November 8th is approaching quickly - what to do - what to do!? That is the scenario that most of us face as we watch the time when we will step into a voting booth and express our right and responsibility to be patriots. The problem we also face is how to be both a patriot in the United States and also be a Christian in our conscience. To be perfectly honest with you - I am also in the throes of such a decision. I continue to pray about it - read to become better informed - and maybe - just maybe fret about it a little more than I should (Told you I was going to be honest).
First of all, I need to be candid. I will not under any circumstances vote for the Democrat Party or their standard bearer Hillary Clinton. The Bible teaches us that the life in the womb does have rights. It may not have rights in the eyes of the Democrat party or in the eyes of their presidential candidate - but God’s authority is infinitely higher than theirs - and He says that the precious baby in the womb is His masterpiece. God forbid that I would do anything to strengthen the hands of those who add innocent blood through abortion to the massive amount we’ve already spilt advancing erotic freedom without responsibility. I also cannot vote for this agenda because I am not in agreement with giving the LGBT community a carte blanche to rewrite the first amendment to the Constitution so that religious freedom is stamped out via the revisionist decisions made by the Supreme Court. There are a host of other reasons that would take too long to list here, but suffice it to say that until the agenda in the Democrat party changes - I will be casting no votes for any of their candidates.
Now to the much harder part of the coming election. Can I vote for a man like Donald Trump - who if he said and acted toward my wife or daughters in the manner in which he has - I wouldn’t want him to be in charge of anything - other than his own reformation of character? If I can do this - what would I be sacrificing as a believer and as someone who holds to a biblical definition of character? (all the time knowing that I don’t even measure up in some areas myself - thank God for His grace and gift of righteousness through Jesus Christ!) That is where I am having such a difficult time - even today. These are matters that I will have to continue to wrestle with for a few more weeks. Eventually I will go into a booth and vote my conscience - and hopefully support someone who will lead our country, albeit haltingly, in a somewhat better direction that it is currently being led. Each time I consider that - I am no more excited than I was before.
If you began reading this hoping I would come up with some magic formula to make this easier - I’m sorry that you will be disappointed. God has begun taking me in another direction - even as I continue in the quandary over how to cast a vote that will in some way honor Him. It has always been a comfort to me to remember God’s sovereignty in this world. That sovereignty can both change the direction of a nation toward righteousness - or allow a nation that turns from Him to descend into ruin. Both are seen clearly in Scripture - especially when it refers to His people.
God began putting the question into my heart, “What are we going to be doing on November 9th?” If Trump is elected, and that is a big “if” will all our problems be solved? I am so glad to see so many prayer meetings and special times of prayer being called. It is an encouraging thing to watch God’s people pray. But can I ask if we will be praying after the election? Will we have the same passion to pray - when maybe, and it is a big “maybe” Hillary Clinton may be elected president of the United States? Are our hopes so set on electing one candidate over the other that we are blind to the spiritually desolate condition of the church in the United States of America? Are we so set on protecting our Constitutional rights that we are deaf to God’s call for bus to lay down all our rights for the sake of His gospel and His kingdom? Will we be so depressed that Christians were so divided over - and let’s be honest about this - such a divisive candidate that we don’t see our need to come together over a greater need of loving one another and living to glorify God and advance His gospel - no matter what form or perversion of our government that will exists after this election? Will the upward call of God in Christ Jesus be enough to motivate us to pray as passionately after the election as the political call to win an election over the ungodly agenda of the Democrat party? I hope and pray the answer to such questions is that we will pursue God with greater passion - knowing that no government has ever been able to extinguish the glorious light of the gospel of Jesus Christ.
The early church and the persecuted church have shown us that regardless of those who reign in the realms of men - God still reigns over the hearts of His people. They had no political standing and yet turned the world upside down. They advanced the gospel through their willingness to lay down the lives for Jesus Christ. They advanced the work of God with no favor in the courts - no favor with the emperor - and often with great persecution from others within their society. Yet God prevailed. The one thing God is graciously allowing me to begin to see is that when it comes to His gospel and His plan and purpose - neither Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton will prevail over it. God is sovereign - and His eternal purpose WILL PREVAIL. I hope you will forgive me for quoting such a long section of Scripture as I close this article - and engage in a little exegesis as well - but here we go. Paul wrote something we need to grasp - prior to a call for prayer. We might need to see it again - in light of our current circumstances.
To me, the very least of all saints, this grace was given, to preach to the Gentiles the unfathomable riches of Christ, 9 and to bring to light what is the administration of the mystery which for ages has been hidden in God who created all things; 10 so that the manifold wisdom of God might now be made known through the church to the rulers and the authorities in the heavenly places. 11 This was in accordance with the eternal purpose which He carried out in Christ Jesus our Lord, 12 in whom we have boldness and confident access through faith in Him.
Paul makes it clear that our purpose is to “preach the unfathomable riches of Christ” which is the riches made available to us in His gospel. This glorious message has been being presented to our world since it began. It truly began to mean something to us at the Fall - when our sin meant separation from God - and the prospect of eternal punishment for such a foolish rebellion. This message is called the “manifold wisdom of God” which is supposed to be being made known to all “through the church.” This plan and purpose - that the gospel be proclaimed through the church is in accordance with God’s eternal purpose. LET ME PUT THIS IN ALL CAPS - NOT BECAUSE I’M MAD - BUT BECAUSE IT IS IMPORTANT. GOD’S ETERNAL PURPOSE IS THAT THE CHURCH LIVE AND PREACH THE GOSPEL TO THE WORLD. According to Paul it is through the relationship we have with Christ Jesus our Lord - that we have boldness and a confident access to God - so that we might carry out this purpose!
13 Therefore I ask you not to lose heart at my tribulations on your behalf, for they are your glory.
Paul also states. in one small sentence, the reality of his life as he lives to accomplish God’s eternal purpose of preaching the gospel to the world. He is facing tribulations - troubles - trials - hardships - beatings - all because he chooses to embrace God’s eternal purpose. He tells them, “not to lose heart” at the tribulations he is facing. Instead he says that those tribulation are for your glory! What?! Yes - it is our glory to see that living for and preaching the gospel of Jesus Christ will involve tribulations. In fact Jesus Himself told us that we would be treated just like He was if we embraced true discipleship. So where does this lead us? Paul had to preach the gospel in a hostile environment - without political support - facing persecution and difficulty. Yet he spoke of boldness and confidence in the midst of it. HOW!?
14 For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, 15 from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name, 16 that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with power through His Spirit in the inner man, 17 so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; and that you, being rooted and grounded in love, 18 may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, 19 and to know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled up to all the fullness of God. 20 Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us, 21 to Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations forever and ever. Amen. - Ephesians 3:8-21
Paul knew the true battle was not for a political win over society - but over the manifestation of Christ dwelling in the hearts of His people. He knew the true battle was that we all would be rooted and grounded in love for God and one another. He knew the true battle would be to know the breadth, length, height, and depth of the love for Christ. This is a love for the Father. This is a love for one another. This is a love for the lost. It is even a love for those who hate us, persecute us, and speak evil falsely of us on account of our embrace of Jesus as Lord. And this battle was so that we might be filled up to all the fullness of God Himself - as His Holy Spirit works in and through us to preach the gospel, speaking the truth in love. Paul also promised that this battle was going to be won on our knees as we trusted in the one who as able to do far more abundantly than all we ask or imagine - according to the power with which God will work in us and through us. This battle was to see God glorified in the church and in Christ Jesus forever and ever!
Dearest precious saints of God - on November 9th our calling will be the same as it was prior to the election. It will be to love the Lord our God with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength. It will be to love one another as Christ has loved us. It will be to take the gospel of Jesus Christ to the ends of the earth for the glory of God. It will be to see the glory of God shine ever brighter THROUGH His church! So - regardless of whether Trump or Clinton become president - our purpose remains an eternal one. And just as Paul has indicated through the Spirit in Ephesians - HOW MUCH MORE DOES THAT CAUSE CALL US TO PASSIONATE PRAYER! Oh pray, dear saints - pray prior to this election. But please, I beg you, please don’t think all is lost if it does not turn out as you hope and pray. Regardless of who is our president - our Lord still reigns supreme! So, therefore, let us be bold, be loving, be prayerful, and always be abounding with hope that our work in the Lord is NOT in vain! And may that work always be to take the gospel of Jesus Christ everywhere for the glory of God!
Apostasy and Pope Francis' Recent Theological Positions
One of the things that will be seen prior to and leading up to the return of Jesus Christ is called, "the apostasy." We read of it in 2 Thessalonians 2:1-3. Paul spoke of it as he reassured Christians in his day that Jesus had not yet come back. One of the things associated with His return would be this apostasy. Here is what he said,
"Now we request you, brethren, with regard to the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our gathering together to Him, that you not be quickly shaken from your composure or be disturbed either by a spirit or a message or a letter as if from us, to the effect that the day of the Lord has come. Let no one in any way deceive you, for it will not come unless the apostasy comes first, and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the son of destruction," (2 Thessalonians 2:1-3, NASB - emphasis mine)
Apostasy is defined this way at Dictionary.com - "a total departure from one's faith and the principles of it."
We, unfortunately, have been watching this apostasy take shape in this generation for years. The Christian church has walked away from many of its principles - and fundamental beliefs. The liberal theologians of the 20th century assaulted just about every fundamental of the faith, starting with the inerrancy of the Bible and ending with a rejection of things like the virgin birth of Christ, His substitutionary atoning death, and the exclusivity of Jesus Christ as the only way of salvation. All these things are clearly affirmed in Scripture - and yet they have been dumped by liberals for several generations.
As the sexual revolution has gained adherents in its rebellion against biblical morality, first heterosexual immorality was embraced (sex outside of a monogamous, heterosexual marriage relationship) then over time homosexuality was no longer considered sin. Now just about any kind of perversion is considered normal as our world devolves into its end-times rebellion against God.
One group that had stood with classic Christianity in many of these battles was the Roman Catholic Church and her various popes. But with the current pope, things are changing rapidly and radically. Recently Pope Francis wrote a long open letter to the founder of La Republica newpaper, Eugenio Scalfari, in which he has stated that non-believers would be forgiven by God if they followed their consciences. Here Pope Francis redefined sin as follows, "Sin, even for those who have no faith, exists when people disobey their conscience." Therefore - if an atheist follows his own conscience, he is not guilty of sin against God.
This redefinition of what God requires for us to be forgiven - and to enter heaven is nothing short of breathtaking! This most recent statement comes on the heels of Pope Francis' statement about homosexuality in July when he said, "If someone is gay and is looking for the Lord, who am I to judge him?"
One commentator on these radical statements by the Pope responded by saying, "Francis is still a conservative. But what this is all about is him seeking to have a more meaningful dialogue with the world." Mr. Scalfari said in a joyful response to the Pope's letter that his comments were, "further evidence of his ability and desire to overcome barriers in dialgue with all."
What we are watching is not a dialogue with the world - but a capitulation to its immorality and contrary positions to the Bible and what it says. One might think that the Pope may be in need of a dialogue with God - and some additional moments spent in Bible study. One wonders if he has recently read either Psalm 53:1 or Psalm 14:1 which reads, "The fool has said in his heart, 'There is no God.'" It might serve him well also to re-read Romans 1:18-35 as well when it comes to the issue of immorality in the realms of human sexuality.
For years I've wondered about the Roman Catholic Church in the end times. The reason for this has been their staunch stance for biblical morality over the years. I've also wondered about how they would fare in regard to a stance about the place the person of Jesus Christ has in salvation (even though I disagree with what they teach on this matter). The recent statements of Pope Francis have put the Roman Catholic Church far more in line with "the apostasy" than ever before. Who would have envisioned that Catholicism would step away from their fundamental moral stance - or embrace a theology that gives atheists a place in heaven without repenting of their atheism? Certainly not me! But this only makes me more aware that all that God has said continues to come to pass right before my eyes.
How do these recent developments relate to the second coming of Jesus Christ? I only know that they continue to be preparation for the world at His coming. As far as where I stand on the timing of Christ's return - I continue to stand on the Bible's affirmation that no one knows the day or the hour. I also stand on the fact that the Bible teaches that Jesus Christ can return at any moment - and - that we should be ready to meet God right now. What we see with these kind of things is the "signs of the times." Just as someone would look and see gathering storm clouds and know that a storm is near - so we should see such events and know, just as the Bible affirms, that He is near - right at the door.
Are you ready to meet Him today?
NOTE: By the way, just in case there are those who read this who are confused on such issues - the atheist can receive God's mercy and forgiveness - but only if he repents of his foolishness in denying God's existance. When he has done this he will need to repent and put his faith in Jesus Christ and His death on the cross and His resurrection from the dead - which is the ONLY payment God accepts for sin. The sin of which I speak is the way the atheist has disobeyed God's laws and commandments (which, by the way, are found in His inerrant revelation to us, the Bible). Also, just in case there is confusion, both heterosexual sex outside of marriage as well as all homosexual sex is sin in God's sight, as affirmed by His Word in Romans 1:18-35. God affirms sex within a heterosexual marriage relationship only.
Where Do We Go From Here?
(An Open Letter to Christians After the Election)
Day 1 – Rejoice!
It is November 7th, 2012. We have a president who was duly elected by the process we agree to as a nation. That president is Barak Obama, who will now serve his second term as our president (note the word “our”). For some reason (probably because I’m a pastor and I’m used to caring for God’s sheep) I feel the need to share with the body of Christ for the next couple of days. The question I would like to address is this, “Where do we go from here?”
First of all, I want to quote a Psalm God reminded me of as I met with a couple of men to pray this morning. If you don’t mind, I’d like to quote it in context.
The stone which the builders rejected Has become the chief corner stone. This is the LORD'S doing; It is marvelous in our eyes. This is the day which the LORD has made; Let us rejoice and be glad in it. Psalm 118:22-24
As I quoted this in my mind, I only quoted verse 24 – which was enough this morning. Go ahead and say the last verse to yourself – loudly. THIS is the day – November 7 – which the Lord has made! I will (choose) to rejoice and be glad in it! That should be our heart – regardless of whether your human guy won or not. God gave us another day – that is an act of sheer mercy when you understand the holiness of God. Therefore we should rejoice and be glad in the day He gave us! Not even Al Gore can give us a day – therefore we should never take one of these things for granted. If you have another day to live – God gave that to you! Don’t waste it – live it to the full for the glory of God and the advance of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
Take a look now at this verse in context. I was not aware of the context until I looked it up in my Bible. “The stone which the builders rejected Has become the chief corner stone. This is the LORD'S doing; It is marvelous in our eyes.” Those two verses took my breath away this afternoon. Who is this stone Who has become the chief cornerstone? It is a prophecy of Jesus Christ. It is a reminder to me that the only thing that will stand in the end is not whether a Democrat or Republican won the 2012 Presidential election. On that day both Romney, President Obama, and everyone who voted (and even those who did not) will be on their knees before the Ultimate Ruler. Why can I rejoice and be glad in the day God gave me? Because this day, as well as every other one that has ever been has been (and will be) built on that Cornerstone – Jesus Christ.
God says to us in His Word, “This is the Lord’s doing; it is marvelous in our eyes.” The election yesterday (and every other one before it) was man’s doing. It was men making a choice of their leader – good or bad. But the Gospel is God’s doing! There will be an end to any President’s term of service. There will NOT be an end to the kingdom of our Lord and of His Christ! It is an everlasting kingdom that will endure forever. It is a kingdom not based on race, color, or creed – not based on political party – and not based on endless political commercials. It is a kingdom paid for by the blood of the Lord Jesus Christ – and it is one given to men on the basis of grace. Anyone who comes in repentance of sin and faith in Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord can come. Oh, and by the way, this does not come up for a vote every four years. God has done it – He has sealed it – and the resurrection of Jesus Christ put a divine exclamation mark on it for all time.
Saints of God – whether you lost or won yesterday – your future is not based on a Presidential election. It is based on that rejected Stone becoming the Cornerstone! This should be “marvelous in our eyes.” So let me ask a question: Is it marvelous in your eyes? If it is not – I bet you are not rejoicing in this day either? Guess what!? You can wake up every day and rejoice, if this is your focus. For too long we’ve allowed the specter of an election to cloud our view of the glory of God’s Gospel. Take your eyes off the things of this world – and look full into the face of glory! Fix your eyes on a Savior Who endured the cross – Who was buried – and Who resurrected the third day to bring a joy into our hearts that cannot be dimmed by a mere mortal election.
Where do we go from here? We go back to the Gospel of Jesus Christ – back to the Rejected Stone Who became the Cornerstone. We go to Him because that is where we should have been all along. We go to Him because the future that is truly going to matter is the one we spend in His presence for all eternity. We go because in His light we see light. We go because we need to make a serious decision whether our joy is going to based on the kingdoms of this world – or – on the kingdom of our Lord and of His Christ. Where do we go from here? We rejoice – today – and every day God gives us in the future. We do so because God in His mercy has redeemed us – has saved us – and has called us to a heavenly calling. Live for that kingdom and for that calling!
What is the Prophecy/News Update?
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