K is for Kingdom

The first mention of a king in the bible is in Genesis 14:1 “At the time when Amraphel was king of Shinar…” The king of Shinar also known as Babylon is the first mention of a king and kingdom rule. Scholars regard Amraphel to be Hammurabi of Sumer, whose legal code was a foundation for other legislation to follow. The concepts of a king, kingly rule and kingdom have always been a uniting force of civilization.

In America, we pride ourselves in having thrown off the yoke of the despotic kingly rule of Great Britain. We chose to live and govern ourselves following scriptural principles such as freedom of conscience, personal responsibility, self-control and representative self-government. The individual freedoms we enjoy are un-equal around the globe. However, the general understanding of these foundational principles is waning.

We do not understand nor do we teach that the foundation of our individual freedom is the surrender to the kingship of Jesus Christ. The gospel of Christ is what inspired and empowered us to become a free people.

Although there is a widespread debate about whether our nation was formed as a Christian nation, it is mostly fueled by the fact that many will not recognize the scriptural principles put into the framework of our government. The study of the writings of our founders leaves no doubt that the prevailing worldview was indeed Christian.

William Penn “If you are not governed by God, you will be ruled by tyrants” 1)

John Adams “The general principles on which the fathers achieved independence were…the general principles of Christianity” 2)

 Samuel Adams ” The rights of the Colonists as Christians may be best understood by reading and carefully studying the institutes of the great Law Giver and Head of the Christian Church, which are to be found clearly written and promulgated in the New Testament” 3)

Noah Webster “The religion which has introduced civil liberty is the religion of Christ and His Apostles…This is genuine Christianity and to this, we owe our free constitutions of government.” 4)

These inspired leaders realized that the freedom of thought and conscience was a freedom enhanced by the renewing power of salvation and redemption in Jesus Christ. This liberty was born in the heart and soul of those who left their homeland, crossing the ocean to settle in a place where freedom of religion and worship would be enshrined in a new political compact. Self-government was made possible by a people who understood the concept of self-control. In their minds, self-control was the fruit of submission by the individual to a higher authority, namely Jesus Christ.  The founders had an understanding that individual liberty was a blessing that came from the personal submission to a new king. Thus the popular sentiment heard throughout the days of the American struggle for Independence from an earthly despotic king was  “We have no king but King Jesus”. 5)

A Culture in Need of Restraint

Our culture has helped create the attitude that we are free to do as we please, to follow every passion and desire. Yet we find that society cannot live this way consistently without the need for external controls on personal behavior. We need to protect ourselves from each other. Families have a need to protect their children from the permissive culture we helped to create where one is free to behave in any fashion they wish abandoning self-control and personal responsibility and respect for others. The less self-control is practiced the more external restraints become necessary. Here we see that the power of the state must grow as the need to restrain evil does. The tendency today is towards more government control of every area of life because many lack self-control. We now demand powerful agents and technologies that will protect us from the monsters we have created.

Those who share a humanist worldview are enjoying the rapid growth of a powerful government using the language of the freedom-loving self-controlled people to attack the foundational principles of the nation. The destructive passions once formally restrained by self-controlled submission to God and His moral law are now protected and encouraged by irresponsible legislation, upheld by corrupted courts. Public institutions are prohibited from displaying the foundational precepts of moral law in the Ten Commandments. The rights and responsibilities of the people are being transferred to an increasingly secular government. Conforming to the pressure of a misinterpreted religious clause, government may no longer invoke or apply moral reasoning in discouraging the pursuit of corrupt desires and behavior.

As in the days of the Roman Empire, the state is all too willing to exert this control and restrain personal freedom whenever they saw the need. When a people are not able to govern themselves they will be governed by the state. This heavy-handed control has been witnessed throughout history. The barbaric Roman rule, the gulags of the former Soviet Union, the murderous reign of the German Nazis and the Red Chinese have not convinced anyone of the effectiveness of government control. Whether we call it socialism, communism, progressivism, liberalism, statism, one world government, or globalism, it is the default form of control for people who abandon the true God.

There is no doubt the people of our nation are divided concerning many issues. The most obvious reason for this polarization is the basic worldview distinctions between secular humanism and Christianity. The fruit of a relentless teaching from the secular humanist perspective is a growing desire to try socialism. Having been taught lies about socialism they embrace a romantic notion that socialism will solve the human problem of evil. They do not realize the trade-off for this false security and the altruistic pursuit of a godless system of government is personal liberty.

The first of these liberties, freedom of conscience is under steady attack from socio/cultural elites and intellectuals wielding the intimidating weapon of Political Correctness. As courts become more detached from absolute morals embracing pragmatism and relativity, they are swayed by the left to rule against those who oppose the socialist and secular humanist agenda.

Subjects of Gods Kingdom

One day Jesus was asked by the Pharisees “When will the Kingdom of God begin?” Jesus replied, “The Kingdom of God isn’t ushered in with visible signs. You won’t be able to say, ‘It has begun here in this place or there in that part of the country.’ For the Kingdom of God is within you.” (TLB, Luke 17:20-21)

The kingdom Jesus speaks of is a spiritual kingdom made evident in the behavior of the kingdom people.  He is calling us to serve Him and live within the principles of His kingdom. As we remember the Lord’s prayer “Our Father who art in heaven your kingdom come your will be done on earth as it is in heaven”  God wants us to do His will here on earth as His kingdom people. He wants us to share the good news of salvation and redemption from the darkness of sin by the work of Jesus Christ. He wants us to share liberty and freedom by living out godly principles found in His word, the principles upon which our form of government has been formed. The blessings secured within this framework are derived by the willing submission of those governed. Once we forget the principles of right government our government will forget and the words liberty and freedom will be redefined so as to cloud the memory of our loss.

This is Billy Graham’s last Facebook message.

“If you went for a walk in the woods, but then decided to wander off the path, and found yourself surrounded by a thicket of thorns and poison ivy, who would you blame? Would you blame the person who built the path? No, of course not. Instead, you’d blame yourself if you were honest, because you alone were responsible for wandering from the path.

In a far deeper way, this is what happens when we decide to leave God out of our lives. For a time, it may seem like wandering away from Him doesn’t make any difference; it may even seem easier and freer. But eventually, it catches up with us—just as wandering off that path and into the thicket caught up with you.” —Billy Graham #BG100

I am writing not so much to persuade the secular left but more to awaken those who live in the freedom of Christ and to say it’s time to turn around and go back to where we turned off the path. Walk after the spirit (Rom 8:1) on His path, be alert and stand firm and do not become entangled again in the bondage of slavery, (Gal 5:1) be in prayer for our leaders, (1Tim 2:2) be ready to come against the vain philosophies of deceit,(Col 2:8)  and be not conformed to this world but be transformed by the renewing of your mind (Rom 12:2) and remember our struggle is not against flesh and blood but against powers and principalities in high places. (Eph 6:12)

Will we serve an earthly king who will gladly take control over every area of our lives, who is merciless, without truth or grace to whom we yield our freedoms and our conscience in exchange for a false security? Or will we serve a heavenly king who liberates us from personal condemnation, granting mercy and forgiveness and empowers us to practice the virtues of liberty and self-control, personal responsibility and selfless living for our benefit and the benefit of others? Jesus says “Seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness and all these things will be added unto you” (Matt 6:33) We need a king – but to paraphrase and modify the cry of our founders, we need no king but King Jesus!

  • William Penn. William J Federer, America’s God and Country Encyclopedia of Quotations Fame Publishing Inc. 1996 p500
  • John Adams. William J Federer, America’s God and Country Encyclopedia of Quotations Fame Publishing Inc. 1996 p12
  • Samuel Adams. William J Federer, America’s God and Country Encyclopedia of Quotations Fame Publishing Inc. 1996 p22
  • Noah Webster. William J Federer, America’s God and Country Encyclopedia of Quotations Fame Publishing Inc. 1996 p678
  • WND Joseph Farrah http://www.wnd.com/2001/01/7965/
  • Billy Graham. https://www.facebook.com/hashtag/bg100?source=embed

Further Reading: Francis Schaeffer https://www.the-highway.com/articleOct01.html

Time to Choose!

I must admit that I am struggling to form an understandable and cohesive response to the recent mass shooting. I find myself trying to process arguments from so many places. The many perspectives on the issues of protecting life, liberty and personal responsibility while upholding freedom are all approached by people of differing worldviews. It is no wonder that debates concerning the safety of our children are so heated and frustrating. Our leaders in law enforcement and health care and government are all speaking a different language.

The general polarization of the nation’s response is the evident reality of two basic worldviews, the secular and the spiritual. But be on guard because those with a secular worldview will always borrow language from the spiritual to move their statist ideas forward.

We all want to keep our children safe. Why is there no call to give our schools the means to secure and protect the life and property under their jurisdiction?  Ask yourself seriously, why are many leaders so intent on disarming millions of freedom loving people?  The same people that say God has no place in your school will also argue that armed guards and metal detectors are not the answer. Perhaps they fear that they would have to concede that good guys with guns are the best deterrent.

Let us then see clearly the battle before us, is not only political but spiritual. Today’s culture embraces and glorifies all forms of fantasy, and supernatural/sci-fi scenarios. Why then when confronted with the evident reality of spiritual warfare do we shield our eyes and minds and reason? We stubbornly continue to search for a secular solution to a spiritual problem because we do not want to see the spiritual problem is real!

One way in which reform may begin is to recognize the need to build upon the same foundation. This foundation should first of all be a respect for and reliance upon God. We must admit to ourselves that we have lost the way. We must restore the value of life, the value of liberty secured by personal responsibility and a mature spiritually formed freedom. In this manner, both secular and spiritual perspectives are respected and balance may be achieved in securing the safety of our community.

It is obvious that the lack of an honest teaching of spiritual truth has contributed to a culture of moral relativity, jubilant depravity and devaluing of human life. Some will say this is not the time to engage in a spiritual debate. But if this is not the time when is?

You may ask how is acknowledging a need for God respectful of the secular humanist worldview which rejects God?  The benefits of a general acknowledgment of objective truth i.e. “God” far outweighs the consequences of denying God. This has been proven through the evident downfall of nations throughout centuries of world history.

Psalm 33:12 says

“blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord”

Deuteronomy 11:26 declares

“See, I am setting before you today a blessing and a curse – the blessing if you obey the commands of the Lord your God that I am giving you today; the curse if you disobey the commands of the Lord your God..”

What we do not want to become is the nation described in Judges 2:10

“After that whole generation had been gathered to their ancestors, another generation grew up who knew neither the LORD nor what he had done for Israel.”

If we are to disarm, let us disarm ourselves of the notion that we will remain a free and blessed nation without God. I choose the blessing.

H is for Hope

Millions of people across the nation observed the recent American Solar Eclipse. For Christian believers, several biblical verses came to mind.  These verses have to do with the signs of the times and the coming fulfillment of the believers hope in Christ. Sharing scripture on Twitter, Franklin Graham tweeted

“And when these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draweth nigh.” Luke 21:28

The tumultuous events in the US and worldwide punctuated by the eclipse draw us to reflect on prophecy as reminders of the hope we share as believers. Although there are great debates among Christian scholars as to the real meaning of many of these prophecies, this does not dilute or distort the reality of our hope built upon the word of God and established in the finished work of Jesus Christ.

The Divine Message Of The August Eclipse

The Sun Will Be Darkened: A Brief Survey of Apocalyptic Symbolism

In this post, we want to invite you to explore hope, what it is and where it is found. This is not a comprehensive journey through the concept of hope. However, the links below will guide you to sources where hope and its implications are examined in detail and perhaps you will choose to make your life a journey of hope!

In his article “Hope” J. Hampton Keathley III, Th.M. graduate of Dallas Theological Seminary defines hope as a feeling, an expectation, a desire for something to happen or to be true.

“Hope may refer to the activity of hoping, or to the object hoped for—the content of one’s hope. By its very nature, hope stresses two things: (a) futurity, and (b) invisibility. It deals with things we can’t see or haven’t received or both. It is a confident expectation of something we cannot see or that we have not received yet.”

The Christian believers hope is built on trust in God and His word. The humanist/naturalist hope is built on trust in reason and matter alone.

In the article “What About Hope?” at The Humanist.com, Lawrence Rifkin writes about his inability to provide an answer to a middle-aged woman when she asked the question “What about hope?” The answers Lawrence presented her with were bright and clear and positive but left the woman unconvinced. After another attempt at answering the question, Lawrence came to the conclusion that he could convincingly present humanism as a source of hope.

Here are a few of his answers to the question.

The humanist worldview is filled with hope. We may be made of matter, but we decide what matters.” 

“Humanism is about possibilities. Without some grand supernatural plan or destiny, the future is open. Possibility means the door for hope and change and goodness is open.”

“The fact that we can try to change ourselves, other people, and the world—and make it a better place through reason and compassion—is a fundamental wonder of being human, and can be celebrated. It is a cause for hope and wisdom.”

“So let’s admit straight out: humanism is not about hope. It’s about facing the world as it actually exists and making the best of it.”

The clue to humanists/naturalists inability to give any human hope is clear, it is all about the human. It denies the reality of God and our relationship to Him. These beliefs set us adrift in the cosmos of human confusion and delusion, by abandoning the very anchor of our souls, in fact denying that we are souls.

The confusion rest in the fact that without a comprehensive objective guide to understanding life, meaning and morality we are left to create our own. The delusion is the fact that many believe we are capable of deciding “what matters” and what is good and have no need of looking outside the box for answers.

The track record of humans living inside the box without any help is tragic. One only has to look at the Holocaust to realize that in the absence of God, morality is but a human convention, morality is subjective and non- binding. There is no hope in the foundational principles of humanism because it denies the source of hope and that is the supernatural reality of God. God is not contained within our box of reason and nature. He is the creator of reason and nature and beyond Him there is nothing else.

Hope for the humanists is not a reality because by definition hope is invisible and they will not allow themselves to hope in something unseen.

Romans 8:24

“For in hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope, because who hopes for what he sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, we eagerly wait for it with endurance” NET

It is like two captains wives watching from the cliffs over the sea. One sees her husband’s ship and declares “there he is” her hope has been fulfilled. The other waits in hope that her husband’s ship is close behind yet cannot see it but her daughter who is at higher vantage point behind her yells out “ I see him, he is coming! ”. Will this wife deny what her daughter saw and leave the cliffs without hope?

This is what the Word of God does for us – it yells out to us “I see him, he is coming”.

Rev 1:7

“Look! He comes with the clouds of heaven. And everyone will see him—even those who pierced him. And all the nations of the world will mourn for him. Yes! Amen! ”

Without a belief in the Creator and His Word, we are left with an empty hope in human wisdom. Humanist believe that humans are capable of doing good without God. Their hope is misplaced because of the fact humans who do not acknowledge God are without hope.

Can we be good without God?

http://www.reasonablefaith.org/can-we-be-good-without-god

Romans 3:10-12

“No one is righteous—not even one. No one is truly wise; no one is seeking God. All have turned away; all have become useless. No one does good, not a single one.”

J.Hampton Keathley writes

 “There are a number of warnings in Scripture against putting our hope in anything other than the Lord because these things will leave us ashamed, frustrated, disappointed, and in ruin.”

Job 8:11-15

“Can the papyrus grow up without marsh? Can the rushes grow without water? While it is still green and not cut down, Yet it withers before any other plant. So are the paths of all who forget God, And the hope of the godless will perish, Whose confidence is fragile, And whose trust a spider’s web. He trusts in his house, but it does not stand; He holds fast to it, but it does not endure.”

The first of several points that Keathley makes is that “hope depends on knowing the Word of God”

Romans 15:4

“For whatever was written in earlier times was written for our instruction, that through perseverance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope.”

Colossians 1:5-6

“because of the hope laid up for you in heaven, of which you previously heard in the word of truth, the gospel, which has come to you, just as in all the world also it is constantly bearing fruit and increasing, even as it has been doing in you also since the day you heard of it and understood the grace of God in truth;”

Proverbs 30:5 tells us that

“Every word of God proves true. He is a shield to all who come to him for protection.”

New Living Translation

2 Tim 3:14-17

“But you must remain faithful to the things you have been taught. You know they are true, for you know you can trust those who taught you. You have been taught the Holy Scriptures from childhood, and they have given you the wisdom to receive the salvation that comes by trusting in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It corrects us when we are wrong and teaches us to do what is right. God uses it to prepare and equip his people to do every good work.”    New Living Translation

https://thehumanist.com/magazine/january-february-2012/first-person/what-about-hope

Key Summary Points

The humanist/naturalist has no hope because he:

  • Has no belief in the supernatural
  • Does not acknowledge God
  • Has no belief in the afterlife
  • Will not recognize the fallen nature of man
  • Will not recognize the promises of God
  • Will not recognize the life of hope attested to in Gods Word past, present and future
  • Attempts to do good without God
  • Denies the saving power of the Gospel of Jesus Christ
  • Denies eternal life with or without Christ

https://bible.org/article/hope

The believer has hope because he

  • Believes in the supernatural
  • Acknowledges God
  • Believes in the afterlife
  • Recognizes the fallen nature of man
  • Recognizes the promises of God
  • Recognizes the life of hope attested to in Gods Word past, present and future
  • Attempts to do good with the power of the Holy Spirit of God
  • Affirms the saving power of the Gospel of Jesus Christ
  • Affirms eternal life with or without Christ

Where is your hope?

 

Luke 21:28

The Divine Message Of The August Eclipse                                     http://www.unsealed.org/2017/06/the-divine-message-of-august-eclipse.html

The Sun Will Be Darkened: A Brief Survey of Apocalyptic Symbolism by Jeffrey T. McCormack Delivered 05/28/17 http://www.bereanbiblechurch.org/transcripts/topical/sun-will-be-darkened-apocalyptic-symbolism.htm

“Hope” J. Hampton Keathley III,

“What About Hope” by Lawrence Rifkin                               https://thehumanist.com/magazine/january-february-2012/first-person/what-about-hope

Romans 8:24

Rev 1:7

“Can We Be Good Without God?”  by William Lane Craig                                               http://www.reasonablefaith.org/can-we-be-good-without-god

Romans 3:10-12

Job 8:11-15

Romans 15:4

Colossians 1:5-6

Proverbs 30:5

2 Tim 3:14-17