ALERT! WE’RE NOT DONE, CHURCH.

 

Praise God, the election is over but isn’t the time for the Church to rest. When Moses finally got the people to the Promised Land after 40 years of desert wandering, he sent in 12 scouts who reported back that enemies were deeply entrenched (Numbers 13:26-29). They’d finally arrived, but the real work of retaking the Land of Canaan was about to begin.

 

The last 8 years, and especially the last 4, have been a time of unprecedented wickedness in our country. Way back in the 1st century, the Apostle Paul revealed to us that Satan is the God of this world who blinds the minds of unbelievers from seeing illuminating truth of Jesus Christ (2 Corinthians 4:4). This regretful state comes about when a nation/people reject the God of the Hebrew-Christian Bible and turn to “other gods”…in the modern Western sense, one of those “other gods” is the secular-progressive movement and its ideals.

 

In the last 4 years this movement has, as they promised to do, “fundamentally changed America.” For the first time in human history same-sex marriage was legalized and openly celebrated by the administration in power.

 

Following on the heels of that ruling a madness seemed to overtake the country: people began to proclaim things that, in the past, would have probably had them committed to a psychiatric center. Go start a new Facebook page right now and when you get to the part where you have to select a gender there are several options, some of which you have look up in an online up to date dictionary. Entertainer Miley Cyrus, for example, refers to herself as a “pansexual”…I confess I don’t even know what that is. Calls for the legalization of polygamy have already been made, and there are even some incestuous unions coming together. To go even further adults began identifying as kids, others as animals, and Planned Parenthood sold human fetal body parts for profit.

 

The Lord states in His Bible that when a nation falls away from Him too far, they’re given over to “madness”:

 

Deuteronomy 28:28 (NKJV) “The LORD will strike you with madness and blindness and confusion of heart.”

Madness, blindness, and confusion of heart…most certainly what has been taking place in our country for awhile now, and especially the last 4 years. If we continue down that path, there’s an even more severe state of mind a people/nation can fall into:

Romans 1:28 (NKJV) “And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a debased mind, to do those things which are not fitting;”

 

Romans 1 explains that the debased (other translations say “reprobate”) mind comes about from suppression & denial of God’s truth on both the inside and the outside. Signs of this are societal promotion and practice of sexual immorality (homosexuality, adultery, fornication, bestiality, incest), identification with animals, and more…all of which have rapidly increased in both practice and acceptance in the USA in the last 4 years.

 

So the way I see the election result is this: we’ve gotten back to the Promised Land but the place is inhabited by entrenched enemies who have no intention of being uprooted. Those enemies are not people, but rather the deceiving ideals and evil forces who created those ideals:

Ephesians 6:12 (NKJV)
12  For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.

 

WHAT THE CHURCH CAN DO.

 

#1. PRAY FOR TRUMP & PENCE. I know it’s a cliché to say that someone needs to be prayed for, so let’s bring it to the next level. Let’s have regular prayer meetings where we intercede on behalf of our leaders.

 

1 Timothy 2:1-4 (NKJV)
1  Therefore I exhort first of all that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks be made for all men,
2  for kings and all who are in authority, that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and reverence.
3  For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior,
4  who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.

 

If you read those 4 verses, Paul links prayer for authority figures directly with Jesus, Truth & Salvation. Many evangelical pastors of good repute are saying that Trump received Jesus as his Savior so we should be praying for him to go deeper in his relationship with Christ, being sanctified holy and receiving wisdom from the Father of Lights. Let’s pray that Trump stands for and desires to pass laws that bear witness to Biblical truth such as the restoration of God’s definition of marriage, protection of the unborn, and protection of Israel and the Church.

 

#2: TAKE A STAND FOR BIBLICAL TRUTH. It’s time to cast out fear! Fear of persecution, reputation, labelling, losing your job/business, or even family. The Church has stood back and silently watched these last 8 years as good was called evil and evil was called good. It’s passively allowed sinful laws to be passed which has only birthed more evil in our country. Pastors are afraid to say anything because some in their congregation’s might leave which means less tithes to support their churches. Some lay Christians know what the Scripture says and believe it, yet fear to speak up about such issues for fear of alienating family, friends, and coworkers.

 

According to statistics there are 100 million evangelicals in the USA which is roughly 1/3rd of our entire population. Yet the Church has been losing the culture and political war: education, family, entertainment/arts, government, and even within the church itself. We’re saving souls but losing the soul of America to ungodliness.

 

This same fear existed in Jesus’ day: people choosing Him were outcast from family and synagogue and our Lord said:

Matthew 16:25-26 (NKJV)
25  For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it.
26  For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul?

 

It’s time for us to stop worrying so much about our own lives and to start speaking God’s truth in love:

2 Timothy 1:7 (NKJV)
7  For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.

 

#3: UNIFY. I can’t believe I’m going to say this, but I *admire* the unity I see within the secular-progressive movement. One of the reasons they’ve gotten so much accomplished is their uncanny ability to band together and fight passionately for their cause. Meanwhile, the Church is fighting with each other over the timing of the Rapture or whether tithing is for New Testament believers or not.

 

The famous 2 Chronicles 7:14 isn’t for the world or the USA…it’s for the CHURCH. Let’s read it:

 

2 Chronicles 7:14 (NKJV)
14  if My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land.

 

Look at the part I underlined: God is saying MY people and not just anyone. His people are identified because they’re called by His name, like family members. The Apostle Paul revealed that when Jesus becomes our Savior, we’re accepted into His beloved family (Ephesians 1:6). We’re now new creations made in the likeness of Christ (2 Corinthians 5:17).

 

We need to turn from our worldly and wicked ways, Church. Repent and recognize that God has called us to be holy as He is holy (1 Peter 1:15). We cannot change the world when we talk, believe, and act just like them. We were meant to be SEPARATE (Sanctified) from the world in the way we live and the things we do and say. The unbelievers in our country should be looking at us as if we were a bit strange, even making remarks (compliments or snarky) that we don’t curse, we go to Church every Sunday, pray before a meal, look to the Bible as our written source of truth, talk about Jesus, share the Gospel, refrain from drunkenness, and save sex for marriage between one man and one woman.

 

In a nationwide repentance of the Church we would instantly cast aside our petty, fleshly disputes about whether its pre, mid, or post or whether speaking in tongues is for today or yesteryear. We would recognize and live the far greater truth spoke of in the Scriptures:

 

1 Corinthians 12:12-13 (NKJV)
12  For as the body is one and has many members, but all the members of that one body, being many, are one body, so also is Christ.
13  For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body--whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free--and have all been made to drink into one Spirit.

 

If the American Church ever unites, we’ll be the most powerful force on earth. We would be the Light of the World Jesus declared us to be, a shining city on a hill. We would be like the armies of Joshua, crossing the Jordan river lead by the Priests carrying the Ark of the Covenant, causing our enemies to tremble before us.

 

If the recent election has shown us anything, it’s that anything can happen…and of course with God, all things are possible (Matthew 19:26). Through the power of the Holy Spirit working through us, we could stop the murder of innocent unborn children in our country. We could reestablish God’s definition of marriage as being the only one. Even more, we could return our country to being one that acknowledges Jesus as Lord and worships Him as we once did.

Psalm 33:12 (NKJV)
12  Blessed is the nation whose God is the LORD, The people He has chosen as His own inheritance.

 

 

 

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Movie Review: "Killing Jesus"

MOVIE REVIEW: “Killing Jesus” (book of the same name written by Bill O’Reilly and Martin Dugard)

 

I really wanted to like this movie and sat down last night to watch it with positive anticipation and some trepidation. Why the latter? I am a Christian and accepted God’s call to become a pastor because, years ago, Jesus revealed to me Who He really was and is and what He wants for all of humankind. Since that time, I like it whenever His true identity and plans are displayed for the world to see and hear whether from the pulpit, a movie, a song or what have you. I like it when Christ is preached because He is the only hope for this world that continues to whirlpool downward into the Abyss.

Who is Jesus? He was and is God made flesh (God’s Son) and the Messiah for Jew and Gentile alike (Matthew 16:16). From the moment He was born into this world as a man 2,000 years ago He knew what His divine purpose was and always walked with 100% faith and knowledge in the plan He and His Father God created. He was filled with the Holy Spirit and flowed in the fruits of the Spirit constantly. He had faith so as to move mountains and came to restore the Kingdom of His Father God in Heaven…here on earth. In God’s Kingdom there is no sickness, no death, no sorrow, nor pain or crying. There is only the ever present love and joy of God and everlasting life (Revelation 21:1-7).

 

The miracles of Jesus were paramount because it was Him manifesting His Father’s Heavenly Kingdom here on earth. Reversing the curse of sin and death that we inherited from Adam’s blunder in the Garden of Eden, and restoring that which was lost.

Now enter the movie “Killing Jesus” based on the book by Bill O’Reilly and Martin Dugard. Let me qualify something before I continue with my review: I watch The O’Reilly Factor every night and agree with the vast majority of O’Reilly’s views. When he first wrote “Killing Jesus” he made it clear it was *not* meant to be a religious book, but merely a historical one. He went on to admit that while he and his co-author thoroughly checked many historical records, the Bible was *not* among them and not used as reference material whatsoever.

I have not read O'Reilly's book but the results of the movie, in a nutshell, is this: Jesus, John the Baptist and some of the disciples have very strong faith & passion in the Scriptures and what they were preaching. It was this passion that inspired others to follow Jesus and become His disciples. He claimed to be and fully believed that He was the Son of God and some people believed Him while others did not.

The movie portrays Jesus starting out as someone who is a religious Jew, but knowing nothing about Who He is. Therefore He takes some convincing by John the Baptist and His fast in the desert…and it’s only after the combo of these two things that He believes He’s God’s Son and was sent to share the Gospel. Until that time, He’s uncertain and confused….

Even after He accepts His identity and purpose, His recruitment of the other disciples is Him relying merely upon His own beliefs and passion to convince Peter and the boys to sign up. His first attempt to preach is a dismal failure, only gathering a few people who jeer at Him then walk away. In general, the movie shows Jesus to be just a man with really strong beliefs and the ability to persuade others. It implies that His main mission was social reform of both the religious and governmental institutions of His day.

If even any one of these things are true, then the Christian faith is in really big trouble and there is nothing for us to have faith in except ourselves. There was not one miracle portrayed in the movie…and if you watched it and respond “yes there was! The fish coming into the net happened twice!” In a live interview with O’Reilly about those very scenes he stated that it was *not* a miracle that Jesus caused, merely a corroborated historical fact.

If Jesus really isn’t God made flesh—but merely thought He was with great passion (as the movie implies)—then the Cross was for nothing and there was no resurrection. There was no ascension to heaven 40 days later and there will be no Second Coming. What that means for you and I who are devout Christians is that our sins are still on us, we’re not Saved, and have no hope (1 Corinthians 15:12-19).

When Jesus first approached the disciples and said “follow Me” there was something about Him that went way beyond human charisma that caused them to drop what they were doing and go with Him…right then and there. When He preached the famous Sermon on the Mount a large crowd gathered and “marveled” at His preaching, proclaiming one to another afterward “this man speaks with authority, not like the scribes.” (Matthew 7:28-29)

The reason Jesus commanded the full attention of everyone He spoke to was that He was God made flesh, with the Holy Spirit living inside of Him. His words carried far greater power than even the most gifted public speaker could ever hope to match and the people who heard Him speak could discern (the word they used was “authority”). It was the same Holy Spirit flowing through Him that caused the disciples to leave their families behind and give up everything to follow Christ (Mark 1:18-19).

The miracles mattered…a great deal. It wasn’t just a display of power…the miracles were specific to the Scriptures and were signs that the Jewish people had been seeking for centuries. They were brought up in the Synagogue hearing verses that promised the coming Kingdom…where all things that had been lost by Adam’s disobedience would be restored. Here were the main signs the people were looking for:

Isaiah 35:4-6 (NKJV)

4  Say to those who are fearful-hearted, "Be strong, do not fear! Behold, your God will come with vengeance, With the recompense of God; He will come and save you."
5  Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened, And the ears of the deaf shall be unstopped.
6  Then the lame shall leap like a deer, And the tongue of the dumb sing.


Therefore Jesus started off His first sermon like this: “Repent! The Kingdom of Heaven is at hand!” (Matthew 4:17). Immediately after doing so, He backed up His verbal assertion by causing the blind to see, the deaf to hear, paralyzed people got up and walked, and people who couldn’t talk were able to speak again. Thousands believed in Him not just because of displays of power, but the specific miracles that He did that confirmed that the Kingdom was finally manifesting on earth as it is in Heaven. Even those who were skeptical of Him being the Messiah proclaimed that those miracles would accompany the Messiah (John 7:31).

His power and authority over evil demonic spirits was unprecedented. For millennia demonic spirits had plagued mankind and even the heavy hitters like Moses, Elijah and Isaiah couldn’t do nothing about it. Yet in walks Messiah Jesus and not only do the demons acknowledge Him as the Son of God and beg Him for mercy, but they do everything He commands. (Luke 8:26-33)

 

Israel is under the Old Covenant of the Law which demanded perfection in order to obtain righteousness. Jesus—being God in the flesh—was able to fulfill the Law and therefore be the perfect sacrifice for the sins of the rest of us who have no hope of mimicking Him (Matthew 5:17). He paid the price for all our sins with His death on the Cross, then became the firstfruits of everlasting life when He rose from the dead 3 days later in brand new body. He then offered this wonderful packaged deal to all of us…for free. All we need do is believe that He is God in the flesh, our Lord and our Savior! All we need do in receive His offer and receive Him! We need to recognize that we cannot obtain righteousness on our own, but that we need Him!

The movie’s portrayal of Jesus dashes all that hope because it shows Him to be nothing more than a really passionate religious guy who persuaded others to follow Him and caused some trouble for the religious and secular authorities.

The real Jesus is much better. He is the hope and Light of this dark world! He is the only path to true righteousness! He is the only Way our relationship with Father God can be restored and that we can go live with God after this mortal shell expires! He is Life! He is the Word Who was with God and is God and by Him all things were made! His Light shown into the darkness and the darkness fled!

Movie Review: "Exodus Gods and Kings"

After you read this blog, please feel to post your comments below...thanks!

03/21/15
 

MOVIE REVIEW

Exodus: Gods and Kings

(film by Ridley Scott)

 

When the “Noah” movie came out starring Russell Crowe, many of my fellow Christians talked about how unbiblical it was, not accurately portraying Noah or his story as the Bible put it forth. Yet, there was a lot less talk when it comes to “Exodus: Gods & Kings” a film by Ridley Scott starring Christian Bale as Moses.

 

If you’re a Christian who regards the Bible as God’s inerrant and inspired word (2 Timothy 3:16) like I am and you’re looking/hoping this film makes an effort to exalt God in any form, you will be sorely disappointed. If you’re anything like me, you will shout “wrong!” or “wow really?!” several times during the film and conclude—at the end—that it’s almost 3 hours of your life that won’t get back.

 

What about the non-Christians who are just looking to be entertained and couldn’t care less about biblical accuracy?

The movie takes place in 21st century America…it just so happens that the backdrop is ancient Egypt. The costumes and landscape of the film were likely accurate, but all the characters act more like modern Americans who can’t wait to get back to playing Candy Crush Saga. Ancient Egypt was a land steeped in their mystery religion and superstitions, but the characters in Scott’s film (including the “religious” high priestess) act more like it’s all some big dog and pony show…not something that anyone takes seriously. Moses is worst of all, an atheist modernistic thinker who constantly calls for reliance on reason and logic. He clearly despises faith of any kind and condescends toward anyone who does.

The character development—of all the characters—is so shallow that a Smurf would have a hard time taking a bath. Moses is an alpha male who spends the first three-fourths of the movie as an angry, red faced, sword wielding war monger who yells a lot. God shows up as an 8 year old kid who argues with Moses, and Moses argues—and yells—at him. They debate like two impassioned philosophers but since the god-kid is more powerful things are going to go his way. At one point whilst forming the 10 commandments, “god” wants to make sure Moses “agrees” with his plan before proceeding. Huh? The god-kid also gives unsatisfactory answers and doesn’t seem to have all the answers…he’s just a really powerful being whose going to give some miraculous things a try and see if they work. He’s also a petulant, hard, impatient and vengeful “god.”

I confess that I’m biased in several ways. I’m still in glassy-eyed love with the classic “The Ten Commandments” by Cecille B. DeMille. Although DeMille certainly took some creative license, his rendition was far more bible-based than Scott’s film. It placed the emphasis on God, God’s plan and God’s power just as the Bible does. Moses, Aaron & Joshua were honored to be tools that God worked to free His people and set them off toward the Promised Land.

In Scott’s film, all that is lacking. God is mentioned a few times and certainly performs some miracles but the spotlight is humanistic to the core. The Hebrews aren’t God’s people, they’re Moses’ people. The god-child character never once expresses any love for the Hebrew people nor any desire to set them free. He never once speaks confidently and lovingly of His grand plan for them. After performing some miracles starting with crocodiles attacking humans and each other (thus turning the Nile River to blood), the god-child backs off and leaves the rest to Moses whose already been teaching the Hebrews to fight with bow and sword and leading them to commit terrorist-style bombings.

Until the very end, we never get a sense that Moses loves the Hebrews or has any heartfelt connection to them whatsoever…therefore his character is completely unsympathetic. I still recall getting choked up in “Schindler’s List” when Oscar Schindler—a Nazi—feels and shows compassion for the suffering of the Jewish people and then begins to act upon it. That performance catapulted Liam Neeson to stardom! No such thing from Christian Bale’s Moses, who remains hard, prideful, disconnected and bossy up until the very end when he finally softens.

And the scene with Moses’ wife Zipporah…some will say it was romantic and I suppose it was. Twice in the movie he dedicates himself to her and in the beginning (before he meets God) that makes sense. He states to her that she’s the most important thing in the world to him and his reason for living. It was that way in the DeMille classic too…right up until Charton Heston Moses meets God.

I can still remember how profoundly that scene affected me when I first saw it and to this day: Charlton Heston Moses ascends Mt. Horeb as a regular guy, and comes back down totally sold out to God. God is now the most important person in His life and God’s plan takes precedent over all…including his wife and kids. Later on when Zipporah is arguing with Moses’ former Egyptian girlfriend who is angry that Moses chose Zipporah over her, Zipporah replies “he’s as lost to me as he is to you.” Meaning: Moses is totally sold out to God.

 

As a Bible believing Christian, “Exodus: Gods and Kings” is so full of biblical errors and outright blasphemies it’s 3 hours of my life I won’t get back. One star!

 

 

 

 

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