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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.
I could not find a photo of a mouse casting a shadow. So, I thought one with sticks of dynamite but in cartoon form could also help me convey this message that the Lord shared with me several years ago when I was going through a very tortured time in my life.
A battle had raged in my life for several years causing a lot of emotional upheaval and I wanted it to be over. I perseverated over my offender. My mouth was filled with comments to others about everything involved in the situation. I would show emails to some of my inner circle that I trust deeply. I would ask for prayer. Nothing but nothing worked to bring any alleviation.
The feeling of being so small and lorded over and controlled was part of my daily identity. One day the Lord showed me an image of my perpetrator standing only as tall as your average field mouse. He was trapped in a glass container that is much like you might find containing an old, small ornamental clock, such as might have set atop your grandmother’s piano. He kept scratching at the sides, trying to climb them and was yelling. And I saw his shadow cast which was something like 10 or more feet tall. Ridiculous I know, but that’s part of the point. Then I looked back at him and realized he had no traction and I couldn’t hear what he was screaming.
The Lord showed me that I had developed this individual into an idol not out of affection but because of my tremendous focus on the situation and the power that I ascribed to this individual. I had to repent of idolatry. I thought idolatry was only possible when you did have great affinity for something or someone.
I was so blessed and refreshed to realize that the shadow is what I had been perceiving as reality. It was a mere distortion; and I knew the one who had the ultimate power to deliver me from the pain and from my own perceptions.
To whom do you turn when you need a new perspective? Start the conversation today. You’ll be blessed and set free in Jesus’ name!
I just flipped the switch on the website for our first featured item. If you go to the Shop tab you will find 11 oz and 15 oz options. This mug has the full colored logo on both sides and so is perfect for both right and left handers.
The post photo is of the sample mug I ordered in the 15 oz size. It looks and feels sturdy.
This would make a great gift for yourself or a loved one who finds their identity in Our Lord Jesus Christ… or someone that you are praying will come to do so.
Let’s walk this path together. None of us have arrived yet.
God bless you.
Have not I commanded you? Be strong, vigorous, and very courageous. Be not afraid, neither be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go. Pass through the camp and command the people, Prepare your provisions, for within three days you shall pass over this Jordan to go in to take possession of the land which the Lord your God is giving you to possess.
Joshua 1:9, 11 AMPC
Go on then! If God is for you, no man, monsterous disease or demon can stand against you and prevail. He said it. Do you believe it, friend? Come on, let’s go with Jesus to the other side of your problem to your miracle.