Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Franklin Graham on the Duck Dynasty Controversy

Excellent perspective on the Duck Dynasty controversy and the need for the church to stand in unity.

If the church can stand together, we can turn the tide in our day!

Monday, December 30, 2013

God Answers Our Whiny Questions

One Year Bible
Old Testament passage for Monday, December 30, 2013: Malachi 1:1-2:17

“A son honors his father, and a servant his master.  If then I am the Father, where is My honor?  And if I am a Master, where is My reverence? says the Lord of hosts to you priests who despise My name.Yet you say, ‘In what way have we despised Your name?’  Malachi 1:6 (NKJV)

Malachi, the last book of the Old Testament, is a list of questions back and forth between God and Israel.  

Israel asks seven questions of God all of which are rather whiny and brash.  Here they are:

1.  "In what way have You loved us?"  (1:2)

2.  "In what way have we despised Your Name?"  (1:6)

3.  "For what reason (should we repent)?"  (2:14)

4.  "In what way have we wearied Him?"  (2:17)

5.  "In what way shall we return to You?"  (3:7)

6.  "In what way have we robbed You?"  (3:8)

7.  "What have we spoken against You?"  (3:13)

One can picture the look of false innocence on the face of a child saying, "I didn't do anything!"  "What did I do this time!?"   We are all so prone to blind spots and self-justification.  We're caught red-handed yet pleading our innocence.  That's what Israel did before God.

I am reminded of Proverbs 21:2 which says, "Every man's way is right in his own eyes, but the Lord weighs the heart."  Israel was breaking God's law left and right so God had to send them a wake-up call.  He responds to Israel's insolence by asking some questions of His own.

Israel was offering second best to God.  They gave sacrifices that were lame, blind, and sick (1:8).  They laid defiled food on the altar (1:7).  They had an understanding of grace that made room for sin and sloppiness.  In fact, this is a corruption of grace (see Rom. 6:1).  True grace empowers us to excellence.  It exalts the glory of God.  It lifts us to new levels of purity and power.

God asks Israel, "Where is My honor? ...  Where is My reverence?" (1:6).  He asks us the same thing.  Why is it that we are so ready to give Him our worst, but so hesitant to give Him our wealth?  We cast on Him our "worst fruits" but begrudgingly give our "first fruits."      

Honor is an endangered virtue in our day.  We are called to honor God and to honor each other.  An atmosphere of honor causes us all to rise to higher places.

As this year ends and a new one begins, resolve today to LIVE TO THE GLORY OF GOD.  He has given us His best.  He deserves our best.

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Jesus in the Old Testament

One Year Bible
Old Testament passage for Saturday, December 28, 2013:  Zechariah 12:1-13:9

“And I will pour on the house of David and on the inhabitants of Jerusalem the Spirit of grace and supplication; then they will look on Me whom they pierced. Yes, they will mourn for Him as one mourns for his only son, and grieve for Him as one grieves for a firstborn.   Zechariah 12:10 (NKJV)

The entire Bible is about Jesus.  In the Old, He is concealed; in the New He is revealed.

Throughout the Old Testament we find prophesies and pictures of the Coming Messiah.  The Book of Zechariah is particularly full of specific predictions about Jesus.

The Triumphal Entry

We read about the King coming "just and having salvation, lowly and riding on a donkey."  (9:9)  That's the triumphal entry of Jesus into Jerusalem right before His crucifixion.  We read about it in Matt. 21:1-11, Mark 11:1-11, Luke 19:28-40, and John 12:12-15.

Thirty Pieces of Silver

In Zechariah 11:12-13, the prophet predicts that the price set on the prince will be "thirty pieces of silver".  That money would then be used to purchase a potter's field -- a burial ground for derelicts.  We read exact fulfillment is Matt. 26:14-16 and 27:3-10.


We read about the BRANCH who will come and build a glorious temple in which the priest sits on the throne (6:12-13).  That's a first!  The kingly office and the priest's office will be united in one Person.  That's Jesus!  Hebrews 4:14-16 describes Him as our "great High Priest" who sits on "the throne of grace."

We Will See the One We "Pierced"

Zechariah describes in some detail the injuries inflicted on Jesus in His crucifixion.  In Zechariah 12:10, He is "pierced".  John 19:34-37 tells of the Roman centurian who shoved a spear in Jesus side releasing a flow of water and blood.

Wounds in His Hands

The picture of Jesus' crucifixion is amplified in the description of nail scars in His hands.  Zech. 13:6 predicts the discussion between Thomas and Jesus when He shows the nail prints in His hands (John 20:24-29).

"Strike the Shepherd and the sheep will scatter"

Matthew, Mark, and John give detailed accounts of what happened the night Jesus was betrayed.  This verse in Zechariah (13:7) is quoted by Jesus Himself (Matt. 26:31, Mark 14:27, and John 16:32).  This is one of the low points in the Passion of Christ.  When He was struck, His closest friends deserted Him -- even denied Him.

Fulfilled prophesy is one of the strongest proofs of the authority of Scripture.  Again and again, we see the faithfulness of God and His Word.  This speaks volumes to me.  He can be trusted!  He rules history.  And particularly, He rules MY history.

Saturday, December 28, 2013

The Choice of a Lifetime

OneYear bible
Old Testament passage for Friday, December 27, 2013:  Zechariah 10:1-11:17

12 Then I said to them, “If it is agreeable to you, give me my wages; and if not, refrain.” So they weighed out for my wages thirty pieces of silver.  13 And the Lord said to me, “Throw it to the potter”—that princely price they set on me. So I took the thirty pieces of silver and threw them into the house of the Lord for the potter.   Zechariah 11:12-13 (NKJV)

Family Man is a Christmas movie in the mold of It's a Wonderful Life and A Christmas Carol.  The main character Jack Campbell (played by Nicholas Cage) sees two lives offered to him.  His guide is an angel played by Don Cheadle.   Interestingly, the angel's name is Cash.  That's the underlying theme of the whole movie:  What's really valuable to you?  Jack must decide to pursue either narcissistic wealth and self-gratification on the one hand or fidelity, family, and integrity on the other.

A sub-title to Family Man might be Mark 8:37: "Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul?"  In one scene, Cash the angel shows up as a store clerk.  As Jack stands by, a young girl pays for her puchase but Cash gives too much money back to her.  She slyly takes the money and scoots out.  Cash sighs in regret that the poor girl sold her character for 5 bucks.  

What are you giving in exchange for your soul?  The cynical axiom of our times is "Every man has his price."  Judas had his price -- thirty pieces of silver.  The enticement of a few coins seduced him to sell the Savior.  He looked at life as a bargain to be brokered, a deal to be struck, a step forward toward self-betterment and wealth.

Life can be seen as WAGES or as INVESTMENT.  Wages demand immediate pay-off.  Investment sees the end result and foregoes present pleasure in favor of future rewards.  We live today in a "cash-in" culture that lives only for the moment.  Why wait for uncertain promises when you can have thirty pieces of silver today?

God calls us to invest our lives in a Kingdom that shall never end.  That means integrity, character, principle, and self-denial today.  He promises the best life.  He gives the best life.  It may not match up with the fast lane.  But it is the right lane.  It is a wonderful life.  It is a moment-by-moment choice; but it is the choice of a lifetime.

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Out of the Pit -- Into the Plan

One Year Bible
Old Testament passage for Thursday, December 26, 3013:  Zechariah 9:1-17

11   “As for you also, because of the blood of your covenant, I will set your prisoners free from the waterless pit.  12  Return to the stronghold, you prisoners of hope.  Even today I declare that I will restore double to you.  13  For I have bent Judah, My bow, fitted the bow with Ephraim, and raised up your sons, O Zion, against your sons, O Greece, and made you like the sword of a mighty man.”  Zechariah 9:11-13 (NKJV)

God finds us where we are, but He never leaves us that way.  A major word throughout Scripture is RESTORATION.  He picks up our broken pieces and puts us back together again.

We bring hell on ourselves and then can spend a lifetime digging out of our self-made pit.  Whether it be broken marriages or sinful mistakes; dumb decisions or missed opportunities.  Life can be full of "what if's" and "what might have been."

Beth Moore wrote a book about pits.  She says there are three kinds:  1) pits you fall into by mistake, 2) pits you are thrown into by someone else, and 3) pits you just plain jump into by your own decision.  No matter which, all of us from time to time find we are "trapped" in a waterless pit.

God says that He has made a covenant of redemption with you.  That covenant is based on His sovereign power and determination.  He has signed it in His own blood.  All we are asked to do is believe Him and trust in His restoring actions.

One of the incredible things about RESTORATION is that the end result is far better than before.  He doubles us.  The bone, after healing from its brokenness, is STRONGER than before.  Job had double AFTER his trials!  The vineyards of Joel are multiplied AFTER the palmer worm and canker worm have done their destructive work.

Our God loves to show His power to restore lost causes.  He raises the dead.  Therefore, we are "prisoners of hope."  Our hope is build solely on Him, His character, His compassion.  And that never  fails.

Bur restoration carries us further.    He puts a sword in our hand and makes us mighty.  More that repair from failure, He carries us on to the power to prevail.  This is His promise.  This is His plan.  This is the path He invites each of us to walk with Him.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

9 Things You Should Know About Christmas

One this Christmas Eve, we celebrate the birth of Jesus.  From His birth, Jesus has been both the most loved and the most controversial person of history.  Today, battles rage over the very mention of Him in this holiday season.  I came across a blog by Joe Carter that helps us put this great time of celebration in the perspective of history.  Thought you might enjoy it.  Just click the link below and it will take you to Joe Carter's blog.

May God bless you this holiday season!

Monday, December 23, 2013

The Grace We Need

One Year Bible
Old Testament passage for Monday, December 23, 2013:  Zechariah 4:1-5:11

So he answered and said to me:  “This is the word of the Lord to Zerubbabel: ‘Not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit,’ Says the Lord of hosts.  ‘Who are you, O great mountain?  Before Zerubbabel you shall become a plain!  And he shall bring forth the capstone with shouts of “Grace, grace to it!”’”  Moreover the word of the Lord came to me, saying: “The hands of Zerubbabel
have laid the foundation of this temple; His hands shall also finish it.  Then you will know that the Lord of hosts has sent Me to you.  10 For who has despised the day of small things?  For these seven rejoice to see the plumb line in the hand of Zerubbabel.  They are the eyes of the Lord, w
hich scan to and fro throughout the whole earth.”  Zechariah 4:6-10 (NKJV)

As Zerubbabel, the appointed governor of Jerusalem, set about the arduous task of rebuilding the Temple of Solomon, he reached a point that we all reach is such a work.  Things had ground to a halt.

They had started well.  Things came together and it looked like this job would clip along to completion with not a hitch.  But, the initial zeal wore thin.  The resources started to lag.  The grind of daily activities weighed on the mind and heart of all who worked.  There came a day when the unspoken dread became an open reality.  "We don't know if this job can be done."  Hidden doubts became present ditches into which the work had fallen. 

Every work of God is tested.  Every word we hear from Him will be challenged.  That's the way Satan works.  We start well, but then find that the opposition is intense.  God's direction for your life will ATTRACT the attack of the devil. 

Zerubbabel found himself in such a dire circumstance.  He had set out on a divine mission that had faltered.  It had come to a halt.

At this point, God showed up in the prophetic ministry of Zechariah.  And He sends encouragement to us, too. 

One of the most moving passages in all Scripture is the short exhortation: "Not by might, nor by power, but by My Spirit, says the Lord." (vs. 6)  It is always a rallying cry.  It tells us that despite our weakness or limitations, God is still at work.  His unlimited power will accomplish all in which our frail effort have failed.

God has called you to do that you in no way have the ability to accomplish.  I know this because I know that His plans are never small.  If we will listen, He will tell us of conquests beyond our ability. 

This can be set-up for failure if we do not hear one clear word:  GRACE.  That's what Zechariah prophesied to Zerubbabel.  "Grace, grace to it.!" (vs. 7)

Grace is not just a doctrine.  It is the ability of God to do in us and through us that which we cannot do for ourselves.  The grace-filled life is one of not only understanding but also power.  God's grace teaches us not only our acceptance but also our privilege.

As we end 2013, we may find a mountain of stones laying around mocking our great plans that are unfulfilled.  There is a capstone in your future.  It is the crowning moment when you see God do what He told you He would do.  That is the path for 2014.  Though you may feel small today, a day of enlargement lies ahead.

CHRISTMAS CAROLS: "Angels We Have Heard on High"

Here are the notes from the message at New Life Community Church on Sunday, December 22, 2013. This is the fourth in the series CHRISTMAS CAROLS and is entitled "Angels We Have Heard on High".  If you would like to listen to this message, you may do so by going to our website at www.newlifesite.com.  God bless!

Christmas Carols, Part 4                                                       Sunday, December 22, 2013
 “Angels We Have Heard on High”

Now there were in the same country shepherds living out in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night. And behold, an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were greatly afraid. 10 Then the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people. 11 For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. 12 And this will be the sign to you: You will find a Babe wrapped in swaddling cloths, lying in a manger.”  13 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying:  14 “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, goodwill toward men!”  15 So it was, when the angels had gone away from them into heaven, that the shepherds said to one another, “Let us now go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has come to pass, which the Lord has made known to us.”   Luke 2:8-15 (NKJV)

Story of Angels We Have Heard on High.
In A.D. 129, Telesphous, Bishop of Rome, ordained that, "In the Holy Night of the Nativity of our Lord and Savior, all shall solemnly sing the 'Angel's Hymn.' " With that proclaimation the 'Angels Hymn' became the first Christmas hymn of the Christian church.

Fun Fact:

In medieval times, French shepherds had a Christmas Eve tradition of shouting "Gloria in excelsis Deo" to each other as they watched over their sheep flocks on their respective hills in southern France. That phrase is now famous as the chorus of 'Angels We Have Heard on High.'

Its most common English version was translated in 1862 by James Chadwick, and its most memorable feature is its chorus Gloria in Excelsis Deo!, which is Latin for Glory to God in the Highest.


People began to chant the phrase "Gloria in excelsis Deo" in Christmas Eve worship services as early as 130 A.D. Much later, in medieval times, a Latin chorale version may have inspired the traditional French Christmas carol 'Les Anges dans nos Campagnes,' which Edward Shippen Barnes used in the 1800s to arrange the first version of 'Angels We Have Heard on High'.
'Angels We Have Heard on High' was first published in English as part of an 1862 book called Crown of Jesus Music. But the version that has become popular worldwide was published later, in 1916, in the book Carols Old and Carols New.
Angels we have heard on high
Singing sweetly o'er the plains,
And the mountains in reply
Echoing their joyous strains.
Gloria, in excelsis Deo! Gloria, in excelsis Deo!
Shepherds, why this jubilee?
Why your joyous strains prolong?
What the gladsome tidings be,
Which inspire your heavenly song?
Gloria, in excelsis Deo! Gloria, in excelsis Deo!
Come to Bethlehem and see
Him Whose birth the angels sing;
Come, adore on bended knee,
Christ the Lord, the newborn King.
Gloria, in excelsis Deo! Gloria, in excelsis Deo

Key Phrase:
Gloria, in excelsis Deo.

Gk.:  doxa comes from dokeo meaning “to think”.
1.      Opinion (what one thinks about himself)
2.      Reputation (what others think about him)
Fame or
Heb: kabod – “to be heavy”
To have substance.
1.      Riches or wealth
2.      Power
3.      Position
Glory always denotes manifestation of light.  So means God reveals Himself.

1.     God speaks to “NOBODIES”.
Why the shepherds?
1.      Reputation of shepherds
2.      The sheep they tended
27 Instead, God chose things the world considers foolish in order to shame those who think they are wise. And he chose things that are powerless to shame those who are powerful. 28 God chose things despised by the world, things counted as nothing at all, and used them to bring to nothing what the world considers important. 29 As a result, no one can ever boast in the presence of God. I Corinthians 1:276-29 (NLT)

2.     The HIGHEST good comes to the LOWEST places.

16 And they came with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the Babe lying in a manger. 17 Now when they had seen Him, they made widely known the saying which was told them concerning this Child. 18 And all those who heard it marveled at those things which were told them by the shepherds. 19 But Mary kept all these things and pondered them in her heart. 20 Then the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, as it was told them.  Luke 2:16-20 (NKJV)

3.     God always RELOCATES us.
Mary and Joseph – Nazareth to Bethlehem
Shepherds – fields to Bethlehem

Wise men

Sunday, December 22, 2013

4 Things Zechariah Saw about You

One Year Bible
Old Testament passage for Sunday, December 22, 2013: Zechariah 2:1-3:10

Then he showed me Joshua the high priest standing before the Angel of the Lord, and Satan standing at his right hand to oppose him. And the Lord said to Satan, “The Lord rebuke you, Satan! The Lord who has chosen Jerusalem rebuke you! Is this not a brand plucked from the fire?”
Now Joshua was clothed with filthy garments, and was standing before the Angel.  Then He answered and spoke to those who stood before Him, saying, “Take away the filthy garments from him.” And to him He said, “See, I have removed your iniquity from you, and I will clothe you with rich robes.”  And I said, “Let them put a clean turban on his head.”  So they put a clean turban on his head, and they put the clothes on him. And the Angel of the Lord stood by.  Zechariah 3:1-5 (NKJV)

Zechariah was a prophet who saw many visions.  The mix of images and messages is almost overwhelming especially when studied along with the Books of Daniel in the Old Testament and Revelation in the New Testament.  Vision after vision with no "Dummies" guide to sort it out.

Zechariah prophesied during the time of Ezra and Nehemiah.  Israel was returning from Babylonian captivity and, under the leadership of a governor named Zerubbabel the Temple was being rebuilt.  This was about 500 years before Jesus, and was at the close of the Old Testament era.  Zechariah's prophecy was some of the last words from God before the "great silence" of 430 years in which there was no prophetic voice in Israel.

One of the most vivid pictures in Zechariah is that of the High Priest Joshua.  Now, up front we should see some hints of meaning here.  It so happens that there actually was a High Priest in the days of Zechariah named Joshua (see Ezra 5:2).  "Joshua" means salvation.  It is the same name as "Jesus" in the New Testament.  This entire vision is a prediction of the ministry Jesus will do for you and me.

Here are 4 New Testament truths in an Old Testament vision:

1.  Satan opposes anyone who would stand before God (vs 1).

That opposition takes the form of ACCUSATION.  Rev. 12:10 says that Satan is "the accuser of the brethren, who accuses them before our God day and night."  How does Satan accuse us?  By pointing out our unworthiness.

Please note that there is no argument that breaks out here.  There is only a REBUKE.  We get in trouble when we try to out-argue the devil.  Instead we are called to simply rebuke him.

2.  We are "a brand plucked from the fire." (vs. 2)

Our modern sophistication doesn't like to hear about hellfire and brimstone.  It sounds so old fashioned, narrow, and somewhat corny.  But, the truth remains.  We are a condemned race that deserves eternal damnation.  The grace and mercy of God has rescued us from a dire fate.

3.  We must have a change of clothes (vss. 3-4).

One of the most fabulous truths in God's Word is IMPUTED RIGHTEOUSNESS.  We do not earn righteousness, we put it on.  We are not called to DO but rather to receive what He has DONE. 

Our best is still "filthy" (vs. 3).  He clothes us with new garments that are a grace gift of His love.

4.  We get a new "hat" (vs. 5).

Zechariah calls it a "turban."  In biblical times, a turban was reserved for leadership or nobility.  The type of turban indicated how lofty your position.  This is something like the indicators used by the military to signify rank.

When Jesus comes into your life, you get a new position -- a new "crown".  This does not speak of prideful privilege or arrogant entitlement.  It speaks of partnership with the God of the universe.  We are "highly favored."

It may be difficult sometimes to figure out the strange symbolism of the prophets.  But, if we dig into the Word, we will find wonderful gems of truth.  Zechariah gives us four in these short verses.  It is thrilling to discover what God says about you and me.

Friday, December 20, 2013

Making Sense of the Duck Dynasty Controversy

This past May, I sat in the National Day of Prayer prayer breakfast here in Monroe, Louisiana.  I, along with the group of pastors who sponsored the event, was delighted to have Phil Robertson, the Duck Commander, as our guest speaker.

The Robertson family is a much-loved and admired staple here in Monroe/West Monroe, Louisiana.  They have been here for years.  Our kids have grown up together.  The incredible success of Duck Dynasty has amazed and thrilled us all. 

While knowing the family, I had not heard Phil speak before that May morning.  I came away knowing two things:  1) Phil Robertson is for real – a straight shooter; he is hard-core in what he believes, and 2) a fire storm is coming.  That storm arrived this past Wednesday.

Two Issues – Two Questions

The entire world now knows about the GQ interview of Phil in their January 2014 issue.  It is not my purpose here to re-hash that article's merits or demerits.  I will only say that Phil’s description of biblical truth was excellent.  He accurately portrayed the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  His method of delivering it, on the other hand, is a reflection of his own unique personality and style. 

We must separate two issues here:  1) the message, and 2) the method in which it was delivered.  The method Phil used is distinctively his.  I might have used different language and a different venue.  The message, however, was clearly biblical.  At issue are two questions: 1) Is it acceptable for a public individual to believe that homosexuality is sin?  2) Can an individual express his beliefs publicly without punishment or penalty?

A Tale of Two Franchises

Back in the summer of 2012, Dan Cathy, CEO of Chick-fil-A, made statements in support of traditional marriage between a man and a woman.  The obvious context of his remarks was the national discussion toward same-sex marriage.  Mr. Cathy spoke only in support of man/woman marriage. 

As a result, the gay-fueled culture went into uproar.  That controversy was over not just the acceptance but approval of same-sex marriage.

Phil Robertson has carried things to a new level.  Dan Cathy never referenced sexuality or sin.  Phil did. 

Duck Dynasty is not about sexuality any more than Chick-fil-A is about marriage.  What is at issue is the freedom of leaders of these highly popular franchises to HOLD certain biblical views.  Whether making duck calls or selling chicken sandwiches, are the proprietors free to EXPRESS their biblical beliefs?

A Tale of Two Men

A&E network has indefinitely suspended Phil Robertson on the basis of his conservative views.  This comes only one week after Pope Francis I was named by Time magazine as its “Person of the Year.”  We have two events that are surprisingly similar but heading the exact opposite directions.

In July, while returning to the Vatican after a visit to Brazil, Pope Francis held an on-flight visit with reporters in which he said, “If a homosexual person is of good will and is in search of God, I am no one to judge.”  This has been morphed by the media into a new openness by the Catholic Church to homosexuality.  It is not.

Phil Robertson said almost identical words albeit with a redneck flavor, “We never, ever judge someone on who’s going to heaven, hell.  That’s the Almighty’s job.  We just love ‘em, give ‘em the good news about Jesus – whether they’re homosexuals, drunks, terrorists.  We let God sort ‘em out later.”  This has been morphed by the media to mean Phil hates gays and condemns them.  He does not.

Make no mistake.  Pope Francis remains a Defender of the Catholic Faith.  He is still very much a “son of the Church.”  That means he has in no way changed his views on women’s ordination, abortion, homosexuality, or marriage.  Most astute observers acknowledge this.  Time editor Nancy Gibbs says that Pope Francis has “not changed the words but he has changed the music.” In other words, he sounds softer than his predecessors, but still believes what the Church teaches about homosexuality.

By contrast, Phil Robertson doesn’t sound soft at all.  Perhaps that’s the big deal.  He is now being crucified as a villain while Pope Francis is being transformed into a superstar.  Phil said homosexual activity is sin.  Pope Francis says homosexual activity is sin.  So, why are these two being interpreted so differently?

The Twist is On

Behold the power of the media to twist and spin according to the winds of culture.  The quote by Pope Francis, “I am no one to judge” has taken on a life of its own.  In addition to Time magazine naming him “Person of the Year”, The Advocate, a major gay magazine, also chose him as its “Person of the Year.”  The twist-meisters are at work.

This is evidence of two things: 

1)      The liberal media will use every means possible to sway the masses.  Prepare yourselves for the spin!  In coming days, every bad thing Phil Robertson has ever said or done may be paraded before us.  Similarly, every hint of softness in Pope Francis will be magnified.  Every nuance of kindness will be exaggerated into approval.
2)      The issue is not two men.  The issue is you and me.  The reason there is such a fire storm over these public comments is because of their affect on the average man – the populace.  Another word for this is PUBLIC OPINION.  That frankly, is the very reason I am writing this blog.  Truth is real.  It is possible.  Sanity CAN prevail.

What Shall We Say?

I have elsewhere made a modest proposal for going forward.  I will restate it here in hopes that it can be a guide as we walk through the coming days.

1.      Scripture declares homosexual activity to be sin.  This is a matter of faithfulness to Scripture, not personal preference.  Phil simply quoted Scripture!
2.      Before God, no one sin, including sexual sin, is worse than another.  Homosexual sin is, in this sense, not worse than lying, swearing, or envying. 
3.      Homosexual sin can be forgiven just as any other sin.
4.      The Cross of Jesus provides sufficient power to transform sinful sexual attractions.
5.      It is always the duty of Christians to love and accept the sinner while ministering to the sin.
6.      Disagreement with one’s lifestyle does not constitute hatred of the person.
7.      Freedom of religion means that we are allowed to believe the Bible without having our faith classified as a ‘hate crime.”
8.      Acceptance of homosexuals should not be morphed into mandated approval of homosexuality.
9.      No religious belief may ever be used as basis for brutality.

The gay agenda historically has included three steps: 
The ultimate aim is not simply tolerance.  It is evangelistic in terms of promoting what it thinks should become the new norm of gender identity.

As Christians, we say NO.  But that does not mean that we are full of hate.  We are called to love all men.  That includes anyone who in any way is caught in sin.  We accept people as they are.  That does not mean that we approve of all that they have experienced.  God is a Redeemer.  He loves us as we are, but He never leaves us that way.  He changes us – transforms us – remakes us. 

I know that is the heart of Phil Robertson.  He may be crude and plain-spoken.  But, he at least has the right to be heard.  And, I believe God has raised him up to be a lightening rod in a huge battle over the eternal future of many.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

What Does God Want in 2014?

One Year Bible
Old Testament passage for Wednesday, December 18, 2013:  Habakkuk 1:1-3:19

Then the Lord answered me and said:  “Write the vision and make it plain on tablets, that he may run who reads it.  For the vision is yet for an appointed time; but at the end it will speak, and it will not lie.  Though it tarries, wait for it; because it will surely come, it will not tarry.  Habakkuk 2:2-3 (NKJV)

What does God want to do in your life in 2014?  Are there things He is asking you to do?  What would 2014 look like if you took the right steps in His will?  On top of that, what do YOU want in 2014?  Where do you want to go?

During a really difficult time in the history of Judah, God told them to start making big plans.  He called them through Habakkuk to listen for God's whispers about better days to come. 

Vision is far more than good ideas.  It is the picture of what God wants to do.  It is the Spirit-inspired portrait of the days ahead in God's will.

Four things leap out at me from God's word through Habakkuk.


God says "Write down what you see."  I think it is vitally important to write out what God is telling you.  That takes it out of the realm of feelings and helps you hold on to His Word even when things look bad.


Plans must be simple.  A complicated, convoluted idea rarely gets done.  If God is telling you to do something, write it out in terms that you can easily remember and follow.  Clarity an simplicity are vital to any undertaking. 


In the words of Habakkuk, it is "running."  A vision without action is just a wish.  A clear vision with steps of obedience will win the race.

Habakkuk states this in an interesting way.  He says that the vision must be written in big clear words so people who are running can look up and read it -- so the runners can read.  But there is also another way to understand this passage  He says that the vision must be written clearly so people can read it and then run well -- so the readers may run.

Either way, our ability to run the race will is tied to our understanding of God's plans for us.


"Wait for it," Habakkuk says.  Though it delays, yet it is still on the way.  Every vision God ever gave is tied to a timeline.  Abraham had to wait years for his promised son.  It took Israel 40 years to reach their land of promise.  The best fruit is grown over a long period of time.  God wants us to be like oak trees rather than banana plants. 

If you and I hear from God and do as He says, I believe He will BLESS us.  I believe the year to come can be awesome in His will.  As the days draw down toward December 31, I am watching and listening.  I want to know the plans He has for me this next year.

That excites me, because I know His ways are always good.