Wednesday, April 22, 2015

It Takes a Whole Lot of Faith to Believe in Evolution

Happy Earth Day to everyone. You know there has been a lot of discussion about how the earth was formed. I personally believe that the earth was created by God and I am happy to say that I have an up-to-date relationship with Him.

However, there are a lot of well meaning folks who firmly believe in the theory of evolution. In relationship to the forming of the earth, they believe in what is called the "big bang" theory. I looked up the "big bang" theory to try to find out what they really believe.

Actually, they don't really believe a whole lot. They "think" a whole lot. Some "think" everything started with a big bang some 13.7 million years ago and some chunks of rock started circling each other some how. Then somehow, some atoms of something collided with something and it made water. Then years later some other atoms and particles might have gotten together to form things that got together and formed other things.

Then, some think that our solar system was formed out of something. Then for millions of years is expanded to real cold and then shrank to real hot. Then they think it settled into something in between that made stuff start growing.

They have no evidence that any of this really happened. It's just something that they thought of. Evolution is just something somebody thought of and there has never been any concrete evidence to prove to me that evolution really happened.

I believe that God created the universe, the earth, man, and every living thing. I don't blindly accept what I believe just because some book called The Bible says so. I don't blindly accept it as fact just because my grandma told me or some Bible thumpin' preacher tells me that's what I HAVE to believe. I believe it because it is the only thing that makes sense. My mind tells me that it is the logical thing to do.

Take, for example, the stars and the planets. Our sun is one of the smallest stars in the universe. I can't believe that something exploded and shot particles of hot something-or-other in a random manner. If that was true, we would be seeing explosions in the sky from time to time as these flaming orbs flew aimlessly through space. I would have seen them, my daddy would have seen them, my grandpa would have seen them and so on back through the generations.

There had to be a Supreme Being that created the stars and the planets by design. Through sheer mathematical genius, this Supreme Being plotted courses for these objects to fly through space. Some, like the earth and our sister planets, have been orbiting the sun ever since any of my kin folk can remember. For hundreds of years, scientists and astronomers have been able to plot the courses that they run on. They can tell you exactly where certain stars will be fifty or five hundred years from now. Nothing has been done by chance.

Let's take the largest whales in the ocean. They are called baleen whales because they have no teeth. They have thick hair-like bristles instead. They eat by sucking in sea water, blowing the water out of their blow hole and swallowing what is stuck in those bristles. These 60-100 foot giants live on small 2" marine animals called krill. It takes 2,200 pounds of krill to fill one whale's stomach.

Think for a minute. If the whales had evolved and the krill didn't evolve fast enough, then these baleen whales would have died from starvation. But, they don't. The Supreme Being that we call God created enough krill and caused them to multiply in the appropriate proportions to feed every baleen whale that has ever lived.

If evolution was true, then there would be millions of fossils of animals that only lived for a short time but for some reason died because it couldn't sustain it's own life. People that dig up and study fossils have failed to come up with anything of the sort.

Trees grow and reproduce with measured precision. I plant my roses and they bloom the same every year. Cats always reproduce cats that look the same as they always did. Paintings of cats 500 years ago look just like the cats we see today.

If there was such a thing as evolution, it would be going on today. But it doesn't and it hasn't. That's why I say that it takes a whole lot of faith to believe in evolution. It doesn't make sense. Different people see it differently. And there is no concrete proof of evolution. It's just a theory.

The only reasonable answer that I can come up with is that, "In the beginning God..." It all started because God spoke the stars and planets into existence. He gauged each one and gave it a course to run. Astronomers can plot their movements with precision.

Because I believe that what God said about things I can see and feel is true, I also believe what He said about the future of the human race. He declared that there is a Heaven to gain and a Hell to shun. Man was created to live eternally and he will spend the rest of his eternity in only one of those places. I believe that His Son, Jesus Christ, died on a cross and rose from the dead for my sins to give me the opportunity to spend eternity in Heaven. Why? I trust what God said about creation is true. Therefore, if I can believe what He said about the past is true, I can believe what He said about the future of mankind is also true. And it's my intelligent choice to serve Him all of my days.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Why Did God........?

The ninth chapter of John poses a very interesting question with an equally challenging answer.

When Jesus and His disciples came across a man who was blind from birth, they asked this question in verse 2--NIV--"Why was this man born blind? Was is a result of his own sins or those of his parents?"
3--"It was not because of his sins or his parents' sins," Jesus answered, "He was born blind so the power of God could be seen in him."

God doesn't bring sickness. Sickness is a result of Adam turning his earthly authority over to Satan. Satan brought sickness and death into the world. The cause of blindness goes all the way back to Adam.

BUT Jesus teaches us in this story that it is God's plan to turn something bad into something good. That is His heart. That is His very nature. That is the reason He sent His Son to die and be resurrected. It is God's will to turn bad situations into ones that will bring glory to Him.

The power of God was not seen in the man being born blind. Don't choke on the devil's false humble pie by saying that God gets glory from allowing bad stuff to happen and we just have to put up with it.

The power of God was seen in this man when he obeyed what Jesus told him to do and received his healing. If you were to ask this man about the years of being born blind, he would probably admit that he was glad to have been blind because he got the experience of being healed. The glory of God is manifested when His Word comes to pass and we are delivered and set free.

Why did Paul write in 1 Thessalonians 5:18--In everything give thanks? He didn't mean for us to give thanks FOR the junk we're going through at the moment. He meant for us to praise God in advance for His glory that will be revealed in us when He honors His Word and delivers us.

The more junk we go through and/or the longer it takes to get through it, the more verbal we ought to be about praising God. The harder it is and/or the longer it takes just means that we will see a greater manifestation of God's power when He answers our prayer. If it DOES take longer than expected, our praises to Him for answered prayer ought to grow in relationship to the problem. The harder the battle the sweeter the victory.

Here's something that Jesus says in that next verse that I bet you have missed. Verse 4--All of us must quickly carry out the tasks assigned us by the One who sent Me. Did you catch it? Jesus said ALL OF US are supposed to be doing something quickly. ALL OF US are to be carrying out our assigned tasks.

What tasks? Well....what task did the blind man have to carry out? He was born blind and he had to go through the suffering until God healed him. He suffered with it for years. BUT, there came a certain day and there came a certain hour and there came a certain moment in that man's life when all of his suffering came to an end.

Jesus changed everything in that man's life when he restored his sight. All the anguish, the hurt and the disappointment was TOTALLY destroyed in a moment of time when he obeyed what Jesus told him to do and received his sight. Can you even imagine the amount of joy that must have flooded his soul when he saw for the first time? Where was his heartache now? It was gone. Where were his endless questions about the mercy of God? They were turned into praise because God did what He said He would do.

What burden have you been carrying? What are you going through right now that you shouldn't rightly have to go through? Have you carried the weight of sin or sickness or poverty longer than you felt you should? Then follow Paul's advice and the blind man's testimony. Give God a shout of praise right in the middle of the agony and disappointment because He is working on your miracle right now.

And when God manifests His glory in your situation, your friends will rejoice with you. Like the blind man, your enemies might give you fits but that's OK. No matter how the Pharisees mistreated him, they couldn't take away from him the fact that he was healed.

So, let's go ahead and praise the Lord in the middle of adverse circumstances. It doesn't matter how hard they are. And it doesn't matter how long it's been. God's answer will totally obliterate all of the heartache that you are going through at the moment.

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Stop the Terrorists and the Ungodly in Their Tracks

The foreign terrorists are threatening to attack the malls in the United States. I'm sorry, but homegrown terrorists have already attacked millions of lives in the United States. They can be found in the Executive and Legislative branches of our own government. They are (supposedly) publicly elected and have sworn to protect the United States but instead seemed intent on destroying it. But, whether the terrorists are from abroad or born and raised in the United States they can be hindered and stopped by the power of prayer.

All prayer has to have God's Word behind it to be effective. Let's take a look at several verses of scripture that are pretty much self explanatory.

Isaiah 19:14--NIV--The Lord has poured into them a spirit of dizziness; they make Egypt stagger in all that she does, as a drunkard staggers around in his own vomit.

English Standard Version--The Lord has mingled within her a spirit of confusion, and they will make Egypt stagger in all its deeds, as a drunken man stagger in his vomit.

If that was the will of God for those that came against His people back in those days, then it is still His will for the wicked people of today. God doesn't change.

Psalm 33:10--KJV--The Lord bringeth the counsel of the heathen to nought; He maketh the devices of the people of none effect.

Job 5:12--NIV--He thwarts the plans of the crafty, so that their hands achieve no success.

Prov. 26:26--NIV--Their malice may be concealed by deception, but their wickedness will be exposed in the assembly.

Father in Heaven, You know more than we do how much the wicked are planning against the righteous. You know who they are and you know all about their plans. Nothing is hid from Your eyes. In accordance with Your will, we ask that You send a spirit of confusion into the lives of those who work against Your people. Bring their counsel to nothing. Make their wicked devices fail miserably. No matter how sneaky they are, foil their plans so that they will not succeed. Even though they hide behind the cloak of a public office, expose their wickedness before the whole world.

Father, we pray that you would give your people a spirit of boldness to pray and to act accordingly. We pray for wisdom and understanding for all of the Christians in public office and in our security forces. Reveal to them the secrets of the ungodly. Help them to keep the evil away from the innocent.
God, open the eyes of the citizens who have been deceived by crafty leaders. Raise up Godly leaders for this next election. In Jesus name we pray. Amen

Saturday, July 19, 2014

How God Works His Will in the Ungodly

Please read the entire text. I will wind up with some wisdom about prayer.

First of all, let's describe the ungodly. It is generally accepted that anyone walking in sin is considered "ungodly." My contention is that even Christians can be considered ungodly. How? There could be a sin that they hold on to. Any sin is ungodly. When someone isn't walking in agape love and forgiveness that is also ungodly. You'll find that God deals with the ungodly sinner and the ungodly Christian the same way. And, it either leads to their destruction or their salvation.
First of all, in Nehemiah's day God worked through the ungodly ruler because of what that ruler saw in Nehemiah's life. Even though Nehemiah was a captive in a foreign land, he walked in Godly love and obedience to the ruler. Nehemiah CHOSE to walk in love in an unlovely situation and gained favor with the king. The king provided the nation of Israel with all that they needed to rebuild their city.
Next,in the book of Exodus, we find the statement (Ex. 9:12) "God hardened Pharaoh's heart." Many of you would think, "Why would God MAKE someone sin and then destroy him for it?" That in itself would prove God to be a tyrant and not a righteous and loving God.
Here's what God did. He knew Pharaoh's heart just like he knows mine and yours. So, in today's vernacular you could say about God, "He knew which button to push." God didn't take over Pharaoh's heart, mind and soul and force him to do anything. Instead, He set circumstances in front of Pharaoh and let him make his own evil choices. He still does that to the ungodly sinner and Christian today.
When the God of Pharaoh's slaves showed Himself stronger and wiser than Pharaoh's gods, Pharaoh gave in to his anger. After all, Pharaoh's pride was at stake. The God of the Hebrews was making him look like the fool he really was. His pride, his arrogance and his anger drove him to making some very regrettable mistakes that led to his downfall.
God works the same way with Christians. He knows your "button" and He'll push it time and time again to show you your sin in an effort to get you to repent. If you persist in your ungodliness, it will lead you to your destruction also.

Prayer. It is a life changing, world shaping tool given to us by our Sovereign God. We should daily be praying for the rulers of this world. The United States is sadly in need of prayer. BUT, don't give up hope when it looks like the enemy is unstoppable. Pharaoh and his army SEEMED unstoppable. It only LOOKED like they had the upper hand and it only LOOKED like God's people were doomed.
But, Saints, continue to pray for our nation that God will send revival and change it's course. Pray for the rulers of the world by praying the way Jesus taught in Matt 6:10-"Let Thy kingdom come and Thy will be done." As we pray for His sovereign will to be accomplished, we should praise Him even when it LOOKS like things have turned to the worse. Keep your heart right and throw the devil for a loop by praising God in these adverse circumstances.
The children of Israel thought they were doomed in every circumstance as God was bringing them to victory one step at a time. Moses kept going back to God not to complain but to ask Him, "What do you want me to do next."
Moses was not shaken by what just happened or by what it looked like. That had nothing to do with his faith in God. His only concern was keeping his heart right and the avenue between him and God open. Instead of being concerned about what JUST NOW happened, Moses was more concerned about what is JUST ABOUT to happen. He made himself available, kept his heart right and obeyed God's instructions when they were given.
Let's continue to pray for our nation and the world. "God, let Your kingdom come and let Your will be done. Do whatever You need to do and tell me what I need to do next." Make yourself available. Keep your heart right no matter what somebody else does. Be ready to obey God's next instruction instead of your own anger and pride.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

What is Wrong with the Pentecostals?

No, this will not be a wild rant against a group of believers. Nor will I compile a list of accusations. At the end, I trust that many of you will be challenged to become a Pentecostal. I pray that the eternal flame of the Pentecostal fire will forever stir your soul to the real meaning of Pentecost.
First of all, I was born and raised in a Pentecostal atmosphere. I can vividly remember the saints of God shouting, singing and dancing in the Spirit. W-a-a-a-y. way before the Brownsville outpouring, I can remember services where uncontrolled laughter, or uncontrolled crying would sweep through the congregation. My Grandmother was usually where the laughter would start and I was always right there beside her. 
I remember times when a Holy Hush would interrupt our loud praises. Someone would give a message in tongues, an interpretation would come, or someone would prophecy. I remember in one particular service, a Holy Hush fell over the congregation for thirty minutes. We had no children's church and no nursery.But no child moved, no child cried and no one talked. The only noise that was heard was the shuffling of feet as someone moved in their seat to get comfortable. There was an awesome presence of God that enveloped that whole congregation. 
When it came time for prayer, no matter who was asked to lead, everyone prayed and cried out to God. As we poured out our hearts, indeed it did sound like thunder, but we knew we were making a connection with a Higher Power.
The bad part about it, a lot of Pentecostals began to use the outward actions to portray their 'holiness' or their devotion to God. In other words, the more and louder they shouted, spoke in tongues and prayed the holier they were. At home and on the job they might have been pure demons, but in a church service they were considered 'saints'.
Is there anything wrong with shouting, speaking in tongues and praying out loud? Absolutely not. A genuine Pentecostal will enjoy doing all of that and more as they pour out their hearts to God. But, Pentecostals don't do those things in their services any more. The Holy Spirit is not allowed dominion in their services anymore. There's always a time limit, or somebody's feeling limit or an embarrassment limit. 
And I know the reason why. We've gotten things backwards. People consider themselves the ideal Pentecostal when they shout, speak in tongues and pray loud. That's how most people, Pentecostals and non-Pentecostals define the Pentecostal 'way' of worship. Shouting, speaking in tongues and praying loud has been considered the 'fire' of Pentecost. But, it's not. 
These physical evidences are not the 'fire' and were never meant to be the 'fire'. They were meant ONLY to be the by-products of the real 'fire'. When people are stirred by the real 'fire' they will never have to 'stir up' these signs of the 'fire'. The real 'fire' will stir them.

Now let's define Pentecostal. Jesus said in Luke 24:49 for His disciples to tarry in Jerusalem until they were endued with power from on high. He said nothing about tongues, shouts or loud praying although those things happened. But, Pentecost was the end of a long training session that lasted three long years for these disciples. There were some important changes in their lives that had to be made before the Father would endue them with power. You see, Pentecostals have been looking at the tongues and not prepared themselves for His power. And before you fire off a rebuttal, you'd better cool your jets and read the rest of this. 
Everyone thinks that the four gospels display Jesus' power. I'm here to tell you they don't. The power is ONLY a by-product. What Jesus displayed was the relentless and never ending love of His Father. The people that the twelve disciples were told to stay away from were the very ones that Jesus went out of His way to talk to.
Agape love was the cornerstone that Jesus' ministry was built on. The Apostle Paul declared that 'faith worketh by love' (Gal 5:6). Jesus told His disciples on several occasions that they were to love each other as He loved them. I've said before that Jesus washed Peter's feet even though He knew that Peter would lie and cuss the next day.
What is wrong with Pentecostals? They started at the wrong end of the promise. They started with the gifts. They and all Christians should start where Pentecost started before they can get to where Pentecost ended. Pentecost started when God said that He would love mankind so much the He would provide His own Son as a sacrifice so He could overlook all of their sins and fellowship with his man. God loved man in spite of everything man did. That's the beginning of Pentecost. That's the beginning of His power.

Now, I'm going to lay into you. If you are a pastor, or you feel called to be a pastor or you just call yourself a Pentecostal and you don't walk in agape need to quit. You need to find an altar somewhere and repent of your sin. If there are people you just don't want to associate with.....just because.... turn in your resignation until you get right with God.
The disciples did not receive the power of God until after the night Jesus was arrested and they all fled, including Peter. (Yes, I know John stood by Him.) Everyone of them had to be challenged to their very souls before God would give them the power.
Jesus loved the unloveable and then said, "Love like I do." Then He healed and fed them. People offended Him but He loved them enough to call out from the cross, "Father, forgive them." 
If you've held a grudge against someone whether they deserved it or not, give it up and love them. Whether your husband or wife loves you or not, love them without being bitter. Whether your children or your parents are what you think they should be, love them anyway and honor them like Jesus would.
When you do begin to love like Jesus did, strange things will begin to happen to you. The 120 were not expecting to speak in tongues on the day of Pentecost. They were just loving like Jesus said to and tarrying just like He said to. The gift of the Holy Spirit came with a lifetime full of extra benefits that were not necessarily described in the the Old Testament. It was a brand new and exciting way of life for those who chose to love. 
Agape Love is where Pentecost starts. You can search the entire Bible until you're blue in the face, but God NEVER said that Pentecostal outpourings and miracles would pass away. When you make a daily habit of walking in Agape Love, Pentecostal outpourings and miracles will become the normal for you.
Now do it.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Did You Know This About God?

Romans 15:13--Now may the God of hope fill you with joy and peace in believing, that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.
     Paul calls God the God of hope. The Greek word for hope is--elpis. Strong's Exhaustive Concordance defines elpis as--to anticipate, usually with pleasure. Or, we could say "happy anticipation".
     In the beginning, God worked with His usual diligence and with "happy anticipation" to create a "good" place for His masterpiece of creation---Man. God created until He saw that it was all "good". He didn't bring His Man into a place that was shabby, run-down or half-way pieced together. He worked with a "happy anticipation" that everything would be "just so" for His Man.
     When mankind ruined his masterpiece through sin, God moved with "happy anticipation" and sent His Son to die so He could blot out their sin. He wanted to remove everything that hindered His fellowship with the Man that He loved.
     He gave promise after promise to His Man ever since creation. He gave these promises with a "happy anticipation" of keeping those promises. It was and still is His greatest desire to ensure the joy of His Man child.
     This God of "happy anticipation" wants to fill you with joy and peace--as you believe. Not as you whine, pout, get angry or go to cussin'. The greatest work that you could ever do is believe (with "happy anticipation") what God has promised. Paul declared that there is joy and peace in believing in God's "happy anticipation".  Have you ever thought about it that way before?
     After all the apostle Paul went through, I just believe that he knows what he's talking about. He firmly stated that the God of eternal "happy anticipation" would FILL you with joy and peace WHILE you were believing that His Word is true and that He's working on a solution to your problem.
     Paul's experience takes it one more step and declares that AS you believe God's "happy anticipation", you would overflow in your own "happy anticipation" by the empowering presence of the Holy Spirit. God is His Word. There's agape love in His Word. There is "happy anticipation" in His Word because it came from a "happy anticipation" God. The longer and stronger we believe His Word more than the circumstances that we are faced with, the longer and stronger the power of the Holy Spirit increases our "happy anticipation" until we overflow with it.
     You've given sad, mad, and feeling bad a real, real, real, real good shot at changing your circumstances. So why not hook up with God's "happy anticipation" and give that a try? What can you lose? Your worries? Your cares? You anger? Your sin? Your sickness? Your poverty?

Monday, June 16, 2014

Jesus' Lost and Found Department

     While reading My Utmost for His Highest this morning, I dug up a little nugget. In John 15:13, Jesus makes this statement. "Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one's life for his friends." My poor little noggin had always thought that Jesus was saying that a "Greater Love" would be to die for some one else. After all that's what He did....once....or so I thought.
     But, He wasn't talking about dying in this scripture. He was talking about laying aside our ambitions and desires to pour out His love on someone. Think about it this way. He didn't just 'lay aside' His life once and for all on the cross. He laid aside His life for thirty-three years when He stepped out of His comfort zone to walk in the muck and mire that humanity had become. He had one high spot and that was on the mount of transfiguration. Even with that, He had to interrupt the glory of God and a great conversation with Moses and Elijah to come down to cast out a demon.
     Jesus was talking about laying aside our personal ambition and interrupting the things we really would rather do to do something for someone else. And, He meant for us to do it out of a loving heart. He's not asking us to do it grudgingly or out of a since of duty. He asks us to purposely lay aside the things we would much rather do and do something that He would rather us do. He asks us to love somebody whom others might consider as being unworthy of love. After all, that's what He did for all of mankind. The good guys and the bad guys.
     He said something else in Matt. 16:25. "For whosoever will save his life will lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for My sake shall find it." When we lay down what we would rather be doing and wash someone else's feet for them, so to speak, we begin to find new life in Jesus. We find something we've never had before. We experience a depth of His love that we have never sensed before. We develop a closeness with someone we might not have ever wanted to be close to and in so doing find the Jesus just stepped a little closer to us. We sense that we are more a part of Him than we have ever been. Truly, when we lose our lives for His sake we find explainable and unexpected treasure.