SOON KILLING WILL COME TO AN END

The right to end another person’s life as the entirety of Scripture would have us understand is difficult at best. You need to understand it from the perspective of God’s laws before and after the time of Christ and what applied to Jews versus Gentiles.

For example the Jewish laws prior to Christ allowed ending life if: murder occurs in taking possession of someone else’s property (1 Kings 22:17-24) or to execute God’s wrath as in the destruction of the Midianites in Numbers 31:1-18. Variations in understanding of these two principles are still in place in our Judaeo-Christian culture today.

Overlooking these events that end life is God’s commandment that “you shall not murder” (Exodus 20:13). In fact Scripture challenges us to consider life in prison in place of death. That debate is ongoing and one I will leave to theologians to sort out.

One final example of Israeli law that we still hold to in our culture is that leadership (ex. President or King) no matter how bad is still in power by God’s anointing and his life is to be protected (1 Samuel 24:10). All this being said as a Christian today we need to heed Christ’s warning. In the time of tribulation, growing ever closer, death will be our mistress (Matthew 24:9) but our physical death should not be the concern rather they who would kill our soul (Luke 12:4-5). It will even be unsafe in our own houses of worship (John 16:2). There will be no sanctuary place. This because the anti-Christ  (beast) will be in power. That though will be short lived as we know “the rest of the story” and SOON KILLING WILL COME TO AN END.

THOUGHT FOR TODAY: Killing in the keeping of God’s Kingdom must be carefully thought out.

DEVOTIONAL VERSE FOR TODAY: Exodus 20:13 “Thou shalt not murder”.

PRAYER FOR TODAY: Lord give me understanding regarding the ending of life.

QUESTIONS TO THINK ABOUT:

  1. What Jewish laws of the Old Testament are still applicable today for Messianic Jews and Gentiles?
  2. Why did laws change after Christ?
  3. When is war just?
  4. Which is Scriptural: death penalty or life in prison?

FOREIGN AFFAIRS

When dealing with other countries the range of responses in today’s society run anywhere from isolationism to active aggression. For a moment I thought it good to look at how foreign affairs were handled as the Kingdom of God was being built on earth.

War was not unknown and it was certainly deemed appropriate when someone did harm to your family or nation. Abram (Abraham) reacted in such a manner when his brother was taken captive (Genesis 14:14). A case in point when looking at what is and is not a ‘just war’.

Treaties to prevent conflict are also discussed throughout Scripture but often they are weak and create additional problems or do not solve what was the problem. Care though, needs to be placed in the drafting of any agreement.

Scripture also speaks of numerous alliances not always for good. When established in the right manner and for the right reason they are a thing of beauty. Before conflict this always should be considered. All this being said, circumstances may be such that the ‘bad guy’  still wins when conflict is between good and evil (2 Kings 25:1-11). That is the nature of FOREIGN AFFAIRS.

THOUGHT FOR TODAY:  Foreign affairs are folly when fools are involved.

DEVOTIONAL CHAPTER FOR TODAY: Genesis 14 “war in dealing with other countries”.

PRAYER FOR TODAY: Lord guide our nation in conflict.

QUESTIONS TO THINK ABOUT:

  1. How should foreign affairs be handled from beginning to end?
  2. What are pit falls to watch out for?
  3. Are there currently any situations being mishandled?
  4. What circumstances would cause a ‘bad guy’ to win a conflict?

THE DANGER OF POLITICAL CORRECTNESS!

As Christians we claim the Bible as God’s Word or for many those parts that are comfortable for us. That being said imagine that Scripture tells us in the beginning God made us male or female each with distinct roles and personalities recorded from Genesis to Revelations. In fact the Bible is clear that it is wrong to give over to your effeminate side if you are a man (1 Corinthians 6:9).

Today that statement based on Scripture labels me or other like minded as hateful, phobic and more. If expressed in Academia or the business/political world I would be sent for retraining. Today in campuses across our land classes are taught ‘to de-masculinate’ the male species.

The prophet Isaiah in Isaiah 19:16 showed the effeminate nature to be the curse of Egypt placed upon it by the hand of the Lord. A danger our society is and has rapidly fallen into when a country allows it’s defense to act in such a manner then it is subject to being taken over as Nahum 3:13 expressed. No one wants war but when evil attacks a nation needs to be properly prepared. Imagine a world under the rule of Nazism or today’s evil of Islamic radicalism.

Today if we believe in the entirety of Scripture and not rewrite or edit it so it fits ‘out time’ or viewpoint then we need to heed the words of Paul in 1 Corinthians 16:13 and “stand fast in the faith”. Our very existence and eternal future depends on it. This is THE DANGER OF POLITICAL CORRECTNESS.

THOUGHT FOR TODAY: An effeminate nature is strengthened by misguided education and personal ego.

DEVOTIONAL VERSE FOR TODAY: 1 Corinthians 16:13 “stand fast on God’s Word”.

PRAYER FOR TODAY: Lord keep our nation strong.

QUESTIONS TO THINK ABOUT:

  1. How is our society becoming more effeminate including in key areas like the military?
  2. How relevant are the words of Nahum 3:13 to the safety of the United States of America?
  3. Why is society having a difficult time understanding the roles of male and female?
  4. Are you able to stand fast in the faith?

 

IT’S TIME TO DO BATTLE!

As Christians so many of us sit quietly on the sidelines as the enemy attacks some of our fellow believers and so much more that we hold dear to our hearts. Truth is we should be fearless warriors for Christ as I believe God gives each of us the opportunity to know His full mysteries and have faith and hope that is limitless (Colossians 2:2). This is most certainly true when we knit ourselves together in one great big blanket of believers.

In Deuteronomy 20:4 we take this understanding, faith and hope and we take on ALL opponents for as it tells us in that verse God will go with us to fight our enemies just as He did for the Israelites of old.

Having this courage and God by our side we must also understand that a Christians battle with the sword is a last resort as our attitude must first be to try and overcome them with kindness such as David showed in 1 Samuel 26 including getting Saul to admit his guilt.

To get someone who is an enemy to do this one first has to bring the conversation back to civility. Peace treaties of any kind are meaningless until the words spoken by both sides are civil. After civil speech then you begin working on the deeds and that starts with a forgiving heart (Matthew 6:12-15) such as the Lord spoke in the prayer He gave us. Imagine a world where people and nations at war with one another would have this forgiving nature. That is the essence of the Lord’s command in Luke 6:35 and outside of those who have a heart of pure evil that is what we must do and even then we are to provide for their basic needs (Romans 12:20) for if that does not change their heart then it is only to their detriment.

Finally after changing our words and deeds we must change the third leg of this triad on how to do battle with the enemy which is our thoughts and no better example exists than our Lord’s final words on the cross when He prayed for those who ended His earthly life (Luke 23:34). That is the ultimate example of forgiveness for each of us. IT’S TIME TO DO BATTLE with all our thoughts, words and deeds but doing so as Christians might catch others off guard as we follow the instruction of our Lord.

THOUGHT FOR THE DAY: Our efforts in battling the enemy requires we educate ourselves in the proper Christian attitude.

DEVOTIONAL VERSE FOR TODAY: Deuteronomy 20:4 “God fights our enemy with us”.

PRAYER FOR TODAY: Lord strengthen me for battle as You would have me fight.

QUESTIONS TO THINK ABOUT:

  1. At what point does love and kindness get shelved and weapons get used?
  2. How does someone get an enemy to admit guilt?
  3. How does one discern a heart of pure evil?
  4. Are your thoughts, words and deeds in line with Christ’s battle plan?

THE FIGHT!

Fighting seems to be a part of human nature. We see it at all levels from the spiritual battles within us to the opposite end which are wars between nations. In every instance one truth stands out and that is that someone is going to get hurt. That is the nature of battle and only after the final battle when Christ returns to conquer satan and all which is evil will we find ultimate eternal peace.

Knowing conflict will be a part of our lives it would be wise to pray as David did for God’s intervention (Psalm 35:1) in the fight. Cautious in battle or conflict using God’s advice in order that your fight is a just one is critical before ever undertaking the conflict. In that regard Scripture has some advice for us beginning with the fact that any fight requires it be fought with determined resolve (1 Cor. 9:26). We do not battle evil wherever it shows up half-heartedly. I believe Nazism and WWII showed how evil is conquered when the world unites and today the evil of radical Islam may become the next major battle testing our world’s resolve.

Living a life of faith is also a battle. Paul acknowledged that in 1 Timothy 6:12. Any of us who have taken on Christ as our Savior knows this to be the case. Satan and his minions I believe take special pride in bringing down believers knowing that if we fall he has not only caused the death of a body but more importantly the death of a soul. James understood this when he wrote that battle within us often comes from our desire for pleasure (James 4:1-2). That battle is one of pride and self being placed over the need for humility and submission to God’s will.

One day all fights will end and it will happen when THE FIGHT of all time takes place (Romans 20:10) and the devil is forever cast into hell. Until then we continue to do battle with satan who as Romans 12:12 tells us will be on earth until the final battle and God’s knockout punch.

THOUGHT FOR TODAY: Fellowship with our Heavenly Father reduces the fear of any fight with satan.

DEVOTIONAL VERSE FOR TODAY: Psalm 35:1 “seeking God’s intervention in battle”.

PRAYER FOR TODAY: Lord strengthen me for battle with satan.

QUESTIONS TO THINK ABOUT:

1. Where all is mankind involved in the act of fighting?

2. What battles today require fighting with determined resolve?

3. How does satan do battle with Christians?

4. How are battles lost?

REAL PEACE!

In many churches a pastor will say to his congregation the words “the peace of Christ be with you” and the people will respond “and also with you”. Nice sounding words but how many stop to think what that means. Few are there who do not want peace but Scripture tells us the wicked will neither experience peace or be known for it. Sadly, that means in this life the “god of this world” who is satan will always stir the pot of evil and the ingredients of conflict making peace available only to Christians and then on a permanent basis only in Heaven.

In the meantime we can be assured as believers of the peace of Christ. The prediction of this was made in Isaiah 9:6-7. With the birth of Christ came not only personal peace who seek it through Him but eternal as well. As Christians we must be very careful in our crying out for war and that which brings unrest until we consider all options and how God’s word speaks to each individual matter for certainly the life of Christ was not about war or any form of unrest which has as its origin sin.

The peace of Christ was also announced by Isaiah in chapter 52 verse 7. Peace should cross all political lines and any other line we might place before us. No one has the copyright on peace save for God alone but what we do have as Christians is our need to follow in Christ’s footsteps and proclaim it at every turn. Wherever there is the slightest bit of argument or controversy which often easily grows into serious conflict or even war, we should be their to help bring resolution as best we can.

Finally we see that peace is promised (Haggai 2:9). When the temple has been rebuilt and Christ’s second coming occurs then peace, REAL PEACE, will finally be ours for all eternity. Imagine for a moment that place you go to where you find peace in this life and it won’t hold a candle to what has been promised us. Simply believe and be baptized and grow in righteousness and peace will be your experience as well.

THOUGHT FOR TODAY: Peace is available to all people who live in the palms of our protecting Father God.

DEVOTIONAL VERSE FOR TODAY: Isaiah 52:7 “peace is to be proclaimed”.

PRAYER FOR TODAY: Lord I desire to live in peace.

QUESTIONS TO THINK ABOUT:

1. Why is peace such a difficult concept for so many?

2. How would you bring peace where there is contention?

3. Do you share the peace of Christ with others?

4. Where do you go to find peace?

WILL CONFLICT EVER END?

My answer is no until Christ returns to earth. Until then there will be arguments between individuals, churches, businesses, government entities and countries. The only hope for true peace is in Jesus Christ and the cross. All other agreements aren’t worth the paper they are printed on as we are told there will always be wars and rumors of war. So if that is the case what hope is there for establishing reconciliation, unity or oneness in our lives.

The Bible tells us first for true reconciliation and unity to take place it must be THROUGH JESUS CHRIST and in that relationship we have peace with God (Romans 5:1). I have always felt without Jesus in a relationship (ex. marriages) peace will never truly exist. As our society  removes God from its life we remove the possibility for peace with it.

SECOND reconciliation brings ACCESS TO GOD (Romans 5:2) by our faith. When we pray to God we are not talking to thin air but a God who is before us and wants to care for us. I have found that to be the case often where my faith has opened God’s arms in taking care of me and my family in ways I could never  have imagined.

FINALLY reconciliation brings us UNION on earth. The verse for today speaks of union between Jews and Gentiles. As with Hitler replacing Christ with the occult we will find in our day not only anti-semitism when we take Christ out of the picture but national unity, peace in Israel and the end of wars will never happen. I do not foresee there being any chance of unity or reconciliation ever occurring from the personal to the political  realm  until there exists in any situation the foundation of Jesus Christ. WILL CONFLICT EVER END? Not without our Lord God in the picture.

 

THOUGHT FOR TODAY: Reconciliation is required for true reform to take place.

DEVOTIONAL VERSE FOR TODAY:  Ephesians 2:14  “source of peace”.

PRAYER FOR TODAY:  Lord bring me peace so I may share it with others.

QUESTIONS TO THINK ABOUT:

1. By what means do you find reconciliation when conflict breaks out in your life?

2. How does standing on the truth  of Scripture not create barriers in our world?

3. Are you reconciled (in union or oneness) with Jesus Christ?

4. Do you believe in long lasting peace (why or why not)?

WARNING!!!!!!

For most people in the United States this is a time to be comfortable. If we have jobs we are getting by and if we don’t the government ‘safety net’ is there to help us. For me after just hearing a speaker, who was formerly from the Islamic country of Egypt, things are not quite so comfortable.
I share this with you because I fear for our nations future and perhaps even for our very lives. This may be gloom and doom but if what I see and hear after checking out it’s truthfulness happens we as a once Christian nation could be in for a Babylon type experience as discussed in today’s verse.
The speaker mentioned above showed by chapter and verse in the Islamic Quran the plans for those not of their faith. It isn’t pretty. Statistics were shared on how our societies will fall based on replacement population theory alone with immigration and large Muslim families versus an average birth rate in the US of the non Muslim population of 1.6 from which a nation cannot recover. If those of Muslim faith truly hold to their “bible” then the lifestyle we can expect in the future will be dramatically different as can be seen in the middle eastern countries. The power of the ballot box will dictate that.
In 2 Chronicles Babylon (modern day Iraq) conquered Jerusalem because they (the Israelites) did not heed God’s warning and in their disobedience lay their fall. I believe God is warning us again today and if we abandon or take His Word (the Bible) lightly we too will fall. God keeps His promises (see 1 Peter 2:8). The only hope then is for a ‘Cyrus’ to come along as he did for the Jewish people and help us, and our nation, to start over.

THOUGHT FOR TODAY: Disobedience leads to defeat, destruction and death.

DEVOTIONAL VERSE FOR TODAY: Lord may my commitment to You never waiver.

PRAYER FOR TODAY: 2 Chronicles 36:19 “Result of disobedience”.

QUESTIONS TO THINK ABOUT:
1. What steps will you take to become more informed about other faiths (especially the Muslim faith)?
2. What are your feelings and understandings of the Quran?
3. In what ways as people and as a nation are we disobedient?
4. How do you see the future of our nation?

TIME TO FIGHT!

There seem to be an ever increasing number of battlefields for Christians to fight on if we are going to be allowed to keep practicing our faith. Society to a large extent hiding behind what I believe was a false argument allowing for separation of church and state has carried eliminating God from our lives to an extreme, and lazy churches have furthered it along by making it easy for families and individuals once faithful to drift away.
We see the battles each day as so called Christians without any backbone give in rather than take a stand and fight. If someone shouts louder or threatens a lawsuit we cower and shiver like a beaten animal. We have allowed Hollywood (television and movies), schools, city and state governments and even our national government to mock, belittle and remove God from our lives and soon the church will be next.
If we truly love God and follow His great commission then it is time we use our minds AND our muscles (strength) to say enough is enough. Whether it is battles here at home or supporting those who spread God’s Kingdom in other lands. We don’t need to resort to terrorism but when a battle comes before us wherever it may be then it is time to stand up. Courage must be ours and then to trust God for the outcome. May our anthem be the great hymn “Onward Christian Soldiers”.

THOUGHT FOR TODAY: Conviction with courage is our calling as Christians.

DEVOTIONAL VERSE FOR TODAY: 2 Samuel 10:12 “Good advise from King David”.

PRAYER FOR TODAY: Lord today I begin to do battle for You wherever it may be.

QUESTIONS TO THINK ABOUT:
1. Where are Christians under attack in our homes, churches, communities and governments?
2. How do you plan to do battle for Christ?
3. Why do we allow non-Christians to control our faith journey?
4. What is your understanding of separation of church and state?

WOMEN IN THE MILITARY!

Not being one to avoid controversy and always interested in having others make me more knowledgeable, I present for today’s devotional some thoughts that are currently in the news.
The current administration of our government in an effort to bring true equality (?) to our land has declared women will fight in the front lines of battle. How I choose to view this issue and all issues of life is from a Biblical worldview not secular or personal opinion. I find when I let the Bible guide my way in life all goes well and when I try to make the Bible fit what I desire that troubles begin.
In Numbers 1:2-3 we find the Lord speaking of military preparedness. In essence it was the first draft or registration. It involved ALL MALES age 20 and older. I assume in ‘just wars’ or being under attack women defended themselves very capably but God’s intention seem to me to be that it was a male’s role to defend the home (land).
The ramification of our current administration’s policy are many. Will the qualifications remain at the highest level for combat duty or lessened so more can qualify and an ultimate question of should ALL women as all men then have to register for possible draft into service if we desire to have true equality.
There are many other unanswered questions that those in the news outlets will ‘spin’ one way or the other but what won’t be heard is what God’s desire is for us in regards to men, women, our families and what is best for furthering His Kingdom on earth. We must always remember the old adage that for every action there is a reaction or consequence. As Christians are we prepared for the consequences of this decision?

THOUGHT FOR TODAY: The waging of the right to fight in war should be weighed carefully by women who wish to fight.

DEVOTIONAL VERSE FOR TODAY: Numbers 1:2-3 “early rules for the draft”.

PRAYER FOR TODAY: Lord may the decisions I make be according to Your will not mine.

QUESTIONS TO THINK ABOUT:
1. What should be the role of women in the military especially in front line conflict?
2. In the name of equality should all rules including registering for selective service be the same for women as for men?
3. Was it God’s intention for women to serve in the military? Why or why not and based on what scripture?
4. How do you resolve this issue?