Welcome to the New Old Year!

December 31, 2016

What we forget about God sometimes is that He is the master of time and for Him it does not exist. What is present to us is past to Him as is all the rest of what we call time. He has seen the future from before the foundation of the world.

Worried about 2017? To Him it is a done deal and nothing takes Him by surprise, even your pain or failure. He has seen your loneliness or despair. He has seem you times of strong faith and your times of weak, nearly extinguished faith. He had the answer to your prayers and saw your destiny before your X or Y chromosomes were created in your parent’s body and they were joined at conception. He knew Jeremiah before he was formed and called him to be a prophet. He has a call on your life as well. He knows when you will accept it and what kind of misery it might take for you to accept it.

Thus do not despair. He saw the end at the beginning and for those who are His. He has seen them in Christ at the end of the world. He has seen what He has planned for them to be doing in eternity when we cannot see anything in this moment that is good in our lives.

Read the verse below. Feeling unseen? He saw you in eternity past. Feeling alone? He is omnipresent. You are never alone. Feel unloved? He loved you and accepted you in the Beloved in eternity past. Feel rejected? He has been rejected by the majority since the Fall of man. He knows your pain. Feel like no one cares and you are abandoned? He predestined you for adoption. When your mother and father forget you, He will lift you up in His arms as a precious child that Jesus Christ died and purchased from the one who would love to see you destroyed.

2017? No big deal as are all the years until His coming. Will there be hard times? Yes. Will He be there? Yes. He saw it all and saw how He would bring you through it. That is the God who loves you. That is the Son who died for you. That is the Spirit who was sent to comfort and guide you. The New Year is old news to Him and He has it handled. Rest, beloved in the Beloved. He is risen! He is risen, indeed and coming back! Alleluia!

1Peter 1:2 Elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through sanctification of the Spirit, unto obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ: Grace unto you, and peace, be multiplied.

Ephesians 1:3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ:

4 According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love:

5 Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will,

6 To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved.


Ezekiel 33:2 Son of man, speak to the children of thy people, and say unto them, When I bring the sword upon a land, if the people of the land take a man of their coasts, and set him for their watchman: 3 If when he seeth the sword come upon the land, he blow the trumpet, and warn the people; 4 Then whosoever heareth the sound of the trumpet, and taketh not warning; if the sword come, and take him away, his blood shall be upon his own head. 5 He heard the sound of the trumpet, and took not warning; his blood shall be upon him. But he that taketh warning shall deliver his soul. 6 But if the watchman see the sword come, and blow not the trumpet, and the people be not warned; if the sword come, and take any person from among them, he is taken away in his iniquity; but his blood will I require at the watchman’s hand. 7 So thou, O son of man, I have set thee a watchman unto the house of Israel; therefore thou shalt hear the word at my mouth, and warn them from me. Many Christians and churches are failing at their job as a watchman. They meet in their four walls, glad hand everyone and are proud of their building, but they are not winning souls or warning saints. The church was not meant to be where the select of the elect meet, eat and retreat. It was meant to power up to go out into the street and entreat sinners to receive the grace and mercy of the Lord before He comes with a sword. Yes, not all of us are evangelists, but we are commanded to be witnesses and to be able to give a reason to whoever asks why we believe. Do you give opportunity for people to ask? Is your little light under a bushel? Is your life so different that people want to know why? You are a watchman. Have you been sounding the alarm to warn them of the lion seeking to devour them and the serpent who has already bitten them? Have you offered them safety and the antidote? When the pastor speaks of being a watchman are you listening with interest or looking at your watch, man? You are failing as a watchman. Is your church all about the saints, their comfort and entertainment? Your only outreach consists of concerts and suppers that attract sheep from other folds more than lost sheep? Is it all about nostalgia? Are you basically holding memorial services each week for a church that no longer exists but was glorious in the 50s, 60s, 70s, 80 or 90s? Then you aren’t watchmen because your walls and gates fell years ago. No one comes by to hear the warning and no one goes out. Your candlestick has been removed because your church failed in its job. Wake up! Accept the defeat. Repent and go join a church that is doing its job as a watchman and support them. Leave the past and ruins behind. If your relatives in the graveyard are holding you back then dig them up and take them with you, but do not stay among the ruins and graveyards. God has called you to life and a future, not a dead past. Does your church vacillate when it comes to taking a stand on truth? Are all your messages mental massages that make people feel good, but does not address the root cause of their guilt or pain? Are they just motivational speeches that offend no one and are a form of spiritual Xanax coated in chocolate? They taste good, but are not good over the long haul? I do not mean that you have to revert to the hard, loud, bombastic sermons that are often rude, crude and hurtful. No, there is a biblical balance between those and milquetoast sermons. It is called speaking the truth in love. You do not kowtow to the culture. You do not tiptoe through the tithers or shake in fear of the deacons or their wives. You get a message from God and you deliver it accurately and clearly because you know His love wants them to hear it. Sometimes, it may sound rough to some folks. It depends on your congregation. If you are talking to a majority of Pharisees, Sadducees or tares, then anything that comes from God will anger and tear them up. Preacher, if you are doing it right and all you get is criticism and anger then it might be time to move on. Then again, God may have sent you there to convert them though it may take a long, rough time to get there. Remember, you are the watchman on the wall to them. If they hear, awesome. If not. and you are told to leave you can say as Paul did that your hands are clean of their blood. If you are blessed to have a majority of people who love the Lord, then you will see great fruit as you preach the truth in love though that may mean you have to reprove and rebuke as well as exhort. That does not mean you will be trouble free as all congregations have saved, unsaved, carnal, Pharisees and Sadducees. No matter, as when they are in the minority they can be a stimulus to stay the course and keep you humble as God brings forth the fruit. Be the watchman and allow God to watch over you. Be you the preacher or the member, you are called to be a watchman. Just because you do not have the gift of an evangelist does not let you off the hook.. Timothy did not seem to have that gift either, but Paul told him to do the work of an evangelist. When you come out of your comfort zone and there is fruit it means you will be more likely to give credit to God and not take it yourself and that is a good thing. Proverbs 25:11 A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in pictures of silver. Maybe you are a watchman in the sense of you see trouble approaching a lost person and more likely in a saint and want to warn them. You want them to avoid the trouble. Exhortation is a form of watching on the wall. Just be sure that you know what you are talking about when you approach them and you are doing it because God called you to do it, not a personal desire for glory or gossip material. If you are a believer in prophetic works make very sure you are getting your message from Him. A fleshly prophecy does much hurt. Your intention can be as sincere as it can be, but if it is not from you then neither the person you tell it to or God will be happy. Get the facts as appearances are very deceitful! A word fitly spoken is as gold, but a fleshly word will cause a fit. How would you be rated if God did a job performance review? Would you or your church get a highly successful, successful or would God put you on a performance improvement plan? Would you be replaced and sent to retraining? Has your church lamp stand been removed? If you are doing well. but your church has failed, move on. Go where you iron can be sharpened. No. you will not be the spearhead of revival. It is more likely that they will drag you down then you will bring them up. There came a time when God told Jerusalem that even if Noah, Daniel and Job were in it they would not stop judgment upon the city. If God is blessing a church, they will grow and the Body will be active, not just meeting and maintaining the building with an appearance of being a church. Get out and grow. That goes for pastor and member alike. You are called to be a watchman, not a gravekeeper. Indeed, the reason many pastors quit the ministry and members quit church is that they stayed too long among the ruins and graveyards. Revival and resurrection are two different things. The next resurrection will be at the Rapture. Revival can come anytime. Revival is needed and for you it may not come until you go where there is life. Seek revival! Maranatha!

Luke 2:7 And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn.

“No holiday should manipulate you to the point where you are going into debt just to so show someone that you love them.”  – The Lion’s Roar

We do have the wrong perspective, folks. Keep it simple, Saint. He was born in stable, not a mansion. Two years later He received funds to sustain the family in Egypt and for the return. It was probably enough to get Joseph’s shop going in Nazareth.

I require nothing from my family. I am happy if they love me all year long, not just on my birthday and other gift giving days. I have too much stuff as it is that they will have to get rid of after I am gone. Why generate more work?

It is too late for this year, but next year put all the focus on Him. Give a gift card of a reasonable amount, if you must, but donate a sheep or goat to poor people overseas, help the homeless here or do some special work of love for Him in your community as well as your Church. WWJD? Really, practically nothing of what we do as we add so many things that detract from “the reason for the season.” If you do such things, do more and do the other things less. One fellow wrote that we commit the sin of gluttony most on our holy days.

Take an honest evaluation of how much time, money and effort you put into things that really do nothing for Him, the birthday Boy. He told a rich man to give it all up to follow Him. While it is not a sin to be rich, is it right to go into debt and be more improvised to maintain a facade of wealth on His birthday? How whacked is that? He came to set us free, and the borrower is a slave to the lender.

If you want to spend hundreds or thousands of dollars, invest it in souls and people that have needs instead of the many wants that break or get boring after a very short time ending up in the trash or back of the closet or bottom of a jewelry drawer. Some will at least end up in a resale store that supports a pregnancy center. Yet, the item may have cost $50 new and they may mark it at $10 making a $40 waste of money, but it will help a good cause.

We are a country of excess and extremes that are graphically reveal ed on all of our holidays/holy days. Find other ways to show love and bring joy that may actually be valuable the soul and bring more happiness than something from Neiman Marcus.

It is easier to give stuff and cash, but giving ourselves to Him and others is going to be in our account in Heaven while not breaking our bank account here. No hitch on a hearse, so change how you use your purse and that dangerous card. Teach your child that happiness is not in stuff. Don’t give them everything they want and make then spoiled, entitled brats that may never be content.

Dear poor parents/single parents, do not let this holiday make you feel like dirt because you cannot give your kids all they want or maybe nothing that they want. You love them and care for them all year. One day, not like like it is marketed to be will not hurt them. It means you can teach them contentment and what is really valuable, their salvation. The rest are just frilly details that mean nothing in eternity.

Be sure they know that you love them and He loves them and you will be richer than those in hock up to their nose or with presents up to their knees. Better to have an empty tree or no tree at all and have a heart full of love surrounded by those you love and who love you. If you think of it, that is all Jesus had on Incarnation Day. Why do we need more?

Since my birthday is September 30th and Scripture shows Him as being born during the Feast of Tabernacles, which is fitting since He tabernacled with us. I am going to celebrate Incarnation Day. I need to start planning now. I am going to dedicate the whole day to Him. I just looked and the 30th is on a Saturday, which would make my Messianic friends happy to do it on a Sabbath.

I may find a homeless person to feed/clothe, knock on doors seeking to find unbelievers to win and hurt sheep to heal and whatever else i can do, but it will all be Jesus focused as a true present to Him. I will ask Him what He would like me to do on His birthday and by His grace and power I will do it. I will not go into debt to do these things.

To paraphrase a CCM song, I’m wanting to find myself in the midst of You getting beyond the trappings, beyond the stuff. All that I need is to be with you and in the quiet hear your voice, I think that is the birthday present He really wants. That is the heart of worship we need to come back to as it is all about Jesus, not the madness and merchandise.

Keep it simple, Saint. Maranatha!

We have made Jesus a Gentile Messiah by separating Him from the Jewish context which He chose to come in the flesh.  True, we are no longer under the Law, but we have deleted the Passover and He is the Passover Lamb.  We substituted it with Easter which is full of pagan rituals.  Should not celebration of the resurrection of the Passover Lamb be on Passover?  We are commanded to remember His death as often as we would, but should not one of those times be tied to the actual event rather than a different ritual?  It makes no sense.  The early Church would not fast on the same day as the pagans so there would be no confusion, yet we have created two holidays incorporating things the early Church would have shunned altogether.

We created a holiday to celebrate His birth, which we were not commanded to do, on a date that is not biblical and again filled it with pagan rituals.  We can ascertain His birth by studying the Word, but instead we go with the imaginations of men.  If we really wanted to celebrate it wouldn’t have been better to use a date not tied to a pagan festival and actually celebrate it by giving Him gifts instead of to everyone else that we have to top each year? Thus we have even made His birthday a Gentile orgy format instead of a Jewish format by declaring a date not based on Scripture and partying more like the folks in the temples of Greece and Rome. Then we add another god that we lie to our kids about who is not quite omnipresent, but is omniscient and he brings his reward with him or his coal of judgment.  If God does not share His glory with anyone, is it not an insult to drag in this myth to His birthday celebration?

If we are not careful, we could be creating a Jesus in our image rather than Jesus creating His image in us.  Instead of seeking to win His people we have ostracized them.  Paul was willing to go to Hell for them.  After all, the Gospel is still to the Jew first and then to the Greek or Gentile.  We are to provoke them to jealousy, not provoke them to anger.  I think both holidays or holy days were created to cut the Jews out of the Church.  It may have been a misunderstanding of some Scripture or it may well have been a deliberate act of Antisemitism.  I opt for the latter, but either way, changing Jesus into a Gentile is just not right.

Even in our art, we portray Him as a Goy in Red and Yellow, Black and White versions, when He was a Jew.  Scientists have now shown that there is only one color.  We are all a shade of brown.  Still,  Jesus was a Jew so any pictures drawn should show Him as a Jew, but then again we really are not supposed to make any images of God.  No matter what we paint, we have no idea of His exact features, so whatever we do is not Him.  No, I am not a believer in the Shroud of Turin.

I stopped to help an elderly Black man who ran out of gas.  He could not believe I was helping him since I was White. He stood at attention and said, “Now I know why they painted Jesus White!”  I said they did not paint them correctly as Jesus was a Jew and he was amazed.

We may be Gentiles, but He was a Jew and we should keep Him and any holidays we celebrate based on His context and free of junk.  I know that some will want to use Romans 14 and 15 to rebut me, but that was a whole different deal in many ways.  At least the Jews had a good argument based upon the Old Testament.  They could not grasp God abolishing so many things they practiced as a people for centuries.  The Gentile could not see why they wanted to hold on to those things because the Gentiles did not have it in their culture.  Hence the injunction let a person respect a day or not respect a day as everyday is the Lord’s day.

We are dealing with things that have no biblical basis at all.  It is all stuff made up and turned into almost an idol for to challenge these things is to invoke wrath and shunning.  It is obvious that the Reformation did not go far enough.  We are to be people of truth and yet we tolerate in these two days things we would not tolerate any other day of the year.  We tell our children to never lie and seek truth, yet we lie in the name of fun and sentimentality.  If they lie to us can we really fault them since we lie the most on holy days?

While that is odd, it is even more odd that I learned about the things that ruined these holidays for me in bible college.   I was taught to militate against all sorts of error/heresy by professors whose doctoral theses were up to two inches thick based on one problem in a partial verse.  Yet, if I would have challenged dumping these days for all the error in their creation and implementation, I would have most likely been thrown out of college.  These sacred cows are that sacred.

Yes,  Christ is on even lost people’s minds at those times, but what Christ are they envisioning and what is there true understanding of the holidays?  A group of kids was asked what they liked best about Christmas and they said the presents.  Had it been about Easter, the answer may have been the candy or petting bunies.  Even the Jews debate about having candy at the Passover time, but they are not shaped like rabbits and eggs.  They are just candies that many feel mess up the solemness of the Passover or are just inappropriate.  No symbolism, just candy.  There are many times to give your kids candy so maybe leaving it out of something as serious, though joyous, a time as Passover is a wise choice.   Almost thou makest me a Messianic Jewish believer, but they would probably kick me out for other issues.   😉

Anyway, my hope was to provoke some thought that maybe you never thought of before like me before I went to college to learn biblical truth.  Shalom!  Maranatha!

When was Jesus born?

Old Choctaw On Mansions

December 17, 2016

I have been rereading John Wesley’s journal and have come across many things that did not catch my eye on the first read.  There is an interesting dialogue with an old Choctaw man named Chicali.

Wesley asked him what he was made for and he replied,

"He that is above knows what He made us for. We know nothing. We are in the dark. But white men know much. And yet white men
   build great houses, as if they were to live forever. But white men
   cannot live forever.  In a little time, white men will be dust as well
   as I."

Chicali may not have known much of the life hereafter, but he did understand this life and the folly that most of us in the 1st World participate in.  Indeed, we believe that ultimately everything will be destroyed with fire.  So why spend most of our lives paying on a bigger building for the bonfire?  Think small and have a smaller mortgage payment, less taxes and more money and time for things your family really needs, like your presence.

1Timothy 6:
6 But godliness with contentment is great gain.
7 For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out.
8 And having food and raiment let us be therewith content.

Note that shelter is not even mentioned.  I am not suggesting that we should move into tents or caves, but do you really need that ____ square foot house or could you do with far smaller?  Must you adorn it with costly ornaments that will go to the trash or a resale shop when your heirs take over and see no value in what you have since it is not compatible to their tastes?  Go to an estate sale sometime and see how cheaply many things are sold just to get rid of them.  Keep it simple and easier on your heirs by living simply and put the money in the bank or better yet invest it in missions or charity.  Those rewards are eternal and do not lose their value while escaping the tax men on all levels.

The same could be said for those who build church buildings that are like a Taj Mahal.  We are in the New Testament and we are the temple of God.  Even if He were still requiring a temple for the nation there would be only one, not thousands or hundreds of thousands.  Might not the tithe be better spent on the mission, the message and the masses instead of mansions that often become mausoleums?  They will not be here forever either and are just fancy bonfire material.  As much as Aggies love bonfires, they would never use such costly materials.

The ones who suffered most during the Great Depression were the ones with so much to lose.   They were the ones jumping out of windows because they did not know how they would live without their great wealth and stuff.  The poor folks did suffer, but they were already poor and knew how to make do with less.  They were usually more closely knit as a family and community.  They would help each other and were very creative.  One man who grew up on a farm at the time said that he did not even realize he was poor because very little changed after the Depression for him.  It was the folks in town that lost their jobs, homes and cars that had it worse.  They had to find kinfolk to take them in and move to big cities to find a job even though they hated city life.

There are many rumors about a huge economic crash coming.  If that is true, it will be the folks with the larger incomes, houses and such that will feel the impact emotionally and mentally more than folks who are already poor or even homeless.  The poor will adapt and survive as they have been doing for centuries.  I am afraid many teenagers and others will have great difficulty surviving without cable and the Net let alone a cutback on other items.   Because people are so far in debt, they will lose homes and cars.  This will blacken their credit report and make it hard to regroup even after an economic recovery.

If a wise man sees the evil and avoids it, it would make sense to start downsizing now.  Even if it doesn’t happen, getting out of debt will save you from stress that can cause all sorts of physical issues as well as maybe saving your marriage and your relationship with your kids.   The Word says that debtor is a slave to he lender.   Being free from slavery would do wonders for many Americans.   Indeed, going back to our ancestor’s philosophy of paying cash for things would go a long way in making us prosperous.

Do we need to become like the Amish and forsake all modern conveniences?  If you can do that, roll with it.  They have much more money than “Englishmen” because they do not have to pay for electricity, cable, phone, Internet, car payments, insurance and routine maintenance and so on.  There are no contractor fees as everyone helps everyone else build barns.  As much as their lifestyle appeals to me, I am not sure I could downsize that much at my age.  If the collapse comes, I may get to try that whether I like it or not.

We may not have to be that austere, but most of us could do with less and would be happier.   I have heard many people talk about the days when they were not as prosperous as now saying they were happy back then.  Speaking of prosperity, if you owe everything to the lenders they are prosperous, not you, and can take it all away from you in a heartbeat.  One co-worker always said, “Live modern! Go in debt!”  Well, modern ways are not always true progress and as in that phrase’s philosophy, unbiblical.  When God prospers His people they are the lender, not the borrower.  Indeed, look at the US.  When we were more godly, we were the lending nation and now we are the borrower and all of our prosperity is really a facade.   Christians are called to be givers and we cannot do as much when we are up to our necks in debt.

As goes the family, so goes the churches sinc families in debt cannot help churches that are crazy in debt and are so large or so small that a great deal of the giving goes into the building.   The other process that is being pursued today is to remove tax exemption from churches as a secular nations sees them as useless.  They want to expand their tax bases and since churches are not seen as contributing any real services to the community they should be taxed.  In one city, there was a move to tax closets and such areas that were not directly involved in ministry.  If the church had say a hundred square feet in such areas they would be taxed on that hundred square feet and I suspect they would using the higher corporate tax versus the residential rate.  That was stopped, but you see how creative folks are becoming and pushing towards a goal.  Indeed, as many issues are being made “hateful”, it would not take too long to have a church listed as a hate group and all exemptions taken away.

In essence, removing the tax exemption would be the way to close nearly every church in America as few would be able to handle the tax burden.  Find out your church’s appraisal worth and then figure out the tax it would be charged.  Then look at your budget.  Could you handle it if local, state and federal taxes were assessed?  What would you have to cut to survive, if you could cut enough?   Would missions go?  Most of the staff gone?  Pastor’s salary cut in half?  Would the building start to deteriorate because you could not keep up with repairs?  Would people give less since they could not declare it on their taxes?  Most, if not all, would have to fold.  Indeed, they may lose the buildings to taxes.  It might be wise to make all future church plants using portable buildings as that would lower the taxes just as sheds on skids are charged less than ones on a concrete foundation.

The upside of this would be that many churches would have to merge and spend less on stuff that is not important in the Kingdom. They may make new friends or learn to sit on the same pew as other people going to the same Heaven. How novel is that?  They may learn to like different genres of music. The young may have to sit with the elder and the suit person with the blue jeans and cowboy hat person.  You can sit next to an inked person without fear of it rubbing off on you and you may find they are an awesome brother or sister in Christ.  Your wife and daughter have pierced ears so why shy away from someone who has a pierced eyebrow or navel?  It is the same process as your lady’s ears. The only difference is location.  Man, with all those possibilities maybe we should pray for the exemption to be removed.  It could bring revival.

We will all be dust, if Jesus tarries.  We may leave our money to people who will squander it and throw away our stuff, so let’s make it easier for them and downsize.  Sell what you can and give away the stuff you have not used in years.  You may then have room for the stuff in your house that you are paying to have stored.  Really, in a year or so, much of what you have stored already has no profit value. The rent ate that up and it is worth less each month after that.  If you have not checked on it for awhile, you may find rust, mold and moth have had a field day with it.  The money you gain can get you out of debt so that when you see a need locally, you can give to it without a care.  It then becomes an investment with eternal returns.

To those churches that are already struggling to keep the doors open, don’t.  As good stewards, find another church that is not struggling and merge.  Sell the property and give it to missions or the poor.  Why wait and have to deal with all the trouble when you are down to the pastor and one family trying to dispose of it or take the risk of losing it to taxes or eminent domain depending on where it is located.  Memories are nice and warm, but there comes a time to realize that the ride is over.  For whatever reason, you are not growing and will not.  God is concerned about people, not buildings.  Maybe that building once held hundreds, but it is over.  Your talents may be needed elsewhere in the Body outside of that building.  Don’t wait for the hearse to get you to leave or the building to fall down.  There is most likely a church of like faith in a very close proximity to you.  If not, still leave the building behind and all its worries and meet in someone’s home.   God blesses unity so a merger is the best move.

To those churches are not yet struggling, it would be wise to assess a worst case scenario and have a plan to survive.  When planning your budget, be sure that most of it is going to the furtherance of the Gospel, not the comfort of the flock or the aspirations of the leadership for bigger and better.  Members, keep your leadership accountable for wise spending.  Do not be like the congregation who heard the pastor say how he was lead to build a 1.8 million dollar facility and then when finances got tight, he was called to another church out of state.  Be sure it is God’s vision for your church and not man’s.

Seek God to provide the funds for a project and not go into debt.  That is how God works. If He wants it, he provides for it.  That is why Wesley once said, “If the poor build the church, God builds it. If the rich build the church, man builds it.”  That has been true in many cases, but God does use the rich to do His floor plan, not man’s.  It is not inconceivable since banks sell loans that a loan could be bought by an adversary that demands instant payment or foreclosure.  Then it is time for a miracle or you are out the door.  We need to be wise as serpents, but harmless as doves.

The Church has had it fairly easy in the last two hundred years and I fear that has led us as members and churches into follies that our brethren in other countries have not had the luxury to do.  We will one day experience more persecution than we have in the last couple of decades.  We may have a reprieve with the new administration, but not amnesty forever.  Prepare now and it will be easier.  Be lax like we have been since the 60’s and it will be very rough.  The Native American lived simply because their focus was on needs.  We need far less in our lives and churches, but we focus on wants thus losing sight of the mission. We act like Jesus will never come or that we are a business that keeps changing their labels and slightly modifying the contents to keep customers or increase price.  Jesus actually turned more away than He drew because He dealt with truth and not just miracle feedings that satisfied the crowd’s bellies, but did not save their soul.

There are many questions that could be asked by, “If we are the Body…?”  Some would be in the arena of why we do things and others why are we not doing things.   It depends on if you know what you are made for and who made you.  That will determine what you will do with your mortality and its temporal assets.   Maranatha!!!

The Journal Of John Wesley

I have been rereading John Wesley’s journal and have come across many things that did not catch my eye on the first read.  There is an interesting dialogue with an old Choctaw man named Chicali.

Wesley said,

"If red men will learn the Good Book, they may know as much as white men. But neither we nor 
you can understand that Book unless we are taught by Him that is above: and He will not teach 
you unless you avoid what you already know is not good."

Indeed, this is the problem for many Christians.  We do not walk in the light we have and yet what God to give us greater light and specific answers to our questions.  There is no sense taking a class if calculus if we have mastered basic math skills.

Chicali then replied,

"I believe that. He will not teach us while our hearts are not white. And our men do what
they know is not good: they kill their own children. And our women do what they know is not 
good: they kill the child before it is born. Therefore He that is above does not send us the 
Good Book."

OUCH!!!  Burned by a ‘pagan!”  How many who claim to be followers of Wesley would be fine with abortion?  Yet, here is a man that worships nature and the Great Spirit who created it that says it is evil to commit abortion and infanticide.  Many other groups that call themselves Christian are not as wise as this Choctaw man and we have the good book that teaches against the shedding of innocent blood and there is no one more innocent than an unborn or partially unborn child.

Chicali says these are the actions of one who heart is not pure or clean.  If we are washed clean by the blood of Jesus Christ, the Word and the Holy Spirit, how then can we support what God does not and even non-Christians condemn?  He believed that God would not send His message to people who practiced such things.  In this, he was wrong because God sent His Son and the Word to call sinners to repentance.  We know that later in history some Native Americans willingly accepted the “Good Book”, but sadly many had it forced upon them and they later rejected it because of that and that sad testimony of those who called themselves Christian.

Paul spoke about Gentiles who kept the Law better than the ones who had the Law and the Prophets.

Rom 2:
11 For there is no respect of persons with God.
12 For as many as have sinned without law shall also perish without law: and as many as have sinned in the law shall be judged by the law;
13 (For not the hearers of the law are just before God, but the doers of the law shall be justified.
14 For when the Gentiles, which have not the law, do by nature the things contained in the law, these, having not the law, are a law unto themselves:
15 Which shew the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and their thoughts the mean while accusing or else excusing one another;)

While the conscience is not a 100% valid guide because of the Fall, there are many cultures that share similar beliefs of what is right or wrong and even some stories similar to the Bible.  Not surprising since only eight got off the ark.
That fact that conscience is defiled shows why we are not all in 100% agreement and some people can do horrible acts with no pangs of conscience.  Indeed, many commanders and guards during the Holocaust had no conscious because they swallowed the premise of evolution that we are just high tech apes with no greater authority than ourselves so what we deem right is right not what God deems right.  They suppressed their conscience and seared it. Chicali was far more wise than those people whose great education and intellect only took them to the abyss.   We were made in the image of God and though we are now a broken image,  we still mirror Him in some places. The complete image is marred by pieces being missing and very wide cracks, but it is still there and the Holy Spirit can win the worst of us and restore us.

We have the Good Book and we need to reread it, not revise it to our will, but rather allow it to revise us to His will.  If God can speak to the conscience of an old Choctaw man so that he could wisely assess his people, it is a sign of apostasy that we cannot hear Him when He speaks by the Word or in the still small voice.

Heb 5:
11 Of whom we have many things to say, and hard to be uttered, seeing ye are dull of hearing.
12 For when for the time ye ought to be teachers, ye have need that one teach you again which be the first principles of the oracles of God; and are become such as have need of milk, and not of strong meat.
13 For every one that useth milk is unskilful in the word of righteousness: for he is a babe.
14 But strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age, even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.

Some are actually deaf because they are Christians in name, but are spiritually dead.   Others are dull of hearing because the cares of this world keeps them from the Word or because they trust more in the rituals and commandments of men thus they do not search the Scriptures to see if their ministers are telling the truth.  They have drank the Kool-Aid, so speak.  Others are just too lazy as the word dull means in Greek and are happy to be saved from the fire and have no fire in their hearts for more.

Hence we have those who should know better not able to discern good from evil and teach others who may not even get the sincere milk of the Word, but rather a milk substitute.  They will remain forever babes and unskillful.  This may explain why so many Christians are cranky from persistent colic.  It is far past time for Christians to put away the things of children and grow up.  Get some some spiritual teeth and eat meat.  If all you get at your church is milk, which may be sour, it is time to move on.  Accept no substitutes in milk or meat.  Dive into the buffet the Lord provides and allow the Holy Spirit to prepare the correct portions for you.  Then you shall be teachers and warriors that men like Chicali would be willing to hear. Maranatha!

The Journal of John Wesley


Be Real Not Revered

December 17, 2016

I never liked being called Reverend.  I know it is a designation to show that you are an ordained minister, but only God should be revered.  I tried once to get listed as Pastor or Pas in the phone book to distinguish me between the other Ron Shultz, the cattleman, that lived in a RD#4 with me.  The phone gal was perplexed and asked what religion I belonged to and I said I was a Baptist, but just not into that title. I finally acquiesced to Rev because you can’t fight city hall or the phone company.  When I would preach at a church and they would introduce me I did all I could not to cringe when they said, “This is Reverend Shultz and his wife” because they would say Reverend in an odd tone that seemed creepy or like they were introducing royalty or something.  I know they meant it out of respect, but to a small town boy whose friends were mostly in low places it was a bit weird.

People have strange concepts about pastors.  The two main ones are either we put a man on a pedestal so high that he gets dizzy until he falls and takes many with him when he hits rock bottom or we have the “Bounty dish towel” philosophy where you bring him in to clean up your mess and when he is falling apart from the stress and dirt you toss him to the curb and get a new one.   Neither of those are biblical views of a pastor.

I Tim 3 gives the traits of a pastor.  Many bypass most of the main ones, but as my pastor says, “I won’t chase that rabbit or go down that trail.”  That is another message.  It is a tough description that I don’t think any pastor has ever fulfilled in the dotting every i and crossing every t mode.  He should be at least really good in some of them and striving for perfection in the others, but there is no perfect pastor.  If there were such a man, he would not have a church because everyone would feel condemned around him and run from him.

A pastor/elder or whatever you call him is a brother with the pastoral gifts.  He is not God the Father who controls everything.  He is not Jesus Christ in that He is not perfect yet seeking to be Christlike.  He is not the Holy Ghost as some pastors think they are micromanaging every detail of their member’s lives or saying that person had a gift to teach and must teach or else.  Usually that is not the case. The pastor just needs a teacher and guilt trips the person into doing something they will be frustrated in and afraid to quit lest they be out of God’s will.  You can tell one of these lads when they get nervous about somebody questioning something they preached or did.  They will break out the “touch not God’s anointed” or “don’t go up against God’s man” sermons.  I have heard men say that if you don’t tithe God may burn your house down or kill your child.  If you ever hear any of those types of sermons, please get out of there!  Run, do not walk!  That is not a man to sit under for spiritual guidance and wisdom.  He is in great error and on a power trip.

As I said, I know Reverend started as a means of respect but using Pastor or even Sir can show that.  To revere someone is a bit much as that word’s meaning is more like to be awed by someone or for someone to even fear you.  That may be the way people viewed their pastor back in the day, but then that is maybe how we got into some of the messes we have because people put the lad on a pedestal causing a soaring ego.  I never wanted my congregation to revere or fear me although there were times I would remind them how fortunate they were to be under grace.  After all, those who would not hearken unto the priest back then were brought to the city gates and stoned.  I imagine more people remembered more of the sermon under that process.  Today, they are out the door and maybe remember a story or a joke more than the main message.  I guess that is also where the fear factor came in to make the priests revered.

I was asked what the people were going to call me when I was called to pastor a small church.  I said that anything not derogatory was fine with me.  I was happy with Bro. Ron.  All the ThD thing did for me is keep me from being called Reverend wherever people revered pastors.  Doctor is a step up from Reverend, I reckon, but it sounds less weird to me.  For me, I wanted ThD to mean Thoroughly humble Dude since others like those letters more than I do.  Anyway, the folks decided to call me Pastor Ron.  They could have just called me Ron and I would have been cool with that.  I know some old school folks nearly fainted at that thought.  “You can’t call a pastor by his first name!  Where’s the respect?”  Hey, considering some of the names I was called in high school and boot camp, Ron is awesome respect.

Some people might respect the title, but if they do not respect the man with the title then what’s the point?  A deacon once asked if I was in the pastoral ministry for the prestige of the thing.  I laughed and asked what decade was he living in.  There is not much prestige in being a pastor unless you have a mega-church and a TV show.  Other than that, it means you have a target on your back for churched and unchurched alike to shoot for a bulls eye.  If anyone is truly respected the title means little.  If a person must have the title used then they have other issues and maybe even not someone to respect.

Often a title means you have to be unreal because that title has some sort of weird ideas with it.  You must be somewhat a snob in some places.  You are never transparent or let your guard down lest they find out you are human.  You cannot fail or sin, not even the “little” ones. You cannot fraternize with the members lest they lose respect.  After all, familiarity breeds contempt, right? Only if your view of a minister is warped and weird.  Remember, pastor human, member human so expect both to be human.  No one is perfect!  A pastor experiences nearly everything an average Joe experiences and maybe some Joe will never know.

Early in my ministry, I did try to cater to those warped views of what a pastor should be like and I was miserable.  I felt like I was in a box that I could not dare peek out of without someone being ready to cast me to the curb.  I am not sure what finally got me to jump out of the box and say forget all that hooha.  Now, I am what you see is what you get.  I am Ron.  I am not perfect.  I want to serve the Lord in whatever capacity I can.  If I am now too old, where I was once too young or too fat, too short, too this or too that for you then I reckon I will serve somewhere else where they have different and maybe fewer too this or too thats.  I can have a position and title or I can be the Maverick on the range or do spiritual guerrilla warfare, but I will serve and do ministry somewhere until I am no longer physically able or die.  I want to be real, not revered.  God did not call me or any other man to pastor as a caricature or clone of some other pastor.

So, to my fellow ministers, get out of the box folks may have put you in.  Want to be a minister?  Then do not get in a box.  Be real.  God called you like you are and He is the one you have to please, not some job description or character role a board made up.  This may cause you some stress and even cost you some places of ministry. The stress of trying to be what you are not is worse and may well be a factor in the high drop out rate of pastors in America.  Let God mold you into what He wants you to be and He will provide the place where the people you minister to will be absolutely fine with that,   Seek to be real, not revered.  In the long run, you will get more respect from people and you will have more respect for yourself.  Maranatha!

Pastor Mike Mizell mentioned as part of his message tonight that sometimes we give too much attention to those who were saved out of some wretched background versus someone saved from a good background.  Indeed, you can do the national speaking circuit if you were the high priestess of a coven, a warlock, a pimp, drug lord or gang leader.  In fact, if you communed with aliens or cast spells on people you can also write a book about your conversion and maybe retire off the royalties.

However, if you were born into a saved family and grew up in the church being basically a goodie-two-shoes in the eyes of the world and the Church, it is highly unlikely that your testimony would gain much of an audience or that your book would sell more than some copies bought by relatives to encourage you.  It would be too blase for the folks that are like those on Mars Hill that wanted to hear new things that were exciting or different.

I had a conversation with my then pastor, Frank Morse, when I was saved only a few months.  He had grown up the saved kid that never got into anything, but what might be seen as the boring sins.  Maybe he pulled his sister’s hair or ate a cookie before dinner or said the vulgar version of manure.  All in all a blah testimony for the tabloid age.  He said that he wished he had a testimony like mine.  I told him if I were not a Christian right then, I would smack him in the nose.  I said I would give up an arm to have his testimony.  While he was still a sinner who needed to be saved by grace, he did not have the pain, scars and guilt that I had.  I told him that his testimony of God keeping him out of the gutter was just as powerful, if not more so, than mine of how God saved me out of the gutter.

When I ministered at the Dallas County Jail with my dear brother, Mike Zapata, he was always careful to say that he did not what to give props to the devil so he only told what had to be told to share his testimony.  He spared us from hearing many gory details.  I had to follow that tract of reasoning as well.  In the many sessions I have been involved with when speaking to strangers and saints I often heard far more than I needed to hear.  At times, while they did not mean it to be so it would sound like some of the saints missed the “good ol’ days” when they were participating in various sins.

Yes, God does show us the failures of many of the people He saved and used in the kingdom.  We all know Samson’s issues and David’s.  Paul called himself the Chief of Sinners and I often feel like the Assistant Chief of Sinners.  Yet, He also mentions the righteous men like Job and Noah.  John was the disciple Jesus loved and he seems flawless in the Word though we know that he had some sins.

Mat 19:18 He saith unto him, Which? Jesus said, Thou shalt do no murder, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness,
19 Honour thy father and thy mother: and, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.
20 The young man saith unto him, All these things have I kept from my youth up: what lack I yet?

This lad did do all he knew how to keep the Law, which would have included obeying and honoring his parents.  He felt like he had kept all the ones Jesus mentioned so all in all, he was a good kid.  Had he come to Jesus very little would have changed in his outward life, but his heart would have dramatically changed because he had a strong love of money, which is the root of all evil.  He was materialistic, much like many folks we have today.  No murder or theft in their life, but a bad cast of covetousness, which is idolatry.

Luk 1:5 There was in the days of Herod, the king of Judaea, a certain priest named Zacharias, of the course of Abia: and his wife was of the daughters of Aaron, and her name was Elisabeth.
6 And they were both righteous before God, walking in all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord blameless.

A wonderful couple and as good as Jews as they came.  They were given a son, called John, but would be known as John the Baptizer or John the Baptist.  They were given quite an honor as Jesus said about their son they raised that he was greatest prophet.

Luke 7:26 But what went ye out for to see? A prophet? Yea, I say unto you, and much more than a prophet.
27 This is he, of whom it is written, Behold, I send my messenger before thy face, which shall prepare thy way before thee.
28 For I say unto you, Among those that are born of women there is not a greater prophet than John the Baptist: but he that is least in the kingdom of God is greater than he.

John was living a very holy and sacrificial life.  His holy preaching cost him his head, but he will be great in Heaven because of his holiness.

2Ti 3:14 But continue thou in the things which thou hast learned and hast been assured of, knowing of whom thou hast learned them;
15 And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.

Though Timothy had a Gentile father, his Jewish mother and grandmother made sure that he was tutored in the faith and he was an obedient child and ended up as a spiritual son of Paul and mentored by him.  He became the pastor of the Ephesian church when he was around 21 and unmarried in a culture where a man was not considered a full adult until he was 30 and married.   We forget about him sometimes and his example to not let age be a factor when calling a pastor.
Philippians 3:4 Though I might also have confidence in the flesh. If any other man thinketh that he hath whereof he might trust in the flesh, I more:
5 Circumcised the eighth day, of the stock of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, an Hebrew of the Hebrews; as touching the law, a Pharisee;
6 Concerning zeal, persecuting the church; touching the righteousness which is in the law, blameless.

As far as the Church was concerned, Paul was a bad man before he was saved because he persecuted it.  By Jewish standard, he was as near to sinless as one could expect and more zealous than his peers when it came to his faith and service to God.  When He was saved, that same zeal was quadrupled and though he had some anger issues he was the reason we are saved today in the sense that he was sent to the Gentiles to win them to Christ.  Yet, as we saw, he considered himself as the Chief of Sinners and as one born out of due time as an Apostle.

Eph 5:11 And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them.
12 For it is a shame even to speak of those things which are done of them in secret.

It would seem more appropriate to downplay some of our more notorious converts.  In fact, for many celebrities, we exalt them while they are novices and pave a way to failure and many do fall away quickly.  Some may not have been truly saved while others became prideful and fell.

1Timothy 3:6 Not a novice, lest being lifted up with pride he fall into the condemnation of the devil.

Before we put them on the circuit, they might need to be discipled for a year or two.  They may not be pastors of a church, but we exalt them too quickly while they are still young in the Lord or before we try their spirit and know for sure they are saved and not a tare the devil raised up to discredit the Church and cause men to blaspheme the name of Christ because of their fall.

Luke 18:11 The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, God, I thank thee, that I am not as other men are, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican.
12 I fast twice in the week, I give tithes of all that I possess.
13 And the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner.
14 I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other: for every one that exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted.

I would be remiss if I did not caution the goody-two-shoes.  Stay humble and praise God that He kept you from many snares and pits that could give you the Hollywood style testimony that comes with Texas sized scars and guilt.  Do not get snooty over the brethren who came from the seedy side or up out of deep pits.  Remember that except for the grace of God you would be in the same shape.  Even as a Christian, you are not beyond temptation until you are dead and home in Heaven.  Be very, very careful of where you point your nose and about what you sneer.  The wrong time and the wrong place and you could easily fall into the same sin that you think is the most despicable as satan loves to make snooty, self-righteous people fall.

Luke 7:41 There was a certain creditor which had two debtors: the one owed five hundred pence, and the other fifty.
42 And when they had nothing to pay, he frankly forgave them both. Tell me therefore, which of them will love him most?
43 Simon answered and said, I suppose that he, to whom he forgave most. And he said unto him, Thou hast rightly judged.

While on a human level, some people seem to have more that needs to be forgiven that others, we are all sinners and fifty pence of sin will send an unbeliever to Hell as much as five hundred pence.  Sadly, the only difference between a fifty pence saved sinner and a five hundred pence one is zeal.  The five pence one can take their salvation for granted since they were not as bad as the five hundred pence one.  Quite often they can become the Pharisee, though a few five hundred pence folks can join them.

Many times, the five hundred pence will have a hard time feeling that they are as good as the other folks.  They may even question if they should be in Church.  As I told one person that felt that way, “When you see them kick me out then you can worry.  If they keep me, you have no issue.”  He later told me that he often looked to see if I was still there.  He is now a worldwide missionary.

Both the five and five hundred pence sinners are washed clean at the Cross.  Both are given gifts and a place in the Kingdom.  They are equals.  They choose what do to with those gifts.  They can use them or put them on the shelf.  The five pence may shelf the gift by pride and the five hundred pence one by failing to grasp his/her new identity in Christ.  If you see a person serving faithfully and zealously, it will be more often than not a person who was the five hundred pence sinner that is gloriously grateful for his forgiveness.  Thankfully, at times the five pence sinner will also be doing all he/she can because they are grateful that it was only five and not five hundred.

Be it a five pence sinner or a five hundred the props go to Jesus.  All glory belongs to Him.  Praise Him for the one He pulls out of the gutter, but do not exalt that person over the one God saved from going into the gutter.  All testimonies of God’s grace are glorious whether they need to be filtered for adult content or could be shared in Junior Church.  Alleluia!  Maranatha!!

You Called Me Racist?

December 11, 2016

My best buddy at 9 was from the only Black family in town that lived across the creek from me. He ate at my house and I ate at his. I was bullied by White kids and teachers.

I had a heavy crush on my Black French teacher.

I volunteered to be om the Equal Opportunity and Treatment team in the USAF.

One of my best friends was Black man who was threatened and beaten by other Blacks for being my friend.

At one point, I had been around so many Blacks that I picked up phrases and mannerisms to where I was called an inverted Oreo.

My best supervisors in the military were Black.

When no else was going to do a going away party I made a plaque for my Black supervisor.

I wrote an ode to one of my Black supervisors.

I have great respect for Asians after doing a tour in Thailand.

I went to an all Black VFW in Hattiesburg, MS and learned a dance and was invited back.

At one church I got along better with the minority members than with the White ones.

I preached for several weeks at a Black church in Dallas while they were looking for a pastor as well as in other Black churches in SC and TX.

My ministry friends when I pastored in La Grange, TX were Black pastors.

My two best post-military supervisors were women.

I have spoken from the pulpit of the oldest Black church in TX and the pastor asked me to sit on the ordination council of his son, but I moved before that happened.

My best friends at the VA were a Mexican and a Black man that I helped get into my section to work with me.

I had a Black lady call me her son and pray for me and I mentioned her as my mother in a sermon.

I have spoken at a Latino church.

I have been called the “Jew who calls himself a Christian” by a White Supremacist.

I have had a Jewish man tell me I reminded him of a Rabbi, which I took as a high honor.

I shut down a man who claimed to be a KKK member when he was talking insanely at work.

I have preached in jails and a rescue mission where I hugged and prayed for many a Black man.

I have served on the board of a food bank and worked in the bank preparing and handing out groceries.

I am now helping at a soup kitchen where we serve all flavors of people.

I am associated with a ministry that works with homeless and low income women doing various things for them.

I have ministered to a dying gay man and his significant other.

When no one else would help a gay man at work change his flat tire because he was too ill to do so, I did it gladly and prayed for him.

I have worked with many gays that I treated with nothing but respect.

I had three gays defend me against a man trying to stir up strife when I preached to them in jail and one wanted to come to church with me when he was released . I told him he was more than welcome to come.

Someone was picking on a Black lady at work and I put my arm around and said to stop picking on my friend. She said I was the first White man to hug her.

I have ministered to a hermaphrodite with both sets functionally in transition to being strictly a female so despite the fact there was a heavy five o’clock shadow I used the term sister.

My current physician is Nigerian.

I take my car to be inspected at a station owned by a Muslim.

I am a Republican. I know. I am a horrible person.

Mat 5:13 Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be salted? it is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men.
I am not a scientist and probably only got an A in Mr. King’s class because he enjoyed a good argument especially over which branch of the military was the best.  I do remember that NaCl is salt. My wife and I debate over the benefits of sea salt or some pink salt. I always say that NaCl is salt so salt is salt to which she begs to differ. For a long time we went on a low salt regimen and I guess I still am somewhat as I rarely salt my food. Pepper or hot sauce, yes, but seldom any salt as salt is in practically everything including my hot sauce. That is why I prefer fresh jalapeno slices or dried red chili peppers.

Having been off of salt for a long time changed my appeal for my mother-in-law’s fried chicken that I once thought was the best on the planet. Coming home for a visit, I drooled as she fried it but thought I had bitten into a salt block as I watched my father-in-law salt his without even tasting it.   I had lost my taste or craving for salt, unlike Dad who was wanting more though he had a ton of it already in the chicken.  Not sure how his body managed to handle that much salt.

That may be the problem of some Christians who are always looking for some new thing or complaining about their pastor’s sermons.  They have been around salt for so long and used to getting it that they were crying for more though they as the Body of Christ may not have been processing it as they should have thus they craved more seeking the benefit and flavor they should have already had.  Indeed, they may be as persevered as a body buried in salt, but lifeless.

Coming into a congregation like that where the pastor has to constantly up the salt amount can be a bit overwhelming for a new Christian or especially an unbeliever who has been invited.   They both may have come thirsty, but may have been given sea water instead of clear water and leaving them more thirsty than when they came in.  The meat may have been too salty as well quenching their hunger not satisfying it.  They leave with a bad taste in their mouth. If they had some wounds, too much salt may have been dumped into the wounds rather than just enough to promote healing and prevent the infection of bitterness or despair.  In essence, the salt was useless and they cast it out and walked over it as they left.

Some churches try using a salt substitute to avoid people getting their blood pressure up.  Well, KCL is used as a substitute, but the K can kill you if you get too much of that as it can affect heart, liver, and kidneys.  Yea, blood pressure is lowered, but it can be even lowered to zero with the substitute.  Trying to use anything else, but the true salt of the Word will also keep blood pressures down as nothing offensive or poignant may be preached, but in the end, it will affect the ability to process out lies and heresies leading to spiritual heart failure.  Not good.

Some try to tinker with the salt to make it still useful without the negative side effects of people leaving the church or the unbelievers getting riled up.  Well, Na2CL3 is not salt.  Na3CL4 is not salt.  Na is not salt.  Cl is not salt. Just simple NaCl   Adding to or taking away destroys the salt and will create something useless for souls seeking flavor.  Indeed, Na3Cl is a metal.  Hmm, maybe that is what happens when NaCl is resisted in the spiritual realm.  Your heart turns to metal. That definitely would be a hardened heart.  Na3Cl only happens when NaCL is under pressure which is what happens when a pastor is under pressure to change NaCl to please the congregation or the culture.  It may also happen when NaCl seeks to salt the heart and the hearer becomes convicted and uses all the pressure he can to resist it.  The result is a dead metal message and a dead metal heart.

You can also water down salt so that it is hardly noticeable.  I can put the right amount of salt in a glass of water and you would not taste it at first or at all.  Only if I put a great deal in would you notice it immediately.  Indeed, reading the ingredients of many foods and drinks you would be surprised to find salt in them as you cannot taste it.  God meant us to be salt that could be tasted and seen.  Salt on a soft pretzel is easy to see and be tasted.  There is no doubt about that salt.  I could not see it, but there was no doubt that there was salt in my mother-in-law’s chicken.  We are not to water down the salt or hide it.  That makes it useless.

Salt is also processed to remove impurities by heating the brine and sometimes it is gathered through an evaporation process.  God often removes the impurities that are in His salt shakers because His salt is pure, but the shakers can be contaminated.  He also can do this by allowing the shakers to come under heat or by a dry spell.   Often His salt is rejected because of the shaker that is shaking it out to the world.  When that happens either by sin or because the shaker has made itself unappealing by its demeanor God cleans the shaker or takes it out of use.

The world and the Church need pure salt dispensed properly out of clean shakers.  Sometimes people have been paid in salt because it was so valuable.  The best reference a person could get is to have someone say he is worth his salt.   So are you worth your salt that is in you?  Are you trying to tinker with God’s NaCl?  Do you need a cleansing job or a change of delivery methods?  Go to the Lord and asked to be made into what He can use so that your salt does not lose it savor, flavor or appeal with you and it being useless and trampled over. You want to be worth your salt, not useless salt.  Maranatha!