Monday, July 9, 2012

How to save America!!! or not...

     How can we save America. The good old U.S. of A. The country that so many of us love and treasure. How do we save the greatest country in the world?  REPENT! Repent of our idolatry and all the other stuff that hacks God off. And I don't mean turn the Joel Osteen ,Rick Warren, Ed Young, Rob Bell, man centered Oprahfied non-sense. I mean return to the living God, the God of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and Jesus Christ. REPENT....
     Ok, so that was the blog I originally had in my head but as I got busy with spending time with the wife and kiddo's the blog kept brewing and it changed and I had another thought. Ok first off lets all just agree that America needs saving. The liberals think that the country needs saving from the conservatives and we conservatives pretty much believe that the country needs saved from everybody.  Now don't get me wrong I think it would be great if the first part of this article happened ,but my thoughts went to Romans 13

Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God.2 Therefore whoever resists the authorities resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment. Romans 13: 1-2

    No I know this chapter of scripture has been demonized by those in the so called "truth" or the conspiracy movements and the zeitgeist movement etc... particularity by those branches that are anti-christian. However those of us who are believers believe that all scripture is God breathed and profitable. (2 Tim3:16). I began to think what if America is falling and there isn't a thing we can do about it. Not because we're simply too far gone financially or the government is too large to scale down or because too many Americans are more interesting in "American Idol" or "Big Brother", but what if American can't be saved because it's God's will that America fall? 
      As far as I know there is no covenant between the founders and God for the creation of America. We exist simply by his grace. I can hear some of you now "What if the country goes through a great and true revival?" or "What if we have some God fearing leadership or another true Christian president?" or "Why would God want America to fail? We are a Christian nation. 
      Ok, I'm not God and I have had no "special revelation" these are just my thoughts and my thoughts lead me to a question "What if?"  However I do have some thoughts on the other questions many will have. 
       First what if we do get some God fearing leadership? Fantastic but again God is sovereign if he deems America falls, then we will fall but the next question is who? Mitt Romney? He's not a Christian, he is a mormon and by all Biblical standard that I know Mormonism is not a Christian denomination it is a pagan religion using biblical names and places and twists the Bible to suit it's mythologies. We did have some Christian candidates running yet they were quickly tossed to the side. 
         What if we have a great revival and we kick all the Osteens and Oprahs and Warrens and Bells to the curb? Again...I personally don't see that happening anytime soon but God does work miracles but again what if it's simply our time to fall. We started off as a primarily Christian nation in population at our founding yet we were never truly a Christian nation we have always been a secular nation who's inspirations were the scriptures. 
          And finally why would God want or will America to fail? Well (and again this is just a thought I've had I claim no special revelation or prophecy), our God is a jealous God and does not abide idols (see...pretty much all of the Old Testament) and we are a horribly idolatrous nation and I don't have a hard drive big enough to even start listing them all but maybe just maybe, and I've never heard anybody say this what if we have a 230 some odd Idol we call "The Constitution" or maybe we've got an even bigger Idol, a 3.79 million square mile idol....maybe we've made the country itself an idol, or maybe God could just have something else in mind to fulfill his will and prophecy. Again these are the ramblings my mind comes up with and yet still as desperate as situation as our country seems God could work a miracle and we could be a grand nation that lasts another 500 years or until the last trumpet sounds.

      However I'm not saying Christians shouldn't be politically active. We are the body of Christ doing his work. I am conflicted myself about this election, if you couldn't tell by the post.  
 Either way the the final call is Gods not mine.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Zombie Apocalypse Now!

     The scene opens, in the distance the sprawling layout of a suburban neighborhood. The camera focuses on the front of one of the many carbon copy houses. The door opens and out comes a robed man in his mid thirties or early forties who lazily saunters out to collect his Sunday news paper. He opens it up and begins scanning the headlines in the early morning sun when, what's that? The smell of smoke touches his nostrils
.   He lowers his paper and looks around. A pillar of smoke rises over the houses, several doors down. He slowly begins to notice all is not right. There are several cars in the road yet they are not moving. The windows are broken and some smeared with blood. There are no lights or sirens urgently rushing to fight the fire that brought him out of his morning fog. He begins to back slowly to his house his eyes wide with uncertainty. What could possibly be going on? Was there a terrorist attack or some sort of invasion and he slept through it?
       As he approaches his door he begins to hear noises off to one side. It's a moaning or a low growling. He quickly turns to open his door to the safety of his home but  to no avail, some how he's become locked out his own house he pounds on the door yelling for his wife or child to let him in. As he shouts, from around the side of his house the source of the noise begins to come in to sight. Several horrifying creatures covered in blood, their eyes milky and dead. Their cloths torn and stained. He realizes as the come close, they're his neighbors, moaning and growling coming closer towards him.
     He's startled by a smack at the window, he turns it's his wife, her eyes milky white in her hands a lump of raw flesh she's ravenously gnawing on. Finally the synapses in his brain fire, forming a coherent thought, probably his last one...."ZOMBIES!!!" he shouts. Yes, the zombie apocalypse has begun.
      If you've ever seen a one of the numerous zombie movies this scene probably sounds familiar. An unsuspected and seemingly uncaused outbreak of flesh eating zombies, ravage and take over the world. These movies have been both cult favorites and near blockbusters for decades and recently even a highly popular cable t.v. show.  Even recently their has been an outbreak of very zombie like activity, one man nearly died when a man high on synthetic drug commenced eating his face and would not stop till a cop put a bullet or three in him.
     What is our fascination with these cannibalistic, voracious, mindless, base, vile, nightmare creatures? Is it the fear or the gore factor? Simply a symptom of a declining society? I would say that's a good analysis as any. Maybe it's more sophisticated maybe there a dark artistic theme or social commentary on commercialism or racism or a commentary on our society's decline layered in to the gruesome stories?
I think it could be any of those depending on who's doing the writing however I think more over the stories are simply about us. The human race ,in general, in our natural state.  (Actually if you can take a look at Ted Dekker's "Circle" books he does an excellent job illustrating this)
      The apostle Paul writes in the letter to the Ephesian;
And you were dead in the trespasses and sins2 in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience—3 among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body  and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind.
Eph 2:1-3 esv 

      We are zombies! We are the walking dead, spiritually anyway. We are not born good or even neutral as the world claims, we are born with Adam's sin. We are the stillborn children of wrath and death by our father Satan.  We are enslaved to the passions of our flesh like mindless beasts. Doomed to Gods wrath and given over to our depraved and debased mind (Romans 1: 18-32) We are not even born free no matter where you are born, you are born a slave!
        And I think we know this.  I know we know this or we wouldn't have things like religion, self help, psychiatry, and mood altering drugs to try and make ourselves seem alive or try to try and work our way in to life with God or on to Gods good side. God even sent us the law to show us this. Gods law was never sent to save us or bring us to life. It was sent to show us that we were dead and sinful creature. The law cannot be kept in whole because if you break one law it is as if you have broken them all. (James2:10) And this is the essence of human nature. We aren't dead and heading towards death because we sin. We sin because we are dead and walking towards death.
        So what is to be done about this state of ours. What can bring us out of our slavery to sin and our walking death? 

 But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us,5 even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved—6 and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus,7 so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.8 For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God,9 not a result of works, so that no one may boast.10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.  Eph 2: 4-10 esv

     The wages of sin is death and in the days of the old covenant God gave us the sacrifice of bulls and goats and pigeons to cover the sin of the people. A covering of death so that God would not look upon their sin. Even with this the people were still dead, still slaves too their sin.  However these were still not good enough to bring the people to life. The sacrifices did not remove the sin and remove the death. Still however the answer to our problem of death was death. The perfect death, or rather the death of the perfect one, the death of God
      The answer was and is Jesus Christ.  Jesus came not conceived by a man but by the Holy Spirit and he did live the perfect life and kept God's  law perfectly and as the the Godman, both fully God and Fully man, he was the innocent sacrifice by both Jews and Gentiles at his crucifixion. The sins of man past, present and future were laid on him. He overcame this curse of walking death and the wrath of God by rising again and he now sits at the right hand of God as our perfect high priest. 
      Through faith in him and by the grace of God given to us  we can die to our curse of death in sin and rise to life with him. We can die to our old slave master of our flesh and bestial mind and become adopted sons and servants of the Living God and be zombies no more. 
       Their is one problem though but the problem is not with God or is offer or his plan. The problem is with us. Most of us don't know we're zombies. Especially in the western world, we are told that we are free, that we are mostly good that all we need is to be just a little bit better or that we just need to accept our selves as we are. But acceptance never comes...the "just a little bit better" is a carrot on a stick. What we need is the Holy Spirit to drag us kicking and screaming in to light and life. Because truth be told we don't really want to go.
        There is one sober realization in all of this and it's death.  While we are all born spiritually dead one day, two things are going happen. You are going to be physically dead and Jesus Christ is going to return to Judge the living and the dead. If you are in Christ you will be welcomed in to eternal life with him or you will condemned to eternal death. 
        So are you ready for this? Do you know where you will spend eternity? 

 For Moses writes about the righteousness that is based on the law, that the person who does the commandments shall live by them.6 But the righteousness based on faith says, "Do not say in your heart, 'Who will ascend into heaven?'" (that is, to bring Christ down)7 or "'Who will descend into the abyss?'" (that is, to bring Christ up from the dead).8 But what does it say? "The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart" (that is, the word of faith that we proclaim);9 because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.10 For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved.11 For the Scripture says, "Everyone who believes in him will not be put to shame."12 For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; for the same Lord is Lord of all, bestowing his riches on all who call on him.13 For "everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved."  Romans 10 :5-13 esv


The Time of the Gentiles

20 "But when you see Jerusalem surrounded by armies, then know that its desolation has come near.21 Then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains, and let those who are inside the city depart, and let not those who are out in the country enter it,22 for these are days of vengeance, to fulfill all that is written.23 Alas for women who are pregnant and for those who are nursing infants in those days! For there will be great distress upon the earth and wrath against this people.24 They will fall by the edge of the sword and be led captive among all nations, and Jerusalem will be trampled underfoot by the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled. Luke21: 20-24 ESV
     This is a very poignant prophecy by Jesus Christ just days before his crucifixion. This was a prophecy both for his contemporaries and for the future. He foretold the destruction of Jerusalem and it's recovery by the Jews. The destruction of Jerusalem and the temple happened roughly forty years after his death and resurrection. The reclamation of Jerusalem happened forty five years or so ago during the "Six day war".  So if I read Jesus correctly, the time of the Gentiles is fulfilled. So what's next? Jesus continues his prophecy

25 "And there will be signs in sun and moon and stars, and on the earth distress of nations in perplexity because of the roaring of the sea and the waves,26 people fainting with fear and with foreboding of what is coming on the world. For the powers of the heavens will be shaken.27 And then they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory.28 Now when these things begin to take place, straighten up and raise your heads, because your redemption is drawing near." Luke 21: 25-28

     Ok, so the first section of verses is fairly clear. Jerusalem is going to be destroyed. The second group of verses is a little more vague and if you continue to read the NT seems that Jesus is giving a summation of the events of his second coming. Jesus does continue to give revelation to his disciples in the following years and they are passed down to us in the letters written to the early churches. Events such a great falling away in the church (which I believe we're seeing the beginnings of) and the revelation of the man of lawlessness,aka The Anti-Christ,. (2 Thessalonians 2:3) 
      Another thing that I believe will happen and I think you can support this from Biblical history will be the rebuilding of the temple. If you look back at the books of Ezra and Nehemiah one of the first things that the nation did when it returned was rebuilt the temple. I've heard arguments against this saying that it's not necessary, that the people don't really want it etc.... However  have been and are plans to do this, they are currently looking for a suitable site.(see and others)
        I know to the world and probably many in the Church I sound nuts, like I'm trying to set a date or I'm some sort of conspiracy theorist, but the signs are there. The clear sign from Jesus is that the time is drawing near. I don't know when, maybe in my life time, maybe in my children or grand children's lifetime but we are near.  

29 And he told them a parable: "Look at the fig tree, and all the trees.30 As soon as they come out in leaf, you see for yourselves and know that the summer is already near.31 So also, when you see these things taking place, you know that the kingdom of God is near.32 Truly, I say to you, this generation will not pass away until all has taken place.33 Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away.
 "But watch yourselves lest your hearts be weighed down with dissipation and drunkenness and cares of this life, and that day come upon you suddenly like a trap.35 For it will come upon all who dwell on the face of the whole earth.36 But stay awake at all times, praying that you may have strength to escape all these things that are going to take place, and to stand before the Son of Man."
37 And every day he was teaching in the temple, but at night he went out and lodged on the mount called Olivet.38 And early in the morning all the people came to him in the temple to hear him.

    In this next section Jesus tells us to watch for the signs of his second coming and he says this generation will not pass away till it all has taken place. Now this is a highly disputed segment. The Preterists (those that think Jesus's prophecies are applying to the first century church) believe that he's talking for his disciples and those listening however is you follow the context he's not. He's clearly talking about the generation that is alive after the time of the gentiles ends (He's God he can do that) and clearly the time of the gentiles doesn't end until Jerusalem is in the hands of the Jews. 
     But I digress, This next group of verses is warning us to watch for the signs and be prepared for his coming. I'm not going to make any real predictions. I don't know when Jesus is coming back but by looking at his own words, it's going to be soon, real soon. When the signs in the moon and the sun and the stars begin happening I don't believe there is going to be any doubt for the vigilant believer about what is happening and there will be no doubt when the Son of Man comes again. 

 Being asked by the Pharisees when the kingdom of God would come, he answered them, "The kingdom of God is not coming with signs to be observed,21 nor will they say, 'Look, here it is!' or 'There!' for behold, the kingdom of God is in the midst of you."t
22 And he said to the disciples, "The days are coming when you will desire to see one of the days of the Son of Man, and you will not see it.23 And they will say to you, 'Look, there!' or 'Look, here!' Do not go out or follow them.24 For as the lightning flashes and lights up the sky from one side to the other, so will the Son of Man be in his day.t 25 But first he must suffer many things and be rejected by this generation.26 Just as it was in the days of Noah, so will it be in the days of the Son of Man.27 They were eating and drinking and marrying and being given in marriage, until the day when Noah entered the ark, and the flood came and destroyed them all.28 Likewise, just as it was in the days of Lot—they were eating and drinking, buying and selling, planting and building,29 but on the day when Lot went out from Sodom, fire and sulfur rained from heaven and destroyed them all—30 so will it be on the day when the Son of Man is revealed.31 On that day, let the one who is on the housetop, with his goods in the house, not come down to take them away, and likewise let the one who is in the field not turn back.32 Remember Lot's wife.33 Whoever seeks to preserve his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life will keep it.34 I tell you, in that night there will be two in one bed. One will be taken and the other left.35 There will be two women grinding together. One will be taken and the other left."t 37 And they said to him, "Where, Lord?" He said to them, "Where the corpse is, there the vultures will gather."  Luke 17 20 - 37

      So are you ready for the second coming of the Son of Man? Again I don't know when it's going to happen, nobody but God does. But whether it by the second coming or by natural causes we will all stand before Jesus Christ. Are you ready?