YOU BETTER THANK GOD TRUMP IS PRESIDENT

Today, as I prayed, a strange and unexpected phrase leapt into my spirit, “Trump is about to have his Winston Churchill moment.” It stunned me because it seemed so inappropriate in the light of current events. This is no time for cheerleading or political grandstanding. We are in lockdown!

Yes, we are in lockdown. Across America, store shelves are as empty as if we were a socialist nation. The empty streets are even eerier than the empty shelves. My hometown of San Francisco will close at midnight tonight and will not open again until April 7th. Citizens are ordered to shelter in place—which is just a frightening euphemism for martial law.

Why should you thank God that Trump is President? How can I go so totally against the grain of political correctness in the face of a viral pandemic? When everyone is clamoring to say we need to stop fighting each other and come together against a common enemy, why would I write something as incendiary as being positive about Trump?

Why? Because I believe something is about to come out of Trump that even his closest friends will find stunning. And, what is that?  Let’s start with the ingredients that will build toward the coming Churchill moment.

He is a New Yorker. I have always loved New Yorkers. My favorite area to preach has always been New York. My preaching doesn’t scare them there. The New York side of Trump is about to make an appearance. That thing that’s in the water that makes the pizza so great, is also in Donald Trump. You want to get something done? Tell a New Yorker it’s impossible.

I am not talking about the reptilian Mayor De Blasio or the demonic Governor Cuomo. I am talking about New Yorkers from the former glory days.

Trump is about to go ‘New York’ in a good way—the old way! He is going to suggest (read: demand) some radical action to get America back on its feet in the shortest amount of time.

During WWII, Winston Churchill was hated by Parliament because he actually taunted them. Heck, he ridiculed them. London was bombed every night and Churchill went around behind the back of Parliament to get the things done that were necessary to stop Hitler and comfort the people of Great Britain. He relied on nothing but his own convictions to rally the nation to have courage and to exhibit resolve.  Do you hear me Mr. President? The moxie you had in Manhattan, you need right now!

I believe you will see Donald Trump act in many ways that the Left will squeal are ‘reckless.’ Because he loves America and Americans, he will ignore the critics who don’t count, and do what needs to be done.

Teddy Roosevelt described the Trump we are about to see:

“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.”

I am waiting for the words, “SO WHAT?” to come barreling up out of Trump. That whatever-it-is that says, “I don’t even care if I’m re-elected anymore! I am going to do whatever it takes and I don’t care who doesn’t like it.”

Mr. President, they will call you a despot—but you must ignore the soy milk-induced wrangling of the spineless politicians on the Hill.

Trump loves America and Americans even more than he loves being President. Because of that, I know he is about to rise to a previously unseen level of courage.  Washington D.C. is a corrupt city full of rodents in suits who really don’t care how many of its citizens this virus kills or how long it takes to do it. These sniveling rats only care about staying in power. They will continue their usual compliant and cowardly approach to leadership. They will say and do whatever it takes to create fear and weakness.

I think of Peter Strozk the weasel from the FBI. Remember the nuclear smugness and robotic aloofness of his appearance before Congress? That’s what I think of when I think of D.C.

Last of all, I believe that right now, as he is alone with his private thoughts, a fire is building up in our President. And that fire is from God. He was chosen for this crisis. He is right where he needs to be, right when we need him most to be there.  Can you imagine how badly Hillary would have handled this mess?

The fire in President Trump is going to find the words to rally the American Spirit. Our Commander in Chief is going to stir up the American eagle and it is going to soar. He will remind us that we never used to scare this easily. He will speak to the noblest part of our national character and he will convince us that, together, we can do this! We can and we will lick this virus.

He will inspire us to pay the price. So what if we have to sit at home and wait it out? So what if we have to risk our economy in order to defeat this menace? The fear is unwarranted. But the sacrifice is doable.

The airlines—the economy—our healthcare system—our churches, are all going to come roaring back and we will chase this Coronavirus back to the Petri dish where it belongs.

From the Spirit of 1776 in Philadelphia, to the generation that knocked out the Third Reich, to the voice on the moon that gave a giant leap to mankind—Americans have always conquered their fears, and then they have conquered their enemies.

Yeah, look out for Trump to go into Presidential beast mode. Millions will hate him for the bold decisiveness and the clarity he is about to show.  But you and I and millions more, are going to love him for it.

I would like to think that great heroes like Winston Churchill are looking down from above, and seeing a familiar metamorphosis taking place in Donald Trump, Winston is smiling.

Welcome Back To The War

The Holy Spirit has burned a message into my soul that I cannot contain. I want this message to get into the hands of as many people as possible—people who are on the verge of spiritual shipwreck.  I have never felt as great an urgency to open my heart to you.

Millions have left the church.  Many who were on fire for God, even those who were effective vessels, have fallen and have abandoned their faith in Jesus.  A famous Christian singer announced that he is now an atheist.  Is that shocking? The real shock is that the church is not shocked, because this kind of recanting of faith has now become common.

Millions have left the church.  This is the reality that Christian leaders do not want to talk about.  However, facts do not go away.  And the facts are these: an entire generation has virtually discarded the faith of their parents.

Perhaps you also were among those who were wounded on the battlefield, but did not get up again.  The reasons are as varied as are the people themselves.  It may have been an abusive church.  It may have been an old habit that raged its way back into control.  It may have been a divorce, a false teaching that weakened you, or the gravitational weight of the unbelief and skepticism of this age.

The most common cause is sudden tragedy.  Something horrendous happened that ran you off of your theological map.  You felt that you had no choice but to abandon your faith.  You may be angry with God.  You are not alone.  There are millions in this condition.

Let me be frank, I believe that God is turning your heart back to Him.  And He is also doing this on a massive scale with others.

He has done it before.  Just prior to the fire falling on Mount Carmel, Elijah prayed these words, “Hear me, O Lord, hear me, that this people may know that You are the Lord God, and that You have turned their hearts back to You again.” (1 Kings 18:37)

The Lord is doing this not only because He loves you, but because He wants to spare America.

“And he will turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the hearts of the children to their fathers, lest I come and strike the earth with a curse.” (Malachi 4:6)

You are likely a casualty of the lukewarm American church.  Widespread compromise has left her unprotected.  The active ingredient has been left out of preaching—and that ingredient is surrender.  And that is the reason that the power of God to stand against tragedy and evil has never kicked in.

The voice of the Holy Spirit is intensifying as He calls to those who are the fallen, the wounded, and the forgotten.  His wooing is loving and hopeful, but it never disguises the truth.

And the truth is that, in America, entire churches are backslidden!  And it is not unprecedented.  Look at these verses: 15 “I know your works, that you are neither cold nor hot. I could wish you were cold or hot. 16 So then, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will vomit you out of My mouth. 17 Because you say, ‘I am rich, have become wealthy, and have need of nothing’—and do not know that you are wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked— 18 I counsel you to buy from Me gold refined in the fire, that you may be rich; and white garments, that you may be clothed, that the shame of your nakedness may not be revealed; and anoint your eyes with eye salve, that you may see. 19 As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten. Therefore be zealous and repent. 20 Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me.” (Revelation 3:15-20)

Okay. So you may have been caught in the cultural crossfire of the compromised church, or the toxic churcheven the false churchbut why should you lose your soul just to get back at false ministers and sick churches?

This is about you and Jesus.  This is about a destiny that God still keeps for you.  There is one thing that Satan does not want you to remember—it is the one thing that can break the chains of lies and heartbreak.

What Satan does not want you to think about is this: if you brush away the cobwebs of church politics, hypocrites, and unexpected tragedy, you will have to admit that the best days of your life were when you walked with God in fervent commitment.  Those were the days of peace and joy. 

The best days were the days before anybody and anything came between you and Jesus.  You prayed and sensed that no matter what, everything would come out all right.  Even those things that you still had questions about became unimportant, because of your total trust in the character and faithfulness of God!

You have never, before or since, felt anything like His sweet presence.  Those were the best days, and those days can come again.  Jesus is knocking and wants to have dinner with you alone.  “I will sup with him,” Jesus promised.

I admit I am calling forth a divine desperation to come over you.  I want you to break, I want you to yearn to come back home—to return to your best life, your only life.

There is an army rising up, composed of people that Satan thought he had, but is about to lose on a grand scale.

Won’t you turn back to Jesus, and reclaim your first love? Do your first works over again. Then, He will say to you, “Welcome back to the war!”

Welcome Back To The War

The Holy Spirit has burned a message into my soul that I cannot contain. I want this message to get into the hands of as many people as possible—people who are on the verge of spiritual shipwreck.  I have never felt as great an urgency to open my heart to you.

Millions have left the church.  Many who were on fire for God, even those who were effective vessels, have fallen and have abandoned their faith in Jesus.  A famous Christian singer announced that he is now an atheist.  Is that shocking? The real shock is that the church is not shocked, because this kind of recanting of faith has now become common.

Millions have left the church.  This is the reality that Christian leaders do not want to talk about.  However, facts do not go away.  And the facts are these: an entire generation has virtually discarded the faith of their parents.

Perhaps you also were among those who were wounded on the battlefield, but did not get up again.  The reasons are as varied as are the people themselves.  It may have been an abusive church.  It may have been an old habit that raged its way back into control.  It may have been a divorce, a false teaching that weakened you, or the gravitational weight of the unbelief and skepticism of this age.

The most common cause is sudden tragedy.  Something horrendous happened that ran you off of your theological map.  You felt that you had no choice but to abandon your faith.  You may be angry with God.  You are not alone.  There are millions in this condition.

Let me be frank, I believe that God is turning your heart back to Him.  And He is also doing this on a massive scale with others.

He has done it before.  Just prior to the fire falling on Mount Carmel, Elijah prayed these words, “Hear me, O Lord, hear me, that this people may know that You are the Lord God, and that You have turned their hearts back to You again.” (1 Kings 18:37)

The Lord is doing this not only because He loves you, but because He wants to spare America.

“And he will turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the hearts of the children to their fathers, lest I come and strike the earth with a curse.” (Malachi 4:6)

You are likely a casualty of the lukewarm American church.  Widespread compromise has left her unprotected.  The active ingredient has been left out of preaching—and that ingredient is surrender.  And that is the reason that the power of God to stand against tragedy and evil has never kicked in.

The voice of the Holy Spirit is intensifying as He calls to those who are the fallen, the wounded, and the forgotten.  His wooing is loving and hopeful, but it never disguises the truth.

And the truth is that, in America, entire churches are backslidden!  And it is not unprecedented.  Look at these verses: 15 “I know your works, that you are neither cold nor hot. I could wish you were cold or hot. 16 So then, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will vomit you out of My mouth. 17 Because you say, ‘I am rich, have become wealthy, and have need of nothing’—and do not know that you are wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked— 18 I counsel you to buy from Me gold refined in the fire, that you may be rich; and white garments, that you may be clothed, that the shame of your nakedness may not be revealed; and anoint your eyes with eye salve, that you may see. 19 As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten. Therefore be zealous and repent. 20 Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me.” (Revelation 3:15-20)

Okay. So you may have been caught in the cultural crossfire of the compromised church, or the toxic churcheven the false churchbut why should you lose your soul just to get back at false ministers and sick churches?

This is about you and Jesus.  This is about a destiny that God still keeps for you.  There is one thing that Satan does not want you to remember—it is the one thing that can break the chains of lies and heartbreak.

What Satan does not want you to think about is this: if you brush away the cobwebs of church politics, hypocrites, and unexpected tragedy, you will have to admit that the best days of your life were when you walked with God in fervent commitment.  Those were the days of peace and joy. 

The best days were the days before anybody and anything came between you and Jesus.  You prayed and sensed that no matter what, everything would come out all right.  Even those things that you still had questions about became unimportant, because of your total trust in the character and faithfulness of God!

You have never, before or since, felt anything like His sweet presence.  Those were the best days, and those days can come again.  Jesus is knocking and wants to have dinner with you alone.  “I will sup with him,” Jesus promised.

I admit I am calling forth a divine desperation to come over you.  I want you to break, I want you to yearn to come back home—to return to your best life, your only life.

There is an army rising up, composed of people that Satan thought he had, but is about to lose on a grand scale.

Won’t you turn back to Jesus, and reclaim your first love? Do your first works over again. Then, He will say to you, “Welcome back to the war!”

THIS WILL KILL YOUR FEAR

Today you find yourself facing threats that were unimaginable just 10 years ago.  Changes are dizzying. Political and moral evil is on the march. The child of God navigates a world that is explosive.

Do you have children and grandchildren who depend on you?  That makes it all the more difficult. You wonder what will happen to them.  You pray, “Lord, how can I protect them in such a violent time?”

Our souls are vexed by the parading of evil, perversion, and bloodshed. What was once in the back alleys is now front and center for all to see.

For this and many other reasons, we need something fresh and unshakable.  We need whatever it was Daniel had in the lion’s den.  We need authority to open prison doors.  We need courage that conquers the future even before we get there.  We must walk a walk that conquers sickness, dwindling resources, and any sudden attack on our soul.

We also need to see the tactics of Satan. He knows his time is short, he is racing to take as many down with him as he can.

Powerful preaching will only take us so far.  Worship music may quell dismaying emotions temporarily, but we need something more—something unshakable in the core of our being.  We need an anchor that holds us, no matter what.

What do we need? What fear-killing insight should burn in our soul?

It’s this: Imagine if you could hear Jesus praying for you. Imagine what that would mean to you. Imagine how that can kill your fear of any shocking attacks that come?  Imagine being transported in a vision, and beholding Jesus mentioning your name. Imagine hearing Him taking your needs, your burdens, and your cares directly to the Father.

Stop right now.  Open your heart wide. Let me give you the fear-killing facts about  Jesus praying for you:

Jesus started praying for you the instant you got saved.  The world can’t enjoy the benefit of His prayers, but we as believers can.  John17:9, “I pray for them. I do not pray for the world but for those whom You have given Me, for they are Yours.”

Jesus will never stop praying for you. Hebrews 7:25, “Therefore He is also able to save to the uttermost those who come to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them.”

Can you see Him? Right now He is lifting your situation before the Father in unending prayer.

Jesus is asking the Father to protect you from Satan.  John 17:15, “I do not pray that You should take them out of the world, but that You should keep them from the evil one.”

Jesus has prayed in advance of your greatest hour of testing, just as He did for Peter.  Luke 22:32, “But I have prayed for you (Peter), that your faith should not fail; and when you have returned to Me, strengthen your brethren.”

Here is the most important fact about Jesus’ praying for you: He says you are His child.  Let’s take a closer look at what that means.

His love for you is not just tender—it’s fierce.

Consider the momma grizzly as she snuggles her cub.  She is the essence of tender love.  Now, try to come between her and her cub. The loving mom instantly becomes the most terrifying creature on earth.  She will stop at nothing to protect her cub. Both are expressions of the same love…a love God but in her.

The same Jesus who comforts you with unmatched tenderness turns His wrath on the evil one when you are threatened.  It would be breathtaking to see the contrast in His intercession before the Father when you need comfort, and when you need to be rescued from the attack of the evil one.

Jesus will not let anything come between you and Him.  Paul said it this way: Romans 8:38, “For I am fully convinced that neither death nor life, nor angels nor demons, nor the present nor the future, nor any powers, 39 neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

If you could hear how Jesus is praying for you right now, you would not fear a million enemies.

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THE FORGOTTEN POWER

No matter how thin you slice baloney, it’s still baloney.  And, almost everything pastors are told about church growth is baloney. Most of it leads to frustration and disillusionment. Think about it.  Most pastors have taken those trendy courses on church growth. If that is true, then why are so few churches growing?

Here’s the big lie: Fix your organization, your brand, and your staff, if you want your church to grow.  And, hasn’t this worked in many cases?  In many cases? No.  But has it worked in some cases?   Yes, but only because even a blind dog finds a bone once in a while.

How then can we explain the overnight success of some church-plants? If what you mean is more like a franchise then, yeah, that’ll work—because they pour millions into establishing a franchise copy of an existing mega church.   Hello?  Is anyone offering you millions of dollars and vast expertise to help you build your church?

Given enough marketing money, I could get a thousand people to come watch yogurt mature. But is it a crowd you want, or is it a Holy Spirit-built army of Christ-following converts?  To paraphrase Paul, “If I master all the tricks in the how-to-fill-a-church seminar, but do not have a congregation who deeply loves Jesus, I am just another mega-church. If I have a room full of a thousand spoiled spectators, it profits me nothing.”

Some of our good friends shake their heads at the advertising we use for our tent crusades. Our cards say, “Come and experience the love and power of Jesus Christ.” Our friends almost feel sorry for our lack of salesmanship and seem embarrassed that we are being so obvious about our intentions. What they don’t see is what kind of crowd we want. We want people who are hungry for a miracle.  We are not trying to hide anything, and people are weary of being tricked. But more importantly, our cards are soaked in prayer. The crowds come for the right reason—because they have been drawn by the Holy Spirit.

I have many things to say about how churches can grow, but I am going to focus on my favorite factor in growth—one that is greatly underrated: THE EXCITEMENT OF THE PASTOR. Here are the reasons an excited leader is both powerful and crucial.

 

1. Excitement is infectious. A sincerely excited leader has an amazing impact on people. The electricity of a leader who is genuinely excited will draw the crowds without any gimmicks or hype.

Here is an example: Transit authorities in the Northeast have spent a lot of money on advertising, begging people to use their services, and they still can’t get commuters to use public transportation. Meanwhile, millions pour into Disneyland to ride trains that don’t go anywhere. The difference is excitement.

Fresh vision chases away depression. Even eloquence is at the mercy of excitement.  We don’t need more teaching seminars. I fear we’ve been taught to death. We need to pour gasoline on our sermons, and light them on fire.

2. Excitement finds a way. The changes in culture are dizzying. The challenge to build great works for God today is daunting. However, if you leave the challenge in the hands of genuinely excited vessels of God, they will find a way. They have the relentless will to conquer by the simple use of prayer and obedience.

3. Excitement doesn’t care about things that don’t matter. The excited leader is not just living their dream, they are a walking miracle. Imagine Lazarus the day after he was raised from the dead. You couldn’t offend him. You couldn’t scare him and you couldn’t make him feel insecure.

Beloved brother and sister in the ministry, we are not far from being a Lazarus! The truly excited pastor doesn’t care about criticism—doesn’t need the approval of men—doesn’t dread a lack of funds. Paul wrote, “Yea, in all these things we are more than conquerors…”

If an excited pastor is a boon to a church, then there is nothing more devastating than a discouraged and broken hearted shepherd. The last thing that leader ever needs to do is go to a church growth seminar. Any pastor who is wounded and broken from the thankless task of ministering to a fickle generation takes a terrible risk by going to a church growth seminar. Even if they get some growth from the shallow advice being given, it will gravely disappoint them because a wounded heart won’t feel any joy in success.  And, if they don’t see any growth, it could be devastating since it reinforces hopelessness and can lead to despair.

Have you ever broken a pastor’s heart? If so, the damage went far beyond what you realize.

Hebrews 13:17 says, “Obey those who rule over you, and be submissive, for they watch out for your souls, as those who must give an account. Let them do so with joy and not with grief, for that would be unprofitable for you.” Unprofitable to say the least!

If I could blend the fresh fire that is in the heart of a first year Bible college student with the wisdom of a pastor who has been forged in the crucible of battle, I would have a weapon that is guaranteed to shake the very timbers of hell!  Get your excitement back—by the power of the Holy Spirit—and church growth will happen!

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Welcome Back To The War

The Holy Spirit has burned a message into my soul that I cannot contain. I want this message to get into the hands of as many people as possible—people who are on the verge of spiritual shipwreck.  I have never felt as great an urgency to open my heart to you.

Millions have left the church.  Many who were on fire for God, even those who were effective vessels, have fallen and have abandoned their faith in Jesus.  A famous Christian singer announced that he is now an atheist.  Is that shocking? The real shock is that the church is not shocked, because this kind of recanting of faith has now become common.

Millions have left the church.  This is the reality that Christian leaders do not want to talk about.  However, facts do not go away.  And the facts are these: an entire generation has virtually discarded the faith of their parents.

Perhaps you also were among those who were wounded on the battlefield, but did not get up again.  The reasons are as varied as are the people themselves.  It may have been an abusive church.  It may have been an old habit that raged its way back into control.  It may have been a divorce, a false teaching that weakened you, or the gravitational weight of the unbelief and skepticism of this age.

The most common cause is sudden tragedy.  Something horrendous happened that ran you off of your theological map.  You felt that you had no choice but to abandon your faith.  You may be angry with God.  You are not alone.  There are millions in this condition.

Let me be frank, I believe that God is turning your heart back to Him.  And He is also doing this on a massive scale with others.

He has done it before.  Just prior to the fire falling on Mount Carmel, Elijah prayed these words, “Hear me, O Lord, hear me, that this people may know that You are the Lord God, and that You have turned their hearts back to You again.” (1 Kings 18:37)

The Lord is doing this not only because He loves you, but because He wants to spare America.

“And he will turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the hearts of the children to their fathers, lest I come and strike the earth with a curse.” (Malachi 4:6)

You are likely a casualty of the lukewarm American church.  Widespread compromise has left her unprotected.  The active ingredient has been left out of preaching—and that ingredient is surrender.  And that is the reason that the power of God to stand against tragedy and evil has never kicked in.

The voice of the Holy Spirit is intensifying as He calls to those who are the fallen, the wounded, and the forgotten.  His wooing is loving and hopeful, but it never disguises the truth.

And the truth is that, in America, entire churches are backslidden!  And it is not unprecedented.  Look at these verses: 15 “I know your works, that you are neither cold nor hot. I could wish you were cold or hot. 16 So then, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will vomit you out of My mouth. 17 Because you say, ‘I am rich, have become wealthy, and have need of nothing’—and do not know that you are wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked— 18 I counsel you to buy from Me gold refined in the fire, that you may be rich; and white garments, that you may be clothed, that the shame of your nakedness may not be revealed; and anoint your eyes with eye salve, that you may see. 19 As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten. Therefore be zealous and repent. 20 Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me.” (Revelation 3:15-20)

Okay. So you may have been caught in the cultural crossfire of the compromised church, or the toxic churcheven the false churchbut why should you lose your soul just to get back at false ministers and sick churches?

This is about you and Jesus.  This is about a destiny that God still keeps for you.  There is one thing that Satan does not want you to remember—it is the one thing that can break the chains of lies and heartbreak.

What Satan does not want you to think about is this: if you brush away the cobwebs of church politics, hypocrites, and unexpected tragedy, you will have to admit that the best days of your life were when you walked with God in fervent commitment.  Those were the days of peace and joy. 

The best days were the days before anybody and anything came between you and Jesus.  You prayed and sensed that no matter what, everything would come out all right.  Even those things that you still had questions about became unimportant, because of your total trust in the character and faithfulness of God!

You have never, before or since, felt anything like His sweet presence.  Those were the best days, and those days can come again.  Jesus is knocking and wants to have dinner with you alone.  “I will sup with him,” Jesus promised.

I admit I am calling forth a divine desperation to come over you.  I want you to break, I want you to yearn to come back home—to return to your best life, your only life.

There is an army rising up, composed of people that Satan thought he had, but is about to lose on a grand scale.

Won’t you turn back to Jesus, and reclaim your first love? Do your first works over again. Then, He will say to you, “Welcome back to the war!”

BREAK THE HEAVINESS

The constant barrage of terrifying headlines and mainstreaming of perversion vexes the child of God.  These verses from Second Peter have never been more relevant than now: “and delivered righteous Lot, who was oppressed by the filthy conduct of the wicked 8 (for that righteous man, dwelling among them, tormented his righteous soul from day to day by seeing and hearing their lawless deeds)— 9 then the Lord knows how to deliver the godly out of temptations and to reserve the unjust under punishment for the day of judgment…” 2 Peter 2:7-9

Angry debates, violent rioting, filth paraded in the streets, Christian leaders renouncing their faith, persecution, and constant bad news can drain the sanity from our souls.

Not only this, but we are forced to keep all our enormous frustrations inside of us. While stupidity and wickedness get a megaphone—wisdom and righteousness get duct tape over their mouths.

These are the times that rob inner peace—that bring intense restlessness—that drain all the color and enjoyment from our life.

These are the times Jesus warned us of—and that He gave us direction for.

First He said, “And you will be hated by all for My name’s sake. But not a hair of your head shall be lost. By your patience possess your souls.” – Luke 21:17-19

Talk about mindless hate! Both the liberals and the feminists have incredible bias for Islam and sheer hatred for Christ and Christianity. It is mind-bending.  It makes zero sense.  Yet that is exactly the kind of irrational hatred our Lord predicted. It is weariness to believers who share their faith openly.

Then Jesus said, “But take heed to yourselves, lest your hearts be weighed down with carousing, drunkenness, and cares of this life, and that Day come on you unexpectedly. 35 For it will come as a snare on all those who dwell on the face of the whole earth.” (Luke 21:34)

The dumbest thing anyone ever said to me was, “When you come to Jesus, your problems are over.”  I never had problems until I met Jesus!  I kept wondering, “Why am I being attacked?  Why am I being shot at from all directions?  Why do I meet stiff resistance every time I try to do something meaningful for Jesus?”

Does this sound familiar? You walk through life, minding your own business and wham!  A co-worker rages at you for no reason. Money evaporates.  Your health fails.  Loved ones abandon God.  Someone makes an irrational defense for wickedness. A confluence of demonic attacks falls on you.  Life has never felt so cruel and unfair.

At the apex of one of these attacks, something happened to me.  A terrifying thought became a glorious thought, “SOMEBODY IS MAD AT JESUS, AND THEY ARE TAKING IT OUT ON ME!”  Suddenly, I felt qualified to fight back. And I felt profoundly honored.

Think about it!  A soldier does not go to war because he has a personal grudge against the enemy.  He didn’t declare war—his nation did.  He is not responsible for the battle plan—the military is.  He is not paying his own way to the war—his government is.

Let’s take a look at the things that are not the soldier’s responsibility:  The training he needs; the weapons he uses; the food and shelter he requires; the assignments he receives—these, and a host of other things, are not his responsibility.

“What soldier ever serves at his own expense?” (1 Cor. 9:7) “…No soldier gets entangled in civilian pursuits, since his aim is to please the one who enlisted him.” (2 Tim. 2:4)

The soldier does not create the organized army.  He does not carry the weight of how the war will be won. If he sits in the foxhole feeling alone and unfairly attacked, it is because he has forgotten who he is and why he is being attacked.  He has taken the battle into his own hands!

But when he remembers that he was recruited—when he recalls that he is not alone, but part of a victorious army, and all he is called to do is obey orders, it changes everything!

When we take the attack personally, we lose hope.  But, when we say, “The battle is not mine, it’s God’s,” we cannot be defeated.  Let’s stay out of things that do not concern us.  Let’s keep our conflict in the hands of God.  We must discern when we are operating in our own strength and by our own wits.

Remembering your attacks are not personal is plainly seen in these verses where Jesus speaks about conditions in the last days:  Luke 21:12 “But before all this occurs, there will be a time of special persecution, and you will be dragged into synagogues and prisons and before kings and governors for My name’s sake. 13 But as a result, the Messiah will be widely known and honored.  14 Therefore settle it in your hearts not to meditate beforehand on what you will answer; 15 for I will give you a mouth and wisdom which all your adversaries will not be able to contradict or resist.

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When they were arrested, it felt personal. When they were dragged to court, it felt personal.  But when they were asked to speak, it became God’s battle and Christ was glorified!  He gave them the words and the courage to speak.  He even told them not to prepare words beforehand.  That means that we are not to devise ways of fighting back.  It means we will get what we need, when we need it.

Paul experienced the same thing: Philippians 1:12 “But I want you to know, brethren, that the things which happened to me have actually turned out for the furtherance of the gospel…”

Right now we have a presidential election that embodies everything that is wrong with our nation.  It is a hair-pulling, maddening, terrifying, and draining moment for believers. We must put the battle back in God’s hands and let Him replenish our peace and our joy.

Never forget! We have the best message humanity has ever heard, and the best Book ever written.   We have the best Captain in the universe!  We have the all-powerful Holy Spirit, Who has been sent to aid us.   We have access to power, strategy, and wisdom.  All of this, and more, will direct our fighting.

Is someone mad at Jesus, and are they taking it out on you?  What an honor!  What an opportunity!  Whenever Satan comes at you, let Jesus come at him!

The first time an angel stares at you in heaven with wonder and admiration for your service to Christ, you will know why your trials were worth it all.  The first time you hear Jesus say, “Well done, good and faithful servant,” you won’t remember the suffering, the trials, or the battles.

No wonder Paul said, “For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.”  -Romans 8:18

Hallelujah!  –