I’m Back!

This post was written nearly three years ago….

It has been a couple of months since I posted anything on this blog. I have been busy with the task(s) of taking care of my family, taking care of myself, trying to study the Word more, and taking care of my family. Did I mention that I have been taking care of my family? I find that if I sit down to the computer I lose track of time. I plan to only check my email. But once I sit down, I think about the obituaries. (Yes, I am wierd like that. I used to check the obituaries years ago to see who had died so that I could go apply for their job. That is so morbid, I know. Now, it is just a habit.) So I will check the national news mediums to see who died overnight. Then I check the website for my hometown here in North Carolina to see who died. I do that because my relatives in my hometown are really bad at calling me to tell me that Aunt So-and-So died, and then in six months, when I am at home for a visit, I will ask about Aunt So-and-So, and someone will “shush” me and pull me into another room to break the news to me. So I just decided that if I check the obituaries myself, then I will know firsthand.

While checking the obituaries this week, unfortunately, a very good friend of mine passed away. I had not seen him in many years, but he was a special person to me nonetheless. When I saw his name in the obituary column, I was stunned. I had to sit there and just look at his name for a few minutes. It was a sad day for me. I have been sad ever since I read his name. I have thought so many times about his dear wife, and all the years that they spent together. Now she is alone, but not really alone. She is a believer in the Lord Jesus Christ, as he was, and so she is never really alone. And she has children and grandchildren who are close to her, and I know they will take good care of her. But he was a gentle, easy-going man, and I will always think the world of him for the good times that we spent together.

Sometimes, it startles me when I read about a famous person’s death. I mean, I know that we are all going to die one day, but just the news of it is sometimes surprising. I always think, when I read of a famous actor or actress or politician or singer who has died, I wonder if they knew Jesus…I guess I wonder that because ultimately that is the most important issue.

Recently, I heard a sermon entitled “One Minute After You Die”. The pastor was teaching through the book of Romans. It is so unsettling to think of those that you love, who do not know Jesus, even though people have shared the Lord with them, and the fact that they are going to die one day. Knowing that if they die in their present spiritual condition they will be lost forever is so heart-breaking. My parents are perfect examples. My father is one of the greatest men I have ever met. But he does not acknowledge Jesus as his Savior. If the Lord comes for him today, he will be lost in a fiery hell for all eternity. Do not think for a second that the thought of my daddy in hell does not disturb me to the greatest degree possible. It does. But I have shared Jesus with him. I have told him that he will end up in hell, and then the lake of fire, if he does not surrender his life to the Lord. I have told him that there is a peace that he does not know here on earth because he does not have an Advocate before the Father Who is interceding on his behalf. I have told him that he does not want to be like the deceiver, who does not care about him, and will be in torment himself forever and ever. Still nothing. My mother, on the other hand, is another story. She is as obstinate a woman as they come. She does not want to hear anything about a relationship with the Lord Jesus. She told me one year at Thanksgiving that I should just come home one year and not talk all that “Jesus” stuff. So that was the last year that I went home for Thanksgiving, because there is no way that I can be in a room with warm blooded people and not mention the Lord.

Nevertheless, I pray that the obituary column does not post my father or my mother’s names before they give their lives to the Lord. I pray that the Lord will give them enough chances until they surrender. I pray that He will not call them until they have decided that they do not want to spend eternity in hell.

By the way, if you are reading this and you do not know the Lord Jesus as your Savior, give your life to Him today. Do not let this moment pass. Tomorrow is not promised to you or anyone else. Romans 10:9 says “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and believe in thine heart that God hath raised Him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.” Confess that Jesus is Lord. Confess that He died on the cross to wash away the sins of man. Confess that He was dead and buried, but then on the morning of the third day, He was resurrected to life by God the Father, and now He sits on the throne in heaven at God’s right hand, making intercession for the saints. Believe that in your heart, and the Bible says that you will be saved. You will be saved from a terrible judgment that you definitely deserve. But God is loving and so kind that He gave His Son’s life so that you would not have to suffer the judgement that you deserve. He gave His Son so that when your name is printed in the obituary column of your hometown newspaper, though everyone who reads it will think you are dead, you will be more alive than you have ever been before.

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Called to be Holy

2 Corinthians 6:17
Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you.

We live in a time where the church imitates the world instead of the other way around. When the world comes out with a new fad, more than likely it will wind up in the church. Much of this “imitation” is under the guise of breaking away from legalism and traditions. Legalism, in and of itself, is wrong. Traditions can be unnecessary and useless. By the same token, adopting the habits of the world is displeasing to God. Paul was warning the believers in Corinth of the dangers that comes with being yoked with their unbelieving neighbors. They needed to disengage themselves from the sinful practices of the world around them. To be committed to Christ is to be separate from the world. Revelation 18:3-5 says “For all nations have drunk of the wine of the wrath of her fornication, and the kings of the earth have committed fornication with her, and the merchants of the earth are waxed rich through the abundance of her delicacies. And I heard another voice from heaven saying, Come out of her, My people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues. For her sins have reached unto heaven, and God hath remembered her iniquities.” Church of Jesus Christ, come out of the sinful habits and practices of the world so that you will not be a partaker of her sins. Separate yourself spiritually and physically, in the Name of Jesus Christ.

There is a world out there that is watching you, body of Christ! If we look like they do, then why do they need to change anything to come and be a part of the body? We cannot spread the gospel if we are hurting our witness. It must be strong. It must be separate from the world. It must be holy. 1 Peter 1:16 says “Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy.” Leviticus 11:44 says ” ye shall therefore sanctify yourselves, and ye shall be holy; for I am holy:..” God is serious about holiness, so much so that He had so send the only One Who could redeem us down to the earth to die for our sins. No one else had salvation in their blood. No one else could pay the price that would satisfy God’s anger at sin.

Church of Jesus Christ: you are called to be different! I know this is the 21st century and all…I know that everything holy is traditional and antequated and you want no part of it, but I promise you this: God is serious about holiness. Judgment will begin in the church, and if I were you, I would be ready for Him to come at any moment. You are much better prepared for Him if you are living holy.

The Qualifications for Pastoral Leadership

1 Timothy 3:1-7

This is a true saying, If a man desire the office of a bishop, he desireth a good work.
A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife, vigilant, sober, of good behaviour, given to hospitality, apt to teach;
Not given to wine, no striker, not greedy of filthy lucre; but patient, not a brawler, not covetous;
One that ruleth well his own house, having his children in subjection with all gravity;
(For if a man know not how to rule his own house, how shall he take care of the church of God?)
Not a novice, lest being lifted up with pride he fall into the condemnation of the devil.
Moreover he must have a good report of them which are without; lest he fall into reproach and the snare of the devil.

Titus 1:5b-11

…ordain elders in every city, as I had appointed thee:
If any be blameless, the husband of one wife, having faithful children not accused of riot or unruly.
For a bishop must be blameless, as the steward of God; not selfwilled, not soon angry, not given to wine, no striker, not given to filthy lucre;
But a lover of hospitality, a lover of good men, sober, just, holy, temperate;
Holding fast the faithful word as he hath been taught, that he may be able by sound doctrine both to exhort and to convince the gainsayers.
For there are many unruly and vain talkers and deceivers, specially they of the circumcision:
Whose mouths must be stopped, who subvert whole houses, teaching things which they ought not, for filthy lucre’s sake…

 

This issue has stirred up my spirit more than once in the year 2012. I have watched the sacred desk be disgraced by more than one person who says that he is “called” by God to pastor, but then I have watched his life exemplify everything except a calling from God.

 

I cannot understand how anyone does not see that God made it very clear in His Word who was to shepherd His people. He said through Paul to Timothy that if any man desired this work, he desired a good work. Shepherding is a good work for those who are called and qualified. God loves for us to have pastors because He said “And I will give you pastors according to Mine heart, which shall feed you with knowledge and understanding” (Jeremiah 3:15). God gave the pastoral qualifications in accordance with His Word and His will for us. He knew that leading his people would be an influential task, and He only wanted the influence of someone who exemplified His leadership to be in that role. We have, however, followed and tolerated men who do not exemplify these qualities at all. In the last two years alone, the news has been full of so-called pastors who have been caught in all kinds of scandals, from extra-marital affairs to financial impropriety. Paul warned us that this would come. Now it is here.

 

I am reminded of a situation in the national news where a certain pastor was crowned in his church pulpit. I know of another situation where a pastor verbally threatened a blogger who called him out for fleecing the sheep in his church. Another nationally known pastor was thrown off of a commercial flight for his behavior and language. Another nationally known pastor got married and within three years of getting married, he fathered two children with young women in his congregation, and one of them was a minor! Yet another nationally known pastor renounced the gospel, began teaching that there is no real hell, and that we are all saved by the blood of Jesus. He said that gospel made him feel better about his unsaved grandparents who died without a relationship with the Lord Jesus.

 

Locally, a pastor killed his wife, went to church and lied in the pulpit about her whereabouts. Another pastor was involved in an extramarital affair, and while he was with his mistress in another state, he had some health problems that prevented him from getting home on his own. He actually had to call someone from the church he pastored to come and get him and take him home! Another pastor began an affair and left his wife and children while still pastoring his church. Another pastor’s teenage son got his girlfriend pregnant, and instead of being ashamed, he and his wife flaunted the fact that they were going to be grandparents. They forced the young man and his girlfriend to get married, and then the young man left the church and joined the nation of islam.

 

I will not even touch the subject of women pastors.

 

All of the above-mentioned men have disqualified themselves from pastoral leadership. The Bible says that the bishop must be blameless. If I know about an affair that you are having, then you are not blameless! I don’t even think we consider the blameless quality because everyone is so defensive about someone falsely accusing them. Being falsely accused and being blameless are two totally different things…

 

The pastor is to be the husband of one wife. Every man who involves himself sexually with another woman has joined himself spiritually to a harlot (1 Corinthians 6:16). When a man enters a sexual relationship with a woman, he is joined to her spiritually, which is why God reserved the sexual relationship for a husband and his wife. It is a covenant relationship, and when he breaks that covenant, he is disqualified from pastoral leadership. (Bible scholars differ on how long he is disqualified. In my opinion, he is disqualified forever. Others suggest that if he is repentant and has lived a number of years as a Godly example, then he can be restored.) How can he lead men in marital relationships that honor the Lord when he cannot keep honor the Lord with his own marriage?

 

The pastor must be one of good behavior. Remember the pastor I told you about earlier who got thrown off of the commercial flight because of his language and attitude? That was not good behavior. Remember the pastor who was crowned in his church? He was also accused of taking indecent liberties with several young men in his church. That is not good behavior. Remember the pastor who left his wife and his children while still pastoring his church? That same pastor tried to destroy his wife and ruin her reputation in the community. That is not good behavior. Remember the pastor who fathered two children with women in his congregation within three years of getting married? He had the audacity to go into the pulpit and use David’s discretion as his excuse to tell the congregation “I am STILL the man!” while the congregation clapped and cheered him on.

 

We have tolerated this kind of behavior in the church far too long. No one is willing to call the pastor out on his behavior. No one is willing to call the pastor out on his behavior. The church has replaced the worship of the Lord Jesus and replaced it with worshiping the pastor. But you better hear me, church of the Living GOD! This nonsense has got to stop. You have got to stand on the Word of God. God’s Word is truth and there is no one or nothing that is excused from obeying God’s law. James even went so far as to say that people ought to be careful in taking these teaching positions in the church, because they come with greater condemnation for those who take them lightly. I guess the church thinks that God does not mean what He says. I think we have gotten comfortable here in this world.

 

Jesus is coming back sooner than we think. When He returns, all of this nonsense that the church is “getting away with” right now is going to stop. The Bible says that He is coming back for a people that are without spot or blameless (2 Peter 3:14). The church today is not only spotted, but we are not without blame and neither are our leaders.

 

I will continue to pray for pastors, teachers and leaders within the body of Christ. I pray that the power of the Holy Spirit will capture their hearts and draw them back to God’s Word, where I am sure they all started.

 

Dear Lord,

 

Please draw your people back unto Yourself. Please fill our pastors and teachers with Your Spirit and give them the desire to shepherd Your people to the best of their ability. Fill Your church with Your people who live by Your standard and are ready to spread the gospel of Jesus Christ to all the lost people of the world. Help the pastors live a life that shows the love and holiness of the Lord Jesus Christ, because You said in Your Word that without holiness, no man shall see the Lord…

 

We thank You and praise you In Jesus’ Name…

Let the Church be the Church!

Matthew 16:18
…upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.

 

The church of Jesus Christ, in its present form, is nothing like what the Lord intended. God told Peter that the gates of hell would not have victory over the church. Of course, we know that the Lord was right because He knows the end even before the beginning. The church, however, has put herself in a precarious position. The church has not been faithful to God’s Word, and now the world is taking over the church.

 

In my childhood, the church was the sanctuary, of sorts. Nothing evil dared come into the church to cause obvious harm. Our adversary’s demons were there, of course, but they sat and watched to see how they could attack the body of Christ OUTSIDE of the four walls of the church. The age in which we live now, the demons are center stage! Unsaved pastors fill pulpits all over the place. Homosexuals are directing the choir. People who are living in sexual sin and all kinds of perversion are working in childrens ministry. No longer are women in their God-given roles in the church; now they are the “pastors” and deacons in the church. The Jezebel spirit is running rampant. No longer do women dress with “shamefacedness and sobriety” (1 Timothy 2:9), but now they are coming to church as close to naked as the law will allow: cleavage showing, splits in dresses up their thighs, wearing blue jeans, shorts, and tank tops. Men no longer wear suits and ties; they are in the pulpit now wearing jeans, shorts and flip-flops. Children are no longer taught Bible verses; now they watch movies and play games during church. Sunday School is a thing of the past. Hymns have been replaced with songs that one could sing to his or her date on Saturday night. The church looks worse than the world when it comes to holiness and reverence for the things of God.

 

My heart is broken for the church. I pray that we will get back to being the standard for the world. I pray that we will learn how to walk before the world so that when they come in the church they will see something different from what they see outside the doors of the church. Hebrews 12:14 says “Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord…” The church has got to be the bar to which every other group aspires. No one will see the Lord in all of His splendor in heaven without the church, the body of Christ, to be witness of His goodness.

What a Wonderful God….

Psalm 145:3
Great is the LORD, and greatly to be praised; and His greatness is unsearchable.

I was sitting here thinking about how good God is…

 

God sent His only Son, Jesus, to die for the sins of the world. He died for people like Mommar Gadhafi, Saddam Hussein, Osama bin Laden, and Adolph Hitler. He died for Barack Obama, Bill Clinton, and Richard Nixon. He died for Brittany Spears, Beyonce Knowles, and Diana Ross. He also died for people like you and me.

 

I do not know your sin, but I do know mine. I know that just like David said, I was born in sin. My flesh houses no good thing, Paul wrote. Everything I desire is vanity, said Solomon. Sometimes my thoughts are not Godly thoughts. Sometimes I have a bad attitude. Sometimes I lose my patience. Sometimes things annoy me. Sometimes I want my way, and I want to get back at someone who mistreated me. The wonderful thing about the Lord is that He died for all of that. He bore my thoughts, my attitude, my impatience, my temperament, and my selfishness on the cross. He knew no sin, His Word says, but He became sin so that I could be His righteousness. Thank You Lord.

 

Sometimes I sit at the table in my dining room and I look at the cross that hangs on the wall. I imagine the Savior hanging there in all His agony. I imagine that as He hung there, He was thinking about me. That is a humbling thought. Sometimes that thought brings tears to my eyes, because I remember times that I sinned willfully with no thoughts of the Lord. Despite that, He thought of me. What a wonderful Savior.

 

If you do not know the Savior, now is the time to come to know Him. If you have never repented of your sin and asked Him to come into your life, to be Lord over your life, now is the time. Do not let this moment pass you by. Time is short, and the Savior could return at any moment now. The Bible says that when the last days are upon us, things will be happening as they were in Noah’s time. Look around you. Watch the news for about five minutes. You can tell these are Noah’s days! Do not let yourself get caught out there in the flood. Come inside, into the family of God, while you still have a chance. Acknowledge Him as your Lord and Savior and live for Him. Study your Bible daily. Attend a church where the Bible is taught verse by verse. Grow in Him. Learn of Him. Draw close to Him. He is a wonderful God….

And We’re Still Here…

I posted this entry the day after the body of believers was supposed to be raptured up, based on some foolish prediction by some radical group. I had the opportunity to talk to one of the people who belonged to this group, and he tried his best to convince me that we were out of here on May 21, 2011. I tried to get him to agree to meet me on May 22, but of course, since then, none of his kind are anywhere to be found. Nevertheless, these were my feelings then and now about such nonsense. I hope you hear my heart on this ….

Matthew 24:36
But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but My Father only.

Matthew 24:42
Watch therefore: for ye know not what hour your Lord doth come.

Matthew 24:44
Therefore be ye also ready: for in such an hour as ye think not the Son of Man cometh.

Matthew 24:13
Watch therefore, for ye know neither the day nor the hour wherein the Son of Man cometh.

Mark 13:32
But of that day and that hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels which are in heaven, neither the Son, but the Father.

Luke 12:40
Be ye therefore ready also: for the Son of man cometh at an hour when ye think not.

Revelation 3:3
Remember therefore how thou hast received and heard, and hold fast, and repent. If therefore thou shalt not watch, I will come on thee as a thief, and thou shalt not know what hour I will come upon thee.

If you have travelled up and down nearly any major highway in this country or others lately, you have seen billboards that say something to the effect that judgment day would be May 21, 2011. It has been all over the news, and I even read that people are throwing parties to celebrate afterwards.

But here I sit, at my computer, on May 22, 2011. I was up late last night and woke up early this morning, and heard no trumpet or voice of any archangel. I did not go to church (because I had a really bad allergy attack), but I know that church services happened at my church today, and I also know that there are some true believers in my church (because I am one of them) and if Jesus had come for anyone yesterday, He would have come for me.

My point is this: God’s Word is simple and clear when it says that no one, not even a retired civil engineer, knows when Jesus will return. If you think that you do know, you are either self-deceived, a heretic, or crazy.

It is with great pleasure that I remain here on earth today. I look forward to the day when Jesus comes back to get us, and I hope He raptures the church during my lifetime, but I hope he NEVER comes back on a day that some human being has predicted.

Jesus Loves Me

Matthew 28:1-2, 5-6

In the end of the sabbath, as it began to dawn toward the first day of the week, came Mary Magdalene and the other Mary to see the sepulchre. 
And, behold, there was a great earthquake: for the angel of the Lord descended from heaven, and came and rolled back the stone from the door, and sat upon it. 
And the angel answered and said unto the women, “Fear not ye: for I know that ye seek Jesus, Which was crucified. 
He is not here: for He is risen, as He said. Come, see the place where the Lord lay.”

 

It was early in the morning. Jesus’ followers had been through so much over the past few days. Not only did they watch their Leader being tried for crimes He did not commit, but they also watched His accusers crucify Him on a cross between two thieves. Their emotions must have run the gamut. They were probably exhausted from fear and anxiety. Their leader was gone. What would they do?

 

The women made their way to the tomb where His body had been buried. As they approached it, a sound, like an earthquake, roared in their ears. The angel of the Lord had come down to roll away the stone. He sat there, looking at their bewildered expressions.

 

“Do not fear,” he said. “I know you are seeking Jesus, Whom they crucified.”

 

The women probably nodded their heads in disbelief.

 

“He is not here,” the angel continued, “for He is risen, as He said.” Then he invited them into the tomb to see for themselves.

 

As the celebration of the Lord’s resurrection approaches each year, this story begins to consume my thoughts. I often wonder how I would have felt had I been looking for my Lord early that morning. I wonder how I would have slept had I witnessed his death two nights before. I wonder what I would have talked about with Mary, His mother, and John, His dear friend, and the rest of the disciples who walked with Him over the past three years. I wonder…

 

The greatest part of the story is that we no longer have to wonder at all. He rose from the grave early on that morning, and He later ascended into the heavens to be seated next to the Father. He is now interceding on the behalf of all the saints of God who still live here on the earth. But even better still is the fact that He loved the world so much that He died to pay our debt of sin. On that rugged old cross where the body of Jesus hanged in shame and humiliation for all the world to see, my sin hanged on that cross with Him…all because He loves me.

 

So, when all is wrong in the world, and it seems that there is no one that I can turn to for encouragement, I sing a simple little song at the top of my lungs, to remind myself that…

 

Yes! Jesus loves me! Yes! Jesus loves me!
Yes! Jesus loves me! The Bible tells me so…

John 3:16