Tag: repentance

Why won’t you forgive me when I tell you I’m sorry?

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These days, the words, “I’m sorry” are about as genuine and believable as a university head basketball/football coach’s signature on a multiyear contract.

In other words, they mean nothing.

“But why won’t people believe me when I say I’m sorry? Why do I have to jump through so many hoops before they forgive me?”

Let’s think about it for a minute or two.

I like the folks who think Jesus said, “If a brother sins against you, don’t get mad or judge him. Calmly let him know he hurt your feelings. And if he says, ‘I’m sorry’, believe him and let him slide.”

Honestly, there are people who think Jesus said those words.

But here’s what He REALLY said:

“Pay attention to yourselves! If your brother sins, rebuke him, and if he repents, forgive him, and if he sins against you seven times in the day, and turns to you seven times, saying, ‘I repent,’ you must forgive him.” (Luke 17:3 – 17:4 ESV)

Notice Jesus said we’re to rebuke (call to account) the one who sins against us. IF he repents (acknowledges his wrongdoing and turns from it) we’re to forgive.

“I’m sorry” isn’t the same as repentance. 

Paul demonstrated this truth in his letters to the Corinthian church.

In the first letter, he told them to judge (rebuke sharply) a young man who was having sex with his father’s wife (chapter 5). The idea was to help bring the man to repentance; see him change his mind as well as his actions.

In the second letter, Paul told them that their godly response toward the man did what he had hoped; it made the man face his sin and with godly sorrow he turned from his sinful ways.

Paul said, “NOW you need to forgive him and restore him…”
He then reminded them of the difference between godly sorrow (sorrow that changes one’s behavior) and worldly sorrow (sorrow that merely says, “I’m sorry”).

“I now rejoice, not that you were made sorrowful, but that you were made sorrowful to the point of repentance; for you were made sorrowful according to the will of God, so that you might not suffer loss in anything through us. For the sorrow that is according to the will of God produces a repentance without regret, leading to salvation, but the sorrow of the world produces death.” (2 Corinthians 7:9 – 7:10 NASB)

So why don’t people believe you when you say those magic words “I’m sorry”?

And why won’t they automatically forgive you, even though you’ve uttered those two special words?

Maybe it’s because you’re always saying them, yet never displaying any remorse or desire to change your behavior. Perhaps it’s because of your “you have to forgive me” attitude.

And it could be you have never believed you are capable of being wrong.

Yes, it’s true people should be quick to forgive; it is ALSO true people are to take their cue from God. We must forgive as He forgives.

“Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you.” (Ephesians 4:32 NASB)

“Just as…”

God’s work of salvation, including the forgiveness of sins found in the substitutionary work of Jesus, will only be experienced by someone IF they repent and believe. No repentance, no forgiveness.

“I’m sorry, God”, is a start; but not if there’s no change of heart and mind.

Remember, we’re told to forgive “just as…”. So, no repentance, no forgiveness.

It was true then, and it’s true now.

So just because you’re quick to say, “I’m sorry”, doesn’t mean I or anyone else has to be quick to forgive.

Repentance? That’s a whole different story.

“I’m sorry”? If you say those words because it’s a habit, every time someone holds you accountable, you might as well say, “I did it, I’m glad I did it, and I’m gonna do it again; so there!”

It will mean just as much as “I’m sorry”.

Maybe, for once, along with “I’m sorry”, you could add, “Will you please help me? I don’t want to keep offending you, God, or anyone else.”

That is, if you truly mean it.

If you have true repentance.

If not, then I’m sorry; you’ll just have to deal with the consequences.

Will The Leaders Please Lead?

 Remember the day when leaders said things like “the buck stops here”(Truman) and “when you can’t make them see the light, make them feel the heat” (Reagan)?

And they meant it?

How about this one from General Douglas MacArthur? “A true leader has the confidence to stand alone, the courage to make tough decisions, and the compassion to listen to the needs of others. He does not set out to be a leader, but becomes one by the equality of his actions and the integrity of his intent.”

This nation has many people in leadership positions, but who is really leading? 

There are many vying for our votes, hoping to be the next President of the United States. They all say they’re leaders. But in what way are they leading?

In my opinion, much of what’s taking place today is because there’s a lack of leadership. Of course, in a society that pretty much buys into the “you do your thing, I’ll do mine” mentality, who’s going to get in front of that train and say, “Whoa!”?

Only a leader. 

But who wants to try and explain to the masses they’re heading the wrong direction, especially if it could cost them their job?

Only a leader.

Of course, it’s important for everyone to be accountable for their actions, say and do the right thing. No one gets a free pass, for we all will reap what we sow.

However, where nations, countries, or governments are concerned, it’s the leaders who are accountable to God.

In other words, those who stand and say, “I’m the leader”, will also have to give an answer to the One who put them in office and Who established governments in the first place.

And it’s the leader who must acknowledge before the Court of Heaven, “We have turned from Your ways, O God, to our own selfish ways. Forgive us, Righteous God, lead us in paths of righteousness. Protect us by Your might, Great God and King! In the Name of the matchless Son of God, Jesus. Amen.”

Throughout history, leaders such as Abraham, David, Jehoshaphat, George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, Winston Churchill, and Franklin Roosevelt faced impossible odds. But as they led their people with humility and repentance before the Lord, God wrought miracles for their nations.

Though God had plans to destroy a major metropolis in Jonah’s day, when the king heard the prophet’s message and led his constituents in full scale repentance, God stopped the planned destruction.

“The word reached the king of Nineveh, and he arose from his throne, removed his robe, covered himself with sackcloth, and sat in ashes. And he issued a proclamation and published through Nineveh, ‘By the decree of the king and his nobles: Let neither man nor beast, herd nor flock, taste anything. Let them not feed or drink water, but let man and beast be covered with sackcloth, and let them call out mightily to God. Let everyone turn from his evil way and from the violence that is in his hands. Who knows? God may turn and relent and turn from his fierce anger, so that we may not perish.’

“When God saw what they did, how they turned from their evil way, God relented of the disaster that he had said he would do to them, and he did not do it.” (Jonah 3:6-10 ESV)

Jeremiah wrote that the nation of Israel was being judged, exiled for 70 years in a foreign land.

Why? Because of Israel’s leaders. Her prophets, priests, and princes. 

It’s the way God established governments from the beginning. He put them in place for the benefit of His people, but also reserved the right to change things if necessary.

And it’s beginning to look as though it’s necessary.

So will the leaders please lead? Will those who blow about all their qualifications, and why they deserve the highest office in the land, please just lead this nation in humbling ourselves before the Mighty God?

Please?

Before it’s too late.

What’s Wrong With This Country?

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“Long may our land be bright, with freedom’s holy light, protect us by thy might, great God our King.”

This is a word for people who want to blame all of our country’s woes on everyone but themselves.

I will say up front I don’t think every person in each of the groups I’ve listed believes or acts like I’ve portrayed. However, there are a lot of people who have no problem in lumping everyone under the same heading.

Especially if it’s someone they don’t agree with. 

So, please try and get past the “but I’m a ___________  and I don’t think like that” frustration. I’m only trying to make a point.

The liberals blame the conservatives, who, in turn, blast back with their righteous guns blazing. The heterosexual is mad at the homosexual for stealing the rainbow, and the homosexual tries to cram the “One Man and One Woman” back into the closet they just came out of.

The white man disparages the black, and the black man believes that whites are racist. The brown and yellow? They get in the act from time to time.

Christians KNOW they aren’t the ones who’ve messed up the country, and are quick to explain who’s to blame.

People who don’t give two hoots about God or faith point their accusing fingers at the people who hide behind their religion, and can’t think for themselves.

It’s kind of a mess, isn’t it?

Who’s really to blame for the condition of this country? 

Well, maybe I should ask a different question to begin with.

What’s wrong with this country?

We have plenty of resources, yet the county is in a financial mess.

There are thousands of churches, but the nation’s morals keep reaching new, lower levels.

The safety net of welfare has been transformed into a generational curse. The land of opportunity has turned into the land of entitlement.

 

JFK’s famous, “Ask not what what your country can do for you; but what you can do for your country”, has been erased from the history books. Now the phrase is, “America, you owe me!”

 

We have the name of God on our money, but not on our lips. He’s mentioned in our sporting events, but not in our schools. We call on Him in times of crisis, blame Him for His lack of protection against crime and cancer, and yet we won’t let Him get a word in edgewise.

We love to be in control of our life, but won’t accept the blame for our great job of mishandling it.

All the while God says, “Turn to Me.”

“Behold, the Lord’s hand is not shortened, that it cannot save, or his ear dull, that it cannot hear; but your iniquities have made a separation between you and your God, and your sins have hidden his face from you so that he does not hear.” (Isaiah 59:1-2 ESV)

What’s wrong with this country? 

I am. You are. WE are what’s wrong with this country.

The wrong things we do are what’s wrong with this country.

God does not hear people who are bent on doing things their own way; doggedly determined to live without the influence from some “Higher Power”.

God does not hear people full of pride.

God does not hear this nation’s demand for equality and justice, when in fact, equality and justice have become a farce.

However, God DOES hear the cry of the repentant, the voice of the humble, and the praise of those truly thankful.

Thankful for Him, and thankful for the nation He has given to some 315 million people.

 

What’s wrong with this country? Nothing God can’t fix…His way.

 

Seven Churches

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Have you ever considered Jesus’ words in the Book of Revelation: “He who has ears to hear, let him hear what the Spirit is saying to the churches”?

Brethren, I don’t believe those words were meant solely for those seven churches mentioned in chapters two and three.

I strongly believe those words belong to us, the Church, right now in 2015.

Realizing that some may be offended, or think I’m taking wild potshots at ministers, ministries, and churches in America, I’ll say it up front.

I am not. 

I’m not writing to offend or wound.

I’m simply trying to make sense of some things.

You see, just as Jesus stood in the midst of the candlesticks (representing the churches), I can see Him doing the same today. As He stood inspecting (“I know your works”, He’d say), He listed deficiencies and adequacies within each church.

And He’s standing in our midst, inspecting, saying,

“He who has ears, let them hear.”

“For it is time for judgment to begin at the household of God; and if it begins with us, what will be the outcome for those who do not obey the gospel of God.” (1 Peter 4:17 ESV)

But what could He possibly want us to hear? Would His message be one of affirmation only, or could there be a few words of reproof?

Can we even hear His voice? Are we prepared to hear words of correction, or would we, upon hearing such words, rise up and shout, “Get behind me, Satan!”?

Imagine what it must have been like back in the first century churches. They were people much like you and I. People who had learned how to play the church game; you know, do certain things, speak with a holy sounding voice, and ostracize everyone who doesn’t look or act exactly like you.

Well, not everyone acted that way, but some did. And not everyone acts that way today, but some do.

“You folks know how to recognize false apostles”, the Lord told the Ephesians. Quite the commendation, don’t you think?

I wonder if they were too busy slapping each other on the back to hear His next words, “But you’ve left your first love!”?

See what I mean? What would Jesus say to our churches? To our pastors?

Here are a few things I believe He’s saying; some of the same things He spoke to the brethren some 2000 years ago.

“I know your tribulation and your poverty (but you are rich) and the slander of those who say that they are Jews and are not, but are a synagogue of Satan. Do not fear what you are about to suffer. Behold, the devil is about to throw some of you into prison, that you may be tested, and for ten days you will have tribulation. Be faithful unto death, and I will give you the crown of life.” (Revelation 2:9-10 ESV)

Suffer? The devil attacking our church? Our parishioners? No!

Tribulation and poverty are not fun things to talk about. And I wonder how many people are members of our churches who aren’t genuinely born of God?

I don’t believe we ought to take a vow of poverty or invite persecution just so we can earn our “Badge of Holiness”. But all who live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution. And living right, doing right, seeking first the kingdom of God is much more important than living a life of comfort and ease; if a choice must be made between the two.

Could His words to us, the American Church, be somewhat like those mentioned above?

I know this; it would certainly be hard to grow a “dynamic, world-changing church” if a pastor repeated the words Jesus spoke to those in Smyrna.

I’ll stop for now. But read through the second and third chapters of Revelation and ask the Lord, “What are You really saying to us?”

I’ll write more later.

By the way: please comment. What do you believe we should be hearing from the Lord?

 

 

 

 

Choice of Punishment

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Did you know that the Lord, many times, allows wrong doers the opportunity to choose their own punishment? Their own fate? It’s true. People have had a choice of punishment. Here’s an example with King David:

“But after he had taken the census, David’s conscience began to bother him. And he said to the Lord , “I have sinned greatly by taking this census. Please forgive my guilt, Lord , for doing this foolish thing.”

“The next morning the word of the Lord came to the prophet Gad, who was David’s seer. This was the message: “Go and say to David, ‘This is what the Lord says: I will give you three choices. Choose one of these punishments, and I will inflict it on you.’” So Gad came to David and asked him, “Will you choose three years of famine throughout your land, three months of fleeing from your enemies, or three days of severe plague throughout your land? Think this over and decide what answer I should give the Lord who sent me.”

“I’m in a desperate situation!” David replied to Gad. “But let us fall into the hands of the Lord, for his mercy is great. Do not let me fall into human hands.” (2 Samuel 24:10-14 NLT)

David realized he had disobeyed God. He acknowledged his sin before the Lord, and the Lord, through the prophet Gad, gave him three punishment options. David had a choice of punishment.

David did the right thing and put his fate into the just and loving hands of God. He decided to let God choose.

That was then. This is now. God hasn’t changed, and neither has man.

True, God has judged sin once and for all through the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. But people must make a personal decision either for, or against Christ. And if mankind would only have the sense (and faith) to call upon Him, my, how different the world would be.

If the people of this nation would truly repent of their selfish ways and receive Jesus as their Lord, this nation would turn around over night.

But they don’t. They keep living as if God isn’t real; or, if He is, He didn’t mean what He said. They won’t humble themselves before God, as David did.

So God has given the people of the U.S. a choice; a choice of punishment. “How will you be punished for your lawlessness, selfishness, and arrogance?”

What choice did Americans make?

Well, America voted on it. The voters, the votes of the electoral college, the pen and phone of the president, the lobbyists, and even the Supreme Court have all gotten into the act of replacing God; removing Him from society. The nerve, and downright arrogance, of this country. “We’ll decide once and for all if same-sex marriage is right.”

The majority will have their say.

And that will be America’s punishment. America will have to learn how to fend for themselves. God won’t force His ways upon anyone. Not then, not now, not ever.

He’ll let them have their say; their way.

Good luck, America.

What In Heaven’s Name Are You Saying?

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What in Heaven’s name are you saying?

Are you saying the same thing John, Jesus, Peter, and Paul said?

“John appeared, baptizing in the wilderness and proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins.” (Mark 1:4 ESV)

“Now after John was arrested, Jesus came into Galilee, proclaiming the gospel of God, and saying, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel.” (Mark 1:14-15 ESV)

“And Peter said to them, “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.” (Acts 2:38 ESV)

“The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance.” (2 Peter 3:9 ESV)

“The times of ignorance God overlooked, but now he commands all people everywhere to repent.” (Acts 17:30 ESV)

“…correcting his opponents with gentleness. God may perhaps grant them repentance leading to a knowledge of the truth, and they may come to their senses and escape from the snare of the devil…” (2 Timothy 2:25-26 ESV)

Repent.

Not a popular word, but a necessary word.

Why?

Well, for one thing, it is impossible to believe the gospel without first changing your mind about yourself, God, Jesus, Heaven and Hell.

And for another, the gospel is good news. But good news is only good to those who realize how bad off they really are. People must understand they are hopelessly and eternally lost; that no amount of goodness, great deeds, social savvy, or political influence can ever change a nature in league with the devil.

That’s our predicament. Without Christ we are children of darkness; spiritually dead. Strangers to the genuine love and life of God. Outcasts. It’s why we need a savior. It’s why John, Jesus, Peter, and Paul used the word, “repent”.

It’s why I write so much about it.

All of Heaven’s resources are available to the soul who believes Heaven’s word.

Repent.

Please don’t change Heaven’s message. It’s the only hope we have.

Times Of Refreshing

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“Repent therefore and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, so that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord, and that He may send Jesus Christ, who was preached to you before” Acts 3:19-20 NKJV

“Repent” isn’t a real popular word. I have found it’s a word that is more blessed to give than receive. Know what I mean?

Peter said, “Repent therefore…” Why the word “therefore”?

“But what God foretold by the mouth of all the prophets, that his Christ would suffer, he thus fulfilled. Repent therefore…” Acts 3:18 ESV

Why repent? Why should we, everyone, change our mind about our lifestyle, our worldview, our beliefs, and who’s going to be the Lord of our life? Because all that God prophesied about the salvation he was bringing to man was fulfilled in and through his son, Jesus Christ.

The only thing keeping you and I from a drastic and complete change is us.

Our mother isn’t keeping us from God’s work in our life. Our father can’t stop God from working. Not having a father is no excuse for us not experiencing the wonderful, holy presence of the Lord.

Neither our social status or our Facebook status can keep God’s presence from flooding our life with his power and goodness.

Refreshment and revival have been given a set time by the Lord. A set time is a sure thing. It can be counted on to happen. One does not have to guess, and no one needs to ask a prophet, when God’s refreshing times are to come.

No, I’m not saying God can be manipulated into giving us an exciting and refreshing church service.

I’m not trying to deceive you into believing that all anyone needs to do to have a powerful service is simply declare it, advertise it, hire a nationally known charismatic preacher to draw the crowd and, POOF, it happens! No!

Even the best music played by the best musicians won’t guarantee a thing.

So how can I say refreshment and revival are a sure thing? How can I declare to know the set time for revival?

Refreshment and revival take place when we quit trying to run our lives, and God’s kingdom. In other words, when we repent.

Repent because there’s nothing left to do. Repent because God has done everything else through his son, Jesus Christ.

Repent. Change our mind, change our beliefs, change our world view, change our friends if necessary; but repent.

And times, set times, sure, certain times will come from the presence of the Lord. And when God shows up in person, everything changes.

This Sunday Evening, April 27th, we are setting aside time to search our hearts, pray and praise, and allow the presence of the Lord to work like only he can.

There are a number of things each of us could do instead of gather at church. Sure. But only very few things are more important.

Gathering to praise and worship the living God is one way of showing a “change of mind”, or revealing a repentant and contrite heart.

Which, may I remind you, is something God is wild about.

“For thus says the High and Lofty One Who inhabits eternity, whose name is Holy: “I dwell in the high and holy place, With him who has a contrite and humble spirit, To revive the spirit of the humble, And to revive the heart of the contrite ones.” Isa 57:15 NKJV

So we’re going to gather, and each of you are invited as well.

Invited to repent, therefore and be changed; when the Lord sends times of refreshing from his presence.

The Place – New Life Center
Address – 1031 23rd Street
Des Moines, IA
Date/Time- April 27, 2014/6 p.m.

For more info call – 515-494-8833

Coming Home (introduction)

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As I sat listening to others share prayer requests the other night, the Lord deposited a “word” into my spirit. My heart rate didn’t increase when the word came, and I didn’t see any flash of lightning. What I heard was a very quiet, but clear, “This is the year of the prodigal’s return.”

Like I mentioned, nothing dramatic took place as his word dropped into my spirit. But I caught it. It was so clear; and when I heard it I immediately believed it. It was a word wrapped in the gift of faith. It’s about all I’ve been able to think about ever since that evening.

I have started writing a book about prodigals, and their return home. And, the part we have to play in receiving them.

This is just one chapter. I plan to finish the book in a month or so, and make it available as an EBook. If you’re interested in receiving a copy when it’s finished, please comment as such in the comment section of this post. Thanks.

Here we go…

A Dad and his Boys

To illustrate the point further, Jesus told them this story: “A man had two sons. The younger son told his father, ‘I want my share of your estate now before you die.’ So his father agreed to divide his wealth between his sons. A few days later this younger son packed all his belongings and moved to a distant land, and there he wasted all his money in wild living. (Luke 15:11-13 NLT)

The father had two sons, not just one. The number two is important. Why? Because there’s something to learn from both boys, not just the “wild” one.

I wonder what made the younger son think about getting out on his own? Really, when it comes right down to it, it’s natural for a young man to want to be on his own. So I wonder if maybe he’d heard stories from his high school classmates (you just KNOW he went to a “Christian” school) about life on the far side of the world. Life in the fast lane, perhaps.

Maybe he’d heard of all the opportunities available for a guy like himself. Just because he wanted to be on his own didn’t mean he was rebellious. Sure, he could have been. But Jesus never mentioned it. He DID say the kid wasted his inheritance in the distant land.

Let’s discuss the inheritance the younger son asked his father for. Asking for the inheritance wasn’t out of line for people of that day. The father typically would divide his inheritance while he was living, and give his heirs an opportunity to learn financial responsibility and integrity while he was alive to assist them. Did you notice the father agreed to divide his wealth between his sons? In other words, both sons received their inheritance. Both sons, not just the younger one.

If you are a parent with more than one child, or if you have a brother or a sister, you’ll know that no two kids are alike. Just because they’ve been raised in the same house, by the same parents, doesn’t mean they will have the same dreams, values, or motivation. They are unique in almost every sense of the word. And although they can be so hard to understand and even harder to raise, their uniqueness is really a very beautiful thing.

Scripture doesn’t reveal if the father was a strict disciplinarian or a push over. So, let’s just say the father was just and fair. It doesn’t appear that he tried to persuade his younger son from leaving. Some might consider that as not caring about his son enough. Maybe, maybe not. I like to think that the father was proud of his son for going after a dream.

Our Heavenly Father had his son stand in front of him one day and say,

First, Christ said, “You did not want animal sacrifices or sin offerings or burnt offerings or other offerings for sin, nor were you pleased with them” (though they are required by the law of Moses). Then he said, “Look, I have come to do your will.” He cancels the first covenant in order to put the second into effect. For God’s will was for us to be made holy by the sacrifice of the body of Jesus Christ, once for all time. (Hebrews 10:8-10 NLT)

Jesus left heaven and moved to a distant land. Not as a prodigal, but as someone committed to doing God’s will. He came to seek and save that which was lost.

Maybe that’s what the younger son was thinking. Maybe he had good intentions at the beginning. You know, sort of like Lot when he eyed the land before him, as he and his uncle were separating. Perhaps, I say perhaps, Lot felt the call to go to Sodom and Gomorrah to tell them about El Shaddai, the God of Abraham. Maybe. Or, perhaps.

Sometimes, even people as spiritual as you and I get sidetracked and moved away from our original plan. Right?

It’s not clear at all as to why the younger one left home. As the younger, maybe he was tired of living in the shadow of the older, and perhaps, the first born. Think about family dynamics for a moment. With at least two kids in the family, it’s natural to at least mentally compare one child with another. At times the “mental” comparisons can lead to “vocal” comparisons. “Why can’t you act like your brother?” Yeah, right.

Not to besmirch the father of this story, and understanding he can be representing our Father God’s love and patience, the truth of the matter is the father IS NOT Father God. So I doubt if this father was as perfect as everyone believes. There COULD have been some friction between the younger son and the father. Or there could have been words between the older son and his younger brother. Nothing is said of the older son and what he did with his portion of the inheritance. There’s a reason for that which we’ll look at a bit later.

There are a number of reasons why people launch out on their own. Good reasons. Natural, God designed and God blessed reasons.

I like to believe the younger son left home because he had a dream. A dream which couldn’t be fulfilled until he left home, venturing out on his own.

By the way, God loves a dreamer.

And God doesn’t mind if you and I give this younger son, and each other, the benefit of the doubt.

What do you think?

The Pen and The Phone

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This morning I was sitting in the neighborhood cafeteria, waiting for some friends to arrive; ink pen in my pocket and phone in my hand. While I waited I watched a little bit of MSNBC, something I don’t do very often.

The topic of conversation was President Obama’s new phrase, “I’ve got a pen, and I’ve got a phone. That’s all I need. I’ll sign orders and rally support.” The commentator explained the president was talking about the tools he can use if Congress doesn’t give him what he wants.

“These are the only tools I need”, said the president.

That’s an amazing statement, and though it’s true, it’s an example of a major issue that’s destroying this once great nation.

And in case you’re preparing for an all out “bash the President” blog, just cool your jets; it isn’t going to happen. It’s not his fault! Nor is it Bush’s fault! It’s America’s fault!

There was a time God used a pen to convey his message to his people, and take the necessary action. It was what the people called for, loud and clear, by their actions. The people practically mandated him to act; and finally, reluctantly, he did.

“The sin of Judah is written with a pen of iron; with the point of a diamond it is engraved on the tablet of their heart, and on the horns of your altars.” (Jeremiah 17:1 NKJV)

The mighty, diamond tipped pen was an instrument used to proclaim the nation’s long overdue judgment. They had given themselves over to idolatry, worshipping anything and everything except Jehovah God! Their favorite thing to worship was their own wisdom, cunning, self-importance, and the great name they’d made for themselves. “Who needs God?”, they’d ask, mockingly. “We can write our own marvelous future. We don’t need someone like him to foul up our success!”

God’s reply, with pen in hand, was:

Thus says the LORD: “Cursed is the man who trusts in man and makes flesh his strength, whose heart departs from the LORD. For he shall be like a shrub in the desert, and shall not see when good comes, but shall inhabit the parched places in the wilderness, in a salt land which is not inhabited.” (Jeremiah 17:5-6 NKJV)

Like a shrub in the desert. Is that today’s America? Even when good comes, the shrub won’t see it. Is that what we have to look forward to?

America, as a nation, has placed itself under the “cursed” heading; the dubious reward for trusting in, and only in, self. America as a nation has allowed its “heart” to depart from the Lord.

Even our nation’s currency has lost its value as a result of its departure from God. The loss is two-fold: the money isn’t backed by a gold standard, nor is the slogan “In God We Trust” meaningful any longer.

But America keeps on flaunting its arrogance and pride before its Creator!

The President has a pen and a phone, which he uses. But that won’t bring about the real change this country needs.

God has used his pen, but offers us his phone.

“Blessed is the man who trusts in the LORD, and whose hope is the LORD. For he shall be like a tree planted by the waters, which spreads out its roots by the river, and will not fear when heat comes; but its leaf will be green, and will not be anxious in the year of drought, nor will cease from yielding fruit.” (Jeremiah 17:6-8 NKJV)

He calls to us, you and I; to whoever will dare listen and believe. A promise of water, fruitfulness, and total blessing belongs to those who will trust in the Lord.

His promise to a nation. His promise to America.

May we humbly respond, using the Lord’s private line to acknowledge our need for him.

He’d rather not have to use his pen.

Handwriting on the Wall

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The handwriting is on the wall.

And the hand that wrote, “mene, mene, tekel, upharsin”, is the same hand that has drawn a line in the sand of our society.

God had a message for the Babylonian King Belshazzar (Daniel, chapter 5). As the prophet of God interpreted the Divine word, the king was left with no doubt to its meaning. But did it bother him? No! Instead of repenting, he proudly told Daniel about the great position he was promoting him to. The king missed the point completely! The handwriting didn’t change the king, so instead, it testified against him.

Belshazzar had witnessed examples of humility in the past; even his grandfather Nebuchadnezzar humbled himself and acknowledged the Most High God as the Ultimate Ruler. He knew of godly men; men such as Daniel. He had ample time to turn from his wicked ways and to humble himself before the Mighty God of Israel. But he was above such acts of contrition. He was so full of himself, there was only one thing that could conquer his ugly pride; and that was death.

He wouldn’t listen to the prophet; he refused to acknowledge his arrogant pride, so God let the king’s hourglass run out of sand.

Now a line has been drawn in our society’s sandy foundation! God is saying to this nation, “enough is enough!”

The line represents the end of His “tolerance.”

You may say, “But I thought God was slow to anger, and not willing that anyone perish”.

He IS slow to anger. He IS NOT willing that anyone perish. But what else can He do?

America must repent of its pride and arrogance. God RESISTS (fights against) the proud, but comes to the aid of the humble.

American political and civic leaders, from President Barak Obama to the mayor of Hicksville, USA; you must humble yourselves before God. Humility before fellow Americans is a good place to begin.

American spiritual leaders, whether a mighty Apostle who carries a Divine “touch”, or the pastor of a church with only two people; you ALL must recognize the line in the sand.

This society has become intoxicated with self! As Belshazzar shamelessly used the vessels of gold, which were once dedicated to the work of God, to feed the immoral cravings of himself and his guests, so America shamelessly mocks God, His people, His work, and His institution, the church. This society is consumed with eliminating all traces, even the minutest sign, of God.

Many churches have fallen prey to the spirit of the age; re-create God into the image of fallen, sinful man. Market God as One Who cares for people, but doesn’t care what they do or believe. Anything goes with a loving God. But that lie will soon require payment in full. The wages of sin is death. Period. And it is not negotiable.

Yes, the line has been drawn by the finger of God. See it in the sand; the sand America has chosen to use as its societal foundation. They hear the words of Jesus, along with the leaders of other religions, and mix them all together. For diversity’s sake, of course. Then, they choose the parts of each religion they like, understand, are more comfortable with, and throw the rest away.

And then they wonder why their life, and their nation, is falling apart!

The line has been drawn. Belshazzar, will you heed the warning? Merry men and women intoxicated with power and pride, will you acknowledge your inadequacies and bankrupt morals? Will you realize, before it’s too late, there’s only one way for this nation, this society, to recover?

Americans of all backgrounds, ethnicities, and race: your hope doesn’t depend on who wins an election, or who has the majority in Congress.

Continue to step up to the line and challenge God if you’d like. But don’t be deceived. God is not mocked. Nor will He compromise His character and integrity because someone said He isn’t real.

Wake up America. Put down the cup, Belshazzar. Rend your heart, oh merry ones, and not your garments.

The handwriting’s on the wall; a line’s been drawn in the sand.

The Finger of God has written, “It’s time.”


“And you his (Nebuchadnezzar’s) [grand]son, Belshazzar, have not humbled your heart, though you knew all this, but you have lifted up yourself against the Lord of heaven. And the vessels of his house have been brought in before you, and you and your lords, your wives, and your concubines have drunk wine from them. And you have praised the gods of silver and gold, of bronze, iron, wood, and stone, which do not see or hear or know, but the God in whose hand is your breath, and whose are all your ways, you have not honored.

“Then from his presence the hand was sent, and this writing was inscribed. And this is the writing that was inscribed: Mene, Mene, Tekel, and Parsin. This is the interpretation of the matter: Mene, God has numbered the days of your kingdom and brought it to an end; Tekel, you have been weighed in the balances and found wanting; Peres, your kingdom is divided and given to the Medes and Persians…

“That very night Belshazzar the Chaldean king was killed…” (Daniel 5:22-31 ESV)

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