Monday, April 23, 2018

Cross-cultural Adoption Awareness - My Observation

Hi guys,

I'm back. I want to share with you an experience I had this past weekend at my kids' event and share with you my thoughts on it.

Ok, let me start out by saying I thought long and hard about how to say this so as not to "offend" anyone. And I'm saying this with much love and concern - so please take it that way. I believe that anyone who takes a child into their home to love, raise, and care for a child that is not biologically their responsibility is one of the best kind of people in the world. What they do is a selfless act that can't compare. If done right, they give a child a chance at a future they may not have otherwise had.

My concern is, when raising a child outside of your culture, please make sure that you are aware of how that child is seen and treated in AMERICAN culture. I know these children are the light of your life, your child. They will grow up learning "your ways", but those ways may not serve them in the best way as they grow older. Consider, when they are not with you, how will they be seen through the lens of the culture we live in now, especially with the racial climate that we've created? When they are with you, within your culture, they have you as their safety net - people know they are with you. You are their "pass" to a world that otherwise might not be welcoming or comfortable letting them in. But the concern is, what happens when you aren't there and they are outside of the bubble you've created for them? Unfortunately, your safety is gone and they are seen by society as the stereotype that's already been placed on them. That's until they have the opportunity to show otherwise, if they get that opportunity. Some people are so oblivious to this fact that it's not even a consideration to teach these children how to navigate and deal with how their home rules and how they are perceived in their home may not be the same rules and how they are perceived when they are actually in the world without their "pass". 

I will tell you why I say this. This past weekend at the event, there was a beautiful family sitting in front of us. There was a cute and petite white mom, and burly, broad chested white dad - who looked to be very loving and doting parents to their three children. One child, a beautiful, rusted, red-skinned and haired black boy, with light brown eyes, about the age of 5 or 6, called them "mom and dad" - so it is my assumption that he is adopted. 

During their time there, the boy decided he wanted to get out of the stands, walk down to the bottom of the bleachers, swing on the railings and stomp in the middle of the stairs of the aisle. He did this several times, especially when he got "angry" for not being able to get something he wanted. I'd call it, "cuttin up" on those stairs. And the parents continued talking to each other while he threw a fit swinging. Another instance, he was constantly in their personal space. Sometimes he'd be so, aggressively, as he rough-housed with them. I watched as he nearly hit his sister in her face and attempted to punch on his brother (both older), and attempted to put his dad in a headlock while his dad did the same with him. You could tell at times he was playing (until they got the better of him), but it was still disturbing to watch. Why? Because as I watched their interactions and his behavior, all I could think was, "They are going to end up getting that little boy killed." I know. It was a horrible thought, but here is what I saw the black boy learning that won't fly in the culture in which we currently live:
1. There are no boundaries.
This little boy was allowed to wander freely around at will. Of course good parenting of any culture shouldn't allow this for obvious reasons, but this is especially dangerous for people of color (POC). Unfortunately, in this day and age, there still are some places that we are not welcome. Most times, we can "feel" it. When we do, we get the chance to make the choice, do we want to oblige and move on, or do we ignore it and stay? This is something many
white people never have to think about. As Trevor Noah explains in one of his comedy specials, blending in is really a "white" thing. He says, think about it, that's why there is no black James Bond. White people can blend in to any setting anytime they wish. A black James Bond will be spotted immediately. Which is true, white people have the ability to blend in just about anywhere - there are no boundaries for them. But for this child of color, trying to live in that reality could be very dangerous as he gets older and out of the protection of his mother and father. 

2. I can act out when and where I want to. 
Again, good parenting of any culture wouldn't allow this for obvious reasons, but this is especially dangerous for a person of color (POC). In an age where POC are being arrested for sitting in a Starbucks, acting out will possibly get your killed. And to be truthful, this is not new for us. Which is why often times some POC put such emphasis on how to act in public and are often disappointed to find out it is us acting up "in front of company". And we've seen the difference between how a POC is treated by authorities versus those of our white counterparts for the same or worse offense (I've seen videos of white males literally try to take the gun of an officer out of its holster, jump into said cop's car, and not once incur bodily harm). Whether we want to admit it or not, POC have to be on their Ps and Qs concerning their behavior in public - and it's been that way since we stepped foot on american soil. 

3. Personal space does not matter. 
Again, the good parenting bit above. But what this child is learning is that he is allowed in people's personal space. This becomes a problem as he grows because as we have seen, just by stereotype and conditioning, he will be seen as "intimidating" by many in other cultures and ethnicities. Now imagine this boy not understanding that and playing with or getting in the face of a white kid/girl, or any kid or girl for that matter, in the way he was playing with his father, brother, and sister. He sees no difference because it's what he's used to. He won't understand how that will be viewed by the culture we've created and that could possibly get him hurt, jailed, or killed. 

If it seems I'm making assumptions here - very big ones at that - remember this is my opinion and observation. But in a time where everyone is on edge about race relations, "bad cops", "protests", etc, it's definitely something to consider. Do I expect for parents that have cross-culturally adopted to treat their children that are of other cultures/ethnicities any different than their own? Of course not. Love, laugh, play with your children. It's what they need most. But please make sure that your child is aware of how without you, they will be perceived and then act and teach them accordingly. I hate that we live in this kind of world...but it is what we've created it to be.

Friday, February 9, 2018

Where Have You Been?

Hi everyone!

Again, it's been a while. A long while. A long, LONG, while. But I haven't just been sittin on my bum all this time. A lot has been going on. The kids are growing - our oldest has become a teenager! My husband and I are still enjoying life together. The world is going more insane and yet God is still in control.

But I'm not here to make a huge long post about anything happening in my life. Well, that's a lie. This IS about something happening in my life.

My husband and I have decided to start a blog together. See, back in 2016, we decided we were tired of being renters and wanted a home for ourselves. But not just any home. We want a place where we can learn to be self-sustaining for as much as we can while teaching our children to do the same. Why? Because you have to know that sooner or later, things are going to get to a point where you have to know how to do things for yourself. Gas is getting higher which increases food costs. Businesses are becoming cut-throat, which means some people are getting laid off. And no matter where you stand in politics, you have to admit, the world as we know it politically is becoming unstable. So's best to know how to do some things.

Thing is, how we live now doesn't exactly lend itself to how we want to start living. So, we set our eyes on becoming land owners. And we would be nice to chronicle our journey. We could share our ups and downs and information for those who may want to go this path as well - or at least take interest in it. With that in mind, we started a blog together called, "Jireh Provisions Homestead".

There you will find information about searching for land, gardening, our various projects, natural health, and since our kids keep us running - quick cooking recipes. It will also link to our Youtube Channel where you can get visuals of various things if you don't want to read the blog.

Either way, I hope that you will still keep up with And I want to thank you for reading this blog as much as you have. I can't tell you how much I appreciate your being here with me and learning along with me through these years.

Be a blessing!

Monday, October 2, 2017

The Curse of Love with NO Balance II

God is love but God is also Just…

“...For a day of anger is coming, when God’s righteous judgment will be revealed. 6 He will judge everyone according to what they have done. 7 He will give eternal life to those who keep on doing good, seeking after the glory and honor and immortality that God offers. 8 But he will pour out his anger and wrath on those who live for themselves, who refuse to obey the truth and instead live lives of wickedness. " - Romans 2:5-8 NLT

In the last article about "The Curse of Love with NO Balance", we talked about how God is love, but He is also Truth. Well, another characteristic we must understand about Yahweh-God is that He is love but also Just. Remember, within Him there is balance. To be a loving God, He must also be willing to reward holiness as well as punish wickedness. Now, because He is loving AND just/fair, He gives warning and time for people to turn from wickedness and a choice to live a life He finds to be pleasing. Check out how long-suffering He is:

"Don’t you see how wonderfully kind, tolerant, and patient God is with you? Does this mean nothing to you? Can’t you see that his kindness is intended to turn you from your sin?" - Romans 2:4

So, let's talk about how through His patience He is just. God will always give a warning before destruction. He is not the "maniacal god" Richard Dawkins claims Him to be. He is not out for blood and a reckless homicidal god. He gives people chance after chance to turn away from wickedness. Remember the flood of Noah's day? Let's look at that story in greater detail just to see how just God is...

"5 The Lord observed the extent of human wickedness on the earth, and he saw that everything they thought or imagined was consistently and totally evil. 6 So the Lord was sorry he had ever made them and put them on the earth. It broke his heart. 7 And the Lord said, “I will wipe this human race I have created from the face of the earth. Yes, and I will destroy every living thing—all the people, the large animals, the small animals that scurry along the ground, and even the birds of the sky. I am sorry I ever made them.” 8 But Noah found favor with the Lord." - Gen. 6:5-8

Here we see God's anger because of the wickedness of the people. The bible tells us that everything people thought or imagined was consistently and totally evil. Can you imagine that? We live in a time where we ask ourselves, "how can someone DO that?"...yet, back then, everything people did was evil. And as King Solomon once said, "there is nothing new under the sun". Christ also tells us, that "When the Son of Man returns, it will be like it was in Noah’s day." We ask ourselves daily, how do these bad things happen, well we are closer to Christ's return than one thinks.

So what was God's solution? He wanted to wipe the human race (save Noah because he was righteous) off of the face of the earth. How? We later discover that He would bring calamity through a world wide flood. Now here is His patience:

"Noah was 600 years old when the flood covered the earth." - Genesis 7:6  

Why is that significant? Well, you don't see God's patience until you look at the account given of Noah's lineage in Genesis Chapter 5.

"After Noah was 500 years old, he became the father of Shem, Ham, and Japheth." - Gen. 5:32

We know that Shem, Ham, and Japeth were grown men with wives by the time the flood came. And we know that they were born when Noah was about 500 years old. That means, that there was a period of at least 100 years that people had a chance to turn away from sin, including the time that Noah warned about the flood and God's wrath. ONE HUNDRED YEARS God gave people chances to get themselves right. When we really think about it, it was longer. If we look back further into Noah's lineage, you will see that Enoch was his great-grandfather. Enoch was known to be so righteous in God's eyes that he didn't even die (God's wage for sin)...God "took him". If we do the math, it is important to note that Enoch was taken only sixty-nine years before Noah was born. This means there's no doubt that Enoch, a man that walked closely in righteousness with God, spent at least THREE HUNDRED YEARS teaching God's righteousness to the wicked world. That gives people at least FOUR HUNDRED YEARS total of warning, barring there was warning from the time of Noah's birth until he was 500 years old - then there would have been more!

Remember, God always gives warnings before His judgement because He is just and fair. Another example,

"Once again a message came to me from the Lord: 2 “Son of man, give your people this message: ‘When I bring an army against a country, the people of that land choose one of their own to be a watchman. 3 When the watchman sees the enemy coming, he sounds the alarm to warn the people. 4 Then if those who hear the alarm refuse to take action, it is their own fault if they die. 5 They heard the alarm but ignored it, so the responsibility is theirs. If they had listened to the warning, they could have saved their lives. 6 But if the watchman sees the enemy coming and doesn’t sound the alarm to warn the people, he is responsible for their captivity. They will die in their sins, but I will hold the watchman responsible for their deaths.’
7 “Now, son of man, I am making you a watchman for the people of Israel. Therefore, listen to what I say and warn them for me. 8 If I announce that some wicked people are sure to die and you fail to tell them to change their ways, then they will die in their sins, and I will hold you responsible for their deaths. 9 But if you warn them to repent and they don’t repent, they will die in their sins, but you will have saved yourself." - Ezekiel 33:1-9

Because God delights in justice and is fair, He sends people to warn the wicked before He exacts His judgement on them. Through His love, He charges those who know Him to tell the truth to those who are in danger of His wrath. Jonah experienced this with the people of Nineveh. They were a wicked people, and he was told by God to warn them. He thought it would be a waste of time and refused. Well, we know how that ended up - he got swallowed by a big fish and God gave him three days to stew over the mistake he made. Jonah repented and God carried out the plan for him to warn the people of Nineveh. Then an amazing thing happened - the people listened and repented! They took God's warning seriously and saved themselves from destruction by turning away from their wickedness and pleasing God. He does the same for us today through His people that know Him. Do you hear them? Are you listening?

See, love is not ignoring fault and sin, then getting mad when that sin is judged harshly. Love is to point out the fault/sin then be patient, warn, and give people a chance to change -  just as He does. So, we must not mistake His supposed "silence" for a weakness - He is being patient. And we must not accuse Him of being harsh when He exacts justice on those who are wicked for He has given chance after chance for them to get right with Him.

"Most importantly, I want to remind you that in the last days scoffers will come, mocking the truth and following their own desires. 4 They will say, “What happened to the promise that Jesus is coming again? From before the times of our ancestors, everything has remained the same since the world was first created....8 But you must not forget this one thing, dear friends: A day is like a thousand years to the Lord, and a thousand years is like a day. 9 The Lord isn’t really being slow about his promise, as some people think. No, he is being patient for your sake. He does not want anyone to be destroyed, but wants everyone to repent. 10 But the day of the Lord will come as unexpectedly as a thief. Then the heavens will pass away with a terrible noise, and the very elements themselves will disappear in fire, and the earth and everything on it will be found to deserve judgment." - 2 Peter 3:3-4,8-10

We serve the loving yet just God, Yahweh. Despite what people say or think about Him, He does not take pleasure in destruction. He wants us all to no longer be His enemy, but choose right living in accordance to how He sees fit. He is giving us a chance daily to choose right. I highly suggest that you take a little time to read Romans Chapter 2. Think about those words of yesteryear and apply them to today. I read this to my children for bible study today as it is written, then again using the words "believer/Christian" for Jew and "unbeliever" for Gentiles. The message is clear. We are in a time of warning before destruction. Will you take God up on His just and loving nature and turn from evil and do what is right?

Monday, September 25, 2017

The Curse of Love with NO Balance

“God is Love”...But God is also Truth…..

Deuteronomy 32:4
He is the Rock, his work is perfect: for all his ways are judgement: a God of truth and without iniquity, just and right is he.

I watched a series on YouTube last week entitled "War on Truth" by The Fuel Project. The series was a complete confirmation for me in many areas that I see brewing in our modern society. It sparked me to want to start blogging again and so, here I am.

Have you noticed lately how things are really spiraling out of control? In this day and time, people have exalted love over truth when they are meant to balance each other out. No one wants anyone to be uncomfortable or have their feelings hurt - which sometimes telling the truth does. As the video says, people are more apt to side with the "underdog" even if they are wrong because no one wants anyone to feel marginalized. Some call it having grace and mercy or being “nice” and “kind”. On the other spectrum, you have others who feel you have to fight for love, and stand strong for those long time held traditions of what love is. But without truth to balance it, all love becomes... is an idol.

Society is willingly bypassing what it knows to be intrinsically true to let other people do, feel, believe and fight for what they want - even if what they want goes completely against truth and reason. This leads them to turn on others who do not agree even if they point out true logic, hypocrisies and dangers. This is why grown men are allowed to believe they can be a non-uterus having, non-milk-making, non-XX chromosome baring woman and women can be a non-testicle having, non-semen-making, non-XY chromosome baring man. And in some cases neither man or woman, but animals  or a man who believes he's a woman who believes he's furniture  for that matter! As an aside, I find it very odd that people are not batting an eye at the fact this man thinks he's a woman, but they are trying to get him help because he also think he's furniture. But, I digress...This is also why people will argue with, discredit, disconnect from, and in some cases out right assault and kill those who do not "love their country/flag/anthem" the way they do. And let's not just limit the examples to these few - there are several other examples where love presides high above truth - we see it in churches as members protect their pastors, families, relationships, and friendships. Oh yes, people are willing to turn a blind eye because of the idol worship of the god “love”. This becomes a curse.

Exodus 20:3-5King James Version (KJV)
3 Thou shalt have no other gods before me.
4 Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth.
5 Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the Lord thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me;

The truth is we have replaced Yahweh-God for one of His attributes. We have gone from "God is love" taken from 1 John 4 beginning at verse 7, to "OUR god is Love", taken from people's twisted meaning of that scripture. Here is how you can tell something is someone's idol - if you take it away, they become volatile, combative, depressed, unwilling to reason, restless, get the picture.

See, Yahweh-God is not just "love", because in His love, He is the God of truth. He hates lies (Proverbs 6:16-17 , Proverbs 12:22 , Ephesians 4:22-25 ). It is not loving to lie to someone to make them feel better. Lies are meant to control. If you can control the information the person receives (or doesn’t) you can then control the outcomes skewed in your favor. Because in His love He requires truth, He is the perfect example of what balance looks like. He loves us enough to tell us the truth. Are you an adulterer? He loves you enough to tell you the truth: through His Son He tells you to leave that behind, and SIN no more, or face the consequences of eternal separation from Him. And if you don’t “believe”, that doesn’t make what He says any less true. He doesn’t want you to be comfortable and therefore ignore unrighteousness (wrong-doing). No! He wants you to have life abundantly. He wants you to be whole. He wants you to be holy. He wants you to have all of the information so that you can make an informed decision with no pieces missing.

So yes, God is love…..but He also demands that there be truth. We can unite through truth which leads to perfect love and balance. Without them both we will continue to create an unbalanced world where things that are wrong (unrighteous), relative morals, confusion, and chaos will abound. This will be the inheritance of our children.

2 Thessalonians 2:10-13
....because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved. 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. But we are bound to give thanks always to God for you, brethren beloved of the Lord, because God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth.

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

When Christians Don't Believe Prophecy...

In times of tragedy or perceived threat, we will often find the need to come together and reject anything that threatens our security. It is an intrinsic need in life to do this. We see it in the animal kingdom, how prey animals come together at the sight of what would kill them. We saw it in our own behavior at 9/11, and every major tragedy before or after.

However, among those who identify as Christians this causes a disturbing trend. Not that we aren't already dealing with disturbing trends, but this one really baffles me. See, we (and I use that as a very general, loose, and collective term for those who identify as Christians) are good for believing all the "good" verses of the bible. You know the ones: prosperity, long life, coming out of difficult situations, and others. We (again, general and loose) are also good for believing any prophecy that will bolster our current belief or promises our safety. But one thing we (again, well, let's just assume that from here on out this will be a general and loose term) are not good for is believing the warning verses, "if:then" clauses, and prophecies of the bible. And it makes me wonder, what are we learning on Sundays? Is no one going through the bible verse by verse anymore? Or are we only talking about concepts, theories, and funny anecdotes?

I can go on and on about this, but there is one specific thing I'd like to talk about. Lately, there has been a trend of Christians trying to "save" this culture. They are trying to teach people how to "love" and "accept" so as our children don't have to grow up in a "world of hate". They are teaching to unite with the things not of God and keep your judgments to yourself, "The world already has enough of that! Live and let live and let God handle the rest!". They are trying to "take back" the entertainment industry. They are trying to "take back" neighborhoods and cities. They are trying to "take back" politics and our financial system. And, all of this is done unsuccessfully may I add because these industries and causes were not created for believers or the purpose of making them righteous. This whole world lies in the hand of the evil one. This is why we as believers shouldn't be tangled in this world's affairs. They are mere distractions from what we are supposed to be doing. Our command was never to take back culture or live in peace and unity. Our command was to teach the Kingdom of Yahweh-God which will naturally bring division and hate because the world hates His message.
We know [for a fact] that we are of God, and the whole world [around us] lies in the power of the evil one [opposing God and His precepts].-1 John 5:19 AMP
No soldier in active service gets entangled in the [ordinary business] affairs of civilian life; [he avoids them] so that he may please the one who enlisted him to serve. 2 Timothy 2:4 AMP
19 Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” - Matthew 28:19-20
These same Christians are hollering for peace, and forget how the story is written. As long as Yahweh-God is God (and He will forever be) and the enemy is still here, there will never be peace. The two are diametrically opposed to one another. So much so, that the enemy will attempt to conquer and kill believers that continue the message of Christ, and he will succeed! That will be a bloody time and usher in a false peace.

And this is where the bible speaks to warn us of those hollering about peace and safety. The one who is in control of this world right now wants nothing more but chaos and more chaos. And if we look on the back of our dollar bill, we discover why. Because out of this chaos, he will bring his order. And his order will bring about a false peace and safety. Which will be to the detriment of all of mankind that serve him and his ideals. But before this happens, things will have to become so bad that people will want nothing more than to follow someone who can save them. And don't think that this can't happen. We are in the mindset of doing this very thing right now. We look to the government, our guns, our military and police force to save us. We look to the "lesser of two evils" politicians to save us. We look to ourselves and everyone else but the TRUE Savior- Yahshua, Jesus the Christ.

Because we miss this fact and over look the true Christ, this leaves room for the anti-christ to "fulfill" this need - to save people according to his will. And all will gather to worship him because he is going to be able to do what no one else on earth at this present time could. He will provide that peace everyone so desperately needs and looks for outside of Christ.
4 They fell down and worshiped the dragon because he gave his authority to the beast; they also worshiped the beast, saying, “Who is like (as great as) the beast, and who is able to wage war against him?” 5 And the beast was given a mouth (the power of speech), uttering great things and arrogant and blasphemous words, and he was given freedom and authority to act and to do as he pleased for forty-two months (three and a half years). 6 And he opened his mouth to speak blasphemies (abusive speech, slander) against God, to blaspheme His name and His tabernacle, and those who live in heaven. 7 He was also permitted to wage war against the saints (God’s people) and to overcome them, and authority and power over every tribe and people and language and nation. 8 All the inhabitants of the earth will fall down and worship him, everyone whose name has not been written since the foundation of the world in the Book of Life of the Lamb who has been slain [as a willing sacrifice]. - Revelation 13:4-8(AMP)
Oh, everyone will get their "peace and safety", but the Lord will come and correct it in a mighty terrible way...
2 For you yourselves know perfectly well that the day of the [return of the] Lord is coming just as a thief [comes unexpectedly and suddenly] in the night. 3 While they are
saying, “Peace and safety [all is well and secure!]” then [in a moment unforeseen] destruction will come upon them suddenly like labor pains on a woman with child, and they will absolutely not escape [for there will be no way to escape the judgment of the Lord]. - 1 Thessalonians 5:2-3(AMP) 
9 Then another angel, a third one, followed them, saying with a loud voice, “Whoever worships the beast and his image and receives the mark [of the beast] on his forehead or on his hand, 10 he too will [have to] drink of the wine of the wrath of God, [a]mixed undiluted into the cup of His anger; and he will be tormented with fire and brimstone (flaming sulfur) in the presence of the holy angels and in the presence of the Lamb (Christ). 11 And the smoke of their torment ascends forever and ever; and they have no rest day and night—those who worship the beast and his image, and whoever receives the mark of his name.” - Revelation 14:9-11 
The enemy has done such a great job at getting us off of our mission. We are so busy trying to create peace, save a culture, and this world, that somehow people are going to church every Sunday and forgetting the main outcome of our message of Christ. HE'S COMING BACK. And when He returns, He WILL DESTROY THIS EARTH AND CREATE A NEW ONE. How do we forget that?
"Lift up your eyes to the sky, Then look to the earth beneath; For the sky will vanish like smoke, And the earth will wear out like a garment And its inhabitants will die in like manner; But My salvation will be forever, And My righteousness will not wane. - Isaiah 51:6
"For behold, I create new heavens and a new earth; And the former things will not be remembered or come to mind. - Isaiah 65:17
Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away (vanished), and there is no longer any sea. 2 And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, arrayed like a bride adorned for her

husband; 3 and then I heard a loud voice from the throne, saying, “See! The tabernacle of God is among men, and He will live among them, and they will be His people, and God Himself will be with them [as their God,] 4 and He will wipe away every tear from their eyes; and there will no longer be death; there will no longer be sorrow and anguish, or crying, or pain; for the former order of things has passed away.”5 And He who sits on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.” - Revelation 21:1-5
So, what am I ranting on and on about? Really it's to make everyone, especially believers, aware that things are not going to get better before Christ's return. We will have to bear the burden of raising our children in a hateful and evil world because the hearts of men are cold and will grow colder. Those joining hands now trying to create peace, will also join hands later under the beast (anti-christ) because the peace outside of Christ they so desperately wanted will be here. And they will be deceived - believers and unbelievers alike. Because the truth is, the only peace that you will find that will be true is in Christ. And the only time we will see that peace is at His return.

So, stay focused. Our job is to win the hearts of men and point them to the Savior of this whole world. Lord, protect us, your children, as we wait Your Son's return....

Now to Him who is able to keep you from stumbling or falling into sin, and to present you unblemished [blameless and faultless] in the presence of His glory with triumphant joy and unspeakable delight, 25 to the only God our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion, and power, before all time and now and forever. Amen. - Jude v24-25

Monday, June 13, 2016

What the News Won't Tell You

There's tragedy all around us. Every where we turn, people are dying, hungry, hurt, fighting, you name it. The most recent tragedy that has our attention are the murders that happened in Orlando, Florida the weekend of June 11th, 2016.

There is a lot of speculation surrounding this event, just like there have been so many speculations surrounding other events. There's been calls for massive gun control and the debates flare. There's talk of prejudices against sodomy and sodomites (homosexuals) being the cause. There's talk of politics being a motive. The news is not at a loss for words in throwing out controlled propaganda to narrate what has happened with this event as well as others that have passed.

If you have read any of my blogs or Facebook stats, you know I am no stranger to calling out truth and turning our attention to manipulation and propaganda. But this blog won't be about that. So often, I and others get so caught up with the "conspiracy" of things, that we forget the main subject at hand.

These things are not happening because of some evil powers that be that are controlling our minds - the way we think, act, and what we do - to serve their agenda (even though that is true). These things are not happening because people don't have proper gun permits. These things are not happening because of foolish decisions. No, these things are happening because those who are not regenerated in Christ have evil hearts and seek to do only that which is in it.
Woe to those who devise wickedness
    and work evil on their beds!
When the morning dawns, they perform it,
    because it is in the power of their hand. - Micah 2:1
But here's the thing. This world has gotten so good at calling what is evil good and what is good evil, that no one without wisdom can tell which is which. Those who are courageous enough to call out evil are accused of judging and, to be honest, it's true. And there's nothing wrong with judging as long as you are not doing the same sin you are judging. But, these voices are hushed.

See, the news will tell you all you want to hear in order to feed your fleshly thoughts. They'll tell you that these things are the works of terrorists to fuel your hate of other religions or people who look like they practice those religions. They'll tell you that it was a "white cop" that shot another "black man" to fuel your inner racist. They'll tell you that the club was full of sodomite-homosexuals to fuel your sympathy or lack there of for them. They will tell you that it was a ill-gotten semi-automatic used to create the biggest mass murder in the country's history to fuel your need for the government to disarm people and to argue with those who believe differently. Side note, this was not the biggest mass murder in our country's history, it's just the most talked about at the present time.

But, the one thing they will not tell you is that these things are happening because of the evil hearts of men. Why? Because it will cause us to have to do some serious self-evaluation. If these people have evil hearts, then what could I be capable of? Intrinsically, we know we can not cure an evil heart, so we will have to admit our weakness and look for One who's stronger. It will cause us to have to look outside of government to save us. It will cause us to have to look outside of the universe, a created entity for the power to change us. It will cause us to have to admit we can not transcend to a god, but we need the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.

But, the media and this world doesn't want you to do that. See, if we stay distracted with hate, we never have to recognize our own evil heart and need for a Savior. Look at this beautiful promise Yahweh-God gives us:
The Old Promise: 26 And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. 27 And I will put my Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes and be careful to obey my rules. - Ezekiel 36:26-27 
The New Promise: Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come. - 2 Corinthians 5:17 

What the news, media and this world won't tell you is the only way to combat the evil that spews out of human hearts is to have a literal change of heart through Christ. It's just that simple. We don't need marches, vigils, campaigns, laws...we need CHRIST, period.

When we receive the gift that is Christ's sacrifice on our behalf, and we truly become one with Him, our desires, thoughts, aspirations die and become His pure desires, thoughts, and aspirations. Those don't include hate, greed, prejudice, murderous schemes, false love, etc. but, they do include rest, peace, joy, patience, kindness, respect, and most importantly immortality. Yes, in Him we have eternal life. Do you realize how long that is? It's outside of time and that's mind-blowing.

How do we lose our life and gain Christ? I will tell you, it is not through a "Sinner's Prayer". A true conversion has many steps some in various orders, yet is VERY simple....

1. You have to have faith and Believe God exists
2. You must call on Him and Him alone
3. You must realize you have a heart of sin, confess it to Him, and repent
4. Confess Christ as the Lord of your life and your Savior
5. Walk with confidence in your new life FREE from sin.

These steps are explained and backed by verses in this blog. Christ tells us to "count the costs" of following Him. Please take time to pray, and if you would like, read in further detail what this means. The bible tells us, there is nothing worse than to know the truth and then turn away from it! Make sure you know and understand what you are doing.

So, as the world burns, those of us who have and will heed the message of Christ and the cross, stay strong. Our redemption is drawing near. Stay vigilant and faithful. Don't get caught up in the world's affairs. Keep the new heart He has given you pure before Him. He will return....

Take care,

Salvation in Christ Broken Down

Many times we hear church people say "Come to Christ and be saved!", or "Let Jesus into your heart!". But, what does that really mean? Sure, a pastor can lead millions in one chanted "Sinner's prayer", but I will assure you, that isn't the same thing as salvation. In fact, it produces many false converts because salvation is never really explained. This process is an intimate one. One that isn't really shared with tens, hundreds, thousands, or millions of people. This is something done between you and the Lord.

So, I'd like to take some time just to go through steps that I have found to be true and helpful in understanding what it means "to be saved". Although I have "Step" in front of the numbers, this is in no way an exhaustive list, and neither are these steps something that must be done. Salvation is the work of the Spirit of Yahweh-God that man can not dictate or conduct. And the Spirit moves how He wishes. But, this is just to get you thinking of some things that others may not teach. Christ tells us to "count the costs" before following Him. And the Word tells us that it is better to not have known the truth, than to know and turn away from it. So, hopefully these "Steps" will help guide you and help you know what you are getting into.

I pray that if you are seeking salvation through Him, that He provides you with a godly council of believers to help you on your journey. I will admit, it is tough, but great things are worth fighting for!

Step 1: You first must forget what the world teaches and BELIEVE Yahweh-God exists...
And without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him. - Hebrews 11:6 
Step 2: Call on Him while He is near . This seems like a no-brainer. But, this is important. We have to call on Him and only Him. A pastor can not save us. And we can't continue to think that we "have more time". The old addage says, "time waits for no man". How true it is. Death comes quickly and suddenly. And once it reaches out for you, there is no "after death" chance at salvation. Also the Father declared from the beginning that His Spirit will not dwell with man for forever.
Seek the LORD while He may be found; Call upon Him while He is near. Let the wicked forsake his way And the unrighteous man his thoughts; And let him return to the LORD, And He will have compassion on him, And to our God, For He will abundantly pardon. - Isaiah 55:6-7
Step 3: Realize you do have a evil and sinful heart and need to change. If you can't do this, then you will see no need for Someone greater than yourself. God created you. He has the right to take your life. As a sinner, while you are His creation you are not His child. You are His enemy. In reading through the Holy Bible what He can do to His enemies, this should terrify you. But, He had mercy and grace on you. And because of His tremendous patience, love and grace, and because He didn't turn His back on your and leave you burdened with an evil heart, it should make you sad enough that you don't want to become His enemy again (repentance).
10 The kind of sorrow God wants makes people decide to change their lives. This leads them to salvation, and we cannot be sorry for that. But the kind of sorrow the world has will bring death. - 2 Corinthians 7:10
Step 4: Confess what you know you have done wrong (lied, cheated, stole, sex outside of marriage, whatever is burdening you) and ask for forgiveness and to have a clean heart again.
If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness - 1 John 1:9
Step 5: Confess and believe Christ as Lord and your Savior - You must believe that Christ did the work of the cross in that He, being perfect, died in your place (the wages of sin is death) , through the power of Yahweh-God, rose again, and now sits at the right hand of the Father interceding on your behalf.
9 If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved. - Romans 10:9
Step 6: Once you have chosen to walk this walk, STOP SINNING. The same God that saved you from your sin is powerful enough to keep you out of it. His Spirit dwells in you now. No, you are not just a "sinner" like everyone else. Sinners don't go to heaven and gain eternal life. Yahweh-God calls you righteous. And we should live like it. I think this is a overlooked point, so I'm going to give two verses for this:
23 For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God’s glorious standard. 24 Yet God, in his grace, freely makes us right in his sight. He did this through Christ Jesus when he freed us from the penalty for our sins. 25 For God presented Jesus as the sacrifice for sin. People are made right with God when they believe that Jesus sacrificed his life, shedding his blood. This sacrifice shows that God was being fair when he held back and did not punish those who sinned in times past, 26 for he was looking ahead and including them in what he would do in this present time. - Romans 3:23-26
6 Anyone who continues to live in him will not sin. But anyone who keeps on sinning does not know him or understand who he is. 7 Dear children, don’t let anyone deceive you about this: When people do what is right, it shows that they are righteous, even as Christ is righteous. 8 But when people keep on sinning, it shows that they belong to the devil, who has been sinning since the beginning. But the Son of God came to destroy the works of the devil. 9 Those who have been born into God’s family do not make a practice of sinning, because God’s life[a] is in them. So they can’t keep on sinning, because they are children of God. - 1 John 3:6-9
Step 7: Last, don't let anyone or anything separate you from His love. The enemy of your soul will play tricks to make you believe this isn't real, or, that because you didn't "feel" anything nothing happened. The enemy, satan, will do anything to get you to denounce what you have done in dethroning him as the lord of your life and placing Christ in His rightful spot.
38 For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, 39 neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. -  Romans 8:38-39
I know this may seem like a lot, but it's not. When you think about it, if you are coming to Yahweh seeking salvation, you've taken care of at least three of the seven steps already. One thing I know, if you are serious, He is faithful to complete the work He started in you. It is not His desire that anyone perish with an evil heart. The bible says if you draw neigh unto Him, He will draw neigh unto you....
Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded. - James 4:8