Saturday, November 9, 2013

Calling all terrorists.  Part IV

"Turn yourself in and ask for forgiveness."

That quote is an allusion to the Gospel of Jesus Christ. That is the cry of the true Church all over this earth to every person doing violence every day, in every way, against God and against His Kingdom.  The message spoken on that porch goes out to every "spiritual terrorist" out there,

Confess your sins to God.  Repent of them.  Renounce them.  Seek God's forgiveness and His  pardon.  Turn yourself in and ask for forgiveness.

The Bible says the following,  "For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life."  John 3:16

That verse spoken out loud in 13 countries will get me killed.  In 53 other countries it is illegal to preach it.  It is restricted in 40 others.  If I go into those nations with a Bible and proclaim that message as the only truth that man can put his complete trust in,  I am a "terrorist."  However, I am now a "terrorist" against the kingdom of darkness where deception blinds people to the grace and mercy of God.  Darkness is a kingdom using the weapon of deception to blind people to their sin and their need for salvation.  The power of the gospel destroys the kingdom of darkness and saves souls back to God.  The gospel brings light into the darkness. It reveals hidden things giving blind eyes sight.  It brings truth into error.  It radically changes perspectives.

In Watertown Massachusetts, when the police began a house to house search looking for the wounded terrorist, I was reminded of the words of Jesus found in the Book of Revelation.  In chapter three, Christ says the following,

"Behold, I stand at the door and knock.  If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me."

He is knocking on doors all over this earth seeking spiritual terrorists and waits for the enemy inside to open the door to Him.  Christ is at the door of the heart looking to save the spiritual terrorist but not to kill him or take him by force.  Every single Christian on this earth was once a spiritual terrorist that had to open the door to Christ, voluntarily.  They had to confess their sins, to abandon their terrorist acts and their treason against God's government and become a son or a daughter of God.  A once, violent enemy, confesses to God and desires to learn about life and love and reject death and terrorist acts against His government.  We learn to walk in a new way living the message that God has left us in the Bible.  God helps us every single step of the way. 

I prayed for that young man, a murdering terrorist, a "loser", (according to his Uncle) who is deceived by the kingdom of darkness. I prayed that he would have the opportunity to confess the evil that he did in Boston and ask for mercy.  I prayed that Christ would spare his life so that he might repent of the evil in his heart and seek God's forgiveness.  That he might cry out to God and have his soul saved from hell.

Is that outrageous?  Yes.  
Is that the outrageous hope of the gospel?  Yes.  
Does he deserve it?  No.
Do I?  No. 

Do you? 

The Gospel is an offer from God.  It is a divine exchange through mercy, from grace and love and pardon.  It cannot be paid back but only lived out in humility and the poverty of need.  We become poor in ourselves to be rich in Christ.  We are nothing. He is everything.

The terrorist in Boston doesn't get a pass for what he did if he cries out to Christ for mercy, but he receives pardon from an eternal hell and a new life.  He killed and maimed people for a reason that seemed right in his own mind, and that has consequences, like all sins have consequences.  They don't put people in prison for sleeping with girlfriends and the earthly consequences may only be heartbreak, but eternally speaking, it will put you in hell.  The urgency of the church is to get the message out to a world that has lost that perspective; sin will destroy you and only Christ can redeem you.

That perspective is the only high ground against the flood of evil rising all over this world.

Nothing we have or own can save our souls.  One can own bankers, lawmakers, politicians, and expand their power globally but that will not deliver one's soul.  Profits in the billions and a wage that one makes that is 500 to 1000 times the amount of the workers will not save one's soul.  That earthly wealth is nothing but rags rotting in a suitcase. We can only be delivered from the system of darkness and deception by God's truth, mercy and justice.  God's justice.  We cannot get out of it on our own.  There is no getting off of system's grid by our own means.  We need the Gospel.  However, mankind has freewill.  Christ doesn't kick doors down on anyone.  His rescue is an invitation from mercy.

We voluntarily turn ourselves in to Him.

We admit and confess our actions.  We ask for God's pardon.  We come to God with blood on our hands and violence in our hearts.  We see our condition and it's horrific conclusion.  We ask God for a new life, a new start, a new way.  We turn ourselves over to God.  The turning is both immediate and progressive.  We learn a new life day after day, decision after decision; determination and resolution under the direction of God.  Self begins to die and we begin to actively kill it off.

How can God possibly offer mercy for the terrorist, an actual or spiritual one?  How?  His Son died on the Cross as a terrorist.  Although Christ was the complete and perfect and an actual, historical, physical representation of God on our earth and in our history....He became sin.  Being sin He became us.  He died as sin in a brutal death so that the punishment for every terrorist was upon Him, taking away the eternal punishment of death for every terrorist opposed to God, making them sons and daughters instead.

To those who would turn to Him.  He that bore our sin would become our redemption.

Christ died for that killer in Boston.

Christ died for me.

Christ died for you.

"Turn yourself in and ask for forgiveness."



My writing dropped off with this blog as I went through six months of affliction.  My desire to grow and overcome what I allowed myself to be was challenged.  I tore my knee to shreds and needed surgery and then rehabilitation.  My wife and son survived a horrific car crash on a sunny Friday morning with only two scratches.  A dear man and family member needed great care as his body began to fail from pancreatic cancer.  I was challenged to overcome lies that limited me and prevented me my whole life.  There was success but great pain and heartache in the struggles to those successes.  I learned.  I grew.  I am thankful.  I also know how much strength and power I need to live in a world that I withdrew from years ago, and how little I have in my heart to do so.

I'll write about these things soon.  Thanks for reading. 

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Calling all terrorists. Part III

Calling all terrorists.  Part III

I'll repeat.

If you cannot accept the things that are seen what will you do with the things unseen?  You may not agree that man is responsible for global warming but there is very little argument that our earth's temperament is running a little hot lately and is predicted to do so into the future. The seas are rising but by how high and how long it will take to change coastlines will only be answered after it happens.  What's interesting to me is that there is a conversation going on about the sea levels rising, the seas temperature's warming and that Jesus Christ made a point that when He returns the seas will be roaring .....

and there will be upon the earth anguish of the nations in perplexity at the roaring of the sea and the rolling of the waves. Luke 21:25

The earth is getting slammed by hurricanes, floods, tsunamis and cyclones and man stands perplexed when these things happen. These are devastating natural events that are out of our control and they are happening in concert with societies breaking down, wars, diseases and famines. These things that are seen are connected to what is unseen.  There is a spiritual dimension to all that is going on in our world but that dimension is unseen because of deception.  The "system" we have all participated in (willingly or collaterally) for generations has been able to get us to where we are because of the system's lethal weapon of mass destruction; the weapon of deception.  

For the whole world to be somewhat oblivious to our reality requires a blind spot.  If the blind spot is fully operational when faced with dire ecological realities that can be seen, what about the spiritual realities that cannot be seen?  Spiritual deception is the most destructive weapon of all weapons.  Spiritual deception and it's cataclysmic results in our lives and in nature can be perceived simply by scanning a newspaper or watching a half hour news program.  It is not rocket science but accepting and connecting global realities; accepting the reality of melting sea ice and then connecting that to the reality of humanity's propensity to evil, requires the counter weapon to the system's weapon of mass destruction. The counter weapon is spiritual truth.  Truth is the ultimate counter weapon to the system's weapon of mass deception.  If we dismiss the truth and close our minds off and hide from global realities we willingly become a casualty to the system's weapon of deception.  The system then takes more and more ground, in our natural world and in our spiritual world.

In part II of this blog I used the challenges to change the perception of the global population regarding the serious issue of sea ice melt as a reference to the power of this deception.  The general public remains uniformed or casual to what is happening; even as the Ilulissat glacier breaks up on film and the polar caps melt with meteorological and scientific data to prove it.  If the public is oblivious regarding something that can be physically seen, for example, an area of glacier described as the size of Manhattan breaking apart, what is causing that lack of interest?  The answer is deception.

Deception is the weapon we are assaulted with and deception is the fuel of the system we are living in.  Deception blinds us to danger and reality.  It blinds us to responsibility and accountability. It blinds us to the truth.  No one expects to see our coastal cities under water tomorrow so we push away the reality of what is certain and deal with our lives in our today only.  The world exists in a, "Today Only" reality. "Today Only" thinking is the horrific surrender to the system and to it's deception.  The ultimate cost of Today Only, Here Now, Mine First, is us and the earth we live on.

The high cost of Today Only thinking and the consequences change dramatically, revolutionary, when that thinking becomes engaged with spiritual truth and an eternal mindset.  When we lift our eyes from our preoccupation with Today Only and comprehend an Eternal reality, everything in our living is upended, transformed and revolutionized.  What is happening in our world, in family, society and our physical world is not being played out only in a natural realm that we can see but in a spiritual realm we cannot see.  Unless we have spiritual vision we are blind to the forces of the system and we continually scurry around trying to get a handle on eternal things with a Today Only approach.  We look to charismatic leadership and brilliant minds, we look to innovation, we look to a paradigm shift (somehow) in the system but we are looking apart from the Eternal in those approaches.  Man has created these problems that are way past his ability to rewind or unwind and we need (in our totality) help from outside of man.  We need help from God.  

To dismiss God is to continue in deception.  And we don't need just "a" god but "the" God.  We need help from the God that told us exactly what is coming and how we got here.  We need help from the God that says the answers to your problems in your individual life or global life are found only in Christ.  The only God that says that is Jesus Christ.  Every other religion on this earth seeks the answers to our destruction from within.  The, "Within seeking",  for our personal divine truth is grossly flawed because what we find within is what we see in the without.  The heart of man is polluted so the earth is polluted.  War starts in the hearts of men.  Misery and greed starts in the hearts of men.  Mankind cannot change his heart apart from God's help and intervention.  If the heart does not change the reality of our living and our destination cannot change.  Globally or personally.

If a person picks up a Bible for the first time in their life they can read verse after verse regarding the times that Jesus Christ describes before His return, and they will see that we are in those days; but they have to pick up the Bible and open it up and read it.  To open it they have to fight against deception, a deception that the whole world is under.  The only escape from deception is the Gospel and the power of Jesus Christ.  That's it. There is no other cure, no other rescue, no other place of protection and the call is out now louder than ever for everyone on this earth to come to Jesus, quickly and desperately.  Why?  Our world is not going to get better but worse and we need the Savior. 

That is the truth, and that truth is bombproof information.

Christianity says that what we have in our hearts is the reason for our suffering and brutality. It's called sin. Murders, wars, sexual perversions, greed, marital problems, hatred and all manner of selfish and destructive living is from the destructive power of sin.  That power is broken by the power of God. The ultimate weapon of all weaponry is the gospel.  The Bible says the whole world lies under the power of the evil one.  The system of evil in our world is run by one and the system of everything that is in opposition to that evil is run by another One.  The gospel is the power to switch sides; from evil to good, from death to life, from hatred to love, from darkness to light, from living as a terrorist to a radically changed position of being a son or daughter living in the household of God. 

All terrorists operate under the power of evil.  There are no good terrorists.  A terrorist seeks to throw off a government or leadership's control over his life through reckless destruction.  Terrorism is a short-sighted act of violence against any authority that one is not interested in recognizing or participating with.  Terrorists kill and physically destroy to get their own way and their bias are the final authority.  Just like a terrorist, a Spiritual Terrorist is a person rebelling against God in the pursuit of personal aims to self govern, disdaining and throwing off God's government to have his needs met in a way that seems right to him.  His actions are violent, short-sighted and drenched in error and deception.  A Spiritual Terrorist is as blind as a bomber, waging war every day against God, making himself an enemy of God and a terrorist against God's government.  Apart from Christ's life and His truth, cultivated and lived out in our life, we are all in the camp of the evil one ready to act out with terror. 

God's government is a true and actual government and there is a war going on in this world against that government.  Deception blinds us to that reality.  I was once a terrorist against this government.  Like a deceived madman in ignorance and in my rebellion I believed that what I was doing was perfectly right.  There was pain and loss for what I did but it never registered in my head that it had eternal consequences. I walked around every minute of every day in opposition to God's government, doing violence to His Name and to my soul.

What violence did I do?  I participated in terrorist acts every time I slept with a girlfriend.  If you don't believe sleeping with someone outside of God's plan for marriage is a terrorist act against God, you are deceived.  I listened to a young, educated man on a news program yesterday speaking about the Millennial Generation, the generation from 18 to 33 years of age, that he is part of.  One of his descriptions for his generation was, "not having to validate a love relationship through marriage."  It just rolled off his tongue as a harmless fact, a choice, a freedom from religious or societal mores that he refuses to participate in and didn't feel the need for.  I was one of those people once until the truth of the gospel hit me full force and leveled me to the ground.

What that young man said on television was espousing terrorist doctrine against God.  He was wittingly or unwittingly participating in a war against God's government and he was doing so because he is deceived.  His perspective is wrong.  The cause of that wrong is because the system we are all living in also has limited power to keep the truth that removes deception away from him.  The deception that hinders the truth is a mechanism of the system, blinding and distorting God's truth through culture, education, media, false religion and biblical ignorance. Although he can see the effects of the consequences of that blinding and distortion in every corner of the globe, and in every headline, without the Gospel of Jesus Christ penetrating that blindness he remains deceived.  Only the gospel can break through the system of darkness.

The gospel is bombproof information.  The gospel, also called the good news, is called this because it breaks through the system, removing deception and offering pardon to one life at a time.  The true gospel does two things at once: it reveals to the heart that it is an enemy of God, which causes enormous dread, and then it reveals that God is willing to forgive the enemy of treachery and terrorism, causing a relief that nothing on this earth compares with.

The Uncle of the Boston bombers, those two men who murdered and maimed people in blind hatred, said something to the press that stopped me and I could barely breath. He unconsciously alluded to the greatest message on this earth when he stood on a simple porch surrounded by microphones and cameras and said the following to the killer on the run, he said,

"Turn yourself in and ask for forgiveness."

Part IV continues and finishes this blog.