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2017 Weekly Prevailing Word #43

TREMENDOUS TRUTH FOR THESE TERRIBLE DAYS

“Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on him, ‘If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed; And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free’.”   John 8:31-32

This oft-misquoted Scripture is NOT just ‘the truth shall make you free;’ no, notice the context – “If ye continue… (remain, abide, dwell) …in my Word” – then you will know liberty-delivering truth!  Neither is this passage for all believers, but again only to those who will “…continue in my Word…”.   I’ve found in over 38 years of ministry many people who say they are Christians don’t really believe the absolute veracity of the Word of God or understand it’s significance to our very existence

The necessity of continuing in the Word holds more importance with each passing year – especially for our country.  With the possibility of the words “under God” being eliminated from the Pledge to our flag; the audacity of activist judges removing the Ten Commandments from public buildings, America is in trouble.  Now, in times gone by, we have had un-elected judges in Massachusetts decreeing a politically correct edict of legalizing homosexual marriages.  Mark my words, this issue not going away.  The agenda of foes of traditional marriage will ‘continue in their words’ until their last breath.  Does anyone remember the fall of the Roman Empire began with a turn to such as this?

In light of today’s Prevailing Word, where are those who continue in the Word?

I used to teach the Bible to a group of incarcerated juveniles several times each week.  Many of these teenagers come to us unsaved, but become born again as they hear the Word ministered.  Last week, as I was teaching on the subject of ‘judging righteous judgment’ from John 7:24, the subject of homosexual marriages came up.  “If it’s so bad, why is it being legalized,” queried one young man?  I briefly explained from God’s Word HIS reasoning.  “But,” he continued, “If it makes them happy, why not just let them do it?”  Now here was a newly saved boy, but he had not yet continued in the Word to change his thinking about this sordid issue. 

But you know what?  I find there are many not-so-newly saved people who think just like him.  And that’s the problem; those who go to church, who name the Name of Jesus Christ, but who are not continuing in the Word.  They may claim to be believers, but in being a doer of the Word, they fall short.  Let’s take the young man’s thoughts and logically think through this issue…

God’s Word must be the basis of judging righteous judgment.  Said another way, to judge right we must use the standard of all judgment, the Word of God, for It is the only thing that is absolutely right.  So, if all things are OK based on whether or not something makes us happy, then there are no boundaries.  A person could be happy murdering their landlord because the landlord wanted his rent.  (This actually happened in San Antonio recently).  But the Right-eous Word of God still says, “Thou shalt not kill” (Ex 20:13).  Or your wife could be happy going to a motel with your best friend, (like probably happened last night somewhere in this area).  Yet the Right-eous Word proclaims, “Thou shalt not commit adultery,” (Ex 20:14).  Or how about if your employee lies to you because it made him happy to steal from your business.  Ex 20:15-16, “Thou shalt not steal.  Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor” remains.

Come on Christian, let’s “…continue in the Word…” until we grow up to the point that we base all our judgments on the Right-eous Word of God.  We love all homosexuals because Jesus died for that sin, just as He did for adultery, murder, theft and lying.  But only as we deliberate and decide, indeed judge every matter from a stance of God’s Word – and then vote that Right-eous decision – will we change our country.      

2017 Weekly Prevailing Word #42

AN IDEA LONG PAST DUE?

“Why do the nations rage, and the people plot a vain thing? The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the LORD and against His Anointed, saying, ‘Let us break their bonds in pieces and cast away Their cords from us’.”  Psalms 2:1-3

“…how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity! … there the LORD commanded the blessing…”   Ps133: 1;3

“It doesn’t look like homosexual marriage in the U.S. is something that can be reversed.  Americans seem resigned to just continue living with the concept of same-sex marriages.  Any pretense of a moral majority has long since gone.  And what we’re seeing politically and in the polls is that the Americans are very soft and will not make a stand.”  (Christian author and speaker Os Guinness of Trinity Forum recently to Associated Press)

What do you think here?  Since there is a people in our country with an agenda “against the LORD and against His anointed,” does Mr. Guiness have his finger on the pulse of Christian apathy in America?  Church, do we have a problem?  Do people who name Jesus Christ as Lord lack the resolve to turn our nation back to its once-moral moorings?  If so, within one generation American Christianity will be found in the ash heap of other once-great ideas; like land-line telephones or Model T Fords.           

Last week I received a letter from an Atascosa county concerned citizen.  “Dear Pastor Beams, I would like to share with you my concerns about the complacency of the Christian voter.  The major problem in our communities and our nation is the continued abuse and denial of Christian values and principles by the secular liberals in our country.”  Then turning to the source of the problem the letter continued, “We, the Christian citizen, will not run for public office, will not attend school board meetings, and many of us will not vote.  We cry out for change, but do nothing except wait for God’s interventionYes, we all agree that something needs to be done, but we are quick to look around for someone else to do it.  The reality is that change will never occur if we do not invoke it.  If we do not exercise our rights and become proactive in the political process, we will always be subject to the demands of others.  Remember, “rights are not taken away until they are first given away thorough neglect.” (from Lytle resident Mark Sherwood)  Wow!  I could not agree more. 

But the problem isn’t just at the national level.  Did anyone notice the 17 total votes cast recently for Lytle City Council?  Mark’s comments also underlined the result of low voter turnout at local elections.  Remarking this is an open invitation to “deception and corruption in our own backyard” that goes “unnoticed by the general public.”

So, what can we as Christians do?  Mark ended his letter with a seven-step plan to change the horizon of our country through a Christian-oriented grass-roots movement of unified churches.  Those plans included Christian involvement in the political process, voter registration, choosing Christian candidates from local churches, and finally supporting those candidates with a unified vote.  Let me repeat, I could not agree more! 

This is an idea long past due.  I would add just one thing more.  We need local pastors to get behind and motivate their congregations – overtly and definitively – from the pulpit.  I know a lot of pastors think that such political activity is unlawful from the sacred desk.  But I assure you there are a lot of things we pastors can do from the pulpit without breaking any current laws.  The point here is – as Christian leaders – pastors must lead!  Christian pastors took a stand in 1776, … isn’t it time for another revolution?

If you agree Mr. Sherwood’s idea is long past due, speak to your pastor, church leader, or Sunday School teacher.  They or anyone can contact me at 830-709-0900 or e-mail me at pastor.beams@prevailingword.org.  With Mark, we can once again harden our stand for Jesus Christ. 

2017 Weekly Prevailing Word #41

CHRISTIANS NEED A PARADIGM SHIFT

“…These that have turned the world upside down are come hither also;”   Acts 17:6

“…be not conformed to this world: be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind…”   Rom 12:2

Some time ago I was meditating Psalms 119:89, “Forever, O LORD, thy word is settled in heaven.”  And as I continually repeated this Scripture silently to myself, I received a revelation of the Heart of God.  From somewhere deep within my soul came the following words to my ‘never very lighting-fast’ mind.  “Yeah, and I’m waiting on you to settle it on earth!”   Wow! 

Friends, I can’t do anything about the entire planet, but I can settle some things where my feet are located on this sphere.  Far too many who name the Name of Jesus Christ as Savior, are living below the example of the excellence He has set for us.  Christian, to change our world we first have to change ourselves.  We need a paradigm shift! 

Again, ‘paradigm’ is defined: A set of concepts, assumptions, values, and practices that reveal our view of reality.  Said another way; the popular way of thinking that produces actions based on that thinking.  For example; profanity is popular in our society today.  When I was growing up, oh there were people who took the Lord’s Name in vain, but it was the exception rather than the rule.  Just notice those conversations around you on any given day, it’s blank this or God blank the other.  The cursing you hear is today’s paradigm – the popular way of thinking that produces actions – or in this case, the words of profanity.  And I could talk about perversion, rebellion to authority, or any number of paradigm shifts away from what is Godly to what is devilish.

But please notice from our Acts passage that there was a group of folks in that first century church who “turned” their world “upside down.”  Meaning they literally disturbed, upset, caused to drive out from home (comfort zone).  Christian, what are you doing to turn your part of the world upside down?  The Romans quote offers instruction…

1 – Demand to change our paradigm: “Be not conformed to this world…”  Refuse to allow yourself to be fashioned according to the council of this age with its whims and ways.  Don’t be so well-adjusted to this culture that you fit into it without thinking.  Christian, what you do without thinking is your paradigm.  If you have problems with uncontrolled anger, you know when you are going down the pathway to another explosion; but you don’t stop because that’s your paradigm.  If a certain person you have bitterness and resentment against enters the same restaurant you’re in; you won’t look at them.  You are acting out of your hurt and that’s your paradigm.  Or consider the temptation you stumble over continually.  That’s the sin of your lust-of-the-flesh paradigm.  So, we must change.

2 – Degree of paradigm change: “…but be ye transformed…”  Transformed means a drastic change.  Often, we humans are not honest with ourselves.  We pray, “Change me Lord,” but we don’t allow Him total access.  Like “Lord, deliver me from gluttony, but let me keep on eating.”  To change our world, we must first undergo a deep inner change!

3 – The Doing of our paradigm change: “…by the renewing of your mind…”  Literally meaning a total renovation or a change of quality (to the image of Christ).  When our church moved into an old dance hall to begin services, it needed total renovation.  There were walls to be torn down, and others built.  We had to scrub, sand, paint, and polish.  The rats, roaches, and scorpions had to go.  Many come to Jesus with dance hall thinking; needing renovation.  We must tear down some mental walls and get rid of the pests of past emotional scars/hurts.  To renovate our personal paradigm requires we change our thinking about God’s Word.  Christian – don’t miss this – “settle” the Word in your part of planet earth.  Then you’ll find your world will be “turned upside down.”