I decided not to write a blog in August, mainly to see if anyone missed it. Since there was no response (not even a question like "where is your blog?"), I assume that the "blog" part of our website is a bust. Nevertheless, in my stubbornness, I will probably try to write one every other month at least.
This month, the theme will be "what's happening in America?" I will begin by giving a brief history, and then, in the coming months, deal with what the liberal element stands for, in contrast to biblical conservatives. There is a vast difference in what Americans believe and stand for, so let's take an honest and factual view at what is actually happening to our country right now (and what has already occurred).
The birth of the nation began long before America's victory over the British in the American Revolution. Did you know that the first Spiritual Awakening, coupled with Colonial Independence, set the foundation for the American Revolution? Although not all Colonialists attended regular worship services, most had a profound respect for the local church.
Were you aware that Georgia (talk about the South) rejected slavery in their colony? In 1738, when the Reverend George Whitefield came to Savannah, Georgia, there was a prohibition against rum, slavery, Roman Catholics, and lawyers. I must admit that "no lawyers", as a rule, has a certain kind of appeal. Of course, we celebrate the prohibition of slavery. But what led Georgia to later embrace slavery and became a slave state? Greed!!! The opportunity to prosper from Africans’ "free" labor was too great a temptation.
The Reverend George Whitefield, who, as an Anglican Priest, strongly opposed slavery in the colonies, worked to bring change through the move of the Holy Spirit, as hearts were being transformed. Think about this—those who opposed the biblical view, condoned slavery; if you experienced God in His transformation, you had to oppose this diabolical practice. That holds true today, as you think of the current social issues. Which core values do we hold true, according to Scripture? How can someone who says they love Jesus and stand for biblical core values still believe in the murdering of the unborn child? It may not be slavery, yet it is an issue akin to the practice of owning a human being. The unborn child, under the belief of a woman's right to choice, has no rights as a human being.
Rev. Whitefield looked beyond the greed of man and saw humanity's need for the New Birth. His message was clear and concise: "The Kingdom of God is at hand." To enter His Kingdom, you must be born again. For 38 years, Whitefield preached in Britain, as well as the colonies, ultimately preaching to over 10 million people. His sermons were printed and widely read, leading to a religious enthusiasm that spread throughout the new world. Whitefield was not accepted by the traditional clergy or the church though; therefore, he was forced to preach in open fields, where over 20,000 people at a time would gather to hear him. Had he been accepted by the traditionalist, his audiences would have been few for lack of room. "What men meant for evil, God used for good."
So how do Revivals and Awakenings take place? They all begin with prayer and a people who repent, and occur when God's people get right with God first and then with one another. The miracle of Spiritual Awakenings, which America desperately needs, becomes a reality when the Body of Christ prays, repents, and becomes fruitful.
Sermon Thoughts of the Month—Matthew 24: Signs of the Times:
Someone once said "that prophecy is the mold in which history is cast." Have you ever studied the prophecies of the Bible in light of current events? It is amazing to see just how many prophecies in the Old Testament alone have come to pass. For someone to disregard the prophetic is to be "willfully ignorant." That is exactly the issue of our present day and was the issue even in the days of Noah.
Willful ignorance plagues us today. I am always amused at people who say that the Bible cannot be possibly true, even though they haven't read it—that is "willful ignorance." Others approach me from time to time to inform me that my belief in the Bible is foolish since there are so many contradictions. Silly folks; they say such an asinine statement, never having studied the Bible. I always respond with, "Show me!" They never do.
How about willful ignorance in the political/social world? Christ followers certainly believe in Jesus, know the Bible to be true, and understand their church is quite important. However, many of these precious saints still accept the liberal views of politics and social issues, such as the murdering of the unborn. That, my friends, is "willful ignorance." There are critical truths in Scripture that cannot be debated; yet, so many of the beloved compromise their faith because the truth of Scripture is unpopular. That is "willful ignorance."
Such was the time of the earthly ministry of Jesus. The multitudes saw the wonders of the Savior, as the blind had their sight restored, the lame walked again, and even the dead came back to life. My goodness—the greatest of miracles, yet the religious leaders continued to attack Jesus. Yes, that is "willful ignorance."
In Matthew 24 Jesus gave, with absolute meticulous detail, the signs to watch out for, regarding the Second Advent. Have you ever checked out the list?
- The Temple would be destroyed and not one stone would be left (that was fulfilled within 70 years).
- False Christs aplenty, who would deceive many folks.
- Of course we can look to "wars and rumors of wars." That one is ongoing.
- Anyone for pestilences, earthquakes, and famines??? Well, right now we are in the middle of a hurricane. Does that count?
- Persecution of the saints. I wonder why we are not being persecuted more often? Maybe we look too much like the world these days.
- False prophets!
- Lawlessness? Have you visited a university campus lately?
- The Gospel of the Kingdom is to be preached throughout the world. We have a long way to go for that one to be fulfilled.
- The abuse of the Holy Place in the Temple? Well, we need to see the Temple rebuilt in the Holy City first.
- Looking forward to "The Great Tribulation?" Not me! I plan to be out 'a here; they call it the Rapture. I hope and pray you are ready…or are you "willfully ignorant" instead?
- Then there will be lots of supernatural atmospheric chaos—after the Great Tribulation, that is.
- Jesus eventually tells us just how those days will be before His return. He is foretelling the events we are now experiencing. He compares those days "as the days of Noah were, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be." For instance:
- Gluttony and substance abuse will be rampant.
- Marriage will be in dismal condition. My goodness, we are even redefining what marriage is.
- Then, just like in the days of Noah, when people were caught unaware, they will be ignorant yet again in our present day.
Jesus finishes His discourse by telling us to be prepared and "watch." Why? Because no one knows the day of His return. He will come like a "Thief in the Night." Now, you know the difference between a thief and a robber, don't you?
Well, a robber comes right up to you and says something like "Stick ‘em up!" Even in broad daylight, he could confront you. Jack Benny once told the story of how he was approached by a robber who said, "Your money or your life!" Jack Benny, with his hands up in the air, hesitated for a considerable time. The robber said, "Didn't you hear me? Your money or your life! Why are you hesitating?" Jack Benny responded, "Just hold on a minute. I'm thinking about it." Of course, that was a joke, just in case you are not laughing.
What about the thief? Well, a thief comes when we are most vulnerable. We could be asleep in tranquility, believing all is well, peaceful, and safe. Jesus taught us that, in that same way, people will be caught unaware. Why? "Willful Ignorance!" They failed to pay attention to the signs of the times.
Are you ready for the day when Jesus will come again? You may have a false assurance, like so many, thinking, "For years people have been looking and waiting. I have plenty of time." "Willful Ignorance!" The Bible is filled with great prophecies; study them, don't be ignorant, seek the truth, and believe!
Books to Read:
- American Heritage, by A. Reader—If you ever want to know the truth about history, read this book, as it features direct quotes, references, and speeches by our forefathers. American Heritage actually puts you right in the midst of those who played such an important part in the establishment of the United States of America. I especially loved the section concerning the "Spiritual Awakenings." There were printed, actual sermons by some of the great men of God in the early days of the nation. Powerful preaching!
- The Emmaus Code, by David Limbaugh—a must read for every serious Bible student, minister, and layman. I love the fact that the person who wrote it is not a theologian. He gives us a fresh look at the Scriptures from the perspective of a person in the pew. It is well thought out, has plenty of references, and is a scholarly piece of work. You don't want to miss reading it!