The Demonic Downgrade of America… Pt II

The Demonic Downgrade of America… Pt II

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Last week on The Heart of Abba, I spoke about the Demonic Downgrade of America. I tackled those things going on in our society that are dragging our country into an abyss of ungodliness and despair. I cited numerous symptoms, in our government and our society at-large, that are tell-tale signs that we are running head-long down a path of moral, fiscal, and societal destruction. As I cited from the tagline of the 1984 movie, Something Wicked This Way Comes

For every desire, there will be a cost.

Well, it’s a pretty grim picture. However, the words of Jesus offer us hope…

         “I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you. Before long, the world will not see me anymore, but you will see me. Because I live, you also will live. On that day you will realize that I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you. Whoever has my commands and keeps them is the one who loves me. The one who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love them and show myself to them.” ~ John 14:18-21

This past Sunday, I delivered the sermon Upgrading the Demonic Downgrade of America to the church body at Abba’s House. I invite you to join me now, through this video, and find the hope that exists for our nation if we but turn back to the Author and Finisher of our Faith — Jesus.

I invite you to share this video with your friends,
and join me in prayer for the very soul of our nation.

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Join me this Sunday, July 6, 2014 as I discuss the Mysteries of Eternity. As we stand and watch the flames of retaliation burn in Israel following the brutal murder of three Israeli young men, we as believers need to understand the times in which we live. What do the current events unfolding right now mean to believer and unbeliever alike? Is it going to get worse before it gets better? How should we live our lives in light of these things? Don’t miss this important message.
Worship begins at 10:30a.m… to watch live, click here.

Choosing the Right Hill to Die On.

Through the Looking GlassThere is a saying…

Is that a hill you are willing to die on?

In a battle, a hill (or other high ground) is of immeasurable value. As a point of defense, having your army on top of a hill gives you a tactical advantage in that you can see an oncoming attacker a long way off (taking away any advantage of surprise), thus allowing you to prepare your defense accordingly. Offensively, holding the high ground gives you an ideal position from which to conduct a siege, or keep an enemy contained. Famous battles on such hills as Pork Chop Hill, Bunker Hill, Heartbreak Ridge, San Juan Hill, and many others were oftentimes decisive battles in a conflict. Arthur MacArthur, the father of famous WWII general Douglas MacArthur, was awarded the Medal of Honor for his actions right here in Chattanooga, Tennessee for his heroism during the Battle of Missionary Ridge. Because of the difficulty involved in taking a hill, the missions to do so were often deemed “suicide missions” because of the likelihood of high casualty numbers.

In our current culture, you often hear the expression related to personal, business, and career decisions. It is another way of saying, “The decision you are about to make — do you feel strongly enough about it and have enough conviction to risk everything? Is this decision worth the potential fallout that may very well ensue?” It could be a job decision that could potentially cost you your job or a promotion. It could be a decision that could cost you a friendship. It could be a life-altering choice that could forever alter the course of your life. While we may not always see the immediate consequences of positive decisions, we see negative decisions played out every day…

The decision by a person to drink and get behind the wheel of a car.

The decision of a spouse to walk away from the marriage they promised to honor.

The decision of a pregnant mother to end the life of her child through abortion.

Yet in spite of whatever decisions and consequences we face everyday, there is one “hill” that trumps them all…

It is a lonely hill called Calvary where Jesus faced a choice: Call 10,000 angels to storm down from Heaven onto a sinful race and obliterate all of His enemies, or go to the cross and be the sacrifice for all mankind.

His choice was YOU. He looked down through history, saw you right where you are, and decided that taking a chance on saving you was worth it.

So while you may have tough decisions that cost you personally, making the eternal choice to trust Jesus as your Savior is an easy decision you can make — not a hill you have to die on.

Why?

Because He already did.

The Demonic Downgrade of America

In 1983, Disney produced a film adaptation of the 1962 Ray Bradbury novel, Something Wicked This Way Comes. It is the story of a mysterious carnival that comes to Greentown, Illinois, and is run by a character named Mr. Dark. While the carnival at first appears entertaining and thrilling, two young boys discover that the carnival and it’s proprietor have a much darker purpose… the acquisition of innocent souls for condemnation. The film was promoted with the tagline…

For every desire, there will be a cost.

Now, 31 years later, this film has become eerily prophetic.

FlagJust as, in 2011, the United States experienced it’s first-ever fiscal downgrade (by Standard & Poors), America is in the midst of experiencing a demonic downgrade. For the last 50 years, America has been experiencing a fundamental shift from our founding Judeo-Christian roots to a nation I hardly recognize. And now, we are seeing our faith, our freedom, and our very foundation under a full-scale attack from the forces of darkness… an attack that began with the removal of Scripture and prayer from our public school system. This victory led to an attack on any Judeo-Christian reference in the public arena. Our timeless symbols such as the cross, the Star of David, the Menorah, and the manger scene (among others), have been deemed unwelcome. Political correctness has not just invaded the statehouse, however… it has cooled the fervor of preaching and witness in America.

Dachau StatueOur government “of the people, by the people, and for the people” has been replaced by an “all-seeing, all knowing, all-controlling” government that is now attempting to take over every aspect of our private lives. Because America has abandoned God, our protective covering has been removed, and we have been invaded by demonic entities. We saw the same thing happen 81 years ago when evil in the form of a man named Adolph Hitler took the reins of power in Germany, and began his Islamic-sanctioned attack on the Jews (the Islamic Grand Mufti (mayor) of Jerusalem (at the time) later traveled to Germany and personally endorsed Hitler’s Jewish “final solution” – the Holocaust).

So, take a look at where we are today…

  • Worst unemployment since the Great Depression.
  • Historic devaluation of the American dollar.
  • Destruction of the world’s best medical system.
  • Since 1973, over 56 million babies have been murdered through the act of abortion.
  • September 11 saw the brutal murder of almost 3,000 of our fellow Americans in New York, The Pentagon, and Shanksville, PA.
  • Benghazi… the first murder of an American ambassador since 1939.
  • The gradual disappearance of our religious freedoms.
  • The legalization of drugs.
  • The systematic breakdown and confusion of the family unit.

While I could go on and on, the fact of the matter is that only demons could orchestrate such a rapid decline of a once God-fearing nation.

In order understand the significance of these things, and how we can fight back against the spiritual forces of wickedness that are influencing public policy in America, we must understand what brought about the circumstances that created an environment conducive to such Godless behavior.

Iwo JimaThis Sunday (June 29), we will be celebrating the birthday of our nation (5 days early) at Abba’s House with All-American Day. We love our nation, and believe in the principles that made this country great… faith, family, & freedom. Our worship ministry will be performing a number of patriotic songs, we will honor our veterans and armed services, and I will bring a message entitled Upgrading The Demonic Downgrade of America. If you love our nation like I do, join me as we find out together what it is going to take to put her back on the right track.

If you are in the Chattanooga area, I invite you to come and join us. Our service begins at 10:30a.m.

If you follow my blog from a distant city or state, and cannot join us in person, you can watch us online at abbashouse.com  Click on this link to watch us live.

Join with me, and let’s enter into this season of national pride and celebration on our knees, with the determination that we will once again be “one nation under God” — for generations to come.

The Promise of the Future

Through The Looking Glass2One of the biggest hindrances to a bright future is the shadow of the past. So many people choose to dwell on a past that cannot be controlled or changed. Our history is what it is, and no amount of regret or remorse can change that. Sir Winston Churchill once said…

“If we open a quarrel between past and present, we shall find that we have lost the future.”

The apostle Paul put it another way…

“Forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.” ~ Philippians 3:13-14

Paul knew that you can never see the future as long as you are looking over your shoulder at the past.

Sounds like good advice to me.

Set your sights on the light of the future in front of you. You’ll find more peace in the promise of the future than in the problems of the past.Med2

The Gospel According to Forrest Gump

ShrimpAnyone born prior to 2009 is probably at least familiar with the name Forrest Gump. As the 20th anniversary of it’s release approaches (originally released on July 6, 1994), I thought this post a timely one. Whether you’ve seen the movie or not, I’m sure you are familiar with some of the colloquialisms derived from the film, as well as some of the pop-culture that was born from it. After all, ever hear of  the Bubba Gump Shrimp Co.?

(Incidentally, they DO have boiled shrimp, popcorn shrimp, fried shrimp, jumbo shrimp, shrimp creole, BBQ shrimp, etc… but I digress)

Among his most famous “Gump-isms”, one phrase that is often re-quoted in normal conversation is one quote Forrest attributed to his momma.

Stupid is as stupid does.

Well, as living proof of that, allow me to share my own “Forrest Gump moment”. Recently, I was speaking out of town, but as it was not at an unreasonable distance, we decided to drive. There are a number of people who sometimes travel with me to assist with logistics, books, etc., and on this occasion, my travel companion was a gentleman named Brad. We got to the multi-evening event, and everything went great. However, due to a wedding I was slated to participate in back in Chattanooga, we had to leave immediately once I finished speaking at the last session, and begin the long drive back home.

On the last night of the event, upon completion of the service, we packed up all of our books and materials, said goodbye to the wonderful folks who afforded us the opportunity, and headed out to the truck (I drive an SUV). As we approached the vehicle, I realized something was wrong…

It was already running.

Now, this is a problem, since Brad had stayed with me the whole time, and had never come out to the truck to start it ahead of time. In fact, neither of us had been out to the truck since before the service started, a couple of hours before. As all of the potential reasons why it may have been running, as well as the potential consequences of such, raced into my mind, all I could come up with was a simple question…

“Brad… Did you leave the car running this WHOLE TIME????”

Without missing a beat, and seemingly unfazed by the directness of my question, Brad very simply replied, “No, I just started it remotely a minute ago.”

Whaaaaaaat????

“You did WHAT?” I asked.

“What? You didn’t know you can start it remotely?” Brad asked with a touch of incredulity in his voice. He held up the remote to the truck. “Yeah, you push this button, then push this other one, and it cranks right up.”

So let me get this straight… I have had this vehicle for how-many-years, and never knew I could start it remotely? All of the scorching, southern days that I sat in the car, sweating until the AC caught up with the oven-imitating cab? All of the cold, winter mornings that I had to leave the warmth of my home to go out and crank the icy engine? You mean to tell me that, all this time, I could have simply pushed a button, and let the car warm up (or cool down), without the discomfort of my presence?

Ok… as I am so fond of saying in my sermons: “Hold up your sign” (you know, the one that says stupid on it).

Well, I guess I wouldn’t be a real preacher if I couldn’t find a spiritual application to my own misfortune (or stupidity), so here we go…

How many times have we all had something at our fingertips, and never realized it? How many times has the answer, solution, or tool we needed been within our grasp, but we are too focused on the complexity of the job to see the simple fix? How many of us are guilty of being creatures of habit to the point that, when a better way comes along, we ignore it and wallow in our time-worn inefficiency?

The Psalmist said…

  Bless the Lord, O my soul,
And forget not all His benefits:
Who forgives all your iniquities,
Who heals all your diseases,
Who redeems your life from destruction,
Who crowns you with lovingkindness and tender mercies,
Who satisfies your mouth with good things,
So that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s. ~ Psalm 103:2-5

   Ok. Closer to home. How many of us are really good at “blessing the LORD”, and really bad at “forgetting NOT all His benefits”?

Chocolate“Momma always said, ‘Life was like a box of chocolates.
You never know what you’re gonna get.'” ~ Forrest Gump


We sing praises. We worship. We bless His name. However, when the first sign of trouble comes, we retreat into the “box of chocolates“, and we take whatever is handed to us — complain, worry, and fret — and forget that…

He forgives.

He heals.

He redeems.

He crowns (rewards).

He satisfies.

He renews.

While life may be as unpredictable as a box of chocolates, it doesn’t mean you have to take it lying down. You know, it’s a wonderful thing when a Christian does not get used to being a Christian. The ability to still learn, still study, still pray, still have a sense of wonder… still trust. Sometimes, we get lost in the life of being a believer, and forget what it means to actually believe. We must never lose sight that our God never gets old, never gets tired, is always creating, is always ready with a new “gadget” or two that may surprise us, and always has your best interests at heart.

A couple of weeks ago, one of my staff members sang a song on Sunday morning that he wrote several years ago. I think it is appropriate today. As you listen to it (video link below), remember that while the world may say you are stupid for believing in Someone you cannot see, as Paul said…

The message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. ~ 1 Corinthians 1:18

So, maybe “stupid IS as stupid does“. But, if that means believing in the “foolishness” of the cross, and that putting my faith and trust squarely in Jesus is “stupid” — then stupid is something I can live with.

How about you?

Pastor Ron

A Wolf At The Door

Through The Looking Glass2While I don’t spend an inordinate amount of time on social media, I do participate some. It’s always interesting to see what my friends are posting on Twitter and Facebook, understanding that much of what we see has to be taken with a grain of salt. Whether quotes are attributed to Steve Jobs, Steve Forbes, or Steve Austin (you children of the ’70’s will get that in a minute), truth is truth — regardless of who is saying it.

Blood-Moon14I saw a story on a friend’s Facebook page the other day, and found it interesting. It went something like this…

An old Cherokee once told his grandson, “Son, there is a battle between two wolves inside us all.

One is Evil. It is anger, jealousy, greed, resentment, inferiority, lies, and ego. The other is Good. It is joy, peace, love hope, humility, kindness, empathy, and truth.”

The boy thought about it for a bit, and asked, “Grandfather, which wolf wins?”

The old man quietly replied, “The one you feed.”

— author unknown

Wow! What an amazing analogy of the life of the Spirit. As human beings living in a fallen world, though redeemed by the blood of Jesus, we must continually be on our guard against feeding the “wolf” of the flesh. If we spend all of our time on pursuits and interests that do not bring us closer to the heart of God, we cannot expect to have any kind of Holy Ghost power in our lives. Is your dust-covered Bible the tell-tale sign of a life spend on pursuing money, notoriety, popularity, possessions, entertainment, and lust? Are you spending so much time and energy worrying about staying alive that you have forgotten how to live? Paul had this to say about where our thought life should reside…

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. ~ Philippians 4:8

In Mark 8:36-37, Jesus asks a very poignant question…

What good is it for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul? Or what can anyone give in exchange for their soul?

But it all really boils down to this…

For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. ~ Luke 12:34

Jesus makes it painfully clear with this sentence that what is in your “treasure box” is a direct reflection of what is in your heart. If your treasure is devoid of evidence of the Spirit, it’s probably time to re-evaluate, not just your priorities, but your commitment to the Savior.

So which creature are you feeding? Are you feeding a wolf that may stay quiet for a time, but will eventually devour you?

Or…

Are you feeding a creature that looks — not like a wolf — but like the Lamb of God, who “takes away the sins of the world”?

 

The Power of Being

BPRecently, while on a trip to Great Britain, we visited iconic sites like Westminster Abbey, St. Paul’s Cathedral, Holyrood Palace, and St. Andrews.

Big Ben

Big Ben / Parliament


We also journeyed to Stratford Upon Avon, the home of the great poet and playwright William Shakespeare. Shakespeare once said, “To thine own self be true…” There is also an old Greek aphorism which, when translated, means “Know thyself.”
Our existence is a miracle of creation. We are human beings. We have the gift of “being.” It is interesting that the name of God in Hebrew — Yahweh — is a “being verb” meaning “I am who I have always been, and I always will be who I am.”

The scripture says…

“… In Him we live and move and have our being…” ~ Acts 17:28

With my wife, Paulette, in front of Edinburgh Castle, Scotland

Our being means we are more than unreasoning animals. We are made in the image of God, and though fallen, we are given our being back by the sacrifice of Christ!

So I must know who I am and understand my God-given talent, temperament and opportunity. My being can (and should) be filled with His Holy Spirit and His gifts. I can be more than I imagined.

Jesus said for us to deny ourselves for His sake…

“… If any man will come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me.” ~ Matthew 16:24

 

With my grandson, Ethan Logue, near Edinburgh Castle, Scotland

However, we can’t do that until we affirm ourselves. If you do not love yourself, you cannot love your neighbor. It’s time for we as believers to see ourselves the way God sees us. When we choose to deny self, we aren’t giving up anything. By setting aside the very thing that anchors us to death (our sinful nature) and taking up the cross, we are gaining infinitely more than we are leaving behind. The act of following Jesus is the ultimate act of being true to yourself… living the life for which you were always intended — the life for which you were created.

But it is also not just about the individual… individual churches have being as well, and churches must be true to who they are and what they are positioned, gifted, empowered, and called to do.

True human beings are all unique and special. Our churches are as well — each with its own unique calling.

 

Let’s be something great for God — together!

At Cardiff Castle, Wales