Sheep or Sheeple?

April 16, 2014


I am thinking of doing a sermon called, “Sheep or Sheeple.” I hear the term sheeple a great deal by political pundits, but it may be even more fitting in the realm of theology. Which shepherd do you follow and wose voice do you hear, Jesus or your denom/nondemon? Do you even know what your particular sect teaches and could you defend that teaching in a debate using the Bible or could you only parrot what you have been told by your sect leaders? Is there anything you can even parrot?

I have come across so many people who have no clue as to the doctrine of their group. I met one Lutheran woman who thought I was talking about MLK when I asked her if she believed what Luther taught about sola fide, sola scriptura and sola gratia, I did not know who Wesley was or what he preached until I went to a Baptist bible college though I was raised a Methodist. I have had people argue with me over a particular issue or doctrine and when I hand them my bible and ask them to prove me wrong or at least show me where they get their belief they can’t do it, but they know it is in there and I am wrong.

Others bounce from sect to sect like the elusive butterfly of love jumping through numerous theological hoops with no problem. Even would be preachers will list numerous groups they are willing to serve even though those groups have several doctrines that are poles apart.

Jesus said that His sheep would hear His voice and they would not follow another so why do so many people hear so many divergent voices and hold so many diverse views? He is truth and the Holy Spirit was sent not to have a traveling salvation miracle show, but to lead us into ALL truth and there is only one truth about any issue, not muliple choice.

I am thoroughly convinced that if people would use their Bible to critique the doctrines of their sect there would be fewer sects and what remained would be more closer to the Lord and the Word. He will judge us by what He said and we will be saved by His grace and mercy of method, if you please, not by what some theologian said.

Challenge your faith. I am not called a Maverick by my peers for nothing. I have had to challenge my own faith many times over the years and have changed some views as well as how I present truth. I am still a work in progress, but by His grace I have made some progress and I am not content with where I am now. I want more of Him and what He wants to do in me to server Him. I am a sinner saved by grace and imperfect. I want to exhort you, not condemn. Seek truth and make those who teach you accountable to stick to the truth and not opinion, hearsay or emotional bombastics. If you have a Bible then you can ask the Author to teach you and guide you into truth and out of error or to avoid it. He dis ordain pastor teachers in Eph 4, but He also expects you to try the spirits and to study to show yourself approved of God as a workman that needs to not be ashamed RIGHTLY dividing ot intepreting His Word. Will you be ashamed at the BEMA if you are a Christian or before the Great White Throne if you are not? Both sessions of shame can be avoided. Please work at it for your own benefit. Maranatha!!

Hmm, looks like I already did the sermon I was contemplating.  ;-)

Enduring Slander

April 9, 2014


Everybody is slandered even the good. – Robert E. Lee

1 Peter 3:14-16

14 But and if ye suffer for righteousness’ sake, happy are ye: and be not afraid of their terror, neither be troubled;
15 But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear:
16 Having a good conscience; that, whereas they speak evil of you, as of evildoers, they may be ashamed that falsely accuse your good conversation in Christ. KJV

General Lee may be the only man who was respected by friend and foe alike to have his honor defended by both. It is doubtful that much was ever said against him that was believed and the speaker of it was not soundly rebuked for saying it. Even after war there were those would have elected him President. There has never been a man since Washington of higher character or abilities elected to that office.

There was one instance when someone asked him what he thought of a man that had highly criticized him. He gave a gracious response praising the man’s qualities. Lee was then asked how he could give such a glowing report for a man who had spoken so harshly. Lee replied that he had been asked what he thought of that man, not what that man thought of him! That takes grace, meekness and humility to say that!

The greatest quality of Lee was that he was a devoted Christian and it is what made the valiant warrior, grand orator, brilliant statesman and educator. He walked the talk so that no matter what others said of him he could endure it with grace because he had a good conscience and knew all they said was false and meant for evil.

As we seek to follow in the footsteps of our Lord and be an apologist for Christian values, we must not only talk the talk, but we must walk the walk that Lee so clearly models for us. Indeed, Christ endured false accusation and suffered unjustly and we should be prepared to do the same.

Sanctify or set apart the Lord in your heart as the holy Sovereign that He is allowing truth to reign in your life both in speech and deed. Know how to share that truth with others even the ones who despise, accuse and even abuse you. Speak the truth in love leaving rancor and bitterness behind lest you mar and obscure the truth by acting like those who hate you.

In your apologetics for your Christian faith you must be gracious and not brawlers so that they can only accuse you falsely. Let our virtue illuminate the truth and when we walk the walk we can let evil talk and rejoice even when reviled. Maranatha!!

 

Understanding Women

March 24, 2014


My son has always been a pretty sharp lad. At five, we were trading friendly barbs at each other like “Your feet stink” and such. I shot what I thought was a pretty cool one at him and he comes back with “The only thing holding you together is the Lord.” I thought that pretty well grasped the concept of by Him all things consist so I complimented him on his theological wisdom.

With that kind of foundation in his background, I was pumped when he came to me at thirteen and said, “Dad, I’ve got women figured out.” I told him wait until I get pen and paper because we are going to get stinking rich with this book, for sure!! Pen in hand I asked him to elaborate. He said, “I figure I can have women or money and I want money.” I was a bit dejected as I saw all our royalties and media appearances fade away. I did say something like if you get money you will have plenty of women to choose from albeit they may not be the type you really want to consider marrying. In the end, he got a wonderful woman, moderate money and a dynamic little girl. I think he merged the concepts into a nice balance. Yet, today he would never profess to understand women and he is soon forty.

I know many men who read this are depressed with my son’s simplistic solution to understanding women having hoped he had broken the code that would set all men free from the mystery. It has been easier to explain the hypostatic union of God and man in Jesus Christ and Trinity than to understand women. Adam may have had somewhat of a handle on it until she ate the forbidden fruit, but after that I suspect he was as befuddled as every man is today.

My father died in a car accident when I was seven and I was raised by two women. Most of my teachers were women. I married and had a daughter and many of my bosses and co-workers have been women. I have even written a book about holy women. Do I profess to have arrived at the summit and have cracked the estrogen code? Never! I may have made it through kindergarten into first grade, but I doubt that in this life I will ever get much further in that academic program.

Women are fantastic, but more complex than the theory of relativity. And I think it was meant to be that way. The mystique of women keeps us on our toes and from being bored. The converse fact is that we are as mysterious to them as they are to us. We are not just physically different, but also intellectually and even the way we walk in the Spirit is different. Viva la difference!!

I think where we get into so much trouble in our relationships is that we try too hard to understand each other. We put the cart before the horse in that we try to understand before we truly love. Understanding really comes after love and often with even trying to understand.

Take my wife, not like Henny Youngman. She sometimes has a language all her own with spoonerisms, mixed metaphors and verbal dyslexia. In our early years, I would be clueless at what in the world she was trying to convey and struggled to sort it out. After forty-three years of marriage, she sometimes catches what she said in Karenese and I don’t. I understood it and went on with the conversation. Sometimes I do point it out because we both enjoy the laugh. After awhile, just loving each other and not trying to correct her or struggling to understand the understanding just came naturally.

We started out pretty much almost exact opposites. I was an only child and she was the baby of three and that brought in its own complexities. The opposite stuff that attracted us in the beginning also caused some perplexities because after awhile some of those differences bugged us and we could not understand why we could not agree on which way the toilet paper was hung. Then after just loving each other and going on we started to understand why we did some things differently. Sometimes we changed our actions and philosophies. Other times, we just let it go. There are still things we have discussions over where we just do not understand each other and we may have those discussions until the Rapture. Yet, we love and go on. I gave up trying to change her, but I am still her project in progress. I don’t understand, but love her anyway.

Note that in Ephesians 5,we are not told to understand each other. Honestly, I cannot think of any passage that says anything about understanding. There are plenty of passages exhorting us to love everyone including enemies and that boggles our understanding. Women deal with us not understanding them if they truly know we love them. They can throw up their hands at trying to understand us if they know we really love them.

There are going to be times when you and a woman will have a conversation and you will swear you both just spoke in unknown tongues and beg God to let the interpretation come, In those moments, if the love comes out of both of you whether understanding comes at that moment or not will not matter. Love is a language that is felt and is understood when there is no meeting of the minds. Let the love flow and it’s all good.

The funny thing is when you feel like you are totally clueless, but you take her into your arms and just love her because you don’t know what else to do you may hear her say, “Oh darling, you so get me!” Don’t analyze it. Just receive it and enjoy it. That is understanding!

Also on j31.org

Must America Survive?

March 21, 2014


                Depending on what you read on the internet, America is either doomed without hope or being prepped for a grand revival.  Indeed, America has turned itself away from God or at least the God it was founded upon.  Yea, it has even chosen to attack God in many ways and tried to erase His influence in all arenas of life and the history of the nation.  That certainly does not bode well

Psa 9:17 The wicked shall be turned into hell, and all the nations that forget God.

When you study the phrase, forget God, it does not mean a lapse of memory, but rather an intentional putting out of the mind.   We use the phrase forget that when we consider something ridiculous or impossible.  We mean to deliberately put it out of the mind.   When we are mad we may walk away and say forget you to the person that made us angry.  We mean we are putting you out of our mind and life.  That is what the words mean in the passage.  We have told God, “Forget you!” and “Forget that!” when His Word is spoken and it speaks to our life with either a do or don’t.    We are doing it on a personal and national level thus it certainly looks like Hell is the destination for the nation as well as for many souls.

Many have concluded that America is done because of its various sins and the forget God attitude.  Their arguments are reasonable.  Yet, many others say that she will come back to God and return to her former glory and maybe even more glorious.  Many times this hope comes from love of country and patriotism, but no real biblical reason.

America is a very religious country and many seem to be Christian or at least use the name of Christ, but America is not a godly country anymore.   Indeed, many who name the of Christ do so out of ethnic background or tradition having no more than what we would call a nominal Christian lifestyle and even less doctrinal understanding of Christianity in general let alone their own sect’s beliefs.   If I had been asked before my conversion if I were a Christian, I might have answered, “Of course, I am a Christian. I am an American.”   Yet, I was lost and on my way to Hell as a nominal Methodist and my wife was a lukewarm Lutheran who knew nothing of sola fide, sola scriptura and sola gratia or even who Martin Luther was or what he had to do with her church. I had never heard of Wesley.  I only knew some creeds that I had memorized and repeated on some Sundays.

Some will say that we will survive because there is a remnant of true Christians in the country.  That does not wash in the light of Scripture.  There was a remnant that entered the Ark and the rest perished.  There was a remnant pulled out of Sodom before it was destroyed.  There was a remnant in Israel when it went into captivity for seventy years due to idolatry.  There was not only a remnant of faithful Jews, but an abundance of Christians in Jerusalem when it fell in AD 70.  The country was destroyed and the Jews exiled for 1878 years before it became a nation again.  None of those remnants spared the country.

If those examples are not clear enough to eliminate remnant theology, read Ezekiel 14:12-23.  God had enough and was going to judge Jerusalem.  He said that even if Noah, Daniel and Job were in the city it would not help.   Abraham asked God to spare Sodom for the sake of ten, which there were only four righteous and one of them did not make it to safety and the other three ended badly shortly thereafter.  In Ezekiel, not even three of the most righteous men to that date would have spared the city.  They would have only spared themselves meaning God would have gotten them out of there or hid them in the city until the judgment was done.  Thus if God means to take America down because of its sin then no amount of righteous people in it will prevent it.   Thus remnant theology is a false hope.

We try very hard to find America in end time prophecy because of our love for this country and because we have been such a major influence in the past we cannot grasp her not being an influence to the end of time.   That is great sentiment and patriotism, but not a promised reality.   The only nation promised to make it to the Millennium is Israel and even she will not enter unscathed as it is prophesied that two thirds of the population will die before the return of Messiah/Y’shua/Jesus.   Much of the map may change before the Millennium and before the Rapture as we are witnessing a change in countries about to take place as Russia annexes Crimea.   We are not the influence we once were and even our affluence has waned.   Much more can change in the coming years.

I very much would like to see America experience a revival of epic proportions for the sake of the souls that would be saved.  Unlike some, I have no desire to see America damned, but rather have it spared like Nineveh when Jonah warned of coming judgment.  Yet, even as Nineveh, who ultimately fell back into idolatry years later there is no guarantee that an American revival would be long lasting albeit I will be excited for whatever we can get.

So, must America survive?  No, there is no reason why she cannot go the way of so many great nations of the past and even Israel when it was in sin.   Indeed, for the Anti-Christ to come to power it may be necessary for us to fall from power.  Thus we may survive geographically in some state but only able to complain about situations without the power to affect the situation.  (Ezekiel 38:13)  We may become “the old gray mare that ain’t what she used to be many long years ago”

Pray for souls.  Pray for revival for you and the nation.  Pray for the return of Christ.  Pray for America, but leave it in God’s hands.  The Judge of all the earth shall do right.   Maranatha!!

Love Conquers All

March 9, 2014


“I have fought against the people of the North because I believed they were seeking to wrest from the South its dearest rights. But I have never cherished toward them bitter or vindictive feelings, and have never seen the day when I did not pray for them.” — Robert E. Lee

Matt 5:43-48

43 Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy.

44 But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you;

45 That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust.

46 For if ye love them which love you, what reward have ye? do not even the publicans the same?

47 And if ye salute your brethren only, what do ye more than others? do not even the publicans so?

48 Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect. KJV

If ever there was a justification to be angry, bitter and to hate someone it would be during a time of war. It seems logical. They started it. They are evil. We are good. Yet, God’s ways are often not in accord with our logic. Loving your enemies is crazy according to our perspective. Yet, man was the enemy of God since the fall of Adam and Eve. Logically, He should have just wiped Adam and Eve off the face of the earth and then created Barry and Freda as round two. Instead, God loved them and provided a covering for their nakedness and sin while promising a means of salvation for mankind.

It is easy to love those who love us and provide us joy and comfort. Our enemies usually give us no reason to love them. They may not be vicious enemies in that they do physical harm to us. Their modus operandi may be more passive aggressive, emotional abuse or backstabbing. In the end, there is nothing loving about their actions and the emotions that arise in us are not warm or fuzzy.

We often forget that we do so much that is acting like the enemy of God. We do what He says not to do and do not do what He says. Are those the actions of a lover or an enemy? James says if we love the World we are an enemy of God. Every time we sin it is somewhat like giving high fives to the devil or kissing him on the cheek while wanting to hands with Jesus saying we love Him. Yet, for those who are the children of God, we have Jesus ever standing before the Father praying for us and pointing to His wounds as the reason the Father should not strike us down like the enemy we are siding with and employing his actions. If this were church, I would expect a few amens and glories right here.

General Lee leads the way for us as he followed the command of Jesus. In this life, we will have many who will curse us, abuse us, hate us and persecute us. They crucified the Master. They will not love those who are following in His footsteps. Yet, we are to pray for them as they are deceived by the real enemy and without conversion will be doomed to Hell. We who have escaped the enemy’s clutches by the grace of God need pray for those still enslaved though they despitefully use us. We were called to repentance and salvation by love and now we are called to love as He did and does. The enemy is hateful, but Christ endured the Cross that love might win. Raise that banner and conquer in His name. He is risen! Maranatha!

Ready For A Soul Bath?

January 23, 2014


When our bodies are dirty we seek clean water to wash them.  Why then does it seem odd that dirty souls need the same thing?

Titus 3:5 Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost;
KJV

Eph 5:25-27

25 Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it;
26 That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word,
27 That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish.  KJV

Feeling soul dirty tonight?  Come get yourself into the pure, refreshing water of the Word of God calling upon Him to save you from your sins and wash you by regeneration and renewing you though the Holy Ghost.

Filthy Lucre

January 12, 2014


How time flies.  I just realized that I have been answering questions on http://www.allexperts.com since June 7, 2003.  I have answered 520 questions and could have set up a donation button after answering 100 questions and served two years.  I seriously doubt that I would have answered 520 if I had set up the donation button.

If I had still gotten that many questions I doubt I would have received too many donations.  People asked me more insurance questions after I left the career field than they did when I was selling insurance.  They are like that with theological issues as well.  They will play the lottery and spend money on many things but they frown on paying their pastor or get mad if he preaches on money.

1 Cor 9:13-15

13 Do ye not know that they which minister about holy things live of the things of the temple? and they which wait at the altar are partakers with the altar?
14 Even so hath the Lord ordained that they which preach the gospel should live of the gospel.
15 But I have used none of these things: neither have I written these things, that it should be so done unto me: for it were better for me to die, than that any man should make my glorying void.  KJV

I am glad that most of my ministry has been volunteer, though that has hurt me when looking for a place of ministry.  Some have felt that if I was not worth a salary then I was not worth much. I thought it would show I was not wanting filthy lucre.  (Titus 1:7) I even offered a church once to take a lower salary than they offered and I guess they thought I was crazy.

When I was saved all I ever heard was that preachers were just in it for the money.  I have known many pastors and other ministers that are paid very poorly and some who finance their own ministry by working a job as well as pastoring.  Like Paul, I can give glory to God because no one can say that about me.  Even when I was a FT pastor I found out, by accident, that I was the second largest giver to the church and I went back to work to keep them from going under.

I hope in a few months to be in a position to do some sort of fulltime ministry.  If they offer a stipend that is OK, but if God grants me the ability I will not let the lack of a salary deter me if that is where God wants me.  I do not need a $5 mill house or a plane, just a place to serve.

http://www.allexperts.com/ep/954-52990/Baptists/Dr-Ronald-E-Shultz.htm

 

Got Liberty?

December 20, 2013


“We poor sinners need to come back from our wanderings to seek pardon through the all-sufficient merits of our Redeemer. And we need to pray earnestly for the power of the Holy Spirit to give us a precious revival in our hearts and among the unconverted.” – Robert E. Lee

Lee was correct in that if we hope to see a revival in the land we must start with ourselves.  As we see in our history, human power or wisdom often creates more problems than it solves.  We wander through life thinking ourselves to be wise and suffer the consequences when we could have had Divine power and wisdom.

“Now the Lord is that Spirit: and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty.” 2 Corinthians 3:17 KJV If we hope to be free from our sins we must seek Christ as Lee, Jackson and multitudes have done.   When we do that and the unconverted see the joy and liberty in us they will come to Christ.  As the numbers of people free in Christ increase so also will the land soon be full of liberty.

America’s freedom never came from the politics of men or even the power of our military, but by the faith of our Founders and heroes in God, His Son, His providence and His commands.   When, as a nation, we turned from that we wandered from the path of His blessings and liberty.   Listen to God and Lee and come back.  He will grant us mercy as individuals and may extend that mercy to the land as well.

The Old Paths

December 20, 2013


Thus saith the Lord, Stand ye in the ways, and see, and ask for the old paths, where is the good way, and walk therein, and ye shall find rest for your souls. But they said, We will not walk therein.   Jeremiah 6:16 KJV

The decline of the influence of the Church started when people stopped asking how much they can give up/sacrifice for God and started asking how much can I get by with and still be saved.  When they stopped coming out and being separate from the world and started letting the World in to dictate how the Church should live instead of the Church changing the lives of the World. 

There is a reason that Jeremiah says to seek the old paths.  What we have done has not worked and to continue on expecting different results is insanity and that is indeed what we see in both Church and the World. 

If we want change and revival we must return to the attitudes and actions that worked for the 1st Century Church and for the Christians who sought to maintain those things throughout the centuries though in these days it may lead to less than pleasant circumstances here, but a far better moment at the BEMA.  However, as a whole, the last sentence of the passage reflects the response of the Church in this age. 

Shalom!  Maranatha!


 

 

Indeed, as Paul prophesied, we are living in perilous times. When in such times you need to know your enemy and your resources and the weapons required to defeat him. I am afraid that far too many of the brethren have been fighting the wrong enemy and have chosen to pick up the wrong arms thus losing many battles. With those losses comes discouragement and loss of focus making the future seem dark and fuzzy.

 

 

I see way too many references to taking up arms or saber rattling on FaceBook and other places by professing Christians. We do not defend our faith by guns. Nowhere will you find such an injunction in Scripture. Jesus went as a sheep to the slaughter. Indeed, He said that He could have called 12,000 angels to His side, but chose not to do so, but laid down His life for us. All the apostles were imprisoned and all but one were executed by the Roman government. None of them suggested forming an army to overthrow Rome or to avenge the deaths of saints.

 

 

Read Foxe’s Book of Martyrs and see how many suffered under persecutions throughout the centuries, often by people who claimed to be Christians. They did not just walk into the coliseum nor bring their own stake to the fire, but neither was there any kind of organized military action for they knew who their enemy was and that the enemy is not wounded or defeated by arms made by men.

 

 

Even today, many of our brethren worldwide face all manner of persecution and myriads have earned the martyr’s crown. Christian soldiers fight on another plane in higher spheres of reality. Indeed, our enemy would love to get us off mission and distracted encouraging carnal warfare as a means of camouflage to his tactics and as an evasive maneuver. We are not to be ignorant of his devices but rather destroying his strongholds.

 

 

2 Cor 10:3-5

 

3 For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh:

 

4(For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;)

 

5 Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ; KJV

 

There are no persons or groups of flesh that are the true enemy of Christians. Many people are pawns of the devil deluded, deceived and directed by demons. The people are not the real enemy. They are victims and prisoners to be loved and set free by the love of Christ. The enemy is devil and his minions. The war is a spiritual one.

 

Thus we have to fight in the spiritual realm with the weapons given to us. Paul shows us our armor in Ephesians 6. That is how we defend ourselves and take up the fight, but against spiritual enemies, not carnal ones. We sometimes forget how we were driven to do things that we look back on now with regret and wonder what were we thinking at the time. In many ways, we were not thinking, but rather being influenced by the thoughts of demons appealing to the lust of the eye, the lust of the flesh and the pride of life.

 

So also are all those who do not know the Lord are influenced directly by demonic forces or through the influence of some man or woman that is influenced or controlled directly by them. This is why we must pray for them and witness to them through the power of the Spirit not through wisdom of men. Too often we rely upon our skills in logic or debate and try to win them through vain philosophy and then wonder why we fail.

 

We must kneel more in prayer. We must become more knowledgeable of our field manual, the Bible. We must practice putting on our armor and understanding what each piece means and how it aids our fight. We must then look beyond our carnal antagonist and determine what spirits are influencing them and then attack that entity. We must enter into battle under the authority of Christ, endued with power from the Spirit speaking the truth in love with the goal of freeing the captive and defeating the one who captured him. Only then are we in the right battle against the right enemy with the right goal. Then and only then we can expect victory. All else is vain.

 

My brethren, quit talking dangerous nonsense that only makes the devil laugh at our furtive efforts and opens us up to further assaults that can only end in failure. Lay down your arms & take up your weapons. Why rattle sabers when you can wield the sword of the Lord? Go for the jugulars of the leaders of Hell and rescue the perishing. Let us be the overcoming victors we are destined to be. Fight the good fight for we were called into the kingdom for such a time as this. The war was won at the Resurrection. We are just doing mop up duties until our Commander-in-Chief returns and brings in the Kingdom on earth as it is in Heaven and make his enemies His footstool. He is risen! Marantha!

 

 

Rom 8:36-37

 

36 As it is written, For thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter.

 

37 Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us. KJV

 

 

 

1 John 5:4-5

 

4 For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith.

 

5 Who is he that overcometh the world, but he that believeth that Jesus is the Son of God? KJV