Monday, December 31, 2007

A Look at One Death Caused by the Prosperity Gospel

I want to bring attention to a link that I came across on Philly Flash's "Theology Today" blog. It is about a family who lost their matriarch because she believed the lies of some very prominent televangelists. It is a heart-wrenching story that speaks volumes about the lies and evils of the "Prosperity Gospel." I hate the thought that this woman lost her life as her family suffered on the sideline watching her pass away. I will not go into anymore detail here, because I want you to read the story and the letters that were written to the "demons of prosperity." So go to the link provided and see for yourself that the Prosperity Gospel, Health and Wealth, Name It and Claim It and whatever term it wants to go by is not of God, but of Satan and his minions.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Choking the Christ Out of Christmas

At the offset, one would feel like this image is blasphemous. However, upon further inspection and application one would see the truth for what it is. The media is of Santa Clause totally choking the "Christ" out of Christmas. Now one could even look at it and think, "well this is an image of Christ and not the real thing." And of course I would agree. Christ could never be put in such a position. In fact, the pseudo Christ in the picture is about the same in "real life," an image with no saving power. But still, I enjoy this picture because of the point the artist is making. That being Jesus Christ according to the world is of no effect. We who are in the truth know the real deal and are willing to put our lives on the line for it. The message Christ came to bring from before the foundation is the world is the one of sin and the holy redemption of God to His glory. God bless you guys this Christmas and I pray that you would be faithful to Him not just in the "season," but year round.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

An Ode to All Saints Day: The Difference Between Joseph and Stephen

Earlier today I heard another message preached on the life of Joseph, the son of Israel. As I was listening, I heard the usual discourse concerning his life. That he was given a dream by The LORD that saw him eventually reigning over those in his family. However, Joseph's dreams ultimately caused him problems with his brethren. Being upset over the fact that their younger brother was the favored child, Joseph's elders decided to do him harm. As the story goes on Joseph is sold into slavery, then imprisoned because of a deceitful woman. While in prison he interprets the dreams of two other inmates. In time, both interpretations come to pass and Joseph is eventually released from his dreaded hell-in-a-cell.

Joseph then proceeds to benefit the Pharaoh and the people of Egypt through his interpretation of Pharaoh's dreams. Joseph is soon exalted to a place where he literally fulfills his own dreams as his brothers who had meant him harm now bowed before him. God had ordained every moment of Joseph's life- from his position in birth, to Jacob's love of him, to his brothers' hatred for him, to his being sold into slavery, to his being placed before Pharaoh, to his place of ascension, to his rescuing of the household of Israel. Everything that happened was ordained of God. He went through trial and tribulation because God called him to it. He didn't want to be sold into slavery. He didn't want to be in prison. He went through simply because it really was "God's Will."

Now the story of Joseph is a story of beauty and truthful example of God's will in action within humanity (including the evils that befall us and the blessings He has in store for those who are called according to His purpose). Yet, rarely do you hear the importance of God's will when hearing the story of Joseph preached. Instead, what happens most of the time when the story of Joseph is preached ends up being about the "things." The "things" being Joseph was blessed with a coat, then Joseph was robbed of the coat and suffered, then Joseph was blessed greater than he was before. Sadly, all of your WoF churches preach this very gospel. For these so-called preachers and pastors the main point of the story of Joseph are the "things" he got in the end. Never do they focus on the fact that God used Joseph for the specific purpose of advancing His will in the world. God didn't use and save Joseph just to bless him, He used and saved him because He wanted the nation of Israel to be established (God's will, not Joseph's). You see in the end, the story of Joseph is not really even about Joseph. The story of Joseph is about GOD'S WILL!

Now what I would like to do is switch gears a bit. Let's take into account the story of Stephen (which rarely gets preached). In the book of Acts chapter 6, we find a man by the name of Stephen being chosen to be a servant because "he was full of faith and of the Holy Ghost." This man went "being full of faith and power, did great wonders and miracles among the people." This was Stephen. He was a holy, righteous man before the LORD and it showed because the signs and wonders followed. Not only did he help the people (fellow believers), but he "witnessed" Christ to the Jews from other nations. In fact, so strong was his witness that they couldn't even answer him. Being upset that they could not counter his stance, they had men to lie against him before the council. In what becomes one of the greatest "last stands" the Bible mentions, Stephen preaches the truth of God without wavering. He begins with the patriarch Abraham, carefully expounding the will of God through the "fathers" (including Joseph) up to Jesus and the Holy Ghost. Then after he had made a mockery of their faithlessness to God, they took up stones- and took his life. All because he would not back down from the true cause of Christ.

Unfortunately, it is much easier to preach the story of Joseph in many churches than it is to preach Stephen. Why? All because too many people want their ears tickled and too many preachers want their pockets lined in "green." It's much easier to talk about someone losing and then gaining a 100x's as much in the later part of their lives. It is easy to preach sermonettes of trials that can be overcome and being blessed because of one's supposed faithfulness. On the other hand, it is a lot more difficult to look someone in the face and tell them that they are going to suffer and in the end they will be no better off financially. For a preacher, a sermon like that means that people will not be encouraged to give unless God moves on them (and they can't trust God with their finances now can they?).

In the end, was it God's will to bless him (Stephen) to do the works that he did? Was it God's will that Joseph do the works that he did? The answer would be yes- to both. God rises up and pulls down, HE builds and destroys. If there is anything I want you to be sure of it is this, God does as HE pleases. If it pleased the FATHER to bruise the SON, why would we think that HE would not allow us to suffer even a little bit. Now I don't mean to make us a comparison to Christ, but I fully do not believe that every person that suffers is going to get "double fo' they trouble" (at least in this life)! Wake up and look out the door people, more Christians are suffering today for their faith than any time in history (and their have been millions who have suffered). All one needs to do is look at or to see the sufferings that are going on around the world. And sadly, the prosperity gospel would leave them feeling that what's happening in their lives is not GOD'S WILL! Dear children, the WORD says that we must suffer, that we must pick up our cross, and we must endure hardness like a good soldier. Joseph did and it was God's will to bless him. Stephen did as well, and it was God's will to take his life by stoning. Nevertheless, the one constant is GOD! So whatever you go through, do it to the glory of God and do not worry about getting a double portion. Learn to be content with material items and be ever hungry for the righteousness of GOD in CHRIST JESUS! For we have brought nothing into this world and it is sure that we can take nothing out.

Saturday, December 8, 2007

The Error of Pentecostalism Pt1 (My Testimony)

While there is no doubt in my mind that there are many, many children of our Lord that have come into the “Salvation of Christ” through the Pentecostal church body, I have come to believe that the Pentecostal church itself is not purely “representative” of what Christ desires for His church. I find in it many flaws that we as Christians have allowed to go unchecked or un-responded to for sake of peace or for the mighty dollar. This will not be a railing against Pentecostalism, but rather a historical and biblical comparison against that which is right.

Now before I continue, I want to say a few things. When I first came to Christ it was in a Pentecostal church. I had already known about Christ from what my mother taught me (we were never a devout Roman Catholic family, but Catholics none the less). So I knew that Christ died for my sins (I just didn’t understand the weight of my sins). At the age of 18 I went off to college and met many new people. One individual offered me a place to stay on the weekend. The family offered me an opportunity to go to church with them and I gladly accepted. That Sunday, I went down for the altar call (something I had become familiar with at a non-denominational charismatic church) for prayer (all college boys need it). As I was there a female minister asked me if I had accepted Christ and was “Saved.” I honestly answered “No,” so she continued with “do you want to be…” In my mind I knew I wanted to be saved…one day- just not today! And that was how I responded. However, all she heard was “yes!” With that, before I had a chance to explain myself- she ran off to tell the pastor and elders. When I was asked about it I didn’t have the heart tell them she had misheard me.

I was whisked away to the backroom to be lightly catechized before baptism. I distinctly remember that while I was being “dunked” I just knew I wasn’t saved. It wasn’t necessarily because I didn’t want to be saved, but because I had just gotten an earring two weeks earlier and in my mind that was the thing that made me “unholy”- not sin. I got out of the water with everyone cheering me on all the while second-guessing my salvation. I was then taken to the backroom again and hands were laid upon me to receive the Holy Spirit. I was then told to speak in tongues as evidence of the Holy Ghost. I didn’t “feel” right trying to speak in tongues (especially when I felt like I wasn’t saved), but I did for the sake of those around me (that and the fact I was hungry and ready to go). I was told to let it come forth and that it would just flow, so I babbled some inaudible words and as they encouraged me, I said more and more. I was a bit angry because I knew it wasn't right, but in order to not make mockery of salvation, I forced a smile and went on with my business.

I went back to school and continued in the same sins, mindset and actions I was doing before. However, I did feel that since I made the promise that I would at least attempt to live right (although I asked for forgiveness daily). I continued on this way for about a year when I left that school for another. I decided I would try harder at working out my salvation and ended up at a Black Baptist school to keep from getting into trouble (Morris College, anyone, anyone…). At this time, God started to bring up the desire to actually serve Him in a better a way and greater abhorrence for my personal sin led me to truly take my salvation seriously. I joined a local Pentecostal church (C.O.G.I.C.) and after a dream I had, I felt God was calling me to preach. Several months later, I preached my first message. I stayed with that same congregation for seven years. As I did so, I picked up some bad theology (as well as some God glorifying doctrine) along the way. Although I must take the brunt of the blame for not reading my Bible enough, there were many teachings that I received from different preachers that were not biblically right.

I say all that to show that I am not picking on Pentecostalism as a manner of being rude or saying that the Reformed Faith has it altogether. I do however, come against the falsehoods within the Pentecostal teachings in order to do what is right in God’s sight- rightly divide the “Word of Truth.” I also believe that there are many people still in the Pentecostal movement that I believe are truly “born-again” and will be welcomed in as faithful servants. However, a little leaven leavens the whole lump and I think there are enough problems within Pentecostalism to say that from the beginning (Azusa Street specifically) it never truly glorified God. In the next post on this topic I will deal with specific information regarding the Azusa Street occurrence and hopefully, by the grace of God some light can be shed concerning why it is wrong. Please pray for me as I write this because I truly am turning my backs on (so to speak) the very people who I started out with early in my faith. Nevertheless, I must not back down, but preach the gospel because I am not ashamed of it and I know for a fact it is the power of God unto salvation. And with that comes the responsibility to try every spirit to see if they are from God at all times contending for the faith once delivered!

In His Name,
This Lowly Servant

Friday, December 7, 2007

Charlie Brown Christmas

Sometimes, just sometimes, even a cartoon can get it right (well at least the scripture was quoted correctly without being blasphemed). The purpose of Christ being born was to be the "Savior"- to the world. He is Savior to those called in Him from before the foundation of the world. He is the only one who can. That is why He fulfills the Laws of Moses and the prophets. Salvation is in "Christ alone," not Buddha, Krishna, Muhammad, Allah, Confucius, or any other. Why? Because He is - the WAY, the TRUTH and the LIFE! and no one comes to the Father, but through HIM! Understand this, there is only one reason why we celebrate this special day called Christmas- that is to solemnly respect the fact that God prophesied long before that He would come into the world. This day marks the beginning of that promise. But not to be left undone, the fulfillment of that promise is eternally expressed to humanity in the resurrection of Christ on the 3rd day. So look at it this way, He starts what He finishes (I wrote it that way specifically). Please understand your need for the Savior then fall at His feet in mercy. You are a law breaker (see the Ten Commandments for clarification) in the sight of Christ (Jew or non-Jew). You are evil to the core, but God in His infinite mercy decides to deliver some of His own accord. That is why if any man (or woman) be in Christ, He is a new creature. Old things have passed away and you are all together become new. Now, to be in Christ you must be born-again. To be born-again you must be born of the water and the Spirit. In other words, He leads you to repent and He decides to show mercy and make you over (just like a potter with some clay). Christmas day is that day of remembrance. That day to remember His birth into a sinful world, to seek and save that which is lost(you and I) to the glory of the Father.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

What's Going On?

I know a few of you (KIB) are waiting on me to post some more stuff. Honestly, I have been working on several posts all at the same time. It doesn't help the fact that they are all on difficult subjects so I have to do my research in order to keep facts straight. But I will let you know what I am currently working on if you would like to start reading up on some of this stuff before I hit the post button:

1. The Black Church
2. The Errors of Pentecostalism (I will be posting a small snippet of my dealings on that soon)
3. The difference between Joseph and Stephen (everyone preaches Joseph, but never Stephen...that is except for my pastor...hee..hee..heee:)
4. Rick Warren's PEACE Plan

So suffice it for now, be good Berean's and go search the scriptures even before I post. It may cause you to think and even challenge some of your Christian ideologies. Thank you all for hanging in there with me and please check back often.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Racism in the Church pt2 (the Brown side)

Earlier I wrote about the nuances in what we are referring to right now as the "white church." Now that label no way really means that there is a "white church" (nor is there truly a "black church"), but for the purpose of this article- well just humor me:). In truth, there is only one church, just as there is only one Lord and one faith. We are all called into this body of Christ regardless of ethnic origin, gender, age, handicap or (gulp!) race. Not one race is superior to another because we are all part of the body that Christ is the lone head of. As Paul stated so well in speaking to the Galatians, "what do you have that has not been given to you?" Not one race has been specifically endowed with a gift more than another. Nor does God look at any ethnicity as being above any other. However, in regards to the "Church," there are those that would elevate "blackness" or "Afrocentrism" above other ethnic persuasions.

At the root of the "Afrocentrism" is the fear of submission. Yet inevitably, it becomes a fear of submission to God. Many in the black church refuse to embrace the term "submission," putting it in the same category as African slavery of the past 400 years (in the American context). Now in no way am I defending that kind of submission. But to fail to submit to the will of God through the Word of God is just as great a sin as slavery is. Further sin comes in when the "blackness" of our people is elevated to a point of saving grace. So we have black folk in the church who are more concerned with the "blackness" of the church than with its submission to the Most High God. How dare you? Yes, I know black folk have gone through things that are at times unspeakable and that at the hands of many white detractors. I know first hand, I have experienced the evils of racism (from both sides at that {I am of Black and Puerto Rican descent}). However, for Black Americans to consider the plight of your own people and neglect the sufferings of hundreds of thousands of others because they are not black is just as wrong as White America ignoring us. How many Christians have been martyred since the beginning of Christianity, is that not a greater injustice?

Again, in no way am I making light of the "black" experience. It has blessed me... and saddened me. But I cherish it because it is a part of me and my children. Yet, my "blackness" in no way overshadows my Savior's blood. As black Christians we must not get caught up in the vendetta of finally coming into our own. Forgiveness is essential in glorifying our Lord. The alternative to forgiveness is the "Christianized" version of the N.O.I.(Nation of Islam). A perverted deviant of what is truly holy. Unfortunately for us, racism is still alive and well. But greater than racism is the love of Christ upon His children.

There are so many black people preparing to burn in hell just because they refuse to believe in the True God of ALL nations. As Isaiah said, "Is God's arm so short that He cannot save?" God forbid. God can save a Black American just as selflessly as he can save a White American. Nor is God insistent upon saving one because he or she is melanin enhanced (as beautiful as that may be). Likewise, God does not choose to save someone because they are melanin deficient (as beautiful as that may be). God saves out of all race because all are His creation and He will do what He pleases.

My melanin enhanced brothers and sisters in Christ, we must break down the doors of racial divide in our churches. Sadly, the majority of churches pushing for mixed congregations are WoF (and that is for the money). Now I am not saying you have to go out of your way to find a melanin deficient individual and bring them to church, but what I am calling for is the love among Christians that facilitates friendship beyond cultural barriers. While we must take care of our communities we must also realize that there are more in our communities than just us. As Christians it is our duty to minister the Gospel to every individual.

Furthermore, there will be some who bring up the differences between cultural groups. Yes, we clap on the 2 and 4 and they clap on the 1 and 3. But that cannot be used as an excuse to avoid worship with our family in Christ. And while I am at it, the preaching style should never weigh more than the content of what is being preached. We as Christians must put things in decency and in order. We must place the highest regard for the Scripture and the preaching/teaching of it above other things in the service (to include the choir).

Sadly, I believe too many black churches have failed. They have failed in cultivating true believers and they have failed to distinguish what is true godliness from a mere form of it. And there is none to blame but ourselves (starting with me). Yet I am hopeful. I know that Christ has not left His church to overcome this sinful world by herself. I see everyday of black believers truly preaching and teaching the Word of God to their families and members of their local congregation. Look at the list of sites on the left. There are many, many righteous black men of God teaching and preaching what He has ordained. These are leaders within the church who are about true worship. Likewise, there are several white brothers who are doing the same.

In the end, only what we do for Christ will last. We will not be patted on the back for Dashiki Sunday's or wearing African garb because we went on a mission trip Uganda. We will not be praised for solely ministering to those who look like us. We were called to go out into the world and preach the Gospel. Do we minister to our own? YES! Do we do it because we don't want to speak with the rest of the world? God forbid. We must open ourselves up to those who we think might not accept the invitation, but we do it with the love of Christ. And to make this point absolutely clear, we will be rejected, laughed at, talked about, but it will be worth it. Why? John said in Revelation5:9, "And they sung a new song, saying, Thou art worthy to take the book, and to open the seals thereof: for thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation..." Let us continue to be a people that leads all people to Christ for this great and powerful day.

As I end this, a black writer once wrote, "beautiful are my people, beautiful are the eyes of my people, beautiful are the souls of my people!" And it is so true. We are a beautiful people in the sight of God, insomuch as we are His people in Christ. We can bring the gifts God has given us to the greater body of Christ and do much good. But in order to do any good, we must let go of the sins (both of ourselves and of others) that so easily beset us. we must walk with those who glorify the risen King the way He dictates. And above all, we must pick up our cross daily and follow Christ. Be strong my people in Christ's Name, for His sake!

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Racism in the Church pt1

It has often been said that "Sunday morning is the most segregated time in America" and sadly, I find this statement to be true too often. Fortunately, the day has come in America where we ARE free to worship one with another. With that, it is time for the congregations to make the move. Whether that congregation is entirely "black" or "not-so black," there must be an initiative on the part of the church members to seek to incorporate all Christians.

For example, I was an assistant pastor at an eastern Indian church body. The pastor and 98% of the congregation spoke Hindi and Telegu. I did not. They sang songs of worship in both English and Hindi/Telegu. When the Hindi/Telegu songs where performed I did my best to try to learn the pronunciations of the words I was seeing on the projector screen. Needless to say, I butchered the words quite often. I would also say that they made a habit of explaining the words and meanings of the songs for the benefit of those who did not know the language (ie my family). Nevertheless, we were all Christians and we all made an attempt to esteem one another over self. I first came to the church as a minister doing several rap songs during a Christmas Service. I was invited back when there was nothing special going on. You see, it was never about "ethnicity". It was a Christian church that God used to minister to Christian people. Sure there where obvious differences, but the obvious similarity was of Christ in us- which was the greater of the two!

While I totally believe it was the responsibility of the pastor to lead his congregation in the right path, it was still up to the congregation to be fully accepting of someone who was not from their background. This is a problem in the church. I have spoken to brothers on the lighter side of the house and have heard them speak of their pastors fully supporting segregation and separation of "races" (not that there really is more than one race- that being the human race). That in its cheapest form is nothing more than self glorification. Sin. It is totally against that which Christ had spoken through the Apostle Paul in that we ought to mortify the sins of the flesh (daily).

All racism has found its roots in the glorification of self. It is the belief (in this example) that the "white man" is superior to the "black man" in intelligence, in genetics, and heretically in Christ. It is also steeped in fear and tradition. In fear of what the unknown will bring about and tradition of what was passed on by certain fathers. Neither case makes racism in the church tolerable. However, it was tolerated because there were very few mixed churches. This made it very easy to sweep the racial problems under the rug and forget about it. Compound that with the feel-good notions of helping out the little black church in the ghetto or serving food at the mission during Thanksgiving and Christmas and everything was seemingly OK. Many white Christian church folk did just enough to appease their conscience in doing the "godly" thing.

What we must understand is that if Christ is who He says He is in His Word, then we cannot idly standby and allow racism, prejudism, or any other negative -ism hinder the body of Christ. It is high time to sit people down who promote these ideals in the church. I know it would be a difficult task, but such is the Christian life. We cannot continue to sit back and let sin run a muck in the church and do nothing. We would not support a pastor or minister who was openly gay (I am talking about the true church of God), or an adulterer, or even a drug dealer. These individuals would be put out. So why would we allow exclusivism because of something that cannot be controlled (ie skin color)? My White brothers and sisters in Christ, take a stand. Invite Christians to fellowship with you who are not like you. Knock down the doors of injustice in the church and strengthen your brothers and sisters in Christ- in every ethnicity!

Stay tuned for the next portion as we tackle, wait for it... wait for it... "The Black Church," no stones will be left unturned.

my internet is down...

Go figure, just when things start going better and I start running into friends from over a decade ago and meeting several new ones, my email goes down ( I am writing this at work during lunch). This basically means that I cannot write to the folk I normally do because of the email situation. So as cheap as walmart internet is, I may have to take my business elsewhere. Unfortunately this means I have to start from scratch on email addresses. Also, if you have written to me in the past week, I haven't recieved it so give me a call and tell me what's up:) Thanks for walking with me people. We'll speak soon.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

"Diary of a Mad Black Woman" is NOT Theologically Sound

I just had an epiphany (ironic huh). As I was watching DMBW (the movie- actually the director’s comments) Tyler Perry was discussing a part near the end of the film where the entire family was at the dinner table. During that scene the main character (Helen) places her divorce papers and wedding ring in front of her husband to show that she had signed them thus signifying her “moving on with life.” Mr. Perry then goes on to say that he changed this part from the original play because of the younger crowd response. In the play version, the wife and husband stay together and work things out. No it’s not glamorous, but it is a reality that is hard to swallow (especially with today’s “quick divorce” lifestyle).

Mr. Perry goes on to describe why he changed the play, because the younger women (the under 40 crowd) wanted Helen to move on and find a romantic, fairytale love story with another man (Shemar Moore’s character). This struck a chord with me because as Tyler Perry puts it, the women over 40 said Helen should stay with her husband and work things out. Now aside from the fact that Helen’s husband completely and ruthlessly dogged her out, he himself realized his errors. Now, am I saying that if this were to happen in real life that she ought to just say “cay sera sera{sic}” and go on as if everything were ok?” Emphatically- no! There would need to be a healing time and in truth that would not be an overnight, over week, over month, or even over year healing process. There may even need to be a time of physical separation in some extreme cases. Some wounds run deep and take awhile to overcome. But it takes three to make a marriage last- the two spouses to admit their faults, shortcomings and forgive one another, and the Lord who “works all things for the good of those who love Him and are called according to His purpose.”

Now back to the women over 40. It seems that Tyler Perry disregarded their pleas to keep the marriage together. Being a Christian-based movie, he should have listened. If he is going to lay a foundation of Christ then he must do so biblically- not just on the response of the audience (which is a big problem with the Name It and Claim It gospel- which we will deal with in another post). In not heeding to the over 40 ladies, he disregarded the scripture in Titus 2:4-5 “That they may teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children, [To be] discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God be not blasphemed.” In fact, we see Madea try to imitate the older female Christian role model- and fail miserably. He does try to salt the movie with lines from Cicely Tyson, but in the end she doesn’t play an important role.

Now I know that some will disagree and say that it is not right for me to judge him because this is after all “entertainment” and he is speaking on real life issues. Well, entertainment or not, if you speak on the things of Christ then you have an obligation to do it in a manner that glorifies God. Marriages that have ended in divorce rarely glorify God (but restored and redeemed ones more often than not do). I know that there are some situations where it just had to end that way, but not every one that has gone through a divorce should have. And yes it deals with real life. In real life, just because someone gets divorced- it rarely makes folk happier in the end. And how many women automatically get to meet their Prince Charming while still married to another man? Is that even right? I think not. In fact, how many women that got divorced thought the men that they were marrying were their “Prince Charmings”?

Alas, this will fall on so many deaf ears because no one wants the truth and no one seeks after God. Truly God filled lifelong marriages are wrought in Christ alone. The problem is, most people have a grand scheme for marriage and in the real world nothing ever really pans out the way we wanted it to. However, couples who are faithful to God can and will endure to the glory of the Father. Every marriage ought to have Christ as its center and His glory as its goal. Tyler Perry ought to start reflecting that if he is to continue making movies under the Christian banner. Nevertheless, I see him slipping away and it won’t be long until the “roar of the crowd” drowns out the “still small voice” of the Spirit.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Gay Woman Sues Doctor Because She Got Pregnant???

You know I am extremely peeved at this article I found on Christian Post (links at the bottom). How does one fight for the right to be gay and to raise children together- get upset at the doctor when she becomes impregnated? Anyone in their right mind knowingly receiving in-vitro fertilization understands the fact that more than one egg can become impregnated. It is even in the contract. This all goes to show that homosexuality (and every other sin in the Bible) is always about self. The writer in Proverbs wrote “Hell and destruction are never full; so the eyes of man (to include a woman's) are never satisfied.” It seems to me they wanted a child so they could supposedly "feel" like a family, yet when they got more than expected- heaven forbid- it started to look like a real family (well as real as it could look with two mommies).

How does one go from complete joy that she is pregnant to sheer hatred when she finds out that she is doubly blessed? Now I know how difficult it is to raise more than one child at a time. It can be extremely difficult financially and emotionally. But, (and there is a big BUT) to put blame on and sue the doctor is extremely selfish not to mention foolish as well. Especially since part of the reason the lawsuit is taking place is due to the fact that the “lover” does not “feel” so in love anymore. The woman and her “lover” wanted one child to help bring them closer together, but since they got two it tore them apart! Maybe, just maybe, they weren’t supposed to be together in the first place…

Monday, September 3, 2007

The Gospel of John 1:1

John 1:1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.

In the beginning, before anything tangible existed, before time existed, before anything that we could dare comprehend to have ever existed, was the Word! The Word held power and relationship with God. The scriptures say the Word was with God. Yet how could that be? How could something have existed with God before it ever existed unless it was He Himself? Scripture would go on to declare that He (the Word) is God. Yet, it could not be Jesus alone as the Oneness folk believe, because the simple expression “with” denotes that there has to be more than one. Now, unlike Mormon theology there is not in existence three deities, no, there is only one because of the last part of the verse- and the Word was God. Even though there was a separate aspect to God that allowed for the expression “with”, the fact that the Word is God solidifies the claim that the “Lord Our God is One.”

Furthermore, it is simple to see that the Word is the very persona of Jesus Christ. Even by jumping ahead a few verses to John 1:14 where it clearly states, “And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us…” The Word is clearly Jesus the Christ. Christ existed with Father God in the beginning. Now how else could they exist as one unless they were already one in the Spirit? It is easy to see at this point that the Holy Spirit is in the Father and in the Son. Likewise, the son is in the Father and the Father is in the Son (one God) when we see Jesus Himself speak it in John 14:10.
Believest thou not that I am in the Father, and the Father in me? the words that I speak unto you I speak not of myself: but the Father that dwelleth in me, he doeth the works.

We also see Christ in another passage declare that He was “I AM” in John 8:57-59.

Your father Abraham rejoiced that he would see my day. He saw it and was glad.” So the Jews said to him, “You are not yet fifty years old, and have you seen Abraham?” Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I am.”

Though it is one of the greatest mysteries ever, God has given us enough of an understanding of His mercies and knowledge to trust in HIM. God is not a man that He should lie, nor the son of man that He should repent. The Lord is one- in the Father, in the Son, and in the Holy Spirit!

Friday, August 3, 2007

Eternal Salvation Response

(This response was sent to a young woman on the other day. She had recently left the COGIC church, but still had some old beliefs. Specifically, she held to the notion that one could lose the grace of God (salvation) after one had recieved it. I wanted to encourage her so I wrote this response. Hopefully it will cause you to think as well!)

I used to believe that you could lose your salvation once you had gained it. But as I have studied Scripture more and more, there was an undeniable proof that I was wrong.

1) Matt 10:28-29 And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any [man] pluck them out of my hand. My Father, which gave [them] me, is greater than all; and no [man] is able to pluck [them] out of my Father's hand.

You see, Christ gives HIS sheep eternal life. Then HE makes the statement, no man can pluck them out of my Father's hand. If we belong to Christ, if we belong to the Father, then we can fully believe Rom 8:39 ...Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. You see that, nothing can separate us from Him. Moreover, all of Chapter 8 deals with the election and perseverance of the saints.

2.) 1 John 2:19 "They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would [no doubt] have continued with us: but [they went out], that they might be made manifest that they were not all of us."

Understand, just because someone sincerely claims to be a Christian, just because someone pastored a church, was a missionary in Africa or just showed up to church when the doors were open doesn't mean that they are HIS. It can be best illustrated in the "Parable of the Sower". I won't recite the whole story, but suffice it to point out this portion:

Matt. 4:16-17
And these are they likewise which are sown on stony ground; who, when they have heard the word, immediately receive it with gladness; And have no root in themselves, and so endure but for a time: afterward, when affliction or persecution ariseth for the word's sake, immediately they are offended.

You see there are many individuals who will hear the WORD, will show some joy over it, but after time they will fall away (at some point- could be days, months, or even years). These have not truly believed. That is why John says that, "they went out from us, to show they were not of us." That is not referring to leaving a certain church body or area, but rather the true faith. There is a professing atheist by the name of Dan Barker who is a perfect example. He said he was saved at 15 started ministering after that, got ordained became an Asst. Pastor and worked alongside others who claimed the Gospel. Then he fell away because he wanted to believe the lie of evolution instead of the true gospel. He would tell you he was truly saved, but John clearly says different.

As far as Paul's statement about keeping himself*, if you look in 1 John 2:5 you will see why he (Paul) can make that statement. "But whoso keepeth his word (God's), in him verily is the love of God perfected: hereby know we that we are in him." What "word" would Paul be keeping? The "Words" of God of course. He would keep the commandments not out of necessity of fulfilling Moses' Law, but in honor to Christ. He would keep his body in subjection as a matter of God's glory, to not do so would mean he had known the grace of God but rejected it. It also points to the fact that we must be Holy as God is Holy. We are to be separated from the sins of this world. No true Christian will take the grace of God and abuse it for the sake of sinning. Those who do were never God's to begin with. Also, Paul said "follow me as I follow Christ.." For Paul to follow Christ he would have to "lay aside every sin and weight that would take him off course! We have liberty in Christ, but we are behooved to never try to take advantage of it.

*(1 Cr 9:27 But I keep under my body, and bring [it] into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway.)

God and the Hottie of R&B

(I know this news is old, but I came across it recently. I post it with my remarks because I want people to understand the difference between what she said at that time and to what the Gospel speaks of. I don't know if she has recanted what she said. I can only pray that she has and has repented before the Lord. Sometimes out of ignorance people say what they actually believe is true. For Ms. Blige, I fully believe it has to do with the faulty "Name and Claim IT/ Prosperity Gospels" rampant among many churches nowadays. Regardless, she has a Bible and if she studied it enough, she would have a problem with what she was thinking.)

'God wants Blige to wear bling'- Mary J. Blige says she has found religion, but she makes no apologies for her earthly materialism. In fact, she says God has willed her to wear bling.
“My God is a God who wants me to have things,” the singer tells May’s Blender magazine. “He wants me to bling. He wants me to be the hottest thing on the block. I don’t know what kind of God the rest of y’all are serving, but the God I serve says, ‘Mary, you need to be the hottest thing this year, and I’m gonna make sure you’re doing that’.”

Since when did Christ’s death, burial and resurrection mean that the gift of God was a blessing for us to have “things?” This is one of the biggest problems with the church in general today. Christ did not die for us to have “stuff.” He did not die to give us a home, two cars in the garage and perfect health. He did not die for women to get tummy tucks so that they could find a man or vice versa. Yet this young lady has falsely believed that God cares about her having the latest “it-things.” Is it wrong if we have stuff? No. But the purpose of God was not so that we could be rich in order to consume it upon our lusts. Yet as the scriptures say, “These are murmurers, complainers, walking after their own lusts; and their mouths speak great swelling [words], having men's persons in admiration because of advantage Jude 1:16.” [Side note* read the whole the chapter] Undoubtedly, people will look up to her and agree, setting themselves up for spiritual failure.

Ms. Blige wants to look good and have all that stuff because she wants to be “MISS IT”! Her desire is to be the center of attention. She has created an idol of her own believing that her god wants her to be popular. True servants of Christ don’t want to be glorified; they want to give glory- to God! When John the Baptist did his work, he stated, “I must decrease so that He might increase!” Paul stated in Galatians 2:20, “I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ lives in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.” Nowhere in scripture are we told that God wants any of us to be the hottest thing on the planet (this year or any other). If some of the most honorable men in the Bible did not look to earthly riches for their joy, why should we?

Christ’s sacrificial death goes farther than even our own desires dictate. As stated earlier, Christ’s death was not so that we could be empowered by the things in this world. In fact, scripture clearly shows (and life even testifies) that the things in this world are temporal. Even natural science agrees. Things in this world are short lived and must come to an end. Even the nicest toys will break one day. And they always do. They, unlike our Lord can never stand the test of time!

So what does Christ’s death provide? What are we “saved” from? We are saved from God himself. With all the hoopla today about how “special” we are, few Christians understand how disgusting we actually are to God. In our sinful state, we are mortal enemies of the Most High. James 4:4, “whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world IS the ENEMY of God” and again in Romans 5:10, “For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life.” And there it is. Christ’s death on the cross provides salvation from the wrath of God (upon His enemies) that will inevitably come. Remember, it is appointed unto man once to die and after that the judgment. We are all going to die and we will all stand before Him in judgment, regardless of our possessions.

Mary J. Blige believes that God has told her He wants her to be the “hottest” thing out there. But according to scripture, she is wrong. The scriptures say that “he that is to be the greatest must be the servant of all.” She has not properly studied the Word of God and it is evident by her remarks. She says that God wants her to have “bling,” but the Scriptures say that we must deny ourselves, pick up our cross and follow Him. Unfortunately her doctrine is false and people who believe like she does jeopardizes the possibility of their faith. Even worse is the image of the gospel she is presenting. How many people will believe what she says and take it to heart?

Lastly, I bring up this story of Ms Blige because it immediately had me think of another one. A young man in Pakistan was found out to be a Christian. The Muslims took him, beat him down and molested him. When the police (who were Muslim) found out, they did nothing to arrest the men who committed the crime. When the boy was taken to the hospital he was refused treatment and medication (the doctors were Muslim). With little work and no money, the family presses on in Christ. The boy has suffered for being a Christian and continues to suffer because he is a Christian with no money. This stands in stark contrast to Mary J. Blige believing that God wants her to be the “hottest” and that her god wants her to “bling.” But I say this, the scriptures have only one interpretation, either we are to glorify God in denying ourselves or God saves us to look good. You decide.

Unity At What Cost?

While it is true today that many individuals in all sorts of religions are clamoring for a unified stance, the position has been taken up by many in the Evangelical circle. However, is unity what Christ called us as Christians to engage in? While it is certain that the body of Christ must be unified in order to move in the work of God (to operate as an actual “body” does), at what point does an organization, an individual church body, and a member in particular take grasp of what is before them and compare it to scripture?

If God has spoken to us these last days through His Son (Heb 1:2) and if John 1:1 (In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God and the Word was God…) and 14 (and the Word became flesh and dwelt among us…) are correct (and we know they are) then it is safe for us to fully believe elsewhere in the Scriptures that Christ fully stated that He “came not to bring peace, but the sword” Matt 10:35. Let us also look at this text, “For the word of God [is] quick, and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and [is] a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.”

In other words, since the Word of God is profitable for all instruction and reproof, then we can simply deduce that when Christ spoke of not bringing peace, but a sword He was letting us know of the division to come. In fact, the next verse states that children will rise against parents and mother in law vs. daughter in law. The truth is, there is and will be little unity with those that are against what Christ is doing from those who desire see His will completed according to the scriptures. Furthermore, scriptures state that two cannot walk together unless they agree. How can we walk as Christians with those who say that the essentials are not to be worried or fussed over? Can a law-abiding officer of the peace walk alongside a known and recently reported child molester? Can he do so knowing full and well that when he leaves it will be to the demise of another child? No, he would arrest that person to keep him from doing harm to another individual. Likewise, can we as Christians have unity for the sake of unity with those who would denigrate the truth of God as a lie?

Christians Around the World!