Archive for August, 2010

What’s Your Sell-Out Price?

August 30th, 2010 3 comments

In December 2009, President Barack Obama delivered his much anticipated policy decision on the way forward in the War in Afghanistan. To the delight of those who are serious about actually defeating the violent Taliban regime, he announced we would be sending an additional 30,000 troops. However the troops came with a price tag: a deadline for withdrawal. More troops in exchange to an 18 month withdrawal timeline.

While we all want this war to end so our sons and daughters can return home safely to us, military leadership correctly blasted the president’s plan, arguing that it would undermine our allies and embolden our enemies.

The Heritage Foundation reported last week that the President’s policy met with another high profile critic, retiring U.S. Marine Gen. James Conway, who told reporters that the July 2011 withdrawal date has given a morale boost to Taliban insurgents who now believe they can simply wait out NATO forces. According to the General, this artificial deadline is “giving our enemy sustenance.” It seems that our intelligence forces have intercepted the communication of Taliban insurgents telling each other that they only needed to hold out for so long.

As I read about the power of limited commitment and weakening resolve in actually providing emotional, physical and spiritual “sustenance” to our beleaguered enemies, I could not help but apply the same principles to our spiritual condition. How committed are we to seeing the realization of our Kingdom dreams? Will we fight until we win or have we given our enemy a withdrawal deadline? Have we empowered our enemy with political declarations based on comfort and convenience or are we making prophetic declarations based upon the conviction in our hearts that God and His promises are true. We are promised victory. The question remains, do we have the spiritual resolve to fight for it?

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Starving at the Buffet

August 27th, 2010 5 comments

I once read about an experiment in which researchers placed a large fish in an aquarium filled with an ample supply of mouth watering minnows. The big fish basically enjoyed what we would call an “all you can eat buffet.”

After a while, the researchers inserted a clear glass partition into the tank. Now the big fish could only enjoy half the aquarium and half the minnows. After eating the last minnow on his side of the tank, the big fish made an attempt to eat the minnows on the other side of the glass. You can imagine what happened. After banging his body repeatedly into the glass partition with no reward to show for his efforts, the fish gave up. He stopped trying.

What happened next was amazing. The researchers removed the glass partition, allowing the minnows to swim freely around the big fish. To their surprise, the fish never attempted to eat the minnows. He smelled them, bumped into them, watched them swim all around him, but he would not eat them! Perhaps the fish developed a belief that the minnows were unreachable. For whatever the reason, the big fish actually starved to death in the midst of an aquarium filled with minnows!

Can you relate? Sometimes we develop stinking thinking, especially after we encounter obstacles or when we experience failures or setbacks. We go negative in our mental disposition. We become despondent and discouraged. We feel like nothing we do really matters. We just quit on our dreams!

But if we fight the good fight of faith, choosing to live in the Kingdom of God, where right thinking, right relationships, peace and joy (Romans 14:17) fill the fish tank, we’ll soon discover that we are surrounded by minnows! It takes faith, a yielded, fully confident, loving affection for our heavenly Father, to see the opportunities God is bringing our way. Unbelief will keep you from possessing what the Lord has promised. Don’t starve to death when the Lord is preparing a banquet feast in the presence of our enemies (Psalm 23:5). Live in faith. Look for answers and opportunities. Expect God’s provision.  Remember, it’s your Father’s good pleasure to give you the Kingdom! (Luke 12:32)

Watch Out for the Christian Paparazzi

August 25th, 2010 3 comments

I sometimes receive e-mails from Christian busy-bodies, Jude calls them “clouds without water and trees without fruit” (v. 12), who are sending me the latest revelation on who is the leading candidate for “antichrist” or exposing how false spirits are entering the church. The message usually contains an urgent plea to send this SHOCKING REVELATION to as many people as you can. What is especially troubling is when fellow believers are mentioned by name as “the deceived” and anyone who has ever read their books, been to one of their conferences or bought the T-shirt is now guilty by association. In case you didn’t know, you are now an accomplice in a sinister, demonic scheme to deceive and destroy the Church!

What we have here is the spiritual equivalent to a “Christian” drive by shooting. These self-appointed prophets act like religious paparazzi, running to and fro with their noses in everyone else’s business. They are super-Christians, with tongues faster than a speeding bullet, able to leap over the giant log in their own eye to gouge out the speck in the ministry of another. Of course it’s all done in Jesus’ name out of great concern for doctrinal purity. With friends like these, who needs to worry about the devil!

Let me be really clear: GOD HATES THOSE WHO SOW DISCORD AMONG HIS FAMILY (Proverbs 6:19).

 To accuse another brother or sister of being deceived by a demon is a strong and serious accusation. Equally frightening is the attributing of a work of the Holy Spirit to Satan (Wow! You better really be sure about this one because the Holy Spirit does not appreciate being called Satan).

These accusations are especially disturbing when the person being pursued by the Christian paparazzi have a long track record of love and good fruit (Matthew 7:16). God specifically forbids speaking recklessly and irresponsibly about those who are in an office of spiritual authority. In fact, Paul tells us, “Do not receive an accusation against an elder except from two or three witnesses (I Timothy 5:19). Paul adds, “Who are you to judge another’s servant?” (Romans 14:4) The Lord, Himself, is able to discipline and correct his sons and daughters. That’s never been our job. We are to pray for our leaders (Hebrews 13:17-18) and, when there is reason to believe they are immoral, heretical or demonized, they should be approached by elders in their local church and not spiritual gossipers on the world-wide web!

Paul offers a better approach. “If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men.” (Romans 12:18). We are to serve our brothers and sisters with “all lowliness and gentleness, with longsuffering, bearing with one another in love, endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace” (Ephesians 4:2-4). Let’s do what we can to love, encourage and strengthen Christ’s family instead of trying to throw our flesh and blood under the bus!

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