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Quick, flash back to 1969, if you are able. I wasn’t here until a few years later; but I wanted to acknowledge milestones, things that shaped so many of our lives and our culture in both positive and in some cases negative ways.
Sesame Street and Scooby Doo are turning 50 this year. How many of us watched one or both of these casts of characters? I did, to be sure. Big Bird reminded us to be kind and share as did so many human and muppet cast members on the show. They tried to make Oscar see the value in kindness, Cookie Monster the value in sharing and so on. Scooby Doo seemed fun as the gang sleuthed out who was behind the mask. I’ve been known as a huge fan of the show for decades now. But as I’ve gotten older, I see how my Aunt’s opinion of the show was wise. They are cute characters; and it was great that good always won. But now I see that it was a way for witchcraft to be made into something that seemed innocuous or palatable, kind of like Woodstock was just a great music festival…not at all. It was a gateway for mind-altering drug use and rampant sexual encounters.
Oh come on, Kristiann, it was just young people being young and experimenting. No, my friend, not so. When you open your mind in such ways, you are not in control and have truly opened a portal into the spiritual realm. How do you know what spirit might want to experiment with you? What about the reality that every time you have a sexual encounter, your soul and that of your partner connect? It isn’t simply a physical act. We are not animals, contrary to what many would like us to believe. We are, each one, knit together by God Almighty for relationship with Him, to glorify Him and to be conformed to the image of Jesus Christ.
But sometimes good things come with age (and intentionality). We can gain wisdom, perspective and become more thoughtful about our life choices. Relationships can grow stronger. Our priorities can be re-ordered for the better. I challenge myself and each you to live intentionally, thinking of the repercussions of our actions and to embrace the gift of Life.
“Write this to the angel of the church in Pergamum: These are the words of the one who has the sharp, two-edged sword: I know that you are living right where Satan’s throne is. You are holding on to my name, and you didn’t break faith with me even at the time that Antipas, my faithful witness, was killed among you, where Satan lives. But I have a few things against you, because you have some there who follow Balaam’s teaching. Balaam had taught Balak to trip up the Israelites so that they would eat food sacrificed to idols and commit sexual immorality. In the same way, you have some who follow the Nicolaitans’ teaching.
Revelation 2:12-15 CEB
Godless people have slipped in among you. They turn the grace of our God into unrestrained immorality and deny our only master and Lord, Jesus Christ. Judgment was passed against them a long time ago. I want to remind you of something you already know very well. The Lord, who once saved a people out of Egypt, later destroyed those who didn’t maintain their faith. They are damned, for they follow in the footsteps of Cain. For profit they give themselves over to Balaam’s error. They are destroyed in the uprising of Korah. These people are like jagged rocks just below the surface of the water waiting to snag you when they join your love feasts. They feast with you without reverence. They care only for themselves. They are waterless clouds carried along by the winds; fruitless autumn trees, twice dead, uprooted; wild waves of the sea foaming up their own shame; wandering stars for whom the darkness of the underworld is reserved forever.
Jude 1:4-5, 11-13 CEB
So what is going on here in these passages that are warnings for us today? When you look into the meanings behind these verses there are many layers. What I want to highlight is that even when we are in the midst of evil, even those that worship Satan and his kingdom, we must hold fast to the profession of our faith. Clearly, those that were compromising the message of the pure gospel and who had intentions to disrupt and distort the message of Christ, had crept into the church. This is not metaphorical. This is the reality that we are living today.
We have gotten into such a casual mentality that we forget that God is the King of Kings. We’ve taken his grace as a license to act a fool and disgrace ourselves and do things that make Him turn His face away in sorrow because He cannot look upon sin.
Grace and salvation cost our Dear Father the ultimate, the sacrifice of His dear son Jesus Christ. Do you remember when Jesus was hanging on the cross and He asked the Father why He had forsaken Him because the Father had to turn away while Jesus was enshrouded in your sin and mine?
Listen, I have seen people play church and done it myself. We don’t have any more time to mess around in greasy grace. Satan is doing a wonderful job, I hate to say, by lulling Christians to sleep, even having preachers and others either completely denounce the gospel or say things that are so absurd such as there is no real Heaven and no real Hell. These folks are going to find out the hard way if their hearts don’t turn back to their Creator.
Do you notice how so many churches don’t give altar calls anymore or explain that there has to be repentance from your sin because you are in fact a sinner when you come to Christ? (Hey even my phone right now was trying to use every word except the word sinner.) Do you notice how many of the churches have removed the physical altars? Do you notice how our programs divide the family instead of unifying it because we send everybody off into separate rooms by age groups as the rule rather than the special occasion or exception?
Do you notice that we are trying to be so friendly to the world that we are not distinct and set apart? We are called by evening so-called Christian leaders to compromise. I’ve been told over and over again in my life to pipe down….When I have shared part of the vision God has called me to, I had someone try to change it and tell me what they thought God was probably saying instead (I suppose in their paradigm, women are not able to preach). I know preachers who are mincing words and afraid to just boldly tell folks that you need to get saved before you can join in the ministry teams because they’re trying to woo and coo. Stop it! I love my pastor friends so much that I will speak the truth to them.
We have all fallen short the glory of God. We are all sinners who need to be saved and don’t forget this part please, transformed into the image of Christ. He is not going to join our program. He says that He’s giving us the choice of life or death. We have the opportunity to move toward Him. He is not going to move toward our lives of compromise.
I agree with Bobby Conner that we shouldn’t apologize for nearly saying something. And I like what he told a preacher that told him to not come on too strong because they might scare away those that aren’t saved. He asked where they were going to scare them to, Hell 1 or Hell 2. They’re lost, he said. There’s Heaven and there’s Hell. That’s it and time is short.
The Bible says to come out from among them and be separate. If I have the same torn up, foul mouth as the world, why would they want the Jesus that I say I’ve got? (Been there, so I know.) When I’m thirsty, I want water or in other words the solution to my problem. A lot of those in the pulpit will be held accountable for trying to put the pseudo-spiritual equivalent of a bandage on Vesuvius.
Let us pray that we are found awake, alert and with oil in our lamps. Let us keep watch and speak the truth in love. And women especially, may I encourage you that speaking the truth in love does not mean to be devoid of boldness or authority. Know who you are in God Almighty, Your Father Who created you in His image to be conformed into the likeness of his son Jesus Christ.
You were thinking of the Beatles or the new movie, Yesterday about their music, were you? Well that’s alright. However, I’m thinking of the one chapter book written by the flesh brother of Jesus Christ. Jude (Judah) was the son of both Mary and Joseph and grew up in the same home as Jesus. He crammed several sermon-worthy, provocative items to encourage, challenge and caution us in this short book or letter. Who knows, this may end up being a multi-part blog.
First of all, let’s talk humility. He doesn’t note that he is Jesus’ brother. He states that he is the “loving servant” of Jesus and “brother of James”. He doesn’t boast of his credentials, family line or connections. He knew his rightful place as a servant of the Most High. He recognized his status and did so with a glad heart.
He wanted to luxuriate and revel with his spiritual brothers and sisters in the tremendous, eternity-altering gift of salvation. However, he was evidently a man well aware of the season in which he and others found themselves, one that just like today, caused him to send out a rallying cry to defend and contend for the faith. Beyond the blatant slaughter of our brothers and sisters in multiple nations at this very point in time, we who have enjoyed so much freedom in the United States of America are now frequently banned or our posts are filtered out of searches on YouTube and Facebook. And in a just obtained memo from the FBI written in May, they are saying that if we believe several things that they call conspiracy theories, we may be threats. Now, I know the latter doesn’t equate to our Christian faith so directly and succinctly. However, many thinking persons who are first and foremost Christians, hold certain beliefs based of evidences both overt in this physical realm and covert in the spiritual realm (based upon our understanding of the principalities and powers of darkness in this present age who are fueled and fooled by the prince and power of the air, Satan). We understand that there is a larger plan afoot right now that would silence anyone speaking for morality, life, true liberty, out of absolute love and selflessness. Many of us are Christians.
Yes, several brothers and sisters have had to rely on their own websites or other platforms to continue getting important messages out to those who have ears to hear and eyes to see. But even those will be taken off-line at some juncture. Friends, evil is never content to play on it’s side of the street. Rather, it spreads like wildfire and overtakes those unaware before they can awaken. Now is the time to ask the Holy Spirit of God to rouse you from your slumber. Pray for God to show you where you need to grow in your understanding and that He give you vigor and perseverance. This is not for the faint-hearted. Read the full counsel of the Holy Bible.
Church, wake up. Stop playing ostrich. When it all comes to your door and they say, if you believe in Jesus, we will take you to an internment camp (look up that definition – it’s sobering) or we will drop you right here, when they say, you and your children will starve to death if you don’t become one of us, taking the unchangeable marking of/union with the Beast, do you have the boldness to say, “I am ready to live or die for my Savior” and that “God is God above all gods and He SHALL SUPPLY ALL of my needs through the glorious riches in Christ Jesus”? I pray He grant me that strength. Remember, dearly loved friends, that your kids belong first to the Father who shared them with you, same is true of your spouse, mother, father, sister, brother and friend. He is more than able to equip each one of us…but are you/we willing?
Enjoy the blessings; but please don’t be seduced by them.
We use our tongue to praise God our Father and then turn around and curse a person who was made in his very image! Out of the same mouth we pour out words of praise one minute and curses the next. My brothers and sister, this should never be! Would you look for olives hanging on a fig tree or go to pick figs from a grapevine? Is it possible that fresh and bitter water can flow out of the same spring? So neither can a bitter spring produce fresh water.
James (Jacob) 3:9-12 TPT
We are spoken to so much in the book of James about the need to tame our tongues. We’re also told in the scripture that it’s evident what’s in our heart by what comes out of our mouth, to paraphrase. Furthermore, we are told to guard our hearts above all because out of it flow the issues of life. Circling back to our mouths, we are told that the power of life and death is in the tongue.
I just want to briefly say that I have learned that firsthand, specifically in relation to a situation referred to in the post entitled, Observe the Mouse. God spoke to me to change what I was saying, much of which was very factual to any objective observer who could review available evidence. But I started going with the scripture that talks about calling those things that are not as though they are. That doesn’t mean to just confess things like the kind of job you want or that you’re out of debt, although those things can be fine depending on the condition of one’s heart. But you can use that premise to speak life in the midst of death. Once I started speaking life into the situation, forgiving and loving my perpetrator and confessing on a regular basis that all of my enemies have to bless me and that I bless them and do not curse them, I saw dramatic change that I did not know how it would be possible or if I would ever see such change.
I challenge you to speak life and to do as the word says, to pray for your enemies, those that persecute you and say all manner of evil against you for the Lord’s namesake and to bless and not curse. Choose life and you’ll reap unfathomable blessings today!