By Watchman | August 29, 2015
” You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.” (Matthew 5:14-16)
Then Jesus spoke to them again, saying, “I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life.” (John 8:12)
“As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world.” (John 9:5)
A few days ago I published a post here about Christians as the “salt of the earth” as Jesus proclaimed in Matthew 5, but His words (along with my questions about them) were followed immediately by His claim that we are also the “light of the world.” That actually made sense: after all, are we not called to spread the good news of His salvation to those living in darkness? However, I couldn’t help but notice that in at least two subsequent verses, Jesus referred to Himself as the “light of the world.” Was He putting us on the same level as Himself? That really cannot be. Jesus was God made flesh; sinless, with no darkness at all within Him; with no taint of the original sin which produced a fallen mankind in need of a Savior. I puzzled over this for a while, and even prayed that God would show me how we are considered to be the light (other than as carriers of the Gospel), when Jesus Himself is the light. Well, because He is an awesome God who answers prayer, I had my answer even before I finished my petition to Him. He spoke into my heart immediately:
“I gave you moonlight at night so you could see your way in the dark, yet you know that the moon casts no light of its own. It mostly reflects the light of the sun.”
Our light is the light of the moon. It does not shine because we are such wonderful, worthy people; it shines because it is a reflection of the Son, who is the source of all light! Ultimately, it is not our light which shines, but the light of the love of God which He has implanted into our hearts. Just as God has granted us sonship by adoption into His family (yes, ladies, even those of us who are female have received sonship–allowing us equal rights and standing in His sight), He has granted us the light which is to “shine before men.” Jesus is The Light. We are as small candles in comparison with the Son, but our responsibilities are clear.
Light’s main purpose is to dispel darkness. We must reflect the light of His love…not our love, but His working through us…to all of those who are unhappy, sin-sick and heartsick; to those who are burdened and weary. We must shine His love to those who are angry and bitter, to bring hope to the hopeless.
Light also attracts. If you’re not sure if I’m right in this, go take a look tonight at the light outside your front door. I’m willing to bet there will be at least one creature fluttering around it, drawn to it’s comfort and warmth. Is my “light” providing such comfort and warmth that others will be attracted to what is residing in my heart? I truly cannot be sure, yet dearly want to be loving enough to attract those in pain (both mental and spiritual) to turn to the One on whom I depend for my well-being, my salvation, and even every breath I take. I will be praying that the Lord helps me to turn up the flame a bit so that those around me who need Him will be pointed toward that ultimate light!
Light exposes truth and lies, good and evil. In John 3:19-21, Jesus tells us, “And this is the condemnation, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. For everyone practicing evil hates the light, lest his deeds should be exposed. But he who does the truth comes to the light, that his deeds may be clearly seen, that they have been done in God.” Most of us need to work harder to expose evil where we face it, yet it must be done in such a manner that we continue to reflect God’s love. If we confront those living outside of the will of God with hatred, sarcasm, bad language and vitriol, there will be little chance for the advancement of His kingdom. Remember, we expose the lie and the sin, but continue to love the sinner.
Light is needed for almost every living to grow…His Light. May we continue to reflect His light on our neighbors, our families, our relationships and even on our enemies, that they may see our good works and glorify our Heavenly Father!
By Watchman | August 23, 2015
” You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt loses its flavor, how shall it be seasoned? It is then good for nothing but to be thrown out and trampled underfoot by men.” (Matthew 5:13)
At first glance at the above text, Jesus seems to be speaking of an occurrence that is nearly impossible. Salt is a mineral made up predominately of sodium chloride (NaCl), and it is extremely stable. Salt does not loses its flavor (or saltiness) with age, nor does it go rancid with keeping. If you’ve ever found a ten-year-old box of table salt in the very back of your top shelf in the kitchen and tasted it to see if it is still usable, then you know this is fact. So why would our Lord warn His disciples (and us, as well) against losing what should not be able to be lost?
I must have read the Gospel of Matthew thirty times before this question occurred to me, but once in my mind it wouldn’t let go. A little reading taught me two other facts about salt that can change its nature:
1. Salt can be so diluted that the important properties it possesses can be neutralized, and
2. Salt can be contaminated or tainted by contact with other substances that can make it dangerous.
Both of these facts seem self-evident and should have occurred to me without someone bringing them to my attention, but I simply never considered them. Before I make some comments and obvious analogies about them, I’d like to share some quick truths about salt and why God might liken us to this (now) cheapest and most common of all seasonings.
Salt has thousands of different uses. It is essential to all animal life, and is one of the basic human tastes. It has been in use since ancient times; as a matter of fact, the word “salary” comes from the Latin word for salt as the Roman Legions were sometimes paid in salt which was worth its weight in gold. (Source: Wikipedia)
Throughout the ages, salt has been used medicinally in a myriad of ways: as an antibacterial for sore throats and gum abscesses, to ease bee stings and bug bites and to help clear and heal poison oak and poison ivy. Ever hear someone mention rubbing salt in a wound to express making a painful event more painful? Actually, that is not why for hundreds of years men would pour salt into the wounds of someone they had injured or lashed; it was really an act of mercy, ensuring that the wounds wouldn’t become infected. Salt has also been used as a cleanser, removing stains from materials and woods; scouring pots and pans and discolored glass and even helping to pick up spilled uncooked eggs (ask me how I know!). For thousands of years, salt has been used as a preservative which helps cure meat, keeps milk fresh and prevents mold from growing on cheese. And let us never forget the use we most make of it today…as a seasoning, to add spice and savor to our foods. So in what ways can we believers be likened to salt? Surely we are called to be the salt of the earth just as we are called to be its light! As representatives of the most high God, we are called to ease the sickness of the spirit that comes to those who have not met Him, and counteracting the poisons that infect the hearts of those who have not accepted the words of the Lord with the antidote of the love and salvation that only Christ can provide. We are called to fight evil where we find it so that truth will be uncovered and set free, cleansed of all filth and wickedness; of all that does not come from God. We are called to help preserve our world as under the authority of the Christ; trying always to keep safe both our own hearts and minds and our ability to help others to reach that place where they will happily and humbly fall on their knees before the Savior. And certainly, we must be always prepared to be the “seasoning” of life…to uplift ourselves and others in their relationships with family, friends, strangers and with God Himself. Our words and our lives need to reflect the righteousness of the One who calls us into His service. One last characteristic of salt I’d like to mention: When you sprinkle salt on your french fries, the salt spreads. It flavors everything it comes into contact with, and sometimes reaches other foods on your plate you weren’t aiming for. Pray that our words and deeds are flavorful enough to even encourage and spice up those for whom they were not intended!
So, can we Christians lose our flavor, our effectiveness in spreading the love of God? Yes. Just as salt can be diluted to the point where it’s of little use as salt yet it is ruinous to the water for human consumption, many people of God and at least as many churches have been diluting the message of the Father in the name of diversity and political correctness. We can dilute the message through fear of offending those who resent the power and authority of God until we have also lost the chance of bringing others to consume the Living Water that quenches all thirst and heals all wounds. We can taint or contaminate that message with the poisons of political correctness, with the incorporation of pagan practices and false religions, even by refusing to bow ourselves to the command Jesus gave us to “Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, and pray for those who spitefully use you. To him who strikes you on the one cheek, offer the other also. And from him who takes away your cloak, do not withhold your tunic either. Give to everyone who asks of you.” (Luke 6:27-30, NKJV) We can taint it with seeing no harm in people being “spiritual” rather than “Godly”, a phenomenon rampant in New Age spirituality and occultism.
Are we losing our “saltiness”? To some extent, I believe we may be. I would ask you all, my brothers and sisters in Christ, to spend some time in prayer this week, asking God to show you where you stand on the saltiness scale and to shine a light on any area of your spirit where you may not be allowing the Holy Spirit free reign. I know I will be doing so. Time is short; but God is still in control. He loves us, and wants us to live in His will. May we all truly do so.
By Watchman | August 7, 2014
Just as I am, without one plea,
But that Thy blood was shed for me,
And that thou bidd’st me come to Thee,
O Lamb of God, I come, I come.
Charlotte Elliot, 1836
Last night I was praying over whether or not the Watchman on the Wall had run its course. Health problems have pushed me away from writing much lately, and I often feel as though I really have nothing of importance to say or that anyone wants or needs to hear. Perhaps my service to Him needed to take another direction. Funny how God works these things out: I had no sooner decided that God was going to lead me in a direction that did not include this blog when He spoke clearly to my spirit, “You must tell them it’s time to come home.”
I actually argued with Him. This is not exactly a new idea; thousands are saying the same thing, many with far more talent and skill than I have. Yet He would only repeat, “Tell them it’s time to come home.”
So, my dear ones, here is today’s word from the Lord: It’s time to come home.
Jesus said, “Come unto Me, all you that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” (Matthew 13:28) Are you burdened and weary, brothers and sisters? It’s time to come home to the Lord who loves you and leave your burdens at His feet. We are living in a fractured world; one which has chosen the way of rebellion against God and a glorification of that which God has declared to be wrong. While as long as we may be around we will have to be constantly battling with forces in opposition to the Most High, we can do so with peace in our hearts and gratitude in our spirits for the One who fills us with refreshment. So few people in this tolerant, politically-correct society seem happy…did you ever notice that? It is because without God, we never have enough. There’s never enough fun, never enough glory, never enough money, never enough fame…we glut ourselves on the things of this world, but our spiritual stomachs are still rumbling; still empty. Come home to the One who will fill you.
Not really a believer, and pulling away more and more all the time? Beloved, it’s time to come home! Are you not tired of living in sin and selfishness? Are you not tired of your anger, and your addictions and your immorality? Are you tired of your rebellion? Come home! I wish I could tell you that all of us who have already made the decision to follow Jesus have quit sinning, but I’d be lying. While we are part of this world, the sin nature will always be a part of us, but our bondage to sin has been broken! When we accept the wonderful sacrifice of the shed blood of the Lamb for our sins, we receive a new way of thinking and loving. That new way of loving keeps us coming daily to confess our sins so that we might be justified before God; it keeps us ever more vigilant against those things within us that can so easily be turned to evil. Have you considered your need to come to the Lord, but you are afraid you cannot give up your sin, or that He won’t accept you till you are perfect? Never mind…come to Him just as you are! Jesus will accept your angry self; He will accept your drunk or drug-addicted self; He will accept your homosexual or promiscuous self, your greedy self, or your lying self. He will accept your lazy self and your egotistic self. He will accept your abusive, evil self. Repent now; for the kingdom of God is at hand! He will take you even though you have nothing to offer Him but your disagreeable self. And if you let Him, He will take that nasty, addictive, greedy, abusive, rebellious self and turn it into someone beautiful! If you ask His forgiveness, He will forgive, and He will set you free. I do not mean that you will never struggle with addictions and sexual problems and sins, but He will give you the grace the overcome the evil in your life and stand beside you during every struggle you face. It’s time to come home!
My dear young people, it’s time to come home! You are being taught by the world around you that God is for the weak and stupid; that Christians preach hate; that all manifestations of sexuality are right and natural. Your schools, your music, the programs you watch on TV and the movies you go to all condemn the notion that God created each of you with your own talents and skills and potential, and that these should be used to His glory. You hear “Judge not that you not be judged” and take this to mean that no wrong action should be condemned except, paradoxically, those actions and words spoken in warning about the paths we are now treading. Four times in the past two months I’ve either heard or read young people saying that Jesus was really a leftist and that no Christians would accept Him if He came. How ridiculous! Most of us who are believers know well that we cannot attain the perfection of Christ until we meet Him in His kingdom, but we know His words and His commandments, and we love Who He is. Do not accept anti-Christian catchwords as truth! Read what Jesus says for yourselves and lose yourselves in the wonder of His grace! Accepting and loving Jesus does not imply ignorance. It means instead that you have opened your heart, mind and spirit to the living God and will be living in the shadow of the divine love that came down to earth so long ago. You do not have to give up liking science to love God…God created science, order and method and condemns none of the three. Unfortunately, schools are now teaching certain scientific theories as fact without properly explaining why many of the ideas you are being taught are actually classified as theory. God is never wrong.
Ministers of the Word who have given up trying to preach the truth as society turns further and further away from the commandments God set upon us: it’s time to come home! God called you to do a wonderful work, calling sinners to repentance and upholding believers in their faith and spiritual lives! Although many good pastors have duties that touch on many social areas, He did not call you to be a social worker or an agent for politically correct change. He called you to preach the Gospel of our Lord Jesus and to fulfill the great commission…to share the love of God to all of those in need of salvation. He called you to share the fear of God with those who are in danger of judgment. He did not call you to tell your congregations that they needn’t worry about their sinful lives or to accommodate them; but to set them free. It’s time to come home!
Time is so short, beloved ones! Come home now to the One who loves you and is waiting to grant you forgiveness and cleansing of your sins.
By Watchman | June 5, 2014
My little children, let us not love in word or in tongue, but in deed and in truth. And by this we know that we are of the truth, and shall assure our hearts before Him.
1 John 3: 18-19.
Several months ago, God laid on my heart a need to write about the racial tensions that are so escalating in this country that we are too often exhibiting an “us against them” mentality. With some cowardice, I have put off this post because I have doubted that my writing skills can adequately enough–or indeed, delicately enough–phrase what the Lord wants me to say. However, He who has decided the content of this blog since its inception will allow me to put it off no longer. While I hope that no one will be offended by my words, I have always promised to tell the truth in love, regardless of whether or not that truth is readily accepted.
God hates the acrimony between black people and white. He is on neither one side nor the other; He wants only our obedience to His word, and His word demands that we love all people regardless of their nationality or color. Today, Christians are behaving as though they must be on the side of one racial group or another, rather than on the side of what is godly. In Christ, there is no male or female, no black or white, no American or African. There is only a body of believers equal in His sight and for whom He spilled His precious blood. When we do not act as a united body in Him, it is impossible to effectively spread the Gospel or to reflect His love to others. This division is not an exclusive fault of the black community or of the white: the fault lies within us all.
We speak constantly of the “black community” and the “white community” as though they are two completely separate entities, each having but one mindset and lifestyle. How ridiculous is this? Yes, in the past there have been sins of slavery and discrimination, but we cannot allow that past to define who we are, what we will become or how we will behave. In their past, Jews have been enslaved, slaughtered and oppressed; but they have not allowed that to stop them from being all that God intended them to be. The Greeks were enslaved by the Romans, yet once out from under that punishing yoke grew again into a great nation. Slavery cannot be used as an excuse 150 years later for the failure of racial groups not to coexist peacefully.
To white Christians: What kind of “love” have we been exhibiting that allows such hatred to foment between us and black Christians? Have we not been loving more “in word or in tongue” than in “deed and truth”? Every time a crime is committed by a person of color (be the perpetrator black or Hispanic), the internet is awash in posts and comments about how “those people” behave. What have we done to alleviate the sufferings in the poorer communities? What have we done to alleviate the tension between ourselves and those who live in these depressed urban areas? Was it and is it not our job to penetrate into those communities and share the healing love of Christ with those who are discouraged and wounded? And although, yes, crime is rampant in the predominantly black inner-city communities, must we constantly lump all black people into one category and condemn them? Millions of black people in this country are working, loving, worshiping God, raising decent and law-abiding children, but all too often we behave as though those people don’t exist. For every race-mongering, hate-filled and fraudulent black minister ( like Al Sharpton, Jesse Jackson and Jeremiah Wright) there are hundreds of black ministers teaching the true Gospel and preaching the way of the light and the love of Christ. It is time we broke from the world of hate and began to truly love. True love is hands-on. True love is wading into the trenches if need be in order to reach out to young women who have not been taught that there is a better way of life than giving birth to several fatherless children and so condemning whole households to poverty. I know it is easier to complain about the welfare payments they may collect and the food cards they are given, but that helps no one. To say they should have no aid because their children going without food is not our problem is evil. To grumble about young gang members in the ‘hood without making an effort to teach them a better way of life and to instil in them a sense of their worth in God’s eyes is not feeling or showing love. Christians, it is time to be proactive in our faith.
To black Christians: What kind of “love” are you exhibiting that allows such hatred to foment between you and white Christians? What kind of love is it that allows young black men to roam city streets terrorizing white people with the so-called “knock out game” and then blame others for their actions? While only the few white-on-black crimes seem to make the news broadcasts (causing even more racial disharmony, which the media loves), black-on-black violent crimes are at epidemic proportions in the inner cities. Black women have the largest percentage of abortions in this country, and their unwed birth rate now far exceeds that of black children born to married parents. In the late 1800s and early 1900s, black families had the fewest unwed pregnancies in the country. No matter what their financial circumstances were, they understood the need to follow God’s word and live decent and God-fearing lives. The restoration of these communities may well lie with you women: understand and teach your boys that poverty and irresponsibility go hand in hand. White people may have owned slaves early in our history, but another modern day form of slavery is created when men have too many children and never a marriage; when they follow the regurgitation of hatred of white people that distinguishes the speeches of certain current black heroes on TV. Pay attention to the words of godly men in the black community: Mychal Massie, Creflo Dollar (I don’t agree with his prosperity teachings, but otherwise his theology is righteous), Ben Carson, Alan West, Thomas Sowell, Alan Keyes…the list could go on for another half-page. Teach them that self-respect comes with obeying our holy Lord, not with gaining money by any means at hand or with gang affiliation and drug use. Many of these young people are the children or grandchildren of good believers, but the faith is not being handed down properly to the younger generations. Teach them to love once more and eschew hatred. Christians, it is time to be proactive in our faith.
Racial tension isn’t just confined to color, either. I am as appalled as anyone could be at the rise of Islam in our country, and I deprecate the suppression of Christianity by an administration anxious to appease and protect atheists and Muslims from having to hear the true word of God. No matter what our ethnicity is , we must fight these evils and try to restore this nation as one under God’s authority once more. However, we must never forget that the Muslims and the atheists are also creations of our Lord, and He died for their sins as well as for our own. As God’s heart is grieved by their unbelief, so should ours be. Our concern should be for their souls as much as it is for our freedoms of speech and religion.
Prayer works wonders. Should any of you at this point be wondering what I think you need to do immediately about the evils I’ve outlined, I believe that we must begin with prayer. Prayer that our own prejudices and resentments against others be washed away and forgiven so that we might truly reflect God’s love to those around us. Prayer for the unity of all people in Christ; that we will learn to see others through the eyes of God. Prayer for the souls of those floundering in a morass of sin and following false gods. Pray that “God will make a way where there seems to be no way.” Pray that He will show each one of us exactly what we need to do to ease the tensions and sow a seed of Godly love.
By Watchman | April 19, 2014
Having arrested Him, they led Him and brought Him into the high priest’s house. But Peter followed at a distance. Now when they had kindled a fire in the midst of the courtyard and sat down together, Peter sat among them. And a certain servant girl, seeing him as he sat by the fire, looked intently at him and said, “This man was also with Him.” But he denied Him, saying, “Woman I do not know Him.” And after a little while another saw him and said, “You also are of them.” But Peter said, “Man, I am not!” Then after about an hour had passed, another confidently affirmed, saying, “Surely this fellow also was with Him, for he is a Galilean.” But Peter said, “Man, I do not know what you are saying!” Immediately, while he was still speaking, the rooster crowed. And the Lord turned and looked at Peter. Then Peter remembered the word of the Lord, how He had said to him, “Before the rooster crows, you will deny Me three times.” So Peter went out and wept bitterly. (Luke 22: 54-62)
Now when the Sabbath was past, Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome bought spices, that they might come and anoint Him. Very early in the morning, on the first day of the week, they came to the tomb when the sun had risen. And they said among themselves, “Who will roll away the stone from the door of the tomb for us?” But when they looked up, they saw that the stone had been rolled away–for it was very large. And entering the tomb, they saw a young man clothed in a long white robe sitting on the right side; and they were alarmed. But he said to them, “Do not be alarmed. You seek Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified. He is risen! He is not here. See the place where they laid Him. But go, tell His disciples–and Peter–that He is going before you into Galilee; there you will see Him, as He said to you.” (Mark 16: 1-7)
Simon the fisherman, renamed Peter (Petros, the Rock) by Jesus Himself, appears to have been the first of the Apostles called to follow Christ, along with his small crew of James and his younger brother John. For three years, He traveled with Jesus, learned of Him, loved Him. Apparently somewhat more brash than the other disciples, Jesus several times rebuked Him for speaking from his emotions instead of from what he knew Jesus wanted of him; yet he also was the first to declare Jesus the Christ, and the only one to stand with Jesus as Jesus healed lepers for the first time (you know Peter had to be sweating that one out a bit, but his trust and commitment to Jesus held him in his place). As one of what scholars like to call the “inner circle” (Peter, James and John) Peter was actually witness to the awesome and glorious transfiguration of Jesus on a mountain and to His conversation with Moses and Elijah. He pledged his life to the living God, and promised to follow Him even unto death. And then he blew it.
He didn’t run from the Mount of Olives when Jesus was arrested, though most of the disciples scattered for the moment; he followed along so he could see what happened to Jesus. But when push came to shove, Peter’s courage failed him, and he denied even knowing Jesus. By saying he didn’t know Jesus, he denied Jesus’ kingship, His kingdom, His authority, His Godhood and His love.
I’ve agreed with so many people who said they couldn’t understand Peter’s denial. I’d hate to think I’d have denied Christ in the same situation, even if my life were on the line. How cowardly! And then I remembered….
I remembered the times God called me and I shut out His voice even though I knew who He was because I didn’t want to live the life God calls us to.
I remembered the times I deliberately chose sin over righteousness; telling myself I did things no worse than lots of other people.
I remembered the struggle for YEARS after being born again with anger and bitterness, though God dealt with me patiently over and over again about these sins.
I remembered all the times I had taken our Lord’s name in vain.
I remembered all the times I’ve known God wanted me to speak to someone about Him and pray with them, and I feared being called a religious freak, so I kept silent.
I remembered that MY sins drove those nails in Jesus’ wrists.
And the rooster crowed.
Believe me, I know just how Peter felt. I’m sure he believed there was no difference between him and Judas Iscariot. And I’m certain that once Peter knew the tomb was empty that he believed it probably wouldn’t matter to him because Jesus would never want to look on his lying and unfaithful face ever again. I’ve felt the same way.
Can you imagine how Peter felt when the women came to tell him that they were instructed to tell the disciples–including him, by name even!–that Jesus was risen? And when Jesus appeared to him and the others in the room where they were meeting, it was obvious that Jesus had forgiven him and loved him still! And because Peter, instead of committing suicide like Judas, had come back to Him with a repentant, changed heart, the world was gifted with the greatest evangelist there has ever been. Jesus later commissioned Peter to feed His sheep, and Peter followed Him without looking back…even unto his own crucifixion.
Jesus has forgiven me all my sins, and taken me back when I’ve failed. Like a loving Father, God is waiting for all of His children who are tired of sin and despair to repent of their sins and join His loving family. It is never too late. You can have done nothing that God will not forgive if you will only repent and ask for His mercy and forgiveness. Ask Peter…or me.
I pray that God will give me the courage to follow Him, listen to and obey Him, and serve Him, even unto death.
By Watchman | January 30, 2014
For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul? For whoever is ashamed of Me and My words in this adulterous and sinful generation, of him the Son of Man also will be ashamed when He comes in the glory of His Father with the holy angels.” (Mark 8:36-38)
For the great day of His wrath is come; and who shall be able to stand? (Revelation 6:17)
We have lost the fear of the wrath of God.
Countless mainstream churches will not preach fear of the Lord who hates sin because it makes people uncomfortable, (and even indignant) to think of themselves as wretched sinners in need of a savior. Most who call themselves Christians live lives indistinguishable from those who have rejected the Lord of hosts. “Our God,” they claim, “loves everyone. He would never condemn sinners to hell, because He loves us too much.” Or, just as dangerously, they believe that they are immune from the wrath of God because there are so many people who have committed worse sins. The scriptural condemnation of the sins of blasphemy, promiscuity, fornication, homosexuality, adultery, lying, backbiting, unkindness, greed, hatred, occultism and idolatry has been censored in too many of today’s churches and congregations; and has been replaced by the radical and ungodly doctrine of “tolerance.” New Age beliefs have infiltrated Christianity to such an extent that the word of God has been compromised in the minds of its adherents, with many assuming that the scriptures are a morass of man-written morality tales rather than the inerrant and unchanging word handed down to us by God through His chosen prophets.
Brothers and sisters, let us never forget that although God is a God of love and forgiveness, He is also holy and righteous. Sin cannot live in His presence.
The God we worship, the God who sent His only Son to die on a cross for our sins, is the same God who sent Adam and Eve from the Garden of Eden because of their disobedience and wiped out the evil on the earth by means of a worldwide flood, saving only the righteous Noah and his family. He is the same God who called down plagues upon Egypt in order to free His beloved people, the Israelites, and then allowed the slaughter of those who worshiped the idol they chose to sacrifice to. He called on His people Israel to put an entire end to nations of people so steeped in evil that they were in danger of contaminating the whole world with their sin. He is the same God who poured out His wrath on His chosen people and sent them into slavery and exile. His hand was not stayed by His great love for the people He had created. It will not now be stayed for long.
Israel is fast becoming the “burdensome stone” to the nations that Zechariah predicted it would become in the last days. God said that He would bless those who bless Israel, and curse those who cursed Israel. The United States has been greatly blessed because of her support for the Jews and the nation of Israel, yet despite that blessing we are now joining the ranks of those who are not working in Israel’s best interests. The present administration is working tirelessly to force the Israeli’s into a position of weakness in the predominantly Arab/Muslim region. Antisemitism, which waned somewhat after WWII, is rearing it’s ugly head once more in the west, and the United Nations has plainly shown its hand is against Israel. Mourn, and cry aloud, people of the world: for the wrath of the Lord at this treatment of His people is about to come upon the earth!
On an average, 40 million babies per year are aborted around the world. In the United States, 18% of abortions are undergone by women who consider themselves as born-again/evangelical believers. (37.4% identify themselves as Protestants, 31.3% as Catholics and 1.3% as Jews–source: The Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America.) More and more churches are turning to the belief that while abortion may not be the best option, God understands what women are going through and doesn’t hold it against them. Abortion is the murder of unborn children–the same children that God exhorted us to teach and protect– yet today we talk about it as if it is as much the right of a mother to decide as whether or not she chooses natural childbirth or has a shot of demerol. Appalling as this is, perhaps more surprising is the backlash of hatred and spite that is directed at those who hold a pro-life stance. Those who take seriously God’s warnings against the sacrifice of our children are now being castigated as intolerant, bigoted and hate-filled. We no longer feel the need to teach our children about God, Jesus and the application of moral law in their lives. Schools are becoming increasingly more hostile to children who proclaim the name of the Lord; as one teacher told her student, “Jesus belongs in church, not in school.” In other countries, children are being actively recruited and taught to hate Jews and Christians, and are being brainwashed into becoming the same apostates of hell as those who are seeing to their “education.” Mourn, and cry aloud, people of the world! Mourn for the loss of our children, for the loss of their character, and for their immortal souls!
Hollywood does not reflect society; Hollywood leads it. Although there are Christians in the entertainment industry, they are greatly outnumbered by those who have chosen to turn television and movies into examples of how they believe life should be. Although I have always maintained that Christians need to be more aware of what programs and movies we allow into our homes (and thereby into our spirits), I have been truly scandalized by the media’s recently increased insistence on our acceptance of homosexual marriages, foul language, and blasphemy….and like good sheep, the majority of the world falls in line. The name of the Lord is allowed in most public arenas only if used as a swear word. Even most believers do not seem to realize that taking the Lord’s name in vain is a sin! Recently a famous American comedienne came out with a pro-abortion skit featuring an actor portraying Jesus approving of this godless behavior; the Disney Channel is featuring its first lesbian couple, and the so-called Family Channel is true to the image they have been touting for the past few years–for a new kind of family. Mourn, and cry aloud, people of the world! For the stench of your filth and your blasphemies has reached the gates of heaven, and our God who is just and slow to anger will soon show us His wrath!
Something big is coming soon; it is at the door. I am not certain of what exactly “it” may be, or exactly when, but the Lord has laid it on me to sound the warning. Please, prepare yourselves. I am not talking about hoarding up food and arms and supplies; I mean prepare your hearts for whatever may come. Our time is truly growing so short. God loves you, and wants to guide and lead you into all righteousness before His wrath is visited upon those who refuse to acknowledge Him. I am humbly begging you: if you have lapsed in your walk with God, go back to Him with a repentant heart and seek His mercy. If you have never given yourself to the Lord, do so now. Ask His forgiveness for your sins, and be cleansed of whatever evil has taken possession of your life. Jesus is waiting patiently for you to come to Him, no matter who you are or what you have done. He will cleanse you, renew your spirit, and grant you everlasting life. No matter what happens, “be faithful unto death and I [Jesus] will give you a crown of life.”
Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If any man hear My voice, and open the door, I will come in to him and will sup with him, and he with Me.–Rev. 3:20
By Watchman | December 31, 2013
Much has been said recently about the crumbling infrastructures in the US and other developed or developing nations. For too many years the emphasis has been on sealing cracks or renewing facades in the hope that serious flaws would remain unnoticed or that what we do not see cannot hurt us. As we have found, that hope was futile. Without changing and renewing the basic framework of what man has built and let fall into disrepair, destruction will come in time. Sadly, many of us have allowed the same thing to happen to ourselves and our lives. Today millions of people are considering what we call our “New Year’s resolutions”: what we will do to make ourselves better, richer, stronger, prettier, smarter or powerful in the coming year. Unfortunately, most of these resolutions equal cosmetic surgery and not a true and meaningful decision to rid ourselves of what is bad in our lives and surround ourselves instead with what is good. The outward facade may be changed for the better, but the “infrastructure” of the spirit will remain untouched.
Understand that I still stand by what I have said before: there is no spiritual virtue in not looking our best or in not being the best we can be. There is no particular reason why Christian women shouldn’t buy pretty clothes, wear make-up or lose a few pounds when they feel they need to; and there is no reason why men shouldn’t work out or buy Armani suits if they can afford to do so. There is nothing intrinsically wrong with hoping for a better paying or more fulfilling job. The problem with deciding to address these issues before taking care of the inside person is that all we are doing is trying to seal the cracks. The facade may be smoke-free, thinner, better-dressed and better-housed, but the infrastructure is still in danger of crumbling. There will never be enough pounds lost or stuff acquired to provide us with what it takes to fill the voids in our spiritual lives…and, more importantly, it will never be enough to make us pleasing to God.
For those who want to make and carry out New Year’s resolutions, maybe this would be a really good time to consider all the endless possibilities open to us as believers in the Most High God:
1. An astonishing amount of Christians have admitted that they read Scripture only rarely; some have admitted to never reading it at all. How about deciding to read the Bible on a regular basis? Read a chapter or two of the Old Testament, a chapter of the New Testament and one Psalm each day, praying as you read that the Holy Spirit will lead you to an understanding of the nature and character of God. If you do not read the Bible, you cannot truly know the heart of God nor can you follow His commandments if you do not know that they exist.
2. A recent Pew study revealed that most pastors spend an average of ten minutes a day in prayer, and the average layperson about five minutes or less. Resolve to set aside some real and significant time for communion with God. Don’t wait until someone is ill or you’re in serious financial trouble; take all your cares, all your love for Him and all your praise to Him regularly. Make a prayer list and see that you pray for each person on it daily; pray for the infirm, the lonely, the persecuted and the lost. Pray for the peace of Jerusalem, as God through David (Psalm 122:6) has so taught us.
3. Resolve that this will be the year in which you will forgive all old wounds and resentments, and pray that the Lord will help you to do so. Forgiveness does not come easily to most of us, but Jesus commands us to love our enemies and to do good to those who use us ill. (Luke 6: 27-28) 1 John 4: 20 tells us that if someone says “I love God” but hates his brother, he is a liar. By the way, an aside here: telling everyone you know about how much a person has hurt you and prefacing your rant with “I’ve forgiven him/her since I’m a Christian, but…” doesn’t count. Sorry, but there is no such thing as forgiving someone as a Christian but. If anger and resentment against others are serious obstacles to your relationship to the Father, seek His help. (Also see the posts “Forgiving the Unforgivable” and “As We Forgive Our Debtors” under the category Anger and Forgiveness of the Watchman on the Wall.)
4. Resolve to walk in love. “If we love one another, God abides in us, and His love has been perfected in us. By this we know that we abide in Him, and He in us, because He has given us of His Spirit.” (1 John 4: 12-13) This is getting harder and harder by the day as we near the end of what has been called the church age. Many of us, seeing the rights of Christians being so subordinated to the rights of pagans, humanists and followers of false gods have learned to fight, but we often do not fight with love for the lost in our hearts. The evil must be fought, but it must be fought with the Gospel of Christ.
5. Commit to speaking the Gospel of Christ to those whom we know to be living in darkness. Time is running short, and our friends and families need to be given the chance to meet Jesus before it is too late.
6. If none of the above suggestions apply/appeal to you, read Ephesians 4, 5 and 6 for other ideas for New Year’s resolutions. I guarantee that there are NONE of us who couldn’t benefit from applying at least a few of Paul’s ideas to our lives.
7. Last of all (but certainly not least), if you have not made that decision to repent of your sins and ask Jesus to take His rightful place as Lord of your life, do so now! Ask His forgiveness, and He will be faithful and just to forgive you all your sins and to cleanse you from all unrighteousness. (1 John 1:7)
Renew and refresh yourself in our Lord Jesus Christ!
Have a blessed New Year!
By Watchman | December 19, 2013
“…For my eyes have seen Your salvation which You have prepared before the face of all peoples, a light to bring revelation to the Gentiles, and the glory of your people Israel. ” (Luke 2:30-32.)
“And this is the condemnation, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.” (John 3:19)
I’ve been hearing a lot this week about the “war against Christmas” which is, as I’ve pointed out before, in reality a war against Christ Himself. I used to be quite upset about it myself until I was struck by the sheer absurdity of it! Warring against the name of God and His Son, our savior? Saying that we shouldn’t use the word Christmas because not everyone believes in Christ isn’t much different than telling us we shouldn’t talk about the earth being round because some people adamantly believe the earth is flat. There is a point here that Christians need to take comfort in: the truth remains the truth no matter whether people choose to believe it or not, and whether or not the powers and principalities try to legislate it away.
Evil is not a new concept. It has had a toe-hold on the world ever since Adam and Eve were expelled from the garden. From the earliest times, the history of man has revolved around his rebellion against God and his efforts to regain a place in God’s kingdom, but because we are a sinful people born into a fractured world, we could never do so on our own. Since God is a good and loving God, His answer was to send His own Son to be born of a woman who was one of His beloved people, Israel; to grow up to teach people who God really is and finally, to die a tortuous and shameful death as the ultimate and perfect offering for the sins of the world. Evil was in the world, closing man’s ears to the word of God, so the word became flesh and dwelt on earth, that all men would have the opportunity of accepting the love and grace of God through His Son, Jesus the Christ. Now, as we tread closer and closer to the time when Christ will return, the evil which has always been is being reinvigorated and it is again closing man’s ears to the Word. But take heart, my brothers-and-sisters-in Christ! The Light which came into the world over two thousand years ago still shines in the darkness as bright as ever before for men to see and wonder at and follow. More and more people are turning away from that Light because their deeds are evil and evil loves the darkness, but that does not keep the Light from shining to illuminate our paths.
Jesus, in his birth, life, death and resurrection has overcome evil. Sin remains on earth only as long as God allows it to; it is strengthening at present only because Satan knows his end is near and he is rampaging on the earth like a “roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.” No matter what heinous crimes are committed or ridiculous and ungodly laws are passed, we are victors in Christ! By all means, fight the evil wherever it must be faced in the name of God, but remember that evil cannot extinguish the light. The time will come–I believe soon–when we will no longer be allowed to be heard. Recent legislation in Europe and the US suggests that wicked principalities are preparing to criminalize what God has ordained as right. Stand strong and do not fear what man can do. The Light will continue to shine and Jesus, who’s humble birth in a manger we are about to celebrate, will soon be acknowledged by all living things as King of Kings and Lord of Lords. We may not know the real date of Jesus’ birth, but we know that the early church chose to celebrate it amongst the pagan winter solstice to symbolize the light of Christ defeating the demonic darkness that had such a grip on the people of the world.
My question for you today is are you going to walk in the darkness or in the Light, and which will fill your heart? Will you look up as your Redemption draws near or lose yourself in an abyss of anger and hatred? Will you choose God or evil? There is no in-between. It is futile to wage war against our mighty God. Truth is truth.
Merry Christmas to you all. May the light of God shine upon you and keep you safe and warm in the fight yet to come.
By Watchman | November 25, 2013
In everything give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you. (1 Thessalonians 5: 18)
Give thanks with a grateful heart. Give thanks to the Holy One.
Give thanks because He’s given Jesus Christ, His Son. (Henry Smith)
It’s Thanksgiving Day week here in the US, and it is passing by with little attention being paid to it other than good sales on turkeys at the grocery stores. Many shops have already marked down all their special Thanksgiving stock in preparation for Christmas; far more heed has been paid to Black Friday, supposedly the biggest shopping day of the year. Jesus told us that where our treasure is, there our hearts will be found also. Where is your treasure today? Where is your heart to be found?
So much has happened in this nation lately–none of it good–that it seems most people see little for which to give thanks this year. Betrayals of the American people and our Constitution by the current administration abound. People are finally waking up to the knowledge that the economy is no better at all; the “Obamacare” debacle has demoralized a large segment that had until recently refused to believe that our President could be lying about its consequences. We have watched as the administration lied about the death of our ambassador to Benghazi, Libya along with those of several American patriots that went to his aid, blaming a You-Tube video that no one in the Middle East had even seen for the deaths; and we have learned positively that our government monitors our phone calls and e-mails. Disagreement with the homosexual agenda has been equated with hate, and no one in either political office or in the media chooses to address the growing violence directed toward whites by mobs of black youths in many of our major cities. Worst of all, the administration has instigated a new agreement with Iran that will lift the economic sanctions against that country and put us and especially our ally Israel in grave danger. It was a blatant betrayal of Israel, the nation on which God set His name and which He commanded us to bless. So, what is there to be thankful for? A whole lot!
1. God is still in control. God raises up leaders and He takes them down. God prospers nations, and removes the prosperity when His people sin. He still sends warnings in weather patterns, in disasters, and in the sun, moon and stars to bring nations back to Him. Thank God!
2. God still loves us! God still sends the Holy Spirit to call those who would turn to Christ for salvation, to fill them and bring them to repentance. He still listens to our prayers and answers them. He loves us not just as people He has created, but as individuals whom He has called to have fellowship with Him, to whom He will grant healing and restoration and forgiveness. Thank God!
3. God will never allow evil to win in the end. God has assured us through His prophecies in the scriptures that the wicked will not prosper forever. No matter what ungodly and evil moves our governments may make, God will not allow them to stand. He will never leave us nor forsake us, and He has promised to hold those of us who love Him in the palm of His hand; guiding, protecting and leading us. And, by the way, God will never allow anyone to “wipe Israel off the face of the map.” Israel is the apple of His eye, and those who come against her will perish.
4. God gave us Jesus Christ, His only begotten Son: sinless and perfect, to be the Lamb without blemish who would take all of our sins upon Himself so that we might never have to pay the price for our wickedness. “The wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Saviour.” Thank God!
5. When Jesus overcame death and ascended to the right hand of our Father, He took with Him the need to ever fear death, so long as we have asked Him into our hearts and been born of the Spirit. Do you realize that? Are you facing an illness that you fear may lead to death? You need not fear any longer. Through Jesus, you win no matter what. If you are healed, you win! If you are not, you will one day wake up to spend an eternity in the presence of our Lord! You win! God has not made us survivors; He has made us overcomers and victors! Thank God!
While I try to give thanks to God always, this Thanksgiving I will be giving Him special praise and thanks for His goodness and faithfulness to me and to all generations; for my home and family, for His great love, and for all the tender mercies with which He has graced me. May my treasure always be His love and His presence, and my heart be found with Him! Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good!
By Watchman | October 31, 2013
“Then they brought little children to Him, that He might touch them; but the disciples rebuked those who brought them. But when Jesus saw it, He was greatly displeased and said to them, ‘Let the little children come to Me and do not forbid them; for of such is the kingdom of God.’ ” (Mark 10: 13-14)
“Therefore you shall lay up these words of mine in your heart and in your soul, and bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall teach them to your children, speaking of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up.” (Deuteronomy 11:18-19)
“But whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in Me to stumble, it would be better for him if a millstone were hung around his neck, and he were thrown into the sea.” (Mark 9:42)
Most people would agree that we are responsible for our children’s well-being. We are rightly indignant and appalled when we hear on the news of parents who abuse and neglect their children or of monsters who sexually molest and kill them. We endlessly debate the important topic of emotional abuse and its effect on young people. Yet there is another form of child abuse now rampant in the world, and it receives little if any attention: the spiritual abuse that occurs when we raise our children without teaching them about the love and laws of God. In fact, many of us are helping to condemn our own children to hell.
We see to our children’s nutritional and educational needs, make sure they make it to soccer practice on time and have as up-to-date a gaming system as we can afford and we consider ourselves good and loving parents. For many, many generations, even those who were not passionate believers in Jesus knew that it was important to raise their children to know the precepts of Scripture and to introduce them to the knowledge of God and Jesus. This is no longer the case, and the effects of this lack is evident in the lives of our children. Suicide is the third leading cause of death among adolescents and bullying, once the almost exclusive domain of a few badly brought up or supervised kids, is at epidemic proportions. We hear more and more of the shocking instances of “sexting” among teenagers and drug abuse is rife. More and more of the offenses committed by young people of all ages and backgrounds involve fighting and violence of some sort; most of the offenders admit to high levels of anger and frustration. We often learnedly refer to this, but rarely address where all the anger comes from. Ask many social workers, politicians and college professors and they will tell you that the anger comes from inequalities of income and opportunities. That sounds so logical, but is it? The history of mankind is flooded with people who were poor but strong, happy, loving, productive and upright in character. And how does that address the increasing instances of violence, bullying, depression and suicide attempts amongst children of the middle to upper class? It can only be a lack of God.
One culprit is undoubtedly that bane of our present generation, political correctness. The current psychological climate tells us that if we impose our Judeo-Christian beliefs on our children, it is tantamount to abuse; teaching them hate, condemnation, prejudice. The new “Common Core” curriculum in American schools is geared toward purging our students of any taint of lingering family values or faith in Jesus or the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. They are taught that all religions have equal validity, yet are prohibited from exercising their right to freely proclaim their beliefs. They are being taught that following God’s laws is not only unimportant but hateful, while tolerance of other religions, lifestyles, world views and people is a must; except, of course, tolerance of Jews and Christians. We teach them that they are owed love, affirmation, fame and material belongings without any limits or responsibilities; without giving real love or affirmation to others in return. When they find that they do not automatically receive these things, many are faced with a reality they have not been taught to expect. In many areas it is becoming difficult for Christians to take in foster children for fear that those fostered will be contaminated by the Gospel of Jesus Christ which condemns sin and encourages righteousness.
Another strike against our children nowadays is that inert, influential little box that sits in most living rooms, dens and bedrooms: that’s right, the television. So many shows today designated as “family viewing” are instilling in young people ideas that directly counter what God has commanded us to teach our children. Geared toward teens and pre-teens, most glorify disobedience to parents and authority figures, sexual exploration, alternative lifestyles, the occult and freedom from restriction. Because of this growth of influence of television, many of our children are having their views on politics, God and religion formed by Hollywood rather than their families. They are glorifying the fleeting flame of outrageous teen/twenty-something singers and actors/actresses rather than God. While several groups are committed to screening TV to try to keep it so-called family friendly, parents have the ultimate responsibility here for what is seen in their homes. If it is ungodly, don’t allow it in! You may not have any influence over children over 18 (though I think parents who believe that may be in error), but you can certainly monitor what your underage children watch. If they don’t like it and tell you you have no right to decide what they can see…Tough. You do have that right, and in today’s chaos it is very important to exert that authority.
The Bible tells us that we must be “in the world, but not of it.” Most Christians can quote this phrase and think they manage to do just that. Yet I have witnessed many Christian parents who believe they must let their children decide for themselves what their religion means to them, yet push them immoderately to enter beauty pageants, excel in their studies and go to only the most prestigious schools (regardless of how spiritually arid they may be) in order to make the most money later, or to be the best athletes or cheerleaders. While all children should be encouraged to do the best they can be–after all, God gives them gifts, talents and abilities for a reason–we have forgotten to teach them that doing one’s best is more important than being the best. Why would we exert so much care and energy into trying to make our children into “stars”? Is it for our own satisfaction and pride? The one thing we should want more than anything else for our children is that they love and follow the Lord. The schools and books and movies and politicians all play a role in trying to keep our kids out of the Lord’s hands, but the final and ultimate responsibility is ours.
All young people need a certain amount of freedom or they will never learn how to function properly in a world which imposes fewer and fewer restrictions on them. They need to learn how to deal in a godly and kindly way with all kinds of people and with ideas that they may know to be wrong. There is a difference between granting them some freedom in which to test their wings and turning them adrift in a lust-ridden and greedy world without the proper training to cope with it or restrain themselves from evil. A study published by the National Institute of Health found a “surprisingly unique significance of children’s eating dinner with at least one parent on most nights” on their behavior and resistance to anger and depression. I am only amazed that this came as a surprise to them. Children need freedom; but they also need the parameters and guidance that only a family can give them.
It is spiritual abuse to not teach our children about Jesus and His redemptive work on the cross. It is spiritual abuse to teach them that their feelings and desires are more important than the will of God for them and their lives. It is spiritual abuse to allow them to believe that they are so important that choosing to follow sin instead of righteousness is an acceptable option. Until our children come to an age when they are no longer under our control and authority, we are responsible for teaching them good from evil; right from wrong; holiness from filth. We must teach these truths to our children; when we sit in our houses, when we walk with them, when we go to bed and when we arise. If we do not do so, we will not be held innocent when we stand before God and it would indeed have been better if millstones had been hung around our necks and we’d been thrown into the sea.
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