Plainly Spoken…

I’m certainly no theologian. But because of the “business” I’ve been in for several decades, it has been incumbent upon me be somewhat of a dilettante in it. I’ve attempted to explore some of the mysteries of the scriptures and understand the difficult passages there.

It’s not the hard to understand or disputed passages that concern me.   Rather, it’s the ones that are plainly stated..

You see, it’s the very clear imperatives that measure every life, the criteria that all are evaluated by.  They keep me humbled, expose my deficiencies and ask the highest of me, for HIM and for others.

1 Thessalonians 5:16-19 (NASB)

16 Rejoice always;
17 Pray without ceasing;
18 In everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in       Christ Jesus.
19 Do not quench the Spirit;

Here are a simple few of them, in my words: Always praise and have joy; Always pray and never quit; Always, in everything, have a gratitude attitude; AND NEVER hinder or squelch the work of the Spirit of God in or around you.

Pretty simple…plainly spoken… easy to understand and talk about…DIFFICULT to live. Probably, it’s just me that struggles with the basics…manifesting essential and validating virtues that should always be seen in the life of a believer…the convincing proofs of HIS presence in me, that require no words to defend or prove.

2 Peter 1:3-4 (NASB)

3 seeing that His divine power has granted to us everything pertaining to life and godliness, through the true knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and excellence.
4 For by these He has granted to us His precious and magnificent promises, so that by them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world by lust.

Not only does Jesus ask these things of me, but HE gives me all I need to pull it off. 2 Peter 1:3a reminds me HE’s provided everything I need for life and godliness. How great is that!!? He tells me what I need to BE, and has provided the necessary resources to DO it. Phew!! So good to hear because I’m thoroughly convinced I don’t have the ability, and that,  proven by my many failures. So, what’s MY problem?

Well, the hymn writer said of himself: “…Prone to wander, Lord I feel it.  Prone to leave the God I love.  Here’s my heart, Lord, take and seal it, seal it for your courts above.”  (Come Thou Fount, verse 3)

Yep! That’s me. But I’m learning how to “write checks” out of that resource He’s given; I am aware that becoming like Him (godliness) is a process. But I’m such a slow learner, a bit more recalcitrant than I want to admit, and humiliated by it; incorrigible….  Despite this, I’m finding HIS Life-force is at work and greater than my “less thans”.  He’s letting me see that I am being changed.  His compelling “energy”  is indeed getting eternal things done in me…so exhilarating,  humbling.  Amazed by His kindness and enduring love, I continue to be.

I’m convinced He is able to change any leopard’s spots, even mine; in spite me, this dark world and our enemy, the devil. Need not succumb…but will continue to aspire…stretch toward the upward call of Jesus Christ in every thing. Even though I struggle consistently living the fundamentals, and chagrined to admit it, I know this acknowledgement is the wide door to His Kingdom (“…Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the Kingdom of God….”  Matthew 5), His rule and reign in me. Agreeing with God concerning my condition and predispositions, He forgives AND keeps on cleansing me from all sin (1 John 1:9). And one day, HE will “… Present me blameless in His presence, spirit, soul and body…my, our glorious hope!!

1 Thessalonians 5:23-24 (NASB)

23 Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you entirely; and may your spirit and soul and body be preserved complete, without blame at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.
24 Faithful is He who calls you, and He also will bring it to pass.

How about you…if you haven’t, won’t you join me and millions of others in this divine spiritual rehab, relentlessly amazed at His ability to change our lives, to restore us to His intended functions that have been marred by the damage sin brings, and all this, for His glory here, now and in the life to come. You’ll never regret it. Being changed,

I am,

Mitch White

The LORD, My Keeper, Part II

The LORD, My Keeper  Part II…

So, what does HE know that uniquely qualifies Him to be my keeper?

“My wrongs are not hidden from You.” Psalm 69:5,6
“All My desire is before You.” Psalm 38:9
“All my adversaries are before You” Psalm 69:19b
“My times are in Your hands” Psalm 31:15
“You know the path I walk.” Psalm 142:3
And, as Psalm 139 declares, He knows when I sit, stand, when I lie down, every thought, even before a word is on my tongue. Wow, wouldn’t our intelligence agencies love to have that kind of “technology”. If they could, terrorism and many other dark things emanating from the hearts of humanity could be averted.

But, being rightly related to Holy God makes this kind of personal oversight and security available to us in this life… the kind of help to “Keep Us”, even from the sinister strategies and “covert” plots of our enemy, the devil, who is the father of terror, the author of fear.  The LORD has even dispatched HIS “helpers”, Special Ops, to a staging area near us, our own personal, spiritual CTU (Counter Terrorist Unit), if you will.

Psalm 34:7 (NASB)
7  The angel of the Lord encamps around those who fear Him,
And rescues them.

Don’t miss the privilege / opportunity of such loving, divine, sovereign care…belonging to all who are HIS via the Saving Life of Jesus Christ.  In Him…

Be Blessed,

 

Mitch

The LORD, My Keeper

Psalm 121:5-8 (NASB)

5 The Lord is your keeper;
The Lord is your shade on your right hand.
6 The sun will not smite you by day,
Nor the moon by night.
7 The Lord will protect you from all evil;
He will keep your soul.
8 The Lord will guard your going out and your coming in
From this time forth and forever.

For those who are believers and followers of Jesus Christ, the LORD has promised to “keep” us in this life. HE is uniquely qualified and alone possesses the critical capabilities to do so. He knows everything there is to know about us. Because this is true, He is able to design and carry out the strategies that “keep”.

Psalm 139:1-6 (NASB)
God’s Omnipresence and Omniscience.

1 O Lord, You have searched me and known me.

2 You know when I sit down and when I rise up;
You understand my thought from afar.

3 You scrutinize my path and my lying down,
And are intimately acquainted with all my ways.

4 Even before there is a word on my tongue,
Behold, O Lord, You know it all.

5 You have enclosed me behind and before,
And laid Your hand upon me.

6Such knowledge is too wonderful for me;
It is too high, I cannot attain to it.

HE is “intimately acquainted” with all of me / us and that information should blow our minds, even as it did King David in verse 6. To think that He is acquainted with me, an infintessimaly small speck in the context of an infintessimaly big universe, IS mind boggling. The Hebrew word translated “acquainted” in verse 3 is “sakan”, literally meaning “acquainted, knowledgeable to the degree that HE can be of great benefit to us”. (Source: Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance, 5532, NASB)

So, what does He know?

That is for “Part Two” coming soon.  But do read and meditate on these passages over and over.   Let God’s Spirit cause this truth to penetrate your soul.  Take comfort that the most significant personality in the universe knows you, loves you infinitely and is ready to care for you perfectly.  Such peace, rest and quietness this brings, and all of it a gift through the person of Jesus Christ.  Savor, and be forever blessed.

Indebted,

Mitch

 

What is the status of your unbelief?

20 And Jesus said unto them, Because of your unbelief: for verily I say unto you, If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, Remove hence to yonder place; and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossible unto you.”

There are many things in the world that we believe in.  And there are many things that we do not believe in.  And these beliefs and unbelief’s permeate every one of our lives.  From social, to political, to science, and even our theology.  But have you ever stopped to consider how much easier it is to not believe than it is to believe?

I personally believe that the USA sent men to the moon and that they walked upon its surface.  This is as much a fact for me as the house that I live in or the clothes that I wear.  But there is an entire subculture that does not believe this.  No matter the evidence put before them.

I personally believe the earth is round, like a ball, hanging in space.  But there is a considerable subculture today that believes the earth is flat and not round.

I personally do not believe in Global Warming, Man Made Climate Change, or the data and extrapolations that come from such theories.  But there is a considerable number of people who do find this line of reasoning credible.

I personally do not believe that the current US administration colluded with Russia to alter the 2016 election results. But there are many people who do believe this.

I personally believe that abortion is murder and takes the life of a living human spirit.  But there are many that do not believe that and view abortion as an acceptable practice.

I personally believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of the Living God and that He came to earth to die for the sins of the world and that on the third day He rose from the dead proving his deity and solidifying His claims.  But there are a vast number of people who do not believe that.

In all of these, my belief is much harder than my unbelief.  It is easy to not believe something. But it is hard to actually believe something.  This is because our nature, our very human nature, is bent towards questioning and a need for proof.  And what I may require as proof is probably different than what you may require as proof.  We all want to be masters of our own destiny.  We want to be the ones in control.  And we all want to be our own judges of what is true and what is not.

Oftentimes we blame our skepticism on lack of faith.  We say that we have a problem with something because we do not have any faith in it.  We lack faith in our political systems.  We lack faith in our in our scientific methods.  We lack faith in our society.  And we certainly lack faith in our theology.

But how much faith does it take to effect changes in these areas in the world around us?  How much faith do we really need to make a difference in the world?

The disciples had this problem when they tried, on their own, to accomplish a task.  That of casting out a demon.  And when they failed, they came to Jesus and he told them that if they had but a very small amount of faith, that of a single mustard seed, they could move mountains.  At least that is what we usually focus on.

What we miss is the reason why they failed.  Jesus told them the reason they failed right up front.  See it there?  He told them the reason they were not successful is because of their unbelief.  Unbelief is a powerful thing in our lives and it will weigh heavy on our beliefs, dragging them down.  And then he told them that if they had a very small amount of faith they could move mountains.

From this we can learn that it is not the size of our faith that hinders us, it is the size of our unbelief that is important.  We are way too busy running around trying to increase our faith when what we should really be doing is working on our unbelief.

As further evidence of this I would submit God’s one requirement for entering into the Kingdom of Heaven, that of belief on the person of His Son, Jesus Christ.   God did not require us to first have great faith.  That naturally follows once we take care of our unbelief. Rather God requires us to believe.  Belief is where we must start and dealing with our unbelief is a foundational piece of that.

When a troubled father came to Jesus asking for healing for his child, Jesus asked him if he believed (Mark 9:23-24).  The father emphatically proclaimed that he believed and then immediately asked for help with his unbelief.  Jesus had just told him that all things were possible to those that believed, and the father so desperately wanted to believe.  But he knew that there were still doubts that were in his heart and he asked Jesus to help him with his unbelief.

I can assure you today that I have great faith that God is upon His throne.  He is in control, whether I believe that or not.  Faith that could move mountains and that I will stand for even though I walk in the Valley of the Shadow of Death.  And yet mountains are not moved, lives are not changed, and there seems to be little difference in the world around me.  Why?  Probably because I’ve been asking God for great faith when I should be asking him to help me with my unbelief.

How about yourself?  Are mountains not moving in your life?  Are you failing to make a difference?  And do you double down on your efforts because of your great faith only to no avail?  Perhaps it’s time for us to work on our unbelief.  Jesus, help me with my unbelief so that the faith you have given me in my life may move mountains for Your glory.

Humility’s Reward

Proverbs 22:4 (NASB)
4 The reward of humility and the fear (reverence) of the Lord are riches, honor and life.

Isaiah 33:5-6 (NASB)
5 The Lord is exalted, for He dwells on high;
He has filled Zion with justice and righteousness.
6 And He will be the stability of your times,
A wealth of salvation, wisdom and knowledge;
The fear of the Lord is his treasure.

James 4:6-7 (NASB)
6 But He gives a greater grace. Therefore it says, “God is opposed to the proud, but gives grace to the humble.”
7 Submit therefore to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you.

So what does all of this fearing God and humility add up to?  To regard, seek, love and obey Him above all else, versus pride and rebellion which resists Him and all His higher purposes.  This command, invitation to regard Him is motivated by His unfailing love; His desire that we know “success” and provision as He defines it in this life.

1 John 2 warns us to not love the world or anything in it.  Jesus gave  the foremost command, that being, to Love God above everything.  (Jas. 4:6-7)  This is uncompromised, unmitigated allegiance, giving Him the “space” in us that He rightfully owns by virtue of creation, formation, sustention, salvation….

James 4:4-6  (NASB)
4 You adulteresses, do you not know that friendship with the world is hostility toward God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God. 5 Or do you think that the Scripture speaks to no purpose: “He jealously desires the Spirit which He has made to dwell in us”? 6 But He gives a greater grace. Therefore it says, “God is opposed to the proud, but gives grace to the humble.”

These verses need little to no commentary.  His very best comes via fearing (reverencing), loving and acknowledging Him above all in this life, in everything we are and do.  In spite of the many voices that suggest  otherwise, seek HIM first.  Oh that we would indeed “humble ourselves under His mighty hand”. Reverencing HIM is His treasure, the way to the stability we need; access to all the saving helps, wisdom and knowledge, making us equal to everything that life can bring.  We’re invited to test Him in this.  He is true (faithful) , and we will never be disappointed.

After (in pursuit) Him, I am,

Mitch

Guard Your Heart!

“In the best utopia, I must be prepared for the moral fall of any man in any position at any moment; especially for my fall from my position at this moment.”   Chesterton on Orthodoxy

Be careful when you stand, lest you fall.  (1 Corinthians 10:12)

Guard your heart for from it flow the issues of life.  (Proverbs 4:22)

“Hold me back from presumptuous sins…” (Psalm 19:12)

You therefore, beloved, knowing this beforehand, be on your guard so that you are not carried away by the error of unprincipled men and fall from your own steadfastness….

2 Peter 3:17 (NASB)

“Only those who try to resist temptation know how strong it is…. We never find out the strength of the evil impulse in us until we try to fight it; and Christ, because He was the only one who never yielded to temptation, is also the only man who knows to the full what temptation means.

No one knows how bad they are until they have tried very hard to be good. A silly idea is current that good people don’t know what temptation means. This is an obvious lie….

One who gives in to temptation after five minutes simply does not know what it would have been like an hour later. This is why bad people, in one sense, know very little about badness…they have lived a sheltered life by always giving in.

You know the strength of an opposing army by fighting it, not surrender…the strength of wind by walking in it, not lying down.”

C. S. Lewis

May these profound tidbits cause us to run to Jesus Christ and the all-sufficiency (El Shaddai, God Almighty, the All Sufficient One) of His saving Life, finding in Him ALONE the Sovereign saving and keeping power to stay in His life giving path, finishing well and fulfilling His purposes in, through and around us.

Faithful is He who calls us, Who will also bring it to pass.

(I Thessalonians 5:24)

Determined,

Mitch

Gratitude

Living thankful lives doesn’t come natural. Gratuitous living and giving is not easily found or attained. There’s very little “thank you” in the world. As a matter of fact it seems that a spirit of entitlement is increasingly more prevalent.

Raising children, we find that gratitude must be taught. All Moms and Dads know this. How many times did you say to your children after some kind thing was done for them, “Now what do you say?” The answer was to be “Thank you”. In time, my children got it and are “thank you” people today…for which I am indebted to God, who made it so.

The scriptures are clear that being thankful is a virtue.  Our fallen nature makes it reflexive to be otherwise.  But scripture goes on to tell us that those who claim to be followers of Jesus Christ, having His overcoming Life within, can, and should be characterized by thankfulness and gratitude…at all times, and remarkably so, when things are not going very well, from our view. Thankfulness seems to be one of the convincing proofs, irrefutable evidences that He, God, is in us…proof that a genuine Dynamic is active, producing observable results not commonly observed elsewhere.

If my facts are right, the Apostle Paul  mentions thanksgiving 26 times. He indicates it is to be present in every redeemed life.  If not, it is a diagnostic that tells us His Saving Life is being hindered.

In 1 Thessalonians 5, Paul tells us we are to “…Always give thanks….”  I’ve struggled with this personally.  But as time progresses and He becomes freer to be Himself in me, gratitude is increasingly on my lips, and most importantly, when I am facing difficulties.  What a demonstration of trust in HIM  who has promised to be “the stability of our times”, always.

I enjoy photography.  Recently, in spite of being very careful, I dropped my best camera and favorite lens on the asphalt…yes, there was a crowd around to see me in that humiliating moment.  What seemed to naturally and immediately come from my lips was “…Well thank you Lord…this will not ruin my day….”  Did I really say that?  Yes, and no one was more surprised than I.  Instantly, I felt HIS pleasure because He was able to express Himself in me in a supernatural way.  Sometime, I’ll tell “the rest of the story”, the outcome of this seemingly catastrophic event, which very soon, was revealed to be a path to  a supernatural event for me and others.

Believe me, I’ve not arrived at all, but I’m so humbled to see that God is able to achieve the impossible and in increasingly so, even in one like me.

If you are not a believer / follower of Jesus Christ, I highly commend Him to you. (The Four Spiritual Laws) He is able…to do all He’s promised to rehabilitate our fallen, corrupted souls (our minds, wills and emotions), restore us to His God-designed and intended function and purposes.  And, as that begins to emerge from us, we will be amazed to find and know we are fulfilling the reason we live, move and have our existence…and regardless of our profession or place in life, we will have found “the vestibule of Heaven” our greatest fulfillment, satisfaction and empowerment to be Light in our sphere of influence.

Finally, becoming more like Him, I am,

Mitch

 

 

Import Before Export

I love taking pictures.  It’s fun sharing them via a couple of applications. But before I can share them (export) I must first import something worthy of showing.  This is true for life. Before I have anything to say, or anything to “display” there must first be something of significance and truth in me.  Before I can help someone, somehow, I must first have resources at my disposal that enables and qualifies me to do so.

There are other illustrations that drive home my point. How can I teach unless I have become a teacher…how can I plumb unless I have become a plumber… how can I build unless I have become a builder? But most importantly, how can I do the work and ministry of Jesus Christ until I become a spiritually equipped and empowered follower? How can I export spiritual life and works unless He has first imported His Life, abilities and resources? The answer is, obvious, I can’t. Oh, I might be busy doing religious things, working in a number of ways for a “good” cause.  But honestly evaluating over time, showing little to no true success, meaningful lasting results as measured by God’s criteria.

We don’t have to be perfect to partner in God’s work.  If that were required, none of us would be qualified to join Him.  But, flawed as we may be, if we are Godward people, intent on being His servants in everything, He is pleased to give us “eternal stuff” to Do and the ability to Be, facilitating it.  Nothing could be more humbling nor exhilarating.

The Christian denomination I belong to prides itself to some degree on how much they are doing. They are a very busy group.  But, as the stats are browsed, little of lasting value is being accomplished. It seems that we may actually be losing the “war”.   We only have to compare divorce stats in our culture vs those in the church…sadly, not much difference.  We’re languishing…busy doing, I think we have forgotten how to BE, first, before we DO.   Attempting to export before we import.  God didn’t make us human DOings, but rather human BEings. We must “be” before we can “do”. We must become the genuine article; undeniably,  the authentic, real people we claim to be, first…then the irrefutable proofs and evidences characteristic and normal for Jesus followers will be easily seen.  What we are will ring “true”, even without words.

In spite of all our preaching, productions, programs, buildings, marketing and prowess, ad nauseam, we are failing. What’s really needed is a transforming spiritual revival that only God Himself can bring, and with it, the – validating virtues and power the indwelling God-Life manifests.  That should be the norm, in us and through us, not the exception.

Somehow, if Our God would “rend the heavens and come down“, bring us back to God-Life again, we’d find we don’t need the many things we’ve borrowed from the world system and its “tools” (Isaiah, the prophet, refers to these things as “strong horses”   Isaiah 31:1, 3).  He would be our strong horse, busy doing the work through those who have finally BECOME, suitable vessels, conduits for His Life flow.  Psalm 127:1

I think the words of St. Francis of Assisi say it well:  “Go ye into all the world and preach the Gospel…and if necessary, use words.”  Exemplary lives lived are the most powerful evangelistic tool…God-life on display.   When, via our lives, “HE is lifted up, HE will draw mankind to Himself.”

Please forgive if  sound like I’m “preaching to the choir”.   I guess I am.  But first, this preaching is at me, for I’ve been a director of that “choir” for some time.  The scriptures tell us that “…It is time for judgement to begin at the House of God….”  1 Peter 4:17  What better place for it to start and especially with the leaders in that house.  I am the chief sinner in all of this.  I have served churches for nearly 40 years.  As I look back, I’m ashamed.  It may sound like I’m pointing a finger out there.  If that is the case, then know there are three pointing back at me, and justly so.

But, I am alive today, as you are, if you are reading this.  I, you, have this opportunity to BE, so that we can DO as HE intends, giving Him the honor HE deserves, fulfilling His purposes in our sphere of influence, our destiny in this dark world, drawing humanity to HIM.  Psalm 67:1-2

Psalm 139:23-24 (NASB)
23 Search me, O God, and know my heart;
Try me and know my anxious thoughts;
24 And see if there be any hurtful way in me,
And lead me in the everlasting way.

May HE increase in all of us,

Mitch

Are You Living on the Other Side of the BUT …?

Three friends of mine, whom I’ve mentioned in the past, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, found themselves facing quite a predicament one afternoon.  They faced a situation where they could do what God had said to do, or they could do what man had said to do.  But they couldn’t do both.

Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego knew that God had commanded them to have no other gods before Him.  They knew they could not bow down to idols or graven images.  They knew the word of the Lord (Exodus 20:1-6).

Unfortunately for Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego King Nebuchadnezzar had commanded that they do exactly what the word of the Lord told them not to do (Daniel 3:4-6).  And the King’s commandment carried quite a heavy weight along with it.  Anyone who violated the commandment would be thrown into a burning firey furnace.

And thus their predicament.  If they did what King Nebuchadnezzar had commanded they do, they would end up violating what God had commanded they do.  And if they did what God had commanded they do, they would end up violating what King Nebuchadnezzar had commanded they do.  But they couldn’t do both.  They had to please one and risk angering the other.  They had to make a difficult choice.

Interestingly enough, I believe every person in the world today faces the exact same choice as my three friends Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego.  We all have an impossible choice to make.  We may either bow down and serve the images of the world, or we may serve God.  But we can’t do both.  We must choose one or the other.

And our choices have consequences attached to them.  Dire ones.  Severe ones.  Serious ones.  Literally as scary and fatal as being thrown into the midst of a burning fiery furnace.  We are talking life threatening endangerment here accompanied with violent pain and torture.

If we examine our choices in light of our three base world views, we begin to unravel what drives us within our lives.

The Atheist has no problem whatsoever bowing down to the King’s idol.  It is a mode of self-preservation.  Which is disingenuous in and of itself.  Because if you are Atheistic in your world view you have no belief in any God.  So why would you be inventing one and serving one?  The Atheist has no reason to be motivated by their own self-preservation to the extent of violating their own personal beliefs, they simply set their World View aside and in the interest of continuing their life journey, they bow down.

The Agnostic is completely indifferent to bowing down to the King’s idol.  The Agnostic most likely wants to hedge their bets.  But in situations like this, they cannot.  The Agnostic lives in real confusion at times.  They would like to please both God and man, just in case one or the other happens to come true and they find themselves facing consequences they cannot deal with.  Unfortunately for the Agnostic, there are some questions in life that require a real choice and a single action.  You must choose one or the other.  You cannot choose both, and you will face consequences for your actions whether you want to or not.  In most cases the Agnostic will join their Atheist friends and bow down to the golden image and worship it in the interest of self-preservation.

For the Theist however, the choice becomes a lot more granular.  Unlike their Atheist and Agnostic neighbors, the Theist actually believes both choices to be solid and real.  The commandments of their God are true and define the core of their beliefs.  The Theist really must stand on the principles of their world view if they are to be true to themselves, and that means they must accept the consequences of violating the commandments of the King.

The Theist, especially Christians, have an out though, right?  After all, the Theist serves a God that can deliver them for any consequences of man.  And yet, 99.999% of all the people in the world today choose to bow down to the King’s idols.  Why?  It makes sense with the Atheists and the Agnostics, but why do the Theists, for the most part, give in and bow down?  Especially when they supposedly believe that their God can save them?

My friends, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego were in the very small minority in their answer to the King.  Here is what they said:

16 Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, answered and said to the king, O Nebuchadnezzar, we are not careful to answer thee in this matter.  17 If it be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of thine hand, O king.  18 But if not, be it known unto thee, O king, that we will not serve thy gods, nor worship the golden image which thou hast set up.”  Daniel 3:16-18 KJV

Most Christians familiar with the story of my three friends shout triumphantly and proclaim victory through God’s hands.  Yet the evidence remains, that the majority of people bow down and worship the idols.  Why is that?  Why do Theist Christians so adamantly believe that God can save them yet they go ahead and bow down?

I believe it is because the vast majority of us do not live beyond the BUT.  Do you see it there?  The BUT at the beginning of verse 18.  You see, it is very easy to proclaim that God has the power to save, but Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego were willing to go beyond that.  They were willing to say BUT “if not“.  If God chooses NOT to save us, then we still will not bow down.  Because God is still God.

Here is the bottom line: you cannot truly be free until you are willing to live beyond the BUT.  It is easy to stand and proclaim that God has the power to save, but it is hard to say I trust him even when he chooses not to rescue me from the burning firey furnace.

And God cannot work in your life until you are ready to put your complete trust in Him.  Until you are ready to say to Him “God, I trust you to save me.  But even if You choose not to, I still trust and worship You, and You alone.”

I told someone recently that when I stand before the judgement seat of the Holy God, my only plea is the Blood of the Lamb.  I’ve put my complete faith and trust in Him and I know He has the power to save.  BUT if Jesus looks at me in that day and says “I’ve changed my mind and you are not to be saved.”  Then know this: as I am on my way to the gates of Hell, I will be singing “Praise Him!  Praise Him!  Praise Him.  For He is Just.  He is Holy.  He is Righteous.  And He has given me what I deserve!”

And I know this to be true because when you live on the other side of the BUT … you live a life that accepts whatever decision God makes for you.  Whether it be to save you from the burning firey furnace, or whether He chooses not to.  Either way, He still is God and I will bow down to no other.

What about you?  Are you ready to live on the other side of the BUT and to serve Him, to worship Him, to Praise God no matter what decision He may make for your life?

Is Abortion Murder?

I know I have made my opinion known on the topic of abortion within this blog in past posts, however, some topics are important enough, worth enough, to be revisited again and again.

2018 National Right To Life March Washington D.C.

January 22nd is the anniversary of the 1973 Roe Vs. Wade U.S. Supreme Court decision that legalized abortion as a “Constitutional” right in the United States of America.  During those 45 years since that ruling, there have been (conservatively) 60 million abortions in the United States alone.  To put this into perspective, six million people of Jewish decent were murdered by Nazi Germany between 1941 – 1945 during World War II.  If you are generous and allow a full 5 years across WW-II for the atrocities committed by Nazi Germany (in reality, they were slightly more compressed), you would achieve nearly the same rate of 1.33 million deaths per year for both Jewish people killed in the Holocaust and abortions in the U.S. since 1973 (1.20 million/year vs. 1.33 million/year for the Holocaust and Abortions in the U.S. respectively).

2018 National Right To Life March Washington D.C. – march participants

While both abortions in the U.S. and the Holocaust are (were) state sponsored events (the U.S. Supreme Court sanctioned abortion in the Roe vs. Wade decision in 1973 as well as Government funding of Planned Parenthood – using taxpayer dollars – which sponsors abortions), the justifications that each hide behind are quite different (presumably to make one sound less horrifying than it really is).

2018 National Right To Life March Washington D.C. – Marchers were of all ages, gender, and race.

While the reasoning used by Nazi Germany to justify the murder of millions of Jewish people all across Europe are completely indefensible by any right thinking individual, the subtlety used to justify abortions within the United States are more cunning and deceiving.  Within the abortion argument in the United States we hide behind words like embryo and fetus.  By using these words to describe a phase of human life, we tend to isolate the subject of the abortion and make it sound less human and thus perfectly acceptable to remove and throw away.  We simply state we are terminating the pregnancy (vice acknowledging we are terminating a human life) and having safely justified our actions to ourselves, we move on.

2018 National Right To Life March Washington D.C. – united in cause.

But the question still remains: Is Abortion Murder?  Just because we have justified it to ourselves does not mean that it is OK.  Nor does it mean that we will not be held accountable for our actions just because we’ve excused ourselves of them.  Have we fooled ourselves into believing that the termination of a pregnancy (vis-à-vis abortion) is OK because we are not actually taking a human life, when in reality, we actually are?

2018 National Right To Life March Washington D.C. – pause and think.

I suppose if you are Atheistic in your world view, it doesn’t really matter.  After all, there is no God, no Moral code, and definitely no purpose or meaning to life.  Given the foundation the Atheist builds their world view upon, they really shouldn’t mind killing of any kind.  After all, with no God to answer to, and everything in existence being meaningless, it wouldn’t matter one way or the other if abortions were murder or not.  But if you are Atheistic in your world view and you are intellectually honest with yourself, then why do you care how the morals get defined?  There is no more control over which process wins here than there is with stars burning out in the heavens.

2018 National Right To Life March Washington D.C. – marching together.

If you are Agnostic in your world view you shouldn’t have an opinion unless you are directly affected by the issue.  And even then you should pick your friends carefully.  After all, if you had one influence in your life that favored abortion and another, equal influence, that opposed abortion, it would be pretty confusing for you.  The Agnostic would have to flip a coin in order to decide.

However if you are Theistic in your world view, then you must believe that all life emanates from a God, a Creator.  And if you cannot definitively define the exact moment in time when that God-given, Creator induced life begins, then you had better err on the side of caution and treat all credible instances as human life.

This is essentially what President Ronald Regan said during his time in office.  President Regan argued (from a Theistic point of view, without stating it explicitly) that if one could not determine the point that human life began (we may all agree that the individual cells are life), that you could not act responsibly in terminating that life without being potentially guilty of murder.

So is abortion murder?  Consider that the fetus stage appears human in form.  We have hands, feet, a head, a torso.  A face.  Consider that at the fetus stage that we have a human heartbeat (~6 weeks), at the fetus stage we can measure brain waves/activity (~6 weeks.  Indeed the brain needs to be developed enough at this stage to govern organs such as the heart).  Consider at the fetus stage you can begin to see rudimentary facial expressions.  There are ultra-sounds of a fetus even sucking their thumb.  At the fetus stage you may even determine the biological sex of the child.

Some have argued as to whether or not the child is sentient at the fetus stage.  We know that at the fetus stage the child reacts to stimuli such as pain.  Very early on the child can even react to the voices of its mother and father.

These are what we know, in a rudimentary way, through both science and medicine of today.  Who knows what we will be able to discover or discern in the future?

And of course there is the religious argument.  Christianity teaches that the person (the spirit – that part of you that will endure forever) is known by God (the Creator) before you are even formed in the womb.

Is abortion murder?  How can any reasonable person say that it is not?  And we destroy thousands upon thousands of lives each year in the United States alone.  Isn’t it time that this practice is stopped?

The discussions that matter.

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