lord three times that it might depart from me.” 2 Corinthians 12:7 (New King James Version)

There has been a lot of speculation as to what Paul’s thorn in the flesh actually was. I heard a preacher say it was bad eyesight because of Galatians 6:11. I even heard another say it was an addiction. But one thing is for sure, his thorn was a spirit sent from the evil kingdom. He says what the thorn was: a messenger of Satan. The Greek word for “messenger” is the same word translated “angel” in other New Testament places. And this is not the first time a fallen spirit has done the will of God. If you haven’t read my post on trash talking, do so after you finish this. The book of Job is a prime example. God sent a lying spirit to the mouths of his prophets in 1 Kings 22 to make Ahab fall. In Judges 9, God sent another evil spirit to buffet Abimelech. And of course, who sent the evil spirit to torment God’s own chosen king Saul? That’s right: The Lord. Yes, God is mercy. But God is also judgment. And many people don’t like to believe this scripture:

“And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness.” 2 Thessalonians 2:10-12

Who sends the delusion? God!

So if Paul’s thorn was an evil spirit, why didn’t he just cast it? He knew about casting devils. It makes sense to believe that he tried, and failed many times. This isn’t a new thing. There was a devil that the disciples of Jesus couldn’t cast in Mark 9:28. The fact that it didn’t move shows that his “thorn” was no rookie in Satan’s kingdom, and his ability to beat Paul like a piñata was the reason Paul went to God three times. Every time he seriously asked God to move this mountain, the answer came back “No”. I hear so many preachers say that God never says “No”; He only says “Yes” or “Not Yet”. The Bible is full of times when God said “No”. Moses brought down some “No’s” carved in stone from the mountain. God said “No” to things like other gods and adultery.

The last thing we should think about is the word translated “buffet” in this passage. The Greek word literally means “to rap with the fist”, and it is the same word used in Mark 14:65 to describe the way Jesus was punched in the face during his pre-crucifixion ordeal. The messenger of Satan is punching Paul in the face. It was an enemy he couldn’t defeat, so he took his cause to God and pleaded for some divine intervention. God said “No”.

What is your thorn? Who is your foe? Are you even fighting back? Are you doing the “rope a dope” and letting him beat the crap out of you? Remember you are a soldier of Christ, and a warrior in this plan. You are destined for ultimate victory because Jesus has made us more than conquerors.

“Fight the good fight of the faith.” 1 Timothy 6:12 (KJV)

“You have not yet struggled and fought agonizingly against sin, nor have you yet resisted and withstood to the point of pouring out your [own] blood.” Hebrews 12:4 (Amplified Bible)

Start punching back! There is a reason we have been given the weapons of our warfare.

Monday, August 14, 2006

Life Lessons From Terrorists

Every time there is a television special about 9/11 I get really angry. Still after all these years, I can vividly recall the feelings I had on that day that changed the entire world. But it occurs to me that there are some lessons from that day that I need to apply to my life.

“For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh (for the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh, but mighty before God to the casting down of strongholds), casting down imaginations, and every high thing that is exalted against the knowledge of God, and bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ; 2 Corinthians 10:3-5 (American Standard Version)

Those men who I still feel hatred towards to this very day; have taught me a lesson that we as Christian men are supposed to heed. We are called to destroy the strongholds of the enemy. The followers of Bin Laden saw the World Trade Center as a stronghold of their enemy: America. They believed it represented everything that was evil. To them it loomed tall and shiny, larger than life, and was a symbol of everything they stood against and had committed their lives to fight. The thing that I now have come to admire about those men is the fact that they did something about it. They were so willing to destroy that stronghold that they put their very lives on the line. They were willing to die to themselves in order to see that fortress lie in ruins. There are millions of Islamic fundamentalists around the world who piss and moan about evil America every day. But how many of them are willing to put their money where their burning flag is? How many of them are willing to do something about it? Not many! And the same thing is true of the Christian church today. Do we hate sin? Absolutely! And we’ll pontificate all day long about how evil our enemy Satan is and how he is building strongholds in this world on a daily basis. We’ll quote scriptures and shake our fist at the air, but do we have what it takes to start bringing some of those buildings down to the ground? Remember, our weapons are not of the flesh, so our strongholds look different then theirs.
"When you follow the desires of your sinful nature, your lives will produce these evil results: sexual immorality, impure thoughts, eagerness for lustful pleasure, idolatry, participation in demonic activities, hostility, quarreling, jealousy, outbursts of anger, selfish ambition, divisions, the feeling that everyone is wrong except those in your own little group, envy, drunkenness, wild parties, and other kinds of sin. Let me tell you again, as I have before, that anyone living that sort of life will not inherit the Kingdom of God." Galatians 5:19-21 (New Living Translation)

Lying lips and envy stand taller than those two buildings ever did. Lust, porn, and secret lives are shinier and prettier that those two majestic feats of architecture ever were. And we all see them on a daily basis. But are we willing to give our lives away so that those strongholds will “come a tumbling down”?

So what is your stronghold? Only you and God know that. Me, I’m an addict. And daily I stand at the base of my addiction and stare up the massive size of my foe. I feel so insignificant against the might of my own personal World Trade Center. But I still pick up five smooth stones, take my slingshot in hand, and run towards it in the name of our God with whom all things are possible.

Friday, July 28, 2006

When God Did Some Trash Talking

There is an interesting conversation in the first two chapters of the book of Job where God and Satan start talking smack to each other. I have heard some preachers say things like “God can’t look at sin” and “The devil is bound in hell” which are just plain ludicrous. The fact that Satan has access to God helps us understand why he is called “the accuser of the brethren” in Revelation 12:10.

As they converse, God points to Job as someone who Satan hasn’t been able to devour yet. (Snap) Of course, the retort is that he doesn’t serve for God nothing. (booyah) There is an essence of trash talking between the two over the state of affairs with Job. Of course Satan is given permission to work his magic on Job and does so with fierce abandon.

They meet again later and God asks Satan how his plan worked out. (in your face) Of course, Satan has to justify his defeat with another set of trash talking about Job. (yer mama) And God releases him to give it his best shot. Because Job is a man of integrity, it doesn’t work.

The surprise player in this whole scenario is Job’s wife. She throws down the worst of all the smack with her “curse God and die” garbage. In all this does Job hold his integrity? Absolutely!

So what? What does this all mean to me? If your enemy has the audacity to talk smack about Job, surely he will have no problem talking about you. The false prophet in Revelation 13 is describes as a man with two horns like a lamb, but speaks like the Dragon. He looks like a Christian, but speaks like the devil. And how does the Dragon speak? “Did God say…?” in Genesis, and “If you are the son of man….”in the temptation of Jesus. Expect him to speak the same way to you. Expect him to speak trash talk of doubt, fear, lack, and limitation to you. That’s what he does. That’s who he is.

“Be careful! Watch out for attacks from the Devil, your great enemy. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for some victim to devour. Take a firm stand against him, and be strong in your faith. Remember that your Christian brothers and sisters all over the world are going through the same kind of suffering you are. 1 Peter 5:8-9 (New Living Translation)

Friday, July 21, 2006

Dead Dogs Come To Life

There are some amazing lessons about grace in the Bible. I don’t think I ever really knew what the definition of grace was. The dictionary said it was “A favor rendered by one who need not do so; indulgence, mercy; clemency.” But I came across one of the best examples of grace in the entire Bible the other day. His name was Mephibosheth. He was the grandson of King Saul and Jonathan’s son. Also to note is the fact that he was lame in his legs.

“Jonathan son of Saul had a son who was lame in both feet. He was five years old when the news about Saul and Jonathan came from Jezreel. His nurse picked him up and fled, but as she hurried to leave, he fell and became crippled.” 2 Samuel 4:4

It seemed that one day long after Saul and Jonathan were dead, David had an interesting idea. He wondered if there were any living descendents of Jonathan. He had loved Jonathan more than anyone else in his life. For the sake of their bond, he was willing to show grace to any of Jonathan’s living descendents. Someone let him know about Mephibosheth, and David sent for him.

“When he came to David, he bowed low in great fear and said, "I am your servant." But David said, "Don't be afraid! I've asked you to come so that I can be kind to you because of my vow to your father, Jonathan. I will give you all the land that once belonged to your grandfather Saul, and you may live here with me at the palace!" Mephibosheth fell to the ground before the king. "Should the king show such kindness to a dead dog like me?" he exclaimed. Then the king summoned Saul's servant Ziba and said, "I have given your master's grandson everything that belonged to Saul and his family. You and your sons and servants are to farm the land for him to produce food for his family. But Mephibosheth will live here at the palace with me." 2 Samuel 9: 6-9

Mephibosheth lived like a king from that day forward because of the love that David had for his father Jonathan. There was absolutely NOTHING that he did to deserve it. It was free. He went from one deserving of death to one living an abundant life. Why? Grace!

Aren’t we “dead dogs” like Mephibosheth? Is there any good work we have done to deserve the grace and mercy that God has bestowed upon us? Absolutely not! But because of his love for Jesus, we are the recipients of free life. We were lame in our sins, and now we have the promise to live like kings. We get future, power, hope, life, love, health, prosperity, strength, and unlimited access to the Almighty because of his love. It’s a free gift through Jesus Christ.

Isn’t NOW a good time to thank God for this free gift?

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Gandhi Is In Hell, And It's Our Fault!

“I like your Christ, I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ."

"If Christians would really live according to the teachings of Christ, as found in the Bible, all of India would be Christian today.”

Mohandas Gandhi

Ouch! That hurts!

Gandhi was a great man and a serious world leader. He stood for many of the values that Jesus espoused. I am not the judge, nor do I claim to be. But I have to suppose that he ended up in hell based on the scriptures that are clear:

He that believeth in the Son hath everlasting life; and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abideth on him." John 3:36

He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life. 1 John 5:12

So it’s clear based on what I know about the life of Gandhi that he never became a Christian, although he was exposed to our beliefs and people. Did the fact that some who confessed to be Christians, yet lived a lifestyle contrary to their words have an affect on Gandhi heading for hell? I mentioned this to group of Christian men Tuesday night. Most of them got the message loud and clear. One of them said that “he wasn’t going to feel guilty about Gandhi”. I could see the whole “predestination thing” flying around in his mind. Ironically, he is one who was recently having premarital sex out of wedlock.

It is easy to believe that we don’t have to be salt and light to a dying world because God already knows who will make it and who won’t. I wonder if God is going to buy into our lame excuses for not living holy lives. I wonder if there will be any reason for looking like hypocrites that the righteous judge will accept.

“For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God”. Romans 3:23

But that doesn’t mean that we don’t have a job to do. We have to do what we can. We have to get real, be honest, live holy lives to the best of our abilities, resist the enemy, fight against temptation, love those who are unlovable, and show all men how merciful our Lord Jesus can be to us when we least deserve it.

Fare well Gandhi! May we do a better job of witnessing to others.

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Before Goliath Lost His Head

Everyone knows the story of David and Goliath from 1 Samuel 17. Little boy David kills the Philistine giant with a slingshot and a stone. But there is one amazing fact about that story that we need to consider and we will have to “reverse engineer” the story to understand it.

Verse51 “David ran and stood over him. He took hold of the Philistine's sword and drew it from the scabbard. After he killed him, he cut off his head with the sword.”
When you think that David had to draw Goliath’s sword out of his sheath, one has to wonder why Goliath didn’t even see David as threat enough to draw the sword. I have to suppose that Goliath thought it was going to be a piece of cake, and that he would probably just thump David in the head to kill him. He definitely underestimated the threat David posed. Does the enemy see you as a threat, or does he scoff at you when you come on the scene.

Verse 41 Meanwhile, the Philistine, with his shield bearer in front of him, kept coming closer to David. He looked David over and saw that he was only a boy, ruddy and handsome, and he despised him. He said to David, "Am I a dog, that you come at me with sticks?" And the Philistine cursed David by his gods. "Come here," he said, "and I'll give your flesh to the birds of the air and the beasts of the field!"
This stick Goliath referred to was found in verse 40 when he said:
“Then he took his staff in his hand, chose five smooth stones from the stream, put them in the pouch of his shepherd's bag and, with his sling in his hand, approached the Philistine.”
The shepherd’s staff was used to keep sheep and the sheep dogs in line. David obviously saw Goliath as the same type of threat that he had faced before. God had been faithful to him before, so why should he fail to show up now? But that is not the point we need yet.

Here’s the difference between David and Saul:
Verse 16 “For forty days the Philistine came forward every morning and evening and took his stand.”
Saul was paralyzed with fear for forty days when Goliath came out and talked smack twice a day. Saul was once a brave man, but to get to the real difference, we need to go all the way back to chapter 16.

Verse 1 says “The LORD said to Samuel, "How long will you mourn for Saul, since I have rejected him as king over Israel? Fill your horn with oil and be on your way; I am sending you to Jesse of Bethlehem. I have chosen one of his sons to be king." And verse 13 says “So Samuel took the horn of oil and anointed him in the presence of his brothers, and from that day on the Spirit of the LORD came upon David in power. Samuel then went to Ramah.”

Here’s the point: David was already a king even though he was just a young shepherd boy. Saul was already a coward even though he still wore the crown of a king. And they each acted appropriately to their spiritual condition, not their earthly appearance.

Are you a king, even though you might be a ditch digger? Are you a son of the Almighty even though you look like an accountant or a waiter? WE SHOULD START ACTING LIKE WE ARE SPIRITUALLY REGARDLESS OF WHAT WE LOOK LIKE PHYSICALLY. Pray today that God would reveal to you how He sees you, and not how everyone around you sees you.

"Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known." 1John 3:2

Saturday, June 17, 2006

Ten Men In The Bible Nobody Cares About

Twelve people did something great in the Bible, but you have absolutely no idea who ten of them are. Do you know what I’m talking about? Here’s a hint: the story is told in Numbers 13. Moses gave 12 men an assignment. No cheating. Don’t go get your Bible and look it up. I want to know if you know these men. Does it ring a bell? Ok, here are the names of the ten men I am referring to: Shammua, Shaphat, Igal, Palti, Gaddiel, Gaddi, Ammiel, Sethur, Nahbi, and Geuel. I am sure you have no idea what I’m talking about. (if you do, good for you)

I also bet that if I added the other two names to the list, you would immediately know what I was talking about. They are Caleb and Joshua. Now you remember. Moses sent 12 spies into the “promised land” to do some reconnaissance for the upcoming conquest. They all came back with a report of how magnificent the land was. Ten of the men said that it would be impossible for them to take possession of the land because of the giants that lived there. Only Joshua and Caleb silenced the men and said that it WOULD be done because the Lord had promised it to them. And they wanted to go and take it immediately.

The ten naysayers got the whole congregation worked up into a frenzy of negativity, and they wanted to stone Joshua and Caleb. And God was angry! Read Numbers chapter 14.

The world today is full of “Christians” who have many reasons why the promises of God “can’t be done”. There are people who see giants in their lives and forget scripture. But there are also the true warriors of God who not only believe the promises of God, but are ready, willing and able to see God stand and accomplish His word. They are armed with faith and strength.

Jesus did some amazing things here on this Earth. And then he said one of the most dangerous sayings in the entire Bible. He said in John 14:12

“Verily, verily, I say unto you, he that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto the Father.”

Yikes!!! If you truly believe those words, you will be like Joshua and Caleb. If you hear the words, and let the giants of this life turn you into a powerless Christian weenie, then you run the risk of going down in history like those ten “whats-their-names”. God has promised you some remarkable things as a son. Go take possession of what is rightfully yours.

Friday, June 09, 2006

The Christian Wimp Factor

There I was, sitting in the office of two Christian men. The heated topic boiled down to one’s view of Christianity and how they saw Jesus as a man. They both subscribe to what I call the “wimp factor”. If someone sees a scripture like this, they might totally become a weak pacifist:

“But I tell you, do not resist an evil person. If someone strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also.” Matthew 5:39

Can it really mean that we are not supposed to fight? Were these the words that came out of the lips of a man who threw moneychangers out of the temple with a whip? Absolutely! So does it mean that there is a contradiction in the Bible? Look at these:

"This command I entrust to you, Timothy, my son, in accordance with the prophecies previously made concerning you, that by them you fight the good fight' 1 Timothy 1:18

'Therefore I do not run like a man running aimlessly; I do not fight like a man beating the air." 1 Corinthians 9:26

"No one engaged in warfare entangles himself with the affairs of this life, that he may please him who enlisted him as a soldier." 2 Timothy 2:4

"Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, whereunto thou art also called, and hast professed a good profession before many witnesses." 1Timothy 6:12

"I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith" 2 Timothy 4:7

"Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you." James 4:7

These words also came from the lips of Jesus in Luke 22:38

“Then said he unto them, But now, he that hath a purse, let him take it, and likewise his scrip: and he that hath no sword, let him sell his garment, and buy one.” His disciples told him that they had two swords, and he let them know that it was sufficient."

So which Jesus do you follow? Is it the wimpy, cushy, marshmallow Jesus that just let’s people run all over him? Or is it the Warrior King Jesus who returns in Revelation 19 as King of Kings, and Lord of Lords? Will he turn his cheek to the Antichrist, or are his clothes dipped in the blood of the fierceness of the wrath of Almighty God? While Christians everywhere are snuggling up with the teddy bear Jesus, as for me and my household, we bow to the mighty Word of God.

What do you think?

Friday, June 02, 2006

I've earned the right to start this blog!

I was the master of Christian hypocrites. That is why I have earned the right to start this blog. Nobody was better at playing the “double life” than me. I could go to church and raise my hands with the best of them. I could quote scriptures that would "WOW" most Christians. When it came to looking religious, I had the game down pat. I doubt anyone was better than me.

Unfortunately, I was also the master of deception. I engaged in all the things that most male sex addicts engaged in: porn, escorts, and gentlemen’s clubs. I would seem shocked when someone would cuss, yet I cussed off church premises all the time. Is it any wonder that Jesus was always busting the chops of the Pharisees? The sad news is that I am not unique. The church today is full of men exactly like I was.

“Like the Holy One who called you, be holy yourselves also in all your behavior; because it is written, "YOU SHALL BE HOLY, FOR I AM HOLY." 1Peter 1: 15-16

It’s time for us to get real. It is time for us to stop leading double lives. It is time for us to get honest with ourselves, and then get accountable with other Christian men. If we are going to lead a life that pleases God, we are going to have to learn to fight the good fight of faith.

The judgment of God is fast approaching.