Posts Tagged ‘Jesus Christ’

Jesus planned it all out in detail before He was even born. After thirty years on earth, His time had come. Just days before He was arrested and crucified, He rode into Jerusalem – on a donkey. Why did the multitude shout and lay coats and palm branches on the road some 2,000 years ago?

Why were they celebrating, and what were His followers thinking while the people roared with joy as Jerusalem rocked with excitement?

The King was coming.

Palm Sunday will be here in a few days which means Resurrection Sunday is just one week after that. In this crazy, fascinating, unprecedented time we find ourselves in due to COVID 19, many Americans have been watching on line church services and practicing social distancing.

As predicted by the Prophet Daniel, the exact day of Jesus’ grand entrance into Jerusalem was very different. Expectation filled the crowds during the Jewish feast of Passover as stories about Jesus spread across the entire land.

In the Old Testament, Zechariah 9:9 predicts a sign of the Messiah, and states:

Rejoice greatly, …Shout in triumph, O daughter of Jerusalem! Behold, your king is coming to you; He is just and endowed with salvation; Humble, and mounted on a donkey; Even on a colt, the foal of a donkey.

The Apostle Matthew stated most of the crowd spread their coats in the road for Jesus to ride over, and others cut branches from the trees and put them in the road. He wrote:

The crowds going ahead of Him, and those who followed, were shouting,

“Hosanna to the Son of David;
Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord;
Hosanna in the highest!”

10 When He had entered Jerusalem, all the city was stirred, saying, “Who is this?” 11 And the crowds were saying, “This is the prophet Jesus, from Nazareth in Galilee.” Matthew 21:9-11

They knew what was written about the Messiah. We, too, have the Scriptures to confirm so many prophecies including some yet to come. Check out what John wrote in the Book of Revelation about the future Millennial kingdom following the Great Tribulation:

“After this I looked, and behold, a great multitude that no one could number, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, with palm branches in their hands, 10 and crying out with a loud voice, “Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!” Revelation 7:9-10                                  

The Lamb of God took away the sins of the world! We just have to believe…

FULL POST HERE:

Remember the former things long past, For I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is no one like Me, Declaring the end from the beginning, And from ancient times things which have not been done, Saying, ‘My purpose will be established, And I will accomplish all My good pleasure’; Isaiah 46:9-10

There is only one true, living God, and all others are counterfeits. He is sovereign and sees the end from the beginning of time and creation. No matter what man does – including the Church – His purposes will prevail.

The Book of Revelation is the only one in the entire Bible that promises a blessing to the person who reads and hears and obeys it! Revelation spoke to the Apostle John’s day. It also speaks to church history, and it does have meaning for our personal lives today as Jesus warns Christians about things to come.

We cannot can’t deny the fact this book speaks with clarity about the end times. Revelation wraps up the redemption story that begins in Genesis, and its message heralds the details, events, and return of Jesus’ coming Kingdom. Revelation is from Jesus, about Jesus, to His churches.

A few years ago, I was teaching a Bible Study in Colossians, and one night I woke up at 3 AM and couldn’t get back to sleep. My heart was heavy because so few were showing up for prayer meetings, and more people were attending that Bible Study from other churches than the one hosting at the time. I started reading through Revelation and sensed the Holy Spirit speak to me through the Word of God, and speak to the state of the American church today.

Here are some important QUESTIONS TO CONSIDER:

  1. Is your life bearing fruit for the Lord Jesus Christ? JN 15:8
  2. Are you passionate about the things of God? COL 3:2, ROM. 12:11
  3. Who or what is your first love? What’s our main focus? MATT 6:33
  4. Have you conformed to our culture – or to Christ? ROM 12:2
  5. Do you love this world more than we love Gods Word? 1 JN 2:15-17
  6. Are you prepared for persecution when it comes? MATT 5:11-12

READ FULL POST, Transcript here:

Many of us began preparing for Christmas and the five ‘F’s a month ago: festivities, family, food, fellowship, and fun. It’s easy to forget one of the most important aspects of the season: forgiveness – and renewed hope. Christmas is the celebration of an actual historical event that forever changed the world, as the God who never changes carried out His plan to change the hearts of mankind.

No matter who you are, no matter what you’ve done or what kind of past you’ve had, there’s always hope – if you open up your heart and receive the greatest gift of all. As the song says:

Joy to the world, the Lord is come
Let earth receive her King
Let every heart prepare Him room
And heaven and nature sing…

Through the centuries before Christ, the prophets predicted the promised Messiah would come – and from where He would come. Micah 5:2 states:

But as for you, Bethlehem Ephrathah,
Too little to be among the clans of Judah,
From you One will go forth for Me to be ruler in Israel.
His goings forth are from long ago,
From the days of eternity.”

According to God’s preordained plan, when the perfect religious, cultural, and political conditions were in place, Jesus Christ left the Father’s presence and entered this world to become one of us. Isaiah 7:14 states:

“Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign: Behold, a virgin will be with child and bear a son, and she will call His name Immanuel,”

Three of the most astounding words in history are, “God with us.”

Most people don’t have a problem with a baby in a manger, but the same baby we sing about during Christmas grew up and preached repentance to all people only to be killed by hypocritical religious leaders.

An infant in a feeding trough isn’t too confrontational or threatening. But Jesus declared that He is the Truth and the only way to God the Father (John 14:6). This claim is something to seriously consider. Why? Because evidence backed by archaeology, eye-witnesses, and history suggests it’s true.

So what is the meaning of Christmas? At the perfect time, Jesus was born for the purpose of dying for our sins. He lived a sinless life and sacrificed Himself so that we might believe in Him and live eternally. This really is good news! The gospel is the greatest gift God has given the church – because the message about Jesus Christ of Nazareth is the greatest treasure God has given the world…

Read the full post by David Fiorazo

*Originally published by Freedom Project Media

If Jesus rebuked many of the early churches for straying, leaving their first love, putting up with false doctrine, or for being lukewarm, how could we, American Christians, think He wouldn’t harshly rebuke many of our seeker-sensitive, shallow, lukewarm churches today?

Some might claim the Church is thriving here in the United States of Entertainment. I would ask them why then doesn’t it translate out into society. Who is driving culture today, Christians or atheists and secular progressives? Biblical morality or godlessness?

The truth is too many professing believers have generally conformed to the world and have failed to defend and preserve culture through Judeo-Christian values. We are to be salt in society: to not only flavor and enhance culture but to influence it as well. Salt is a preservative, but it can also irritate, especially if it touches an exposed wound. Paul told believers at Ephesus to walk as children of light and,

Do not participate in the unfruitful deeds of darkness, but instead even expose them; (Eph. 5:11)

Too many in American churches do just the opposite! We accommodate popular sins (abortion and homosexuality). Why? Because the Supreme Court ruled they are legal, of course. But just because something is legal does not make it moral. Has the Supreme Ruler and Judge changed His mind on certain sins? Not at all!

We have watered down the Word of God and have lost our saltiness and power to transform society for good. Some larger churches have a reputation for being alive, but their discipleship and doctrine is rather ineffective. I attended a megachurch for several years and kept running into unregenerate and unconverted people, many of whom thought they were saved. 

God woke me up at 3 AM recently and this message is the result. My heart was heavy; we were wrapping up our Bible study on the book of Colossians – a church Paul commended for their faith and love, by the way – and we were examining the geography of Asia Minor (modern day Turkey) and many cities that had Christian churches in the first several centuries.

*The following is a partial transcript to the sermon from video:

In Revelation chapter two and three, Jesus harshly rebuked five out the seven churches within the same area. I couldn’t help but wonder what He would think of churches in America today. It’s a sobering thought.

Would Jesus rebuke us, Christians in the United States of Entertainment, the way He did several churches in Asia Minor? 

Wake up, and strengthen the things that remain, which were about to die; for I have not found your deeds completed in the sight of My God. 3 So remember what you have received and heard; and keep it, and repent. Therefore if you do not wake up, I will come like a thief, and you will not know at what hour I will come to you. Revelation 3:2-3

This quote has been attributed to several people, one of whom is Dwight L. Moody:

“Our greatest fear should not be of failure, but of succeeding at something that doesn’t really matter.”

We will all stand before the Lord one day and be judged for how we spent our time. Your husband or wife won’t be there, neither will your children, coworkers, or friends on social media. It will be you alone before Jesus. And that should sober up every one of us in this room.

Here are some important QUESTIONS TO CONSIDER:

  1. Is your life bearing fruit for the Lord Jesus Christ? JN 15:8
  2. Are we passionate about eternal and spiritual things? COL 3:2
  3. Who or what is our first love? What’s our main focus? 6:33
  4. Have you conformed to our culture – or to Christ? ROM 12:2
  5. Do we love this world more than we love God, His Word? 1 JN 2:15-17
  6. Are you prepared for persecution when it comes? 5:11-12

Are we, individual believers in Jesus who make up the church in America, succeeding at what’s most important? Are we loving the Lord God, loving our neighbors, preaching the good news of salvation in Jesus Christ alone, making disciples, raising godly children, impacting culture, and encouraging the faith of other believers?

Or are we just giving God lip service?

American churches, especially many of the larger, higher profile mega-churches, often have a good reputation simply due to their popularity, numbers or size (quantity). But this is often a very inaccurate picture of the overall health, discipleship, and maturity (quality) of a church. Is the body of Christ being built up in faith and equipped for ministry? (Eph. 4:11-12)

According to Barna research and several other studies and surveys, it appears American Christianity is producing the most biblically illiterate church members in history, confused about what the Bible teaches, unable to fully understand let alone explain and defend the essentials of the faith. What ever happened to discipleship? We can learn from the earliest Christian churches that it doesn’t take long to stray from truth.

Revelation 3:1  “To the angel of the church in Sardis write: He who has the seven Spirits of God and the seven stars, says this: ‘I know your deeds, that you have a name that you are alive, but you are dead.

Wake-up! Repent! Notice what Jesus also says to the church in Sardis:

5 He who overcomes will thus be clothed in white garments; and I will not erase his name from the book of life, and I will confess his name before My Father and before His angels. 6 He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.’

*We all have ears – but – are we listening? What is Jesus saying to the churches in America who have grown comfortable and complacent? What is He saying to individual believers? Do YOU have ears to hear from God?

Is your life bearing fruit for the Lord Jesus Christ?

We just finished the book of Colossians in our weekly Bible study and looking at the geography at that time, we talked about the many early Christian churches in Asia Minor which is modern day Turkey.

…The Colossian church was just 12 miles from the church of Laodicea and about 95 miles from Ephesus, a booming city at the time. Laodicea was also prospering and growing, located next to a new trade route, they had it made.

But that’s what lots of people would say about America, which is why we’re making this comparison today. We are prosperous, proud, and self-sufficient. Look at our big and many churches!

May we take to heart the warnings to the early churches:

“To the angel of the church in Laodicea write: The Amen, the faithful and true Witness, the Beginning of the creation of God, says this:

15 ‘I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot; I wish that you were cold or hot. 16 So because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of My mouth. 17 Because you say, “I am rich, and have become wealthy, and have need of nothing,” and you do not know that you are wretched and miserable and poor and blind and naked; …19 Those whom I love, I reprove and discipline; therefore be zealous and repent.

READ FULL POST, SERMON TEXT & SHARE!

You can’t get much more radical or anti-Christian and yes, she actually said that. Palestinian-American activist and controversial co-chair of the national Women’s March protest against President Donald Trump, Linda Sarsour recently suggested people stop humanizing the Jews. She made the remarks at the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA) convention in Houston while speaking on Islamophobia and other political issues.

I’m not sure what’s more concerning, the fact she made these hateful, anti-Semitic remarks or that the media and most Americans don’t think it matters.

If you’re a Christian, conservative, Independent or Republican, consider this a wake-up call to reevaluate your support for the politics and worldview of radicals like Linda Sarsour. Democrats should be renouncing her but sadly, their silence should be taken as their approval. Sarsour has aligned herself with people such as Louis Farrakhan and the far Left so you may want to rethink your loyalty.

According to reports, Linda Sarsour refused to allow women who oppose abortion and same-sex marriage to take part in the Women’s March in Washington D.C. earlier this year, and Sarsour has argued that there was no room in the feminist movement for supporters of Israel. She has also been an outspoken advocate in the Black Lives Matter movement, and promotes numerous anti-Israel policies.

It is deeply alarming the media practically whitewashes her background and political activism. I understand because some are on her side.

Linda Sarsour was arrested last week for disrupting Judge Brett Kavanaugh’s Supreme Court confirmation hearing. So it’s not at all surprising Sarsour was endorsed by new Democrat Party hero, Socialist Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez who also calls Israel the occupiers of Palestine.

Ocasio-Cortez tweeted:

Our future is a shared responsibility. This woman putting it all on the line for healthcare, women & LGBT+ rights is @lsarsour. The far right constantly maligns her w/ false attacks + threats of violence. Yet here she is, as always, fighting for everything our flag represents.

Now hold on a minute! So the American Flag represents socialism, abortion, taxpayer-funded transgender surgeries, Gay Pride parades, silencing Christians, social justice, advancing Islam in America, and dehumanizing the Jews? Let me check our Founding documents and get back to you.

You might have some credibility if you argue America is no longer a Christian nation in practice, but any sincere citizen who is of average intelligence or education would agree that the United States was established upon the freedoms, morality, and principles found within the Judeo-Christian worldview.

And as for Israel, the Lord God promised to make Israel into a great, influential nation whether we like it or not. The Bible is pretty clear: God said:

And I will bless those who bless you,
And the one who curses you I will curse.
And in you all the families of the earth will be blessed.”
(Genesis 12:3)

Genesis 12:7 states,

The Lord appeared to Abram and said, “To your descendants I will give this land.” So he built an altar there to the Lord who had appeared to him.

And in Genesis 17, verse 7:

I will establish My covenant between Me and you and your descendants after you throughout their generations for an everlasting covenant, to be God to you and to your descendants after you. 8 I will give to you and to your descendants after you, the land of your sojournings, all the land of Canaan, for an everlasting possession; and I will be their God.”

There are other Scriptures detailing the boundary lines. To this day, the dispute with God’s chosen people is not only over the land, but Muslim nations think Israel does not have a right to exist.

The Jewish Torah promises the children of Israel a modest and reasonable allotment of land. This portion of land is, get this, about 1/19th the size of California and yet, Israel is currently surrounded by 22 hostile Arab nations 640 times the size of Israel, and 60 times her population!

Isn’t it unreasonable to believe the media and people like Linda Sarsour who claim Israel is responsible for all the problems in the Middle East? Since 1948, the Jews have sought peaceful coexistence with neighboring countries – dictatorships dedicated to its destruction.

But sure enough, when Israel is often attacked, the media reports on when they retaliate, practically omitting or ignoring the barrage of rockets coming across the border. Just ask the IDF (Israel Defense Force).

Throughout the centuries, nations have raged and have come against this nation the size of New Jersey, but understand that God promised to bless those who bless Israel. And He will eventually judge and destroy nations that come against Israel.

So when people in America such as Sarsour and Ocasio-Cortez encourage Muslim Americans and others to dehumanize the Jews, it should send a chill down our collective spines.

Just for a few minutes, let’s set aside debates and arguments about things like politics, gender, abortion, evolution, same-sex marriage, and religious freedom – to name a few. What really matters? Everything in life hinges on whether or not Jesus is God. Think about it. We know He existed historically – but what’s the final verdict? Is He a liar, a lunatic, or Lord and God?

Questions are good! But don’t deny the answers if they can be backed up with facts and evidence. Did Jesus tell the truth? Is there one living God or can we make up as many gods as we want.

Maybe you’re someone who thinks Jesus was just a good teacher. Is the Bible wrong about Him? What if the men He spent three years of His life with were all telling the truth? What about all the miracles they witnessed and the claims Jesus made? They believed Him enough to die for their faith.

Why didn’t the Jews and Romans who killed Jesus refute the testimonies of hundreds of eye-witnesses that saw the risen Christ? The burial tomb is still empty. Why couldn’t the authorities find the supposed dead body of Jesus and stop the spread of Christianity?

The events surrounding the life of Jesus, especially His virgin birth, crucifixion, death, and resurrection either happened or they didn’t. We’re talking about actual history and the fact that if these events documented in detail throughout Scripture really took place, it changes everything – and should affect how we live today.

C.S. Lewis stated:

“You must make your choice: either this man was, and is, the Son of God, or else a madman or something worse. You can shut him up for a fool, you can spit at him and kill him as a demon; or you can fall at his feet and call him Lord and God. But let us not come with any patronizing nonsense about his being a great human teacher. He has not left that open to us…”

So – is Jesus a Liar? Was Jesus wrong about anything He taught? Many call Jesus a good person, Rabbi, or a prophet, but if He didn’t tell the truth, can He really be good?

While the Old Testament prophets usually said, “This is what the Lord says,” Jesus said, “I tell you the truth.” In addition, prophets spoke for God, but Jesus consistently spoke as God. The Jews knew exactly what He meant because on several occasions, they tried to kill Him for claiming equality with God.

Was He a Lunatic? Have you read what Jesus actually taught? He was pretty bold and controversial! For one thing, He declared to the Pharisees that He existed before Abraham (John 8:58)! Jesus made twenty-three “I Am” claims and used seven major metaphors such as, “I am the light of the world… the bread of life… the good shepherd… the resurrection and the life.”

Is Jesus Lord then? No one in all history has successfully proven Him wrong. If Jesus spoke the truth, then there are tremendous consequences for not believing in Him! For one thing, He promised to return one Day to judge the living and the dead. He also talked about heaven and hell as actual places, and the need for people to confess our sins and be saved.

Truths about Jesus Christ revealing He is GOD

  • Jesus was with God in the beginning, (John 1:1)
  • Jesus is equal with God, (Phil. 2:5-11)
  • He was born of a virgin; became a man, (Matt. 1:18, Jn. 1:14)
  • He forgives sins, (Mark 2:10)
  • He performed miracles, (John 10:32)
  • He is one with the Father, (John 10:30)
  • Jesus came from the Father, (John 16:28)
  • He is the Christ, (Mark 14:61-62)
  • He is the Messiah, (John 4:25-26)
  • Jesus came to give spiritual life, (John 10:10)
  • He gives the right to become God’s children, (John 1:12)
  • Jesus bestows eternal life, (John 10:28)
  • Jesus became man, (Philippians 2:5-11)
  • Jesus is fully God, (Philippians 2:5-11)
  • His death was a ransom for our sins (Matthew 20:28)
  • Jesus died for us while we were still sinners (Romans 5:8)
  • Jesus rose from the dead, (Luke 24:46, Acts 2:24)
  • He ascended to Heaven and is at God’s right hand, (Mark 16:19)

Colossians 1:13-17 states:

For He rescued us from the domain of darkness, and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins. He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. For by Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things have been created through Him and for Him. He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together.

And in Col. 2:9-10,

…In Christ, all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form, and you have been given fullness in Christ, who is the head over every power and authority.

Those of us who believe need to turn from the world’s ways back to God, stop playing church, and submit to the authority of Christ. If Jesus was in fact the predicted Messiah, then the Bible is true and all other gods must be false.

Every other way of salvation won’t work out in the end. Jesus overcame death and the grave, and His resurrection proves Jesus is the only way to the Father. If you’ve been following a different god or another path, don’t put off this decision. Please trust in Him while there’s still time!

Just a week ago I was in the hospital after having a procedure on my heart and guess what? Here I am, thank God! But not everybody makes it through surgery. In fact, not everybody makes it home from work.

It brings up the question of the ages: What happens to us after we die? Well, that depends.

What if I died on the operating table? First of all, this video wouldn’t exist. My body would’ve been prepared for a funeral, and my spirit would be on its way to be with my Master and Savior in Heaven; the One who created us all.

You may be thinking, ‘how can I be so sure?’ Faith. The Bible offers assurance of eternal life with Christ in Heaven for those who believe.

I realize most people would rather not think about it, but ten out of ten people die. Life comes to an end for people from every country, of all different ages, for various reasons. No one is exempt.

It’s just a matter of time.

Almost everyone has heard the Bible verse, John 3:16:

“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have everlasting life.”

Jesus died on the cross to bridge the gap between us and a holy God. Every one of us has sinned and fallen short of God’s glory, and when Jesus returns, He will judge those still living as well as those who have died.

For better context, let’s keep reading. Here’s John 3:17 and 18:

“For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him. He who believes in Him is not judged; he who does not believe has been judged already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. 19 This is the judgment, that the Light has come into the world, and men loved the darkness rather than the Light, for their deeds were evil.”

Faith in the finished work of Jesus Christ can save us from our sins.

Prior to my surgery last week, I had to sign a consent form. Even before that, I was told of all the possible risks and complications including a torn heart muscle, punctured lung, torn artery, partial paralysis, stroke during the operation or even death.

The list of possible risks was long, but the absolute greatest risk we can take in this life is denying God by refusing to believe in His Son, Jesus, and not accepting the free offer of the forgiveness of our sins.

Acts 4:12 states: “And there is salvation in no one else; for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men by which we must be saved.”

And Philippians 2:9-11 says:

“For this reason also, God highly exalted Him, and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name, 10 so that at the name of Jesus EVERY KNEE WILL BOW, of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 11 and that every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”

One day, even those who refused to believe will bow before the King of Kings upon His return.

I was at peace going in to surgery because I trusted Jesus with my life years ago, and knew regardless of the result, it would be a win win. This life is a vapor and for the Christian, we live for Him and to die is gain!

Forgiveness for our sins is mankind’s greatest need. In America, we’ve heard so much about a loving God and rarely hear about His coming judgment. It’s true God is loving, but He is not tolerant of sin in any form.

We’ve also heard the man-made idea God just wants us to be happy, problem-free, and give us favor so that every day’s a Friday and we can live our best life now.

Do you really believe the Bible teaches about personal gain and happiness rather than about denying ourselves and holiness? In addition, if every day were a Friday, let’s just party like it’s 2099. Finally, if we could live our best lives now, here on earth, then why would we need God and what’s Heaven for anyway?

Now, plenty of people think all it takes to go to Heaven is to be a good person, but the question is, ‘good’ by whose standards? Jesus said, “No one is good except God alone.” (Luke 18:19)

Sure, we can do good things, but can we truly be good without God?

The Bible teaches there is nothing we can possibly do to earn salvation. If we could do it on our own, then Jesus didn’t have to be die for our sins and be raised from the dead. In Ephesians chapter 2 it says,

For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; 9 not as a result of works, so that no one can boast. 10 For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them. Ephesians 2:8-10

Open your hands and receive the free gift of life. Salvation is not a result of good deeds – but of faith. It’s true God prepared good things for us to do, but – what we do doesn’t save us; it’s who we believe in and why.

So repent of your sins, confess them to God. Trust in Jesus Christ, and tell others this good news, the gospel, the power of God to save us (Romans 1:16). He will be faithful to complete the work He began in us and then, take us to glory when our time here is done.

*Originally published at Freedom Project Media

Be of sober spirit, be on the alert. Your adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. But resist him. (1 Peter 5:8-9)

Is it too late for Christians to be more discerning? Satan has deployed enemies of truth into our culture and sadly, we have allowed them to influence us. The agenda had been gradual and subtle decades ago, but today the deception is out in the open for all to see – or ignore.

“If you really want to know the truth, it is revealed through Scripture because God is truth. He is the final authority. As you see people’s bad behavior and sin, including open adultery and sexual perversion, being promoted in our culture, remember they need Christ. Even the loud, proud activists. They are not necessarily bad people; they’re just wrong, and the Lord gives each of us the freedom to accept the truth or pay the consequences.

If we are lovers of God and followers of Jesus Christ, we should not approve of and love things of this world more than Him (Romans 12:2, Gal. 1:10). We certainly should not be celebrating what is evil or sinful, and, as we take a stand for what is right, attacks will come.

We must understand the Enemy’s tactics and how Satan, the Father of Lies, suppresses the truth, twisting words and meanings using everyday people to advance his agenda. I’d probably do the same thing if I were him.

Millions of Americans have apparently disregarded the faith they once held dear or have fallen away from the Judeo-Christian values which previously permeated this nation. Many in the church have been duped by the cult of liberalism and political correctness that basically says anything is permissible except biblical Christianity. We have stopped standing against evil and speaking up in defense of the gospel for fear of offending someone, and when Christians are silent, light is squelched and darkness wins.

According to the Bible, Satan’s power over us is already broken, death has been defeated, and the war has been won, thanks to the victory we have in Jesus through His sacrifice, death, and resurrection. The battle and warfare, however, continue – and they will intensify – until the Lord returns.

The cunning schemes of the devil are carried out all around us in this world system over which he has free reign. How does the Enemy work and advance his agenda of lawlessness, chaos, destruction, and unrighteousness? He uses people.

From a rainbow-colored White House to Hollywood hype over the latest perversion, from media selling sexual confusion to corporations proudly promoting political correctness, it is difficult to deny the moral and spiritual decline in America. If there’s any hope of slowing the decaying culture, hypocrisy must be called out, lies must be refuted, and truth must be told.

It is virtually impossible to correct and improve the direction of a country if people, especially Christians, are not convinced there are major problems and that we are way off course. Apathy is another issue killing America, but since we cannot make people care, we need to reach those who may be in the busy, unconvinced, or uninformed categories.

But as we try raising awareness in an intolerant culture that is redefining truth, opposition is guaranteed. The Left is shrewd at using words as weapons to silence those who do not agree with them. Enemies of Christ will not relax or ease up on their agenda, and one of the greatest battles in the country today is being waged by the LGBTQ movement. Author and teacher Peter Heck stated,

“They know the success of their cause depends upon the total abolishment of the Judeo-Christian ethic and the Moral Authority it teaches. That is why any belief that the homosexual lobby is merely a passive group of individuals wanting to peacefully coexist with others who have different beliefs and values is naively absurd.”

The Enemy advances when Christians relax. Though Christianity is growing, particularly in underground churches in persecuted nations around the world, who do you think is having more influence on America today?

The marketers of evil claim they are fighting because of discrimination, oppression, injustice, and inequality. They say they fight for love, acceptance, diversity, equal rights, and freedom. We’re onto their schemes and the tedious talking points trumpeted by the liberal media, the Left, Hollywood, and many within the government education system.

But it is not just those whose new religion is sex, and it’s not just those who claim they just want to “live and let live.” It’s also those who devalue human life and promote moral relativism. Planned Parenthood and advocates of murder cry out, “freedom,” “choice,” “it’s my body, not yours, not the government’s and not God’s.”

The Left is using atheists, communists, socialists, and LGBTQ proponents to blot out God, normalize homosexuality, lie about life in the womb, undermine natural marriage, tear apart the traditional family, create as much chaos as possible, and, well, promote lies instead of truth.

Since we’re talking about methods and people Satan uses to do his work, we should also take a sober look at how our perceptions have changed regarding morality and what has become acceptable or permissible to professing Christians. We must recognize the sin in our own camp and call out hypocrisy in the church when necessary.

We must pursue Christ, invest time in the Word, have accountability and fellowship with true believers, be disciplined, and work harder to build others up while we strengthen our faith and especially our marriages. Jesus told His disciples, If you love Me, you will keep My commandments (John 14:15). Looking at just two of the Ten Commandments, we must acknowledge the epidemic of idolatry and adultery within Christian circles.

We don’t talk often enough about adultery, which is now pretty much accepted by a majority of Americans, including many who claim to be Christians.

Marriage is to be held in honor among all, and the marriage bed is to be undefiled; for fornicators and adulterers God will judge. (Hebrews 13:4)

Years before the Supreme Court gave its tyrannical opinion ruling against God-ordained natural marriage in 2015, the agenda was well underway to remove America’s moral anchors. What was most disappointing, however, was to observe the influence secularism was and is having on the American church. Today we can see the undeniable fruit of lacking a solid foundation, with increasing numbers of gay ministers and pastors in several churches and denominations.

The rise of apostasy is a sign of the times as more churches and leadership preach accommodation rather than conviction of sin leading to repentance and salvation. If we are not much different from the world, there’s a problem.

The Enemy is advancing through our country, our culture, and even many of our churches because we have surrendered much ground and have not defended the truth. Though there is always hope for a revival – and I have no idea what it might take for this to happen – the light is dimming in and on America, and the clock is ticking.

Many have already been deceived as the Enemy has had success defining the terms of battle, and in many cases, redefining words. The Left has been promoting sin as normal, natural, and healthy, and when Christians speak up, it leads to charges of intolerance. If we do nothing, even more people will call evil good.”

If most Christians continue to avoid these battles, if we are not established in His truth, and if we refuse to defend the faith, society will rapidly deteriorate. If we do not pray to the only living God to give us wisdom, strength, and guidance, we won’t be able to effectively share the gospel, influence culture for Christ and bear good fruit for Him.

*Book excerpt from Redefining Truth: Delusions of Replacing God and Calling Evil Good by author, David Fiorazo

Open pages of bible isolated on white backgroundNow after John had been taken into custody, Jesus came into Galilee, preaching 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

Now I make known to you, brethren, the gospel which I preached to you, which also you received, in which also you stand, by which also you are saved, if you hold fast the word which I preached to you, unless you believed in vain. For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received, that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures. 1 Corinthians 15:1-4

In 1965 the epic religious movie The Greatest Story Ever Told was released, retelling the story of Jesus Christ from His humble birth and His teachings through the crucifixion and resurrection. The media and critics at the time gave it excellent reviews and some even raved about the brilliant and inspiring, Bible-based production. Times have changed; but the gospel has not.

The gospel, aka the “good news,” is the greatest gift God has given the church, because its message is about Jesus Christ of Nazareth, the greatest treasure God has given the world. Like the apostle Paul, we are to deliver to others what we also received, because people’s salvation depends on it. No one would keep the best news in the universe to themselves – would they?

As committed Christians, our priority in this life must be to consistently believe, live, and deliver to others the message about Jesus Christ and the truth about His life, teachings, death, resurrection, and ascension. For those who have believed and have confessed Jesus as Lord, our ticket is punched and our place in God’s presence is reserved for eternity! Our faith is in Him and our hope is in heaven.

Every person alive today and who has ever lived will stand on one side of eternity or the other. The universe revolves around the most pivotal event in the history of the world: The resurrection of Jesus Christ; the eternal Son, one with the Father and the Spirit, and the exact representation of God’s nature.

… The gospel is not some formula or a simple “sinner’s prayer.” It encompasses the entire Bible as its framework with plenty of background setting the stage. Its truth can transform our lives and its power can save the worst of sinners.

With the increasing attacks on free speech and religious expression in America today, do you see how important it is for us to be able to preach the gospel? This basic freedom is affected by politics, laws, and government. Enemies of Christianity will not relent in their agenda to squelch the mention of sins they endorse, but when push comes to shove, we must obey God rather than man. Speak the truth and leave the results to Him.

Since we have received and accepted the gospel, we must reject the world because the two are in opposition to each other. This can present a problem for many of us. If we love Jesus, we will obey Him (John 14:15), but if we love the world, we will end up following anything else except Him. Because this temporary earth is passing away and we are faced with an eternity that will not wait, the choice should be clear…

Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age (Matthew 28:19-20).

Where does Jesus get such authority? It bears repeating Jesus Christ overcame death and the grave and is seated at the right hand of the Father. His tomb is famous for what it does not contain. Even the Jewish leaders who opposed Jesus acknowledged His tomb was empty when they made up lies to try and conceal the resurrection.

Isn’t it interesting in their attempted cover-up, the religious leaders testified to the empty tomb? The story gets even more bizarre, because their lie included instructing the soldiers to say they were asleep instead of guarding the tomb of Jesus. This was not some small conspiracy, because in those days a Roman soldier caught sleeping on duty would have been executed.

Moreover, all other gods or religious leaders who have lived on the earth have burial sites or memorials where their bones remain. We can easily understand how some of their followers hate Jesus, because He is the only true, living God; other gods people worship are false, dead gods.

… The disciples did not have all the resources and technology we have today, and yet the early church grew in numbers day by day even in the midst of threats and persecution.

But Peter and John answered and said to them, “Whether it is right in the sight of God to give heed to you rather than to God, you be the judge; for we cannot stop speaking about what we have seen and heard.” Acts 4:19-20

Please understand regardless of whether or not you have placed your trust in Jesus and bowed before Him acknowledging His majesty, a day is coming in which every human being will bow down before Him and confess this truth – Jesus is Lord.

… Charles H. Spurgeon once stated:

My hope is not because I am not a sinner, but because I am a sinner for whom Christ died. My trust is not that I am holy, but that, being unholy, Christ died for me. My rest is, here, not in what I am, or shall be, or feel, or know, but in what Christ is and must be, – in what Christ did, and is still doing as He stands before yonder throne of glory.

Are we willing to preach this gospel in an increasingly rebellious culture and risk being called intolerant, narrow-minded, or worse? Are we willing to be criticized and misunderstood for delivering the truth Jesus commanded us to speak? Do we love others enough to live what we believe, expose the darkness of sin, and when necessary, confront wayward Christians?

… God’s foreordained solution (Acts 2:23) was to send His only Son, Jesus, to give His life as a ransom for us. By believing, confessing Jesus is Lord, and repenting of our sins, we are saved and have everlasting life with God. May we not muddy up the message that we are saved by grace through faith in Him (Ephesians 2:8).

If the Bible is true, then this is why you and I live: To make sure the greatest story ever is told!

 

*This a book excerpt from The Cost of Our Silence. To read the entire chapter, click here:

Chrislam

In light of recent world events including the rise of ISIS, and the ongoing slaughter of Christians, many people are still confused about the differences between the teachings of Islam compared to Christianity. The first obvious contrast is Jesus taught love and forgiveness; the prophet Muhammad was a violent warrior who promoted conquest, and killed Jews and Christians.

Here in America, there are over 3.5 million Muslims, but the problem is with a minority of the overall Muslim population that has blended into our society with the goal of implementing acts of takeover or terror. Estimates suggest there are about 250,000 radicals who are patiently working and waiting for the call to jihad. Another problem is very few “moderate” Muslims publicly renounce acts of terror taking place around the world. One cannot help but wonder exactly where they stand.

It is no secret the Obama administration has openly supported Islam since the president’s 2009 speech in Cairo. Ever since the “Arab Spring” in early 2011, Sharia Law was implemented in Islamic countries and the persecution of Christians has reached record levels. Few media outlets reported one year after President Obama released Abu Bakr al Baghdadi from an Iraqi jail, Baghdadi formed ISIS and they have been on a bloody rampage of terror, death, and evil ever since. Where should Americans stand?

The following is a book excerpt from ERADICATE: BLOTTING OUT GOD IN AMERICA. (See chapter 13, “Counterfeit Christianity”)

Both Christianity and Islam promote a standard of morality and doing good works, but the god of Islam is not the same as the living God of the Holy Bible. The Muslim holy book is called the Quran, which is an Arabic word that literally means “the recitation.” The Quran considers Jesus a prophet, but not the Son of God or Savior. Muslims do not believe Jesus died on the cross, but that he was assumed to heaven by Allah.

“Jesus is like Adam in the sight of Allah. Allah created him of dust and then said to him: ‘Be,’ and he was” (Quran 3:55, 58). In other words, [to Muslims] Jesus was a created being like us with no divine attributes. The Bible however, teaches:

In the beginning … The Word was with God … He [Jesus] was with God in the beginning; all things were created by Him and for Him (John 1:1; Colossians 1:16).

In the Muslim teachings of the end times, Jesus appears before Allah and is asked if He ever claimed to be Allah’s son; Jesus says no. Jesus then gets angry and helps the Muslim Messiah kill every remaining Jew and Christian. The Trinity is also not supported by Allah.

The Bible was written by at least forty different authors over a period of at least 1,500 years, and its unity and continuity are still apparent and cohesive. The Prophet Muhammad is said to have received divine revelation (recitations) from Allah over a period of twenty-three years. Since Muhammad could not read or write, he “recited” the contents of his revelation to fellow companions. They in turn memorized and recited it to the next generation. The companions eventually wrote down what was recited to them on animal skins and bones, large stones, and on big palm leaves.

There are contradictions in the Quran; at times Allah commands Muslims to love Jews and Christians and at other times calls for their death, if they do not convert to Islam. Because there are verses that teach peace, you may hear Islam referred to as a religion of peace. However, other instructions in the Quran order Muslims to kill all unbelievers, especially the more recent verses relating to Jews and Christians. What does a follower of Islam do when two instructions seem to contradict each other? This word is a pivotal key to unlocking the answer: abrogation.

Abrogation is a recurring theme whenever apparent conflicting verses of the Quran are discussed. It means to cancel, repeal, or officially revoke something. In this situation, the later or more recent verses calling for Holy War override earlier verses counseling tolerance or peace.

Committed followers of Islam will settle for nothing short of universal conversion and eventual death to all infidels.
“I will cast terror into the hearts of those who disbelieved, so strike [them] upon the necks and strike from them every finger¬tip” (Quran 8:12). And, “Strike off the heads of the unbelievers, and after making a wide slaughter among them, carefully tie up the remaining captives” (Quran 47:4).

One may argue our God commands violence just like Allah does. We must distinguish between commands given to nations and instructions to individuals. In addition, killing while under command and submission to an army is very different than murdering someone as a private citizen. Though there were wars and plenty of violence in the Old Testament, God warned enemies of Israel about his holiness, his covenant, and he used people as his instrument of judgment in the world at the time. Jehovah God even put to death some of his own people who violated their covenant with him, but he never commands us to take our own revenge.

You shall not take vengeance, nor bear any grudge against the sons of your people, but you shall love your neighbor as yourself; I am the LORD (Leviticus 19:18).

Bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you… If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? Even ‘sinners’ love those who love them (Luke 6:28, 32).

“And fight them until there is no fitnah [tumult, disorder, trial, test, unbelief] and until the religion, all of it, is for Allah. And if they cease – then indeed, Allah is Seeing of what they do” (Quran 8:39).

Islam is completely incompatible with a society such as America that values religious freedom. Islam will accept no other religions, no competing economic or political views and no legal system except Sharia Law which would outlaw Christianity. Islam teaches that good Muslims should lie to their enemies to win their confidence. Allah himself lies, and the teachings of the prophet Muhammad accuse Jesus of lying.

This may explain how Muslims have broken every peace treaty they have ever signed with Israel and other nations.

God is not a man that he should lie (Numbers 23:19).

Since many liberals, media, and progressives are hostile toward Christianity, they have blind support for Islam. They are either deceived, or they are part of the agenda to blot out the Judeo-Christian God from America. Islamic Law calls for potential death sentences for adulterers and homosexuals. Where are the gay protests of Muslims? Christianity teaches us to forgive, to love all men, and preach the gospel. We are to confront sin, but not hate the sinner. Islam also allows the treatment of women as property while Christianity teaches respect.Where are the feminist protests of Muslim women being oppressed or stoned?

Because Islam denies the deity of Jesus Christ, according to 1 John 4:1-3, it is a religion of antichrist. So, if the founder of Islam, Muham¬mad, was actually a false prophet who did not hear from the one true living God, then those who follow him are deceived. Furthermore, in the Quran it states they [Jews and Christians] are deluded and “may Allah destroy them” in Surah 9:30. This proves that to compare Islam to Christianity is like comparing oil and water.

Jesus did not come to earth to bring world peace (Matt. 10:34), and yet there are religious leaders in America preaching common ground with Islam hoping to unify all religions. Nowhere in the Bible does God encourage joining with other religions. On the contrary, He warns against it. It’s not that we shouldn’t evangelize people of other faiths, but typically the faith that bends and compromises is Christianity, leaving a diluted gospel. This doesn’t stop some from attempting to mix Christianity and Islam.

CHRISLAM

“Chrislam” is the idea that Muslims and Christians worship the same God and that there are similarities to unite around. We’ve already established this is impossible and that Allah is not the same as Jehovah God, YHWH. Though both Christianity and Islam have Abrahamic roots, and both religions promote morality, the similarities pretty much stop there. Teachings that line up with Chrislam gain popularity because tolerance has trumped truth in our modern culture. This is a small movement, but don’t be surprised if it gains popularity.

We are to separate ourselves from unbelievers and those who worship other gods:

Do not be bound together with unbelievers; for what partner¬ship have righteousness and lawlessness, or what fellowship has light with darkness? …or what has a believer in common with an unbeliever? (2 Corinthians 6:14-15).

Islam allows for lying and deception in order to advance their quest for world domination, so how can we work side by side with those who subscribe to what is called “Kitman,” the practice of deceiving infidels with half-truths? In countries not yet dominated by Islam, it only coexists with other religions because they have not been fully converted to Islam yet. We, however, believe salvation is by faith in Christ alone. Islam rejects this teaching.

I don’t care what evangelical leader backs this common ground movement. Conservative Christians must be loyal and obedient to the truth and the gospel of Jesus Christ and not be concerned with the approval of man. This does not mean we can’t love them and have a heart for the lost. It means we must be cautious about a religion that teaches Jesus was an apostle of Allah and not the only Son of God. John MacArthur explains:

“Islam today is the most powerful system on earth for the destruction of biblical truth and Christianity – thousands of Christians are dying under Islamic persecution, especially in the Middle East, Africa, Indonesia, and other parts of Asia. Clearly, Islam and Christianity are mutually exclusive. Both claim to be the only true way to God, but both cannot be right. There is no atonement in Islam, no forgiveness, no savior, and no assurance of eternal life.”

UNCOMMON GROUND

In October 2007, leaders of Islam came up with an open letter to leaders of the Christian faith in America called A Common Word Between Us and You calling for peace between Muslims and Christians and an understanding among both religions. They sought to emphasize two of the Ten Commandments; the love of god and the love of our neighbor. What’s wrong with that? Islamic leaders stated, “The future of the world depends on peace between Muslims and Christians.”

Not only is the world’s future in God’s hands, but the Bible teaches a very different future than other religions believe. Jesus warned about false prophets, wars, and nation rising against nation in the end times. It should also be noted that Islam means absolute “submission.” The Islamic model of the relationship between Allah and his followers is that of a master and servant. Christianity teaches that we are children of God and are privileged to call him our Father.

What did our best and brightest leaders do? Scholars from Yale Divinity School decided to respond to the letter from Islamic leaders by publishing a full page advertisement in the New York Times titled, “Loving God and Neighbor Together: A Christian Response to A Common Word Between Us and You.” They promised to “work diligently together to reshape relations between our communities and our nations.”

The response includes Christian repentance over the mistreatment of Muslims and, yet, does not include any mention of differences between Allah and Yahweh! This leaves us with one of two conclusions: either these liberal evangelicals and scholars are confused and deceived about the teachings of Islam or they are complicit in the goal of a one-world government and the minimizing of Christianity. Muslims are taught that if they are a minority in any country or region, they may smile at the infidel, but never love him in their heart. Could the letter from Islamic leaders be just another way to try to win the trust of America?

The document’s signatories include many well-known church leaders as Leigh Anderson (President of the National Association of Evangelicals), Bill Hybels (Founder and Pastor of Willow Creek Community Church), Tony Jones (Emergent Village), Brian McLaren (Author, Speaker and Activist), Robert Schuller (The Crystal Cathedral), Rick Warren (Saddleback Church), and Jim Wallis (Sojourners, Red Letter Christians).

Having open dialogue about peace and love is fine, but Muslims seem to be fighting with just about every nation they have not conquered or dominated. They are killing one another in the Middle East, and they attack and kill non-Muslims across the globe. Since Ishmael, Abraham’s first son, was born outside of God’s perfect will to Abraham’s servant Hagar, the Lord said the birthright and inheritance would go to Isaac, the son of Abraham’s wife, Sarah. Muslims believe Abraham’s first son Ishmael deserved the inheritance which explains the constant fighting and strife in Islamic nations fulfilling God’s prophecy over Ishmael:

He will be a wild donkey of a man; his hand will be against everyone and everyone’s hand against him. And he will live in hostility toward all his brothers (Genesis 16:12).

In the previous chapter in Genesis, God spoke to Abraham regarding his sons Ishmael and Isaac:

Then behold, the word of the Lord came to him, saying, “This man will not be your heir; but one who will come forth from your own body, he shall be your heir (Genesis 15:4).

To focus on a few common teachings without looking seriously at major doctrines that are diametrically opposed to one another is misguided.

Our real enemy is Satan, our struggle is a spiritual one, and we need to pray for enemies of God to be saved. If this were impossible, Jesus would not have instructed us to “pray for those who persecute you. (Matthew 5:44).” Lord, help us to be more discerning and never be ashamed of the true gospel of Jesus Christ – “the way, the truth, and the life.”

 

foolish infidels