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National Week of Repentance: October 11-18, 2015

Everything else in life can wait, but this cannot. It’s time. It’s time for a national week of repentance. Not next year, but in a few weeks, from October 11-18. We created and launched a new web site dedicated to this historic call. It’s RevivalMatters.com. Check it out for complete details, and start spreading the word . . .
All around us we see the signs. Moral decline. Racism. Financial collapse. Fear. Hatred. A leadership void. All of these are symptoms of a deeper problem. Our national woes are the sum of our personal and family problems. They are reflections of spiritual dryness. Our nation is broken, and we know it. The question is, “what can we do about it?” 

Seventeen years ago I was pastoring my first church outside Portland, Oregon. It was a difficult assignment. One day, as I was out and about, I was driving out of the parking lot of a shopping mall. I quickly found myself in an unusually long line of cars on their way to the mall exit. At first, I was at the end of the line, but as more shoppers joined in, I took comfort in knowing I was not alone. I was absorbed into the growing mass of people in pursuit of their next task for the day. The line absorbed me, and as I inched along I realized this was no ordinary line. Something strange was happening up ahead.

“There, in the middle of the parking lot, someone had left an empty Starbucks Mocha Frappuccino bottle – neatly placed in an upright position. . . Seventeen years later, I still have that bottle, in all its filthy splendor.

In the distance, I could see car after car do exactly the same thing when they reached precisely the same spot in the parking lot. Each car would slowly swerve to the right, cut back to the left, get back in line, then exit the parking lot. Car after repeated this odd dance, stirring my curiosity. As the feat was mimicked again and again, and we crept along at a turtle’s pace, my blood pressure rose and my emotions simmered. “What is going on here?” I demanded. When I finally came to the curious spot, I could see exactly why the line existed and why everyone was slowing down and swerving to the right. There, in the middle of the parking lot, someone had left an empty Starbucks Mocha Frappuccino bottle – deliberately placed in an upright position.

A DIFFERENT CHOICE
Now, it was my turn to do the dance, follow the crowd and swerve to the right. I had things of my own to do that day. After all, everyone else was doing the same thing. “Insanity,” said Einstein, “is doing the same thing and expecting different results.” The identical choice of driver after driver did nothing for the drivers who followed. In fact, the decision to swerve, rather than move the bottle, guaranteed a slow-moving, lengthening line. Insanity.

“Why doesn’t someone move that bottle?” I asked, as if conversing with an imaginary passenger. “What is wrong with people?” I followed up. I don’t know how many minutes or car lengths passed, but it wasn’t too long before I heard a still, small voice say to me “Why don’t you move the bottle?” The idea was revolutionary. I would swerve to the right, stop my car, open my door and pick up that Starbucks Mocha Frappuccino bottle. And that’s exactly what I did.

“Insanity,” said Einstein, “is doing the same thing and expecting different results.”

Seventeen years later, I still have that bottle, in all its filthy splendor. I purposely left it exactly as it was. It rests in my office, reminding me that in order for things to change, people must.

TALK IS CHEAP. REPENTANCE IS PRICELESS.
It seems that our talking heads and media outlets do nothing more than stir the pot. They share the bad news, shake their heads and point their fingers, declaring “Something’s gotta change. Things are getting so bad.” We know that.

If you’re reading this, you probably agree – and you’re absolutely right. Something needs to change. But in order for things to change, people must change. Change begins with you and me.

Sadly, we leaders in our houses of worship aren’t providing much leadership, either. We’re the first ones who need to repent. Many of us are sticking our heads in the sand, going on as if it were business as usual – during very unusual times. Others of us think we’re helping matters by reminding our people that things are really, really bad. Again, we know that. Still others are waiting for a divine bail-out. They are using the “Rapture” or the second coming of Christ as “escape clauses” for personal responsibility and leadership that they were never meant to be. God’s timing and work are up to Him. Our work – and what we do with our remaining time – is up to us. The truth of the matter is that we are acting out of our minds to keep doing things the way we’ve been doing them. It doesn’t take an Einstein to recognize that. What we haven’t tried is courage – and humility. Often, these two work together.

Our nation is broken because it’s a collection of brokenness. Broken lives. Broken families. Broken houses of worship. We’ve lost our way. It’s time for confession, apologies, forgiveness and repentance. It’s time for healing, restoration and genuine revival. The National Week of Repentance is designed to help you, your family and your house of worship experience God’s healing, renewing touch – but it is also far more. It’s a national week on purpose – because a single day just isn’t enough.

WE CAN NO LONGER WAIT. NOW IS THE TIME.
The first National Week of Repentance is scheduled for October 11-18, 2015 – because we just can’t wait any longer. Lord willing, additional weeks will follow in 2016, and more and more individuals, families and houses of worship will catch the vision. Why? Because repentance is an ongoing work. And right now, we could all use a lot of time to reflect on our ways – and then to change. That’s what repentance is all about.

More details are coming quickly. We will be scrambling to mobilize people. It’s time to spread the word. Everything else can wait. This cannot.

Join the movement. Be part of The National Week of Repentance, and spread the word. And, if you live in or near York, Pa, make sure you come and visit this Sunday and beyond at Grace Fellowship. I love pastoring this flock, and we’d love to have you join us. 

RevivalMatters.com
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Do you think America needs a spiritual awakening or two? 

The Disappearance of Flight 070476

You may not have heard of Flight 070476 – and that’s exactly the point. It disappeared. Vanished into thin air – and no one seems to notice, let alone care.
The disappearance of any flight is supposed to stop us in our tracks, make us drop everything and divert 100% of our efforts to finding what’s lost. In this case, however, very few seem to recognize that something vital is missing – entirely. Gone. G-O-N-E. We should be on full alert, but instead we are acting as if it never existed in the first place. Houston, we have a problem.

I’m talking about the amazingly special date in history that changed the world, for which 070476 stands: July 4, 1776, aka the Fourth of July, Independence Day. It’s been hijacked, and no one seems to notice. No one seems to care. No one seems to remember the real meaning of what went down – and what rose up – from the very first fourth of July. This should alarm us. But instead, we’re fixating on whether it will be hotdogs or hamburgers. Something is very, very wrong. 

Of course, July 4 is not really about fireworks and barbecues, although I enjoy both immensely, just like the majority of us. But what IS it about? It’s time to resuscitate the meaning of Independence Day. If we fail to do so, we’re in more trouble than we realize.

Even a casual reading of The Declaration of Independence is a shock to the system, providing a sobering assessment of how far our nation has descended from her glorious ascent off the runway of freedom.

In the spirit of July 4, and all it really means, I give you the unedited, original text of the very document that led to the founding of what would become an exceptional nation among nations, the United States of America, and her defining document, The Declaration of Independence. 

Read it and weep, because when a nation loses sight of freedom, it begins to court imprisonment. But don’t just weep. Think about what you can do to peacefully help our nation get back on track before it’s too late . . .

 

IN CONGRESS, JULY 4, 1776
The Unanimous Decision of the Thirteen United States of America

When in the Course of human events it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, — That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.

Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.

— Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.

  • He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.
  • He has forbidden his Governors to pass Laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his Assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.
  • He has refused to pass other Laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of Representation in the Legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only.
  • He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their Public Records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures.
  • He has dissolved Representative Houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people.
  • He has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected, whereby the Legislative Powers, incapable of Annihilation, have returned to the People at large for their exercise; the State remaining in the mean time exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, and convulsions within.
  • He has endeavoured to prevent the population of these States; for that purpose obstructing the Laws for Naturalization of Foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migrations hither, and raising the conditions of new Appropriations of Lands.
  • He has obstructed the Administration of Justice by refusing his Assent to Laws for establishing Judiciary Powers.
  • He has made Judges dependent on his Will alone for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.
  • He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harass our people and eat out their substance.
  • He has kept among us, in times of peace, Standing Armies without the Consent of our legislatures.
  • He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil Power.
  • He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his Assent to their Acts of pretended Legislation:
  • For quartering large bodies of armed troops among us:
  • For protecting them, by a mock Trial from punishment for any Murders which they should commit on the Inhabitants of these States:
  • For cutting off our Trade with all parts of the world:
  • For imposing Taxes on us without our Consent:
  • For depriving us in many cases, of the benefit of Trial by Jury:
  • For transporting us beyond Seas to be tried for pretended offences:
  • For abolishing the free System of English Laws in a neighbouring Province, establishing therein an Arbitrary government, and enlarging its Boundaries so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule into these Colonies
  • For taking away our Charters, abolishing our most valuable Laws and altering fundamentally the Forms of our Governments:
    For suspending our own Legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.
  • He has abdicated Government here, by declaring us out of his Protection and waging War against us.
  • He has plundered our seas, ravaged our coasts, burnt our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.
  • He is at this time transporting large Armies of foreign Mercenaries to compleat the works of death, desolation, and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of Cruelty & Perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the Head of a civilized nation.
  • He has constrained our fellow Citizens taken Captive on the high Seas to bear Arms against their Country, to become the executioners of their friends and Brethren, or to fall themselves by their Hands.
  • He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavoured to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.

In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A Prince, whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.

Nor have We been wanting in attentions to our British brethren. We have warned them from time to time of attempts by their legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration and settlement here. We have appealed to their native justice and magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the ties of our common kindred to disavow these usurpations, which would inevitably interrupt our connections and correspondence. They too have been deaf to the voice of justice and of consanguinity. We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity, which denounces our Separation, and hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, Enemies in War, in Peace Friends.

We, therefore, the Representatives of the united States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, That these united Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States, that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do. — And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes, and our sacred Honor.

Do you think the signers of The Declaration of Independence would be surprised, even offended, to see what the nation they founded has become? Do you see modern leaders respecting or tampering with the DNA of our nation? If so, what can we do to peacefully, respectfully help realign our nation with the founding principles that made her great?

The United States of Pandora

By expanding the definition of marriage to include same-sex couples, the Supreme Court has opened up a Pandora’s Box. By their same clouded logic, there is no moral basis for forbidding polygamy, incest, bestiality, or Group marriage (polyamory). Polyamory is a marriage-like arrangement between more than two people, typically consisting of three to six adults. All partners live together and share money, children, resources and responsibilities. But who knows what other creative forms of sin that will be born from the seed of such flawed reasoning?

Download the companion Action Guide and
Listen to the podcast, One Nation Under Water

In Greek mythology, Pandora was “the first woman, made out of the earth as the gods’ revenge on man for obtaining fire from Prometheus. Give a box (Pandora’s box) that she was forbidden to open, she disobeyed out of curiosity and released from it all the ills that beset man.“*

“This is only the beginning. Life without moral absolutes declines into chaos, confusion and corruption on all levels . . .”

We are living in the United States of Pandora. The depraved capability of man is a powerfully destructive force, and we are beginning to see the accelerated, reinforced strength of that force like never before as God continues to give society what it’s asking for – with all the associated hardships that come when God’s will and plan are ignored.

We are now starting to see the accelerated effects of what life without God, and without moral absolutes, looks like. This is only the beginning. Life without moral absolutes declines into chaos, confusion and corruption on all levels.

What’s happening is not passivity or neutrality to sin. It is flagrant approval and promotion. The President has said that the Supreme Court’s decision creates a more “perfect” America. In reality, it actually sets us back in ways that are now unimaginable to comprehend. This road does not lead to a pleasant destination. Romans 1:18-32 says this:

“For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world,[a] in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse.

“For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. Claiming to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and creeping things.

Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves, because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever! Amen.

For this reason God gave them up to dishonorable passions. For their women exchanged natural relations for those that are contrary to nature; and the men likewise gave up natural relations with women and were consumed with passion for one another, men committing shameless acts with men and receiving in themselves the due penalty for their error.

“And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them up to a debased mind to do what ought not to be done. They were filled with all manner of unrighteousness, evil, covetousness, malice. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, maliciousness. They are gossips, slanderers, haters of God, insolent, haughty, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, foolish, faithless, heartless, ruthless. Though they know God’s righteous decree that those who practice such things deserve to die, they not only do them but give approval to those who practice them.”

Love hasn’t won at all. Hate has. Hatred for God. This is what the above passage clearly teaches. 

What do you think is next? 

Download the companion Action Guide for this post and
Listen to the podcast, One Nation Under Water

*Courtesy of Dictionary.com

The Intolerance of Tolerance

I tweet fairly often these days. I find it amusing.  Twitter attracts folks who like to argue. Some are good at it, demonstrating good thinking, while many others, well, they simply like to argue. About anything.
What’s driving pop culture is the unwise telling the rest of us what “wisdom” is – and how to live. The unwise are now embraced as wise. The train, however, is off the tracks. A train off the tracks is a dangerous spectacle. There is no way to get it back on track without outside assistance. Welcome to the new world disorder.

We live in a bizarre, frightening and opportune time in human history. The self-enamored unwise act as if their wisdom, expressed by tweets, have supernatural power to drop jaws and stop the world from rotating. Take for instance, this tweet, which at first seems wonderfully wise:

“Claiming that someone else’s marriage is against your religion is like being angry at someone for eating a donut because you’re on a diet.”

Hmmmmmmm. Sounds invincible at first glance, doesn’t it? The problem is the flawed thinking behind it. Here’s how I responded:

“Unless he keeps trying to shove it in my child’s face while I am trying to teach about eating veggies.”

INTOLERANCE: THE NEW TOLERANCE 
If you aren’t for “anything goes,” you are considered to be the idiot, an outcast from the “wise” majority, a narrow-minded, bigoted, old-fashioned, out-of-touch, up-tight, judgmental extremist. But such thinking is fundamentally flawed because the exact opposite is true. As I tweeted yesterday, I say again, here:

“The very idea that there is such a thing as sin is discriminatory, and the Bible says a lot about it.”

What we’re witnessing is the world in a free-fall as we have rejected the idea that there are moral absolutes, universal for all people everywhere. The same bizarre reasoning behind the transgender movement has nowhere but down to go, birthing the idea of being trans-racial (thanks to Rachel Dolezal). But that’s not far enough if you embrace this brand of unthinking thinking. Trans-species, by the same reasoning, must follow. Trans-anything is the new standard. We are now living in a world of anti-standards.

RECOMMENDED READING FOR YOUR JOURNEY
In 1968, Francis A. Schaeffer wrote a predictive masterpiece called The God Who Is There. Fascinating read. And alarming. What we are witnessing now is society with its pedal to the metal in rejecting the idea of man being created in the image of God, with dignity, purpose and reason. Schaeffer hit the nail right on the head – decades ago. How did he do this? Because there really is such a thing as moral absolutes. Absolute truth is not a concept. It’s a reality. People cannot live for long apart from their created design. Life apart from truth is chaos, hardship and confusion.

This doesn’t end well, friends. So, how does one ride out this storm while the ship is sinking? Proverbs 22:3 is an outstanding verse to help you navigate through these troubled waters in which we row:

“The prudent sees danger and hides himself, but the simple go on and suffer for it.”

RECOMMENDED ACTION FOR THE STORM
Stop concerning yourself with what the unwise are presenting as wise. Exchange your cowardice for courage. Remember, you can dress up a pig any way you wish, but in the end it’s still a pig. The same is true for what is being presented as “wisdom.” It’s foolish nonsense no matter how well it’s packaged.

It’s time to strengthen your walk with God. How’s your prayer life on a daily basis? Are you walking with God? How is your Bible reading and application of what God is saying to you through it? A compass is an essential instrument when everyone around you is lost. The Bible is your compass. Dust it off and look up like never before.

While others are spiraling downward, away from God at break-back speed, you can be soaring upward, drawing near to God and experiencing true wisdom and the joy that comes with it. Doing this sooner than later, will prove to be one of the most strategically wise things you can do in a day where the common man’s “wisdom” is just plain stupid . . .

What to read next: How to Totally Change Your Life in 7 Days

What to do next: Share your comments, because I’d love to hear your thoughts.

Beheading in the Last Days: Is there a correlation with Islam?

Beheading in the Last Days: Is there a correlation with Islam?

Anyone familiar with Islam knows that beheading is not simply one of the ways to kill those who do not agree with its teachings. In Islam, beheading is the preferred, ultimate way to kill an “infidel.” This is not an interpretation of Islam. It is a verified fact. According to Muslim accounts of history, Muhammad is believed to have decapitated hundreds and hundreds of people. And, he encouraged others to do the same. Muhammad is revered as the ultimate warrior and the ultimate prophet – and all Muslims who are really devouted to Islam’s teachings are encouraged to follow the example of . . . Muhammad, the beheader.
For students of the End Times (eschatology), Muhammad’s actions and the Islamic emphasis on beheading opponents may have greater significance than most Christians have considered. What is happening today may very well have an amazing, sobering correlation to what the Bible predicts will happen in the latter portion of the last days.

When we read Revelation 20:4 and we consider what is happening today on a growing scale, any student of the Bible and world events should sit up and take notice:

“Then I saw thrones, and seated on them were those to whom the authority to judge was committed. Also I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded for the testimony of Jesus and for the word of God (the Bible) and those who had not worshiped the beast or its image and had not received its mark on their foreheads or their hands. They came to life and reigned with Christ for a thousand years.” (ESV)

WILL BEHEADINGS BECOME A GLOBAL NORM?
Ever wondered if there is a correlation between Revelation 20:4 and the rise of Islam, where beheadings are spoken of in an amazingly matter-of-fact manner? You may not need to wonder any longer. As recently as a year ago in America, beheading was foreign to our common understanding of martyrdom for Christ. Amazingly, when we explore the Book of Revelation, something has changed. Beheading seems to be referenced with an uneasy, yet familiar, manner.

“There are far too many “coincidences” between what the Bible predicted so very long ago and what is now coming to pass”

One thing seems to be suggested by Revelation 20:4:  as time passes, beheadings will become a common means of exterminating Christ-followers. When we consider that Islamic fundamentalism is on the rise and that it embraces beheading as the preferred method of execution, one cannot help but be amazed.

Practically speaking, what does it mean if there is indeed a correlation between beheading, the End Times, and Islamic fundamentalism? Simply put, it means the Bible, once again, is true.

ARE WE APPROACHING THE END OF DAYS?
Folks, you just can’t make this stuff up. There are far too many “coincidences” between what the Bible predicted so very long ago and what is now coming to pass. Beheading for faith in Jesus? Why so, when in the day and age when Revelation was written beheading was not the common practice? When we consider that Islam itself was not born until about five hundred years after Revelation was written – and that beheading was not the global, endorsed practice that it would later become under Islam – the wise person should sit up and take note.

Are we in the End Times? We have been for nearly 2,000 years. Consider what 1 John 2:18 says – and that it was written nearly 2,000 years ago:

“Children, this is the last hour . . .”

Acts 2:14-17  clarifies that the End Times really began on the Day of Pentecost:

“But Peter, standing with the eleven, lifted up his voice and addressed them: ‘Men of Judea and all who dwell in Jerusalem, let this be known to you, and give ear to my words. For these people are not drunk, as you suppose, since it is only the third hour of the day. But this is what was uttered through the prophet Joel: ‘And in the last days it shall be . . .'”

Peter references Joel 2 and says that the miraculous occurrences on the Day of Pentecost were the beginning of the end.

Hold on to your seat, folks. Look up like never before and draw near to God. Not out of fear, but in faith. The Bible really is a book that man couldn’t write if he would and wouldn’t write if he could. It’s accuracy is absolutely mesmerizing. What is emerging globally is simply the opening act. More is on the horizon. The encore performance is yet to occur. 

What do you think? Might there be a correlation between the rise of Islamic fundamentalism, the global increase in beheadings and Revelation 20:4? If so, what could this mean in regard to the Antichrist and the one-world government? How should we, then, live?

I’d love to hear your thoughts, below . . .

Click here to listen to a companion podcast on the End Times called The Last Hour, by Michael Anthony

What does God say about Transgender?

“Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love.” Could it be any clearer? God is love. This verse, from 1 John 4:8, just about says it all. We should love people. God does. Anyone who claims to love God, but hates people has an incomplete, or warped, view of God. He loves all people, everywhere, no matter the extent of their sin. And so must we, if we claim to be one of His followers. God is love. End of discussion. Not so fast. 
If we’re going to accept that God is love, we must also accept the other parts of the Bible that speak about His other traits. For instance, while 1 John proclaims the nature of God being love one time, Isaiah announces His holiness – not once or twice, but three times:

“Holy, holy, holy is the LORD of hosts; the whole earth is full of his glory.”
– Isaiah 6:3 (ESV)

The same Bible that says “God is love” also says that God is holy. If we pick and choose which verses of the Bible we like about God, and discard those we don’t, we end up with an idol – a self-fashioned, reconstructed “god” who isn’t really God after all. He is so entirely holy that no other trait describing Him is referenced in this way, three times in succession.

WRESTLING WITH GOD
The epic story of God is launched in Genesis with these monumental words that create the backdrop for all of life:

“So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them . . . And God saw everything that he had made, and behold, it was very good.” – Genesis 1:27, 31 (ESV)

We were created in the image of God. We still are. Our current wrangling over sex and sexuality is really a wrangling over the nature and identity of God. Sexual confusion is a symptom of the real problem: confusion about God. Confusion about God leads to confusion about us.

We are now full-steam ahead in our efforts to recreate God in our own image. If the Bible teaches us anything, it teaches that all such attempts are futile. In other words, this path, if not reversed, does not end well.

LOVING PEOPLE, LOVING GOD
God does not fluctuate between degrees of love and holiness. He is, at all times, simultaneously love and holy. To love God is to love all of Him or nothing at all. To love people is to help them see that they are created in His image, and that image is not merely “good.” It is said in Genesis 1:31 to be “very good.” The idea is that we were created complete. We cannot succeed in adding to or subtracting from the image of God. Neither can we succeed when we add to or subtract from what He has created.

The most loving thing you can do in response to God’s love and holiness is embrace Him – all of Him – and help others do the same. Be careful you don’t recreate God into an inept, second-rate idol. Consider 1 Thessalonians 1:9:

“. . . you turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God.”

Not all “gods” are alive and true. Have you turned from false, powerless gods to the living and true God? If you have, then don’t turn back. If you haven’t, then it’s time you discover Him. Read the Bible, and set aside your editorial temptations. Don’t pick and choose which parts you like and don’t, because if you do, you’ll be recasting God in your image – and then you’ll have problems with your own identity. Love God by embracing all of Him.

LOVE SOMEONE WHO IS STRUGGLING
If you know someone who is struggling with their gender affiliation, help them understand that God didn’t make a mistake when He made us male and female. He didn’t make a mistake in making them male or female. What God made and makes was, and is, very good.

When we allow someone to remain in a fog about God, we aren’t loving them at all. If anyone tries to tell you that you’re a narrow-minded “hater” because you believe what the Bible teaches about sex and sexuality, don’t be intimidated. Name-calling is one of the most elementary signs of immaturity and fear. Remember, sticks and stones may break your bones, but names will never harm you. The most loving thing you can do for someone is to help them discover the truth about God. The way to do this is to help them read the Bible as is, without adding or subtracting to what it teaches about God. 

Remember: What we believe about ourselves is a reflection of what we truly believe about God. When we embrace the truth about God, and help others do the same, we model the most perfect love possible toward God and people. Once we do, all of life begins to make sense. Freedom begins with embracing the truth about God.

Are you afraid of knowing God or helping others know Him? Why? Learning the truth about God will help you learn about yourself. That’s what will really set you free.

I’d love to hear your thoughts.

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