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Wednesday, October 26, 2016

All About the Judges: Who Should the Christian Vote For?

Today's Reading:
  • Judges 1:1 - 2:23
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Judges 1:1 - 2:23
Today's reading is the first from the book of Judges. This is an extremely relevant book in face of the upcoming general election. How so? Well, it starts, of course, with the Israelites. The Israelites conquered the land promised to them, but they failed to conquer it completely, therefore disobeying their instructions and leaving them open to strife. In verse 2:8, we learn that Joshua had died at the age of 110. Soon, that entire generation passed, and an ungodly one grew up in its place. This left the people vulnerable to attack and defeat, for the Lord was not pleased with them.

In verse 2:16, we learn that the Lord raised up judges to rescue the Israelites. We are told that the Lord was with each judge he appointed, and that during each judge's lifetime, the Lord rescued the Israelites from their enemies (2:18). We are further told that, at the death of each judge, the people's evil ways would return and they would once again defy the Lord (2:19).

I believe that the judges would intercede for the people with the Lord, thus retaining His protection. These judges were the highest powers in the land, and they revered the Lord. Here in our present time, the United States is in a state of turmoil. We are seeing the shift of this nation from being a godly nation, to a nation where the Lord is being slowly kicked out. That scares me.

It is my opinion that the most important issue of this election are the judges. It is expected that the next president will appoint up to 4 supreme court justices. The outcome will be a supreme court that is either skewed toward conservatism, or towards liberalism. That means that the next generation of laws that pass through our land will be heavily influenced by which president is elected.

So where do we want our country to go? This election is difficult in that both candidates are not very likeable, and both have abhorrent personality traits. Maybe this is Satan's influence to push the Christians to either (1) not vote; or (2) vote for the wrong candidate. Is there a wrong candidate? My answer is absolutely. As a Christian, I can not vote for things like legal abortions and same sex marriage. These things do not line up with the bible that I have read (at this point, cover to cover, multiple times through).

I am not voting for a candidate at this point. I am voting for our supreme court. A conservative supreme court. A supreme court that will help us to turn our faces back to God as a nation. A supreme court that will help intercede our case with the Lord. A supreme court that will buy us more time as a nation. I don't want to be a part of the nation that falls. Throughout the bible, we see this pattern. I am praying that we turn back now, before it's too late.

Please vote. Don't be discouraged as a Christian because both candidates have such poor personality traits. Remember that God can work through anyone. Yes - the Lord could even work through Hillary. But as Christians, if we are not voting, if we are not standing up to keep the Lord in our nation, then we are part of the problem.

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Perseverance for the Godly (Words from Proverbs)

Today's Reading:
  • Proverbs 13:30 - 25
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Proverbs 13:12 - 25
Today's reading has a few different themes. Verse 13:20 starts off by telling us that those who walk with the wise will become wise, and those who associate with fools will get in trouble. Do you want more wisdom in your life? I know I do, especially after reading all the wonderful proverbs about how wisdom gives us life. The answer is simple - one of the ways you can gain wisdom is by associating yourself with those who are wise. Surround yourself with wise and godly people, and your perspective on life might change.

Verse 23 talks about injustice when it says that a poor person's farm may produce an abundance of food, but injustice sweeps it away. I see this as both literal and figurative. I see literal references -- especially when I hear cases of the government forcing metric tons of crops to be dumped and destroyed, in order to leave room for import items. It is sickening to see that forced waste.  Figuratively, the poor person is often persecuted unjustly. They can't afford to fight battle, and therefore some will use their power to walk all over them. All we can do is keep the Lord in our sight, and never give up faith or hope.

Verses 21, 22, and 25 specifically address sinners. We are told that troubles chase sinners, the sinner's wealth passes to the godly, and that the belly of the wicked go hungry. On the contrary, blessings reward the righteous, good people have wealth left over to pass to their grandchildren, and the godly eat to their heart's content. I know these verses might seem to be full of contradictions. After all, how many extravagantly rich sinners do we see? How often do we see the "bad" person persevere, while the "good" one struggles? There are more important things than what we see on this earth. We are in an endurance race to the end of our lives, the reward of which is eternal life with the balances restored. Don't let anyone - and certainly not the unbeliever - rob you of your end goal. All of this is not for naught. God is real, Heaven is real, and eternal life with our Lord and Savior is real. Those who struggle yet remain righteous will prosper for all of eternity. Our years on earth feel long yet fleeting at the same time; just remember they are but a drop in the bucket to all eternity.


Sunday, October 16, 2016

Are we in the End Times?

Today's Reading:
  • Luke 21:1 - 22:13
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Luke 21:1 - 22:13
I find chapter 21 to have confusing timelines. This is because Jesus tells of two prophecies that are separated by a vast amount of time. I had to do some research to see if I understood these passages correctly. It seems that versus 5-24 are talking about the destruction of the temple and Jerusalem, as well as the severe persecution of Christians. These prophecies would occur in the near future, and be reported in the book of Acts.

In verse 9, Jesus declares "but the end won't follow immediately". In verse 25, Jesus starts to talk to about His second coming. Jesus warns there will be strange signs in the sky, as well as roaring seas and strange tides. The nations will be under turmoil, and that people will be terrified of what they see coming upon the Earth. In verse 27, Jesus says: "Then everyone will see the Son of Man coming on a cloud with power and great glory."

Jesus then tells us to stand up and look when these things start to happen. He goes on to talk about how fig trees, or any tree, gives signs as summer is coming. And when we see these things start to take place, that we can be assured the time is near. We should stand watch, and not be caught off guard.

Do I believe we are living in the end times? I am unsure. I certainly haven't studied enough of the bible to know (yes, I have read the bible in its entirety, but that is not the same as studying, and I have trouble placing timelines and such). I kind of feel like everyone, since the time Jesus died on the earth and was resurrected, has felt that the second coming is near. I do not know personally what all the signs are. I know that we have many terrible disasters, earthquakes, tidal waves, devastating happenstances. But I wonder, do we have more of those than before? Or, are we just more knowledgeable of affairs of the world?

I know that Daniel 12:4 talks about the increase of knowledge in the world at the end times. I definitely see that as happening right before our eyes, right this very second. We can see what is happening in another country in real time. That is just amazing to me, considering how news used to travel. Stories can be propagated throughout the entire world in minutes from the time they are written. And who needs a doctor these days? You can google and solve it yourself in a few minutes. The answer is always cancer, by the way (sarcasm intended - but you get my point). People used to have to find other people who had knowledge on a subject, and today you have an unlimited amount of knowledge at your fingertips. Literally at your fingertips. How many of us have smart phones? Little computers that go with us everywhere. Yes, knowledge has greatly increased. And for that, I am leaning towards believing that we are in the end times.

Whether or not we are in the end times, our action is to remain the same - be ready, be alert, be looking for the Lord. Never be caught unawares.

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

As for Me and My Family, We Will Serve the Lord

Today's Reading:
  • Joshua 24:1 - 33
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Joshua 24:1 - 24:33
The book of Joshua ends with Joshua's death at the ago of 110 (24:29). Before he died, Joshua summoned the people one last time. Joshua gave them a message from the Lord, in which the Lord reiterated all the mighty deeds he had done for His people. He talked about the lines of Isaac and Jacob (24:4), He talked about the plagues sent down on Egypt (24:5). He talked about the parting of the Red Sea for escape (24:7). He talked about the victory over the Amorites (24:8), Balak (24:10), and Jericho (24:11).

Joshua then warns the people that may must choose which god to worship. The decision to worship the Lord should be made wholeheartedly (24:14). Should the people turn away and worship other Gods, they would be abandoned by the Lord (24:20). Joshua also gave this famous verse:
But as for me and my family, we will serve the Lord. (24:15).
The people of Israel agreed to worship the Lord, and were faithful throughout the rest of Joshua's life, and the life of the elders who outlived him. Joshua died peacefully and was buried in his allocated land.

Verse 24:15 speaks dearly to me. It does not matter what the world says. It does not matter what the nation says. It does not matter what my neighbor says. It does not matter what my friend says. It does not matter what my brother says. But as for me and my family, we will serve the Lord.

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Let God Not Forsake Us

Today's Reading:
  • Psalm 89
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Psalm 89
This psalm starts with great praise to the Lord. We are reminded that the Lord's unfailing love endures forever (89:2), and that He will sit on his throne from now and throughout eternity (89:4). We are then reminded of the Lord's covenant with David. Although the Lord made a covenant with David, He also warned the people that disobedience would result in punishment (89:32). The psalm then moves into a story of despair - a denounced king (89:39), and a people who are wholly vulnerable and defeated. The psalm ends with a plea that the Lord would swoop in and rescue his people. The psalmist reminds God that his life is very short (89:47) and not to forsaken him.

I don't ever want to feel the Lord's wrath like this. I can't imagine what it would be like to live every day, knowing that you were living out the Lord's punishment against you. All throughout the old testament I've seen God dealing punishment in terms of entire nations. It makes me worry for my nation, as we fall further and further from the Lord. As our government dictates that every religion but Christianity should be celebrated and protected. As the White House lights up in rainbow colors - God's promise - in celebration of marriage covenants that the Lord would not sanction. As ten commandment markers are removed from courthouse lawns. As local businesses are ruined because they don't want to do something against their beliefs; yet businesses that stand on other religions are not touched. As marines are brought up on charges for leaving an open bible on their desks.

I feel our freedom slipping away, large chunks at a time. Little by little Satan infiltrates the Christian mind. We are conditioned to think that sin is normal and should be embraced. After all, it's all about "love". We are being desensitized and pulled away from the holy life God has called us to live.  Please pray for our country, and vote for our leadership. Those are the two things that we as Christians can do. We are NOT a minority in the US, yet we are letting these things be taken away from us. If we stood together, and with the help of the Lord, we could take back our nation. Our Lord is far mightier than Satan and the work being done against our nation. Please pray for your nation, pray for its leaders, and vote.