Love Demonstrated – Culture Wars – Should Christians be louder or quieter?

The place of integrity and conviction in our culture today has been almost eradicated as self-seeking agendas have been lifted up and established as the new ideal. The trumpeting of an “anything goes” morality has become so prevalent that it has become a chorus of millions all declaring they have the right to prey upon others, directly or indirectly, to make their own personal world better.

They say: It’s our own decision what we do, what we allow and who we victimize, so if you stand for a higher standard of what is right or wrong- then you are definitely the enemy.

But if you have bitter envy and self-seeking in your hearts, do not boast and lie against the truth. James 3:14

This massive group of people, because it has become so large, believes that because they have finally become the majority that somehow that makes their self-worship agenda… right, good and noble. This sickness has infected our world in every possible way, including the family, education, entertainment and politics. They literally have changed what is good to be called evil and what is evil to be called good. If a person were to have noticed this shocking evolution in our culture, that person surely has seen the rapid descent of morality and integrity as it’s picked up considerable speed these last few years.

Where is the Church?

The Church has been bullied. Told to be silent and accepting, until eventually the self-seeking agenda had penetrated the Body. Because of the consent to obey and be quiet, the Body of Christ now has a cancer. It is weak. It is without the power of God. It is no threat to evil. The Church has become the proverbial frog in the pot of boiling water and has not taken proper heed to consistently affect the world for Jesus Christ. Quietly the Body has cow towed to the rantings and threats to hurt and destroy it. Consequently , most pews are either empty or filled with faithless self-seeking members. Behold: the Church has begun the Great Falling Away.

For where envy and self-seeking exist, confusion and every evil thing are there. James 3:16

What can the Church do?

Essentially the Body of Christ has become like an ancient city in the Old Testament. It has been unfaithful to God. God warned and warned them. Now the Church’s enemies attack, ride in, kill them men, and take their women and daughters off to become slave wives. Wow. Harsh. Well it may be harsh but it can only be expected. If you don’t put a lock on your door and then lock it, you should not be surprised to find yourself robbed. The answer then? Lock the door? Well it’s not that easy. Locking the door now would just help you not to get robbed as easily again. The robbery has already taken place so a locked door will not bring back your stuff. This is a hard truth. Still you still need to stop the robberies.

Stop the invasions from happening.

Typically a person’s home, after being invaded by robbers, gets new better locks, maybe a security system and a form of self protection like mace. The person becomes vigilant, they do not leave their home door open and then go on vacation. Clearly the Church must do likewise and strengthen the House of God. Its people on alert and remaining vigilant. What does a fortified protected Church look like?

It’s about righteousness.

Righteousness in a culture comes from God. Righteousness sounds like a religious exercise in pretending to be holy or other dreadful thing- that is self-righteousness and that is not what we are talking about here. Righteous living is about dedication and true committed devotion to love God in every area of your life to the best of your ability with His help. In short, righteousness is Love. So, righteousness/love in a culture comes from the Lord’s direction and, as a result, the people who choose to live according to what has been declared by the Lord to be Good and not Evil. A people who choose God’s standard because they understand that He alone determines what is right and wrong. NOT US. Therefore, the integrity and conviction of the Lord that is evident in that body of people, begins to affect the world for Jesus Christ. How? Because it’s legit. It is true love.

How does the Church change the culture?

A silent weak Church allows the culture/world to change it. Self-seeking is a powerful force because it is “flesh” and man desires to indulge himself. To be vigilant against a powerful enemy, it stands to reason you must also become powerful. More powerful than your enemy. A strong Church walks righteous and teaches righteous living and declares the Truth of God… His love for all. The opposite of Love is selfishness. Not hate. Think about it for a moment. Self-seeking is the opposite of Love. So, as much as the current self-seeking (selfish) culture angrily shouts that the Church is hateful, the Church is actually represented by Love.  Jesus Christ is God’s love made manifest. The self-seeking culture is by definition- the opposite of Love.

What is Love then?

Love is more than a one word definition. The Lord describes it the best. Most notable in the statement that Love is “not self seeking” and “does not dishonor others” but the entire portion is often quoted, even to the point where we don’t hear it anymore. It is crucial that the Church stop what it is doing and re-examine each portion of the “love chapter” so each person understands their part in demonstrating and being Love.

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails. 1 Cor 13:4-8

It comes down to each one of us. Each one of us must endeavor to live Love and demonstrate this love and then declare the Truth of God: He loves all. He loves completely. He wants each person to be with Him.

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him (Jesus). Whoever believes in him (Jesus) is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son. This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but people loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that their deeds will be exposed. But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what they have done has been done in the sight of God. John 3

Stand up Church. Be alert. Be watchful. Be prayerful.

Walk in Love. Demonstrate what true Love is. Declare the Truth.

And again I say- Stand up Church!

 

Marriage: How to be married and protect it

When we first become engaged to the woman or man of our dreams, we envision a certain amount of perfection that will follow in our marriage. We see our life filled with smiles, laughter, passionate kisses, maybe some children. We don’t dare imagine life without a few little bumps in the road, because after all we are trying to be honest with ourselves.

What happens after we say “I Do” is where the rubber meets the road. All of our hopes and dreams we have separately, jointly and even unspoken ones… all join together. The brightness of a newly married life and romantic adventure wears off a bit. After years it may fade away completely.

Why would this happen? Why is it accepted as part of the way things are when you get married? We should automatically reject that lie and also then understand that marriage is a life long romance that requires us to be vigilant to guard it and our hearts. [Proverbs 4:23] The enemy of our souls is seeking to kill and destroy and our marriage, Christian Marriage, tops his list of things to destroy.

There are a lot of reasons why he does this. Mainly because marriage is holy before God and he hates everything called holy. Another big reason is that when we are married before the Lord, we are blessed, strong and bonded in unity. Literally that must make the devil’s skin crawl. When we remember all these things, we should stand a bit taller and be ever more committed to protect and strengthen our relationship with our husband or wife.

We know that satan prowls about like a hungry lion and breaking a godly marriage is pretty delicious to him. So, how can we strengthen and protect our marriage from that?

It takes a hard and focused stand on the issue. We must eliminate everything, yes every thing, that comes between the husband and wife relationship. If our marriage is full of bickering there is a struggle for power in the marriage. That will take some serious denying of your flesh and giving God control. If we are spending too much time or too much money on “things” or “hobbies” then cut that out too. Sensual movies, sensual books, victorias secret (soft porn!) have no place in your marriage. Ever. Don’t fool yourself if you think you are not affected by it. Your eyes & heart should only be for your sweetie. God’s word is clear on the matter.

Our children, according to scripture, are NOT ahead of our spouse. The Biblical order to your priorities is

1. God
2. Husband/Wife
3. Ourselves
4. Children
5. Other family, Friends, Serving in Church
6. Exterior world

When we are at worship practice 3 nights a week, playing video games or out with friends frequently, shopping for kicks, on the net chatting or facebooking, texting, at soccer practice & games, pta meetings, television, netflix and so on… we are spending way too much time NOT being married or a family. We have our priorities out of whack.

Of course then, the result is we will have a cascading failure of our marriage and family.
If we take the time to prioritize our walk- God first, Our husband or wife second- then our life will shift back into proper focus. No longer will chaos, busyness, fighting, power struggles, passive aggressive remarks and behavior, sexual problems in the bedroom and our children’s behavior plague us. All of these things do straighten out if we genuinely turn all of this over to the Lord. Sometimes it takes more time than we prefer, but that is part of healing oftentimes.

On the subject of our bedrooms, it is a taboo topic for some reason in the Church. Secret sin abounds in this area and many are hurt and broken-hearted. It is not a place to manipulate, coerce or avoid and make excuses. The marriage bed is pure and holy and good and safe. A place of trust and intimacy. God says so in Song Of Solomon, “Drink deeply!” Passion and romance are very good and He wants us all to have it. When we begin to treat our husband or wife like they are a treasure to us, with honor, with adoration, we will see a change. Make an diligent effort and do it regularly. Progress may be slow at first, but keep praying and keep up the good work. Your marriage is worth it. Every little step counts. If you need help, a fantastic book “The Love Dare” is a good resource.

Worship: What It Is and What It Isn’t

And so it begins…

The lights were half dimmed as a drummer positioned behind ten other musicians began to play a loud militant beat. The sound increased with fervency as the other band members joined in one by one. Finally the lead guitar begins a riff to which the dancing crowd shouts out and claps along. The stage lights change up when the lead singer begins to sing a song about the power of love. People stream down to the front to dance and hug their friends on the way down. Clasping their hand and bringing them along, the stage area fills up with dancing, jumping, spinning, clapping and whooping. The band plays on. [Read more...]