Pray, Pray, and Then Pray Some More!

        "No more teachers! No more books! No more teachers’ dirty looks!"


        Those are the words my friends and I used to say when we completed the last day of school before summer break. Great excitement filled our minds, as we thought about all the things we were going to do for the next 3 months or so. 

        Looking back on my school days, those teachers became my best friends though. The Vice Principal, Mr. McNaulty, who paddled me a time or two, became a good friend in my adult life. I ran into him at the mall in Dade County and, when he saw me (years after graduation), he said, "Eddie Hernandez, don't tell me. You are a minister. All of my worst kids become ministers." We had a good laugh and I thanked him for his direction in life. 

        My college music professor, Dr. Larry Zingale, became a father figure to me. After graduation, he called me every month to see how I was doing—right up to the time he died. I knew something was wrong when I had not heard from him in a number of months. To this day, I look back at many of the teachers, professors, and mentors in ministry as my heroes.

        Now, however, we live in a different time zone. I’m not saying that those who instruct our children are any less caring of their students. But something different has definitely crept into the classroom though. In our universities, colleges, and middle to high schools, there are teachers who feel the importance of shaping their students’ mindsets into the three Ds: depraved, disillusioned, and deluded.

        For example, there is a young lady I know who grew up in a conservative household that loved God, His Word, and His Church. Her first year of college seemed fine, as she made good friends (some of whom were believers). But, by the third year, this young person turned into a far left, unbelieving, anti-government, entitlement centered snowflake. After all, she was attending a Christian university with professors who were more committed to global warming than to Jesus Christ. Not to mention, the university’s Chapel worship centered around nearly everything but Jesus—Mohammed, Hare-Krishna, Moses, the Moon, the planet.  

        A few years ago, a Reformed Church in America college was looking for a new chaplain, so I recommended one of the finest Reformed pastors I knew. I was allowed in on the conference call with the board since they had some questions for me. Their final verdict was "He is too Evangelical. We are looking for someone who has a broader view of society." Too “Evangelical"? Give me a break!

        Another one of our Reformed colleges, meanwhile, decided to take more of a secular humanistic view toward education. When one of the students (a young ministerial candidate) visited our church, along with 14 of his fellow students, he told me, "I am forgetting about going into the ministry. I don't even know if I believe anymore." Another casualty of a once prominent college who honored Christ, and has now changed the course toward secularization.

        I have also interviewed a number of students from a local high school near the church. I asked them if they are seeing an increase in political dialogue in their school. They (with one voice) told me how their Homeroom teacher always makes her views clear to the students about what has been happening in America since the November 8, 2016 election. Her views are strongly socialistic, with a leaning towards communism.

        Let's move away from the theme of education now and see something terrible that is happening in the nation. Illinois currently requires all physicians to be on board favoring abortion. They require "Pro-life" doctors to recommend the murdering of the unborn. If a doctor fails to make the recommendation, he can lose his medical license and even face jail time. This is just another example of the persecution of believers in Christ.

        And what about Planned Parenthood? A Republican Senator from Maine has said that, if Planned Parenthood is removed from Federal funding, she will not support the new health bill. Did she forget what the political platform is for her party?

        By the way, have you ever taken the time to see what happens in the process of murdering the unborn in late-term abortions? Ever heard of pizza parties for those workers who meet their abortion quotas? Did you know that over 60 million babies have been murdered in the United States since the procedure became legal? Did you know that the niece of The Reverend Doctor Martin Luther King Jr., Rev. Alveda King is pro-life?

        Paid protestors, anyone??? A number of companies now have a policy to pay their employees full pay whenever they miss work to protest. In addition, there are a number of organizations that pay people to go out and create havoc in the streets whenever protests are taking place. Their response, concerning some of the violence at these protests, is "Our people can be quite passionate some times."

        So what can we do? We must commit to the high calling of praying for America. Pray for those in leadership over the nation, no matter which political party they represent. Pray for those cities that are unsafe for law-abiding citizens, like Chicago or Baltimore. Pray for a spiritual awakening in these cities. And pray that pastors in these cities develop some backbone and enter the battlefield.

        The power of the Gospel can bring change—yet that is going to mean leaving the comfort of the Sanctuary and getting out in the streets. Pray! Pray! And then pray some more!


Experiencing God

        The journey to experience God has been fruitful this summer, with more and more people getting on board. Our “One Thing Thought” for July: Everything in my walk with Christ; everything about knowing Him and experiencing Him; and everything about knowing His will depends on the quality of my love relationship with God.

        A love relationship with God is more important than any single factor in life.

        In Philippians 3:1, Paul said, "Finally, my brethren, rejoice in the Lord. For me to write the same things to you is not tedious, but for you it is safe." Safety, Security, and Steadfastness are in the minds of the American people. We all want to be safe and we certainly want to know we are secure.

        Still, we are being attacked on all fronts by secular humanism and a New Age mentality. Even our pulpits are being used to promote a New Age religion. A good example of that is the "Global Warming" religion that has captured the world, as political leaders and regular citizens bow their knees to worship the created, rather than the Creator. Paul warned us about the heretics, as seen below:

        1.) "Beware of dogs." In ancient times, dogs were scavengers feeding on garbage and filth and fighting among themselves. When Paul mentioned the word “dogs”, he was referring to those who supposedly preach and teach the Word, as there are false teachers, pastors, and leaders of the church.

        Isaiah 56:10 calls them "The watchmen of the blind." In Philippians 1:16, Paul says, "The former preach Christ even from envy and strife." I attended a meeting of some 100 pastors, who proclaimed a "search for truth." My response was, "We are men and women who are called ‘Ministers of the Word and Sacrament’, and now you want to know what ‘truth’ is?"

        Meanwhile, the Sun Sentinel newspaper published an article that featured a Reformed pastor and asked him, “What does the church and its leaders stand for now?" This pastor was quoted as saying, "Many of us don't believe in the Virgin birth, or that the Bible is the Word of God. We believe that it contains some of the words of God." Remember—beware of dogs!

        2.) "Beware of evil workers." Paul, on occasion, warned the beloved of those who are "wolves in sheep's clothing." These are evil workers who have, by stealth, entered the membership of the local church. All they do is create havoc among the sheep. I call them "Judas-goats."

        3.) "Beware of the mutilation." These precious folks believe that, if they circumcise themselves over and over again, they are finding favor with God. Paul makes it clear—there is no confidence in the flesh.

        After all, Paul, who had every right to have confidence in the flesh, considered it all lost for the sake of knowing the power of the resurrection. Grace would win out while the flesh would fail.

        Do you want to feel safe, secure, and steadfast? Then be watchful of the dogs, the evil workers, and those who have confidence in the flesh. Make sure you are in a Bible believing, preaching, and honoring church. Be steadfast, and always be faithful to the truth of Scripture.


Books with Meaning

        1.) For Father's Day, my son, John, and my daughter-in-grace, Cindy, gave me a wonderful book written by Brian McClanahan and entitled, The Founding Father's Guide to the Constitution. I realize this is not a religious book, but it is good for us to broaden our horizons. Along with the book, I ordered a copy of the Constitution. I have learned so much through the reading. For example, I had no idea that our Founding Fathers respected and honored states’ rights so much. After all, each state in our United States has a great deal of power and influence—and that all began with our Founding Fathers.

        2.) David McCullough wrote a biography (known simply as John Adams) about our second president, John Adams. What a read! We give so much credit to President George Washington, as we should; however, John Adams is becoming one of my favorite presidents. Did you know he initially intended to go into the ministry? He opposed slavery and believed the nation would suffer greatly for the sin of slavery. His wife, Abigail, was a wonderful believer that knew the power of prayer. If you love history, then you should read this book.

        3.) Before you think the minister is going secular, let me encourage you to read the book, Experiencing God by Henry Blackaby. Even if you have taken the course before, by actually reading the book, you will have deep insights to what Henry was thinking about when he, along with Claude King, put together the workbook for Experiencing God. This book is great for a daily devotional, as it is filled with Scripture and wonderful thoughts about the deeper life in Christ.

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Pastor Hernandez