Thursday, March 31, 2011

NOT ASHAMED

Not Ashamed

3/31/2011



“For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.” Romans 1:16. There’s coming a period of time when professing Christians will either stand firm on their faith in Jesus Christ, or they will renounce Him in their attempt to stay free of any persecution. Undoubtedly, some of the future Christian persecution will lead to death.



I know what you are saying, “Not in America”. Well let’s take a moment to consider a hypothetical situation. The following scenario is fiction, or is it?



The Supreme Court of the United States confirms that Christian beliefs are harmful to children.



“A landmark judgment, handed down by the Supreme Court of the United States, declares that Christians with traditional views on sexual ethics are unsuitable as parents, and that homosexual ‘rights’ trump freedom of conscience in America. These Judges stated that Christian beliefs on sexual ethics may be ‘detrimental’ to children, and they implicitly upheld an Equalities and Human Rights Commission submission that children risk being ‘infected’ by their Christian parent’s moral beliefs.



The Supreme Court’s judgment strongly affirms homosexual rights over freedom of conscience and leaves all Christians unable to raise their children as desired, despite a proven track record as loving, caring, parents as well as being good providers. The summary contained in the judgment sends out the clear message that Christian ethical beliefs are potentially harmful to children. It states that Christian parents with mainstream Christian views are not suitable to be considered as potential parents since this does not agree with diversity and equality policies.”



There now appears to be nothing to stop the increasing ban on Christians who wish to pursue their God given rights to become parents as most are not willing to compromise their beliefs. Since the Supreme Court has basically denounced Christianity, what will become of those “in name only” Christians? Will they continue as professing Christians, or will they denounce Christ so that they may be allowed to continue in childbearing as well as living a non-persecuted life?



Fiction or non-fiction the question must be asked: “Will Christianity become so inconsequential that no further rulings will be necessary because of the diminished state of the church?” To further dramatize the above fiction/non-fiction scenario let’s bring the matter of Christianity before a future US Congress.



“The US House of Representatives, as well as the US Senate, after reviewing the political correctness of the Judiciary branch of government, and as an independent and august body, find that the establishment of new anti-Christian laws must be forthcoming. The US Congress has now given President Obama, in his second term as president, far reaching powers to contend with the growing threat of Christianity.



A new presidential dictatorial edict (from one who rejects the constitution) declares that all Christians attempting to worship openly and/or in the privacy of their very own homes are now subject to search and seizure of property which may result in their arrest. There will be no need for a trial as all those who are caught transgressing the president’s new edict will be imprisoned immediately and indefinitely.”



Do these hypothetical scenarios showing America’s possible future give any of you reason to pause and review the scriptures to see if there is any reference to such situations? You can imagine how any dissention during this future period will be severely dealt with. Before we head off to the Bible to get God’s perspective, let me just say that the above scenario is not fully fiction. The High Court in England basically has concluded that Christian ethics are harmful to children; I substituted the US Supreme Court for the High Court of England to dramatize how this very real situation could occur here in the US. The scenario with the US Congress was purely hypothetical.



There’s obviously a push on in England to establish a firm precedence for discriminating against Christians. Will it be long before the US follows suit?



On a slightly different note, according to an article I read recently Switzerland is becoming a nation devoted to the Muslim religion of Islam. But that’s not near as scary as the fact that they have passed a ‘racial discrimination’ law which establishes fines and incarceration for anyone convicted of criticizing the religion of Islam. President Obama has gone on record wanting these same ‘hate laws’ established by the US Congress making any criticism of Islam a crime, yet you may criticize Christianity with all impunity. This from a man who professes to be Christian yet places the religion of Islam over Christianity. Obama born again? Doughtful.



It’s time to venture into the Word of God “Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution.” 2 Timothy 3:12. The Greek word “pas” which is translated into English as “all” means: each, every, any, all, the whole, everyone, all things, everything. Paul says every single Christian living a godly life will suffer persecution. I know there are plenty of Bible teachers around that will dispute this because the kind of persecution Paul is speaking about can’t happen in a free society. Well then, let’s see if we can find another witness. Oh, here’s another verse that seems appropriate at this juncture. “Then shall they deliver you up to be afflicted, and shall kill you: and ye shall be hated of all nations for my name's sake.” Matthew 24:9. There’s that pesky Greek word “pas” again, this time referring to “all” nations. All nations will be involved in the hatred and persecution of those who live a godly life in Christ. And of course that would include the good ol’ US of A.



So the question remains, who will stand firm in the face of what most certainly is on the horizon – intense worldwide Christian persecution? If you search the history archives available to almost everyone you’ll find that millions upon millions of Christians have been martyred over the centuries. The Catholic church is far from the least of these persecutors. During the 11th through the 16th centuries AD we find a period of time referred to as the Dark Ages. During this time period no less than 50 million devout Christians who would not dance to the Catholic church’s tune were horribly murdered, most were burned at the stake.



Will millions more Christians be martyred prior to Christ’s return? Possibly. As many of us know there are always going to be those who will bow the knee to Baal instead of standing firm on their faith in Christ. Those who fall into that category will then be referred to as Christ rejecters, and yes they will all probably live to see another day. But those who deny Christ before men will notice they’ve a new problem when they ultimately stand before God. “Whosoever therefore shall confess me before men, him will I confess also before my Father which is in heaven. But whosoever shall deny me before men, him will I also deny before my Father which is in heaven.” Matthew 10:32-33. Certainly something to think about.



What the gist of this commentary boils down to is this, are you ashamed of the Gospel of Christ? Does the mention of Jesus Christ while you’re out in public embarrass you? Have you given any thought to the very real question “What if, here in America, we lose our inalienable rights?” The Constitution of the United States of America is currently being trampled upon with a shear lack of regard and which, quite frankly, is astonishing. Currently, in all areas of our federal government there is little evidence of sincere efforts at re-establishing that once revered document (The Constitution) to its previously held place of prominence.



And what will the elimination of the Constitution mean to the professing godly Christian? I must take a little artistic license with a quote from one of my favorite movies “You got trouble folks, right here in River City, that starts with a T and that rhymes with P and that stands for persecution, yes you’ve got trouble folks”. For all those born again believers in Christ living a godly life, persecution is not far away.



“For the LORD will not cast off his people, neither will he forsake his inheritance.” Psalm 94:14. The list of those who stood up for Christ and then died a horrible death is long. The Apostles were all, with the exception of John, put through the most excruciating of tortures before death. In the first three centuries AD Christians were fed to wild animals, dipped in pitch and impaled on poles then lit on fire like candles for lighting up the night, as a matter-of-fact there has never been a time since Jesus’ ascension when Christians weren’t horribly martyred. Why would any Christian living the godly life in Christ today feel immune to the coming persecution?



“But what can those living godly in Christ do Ron?” We’ve already done it. We’ve placed our faith, trust, and hope in Jesus Christ, and Him alone for salvation. Nothing of this world can touch us. We can’t be harmed. We are indwelt with the Holy Spirit of God. Malevolent supernatural forces have no power over us as we claim the power of Jesus Christ over our lives. So edify one another with these words. Remember these bodies are only vessels holding our true self and God has complete dominion over us.



Our time has come. As we continually stand firm upon our faith in Christ we prove to a Christ rejecting world that God reigns. His power and His glory will be seen through each of His obedient children. And through our obedience Jesus the Christ will be exalted.



God bless you all,



Ron Graham

twotug@embarqmail.com

96 County Road 5480 Salem, MO 65560

All scripture is from the KJV and God breathed

Thursday, March 24, 2011

" LORD, LORD

“Lord, Lord”

3/24/2011



“Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.” Matthew 7:21. As you can see from the above verse there will be those who, although in their minds believe they’re in good spiritual condition in regards to spending eternity in Heaven, the fact is they’re not now, nor have they ever been in Christ’s book of life. The above verse was not placed in the Bible to instill fear into the hearts of the born again believer, but to warn those who think they’re justified (saved) but in reality are not.



“Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.” Matthew 7:22-23. It’s interesting that Jesus doesn’t argue with these folks about all the good works they performed in His name, but plainly tells them He never knew them.



Clearly there are many who profess to be Christian and even do many good works in the name of Jesus Christ, but when it comes to being in a one on one loving relationship with the Creator of the universe the evidence just isn’t there. “I never knew you” spoken by our Creator will be a horrible edict when heard at the end of a life dominated by good works.



According to Jesus Himself, it isn’t what we do for Him it’s our relationship with Him that matters. He wants to know us personally and He wants us to know Him in this same manner. This awesome relationship will create a trust; we will trust Jesus the more we get to know Him. Before we even realize what’s happening, our trust in Him will grow into a relationship dominated by our love for Him. By placing our lives, our trust, and hope in His very capable hands we are well on our way to cementing that one on one relationship that He wants and expects, and that we should desire as much as He.



When we say yes to Jesus Christ a change occurs in who we are, we become born again, which will be an obvious sign that something about us is different. Those who’ve known us in the past will be amazed at the transformation that has taken place. The change may be gradual for some and instantaneous for others, but change you will. As this process (which God enacts in us) becomes evident our rebellion to God will cease. Those who are truly born again will never hear those heartbreaking words “I never knew you” But it’s obvious that many shall.



Jesus’ words are clear “…I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.” Matthew 7:23b. These workers of iniquity have not been forgiven because there was no real conversion on their part. Those of us who are born again have a one-on-one relationship with Jesus Christ. Conversion comes when we first decide to place our faith, trust, and hope in Christ alone for salvation. This new relationship in Christ will be acknowledged by the Creator of the universe Himself as He seals His Holy Spirit within each of us. Our faith in Jesus Christ is the key.



There are two sides to every coin, and the other side of this coin is steeped in lies. It’s the purpose of the father of all lies (Satan) to see that there is no relationship between God and His creation ever established. He’s got one agenda and that is to confuse, disrupt, corrupt, and to lead astray all who will accept his lies over the truth given to us by our Creator. Could the words of Jesus be any clearer? “Not everyone who saith unto me Lord, Lord…” Matthew 7:21a. Keep a watchful eye on what you are being taught, and what you believe about the Creator of the universe. Yes, Jesus is the Son of God, but He is also God Almighty. If you don’t believe this truth about who Jesus Christ is, you’re already in the grips of deception and headed down a path that has no connection to Christ whatsoever.



Satan’s deceptions know no bounds or boarders. A recurring warning throughout the scriptures is one of being watchful that we are not deceived “Take heed that ye be not deceived:” Luke 21:8. Those who believe that is their works that save them are wallowing in the muck and mire of satanic deception.



We must always be on our toes when it comes to the truth of the scriptures. Many will teach lies subtly – going ever so slightly off the mark – and many more will, through the corruption of those same scriptures, teach pure unadulterated deception. These folks, unwittingly, belong to Satan. Allow me to present an example of false teaching. A popular pastor/evangelist has recently released his new book in which he attempts to dispel the idea of Hell. He does this by stating that no human being can be absolutely sure anyone has ever been sent to such an awful place. Never mind the numerous scriptures that plainly point out the existence of Hell. This man believes everyone goes to Heaven no matter what they believe. Worse yet is the fact that this man pastors a huge congregation of 10,000 who are allowing themselves to be led by a man who is himself led by the father of all lies, Satan.



There are many folks who are very interested in seeking the truth, and many believe they’ve found that truth among a fully apostate congregation or false religion. These are those Jesus is speaking to in the Gospel of Matthew chapter 7. His words, “I never knew you” are a sad commentary on our times. So many think they’re in good shape eternally, but according to Jesus Himself that just isn’t the case. Honestly, do you think Jesus is speaking to just a couple of people as He claims no personal relationship with these folks? The truth of the matter is He is more likely speaking of multitudes of foolish, deceived individuals.



Be careful people, even many seminaries and Christian colleges teach erroneously these days. In a little Presbyterian church just down the road from where we live, they recently had to dismiss their pastor because she tried to teach the congregation that Jesus was a sinner (don’t even get me started on women pastors). When she responded to those who dismissed her she told them she was taught in seminary that Jesus had sinned. It’s a good thing that someone in the leadership of that small church had read their Bible. The only way we are going to be deceived is by listening to someone else tell us what the Bible says instead of searching the scriptures for ourselves to see if it is so (see Acts 17:11).



Something that has come to my attention over and over again in the last few years is the practice of reading the Bible through in a year. I’m not saying this is a bad thing, but reading your Bible through in a year just to say you did it and perhaps receive an award from your church leadership will not provide you with the study habits needed to garner the knowledge available in God’s word to fend off the lies from false teachers. Only a line upon line, precept upon precept study habit, along with taking in the whole counsel of God will protect you from the great apostasy that’s coming, and which in large part is already here.



Many, in this nation of ours at least, attend churches which are jam packed with fully apostate doctrines. They’re being fed, that’s true, but if a person drinks enough arsenic… Many Christian churches are led by pastors who are only interested in tickling the ears of their parishioners; these folks don’t understand how serious Jesus is when He made the proclamation “I never knew you”.



“Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves.” Matthew 7:15. It’s not hard to lead people around by their noses. Men and women have been doing just that to the simple minded for many millennia. The difficult part is getting them to see the truth after they’ve been indoctrinated with Satan’s lies. Chuck Missler, a Bible teacher whom I admire greatly, makes an appropriate statement at the beginning of one of his books. It’s a warning to all who might desire to venture further into reading his book, it states as follows:



Warning

This book can prove seriously disruptive to the comfort of closely held presuppositions.



People get suckered in and literally hooked on a lie; that lie becomes so imbedded in their psyche that God’s truth can no longer penetrate their mind. Many professing Christians hold to erroneous presuppositions and have no intention of allowing any disruption to their beliefs (comfort zones) because they are unwilling to search the scriptures for themselves. Instead these folks allow false teachers to promote their lies which in many cases are mixed with some truth. These lies then are embedded in the minds of those who are too lazy to search the scriptures for themselves.



Many erect stonewalls when their presuppositions are attacked, even if there’s just a simple suggestion that something may be amiss in their belief system. This phenomenon can happen to anyone who is not prepared for the eventuality of Satan’s lies.



When it comes to our relationship with Jesus Christ, God our Savior, nothing is more important. It’s not whether or not you go to church, it’s not how many scripture verses you’ve memorized, it’s not whether or not you’ve read your Bible through in a year, it’s do you know Jesus the Christ, and just as important is the question does He know you? Commit yourself to establishing a personal relationship, fully focused on our coming King. You won’t be sorry as you’ll avoid hearing these heartbreaking words “I never knew you.”



God bless you all,



Ron Graham

twotug@embarqmail.com

96 County Road 5480 Salem, MO 65560

All scripture is from the KJV and God breathed

Friday, March 18, 2011

WHO KILLED JESUS

Who Killed Jesus

3/17/2011

The Catholic pope recently released a book in which he exonerates the Jewish people of their roll in the conspiracy resulting in the murder of our Lord and Savior, Jesus the Christ. Wow, the Catholic Church moving from millennia of anti-Semitism, to all out Jew haters of WWII, to exonerating the Jews from any blame in the conspiracy to kill Jesus. Now that’s phenomenal. Although, when we read the Bible for ourselves we learn a lot about those who attempted to kill Jesus. We know that the Roman soldiers drove the spikes that suspended Jesus on that cross, but we find it was the Jews who did all the plotting against Jesus. But the question of this commentary is “Who actually killed Jesus?”

Yes Roman soldiers certainly took part in Jesus’ death, but those Roman soldiers didn’t kill Jesus. So who did? A quick perusal through the New Testament gives us plenty of evidence against many of the Jewish people of that era who conspired to kill our Lord. “Now the chief priests, and elders, and all the council, sought false witness against Jesus, to put him to death;” Matthew 26:59. These folks were all Jews.

“And all they in the synagogue, when they heard these things, were filled with wrath, And rose up, and thrust him out of the city, and led him unto the brow of the hill whereon their city was built, that they might cast him down headlong.” Luke 4:29. Jesus had just finished reading to some Jewish folks in the synagogue from the book of Isaiah. What Jesus said caused these Jews to see red. What was so bad? Here are Jesus’ final words to this group “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised, To preach the acceptable year of the Lord. …And he began to say unto them, This day is this scripture fulfilled in your ears.” Luke 4:18-19, and 21. Jesus explained to His listeners that this was His mission here on earth, that those scriptures He had just read had now been fulfilled. After this statement, spoken by their Messiah, those particular Jews conspired to kill Him.



In the 12th chapter of the Book of Matthew there is an obvious point where the Jews fully reject their Messiah. “But when the Pharisees heard it, they said, This fellow doth not cast out devils, but by Beelzebub the prince of the devils.” Matthew 12:24. So in the minds of the Pharisees, the rulers of the Jews, Jesus is Satan. From chapter 13 of the book Matthew to the end of that book we see that Jesus only spoke in parables in order that the Jewish leadership would not understand Him.

“Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do.” John 8:44. Jesus pulls no punches as He speaks to the Jewish leadership and others standing around. He tells them how evil they are and that they are the children of their father the devil. Many today look at Jesus as a lightweight without the courage to stand up to His detractors. This exchange between Jesus and the Pharisees shines the true light on our Messiah. The Pharisees response to Jesus’ forcefulness was predictable from all we already know about the Jews of that day. “Then said the Jews unto him, Now we know that thou hast a devil. Abraham is dead, and the prophets; and thou sayest, If a man keep my saying, he shall never taste of death. Art thou greater than our father Abraham, which is dead? and the prophets are dead: whom makest thou thyself?” John 8:52-53. Jesus, through much patience, is continually attempting to tell these folks who He is and His response to the above statement by the Jewish leadership is just a further attempt at the same. “Your father Abraham rejoiced to see my day: and he saw it, and was glad. Then said the Jews unto him, Thou art not yet fifty years old, and hast thou seen Abraham? John 8:56-57. Can’t you just hear the sarcasms and distain in their voices? They were mocking Him. All Jesus said and did meant nothing to these folks. Then the Creator of the universe laid it completely on the line in the next verse. “Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Before Abraham was, I am.” John 8:58.

The Jew’s response to Jesus’ statement above tells us exactly what they had in mind for the one who they rejected as their Messiah. “Then took they up stones to cast at him: but Jesus hid himself, and went out of the temple, going through the midst of them, and so passed by.” John 8:59. Jesus was not afraid of those Jews who wanted to kill Him, but His time had not yet come. Only Jesus Himself would determine when and where He would allow Himself to be taken.

In another instance Jesus healed a man who had been crippled for thirty-eight years. When the Jews finally understood who healed this man they were outraged, not only because Jesus had healed this infirm man on the Sabbath, “But Jesus answered them, My Father worketh hitherto, and I work.” John 5:17, but also because He had made Himself equal to God, “Therefore the Jews sought the more to kill him, because he not only had broken the sabbath, but said also that God was his Father, making himself equal with God.” John 5:18. But the question still remains, “Who killed Jesus?”

“After these things Jesus walked in Galilee: for he would not walk in Jewry, because the Jews sought to kill him.” John 7:1. I’m sure there’s no doubt in the reader’s mind as to who it was that conspired to kill Jesus. Conspiring to kill someone and then actually pulling off such a deed are two different things. The Jews of Jesus’ day did not kill Him.

“My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me: 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. I and my Father are one.” John 10:27-30. These statements by the Creator of the universe disturbed the Jews greatly and their response was obvious and logical in their minds. The Jews doubted Jesus at every turn, and their response to the Messiah was always the same. “Then the Jews took up stones again to stone him.” John 10:31. It’s true, they wanted Him dead. But did those Jews actually kill Jesus the Christ?

The scriptures are clear; many of the Jews of those days desperately wanted Jesus dead. But they didn’t kill Him. Therefore the Jews would need no such exoneration from a pope. God has never given it to any of the Catholic popes to extend forgiveness for man’s sins. God alone forgives us of our sins; all we need to do is ask. Yes, Jesus the Christ was and is fully man, yet He was and is also fully God. The pope is simply a man who other men have elevated to a position of authority over a group of deceived individuals.

So, the Jews were the instigators of Jesus’ death. The Roman soldiers clearly drove the spikes into Jesus’ body and crucified Him. But none of this tells us “Who killed Jesus.”

“Therefore doth my Father love me, because I lay down my life, that I might take it again. No man taketh it from me, but I lay it down of myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again.” John 10:18. Jesus laid down His own life for His creation through His own power. And Jesus picked up His own life, again, for His creation and by His power. So, you want to know who killed our Messiah, Jesus. Well the answer is simple. The responsibility of Jesus’ most horrible death lies at my feet. Yes, I killed Jesus and so did you. It was our sin that nailed Him to that cross, and He went willingly. And it was His love for us that kept Him there until He gave up His own life, “No man taketh it from me.”

No one person or group of people killed the Creator of the universe. The sin of the world had to be dealt with so all of humanity could be reconciled to the one true God. In the Garden of Eden man rebelled against his Creator, this rebellion had to be dealt with. The Creator, Jesus the Christ, had no other choice than to become mankind’s “Kinsman Redeemer” so man could once again be reconciled to Him.

Blaming the Jews for the death of Christ is nothing more than hate. Christ Himself blames no one. He forgives everyone if only we will accept His death on that cross, and His subsequent resurrection from the grave as full atonement for our sins.

The one thing none of us need is a man who thinks he speaks for God to exonerate the Jewish people or any of us of any wrong doing, for any sin, or for the death of Christ. “Then said Jesus, Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do.” Luke 23:34. As Jesus Christ hung on that cross looking down on the ones who accused Him and upon those who drove the spikes into His body, He forgave them. Forgiveness from the Creator of the universe is all anyone needs.

God bless you all,

Ron Graham

twotug@embarqmail.com

96 County Road 5480 – Salem, MO 65560

All scripture is from the KJV and God breathed

Friday, March 11, 2011

FOLLY AND SHAME

Folly and Shame

3/10/2011



“He that answereth a matter before he heareth it, it is folly and shame unto him.” Proverbs 18:13. The word “folly” in the above verse refers to foolishness, specifically referring to foolish people. Referring to these same folks, the word “shame” in the above verse is meant to show them their folly is disgraceful, a reproach, an insult, and without honor. This verse speaks expressly of those who answer or draw an opinion about certain subject matter of which they have no foreknowledge. In simple laymen’s terms, this kind of irresponsibility only demonstrates their agnosticism, which simply means they lack any semblance of knowledge.



Supreme folly not only exists but is growing by leaps and bounds. In our current society there is a growing trend aimed towards anyone who stakes claim to the blood of Christ for salvation. What is the trend? It’s hate. Christians are seeing more and more severe animosity aimed at them by foolish, shameless people. They make judgments and answer a matter (on Christianity) before having any knowledge on the subject. Likely as not many of these foolish know-it-alls are only parroting what they’ve heard from someone else, who, in turn, is also parroting what they’ve heard on some previous occasion.



Hatred concerning Christians and Christianity is clearly advancing, and without a doubt the biggest promoters of this satanic advancement are those who are consumed with the homosexual lifestyle and those who condone that lifestyle. This vicious and venomous attitude toward Christ’s followers is infectious, infecting many more who, even though they are not wrought in that abominable lifestyle, join in the hate spewed by those who are. Yet they have no knowledge of what Christianity really consists of. Since those of us who are actually born again stand firm on God’s word, and since His word fully condemns the homosexual lifestyle, we’re hated and persecuted.



What we are witnessing in a society where at one time Christianity was embraced by a majority, is the proverbial snowball effect. This extreme hatred, now being accepted by many and aimed at anyone who even looks like they might be a professing Christian, is beginning to resemble an out of control train just before it hits the log wall at the end of the track. Every day more and more followers of Jesus Christ are being persecuted, ridiculed, and condemned for their faith by foolish people without any knowledge as to what that faith holds.



“The separation of Church and State” is a concept contrived from a simple letter written by Thomas Jefferson to the Danbury Baptist Association in 1802, and is now promoted as constitutional, yet that phrase cannot be found, nor is it implied, on any page of the Constitution or Declaration of Independence. This underhanded and intentional deception has been one of the greatest weapons in the enemy’s arsenal to force the Church here in the U.S. into silence here in the U.S. If the Christian church doesn’t toe the line (fall into step with the rest of the world) we will be fully condemned and persecuted by our now very secular humanist government. Many Churches in America have learned how to “fit in” with the world, thus they are no longer a threat to the secular humanists. Still, many other Churches remain firm holding onto the truth of God’s word. Hence they open themselves up to untold hate followed by persecution.



There are obvious signs of hatred developing into a major crescendo and will at some point, in the not too distant future, envelop all who are not followers of Jesus Christ. If you haven’t noticed any hatred or if you disagree with my analysis of the current sentiments of much of world, then the only thing I can tell you is that your eyes must be closed, your ears covered, and your head buried in the gullible sinking sands of doubt. Hate will appear in many forms and arrive from many different directions.



We who follow Jesus Christ unabashedly know there’s nothing to fear from those who hate us. But those who hate us fear us without even knowing why. Many people today, through the teaching of the lie of evolution, consider Christians and Christianity a huge disgrace on the rest of the populous, and an evil religion. These uninformed individuals believe that their children are in grave danger through the promotion of Christianity. They believe that any Christian evangelizing of the populous is an attempt at brainwashing, and a severe attack on their children. Fear and ignorance of the truth is the fuel that’s currently stoking the flames of hatred across the full spectrum of earth dwellers (the lost).



Out in the wide world of internet commentary and blogs, venomous hatred pointed at Christians can easily be found. Don’t take my word for it, but if you’re interested do your own search, although I don’t recommend it. Many of these folks say we (Christians) should all be imprisoned, still others suggest prison is too good and death is the only solution to eliminating the Christian influence from the world scene. Little do they realize but their wishes of the elimination of all true Christians from planet earth will soon come to fruition.



These folks actually believe that what we teach in our homes and in our Christian Churches to our children concerning the Bible and the Son of God should be deemed child abuse. I read recently on a website which I frequent daily, that some of these folks suggest Christians are so stupid that we are a disgrace to the human race. Anti-Christian sentiment is growing and the Bible says we are to expect much more as the end approaches.



“How long, ye simple ones, will ye love simplicity? and the scorners delight in their scorning, and fools hate knowledge?” Proverbs 1:22. So many people today are absolutely, completely biblically illiterate and yet they publicly mock and ridicule the Bible with fierce abandon, which plainly displays their complete lack of knowledge and relegates them to the category of fools. They hate knowledge and take delight in scorning and hatred of Christians.



“…fools despise wisdom and instruction.” Proverbs 1:7b. The Bible is clearly speaking of the intentions of the foolish. They despise wisdom, they loath it. And instruction in the truth is scorned, even spurned. How can righteous people contend with the likes of these?



To begin with, there must be a healthy fear of the Lord. To fear God, according to those who are lost, is simply foolishness. Fear is not an unhealthy trait. Born again believers fear God, we revere Him, we respect Him, but more than that we love Him. We see and receive His awesome blessings and yet we know that He can, without effort, stop life in its tracks.



Those who hate God mock Him; ignorance is becoming common place. A lack of understanding, in many cases, is the only reason for hate. That so many are obsessed with hating Jesus Christ and His follower’s is quite disconcerting. Hate is ugly no matter who is involved and when it is condoned, as we see it occurring in many venues of daily living today, we naturally become concerned. But when the hate and devastation affects our brethren it affects us all.



The politically correct crowd in the Church today, as I mentioned earlier, are in lockstep with the secular world. Thus when they encounter a believer who actually holds the truth of the Bible supreme and inerrant, who takes God’s Word literally and seriously, and believes that God says what He means and means what He says, this evil crowd turns to the only arsenal within their grasp. Satan lays it at their feet and they dutifully wield it with all determination, and in many cases with great expertise. What is it? Condemnation. Yes, even in the church there are those who condemn others of the Christian faith who will not toe the politically correct line.



We expect hate and persecution from the foolish lost people of the world, but it is always flabbergasting when we encounter such hate from those who’ve supposedly turned these godless attitudes over to their redeemer. Hate is a powerful tool of the enemy of God and can be quite contagious. When not held in check, when allowed to spread, hate becomes all consuming like a wildfire ultimately affecting everyone in its path.



The end of all this insanity is upon us and we can see it approaching by watching the cataclysmic increases in not only famines and earthquakes, but also a world poised on the brink of war. “And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold.” Matthew 24:12. We are currently inundated with thriving iniquity (wickedness). The result of such wickedness is the contamination of the heart. Once loving, caring, giving folks are turned into patrons of evil. Hearts have grown as cold as a block of ice, and hate is the flavor of the hour.



This trend seen in the current attitude of hate towards Christians is not new. In the twentieth century alone more Christians were martyred for their faith than in all the other centuries since the ascension of Christ combined. Just like Jesus told us, the hate is unavoidable.



When something approaches that affects our spirit so dramatically, we should know there’s only one course of action for the born again believer in Christ. Put on the full armor of God. Why? “For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.” Ephesians 6:12.



All this hate toward Christians is satanic; Satan and his hoard of demons are all too ready to incite more and more hatred toward the followers of Jesus Christ to the point that the whole world will one day fall in step. We who stand with Jesus Christ realize that the fight has intensified because of the lateness of the hour. Just like those of us who are attuned to the signs of the times, so Satan understands those same signs and is fully aware that his time on earth is running out. If he’s going to corrupt many more lives he must shift into high gear. Hence, all the animosity and hate aimed at the brethren from the lost and perishing. Demoralize and destabilize the message bearer and the lost might just remain lost. After all, what man or woman will intentionally walk across burning coals if the path going around those coals is clear and comfortable?



Becoming a Christian, and I mean a truly born again believer in Christ, in an atmosphere of pure hate which is being propagated worldwide can be frightening and discouraging. Persecution of the saints is not to be dismissed as simply a concept of a by-gone era. Preparing one’s self with the armor of God as described in Ephesians 6 is the work of a prudent Christian. These days are filled with hatefulness and everyone who calls on the name of Jesus Christ will experience the persecution of hate. On the upside, the Rapture of the Church is most certainly on the cusp. Stand firm in the face of all adversity, you won’t regret it.



“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, To an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you, Who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. Wherein ye greatly rejoice, though now for a season, if need be, ye are in heaviness through manifold temptations: That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ:” 1 Peter 1:3-7.



God bless you all,



Ron Graham

twotug@embarqmail.com

96 County Road 5480 – Salem, MO 65560

All scripture is from the KJV and God breathed

Thursday, March 03, 2011

IDOL WORSHIP

Idol Worship



“Thou shalt have no other gods before me. Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth: Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the LORD thy God am a jealous God,” Exodus 20:3-5a. This Old Testament stuff doesn’t concern today’s post-modern society. “No other gods before me”? There are so many other gods taking the place of the One true God today that idol worship has actually become the norm.



People have been inventing their own gods for thousands of years. But nothing comes as a surprise to God; He knew the world would become consumed with the worship of idols (false gods). Consequently He gave us a commandment prohibiting the worship of all the false gods men would eventually bring into their lives. Today the Bible is under constant attack and simply dismissed as folklore. Thus idol worship has moved into high gear. Paul explains in the first chapter of Romans that those who worship idols instead of the obvious true God are fools. “Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened.” Romans 1:21. Why is Paul so harsh in his description of the heart of these folks? “Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator” Romans 1:25a. It’s pure foolishness to worship the created in lieu of the Creator of the universe. “For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse:” Romans 1:20. Idol worshipers will someday stand before the Creator Himself and when that day comes excuses will be nonexistent.



Lucifer, the “shinning one”, at one time was known as the “cherub that covered” “Thou art the anointed cherub that covereth;” Ezekiel 28:14a. Now of course he’s known by many names, none of which are at all complimentary, but it wasn’t always that way “…Thou sealest up the sum, full of wisdom, and perfect in beauty. … Thou wast perfect in thy ways from the day that thou wast created, till iniquity was found in thee.” Ezekiel 28:12b, 15. God created Lucifer as the most beautiful, knowledgeable, perfect in his ways, anointed cherub of all. Lucifer’s downfall came when it was found that iniquity had taken the place of perfection. Then he took his sinful prideful attitude and attempted to usurp God’s authority so he could become god. Lucifer (Satan) has been convincing men to do the same thing since he first appeared in the Garden of Eden. Many now believe they are their own god; they worship the created instead of the Creator.



Idolatry and pride go hand in hand, Satan’s pride turned into rebellion to God and ultimately into idol worship. In Satan’s case he worships himself. But he also wants the world of men to worship him. Satan’s agenda: turn men against the Creator God and they will turn and worship anything as a form of god. Worshipping an idol is worshiping Satan.



The Ten Commandments were given to us by the One true God, the Creator of the universe – Jesus the Christ. Yet today these same Ten Commandments are simply written off as manmade mandates which, in the minds of the lost, were only established to bind and hinder the growth of humanity. The Ten Commandments are systematically being removed from all public view. They are not only being ignored but there is a push on to relegate them to obscurity. For now, though, they are deteriorating having been placed in a category of fables. Can you remember the last time the subject of God’s Ten Commandments was broached by your pastor?



The government removes the Ten Commandments from public view every chance they get. If they don’t remove every vestige of those old tired commandments the ACLU files suit and we know how much the ACLU is feared. When in truth we should fear the One who, with His finger, wrote those Commandments in stone.



I wonder just how many Christian churches post the Ten Commandments so they can be readily viewed by their congregants. Ask most Christians today to recite the Ten Commandments and watch how they stumble, stammer, and squirm in their seats trying desperately to remember even five out of ten; many can’t accurately quote even one of the Ten Commandments.



Yes it’s true, it is impossible for any human being to be perfect and keep the Ten Commandments of God, which is precisely why God sent His only begotten Son to die in our stead. But to no longer teach the Ten Commandments – to simply ignore them altogether – is tantamount to ignoring God. Ignoring God will set in motion a complete lack of caring about who God is coupled with extreme apathy towards God’s word. To neglect any part of the Bible is foolishness. The Ten Commandments must be taught to our children; sadly, today we need to teach the parents as well.



God cannot be pleased with a group of people who claim His provisions, who claim His presence in their midst, who claim the blood of Christ as their covering, and yet neglect and even disparage His commandments. “If ye love me, keep my commandments.” John 14:15. Do you love Him?



This world, in which we Christians only sojourn, is fast becoming more and more overrun with people who are filled with anger, hostility, greed, and hatred toward their fellow man and toward their God. We currently live in a world made up of men and women intent on fulfilling every sinful desire, who delve into all sorts of unspeakable evil practices for no more than a few minutes pleasure, and whose goals are only materialistic continually. These folks worship at the altar of Baal (Satan).



“For this ye know, that no whoremonger, nor unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, hath any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God.” Ephesians 5:5. When God is eliminated from our lives something else must take His place. If another gospel is preached in our Christian churches other than the one true Gospel, then another god is proclaimed instead of the One true God, idol worship has expanded into many Christian churches. Mammon is the new idol.



Just as idol worship became a stumbling block to Israel after they left Egypt, so it is advancing in all societies today. Those who have no use for the true Creator of the universe – the God of the Holy Bible – have their own gods (idols) which they of course worship with all tenacity.



Many atheists are feverously attempting to prove there is no God, that the Bible is a myth. But if there is no God, then why are these folks so adamant in their attempts to disprove Him? It’s impossible to not worship something. The foolish lost of this world continue to worship the creature instead of the Creator.



The Christian is just as vulnerable to idol worship, anything that replaces Jesus Christ in our life as pre-eminent becomes an idol. If Jesus Christ is supreme over your life then you are holding fast to the faith. But the fact is many have relegated that supreme position to the enemy of Christ. “Wait a minute Ron, I love Jesus, and I attend church on Sunday.” That’s fine. Let me ask you a question. What about the other six days and 23 hours which remain in every week? Who’s first in your life on those days and hours? We must understand that God is not a part time God. “Thou shalt have no other gods before me” He commands us to place Him in first position in our lives and that we never boot Him out of that position in lieu of something we feel is more attractive and pleasurable.



Man’s inventions can, and do, distract people – ultimately replacing God with an idol. Idol worship is something we must always be mindful of. Ask yourself this question: how much of my day is spent in the word of God? Does anything I own, or anything I long to own, or any activities I’m involved in get in the way of my worship of God and my study of His Word?



It really isn’t rocket science, people; it’s only that old wicked Satan who wants every human to be as lost as he and his hoard of misfits. Idol worship can overwhelm us. We must understand that we are endowed with God-given attributes which are to be used to His glory. Any time we replace God with an idol it’s the same as slapping Him in the face. It’s a statement we are making that says “I love this ‘thing’ more than God.”



God’s blessings are ours to enjoy, but there is no love for God when we attribute those blessings to something we did on our own, or good luck. That attitude is prideful and satanic.



Sinful pride is the culprit for the loss of fellowship with the one and only true and living God. We pride ourselves on our own greatness ultimately replacing the Creator of the universe with an idol, in this case “self” is that idol.



When we speak of the idol worshipers, the stories and lessons from the Bible immediately come to mind. Over and over again we can read in our Bibles of the Israelites backsliding and following after the pagan gods and worshiping at the altar of Baal. The imagery of what and who the Israelites worshipped as god conjures up images of creepy creatures and wood carved human sex organs.



Archaeologists have found reliefs of some incredibly odd looking forms carved into walls which were depicted as being worshipped as gods, some with the body of a man and the head of a bird or the head of a man and the body of a lion, and this is repulsive to most of us today. But today’s idol worshipers also worship at the altar of Baal, only today the idols are not carved images but they still include their idols of sexual pleasures as well as modern technologies. Can you think of an altar where the majority of men, women, and children sit, eyes fixed on their idol for hours on end? How about those people who sacrifice their children who are still in the womb to their idol, the god Moloch.



All religious cults claim to be the true source or path that leads to God, but refuse to acknowledge Jesus Christ as the only true path to salvation are all intertwined with idolatry. Muslims, JW’s, Mormons, Buddhists, Hindus, New Agers, even many Catholics are idol worshipers. Even worshiping at a Christian Church where Jesus is neglected or subordinated to a lesser god, and where the seeker friendly purveyors of mammon are elevated to a position of supremacy, is pure unadulterated evil, and idolatrous.



Idol worship is so prevalent today that to admit to worshiping the one true God, Jesus the Christ, exclusively brings down the wrath of the secular world. The exclusivity of salvation through Jesus Christ alone is seen as extremely intolerant to other religions, thus we are hated by a world which prides itself on political correctness. But Jesus told us this is the way it will be for all who follow Him. “If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you. If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you.” John 15:18-19.



Is there anything in your life that is more important than being Christ centered? “If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple.” Luke 14:26. Because we love Jesus Christ nothing comes between Him and that love, not even our families or self-preservation.



God bless you all,



Ron Graham

twotug@embarqmail.com

96 County Road 5480-Salem, MO 65560

All scripture is from the KJV and God breathed