Tag Archive | courage

When the Writing Is On The Wall

The Bible tells of Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon. Now, for all of his faults, Nebuchadnezzar reached a point in his life that he acknowledged the greatness of the Lord God Almighty…

Now I, Nebuchadnezzar, praise and extol and honor the King of Heaven,
for all his works are truth,
and His ways are justice;
and He is able to bring low
those who walk in pride.
~ Daniel 4:37

However, his son Belshazzar never learned from His father’s experience.

The book of Daniel tells the story of how King Belshazzar threw a huge party for thousands of the lords of Babylon. While they were partying, Belshazzar commanded that the vessels of gold and silver, that had been taken from God’s temple in Jerusalem, be brought to the party, at which point, Belshazzar and his guests defiled these consecrated items, and drank wine from them in their drunken stupor. Not only that, but as they did, they “praised the gods of gold and silver, bronze, iron, wood, and stone”.

If you are familiar with Daniel, you know the story… Immediately, a hand appeared and wrote on the wall, Daniel was brought in to interpret the writing, and before the night was over, Belshazzar was dead, and his kingdom was divided between the Medes and the Persians. Just before his death, Daniel gave Belshazzar this dire rebuke…

 And you have lifted yourself up against the Lord of heaven. They have brought the vessels of His house 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, bronze and iron, wood and stone, which do not see or hear or know; and the God who holds your breath in His hand and owns all your ways, you have not glorified. ~ Daniel 5:23 (NKJV)

Belshazzar took what was consecrated before the LORD, and defiled it, making a mockery of what was sacred.

Sound familiar?

IMG_1905On June 26, 2015, the Supreme court of the United States voted in a 5-4 ruling to legalize gay marriage. The Court majority, sworn to uphold the Constitution of the United States, made useless their oaths of office, made worthless the document they swore to defend, and made a mockery of the Book upon which they placed their hands when they swore their oaths of office. Chief Justice Roberts closed his 29-page scathing dissent by saying…

If you are among the many Americans — of whatever sexual orientation — who favor expanding same-sex marriage, by all means celebrate today’s decision. Celebrate the achievement of a desired goal. Celebrate the opportunity for a new expression of commitment to a partner. Celebrate the availability of new benefits. But do not celebrate the Constitution. It had nothing to do with it.

Within hours of the ruling, the White House was illuminated with rainbow colors, making a mockery of a national symbol that should be above partisan politics, making profane the oldest sacred covenant in human history, and effectively shaking its fist in the face of every American who believes in the sanctity of marriage, and in the very face of God Himself.

Coptic ChristiansBut while Americans have been transfixed, distracted, and divided over fringe issues, manufactured crises, and “straw-men” such as same-sex marriage, police brutality, the confederate flag, and “climate change”, the wholesale slaughter of Christians in the Middle East continues, unabated.

Why is it that, while all our last four Presidents, as well as dozens in the Senate and Congress of the United States claim to be believers in Christ, they have allowed this slaughter of Christians in Iraq, the Sudan, Egypt, the West Bank, Kenya, Nigeria, and Iran?

Where are the voices of liberal outrage bemoaning and crying out against the slaughter of more than 11,000 African-Americans at the hands of other African-Americans since the unfortunate death of Trayvon Martin? Why is tragedy only newsworthy when a white person kills a black person?

IMG_1904Why did it take nearly a week for flags in the Capitol to be ordered to half-mast in honor of the five brave, unarmed servicemen in Chattanooga who lost their lives when an Islamic terrorist murdered them in cold blood, yet took only a few hours to illuminate the White House with rainbow colors in honor of the Supreme Court’s Godless and lawless decision to legalize gay marriage?

Why is it that the only world leader who seems to exhibit love of country, opposes the “New World Order”, recognizes the threat of ISIS against Middle Eastern Christians, and openly opposes homosexuality and gay marriage is Russian President Vladimir Putin? Putin, a Russian Orthodox Christian, sees the Beast of Revelation rising from Middle East and the West, and is the only world leader standing in defense of Middle Eastern Christianity.

Why do four Americans still sit in Iranian prisons while Iran is given the blessing of this administration to continue its nuclear program… a nation that is bent on the destruction of our greatest ally, Israel?

What have we become?

In Isaiah 5:20, the prophet Isaiah warned…

Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!

It is time for the Church of Jesus Christ to rise up.

It is time we demand from our leadership what they demand from us. It is time to hold elected officials to the standard by which the rest of us live. It is time for officials to stop merely swearing on the Bible to uphold the Constitution, and to actually start doing it.

It is time that we demand our leadership call terrorism by its proper name, be it Islamic terrorism or any other kind. It is impossible to effectively battle an enemy until you properly identify that enemy.

It is time we vote our convictions and, when it comes to the ballot box, heed the words of Martin Luther King, Jr. and vote for people based “not on the color of their skin, but on the content of their character.”

It is time that we demand an end to the hypocrisy and abomination of abortion. In light of the recent Planned Parenthood scandal involving the sale of aborted baby organs and tissue, it is time for Congress to immediately and without delay de-fund Planned Parenthood. How can we look at ourselves as a civilized nation while allowing the same types of behavior and atrocities for which history has so strongly condemned the likes of Hitler and the Nazi regime?

It is time we stand against the “social justice” hucksters that have precious little to do with justice, and are simply looking for their next sound-bite opportunity and 15 seconds of fame. It is time for the Church to show the world Who real justice and mercy come from.

It is time for the Church to stand.

The Church must also recognize who the real enemy is. It is time that the Church remember the words of the Apostle Paul who said…

“Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. Stand therefore, having girded your waist with truth, having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God; praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints…”  ~ ‭‭Ephesians‬ ‭6:10-18‬ ‭NKJV‬‬

But… it is also time for the Church to fall.

It is time for the Church to fall on our knees, first of all in repentance and humility for our failure to be the salt and light in our culture that Jesus commanded us to be. We must repent of our apathy and complacency. We must admit our need for Him, and be willing to follow His leading, regardless of the cost. Our society has seen enough hypocrisy and fraud perpetrated in the name of God. It is time for the world to see a Church united in purpose. They may not always agree with us, but there should never be a question about where we stand on issues of faith, morality, and real social justice. There should never be a doubt that all we do is out of love for the Savior. We must seek first His Kingdom and His righteousness. We must do this before we can expect any change in a world hostile to Him.

“If My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land.”  ~ ‭‭II Chronicles‬ ‭7:14‬ ‭NKJV

 

Hope For America

On Sunday, I addressed the people of Abba’s House, the city of Chattanooga, and the nation regarding the terror attack in the City of Chattanooga on July 16, 2015. I invite you to join us in the worship center of Abba’s House as I share the Good News…

There is still Hope for America.

Unleash The Greatness Within YOU!

 Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them:
because greater is He that is in you, than he that is in the world. ~ 1 John 4:4

  • Born into privilege, “Copperknob” (as he came to be nicknamed because of his red hair) was born into British aristocracy. Spending much of his childhood being raised by people other than his parents, he was independent and rebellious, and although an obviously smart child, made poor grades in school. Suffering from a speech impediment he worked hard to overcome, his life was a series of successes and setbacks.

Sir_Winston_S_ChurchillAfter years of public service, and suffering from a severely damaged reputation, he went into exile. However, with a world in crisis, he returned to the public eye, and became Prime Minister of Great Britain at the age of 65, leading his nation through its darkest hours and on to victory against the Nazi regime. He famously said…

…We shall fight on the seas and oceans, we shall fight with growing confidence and growing strength in the air, we shall defend our island, whatever the cost may be, we shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight in the fields and in the streets, we shall fight in the hills; we shall never surrender.

He was Winston Churchill.

  • In 1919, while segregation was alive and well in the South, a boy was born to the daughter of a former slave. After the boy’s father left when he was just a few months old, the boy’s mother Mallie moved, with her five children, to California.

Jackie_Robinson_1945As Mallie’s boy grew, he experienced the racial hatred still aflame, even in California, in the 1920’s. However, Mallie’s example of diligence, hard work, and kindness, as well as her faith, lighted the way for her son. Overcoming the hurdles of a racially divided nation, Mallie’s boy worked hard to become a fine athlete, excelling in multiple sports including football, track, basketball, and baseball. Although he had minor brushes with authorities, the Christian values instilled in him by a good mother and other Godly adult role models kept him on the (fairly) “straight and narrow”.

After a period of playing semipro football, as well as serving honorably in the United States Army, “Jackrabbit” — as he came to be nicknamed — accepted an offer to play baseball in the Negro National League. His exceptional ability on the diamond attracted the attention of an older gentleman…

Branch Rickey, the general manager of the Brooklyn Dodgers.

“Jackrabbit” Jackie Roosevelt Robinson overcame the obstacles of hatred and racism to become the first African-American to play major league baseball, receiving awards and accolades, a world championship, and the Medal of Freedom (posthumously awarded to him in 1984 by President Ronald Reagan).

We all have untapped potential. We all have an opportunity to make a difference in the lives of others. It doesn’t matter if you are born into wealth and prestige, or come from humble beginnings — we all have the potential for greatness.

“How is that?” you say.

It just stands to reason that, if He is great and greatly to be praised, and we are made in His image, we have the potential for greatness as well. So what does it take to unleash that greatness? What does it take to tap into that untapped potential?

It takes courage. Venturing into the unknown takes courage. It is no small thing to go into uncharted territory, personally or professionally. Churchill had the weight and fate of Britain on his shoulders. Jackie Robinson was breaking down the wall of racism in professional sports at a time when vitriol and hate against people of color were in full swing. It takes courage to go down a path no one has traveled, where the path is neither clear nor well-lit.

It takes commitment. Although he faced criticism and opposition, Churchill was committed to his nation, and the principles of freedom that Britain stood for. Jackie Robinson had to be committed enough to, not just baseball, but the vision that Branch Rickey had, that he was willing to look beyond the physical and emotional abuse, threats, and ridicule he incurred for the sake of an ideal bigger than he was. Being committed to your calling is vital to see your vision through to the end.

It takes Christ. Sure, there are plenty of people out there with lots of success who do not believe the tenants of Christ. But in the end, only what is done for Christ will last. Only what is done for God will stand the test beyond time, and still matter when the hands of time have stopped.

We are put on this earth for but a moment, compared with the eternity that awaits us… it’s best that we don’t waste that moment. God has called you to something bigger than yourself, but you’ve got to make the decision to get into the game if you are going to make a difference. In the words of Jackie Robinson…

Life is not a spectator sport. If you’re going to spend your whole life in the grandstand just watching what goes on, in my opinion you’re wasting your life.

In 1997, amidst much fanfare, Jackie Robinson’s number 42 was retired from major league baseball.

When eternity looks back on the race you have run, will your number be retired?

Will you fight the good fight of faith?

Will the sound of your accomplishments echo through eternity?

Will you hear the words, “Well done, good and faithful servant“?

What Motivates YOU?

 

 

Through the Looking Glass

With all of the news in recent months about some courageous Christians in our nation standing up for what they believe in the face of “politically correct” individuals and special interest groups, activist judges, and Constitutional revisionists, I felt this was worth repeating…

Russian author Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn made this quote:

You only have power over people so long as you don’t take everything away from them. But when you’ve robbed a man of everything, he’s no longer in your power — he’s free again.

Manipulating a person is easy when you find out what they treasure. What a person fears loss, they can be made to do almost anything.

What an insight into the spiritual realm. As long as we have things that we hold onto tighter than our love for Jesus, we will always live in fear, and will always be subject to manipulation by the devil.

Jesus tells us in His Word that those who “lose their life for My sake will gain it” (Matthew 10:39). If we lay everything that we hold sacred at the feet of Jesus, we’ll find that nothing that we possess can compare to knowing Him.

That is the one thing no one can ever take away.

Honoring Memorial Day

Today is the day we in America take pause to honor those who made the ultimate sacrifice on behalf of a grateful nation.  While most of us will spend the day with family and friends, we must not forget those who, by their commitment to freedom, made it possible for us to enjoy the lives we have been blessed with. The spirit of this day is best summed up in the words of President Abraham Lincoln, as he stood on the fields of Gettysburg four-and-a-half months after the cannons, muskets, and war-cries were silenced…

Flag2The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us—that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion—that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain—that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom—and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth. ~ from The Gettysburg Address, November 19, 1863

God bless America!

No Fear

After following the news in the wake of this week’s terror attack at the Boston Marathon, it is obvious and understandable that emotions in our nation are running the gamut.

We are saddened by the physical and emotional pain that our friends and fellow Americans are facing as a result of those killed and injured. Our prayers for healing and comfort go out to the victims and their families during this time.

We are angry that someone had the audacity to commit this heinous crime on a day (Patriot’s Day) that was about everything that is right with our nation (courage, honor, freedom), on our own soil – our home.

We are confused as to why and how this could have happened. Who committed this act? Why did they do it? As our fine law enforcement officials investigate, we believe that answers will be forthcoming.

We are afraid. Many people in our nation are now living in fear on a variety of levels:

People are in fear that it could happen again.

Witnesses may face fear from the memories of that horrific day.

Victims are fearful of moving forward into a future of uncertainty.

Terror, by it’s very definition, is about eliciting a fear response. Terror means “extreme fear”. Terrorism is not simply about killing and wounding innocent men, women, and children; it is about inciting fear in those who remain, and causing people to live in fear.

The problem we face is that fear (terror) is a vicious cycle. Fear is a magnet to demons. The more we discuss and voice our fear with our lips, the more demons are attracted to the atmosphere of fear. Fear is more than emotion… fear is a spirit. 2 Timothy 1:7 tells us that…

God has not not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind“.

In the Bible, Job was considered a righteous man. However, Job had a fatal flaw. In Job 3:25, Job confesses:

“For the thing I greatly feared has come upon me, and what I dreaded has happened to me.”

Job feared the loss of his children and his treasures, and Satan was drawn to that fear. And while we may think that fear is an unavoidable part of life, living in fear is an existence that we do not have to settle for. 1 John 4:18 tells us that “perfect love casts out fear“, and in Proverbs 29:25, we have this promise:

The fear of man brings a snare, but whoever trusts in the LORD shall be safe.

Abraham Lincoln is arguably the greatest president our country has ever seen. However, history bears out that he lost every single election he ran until he ran for president. What if he had allowed fear from past experiences to convince him to quit? How different would our country look today.

Former South African President Nelson Mandela once said, “I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it.” For the believer in Jesus Christ, the opposite of fear is more than courage… it is faith and hope.

For those of you that watch my television program, Ron Phillips from Abba’s House, you are familiar with my co-host, Angie McGregor. What many of you may not realize is that Angie is a gifted songwriter and singer. Several years ago, in the immediate shadow of 9/11, Angie released a song that resonates today. Having faced down some fear in her own life, she penned the song simply titled, I Will Not Fear. After the events of 9/11, this song took on a whole new meaning for all of us that heard it.

— from the CD Could We Dance? ©Copyright 2002 FacePlace Music