Restoration of What Was Lost

It is Black History Month, and there is sure to be many controversial conversations, various barbs, racial contests, inequalities and civil rights narratives served up as reminders the wrongs done to my culture of people throughout history. I wanted to provide my narrative on what the real fight is about? It dawned on me, that as society moves and chooses to jump on board with honoring the various parts of America’s history, black or white perspectives being irrelevant in my view, people are craving the restoration of something lost. When I consider the platforms set up by men in the form of government, civil right groups, religious groups, and other social distinctions, it is obvious that they are all seeking something that once was, but is no longer prevalent or relevant in many societies. Hidden beneath all the rhetoric spouted from gnostic pulpits, college campuses, equality crusades, gender movements, etc. etc., is a desire to restore something that has been lost. What restoration are people are seeking in these movements, ideals, and struggles? What exactly has been lost?

In answering these questions of where it went wrong, why the struggle of Black America, why is there a fight for equality, or where the dignity, self-worth, the human governing is power, etc. Many will start with things like slavery, how America was founded, the corruption of our forefathers; the catastrophic sphere of a once united America, Racism, and Civil Rights movement, on and on it goes. With the effort of wanting to restore what has been lost to a race, group, kind, or culture of people.

The problem with these efforts is it doesn’t go back far enough, because what is being addressed is still symptomatic of a deeper-rooted issue. That issue is the fall of man and sin (oh yes, the same old root cause to every issue man has). We can’t go back to slavery 1600-1800’s, not far enough, we can’t go back to the Civil Rights movement of 60’s, not far enough, we can’t go back to even the founding of this country, not far enough. To restore what is lost, one would have to go back to the beginning in the Garden of Eden to understand why we have these issues today. Then move forward to grasp what has been done to restore what was lost!

All humans (not just black, white, etc.) are made in the image of God regardless of the color of their skin or the historical framework (which I don’t cast aside) of which we are derived based on our various ancestral histories. I don’t expect everyone to agree but, I just ask you to consider the perspective. I will be the first to state, I do not disregard Black History for after all, Paul himself warned about things of history concerning Israel. He stated, “Now all these things happened to them as examples, and they were written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the ages have come.” 1 Corinthians 10:11 May we learn history was written that all of the turmoil, division, good and bad so, we might not make the same mistakes as our respective ancestors/forefathers did.

There are all sorts of injustices worth fighting for but, the end goal is not get some equal footing (which is still undefined on what that looks like) concerning the inequalities of the underprivilege or the preferred class of people, etc. But, it should be turning people to truth! The truth is as human beings we have fallen away from the Sovereign God and in our fallen state, we seek dignity, self worth, which has largely been focused on men, the struggle, movement, or an ideal and not God. In other words we have chosen to seek out an image that is not of God, but of men.

We find the phrase “image of God” in the first chapter of the Bible. When God first created humans (not races), He made them in His “image” and after His “likeness”. These words describe how humans in some way reflect the character and nature of God. To understand the meaning, we must look at the context in Genesis 1:26-28: Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.”

God created man in his own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. And God blessed them. And God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth.” Leaving aside the question of God speaking in the plural, the main question here is what the text means by God’s image or the Imago Dei (from the Latin). It is often suggested that the “image” is tied with humans being personal, moral, spiritual, intellectual, and relational beings like God. Others suggest that the “image” is tied with humans being creative like God. While we are like God in these ways, they do not get to the central point of the “image” in Genesis 1. That central point is not hard to figure out. In the midst of God’s blessing, He commanded humans to do two things: (1) reproduce (“be fruitful and multiply”); and (2) rule (“fill the earth and subdue it and have dominion”). The word “dominion” is paired with having children and subduing the land. Adam and Eve who were created in this very image were to fill the earth with “godly” offspring and glorify God through their rule on the earth. So, the image of God provides humans with an identity as rulers, and this carries with it the function of governing creation in a manner that honors and glorifies Him.

Then comes the fall in Genesis Chapter 3, where suddenly, the very “Image” of God and the adherence to being subjected under the rule of God became distorted/lost because of sin, now any self worth would come from being superior and making those around you feel inferior, rule over the earth would take on an entirely different model, subduing it with children (through marriage) founded by God Himself, would also become blurred! Now everyone else is to blame instead of taking responsibility for our own actions before the God of creation, who we must give account to. Observe the following passage after Adam and Eve disobeyed God in the Garden, beguiled by the serpent:

“When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it. She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it. Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they realized they were naked; so, they sewed fig leaves together and made coverings for themselves.

Then the man and his wife heard the sound of the LORD God as he was walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and they hid from the LORD God among the trees of the garden. But the LORD God called to the man, “Where are you?” He answered, “I heard you in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid.” And he said, “Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree that I commanded you not to eat from?” The man said, “The woman you put here with me—she gave me some fruit from the tree, and I ate it.” Then the LORD God said to the woman, “What is this you have done?” The woman said, “The serpent deceived me, and I ate…”

With the sinful action of Adam and Eve, here we can plainly see the distortion of God’s Image suddenly lost. The blame game, and finger pointing starts when accountability comes. Stop and consider this very act throughout our history as we know it. Constant finger pointing and suggesting it is someone else that is at fault. We have women wanting to be the dominating gender, you have men standing by, and doing nothing as we see bastard children being born outside of marriage. You have all the social distinctions throughout history that point the finger at one thing or another that has caused the struggle that many fight for today, that they feel is right. Why? Sin has distorted the image of God. Along with the fact that any self-worth and dignity was lost in the Garden after the fall. Now racism is thrust into the bowels of history separating, distinguishing color not culture of people. Superiority complexes, rule and governing laws have been set up to keep control of what is simply put, “fallen man.”

Humans have turned from worshipping the One in whose likeness we are made and instead have turned towards idols. Paul says, sinful man “exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and creeping things” (Romans 1:23). Though man is made in God’s image, he has turned from God to false images, even images of man himself. This is a sad attempt to worship a sullied image. Instead of worshipping God and reflecting His rule over creation, fallen man now worships creation and all that it offers. In the process of going down such a road, they deny God, and no longer properly reflect His image.

Despite man’s sinfulness, scripture affirms that God’s image remains intact. The image is marred by sin, and humans do not completely fulfill God’s original intent. Man’s rule over creation experiences frustration. The relationships among men are severed, because of the pride or the feeling superiority. The good news is that God in His grace has restored His image through the finished work of Jesus Christ. God does this because Jesus is the very image of God. Paul makes this claim: “He [Jesus] is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation.” (Colossians 1:15). In another place, Paul states “whose minds the god of this age has blinded, who do not believe, lest the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine on them.” (2 Corinthians 4:4).

Things have come full circle. God made man in His image, and Jesus is the perfect man— fully human and fully God, thus the perfect image of God. Moreover, God has restored what was really lost, that many are seeking, but looking in the wrong places to find. This is His image in us, by conforming us to the image of Christ. It is through union with Christ that we are made like Him. Once I come to Jesus Christ through the finished work of the cross by Faith, through repentance, then the image which was lost and scared by sin is now restored in Christ Jesus, the Lord. I can take my rightful place under God and then rightly take the vices that He has given me on this earth that I might glorify His name. How? Because God said: “ Do not remember the former things, nor consider the things of old, behold I will do a new thing…” (Isaiah 43:18-19) That new thing is found in Jesus Christ “ Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.” (2nd Corinthians 5:17)

You see it is not matter of an ideal, what we do or don’t celebrate, what we choose to believe in or fight for, all because of someone’s sin or our own. History has spoken “Black History” or any component of history that we celebrate. So, I conclude that, “human history” and the fall and restoration of man back to God is the real struggle.

If we would only consider the entire struggle for our self-worth, dignity, etc. it can only come from our restoration to God, through Jesus Christ our Lord who is the Savior of all men! Then we can truly overcome. Since the fall, man has been lost and trying to find a way or that something that will give him worth again. Choosing Jesus Christ prepares us to be real agents of change in a fallen world. He will give us the power to do and live according to what is right, not according to what is expedient, because we can take our rightful place again under God, that we might glorify the One who made us and Saved us not only from ourselves but, from His wrath! The provision has been made by God; the provision is the Cross of Jesus Christ. Will we as a human race, quit pointing the finger at history? Will we turn to the only true source that can fully restore and redeem that which was lost through Jesus Christ who provides us with full restoration, dignity and self-worth before a Holy God?

After all, at the end of the age as we know it, no one will remember in eternity racism, or the plight of the “Black Man” in America and how history did us wrong. It is only my Father in heaven who can right every wrong and bring judgement to those who have rejected His offering of Salvation. My duty as a faithful servant is point people to Jesus, not to address the social struggle. Because unless there is a change of heart (that only God can do) no law, rule, or governing group/body will change the hearts of fallen men.

The Unbiblical Fight for Different Social Issues Part II: Unite and Conquer

With a recognized assault on what is deemed human rights, the social distinctions are on rise. You see one might think the enemy of our souls would use the “old divide and conquer” motive. Not so fast! It is now to “unite and conquer.” One of the marks of the last days is division according to the Words of Jesus that is found in Matthew 10:34-39 He said “…I did not come to bring peace, but a sword…to set a man against his father, a daughter against her mother…a man’s enemies will be those of his own household (and the choice has to be made) …And he who does not take his cross and follow after Me is not worthy of Me.”

I believe that we are now seeing this type of division in full force. Deception in its many heretical forms has fragmented not only Christianity, but even the worldly into many groups, each with its own belief system (LBGT, Racial Groups, NAACP, Political Parties, Denominations etc, etc). Further, there is a large and increasing number of individuals that have invaded the realm of Christianity, each with their own belief system (Oprah Winfrey, Joel Osteen, Rick Warren, etc). The tenets of their belief systems are non-negotiable. If you disagree, you are the enemy. This has been caused by confusion and dissatisfaction all stemming from the Garden Genesis 3:1-2 “…did God indeed say…”

However, there is an establishment of actual unity, or at least a tentative truce within these various distinctions. We must remember “all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God” Romans 3:23. We are sternly warned in Proverbs 1 that if we are “enticed by sinners…” that we are not to consent! These various social or even religious distinctions will ask you to “…cast in your lot” among them! It allows them to move closer to satisfaction or in this case achievement of equality/rights or having some superiority over others. The more a group unifies, the more power they have. This is the Tower of Babel, as stated in my previous article and nothing will be outside of their sinful grasp to achieve! However, the one group they will challenge and even hate are the true/faithful followers of Jesus Christ. Deception can tolerate deception, but it will not tolerate God’s truth. Truth to the deceived ones is what “they” declare as truth not what God declares. Therefore, God’s truth is poison to them and a stench to their spirits.

Despite the rejection of truth, God’s mercy mandates that truth and warnings continue, until the eternal door is closed. At that point, millions of people will be consigned to eternal darkness. Every attempt will be made to turn them back to God’s truth and light, but men “…blasphemed the God of heaven because of their pains and their sores, and would not repent of their deeds.” Revelation 16:11 It will be the most difficult period to endure and overcome. Our only hope to survive is to continue in the things of God unwavering, and we are reminded “Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world.” 1 John 4:1

Unfortunately, we have arrived at a very dark period in our history. The world is uncompromising toward righteousness and it loves its “evil deeds and darkness.” From Religious, Racism, the Gay/Lesbian movements, from the social equality constructs we are in a war with darkness. These various distinctions are merging and growing stronger by the day. The unification is astounding, but it is right on course with the spirit of this age. It is setting the stage for the Anti-Christ and his world kingdom to be established.

The sad commentary of it all is Christians are also falling to this via (doctrines/denominational controls) This type of unity is even more dangerous! Why? Satan must control a few things (Government/Politics, Military, Economics (Financial System) and lastly religion.) Yes, good old religion and the way this is coming about is no surprise through unification by way of doctrines.

We are warned many times in scripture about having sound doctrine, unfortunately today it has taken on a different tone. There are “Baptist doctrines”, Episcopalian doctrines”, “Roman Catholic doctrines”, “Hyper Pentecostal and Charismatic doctrines”, “Seeker-sensitive & Emergent doctrines”, “New Apostolic Reformation doctrines”, “Hillsong doctrines”, “Stay-at-home-watch-religious TV doctrines”, “Internet religion doctrines”, filled with people condescending to each other as if they each have the superior doctrine. Right doctrine according to truth promotes, right living and right living considering God’s word, provides intimacy with and full faith/trust in God the Father and our Lord Jesus Christ. If these simple qualities are missing, these doctrines will surely be destroyed when the storm comes! But, what a way to unite and conquer.

Getting people to believe a certain thing and then it becomes the standard by which they will be destroyed. You see more people will end up in hell, because they believed a certain doctrine (which from its fruits come fornication, drunkards, idolatry, etc, etc) as the apostle Paul said, none of this unfaithfulness will inherit the kingdom of God! (Ephesians 5:5, 1 Corinthians 6:9, Galatians 5:21)

Organizational, Ethnic, or Cultural or just simply an outward conformity is not true unity and it is a great way for the enemy of our souls to unify and conquer those who have fallen asleep and or left the truth of the “…engrafted word which is able to save their souls” James 1:21 We need to wake up and realize that all this unification we see going on is the underlying tone of rebellion against God and His anointed Jesus Christ. The goal of Satan is to unite humanity in rebellion against God.

We should think it strange that within these various distinctions they all desire unity, but its emphasis is rapidly becoming diversity. The world cannot solve the problem of disunity, it cannot stop wars, or it cannot bring peace. This is key to understanding the times, because Satan will act to reverse this and bring a false peace and unity to the world. That those “…who had not love for truth” will fall into. The bitter irony of the agenda of the enemy of our souls is the goal of equality or tolerance emphasizes differences and differences eventually divide and thus fulfill the words of Jesus “…every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation, and every city or house divided against itself will not stand…” Matthew 12:25

When the scripture emphasizes unity, it is first by repentance and faith in God, not man and only then in Jesus and according His word can we be unified. We need to be sanctified by His word, because His word is truth (John 17:17, emphasis mine). This only increases as we are more conformed to His word. Jesus also said “That they all may be one, as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You; that they also may be one in Us, that the world may believe that You sent Me. And the glory which You gave Me I have given them, that they may be one just as We are one: I in them, and You in Me; that they may be made perfect in one, and that the world may know that You have sent Me, and have loved them as You have loved Me.” John 17:21-23

May we not be overtaken by the “wiles of the Devil” and his evil plan to take conquer the world (which he is given authority to do Revelation 6:1). So be aware, and cling to truth, not tolerance or some ideal, which is destined to judgement where there can be no redemption! “Watch therefore and pray always that you may be counted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass and to stand before the Son of Man.” Luke 21:36

The Unbiblical Fight for Different Social Issues

I have pondered for some time as I watch our society plummet further into the power of the wicked one (1 John 5:19). I ask that readers please bear with my thoughts on this subject and consider the ramifications I am trying to articulate. There are platforms (political and social) being setup for so called racial, gender, and socioeconomic equalities which, I believe plays right into the hand of the enemy of our souls. All of those out there pretending to fight for what they believe to be a real cause really are fighting the wrong fight. People call each other race haters, race baiters, etc. etc. What is more disturbing, Christians are falling into its grasp, thus causing schism within the Body of Christ. I am not saying we should not stand up against injustices or sin. You have all the proponents (Sports, Political, Religious and Gender figure heads, etc.) setting the stage for something that I believe will bring more of a deceptive shock than resolution.

Part of the reason is that as James 2:4 states “…have you not shown partiality among yourselves, and become judges with evil thoughts.” I am cautious when going down this road but, enough is enough; we must have some clarity to the very evil and wicked scenarios, which calls for these equalities. You have the (race, gender, socioeconomic, etc.) equality movements that want all things equal. God “…made of one blood, all nations of men…and determined the times before appointed, and bounds of their habitation” (Acts 17:26) in other words there are limits. You have the social injustices against people of different ethnicity, etc. You have all the popular figure heads, political and religious and many are seeking what they deem peace. The question that has not been answered is what does equality look or feel like, and who determines the boundaries, etc? These are simple questions and leaders of these various social distinctions are avoiding the very solution that has already been given!

I begin with conversations about race that simply should be held within the biblical framework of the image of God on the one hand and depravity (fallen nature) on the other. Even though race as a social construct has meaning, the most important racial category for Christians is being part of God’s chosen race. 1 Peter 2:9 says, “But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.” To be a “chosen race” means to be called to faith in Jesus Christ by the power of the Holy Spirit through Grace. God in one regard distinguishes between two ‘races’ of humanity—the redeemed and the unredeemed (or Adam and Christ). These races are not determined by skin color, but by belief. Those who by faith accept Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior can have eternal life that is freely offered through grace. Believers must engage in dialogue about race with the goal of presenting the gospel to people who are still of the unredeemed world. Those who reject the gospel of Jesus Christ will be eternally separated from God and left to the devastating effects of their unbelief.

This is a small perspective that I hope brings some clarity and stops the madness that is going on that is leading many on a “…broad road which leads to destruction.” What we need is “Truth” which can only come by way of the Lord and Bishop of our souls, Jesus Christ. It is very easy to point out (if Christians true to the faith) would realize, is God our creator solved this problem over 2000 years ago by the Cross of Jesus Christ. Now to make it clear, during the first century culture was deeply divided along lines of ethnicity, socioeconomic status, and gender, even within the “church.” Here is a quote from a teacher at Wesley Theological Seminary “…to fight in the struggle against racism will mean forming coalitions across religious and political communities. Alliances with Muslims and Jews, atheists and anarchists, may be difficult and complex. But Christians need partnerships not only to protest and plan marches but also for the grueling daily work of racial justice: seeking criminal justice and immigration reform, police accountability, education equality.” So, forming these ungodly alliances will help solve this problem? Just note, the Bible states “Though they join forces, the wicked shall not go unpunished…” (Proverbs 11:21) The Apostle Paul made very clear by the Spirit of the living God that “We are all one in Christ Jesus” (Galatians 3:28) for those who have been called by God and have properly responded, social distinctions – whether national/racial, conditional/financial, or gender – recede, even disappear. The unifying element is the righteousness of Christ, which the Christian puts on and begins to emulate once they repent and confess their need for a Savior. Romans 10:12 points out that after justification, we have the same Lord and Master, and He is rich in His gifts (grace, mercy, talents, blessings, etc.) to all, not just a certain class, culture or skin color of people!

The racial move for equality today, in my opinion, is unbiblical! Why? Because racism is a social construct (which when asked to define is very difficult) and the common definition given is by “the color” of a person’s skin. When most people think of race, they immediately picture skin color. Race is also associated with other physical features such as hair, body type, lip size, and nose shape. In America, the concept of race has been used to divide and oppress. By the 1600s, modern black slavery had become the norm in Europe. Several countries had established slave markets on the west coast of Africa. These ports began shipping millions of Africans to North and South America. Skin color proved to be an easy trait to differentiate between slave owners and slaves. Even after slavery was abolished, race served as a cultural and social barrier between people of African and Anglo descent. The close association between race and discrimination is a central storyline in the American narrative.

Scripture teaches us that all human beings are created in the image of God. The image of God in all people makes them equally worthy of dignity in the sight of God. Racism not only disregards obvious facts but it also, more importantly, is a direct assault on the image of God in humanity. The problem is there is only one race, and that is defined as “Human Race.” God condemned any kind of separation based on the premise (of racism or discrimination). In (Numbers 12:1-2) God struck Miriam with leprosy because she had spoken against Moses because of the Cushite woman he married! God dealt with Peter who had a huge problem with the gentiles, and God gave him a vision (Acts 10) that basically told Peter not to call something common that God Himself had cleansed!

These are just a few examples of the zero tolerance God had for this issue. One-way sin manifests itself is in racism. Racism is one form of pride, which is sin. Human pride is an effort to exalt oneself over God and others. In other words, if sin exist this issue of inequality revolving around race, gender, etc. will exist. Now some would even respond and say that these inequalities are based on these very principles I just described, because it is an injustice and many Christians are acting based on them. However, the one problem is this division can only be solved in Jesus Christ and the world unfortunately is not accepting this. If people aren’t accepting Christ, then there can be no reconciliation! If you look at each movement, Jesus is not found in those conversations, and if it comes up in any religious conversation, it is usually in an ecumenical setting! If Jesus is brought up in truth, then more than likely the individual proposing Christ as a solution with repentance is rejected.

The other thing created are barriers of communication between men and the God ordained cultures that were naturally inhabited when He separated men at the Tower of Babel. In the book of Genesis chapter 11:1-9, “The whole earth had one language and one speech.” However, as the Lord looked down he saw what men had done and how they were of one accord and how nothing will be outside of their “sinful” nature to do! So, he came down and separated them by the color of their skin? No! He confused their language (emphasis mine) and they went on to inhabit different parts of the earth (today we have cultures which stemmed from this separation). From this point “…the Lord scattered them abroad over the face of all the earth.”

What you have today is simply a move back to the days of the Tower of Babel, a strive for equality where men now can be put on an equal playing field and can achieve anything within their “sinful” ways. This is divisive and a big deception. Yes, we have inequalities in America, in the land I live in as a “black” minority. Me getting up on some social platform to proclaim we need equality as a minority goes against the very Gospel I believe in. As I look over the last 50 years, it has gotten worse, because more and more demands are created, and sinful man uses it to gain an advantage in a world where tolerance is being redefined.

My social division issue has been solved in Jesus Christ! Yes, I know the previous is a typical statement that a Christian would make. But, to do anything or believe anything outside of the Word of God would be disastrous. I have well-meaning brothers/sisters in the Lord who have gone down this wrong road and ideal. It will solve nothing, but it will lead to the one who will be stepping on the stage and bring a proposed resolution to the inequalities we now are struggling with. This one will bring a false unity and peace. Be aware he has been cast down, that old serpent, the devil, and now “…he is going about like roaring lion seeking whom he may devour.” (1 Peter 5:8) We must be alert and sober of mind in this age where these social ideals are front and center in a world, that has cast God out and strive to become one again, which is a “vain imagination.” “He who sits in the heavens shall laugh…” (Psalm 2:4).

What’s the conclusion to the matter? As a Christian and faithful believer in Jesus Christ, real unity or equality can only be found in Christ and for this very purpose He came to die that He might reconcile all things to Himself according to our Heavenly Father’s will! The plight for equality is a road leading to destruction, and any symbols of peace can be chalked up as momentary and false! Jesus eliminated these social distinctions on the Cross, and anyone who accepts this sacrifice says the same thing as God. Then these distinctions no longer matter in Christ. “For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus. For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for if you are Christ’s then you are Abraham’s seed and heir according to the promise.” (Galatians 3:26-29) Unity comes with God’s calling and justification. We are united in our need for a Savior. We are united in our acceptance of His blood for the remission of our sins. We are united through common experience: We all recognize that the only reason we have physical or spiritual life is because of God’s grace and mercy. We are united in our receipt of God’s gifts, when all we have earned or deserve is death. We are not united based on a movement or an ideal!

When we recognize that the playing field has been completely leveled in Jesus, and that we all had/have a debt impossible to pay, there is no room for boasting about race, gender, or our socioeconomic status, etc. There are different roles and responsibilities, because God gives His gifts as He sees fit and some people receive more talents than others. But no Christian is inherently better than another for we all have received Eternal life and on that day if you so choose this narrow way, you will see firsthand …”a great multitude which no one could number, of all tribes, peoples, and tongues, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, with palm branches in their hands, and crying out with a loud voice, saying, Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb.” (Revelation 7:9-10) This is the perfect picture, and this is wisdom, let him who reads take heed, that you may be found worthy to escape all these things that shall and already has come upon the earth.

The Ultimate Game Plan

The game of basketball continues to grow in popularity all over the world. It has a universal language that everyone speaks. It’s development from the peach basket, to huge arenas. God has truly used the game to teach us about Him. I want to talk about the game and the greatest Head Coach of the Game.

First about playing your position: There are several positions in the game of basketball, guard, forward, center, etc. Then you have the most critical position of all which is the Head Coach. Now a coach will tell you what position you play.

Here are some things God says about us when He puts us in our position in Jesus Christ

  1. You are a totally new creation in Christ Jesus 2nd Corinthians 5:17
  2. You have everything that pertains to life and godliness through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue. 2 Peter 1:3
  3. You are loved by God. Ephesians 1:6
  4. You are Forgiven. Mark 2:5, 1st John 1:9
  5. You have eternal life. John 3:15
  6. You are witnesses Luke 24:48
  7. You have the Holy Spirit: 1st Corinthians 6:19

1st Quarter: The Plan Psalm 53:2 “…He looked down from heaven upon the children of men, to see there are any who understand, who seek God.”

A coach always has a plan on how to play and win a game. First, He looks at his team to see how they are playing. Next He considers the opposing team with their strengths and weaknesses. Then after looking at the aspects of the game, He comes up with a plan. God has done the same things he has looked at us very closely. He wants us on His team, to follow His game plan, and to win by knowing, loving, and enjoying Him forever.

Time-out: If you trust God and His game plan through repentance, you are assured of eternal life and
victory! This is because of what God has already done for you through His Son Jesus Christ.

2nd Quarter can’t do it alone Ephesians 2:8-9 “you are saved by grace through faith, not of yourselves, it is the gift of God not by works, lest any man should boast.”

Basketball is a team game, but many players try to win games all on their own. The pride and selfishness hurt them and the team. So, the head coach has to teach all the players how to play the game and follow the game plan. It’s the same thing in life. People try to win in life and reach God in their own efforts. Isaiah 14:13, Romans 10:6 I will, and who will ascend into heaven. But our good efforts do not follow or measure up to God’s plan. Only God has a strategy to overcome our
weaknesses and limitations. And the big problem we face is the problem of sin. “All have sinned and
come short of the glory of God.” Romans 3:23

Time Out: Are you willing to trust God and His Son completely by faith and turn from your sin which keeps you from being a winner.

3rd Quarter The Substitute “He was delivered over to death for our sins and was raised to life so that we would be justified.” Romans 4:25

During any game, things can go wrong. A player may be shooting or passing badly. The team on the
court might not be working together as a unit. When those things start to go wrong the head coach
needs to do something to help. What typically does He do? He brings in a substitute to help. Not any
substitute, the right substitute at the right time. “While we were yet sinners Christ died for us.” Romans 5:8

Time out: God cared about us so much that He sent His son to die in our place so, that we could win in this life and more importantly in the life to come.

4th Quarter: Crunch Time

A good head coach has a good game plan that goes all the way down to the final second and the very last shot. The expert player needs to do more than just know the coach’s game plan. The smart player has to trust the coach completely and follow his game plan even when the whole thing seems impossible and doesn’t make any sense. So the question I have for you this day is are you going to trust God’s game plan? Will you decide to follow his plan, believing and having faith in what Jesus did, is doing, and will complete based on the finished work of the Cross?

“But as many received Him, to them he gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name.” John 1:12

“ Your sins have separated you from God.” Isaiah 59:2

There it is. Every team needs a good head coach to help them win the game. The plain fact is we are going to lose in the game of life if we don’t follow the head coach’s game plan. As a player do not be anointed by a world obsessed with putting people on a pedestal. Why? Because no man was made to be put on a pedestal. The spot was reserved from beginning of time for one, Just and True (Jesus Christ The Righteous). No player can carry the weight of glory, nor is he supposed to. We are but children of the one who carries that weight (Jesus bore our sins and our burdens). As a player, refuse to play for acceptance because “Excellence” is your Head Coach. God is personally and deeply concerned about you. Are you convinced you have eternal life? This is eternal life, that you may know, the only true God and Jesus Christ whom He has sent. “Seek the Lord while He may be found, call upon Him while He is near” Isaiah 55:6 If not, you need another game plan.

Last Days and This Young Generation

The Word of God clearly teaches that in the very Last Days, one of the main SIGNS of the TIMES to look for will be the great FALLING AWAY of those who profess to be Christians. Jesus clearly teaches that in the very Last Days, the lost will become more and more blinded from hearing Biblical truth, because many who claim to be God’s anointed will NOT be preaching the whole truth! Jesus clearly teaches that He will return. However, it seems that this will happen when many within this young generation aren’t looking for Him to come (I Tim 6:3-15, 2 Tim 4:1-8, Rev Ch’s 2-3). We need to discern the times! “Let no one deceive or beguile you in any way, for that day will not come except the APOSTASY comes first (2 Thess.2:3 Amos 8:11-12). It seems that many who have eliminated the last days’ message of the soon coming of our Lord along with prophecy from Sunday sermons will not be able to discern the times. Will our Lord find faith on earth when He returns?

The concern with the young generation is not heeding the stern warning Paul gave us “Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to deceiving spirits, and doctrines of demons” (I Tim 4:1). “For the time has come for judgment to begin at the house of God; and if it begins with us first what will be the end of those who do not obey the gospel of God?” (I Pet 4:17). Many younger Christians are cognizant that their peers are increasingly unfriendly or indifferent toward Christian beliefs and the gospel message. As a consequence, young Christians recognize that the nature of sharing one’s faith is changing. So, the devotion of this younger generation also changes. Instead of being more faithful to Jesus Christ, many are falling away!

The power of darkness is certainly upon us, For example, many young Christians believe they have to be more culturally engaged in order to communicate Christianity to their peers. For younger Christians, matters of orthodoxy are deeply interconnected with questions of how and why the Gospel advances among a post-Christian generation.” Jesus warned us about deception more than anything else in the last days. “Take heed that no man deceive you.” (Matthew 24:4)

There is little discernment from this generation and most young believers have been culturally frozen and it seems “…fear of man has brought a snare.” (Proverbs 29:25) Jesus summed it up best when Babylon comes it is coming not only to absorb a backslidden church/Christian, but also our children (this young generation). “And a great multitude of people followed Him and women who also mourned and lamented Him. But Jesus, turning to them said, “Daughters of Jerusalem, do not weep for Me, but weep for yourselves and for your children.” (Luke 23:28) We need to cry out for this generation and especially our children, that none would fall away. May God our Father and our Lord Jesus Christ keep us all!

A New Age of Religion

There are questions we don’t have the answers to. And there are questions that are not seeking an answer, but rather open “a wide gate” Matthew 7:13 – questions like the one posed long ago: “Has God indeed said, you shall not eat of every tree of the garden?” Genesis 3:1

A New Age of Religion is attracting many and is based on concepts that are irresistible. Like Eve, some are enticed with Lust of the Eyes, attracted by the Flesh, or by the Pride of Life. Faithful followers of Jesus Christ are seen as to rigid and narrow minded, versus the new age of religious thinking that says God would never impose an irrational boundary between us and Himself. Sometimes the lie creeps in subtly, remember “…Satan himself transforms himself into an angel of Light.” 2nd Corinthians 11:14. No matter how uplifting and innocent some religious practices appear, Christians need discernment in these “…perilous times”. 2 Timothy 3:1

We need to understand the distinctions, between the new age of religion and Biblical Christianity. The less vulnerable we are ourselves, the better able to address the confusion of people we witness to who may be earnestly seeking the truth. If we begin to understand the origin of the word “religion” its meaning is to adhere or bind. With today’s religious manifestations, faith is alluring and seductive precisely because it’s driven by propositions that bind a person to a compelling set of ideas that satisfy rationally or spiritually, but always obligate an individual to some form of works. And the common denominator in all of these “isms” is Jesus being displaced from his seat as “…Lord of Lords and King of Kings..”. Revelation 17:14 Some basic examples of this principle we can find in some of today’s religious manifestations are Jehovah Witnesses who believe Jesus is not God, Mormonism; Jesus is the half brother of Satan, Catholicism Jesus is beneath Mary, Mother and Queen of Heaven.

What exactly is this New Age of Religion? It is impossible to narrow down, but it is presented as a vast smorgasbord of beliefs and practices. Each person has his/her own ability to fill their tray with whatever assortment that fits their appetite. All is seasoned with self-centeredness and self-effort. It’s really a Have-It-Your-Way religion – thus its modern appeal. Although there are many branches ranging from meditation to lent – they come from an ancient beginning, the roots stem from the “Garden” with the residue of “…a bad tree cannot bear good fruit.” Matthew 7:18 Instead the new age of religious believers, believe that: God is in everything (pantheism), all things are one (monism), Man is God, mind creates reality and one’s own experience validates the truth, which is opposite of what Jesus said, “I am the way, the Truth, and the Life; no one comes to the Father but through Me.” John 14:6

There is a distorted definition of evil. Therefore, they (new age believers) do not accept man’s problem of sin that has separated us from God. Unfortunately, many Christians, living in the twilight of the 21st century, have either forgotten Christ’s warnings or no longer believe them. For whatever reasons, Christians, because of their ignorance, have been seduced into thinking that man-made philosophies are religiously neutral. Thus this new age of religion promises everything, it delivers nothing; and claiming to be one thing, it turns out to be something else entirely! “If any man among you seems to be religious, and bridles not his tongue, but deceives his own heart, this man’s religion is useless.” James 1:26 In the end many will be disappointed because they have chosen a different way and that way does not lead to Jesus, “…it leads to destruction.” Matthew 7:13

This Generation

“Truly I say unto you, all things shall come upon this generation” (Matthew 23:36) We are certainly in the last days and we live in a generation in which all these “things” have come upon us. “…lovers of pleasure more than lovers of God” riddled with “positive thinking” that sanctifies covetousness, glorifies selfishness, and makes religion a way of gain (I Timothy 6:5). This generation is an age where men are also “…covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unloving, without self control…having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof” (2 Timothy. 3:1-5). The “good things” of this life are available to those who seek both material prosperity and psychological fulfillment. They are found by faith in one’sown possibilities and faith in oneself! “And he sighed deeply in his spirit, and said, why does this generation seek after a sign? Truly I say unto you, there shall no sign be given unto this generation.” (Mark 8:12)

It is intellect without enlightenment and knowledge without wisdom that rules the day. Those that think and behave contrary to this belief are seen as negative. Positive thinking has taken over this generation, leaving the youth falling by the wayside and families destroyed!

Therefore faithful followers of Jesus Christ must stand against this error. We need those who have a love for the truth, not crowd pleasers. We must comprehend that while we need to stand on the promises of God, we must at the same time; realize His complete displeasure for error and sin.

Ministers of the gospel in this generation are more concerned with what man wants to hear, rather than with what God wants him to hear. “After their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears” (2 Timothy. 4:3). The vague generalities and “positive” sayings of psychology may meet one’s need to “think good” about himself, but such positive thinking and teaching does nothing to address the real need of a person. Man’s real need is to be “convicted of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment” (John. 16:7-11). Those that preach the truth of the gospel expose sin, prick the heart, and cause people to tremble while pointing to Jesus Christ as our only hope for eternal salvation and redemption.

Jesus was not oriented toward rewards in this life nor did He teach such. This generation rewards Jesus with hate and He promised His disciples they would get no better (John 15:18-21). And Peter in his sermon, made clear God’s intentions for us “… with many other words did he testify and exhort, saying, Save yourselves from this perverse generation” (Acts 2:40). Evil must come to a head, and to this generation “…this is your hour, and the power of darkness.” (Luke 22:53) Let those of the household of faith “…be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.” (Romans 12:2) Knowing that “…this generation shall not pass away until all things be fulfilled.” (Luke 21:32)