A few years ago, I attended a Christian conference in Katy, Texas, where I had the privilege of hearing Kirk Cameron speak. Kirk is an actor who gave his heart to the Lord several years ago. He teamed up with well known evangelist Ray Comfort (Living Waters Ministry) and together they have produced a series of DVD ministering videos called “The Way of the Master". Kirk is well known for his starring in the “Left Behind” movies.
In their ministry, Kirk and Ray approach people from all walks of life and show them the NEED to turn away from sin and accept Jesus as their Savior. As anyone has read any of my articles would know, I am a strong proponent of this type of evangelism. Too many people are walking around today deceived into believing they are saved when they are not.
While it is true that, once saved, you cannot lose your salvation, thanks to misguided evangelists seeking numbers, rather than strong believers in Christ, many think they are saved due to a (five) minute prayer. Meanwhile, most professed Christians are living in all ranges of iniquity, including fornication, adultery, pornography, alcohol and drug abuse, blasphemy, and even supporting the most heinous of sins-- abortion.
I have heard so many arguments from people claiming to be Christians regarding (my) view of the Gospel… “Is just the way you interpret it”, they’ll say. They truly believe that God’s word is acceptable in many different forms, depending on how each individual interprets it, as long as that individual thinks he or she is doing the right thing. It is truly sad. What they are saying, in essence, is that they can play stupid, and all will be fine in the end. God said His people will be destroyed due to ignorance. That means ignorance is no excuse. Worse yet, is the fact that the ones of whom were presented with the truth, and rejected it, will be the most harshly judged.
This brings me to the next most popular argument… “Judge not, lest ye be judged.” Oh, I cannot tell you how many times I’ve been hit with that one. Totally misunderstood, even atheists use that one. Judging sin is not the context by which Jesus meant we were not to judge others. As much as misguided sentiments like “pray about it, and you’ll be fine”, oftentimes we tend to use scripture to enable our disconnect from doing the right thing, and still seem godly about it. It’s always human nature to rationalize our own lackings. When it comes to sin, we are commanded to judge it, especially, in as far as pointing it out, and hopefully the recipient will be nudged to be convicted of it, and repent. Silly atheists!!!
At the conference, Kirk gave the best analogy I had ever heard regarding the need to make it clear why a person needs the Lord.
Two men are seated on a plane. The first is given a parachute and told to put it on as it would improve his flight. He’s a little skeptical at first, since he cannot see how putting on a parachute could possibly improve his flight.
He decides to experiment and see if the claims are true. As he puts it on he notices the weight of it upon his shoulders, and he finds he has difficulty in sitting upright. However, he consoles himself with the fact he was told the parachute would improve his flight, so he decides to give it a little time.
As waits he notices that some of the other passengers are laughing at him for wearing a parachute on a plane. He begins to feel somewhat humiliated. As they continue to point and laugh at him, he can stand it no longer. He sinks in his seat, unstraps the parachute and throws it to the floor. Disillusionment and bitterness fills his heart, because as far as he was concerned he was told an outright lie.
The second man is given a parachute, but, listen to what he is told. He’s told to put it on because at any moment he could be jumping 25,000 feet out of the plane. He gratefully puts the parachute on. He doesn’t notice the weight upon his shoulders, nor that he cannot sit upright. His mind is consumed with the idea of what would happen to him if he had to jump without the parachute.
Let’s now analyze the motive and the result of each passenger’s experience. The first man’s motive for putting the parachute on was solely to improve his flight. The result of his experience is that he was humiliated, disillusioned, and somewhat embittered against those who gave him the parachute. As far as he is concerned it will be a long time before someone gets one of those things on his back again.
The second man put on the parachute solely to escape the jump to come. And because of his knowledge of what would happen to him if he jumped without it he has a deep rooted joy and peace in his heart knowing that he is saved from sure death. This knowledge gives him the ability to withstand the mockery of the other passengers. His attitude toward those who gave him the parachute is one of heart felt gratitude.
Now listen to what the modern Gospel says: “Put on the Lord Jesus Christ. He’ll give you love, joy, peace, fulfillment, and lasting happiness.” In other words, Jesus will improve your flight. The sinner responds, and in an experimental fashion he puts on the Savior to see if the claims are true. And what does he get? The promised temptation, tribulation, and persecution. So what does he do? He takes off the Lord Jesus Christ; he’s offended for the Word’s sake; he’s disillusioned and embittered--- and quite rightly so.
He was promised peace, love, joy and fulfillment, and all he got was trials and humiliation. His bitterness is directed at those who gave him the so-called “Good news.” His latter end becomes worse than the first, and he’s another inoculated and bitter “backslider.”
Instead of preaching that Jesus improves the flight, we should be warning sinners that they have to jump out of a plane. That it’s appointed for man to die once, and then face judgment (Hebrews 9:27). When a sinner understands the horrific consequences of breaking the Law of God, he will flee to the Savior, solely to escape the wrath that is to come. If we are true and faithful witnesses, that’s what we should be preaching-- that there is wrath to come-- that God “commands all men everywhere to repent: because He has appointed a day in which He will judge the world in righteousness” (Acts 17:30,31).
The issue isn’t one of happiness, but, of righteousness. It doesn’t matter how happy a sinner is, or how much he is enjoying the pleasures of sin. Peace and joy are legitimate fruits of salvation, but, it’s not legitimate to use these fruits as a drawing card for salvation. If we continue to do so, the sinner will respond with an impure motive, lacking repentance.
Can you remember why the second passenger had joy and peace in his heart? It was because he knew the parachute was going to save him from sure death. In the same way, as believers we have joy and peace in believing because we know that the righteousness of Christ is going to deliver us from the wrath that is to come.
With that thought in mind, let’s take a close look at an incident aboard the plane. We have a brand new flight attendant. It’s her first day aboard the plane. She’s carrying a tray of boiling hot coffee. She wants to leave an impression upon the passengers, and she certainly does. As she walks down the aisle she trips over someone’s foot and slops the coffee all over the lap of the second passenger. What’s his reaction as the boiling coffee hits his tender flesh? Does he go , “Man that hurt!!!” ? Yes, he does. But, then does he rip the parachute from his shoulders, throw it to the floor, and yell, “Stupid parachute!!!” ? No, why should he? He didn’t put the parachute on for a better flight. He put it on for the jump to come. If anything, he clings even tighter to the parachute and even looks forward to the jump.
If we have put on the Lord Jesus Christ for the right motive-- to flee from the wrath to come-- when tribulation strikes, when the flight gets bumpy, we won’t get angry at God, and we won’t lose our joy and peace. Why should we? We didn’t come to Christ for a better lifestyle.
If anything, tribulation drives the true believer closer to the Savior. Sadly, we have multitudes of professing Christians who lose their joy and peace when the flight gets bumpy. Why? They are the product of a man-centered gospel. They came lacking repentance, without which they cannot be saved.
Fathima Rifqa Bary, a 17 year old who ran away from her parents in Ohio in fear for her life stated to media, "They just don't understand." That is why I write this, because most DO NOT understand, as much as they think they do understand.
Rifqa was raised in a devout Muslim family. A few years ago she accepted Christ. As much as she stayed low key of her Christian faith, was spotted by people from the local mosque involved in certain activities. Rifqa had already suffered abuse with injuries noted by her school (cuts and bruises). When the mosque made it public that Rifqa was an apostate and her father threatened to kill her, she took it seriously, as well she should.
The Koran teaches (ch 4, v89) that if one becomes an apostate of Islam they are to be killed by anyone which whom gets the opportunity to do so. In Muslim states it is no problem. Since they are in Democracies (until they can change that) they must abide by the respective country laws. Regardless, there have been many 'honor killings' here in the U.S.; two right here in Texas. Last year a Muslim father shot and killed both his daughters as he learned one of them dated an American. This brought shame on the family. This is the chilling 9-1-1 call.
Monday, 10/12/09, Florida Judge Daniel Dawson ordered Rifqa be returned to her parents in Ohio. I was not surprised. In fact, I expected it. Anything else would be a negative connotation toward the satanic Islamic religion which you are force fed is 'peaceful and loving'. It is only "kooks and fanatics" like myself which slander Islam with hate mongering.
In reality, it is ignorance which enables Islam to gain a foothold in Europe, and is very close to accomplishing the same in America. Muslims spew the rhetoric that it is only 'radical' Muslims which support violence and plan to take over the world. They have Muslim college students get on facebook and twitter and seek all forums involving any conversation on Islam. Their specific mission is attempting to convince infidels that if you are anti-Muslim you are a bigot, or worse, a Christian is a hypocrite. No Christian wants to be called a hypocrite.
Muslims will quote scripture out of context, and the typical Christian will either stay away from the debate or buckle under the pressure as they do not know the Gospel enough to retort. In essence, many Christians are ignorantly led to believe, falsely, we all worship the same God, and Islam is just another religion. So many people, even Christians, do their bidding for them. Especially young people, whom never read the Koran, will begin to argue with me regarding what they believe vs. the facts.
Average Americans and many Christians just do not understand Islam, but, do not want to be labeled a bigot or a hypocrite. We are all supposed to love our brothers and sisters of another faith. Right?!! And we should share the Truth (Gospel) with them anytime we get the opportunity. Once presented to them, if they reject it that is their responsibility. But, to accept the religion of tyranny, which is exactly what they solicit, is blasphemy. You better get this. It is utter blasphemy, and no matter how many times you said a short prayer professing your faith to Jesus, you are on a straight path to hell if you defend the lies and rhetoric of Islam.
In Rifqa's case, it is very possible a young girl may end up dead when she has asked for help, because so many defend the gutter religion. the ridiculous hypocrisy here is the liberals who scream they are for your rights are the very ones enabling Islam to meet their goal of making you their slave. It is due to rhetoric mostly spun by the liberals we wouldn't think of doing anything that would upset or offend our Muslim 'brothers'.
There are a few in the media who are starting to get involved and ask questions. Even so, they are not stepping across the line and 'calling a spade a spade'. For those not familiar with the old saying, you would not call a spade a rake, that would be ridiculous. If I needed a spade, but, ask you to bring me rake, not a lot will be accomplished. The fascists are able to get along with the constant rhetoric which discounts the truth, merely because we will not call a spade a spade.
Islam is not a peaceful, misunderstood religion. You are led to misunderstand, through deception. There are over a billion Muslims in the world. I have been told I cannot judge all of them because of the beliefs of a few. This is the deception. It is a few, who call themselves Muslim, but, follow another doctrine. These are considered apostates just like Rifqa, and face the same fate. Why do you think Muslims are killing other Muslims around the world? It is because they do not follow the true doctrine of the Koran, and are considered apostates.
It is exactly the same as Jehovah Witness, Mormon, or any other religion which professes to be Christian, but, deviates from the Gospel and deceives their followers. They are not true Christians by definition, but, many accept their doctrine through ignorance, and are not saved.
It is only illegal in sharia law to kill another (true) Muslim. The Koran teaches ALL infidels must die before their messiah (grand Mahdi) can return. That means even if you live to be a ripe old age, your grandchild may be forced to choose between Islam or die, someday. It is even worse for Jews. The Koran teaches Jews cannot be converted, and should be killed at any given opportunity. Yet, we are led to believe that only a distinct few 'radical' Muslims wish to harm the Jewish people. True Muslims are radical, as their Koran is radical and satanic.
What boggles the mind is how little we are willing to learn about something we ignorantly defend. Our political leaders do not want you to know the truth, as it is against their political ambitions. The Leftists in our government work hand in hand with the jihad of Islam, as they both strive for global unity and one governance. The major obstacle for both the socialists in power now, and Islam (also socialists) is the American Constitution. It is being ignored at every turn.
As President Obama ignored National Prayer Day, and stayed away from cameras for the first time to avoid controversial questions, he gave a celebratory speech at the beginning of Ramadan. Obama disgustingly pointed out there is a correlation between Christian and Muslim principles. He is either the most ignorant or the most boldly deceiving President in history.
Just like Rifqa, we are being ignored of the detriment which faces every citizen. Rifqa will eventually be handed back over to her parents. They are not citizens, and are possibly going back to their country of Sri Lanka. If they get Rifqa back to Sri Lanka, even if her parents do not kill her, the Mosque will. Honor killing is the #1 cause of death in Muslim states. It is perfectly legal to kill your wife if she is suspected of adultery. No questions asked if you kill your child because they dated a boy of another faith. And, no problem-- if you know of someone to have left the Muslim faith (an apostate) to behead them slowly, with a kitchen knife. More on Children beheaded
When we forgive we are releasing a prisoner…our self!
Hard as it may be, we find that patience and perseverance in the Lord is the only healthy way to ride out the storms (Healing Part I) in life. God has a perfect plan and His perfect Will for our lives is not always apparent. We stray from the path He intends for us, or we are ‘side swiped’ by an event which entangles us in confusion, and devastating pain.
All the self help books in the world will not take the place of God’s Counsel. Ten years of psychotherapy will not achieve what God can achieve in us, in the blink of an eye. He knew a long time ago the place you were going to be tonight. He knew your pain. Pain is not His Will for us, but, since we are not always obedient and operate for our own good, He does it for us. Like a good father; like a good shepherd.
As it goes with the lamb which constantly strays, the Good Shepherd must brake our legs, sometimes, in order to get us back where we belong-- for our own good. The Lord knows exactly what state our soul is in. He knows at what stage of our understanding He can say one word, just one, and we will comprehend exactly what he is telling us. This is where He wants us ultimately and always. A close relationship. Where the Good Father only has to ‘speak once’ and we get it.
Now comes the more difficult part of healing. The pain and suffering we endure is really trivial once it is behind us. It seemed so great at the time, but, barely conjures up a memory. The truly hard road is that of FORGIVENESS, but, we must take it like it or not.
It cannot be a shallow, outwardly gesture. Rather, it must be a process which encompasses our soul until we reach a different realm of understanding. His understanding. We cannot think like God. It is inconceivable to us how the all merciful, all loving Father moves. Part of our process, our journey, must be forgiveness. It is obviously very important to our Father in Heaven, as He will not forgive us, until we have done so ourselves.
That said, it is all part of the whole LOVE thing, in which He is constantly trying to steer us. We are ever so stubborn when it comes to the type of love He wants us to give and receive. If only we would follow His Word, the complete process, and obey the demands of unconditional love.
When we have reached a certain level of understanding in our heart regarding a situation, or a person in our life, the Lord gives us the next step, word, or opens a door, as He knows we can handle it.
I have heard and read many sermons and articles on forgiveness. The two most common misconceptions of evangelistic preachers these days are right out of most secular ‘self-help’ books.
1. Forgiveness does not mean forget
2. Forgiveness is for yourself, not the other person.
I have heard many preachers, for which I have the utmost respect, adamantly pushing these two key issues when it comes to forgiveness.
It is further deception by the enemy to lead the sheep silently to the death, and away from the goodness our Father has in store. It is through our selfishness in most cases we find it impossible to forgive. Sometimes for the smallest things. But, there is oftentimes huge issues, recent or maybe years past. Maybe we don’t even know we hold bitterness for a certain person. We discounted a situation a long time ago; our concept is that it was forgiven, when it was just forgotten, for now. If an issue goes unresolved it lays dormant deep inside us, until such time it is uncontrollably brought out by a memory, or a word spoken, or even a fragrance.
The Lord knows we don’t truly forget, unless we truly forgive. Likewise, if we truly forgive, then we must forget. When He forgives us, it is forgotten as if it never happened. Unlike a criminal court, as a man stands accused of a crime, and his previous crimes may be held in account for his punishment. When we are truly sorry for our sin, and repent, He is faithful to forgive. Thank God for that, RIGHT?!!
No matter how strong the offense (or trespass) which was perpetrated against us, we must be obedient to God’s command to forgive and forget. If we are to hold onto the smallest portion of the incident in our heart, or in our mind, without completely letting it go, then what have we accomplished? It is like undergoing surgery for a tumor, but, deciding to leave just a little bit in there, for old times sake. Why bother with surgery?
The second issue for which I appeal to your charitable nature. Yes, forgiveness is for ourselves, BUT, also for as much as the one who trespassed against us. The process of healing cannot be a clinical, calculated procedure if we are to get it right. Likewise, forgiveness is not a ‘paint-by-numbers’ and reach the end-result experience. We must give up a part of ourselves which is perhaps the most difficult part to surrender. Our pride, or center of being. We must step out of our self, in the same way we would leave our comfort zone to help the needy during the holidays, or run out in the middle of the night to answer the call of a distressed family member.
The one thing we most commonly put aside when we think we have dealt properly with forgiving someone is that person is also a child of God. They are also growing in the way God sees fit. Or, maybe they don’t yet have a relationship with the Lord, but, you are blessing them exponentially by giving of yourself when they most often feel they don’t deserve it. This may drive them to the Lord on their own accord. If we are holding a hard heart, or ill feelings against them, we are not only hurting ourselves, but, we are denying an opportunity to bless them. If you reject that idea, then you haven’t truly forgiven, as you told your self you did.
The whole purpose for the Lord to constantly steer us to the path of charity (which refers to love in the KJV) is so that we might lose that ever damning , overwhelming sense of self, or self centeredness, which keeps us from following all His guidelines for loving one another.
Christ forgives us without conditions. We don’t deserve it--it is by His Grace alone. We want to place limitations and conditions on our forgiveness of others, without grace? Just saying your forgiven without the true heart experience and surrender to God’s charitable ways, is just as meaningful as “I’m sorry” and not meaning it. Don’t waste your time. Also don’t waste your time going to church, as God does not want you to bring Him offerings while you knowingly have an unresolved issue with a brother or sister, or neighbor.
Jesus not only said we were to forgive seventy times seven, but, we were to ‘turn the other cheek’. I know this is hard to do, and we will not always take that path, especially in the heat of the moment, when our feelings have been destroyed by another whom we trusted. We forgive to bless our trespasser as well, whether we like it or not, as it blesses us in the end.
I am a 53 yr old businessman and I came across a subject for which I took up an interest a few years ago. That developed into other things and changed my whole direction in life. My biggest hurdle in accomplishing my book has been incorrect or missing data for which I developed a new passion. Christian is, as Christian does.