Do You Pray?: Politicians Curse Prayer

Most recently, I read a news article on CBN News, written by Will Maule, Faithwire, “’We’re Not Going to Give Thoughts and Prayers’: 2020 Candidate Cory Booker Curses Prayer,” dated May 14, 2019. Maule wrote, “Democratic hopeful Corey Booker has issued some harsh words of criticism to those who vow to send ‘thoughts and prayers’ in the wake of mass shootings.” Maule wrote that other Democratic politicians have called that prayer is basically ineffective and Booker called it “Bulls**t!”

You can read the entire Will Maule article here: http://www1.cbn.com/cbnnews/politics/2019/may/lsquo-we-rsquo-re-not-going-to-give-thoughts-and-prayers-rsquo-2020-candidate-cory-booker-curses-prayer

Let’s discuss for a moment the impact of what these politicians are saying. The Bible is very clear concerning the action of praying to God for help. An author by the name of J.C. Ryle wrote in the 1800’s the following, “I have looked carefully at the lives of believers in the Bible. I cannot find a single one (where we know something of their lives) who was not a person of prayer. Quite the opposite. It is often said of the godly that they ‘call on Him as Father’ or ‘call upon the name of our Lord Jesus Christ;’ we are told that the wicked, on the other hand, ‘do not call upon the Lord.’”[1]

Ryle took this statement from the following scriptures: 1 Peter 1:17, “And if you call Him as Father who judges impartially according to each one’s deeds, conduct yourselves with fear throughout the time of your exile.” 1 Corinthians 1:2, “To the church of God that is in Corinth, to those sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints together with all those who in every place call upon the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, both their Lord and ours.” Psalm 14:4, “Have they no knowledge, all the evildoers who eat up my people as they eat bread and do not call upon the name of the Lord?”

Anyone who professes to be a Christian and then tells the world that he will not pray and encourages others not to pray does not have a relationship with Jesus Christ or with the Father. This person is separated from God. When one becomes a Christian, they are filled with the Holy Spirit, who in turn teaches the new convert how to pray. Anyone who claims to be a Christian and does not pray has no true relationship with God. Ryle wrote, “The Holy Spirit makes us new creatures and adopts us into God’s family, and He leads us to cry out to Him, ‘Abba Father.’”[2] Let’s look at Luke 18:7, “And will not God give justice to His elect, who cry to Him day and night? Will He delay long over them?” Romans 8:15, “For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, ‘Abba Father.’”

The Bible is full of encouraging promises to those who pray. I will list a few to consider:

Matthew 7:7-8, ““Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened.”

Matthew 21:22, “And whatever you ask in prayer, you will receive, if you have faith.”

John 14:13-14, “13 Whatever you ask in my name, this I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. 14 If you ask me anything in my name, I will do it.

These were just a few encouraging promises to pray. Now, let us look at what prayer did for those in need and during times of peril.

In the Bible, prayer opened the Red Sea when Pharaoh was chasing the Israelites down after they left Egypt. The Israelites were going towards the Red Sea and they started crying out to God for help.  In Exodus 14:16-17, “Lift up your staff, and stretch out your hand over the sea and divide it, that the people of Israel may go through the sea on dry ground. 17 And I will harden the hearts of the Egyptians so that they shall go in after them, and I will get glory over Pharaoh and all his host, his chariots, and his horsemen.” Exodus 14:21-22, “21 Then Moses stretched out his hand over the sea, and the Lord drove the sea back by a strong east wind all night and made the sea dry land, and the waters were divided. 22 And the people of Israel went into the midst of the sea on dry ground, the waters being a wall to them on their right hand and on their left.”

Ryle wrote, “Prayer brought water from a rock (cf. Numbers 20:1-13); Bread from heaven (cf. Exodus 16); Prayer made the sun stand still (cf. Joshua 10:1-15); Prayer brought fire from the sky onto Elijah’s sacrifice at Carmel (cf. 1 Kings 18:36); Prayer overthrew armies (cf. 2 Kings 19:20-26); Prayer has healed the sick (cf. Matthew 8:5-17); Prayer has raised the dead (cf. John 11:38-44); He never stopped giving until Abraham stopped praying (cf. Genesis 18:16-33).”[3]

Let us not forget that prayers were answered and Israel won the Six Day War back in June of 1967. God continues to answer prayer today.

For a man or woman that curses prayer and encourages others not to pray, in my opinion, those are not the words of one who has a true relationship with God, with Jesus Christ.  As J.C. Ryle wrote, the wicked does not pray to the Lord.

Folks, we are living in a time where Christianity is on attack. Please join me in prayer to pray for our leaders, that God will change and transform their hearts and that they will come to know the loving and saving grace of Jesus Christ. We are living in a time where spiritual warfare is real and what we fight as Christians are not of this world. See Ephesians 6:12, “For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.”

 

References:

CBN News, May 14, 2019, http://www1.cbn.com/cbnnews/politics/2019/may/lsquo-we-rsquo-re-not-going-to-give-thoughts-and-prayers-rsquo-2020-candidate-cory-booker-curses-prayer

[1] J.C.Ryle, Do You Pray? A Question for Everybody (Welwyn Garden City, UK: EP Books, 2018), 14.

[2] Ryle, Do You Pray?, 13.

[3] J.C. Ryle, Do You Pray?, 26.

Copyright May 19, 2019. The Lantern & Shield Times, a Division of Marketplace Evangelism Ministries Inc. All Rights Reserved.

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I Used to Love My Neighborhood!

I used to LOVE my neighborhood! That was until I experienced people complaining on their neighbors for minor violations and want the Board to do something about it!  These complaints ranged from their neighbor’s dogs pooping in their yards to people driving by or walking by someone’s home and measuring the height of their grass to overnight parking violations on the street. What has happened to society where they do not have love and compassion for others? Maybe that person whom one is complaining about their grass height has had a medical emergency and cannot cut the grass every week! Have people heard about talking to their neighbors and politely asking that they don’t allow their dogs to poop in their yards?

When people begin to drive around or walk around looking for violations, then it makes the neighborhood feel like a hostile place to live. I know that there are many people who may not identify themselves with the Bible or Christian values, but most religions have some sort of moral code to live by or some sort of honor and decency. Instead of being the “HOA Covenant Police,” try talking to your neighbor. I can assure you that your neighbor would appreciate hearing it from you than getting a “formal letter of action” from the HOA.

If someone is in need, has anyone heard of reaching out and offering them a helping hand? If someone’s grass is too high and the homeowner has had a medical condition, instead of complaining on him or her, why not offer to cut their grass? Random acts of kindness are so beautiful in a world and culture that is full of extremism, hate, and selfishness. I understand that there are HOA rules, but talking to your neighbor is better received than complaining on them behind their back!

Try building a relationship with your neighbor and showing some compassion to others. People are hurting and need love and support. Be a good neighbor, someone the community can look up to! What caused me to write this post was that I was copied in on an email on yet another complaint about one of my neighbors. I used to be the Vice-President of our HOA, but wanted to resign after serving only three months. It’s amazing how the actions of a few can destroy living at peace with your neighbors.

The Bible says in Matthew 22: 34-40, “34 But when the Pharisees heard that he had silenced the Sadducees, they gathered together. 35 And one of them, a lawyer, asked him a question to test him.36 “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?” 37 And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. 38 This is the great and first commandment. 39 And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. 40 On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.”

If you love God, then you will love your neighbor. Not loving others will separate us from God. Loving your neighbor means that you want the best for them. It means that you have the very best intentions for them. It means that we show grace to others. Philippians 2:13 states, “or it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.”

Being a good neighbor means that you have compassion for others instead of sitting and watching and judging! Philippians 2:4, “Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.”

Loving your neighbor means that you will serve them. See Matthew 20:28, “even as the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”

Serving others with kindness in your hearts shows that you actually love your neighbor. Loving your neighbor means that you will also forgive them. See Matthew 18:21-22, “21 Then Peter came up and said to him, “Lord, how often will my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? As many as seven times?” 22 Jesus said to him, “I do not say to you seven times, but seventy-seven times.”

I LOVE my neighbors and would do what I can for them! I pray that these few people will start to have compassion for others. Do I really hate my neighborhood? No! I LOVE my neighborhood, but I grieve for those who do not have love and compassion in their hearts. Many may not know the Savior of the world! I pray that they will change their hearts and come to know the love and grace that can only be found in faith in Jesus Christ.

Copyright April 26, 2019. The Lantern & Shield Times, a Division of Marketplace Evangelism Ministries Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Meteorite over Brazil: God’s Creation

Hallelujah! Praise the Lord from the heavens; praise him in the heights. Praise him, all his angels; praise him, all his heavenly armies. Praise him, sun and moon; praise him, all you shining stars. Praise him, highest heavens,and you waters above the heavens.

Seeing that video of the meteor over Brazil reminds me of the awesome Creation of God. Look at Psalm  148:
 
Psalm 148
Creation’s Praise of the Lord
1 Hallelujah!
Praise the Lord from the heavens;
praise him in the heights.
2 Praise him, all his angels;
praise him, all his heavenly armies.
3 Praise him, sun and moon;
praise him, all you shining stars.
4 Praise him, highest heavens,
and you waters above the heavens.
5 Let them praise the name of the Lord,
for he commanded, and they were created.
6 He set them in position forever and ever;
he gave an order that will never pass away.
 
7 Praise the Lord from the earth,
all sea monsters and ocean depths,
8 lightning and hail, snow and cloud,
stormy wind that executes his command,
9 mountains and all hills,
fruit trees and all cedars,
10 wild animals and all cattle,
creatures that crawl and flying birds,
11 kings of the earth and all peoples,
princes and all judges of the earth,
12 young men as well as young women,
old and young together.
13 Let them praise the name of the Lord,
for his name alone is exalted.
His majesty covers heaven and earth.
14 He has raised up a horn for his people,
resulting in praise to all his faithful ones,
to the Israelites, the people close to him.
Hallelujah!
Watch the video below:
 

Please Pray for God to Send Someone to Witness to My Best Friend!

I told her that I would not pray for that. Instead, I told her that I would pray for her, that the Holy Spirit would lead her to share her faith with her friend.

About a year ago, a lady asked me to pray for God to send a person to witness to her best friend. I told her that I would not pray for that. Instead, I told her that I would pray for her, that the Holy Spirit would lead her to share her faith with her friend. The lady looked at me in astonishment! You see, she had never been challenged by anyone to share her own faith with another person.

The Bible teaches us that we are all called into priesthood. Look at 1 Peter 2:9-10, “But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.”

Jesus commanded His disciples to take the gospel to Judea, Samaria, and the utmost parts of the world. Jesus was not just speaking to His disciples, but to all Christians throughout time. Look at Acts 1:8, “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”

As a Christian, you are filled with the Holy Spirit, which gives you the power to be Christ’s witness. You have all the tools to share your faith. If you say that you are not confident to tell people the right things, let me just say that it is YOUR responsibility to learn how to do this. As a Follower of Jesus Christ, it is not an option, but a commandment that we spread the Good News of Jesus Christ not only to our friends but throughout the entire world.

The tools you have at your disposal is the Holy Spirit, who is the “Teacher, Jesus Christ” and you have the Word of God which is the Holy Bible. I challenge every Believer to get into God’s Word, study, and learn the essential Scriptures to share Jesus without fear and with confidence.

Here are the Scriptures I would like for you to learn and memorize:

Romans 3:23, “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.”

Romans 6:23, “For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

John 3:3, “Jesus answered him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.”

John 14:6, “Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”

Romans 10:9-11, “if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved. For the Scripture says, “Everyone who believes in him will not be put to shame.”

2 Corinthians 5:15, “and he died for all, that those who live might no longer live for themselves but for him who for their sake died and was raised.”

Revelation 3:20, “Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me.”

John 3:16-17, “For God so loved the world,[a] that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.”

Once you have shared these Scriptures with a person, then ask them if they would like to ask Jesus into their heart? If they say they would, then you pray with them. You could pray a prayer like this: “Dear Father, I have sinned against you. I want forgiveness for all of my sins. I believe that Jesus died on the cross for me and rose again. Father, I give you my life to do with as you wish. I want Jesus to come into my life and into my heart. This I ask in Jesus name, Amen.”

If you pray this with a person that you are sharing the gospel with, if they also pray this prayer and really mean it in their heart, they will be saved. If they choose not to pray, but would like to think about it, don’t argue with them or feel pressure for “you to succeed.” It’s NOT about YOU! It’s about JESUS, the SAVIOR of the World. All you can do now is to pray for that person and allow the Holy Spirit to minister to that person’s heart. You have done your part by sharing the most important gift that you could ever share with anyone.

Remember, the person you want God to send to witness to your best friend might just be YOU! God has already called YOU to share your faith. You don’t need to ask your pastor, deacon, or elder to do your job anymore. You have the ability to do it.

I will pray that Jesus, through His Holy Spirit will lead you and guide you to share your faith without fear and without reservation. Be bold in your faith. Remember, someone once shared the Gospel of Christ with you!  What are you waiting for? Get off the pew and go forth and take the Gospel out the church doors and into the marketplace and community.

Copyright © April 7, 2019. The Lantern & Shield Times, a Division of Marketplace Evangelism Ministries, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Are You a Luke Warm Christian?

I have not always lived for Christ. I was once a much worse and terrible person, but thank God for His eternal love, that He changed my life forever.

I love the Word of God. I take great comfort in knowing that I am saved from an eternal hell and damnation. I have not always lived for Christ. I was once a much worse and terrible person, but thank God for His eternal love, that He changed my life forever. I was once a lukewarm Christian who barely picked up his Bible to read and embrace Christianity. God changed my heart and Jesus transformed me. I am still a work in progress. I still have a sinful nature, but now I find it easier to resist temptation. If you are not embracing your faith, reading your Bible, praying with your spouse, having a conversation with the Father, then I would say that you are lukewarm and have a casual relationship with Jesus. My regret is that I wished that I had not wasted over 30 years in being a lukewarm Christian!

The Bible speaks of being “lukewarm” as a condition that can separate you from God. In Revelation 3:15-16, “I know your works: you are neither cold nor hot. Would that you were either cold or hot! So, because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth.” These words were written to the Church of Laodieca.

According to RC Sproul, “Laodicea’s water supply had to be provided from a distant source through pipes. The resulting water was lukewarm and barely drinkable. By contrast, the neighboring town of Hierapolis had medicinal hot springs, and neighboring Colossae was supplied by a cold mountain stream. Christ urges the church to be refreshing (cold) or medicinally healing (hot), rather than like the unhealthy Laodicean lukewarm water supply.”[1]

Being lukewarm is unhealthy. Christ would rather that you either be hot or cold, but lukewarm means that you have no real commitment to Christ. You might just be a church attender who thinks they are saved because your Mom and Dad attended church and you are attending the same church. You will not inherit the Kingdom of Heaven on your parent’s coat-tails. You do not have an identity in Christ on your girlfriend’s relationship with Christ and her faith.

I once met a young man that was dating a friend’s daughter. The daughter was a committed Christian and was on fire for Christ. He on the other hand had no identity in Christ. I asked him if he had any spiritual belief’s? His response was that he had a relationship with his girlfriend and was trying to find the Lord through her. Although his quest may be noble, she could not save him from his sin. He would never find salvation by only his relationship with the girl. It would only come through an acknowledgement that he was lost without a Savior, he was a sinner, and he could not save himself. He had to acknowledge that Jesus was the Son of God and that only through Jesus, would his sins would be forgiven. He would have to ask Jesus to forgive him, believe in his mind and heart that Jesus died for him. He had to ask Jesus into his heart and repent, meaning to change his way of life. He would have to start living his life as a changed man, on fire for God.

But many may never grow in the Lord because they may never truly have had a real heart change and transformation to live their life as closely to that of Jesus.

Jesus said in verse 16, “So, because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth.” This means that Jesus the Christ wants His Followers to be hot, on fire for Him. He wants us to be engaged in our faith, reading the Word of God, praying, and having a full relationship with God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. Being a Christian is a lifestyle change, hoping and wanting the best for your fellow man and woman. It is truly loving your neighbor as yourself and treating each other with kindness. Being kind to one another is pretty close to loving one another.

Being lukewarm shows no real commitment to God or to our loving Savior, Jesus of Nazareth. Being lukewarm means that you have decided that your relationship with God is not worthy of you spending time with God. You are more or less on the fence, not wanting to offend anyone with talk about Jesus and what He came into the world to do.

Jesus said, “For God so loved the world, that He gave His one and only Son (Jesus), that whoever believes in Him (Jesus), will not perish (die and go to hell), but would have everlasting life (Heaven). For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn it, but to save it” John 3:16-17.

Won’t you consider coming to Christ in a full and complete way, so that the Lord will not spew you out of His mouth for you being lukewarm? Don’t be a Follower like those from the Laodicean Church, who had an indifference to Christ and His holy ways of living. Instead, be all in for Christ, not someone who sways every time the wind blows. Be a committed Christian and live your life for Christ like you really mean it! It’s time to get off the fence and engage the Gospel of Christ. Time is short. When will you fully come to Christ?

References:

[1] RC Sproul, Ed., The Reformation Study Bible, (Orlando, FL: Reformation Trust, 2015), 2310.

Copyright April 2, 2019. The Lantern & Shield Times, a Division of Marketplace Evangelism Ministries, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Are You Being Fed Biblical Truth by Your Pastor?

So many times, we hear about people stating they do not want to go to church because the pastor makes them feel guilty or that when he preaches, they feel like that he is talking about them.

2 Timothy 4:1-5 Preach the Word

“I charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by his appearing and his kingdom: preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching. For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths. As for you, always be sober-minded, endure suffering, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry.”

When Paul wrote this passage in 2 Timothy 4:1-5, he was writing to Timothy, to give him personal encouragement relating to the works of a minister of the gospel. Paul knew that this may be his last letter to Timothy considering his execution was soon. He wanted to give Timothy guidance for the post-apostolic age.

There is no other way to preach the Word of God except in truth. Paul’s intention was that Timothy not fall short by preaching what congregants wanted to hear but preaching sound teaching of Jesus Christ. Notice in verses 3 and 4, “For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths.” We are seeing this in today’s American Church, pastors are watering down the Word of God, teaching prosperity gospel and heresy. Paul specifically stated that we are to “preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching” as written in verse 2.

So many times, we hear about people stating they do not want to go to church because the pastor makes them feel guilty or that when he preaches, they feel like that he is talking about them. Were you aware that the reason you may feel that way is because the Holy Spirit may be convicting you of your way of life, your sin, your attitudes, your sinful self? For people to only want to hear what makes them feel good is a sign that they have not fully embraced God’s teaching. It appears they are asserting what they want to hear as opposed to hearing from God the true version of the gospel.

What nerve congregants have, to dictate to their pastor in how to teach them? I have been in a church previously where a few people wanted “their church” run a certain way. They were not open to the advancement of the gospel. They only wanted to do it “their way.” They wanted their ears tickled with a gospel that only suited their way. If the pastor tried something different in what he preached, they ran him away. They basically wanted a “puppet” to preach what they wanted to hear, pleasant to the ear, not much condemnation, a “feel good” pastor. These types of pastors, “puppet men and women,” who are not teaching and preaching “true” Biblical Truth, will potentially be leading their congregants astray and possibly to hell.

A pastor is to “reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching.” They are to teach and preach the Bible. The opponents to this are guided by the “slanderer, the evil one, the prince of this world, Satan himself.” Yes, we live in a society where congregants have itching or tickling ears. Look at verse 3 again, “but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions.” Are you in a church where the pastor preaches a watered-down version to tickle the ears of his or her members?

The same goes when we as the Church should be taking the gospel into our communities. Are we sharing a watered-down version of the gospel to the lost? The Bible teaches that we are to love our neighbor, but do we truly love them if we keep our mouths closed and not share the gift that Jesus has given to us because we do not want to offend anyone? Has the Politically Correct movement affected our pastors and ourselves so much that we are afraid to speak the gospel with boldness for fear of being called hate mongers?

The point here is that we as well as our pastors should be teaching true and sound Biblical truth to people whom we come in contact with. Tickling their itching ears to hear what suits them because they are living in sin is not what Jesus Christ called us to do. If someone is living in sin, then we as Followers of Christ, as well as our Pastors must be teaching truth to those who are lost, and disciple those after they convert to Christ. That is what we are called to do as Followers of Jesus Christ and as Ministers of the Gospel. I pray that you will be bold in your faith and teach and preach God’s Truth with boldness and with love.

Copyright March 27, 2019. The Lantern & Shield Times, a Division of Marketplace Evangelism Ministries Inc. All Rights Reserved.

 

 

 

 

Knight in Shining Armor or Full Armor of God

While on Twitter this past weekend, I came across a Tweet that made a profound statement. Liz @krazy4ujc wrote, “Women don’t need a knight in shining armor. They need a man covered in the full armor of God! There’s a difference!”

What a profound statement! There are men and women seeking spouses that may not be what they proclaim to be. In a dating relationship, what kind of man or woman are you seeking? If you are a non-believer in Jesus Christ, then I pretty much know the type of person you are seeking, which most likely would not be a Follower of Christ. But if you truly are a Follower of Christ, are you seeking someone who is a solid Christian, on fire for the Gospel of Christ, and shows in his or her lifestyle that they are fully engaged in their faith?

I would hope that you are looking for a man or woman that loves Jesus with all their heart, spends time in prayer, and studies the Word of God every day. These people are fully involved in their faith and they live it each day.

In contrast, “your knight in shining armor” may be a weak-minded individual who is spiritually deficient and lives by the world’s standards. They may claim to be a Christian, but in reality, they are weak and fall into carnal snares very easily because they are not grounded in God’s Word and truth.

Look at what God’s Word says about a man or woman who is walking with Christ. These people are putting on the full armor of God as written in Ephesians 6:10-20.

The Whole Armor of God – Ephesians 6:10-20

10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. 11 Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. 12 For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. 13 Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm. 14 Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, 15 and, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace. 16 In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one; 17 and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God, 18 praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end, keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints, 19 and also for me, that words may be given to me in opening my mouth boldly to proclaim the mystery of the gospel, 20 for which I am an ambassador in chains, that I may declare it boldly, as I ought to speak.”

The whole armor of God makes a difference. Let’s say that a woman is looking for a Christian man to marry, that man should be fully engaged in his faith. When he has the full armor on, he can withstand the spiritual attacks that may come his way. I will use The Reformation Study Bible Concordance to explain what the Whole Armor of God is.

In verse 6:13, “Paul compares the whole armor of God with that of weapons of a Roman foot soldier with a number of Old Testament images of God, or Messiah as a warrior. (See Isaiah 11:1-5) Strikingly, what is said of God and the Messiah in the Old Testament is applied to believers.”[1]

In verse 6:14, fastened on the belt of truth means, “The Roman soldiers leather belt supported and protected his lower abdomen, gathered his tunic together, and held his sword. Paul seems to have in mind the confidence that comes from certainty about the truthfulness of God’s Word.”[2]

The breastplate of righteousness means, “Believers are protected by the righteousness of Christ imputed to them (Rom. 4:6-11; Phil. 3:9), and they can stand up to the accusations of the devil, whose title in Greek means ‘slanderer’ (Rom. 8:31-34). Simultaneously, Paul sees believers taking on righteous character of Christ while their growing conformity to His image gives them confidence in resisting temptation. This piece of armor is what God prophesied to wear in judging and defeating the enemy in the latter-day battle (cf. Isaiah 59:17). Believers are to identify with this armor of God’s righteousness in Christ.”[3]

In verse 6:15, shoes for your feet means the following. “This is a clear allusion to Isaiah 52:7. Paul has in mind a messenger who takes the gospel to others. The image here is of the Roman soldier’s sturdy sandals, which gave him stability and protection in battle, so that Isaiah has been combined with this Roman background. Ironically, the peace that comes from the gospel readies one for war against evil. Isaiah 52:7 prophesied that in the end-time restoration of Israel there would be peace, and this restoration has begun in Christ and all who identify with Him.”[4]

In verse 6:16, the shield of faith is described as the following. “The Roman shield was large enough to cover the whole body; it was made of wood, covered in animal hide, and bound with iron at the top and bottom. When dipped in water before battle, it could extinguish arrows that had been dipped in pitch and set ablaze. In the Old Testament, the Lord is the ‘shield’ of His people.”[5]

In verse 6:17, the helmet of salvation is described as the following. “This part of the armor is what God was predicted to be wearing when He would come to judge and defeat the opponent in the end-time battle (cf. Isaiah 59:17). Believers are to identify with this armor in Christ. For Paul, salvation is a present experience as well as future hope (1 Thess. 5:8). The believer’s final ground of confidence is the faithfulness of God to complete the salvation He has begun (Phil. 1:6).”[6]

“The sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God. The one offensive weapon in the believer’s arsenal is compared to the Roman sword, short and designed for hand-to-hand combat. Jesus used the Word of God in His battle against temptations of Satan in the wilderness (Matt. 4:1-11; Luke 4:1-13). The Lord was prophesied to make the mouth of His Messianic Servant like a sharp sword (Isaiah 49:2; cf. Rev. 1:16; 2:12, 16; 19:15). Christ has begun to fulfill this prophecy at His first coming (Rev. 1:16, 2:12, 16) and the prophecy will be completed at Christ’s final coming (Rev. 19:15). Christ’s followers also have this offensive weapon when they believe in Christ and come into union with Him.”[7]

In verses 6:18-20, “The battle theme in this passage ends with an urgent call to militant prayer (‘Keep Alert’) on behalf of all believers and on behalf of Paul’s ministry (Col. 4:2-4). It is possible that, together with ‘the sword of the Spirit,’ prayer is one more offensive weapon in the believer’s arsenal.”[8]

Although Liz posted on Twitter that women should be looking for a man who puts on the whole armor of God, I would also include that men should be looking for women to put on the whole armor of God as well. If one marries a man or woman who is not as strong in the faith, then your marriage is not equally yoked. Yoked means that you are on the same level as your spouse. Take for example a farmer plowing his fields. Before the day of the tractor, a farmer used two oxen to plow his field. The farmer would place a harness and yoke on the two oxen to keep them together. If the harness and yoke were not properly aligned, then the movement of the oxen would be off kilter and therefore they would be unequally yoked. The same applies in relationships and marriage. If one spouse is living her life for Jesus every day and her husband is not taking an interest in Christian Spiritual matters, then that marriage is unequally yoked. In order to be on the same level, there must be commitments of both spouses to spend time with God, together in prayer, reading daily in the Bible, and getting involved and engaged in the Gospel of Christ.

If you are not married and are in a relationship with someone who is not a Follower of Christ, I would suggest putting off any wedding plans until you both are on the same level in your faith. It will make a difference in your marriage and in your life.

I want to thank Liz @krazy4ujc on Twitter for this profound and inspirational post. I would highly recommend that you follow her on Twitter.

References:

[1] R.C. Sproul Ed., The Reformation Study Bible, (Orlando, FL: Reformation Trust, 2015) 2101.

[2] Sproul, Reformation Study Bible, 2101.

[3] Ibid., 2101.

[4] Ibid., 2101.

[5] Ibid., 2101.

[6] Ibid., 2101.

[7] Ibid., 2101.

[8] Ibid., 2101.

Copyright March 26, 2019. The Lantern & Shield Times, a Division of Marketplace Evangelism Ministries Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Cancer: We had the cure but we killed it!

As I was praying this morning for a friend who is having bladder cancer surgery today, I asked God why hasn’t there been a cure for cancer? With all the bright minds and God given talent and intellect, why hasn’t the cure been found? Then I felt God telling me, “I have given you the cure for cancer as well as cure for all the dreaded diseases! Mankind in their finite wisdom and selfish ways have murdered the ones who had the knowledge and intellect to develop the cure for all the dreaded diseases! Mankind has murdered over 54 million babies through abortion, therefore killing the very people that I gave the gift and talent to end cancer.” This was such an impression in which I felt God was speaking directly to me.

The facts are the over 54 million babies have been brutally torn apart out of the womb because of the belief of “Pro Choice!” The Bible is very clear in God’s Sixth Commandment, “You shall not murder” (Exodus 20:13). We have been a selfish society, who have murdered well over 54 million babies. I can almost imagine hearing the cries of the innocents! Cries of over 54 million children. Some of these children had the knowledge and intellect and the key to the cure of cancer. Many were great leaders who had God given talent of discoveries which would have made the world a better place to live. But mankind killed their own and destroyed most of the God given talent.

We live in such an evil society where many of the leaders in our nation do not “truly” believe in God. Many say that they are “Christians,” but this is only because they want votes from whoever they can please. These leader’s lives and their choice in how they make laws does not match up to the plumb-line of what God has given mankind as a guide to live holy lives. They cater to what their constituents want as opposed to leading in a godly manner. There is no value in Biblical truth since the Ten Commandments or any image thereof has been ordered to be removed because man does not want to be reminded of God’s laws and requirements. The Political Correctness movement has been authored by Satan himself. Followers of Political Correctness assert that pastors who preach and teach against political correctness are inciting hatred. What was considered deviant behavior is now considered normal and what was once considered Holy is now considered hate. We live in a world where mankind has rebelled against God and His ways. The Politically Correct will no longer tolerate God or any of His teaching. The evil one is alive and doing very well in the United States as well as throughout the world. Our politicians are not hearing God but listening to the voice of the prince of this world.

God gave us the cures and the very best talent. Unfortunately for mankind, we killed it through over 54 million abortions. Over 54 MILLION INNOCENTS, destroyed in the most horrific ways imaginable. The promoters of abortion are likened to the NAZI Regime of World War II, where over SIX MILLION Jews were murdered. Since the world found out about this horrific war crime against an entire race of people, they attempted to put an end to genocide. Margaret Sanger was the first woman to start an abortion clinic in the United States. Yes, mankind in their finite wisdom, thinking that abortion and the killing of innocents is their god given right and been misled by the voice of the prince of this world!

We had the cure, but didn’t give it a chance to develop and grow up into the woman and man that God had given us. These babies would have grown up to be the very best leaders, doctors, and researchers. Their lives and talent, lost forever. We had the cure but we killed it!

Copyright © March 15, 2019. The Lantern & Shield Times, a Division of Marketplace Evangelism Ministries Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Millennials: Why Are They Leaving the Church?

Most recently, while reading through comments made by people I follow of Twitter, I read the following comment from a 26-year-old female. “From now on, I’m not replying to criticism. The churches obviously don’t preach the truth anymore, there’s way too many patting on the back and tickling ears going on. That’s why I don’t go. I just read my Bible and pray for understanding.”

My reply to her Tweet was, “Please be open to find a church. The Word states do not forsake the assembly. There are Bible believing churches. Send me a PM and I will help you find a church in your area. Blessings! See Hebrews 10:25.” Hebrews 10:25 reads, “not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.” Many others responded similar responses.

Her response back to everyone, “I’m sorry to have to say this, but if anyone has one more know it all thing to say, I’d rather that you didn’t reply to me at all. I don’t want to hear it. I’m fed up with your attitudes, none of you know me in person. I hate sounding mean, but do what you tell me and judge yourself.”

I did respond back to her, apologizing if I had over stepped in my comment. I said that I would pray for her and that I would ask the Holy Spirit to go and minister to her.

After reading this, it has made me wonder why many Millennials feel this same way? As a transformed man of God, I love people and genuinely care for their souls and their well-being.

The Bible is very clear that we as Followers of Christ are not to forsake the assembly. Let us review some Scriptures that deal with attending church and meeting on a regular basis so that we might encourage one another.

Hebrews 10:24-25, “24 And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, 25 not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.”

Matthew 18:20, “For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I among them.”

Colossians 3:16, “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God.”

Ephesians 4:11-13    And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers, 12 to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, 13 until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ.”

Acts 2:42, “And they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers.”

Romans 10:17, “So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ.”

Matthew 16:18, “And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock[a] I will build my church, and the gates of hell[b] shall not prevail against it.”

Acts 9:31-32, “So the church throughout all Judea and Galilee and Samaria had peace and was being built up. And walking in the fear of the Lord and in the comfort of the Holy Spirit, it multiplied.”

Matthew 6:33, “But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.”

James 1:22, “But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves.”

2 Timothy 4:2, “preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching.”

Matthew 28:19-20, “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”

Attending church is vital for one’s growth as well as encouraging one another. It is essential to our walk with Christ. The Gospel is for all to hear and we as Followers of Christ are all called to priesthood, to take the Gospel and share it with others. See 1 Peter 2:5, “you yourselves like living stones are being built up as a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood, to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.”

The Church needs people who will come and contribute, not only their tithes, but more of themselves for the cause of Christ. If you want to see change in the church that you yourself criticize, then you need to become engaged so that you can help bring to light what you find offensive or what you deem to be a fraud. Please do not judge all assemblies and congregations by only one or two pastors who may be teaching heresy. Yes, the “Truth” should be taught and preached. Anything else is heresy. If it does not match up to Scripture, anything else is heresy. Yes, I said heresy several times. Hopefully, it will be driven home!

As I was writing this piece, the young lady responded back and wrote, “It’s not your fault, there was some others that offended me, it wasn’t you. God bless you brother.”

What I do know is that young people are leaving the Church. What they are embracing is not Christianity. We as Christian leaders must do a better job in reaching these people for Christ. We must be teaching and discipling young people with the truth of the Gospel, not some watered-down version to tickle the ears of congregants. If we truly want to see Millennials come back to the Church, we better start taking seriously what Christ has called us all to do, not just sit in the pews as the status quo, thinking that is the Pastor’s job! No, you are wrong in that thinking! It is EVERY CHRIST FOLLOWERS JOB! It’s time to get off the pew and get to work! Don’t be known as a sleeping church, but as a Body of Christ that is on fire for God.

John 4:35, “Do you not say, ‘There are yet four months, then comes the harvest’? Look, I tell you, lift up your eyes, and see that the fields are white for harvest.” The fields are ripe for harvest. Stop preaching sermons that tickle and fancy others with a political correct message, but preach and teach TRUTH, the Gospel of Christ, God’s TRUTH!

You can follow this author at @JosephTLee on Twitter or on Facebook @JosephTLee777.

Copyright © March 12, 2019. The Lantern & Shield Times; a Division of Marketplace Evangelism Ministries Inc. All Rights Reserved.

I Can Do All Things Through Christ: Overcoming Anxiety & Worry

I have known born-again Christians who were faced with medical issues. They were concerned and lost sleep over this medical condition. Although through Scriptural encouragement, many continued to worry and could not seem to stop worrying about their condition.

One of my favorite verses in the Bible is Philippians 4:13, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” I see this verse as a status on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, as well as other social media platforms. I wonder though when reading through many social media status posts and thoughts of people, do they truly place their trust and faith in Jesus Christ? Do they post this as their motto and when the bad times occur or the challenges of life, do they cave into the humanity of their mortal selves and start to worry and become depressed because their life has been somewhat altered?

I have known born-again Christians who were faced with medical issues. They were concerned and lost sleep over this medical condition. Although through Scriptural encouragement, many continued to worry and could not seem to stop worrying about their condition. Through my own medical conditions, I have learned to accept each condition and have embraced them as they have brought me so ever close to God and Jesus Christ. I have learned to lean on God and His Son in every adversity and emergency.

This morning, I went to a seminar series being recorded at the church that I attend. Dr. Tony Crisp was preaching his series called “Living Beyond Brokenness.” Although I would love to write about the entire series, I will be focusing on one takeaway from his series which inspired me to write this article. The Scripture he shared leads up to Philippians 4:13. If I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me, then worry and drama is not of God and is an attack of the prince of this world, Satan.

Worry can lead to depression, which is many times a manifestation of a demonic attack. Worry is not something that we should dwell on, because it separates us from God and His promise. Let’s read Philippians 4:4-19:

“4 Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice. Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me—practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.”

Look at verse 6, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.” Being anxious about whatever you are worrying about is not what God wants us to do. Satan relishes in our confusion. Instead of worrying and being so concerned about our health or other circumstances, pray and turn them over to God. After all, that is what it means to say I can do all things through Christ as Philippians 4:13 suggests. Medical adversity may occur as well as life’s problems in Believer’s lives. The world is watching in how we handle these circumstances. By turning all over to Jesus and laying these adversities at Christ’s feet, “the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus,” as mentioned in verse 7. Even in adversity, praise God for it. God will see how you handle life’s problems and He will give you strength to get through (cf. verses 8 and 9). Practice these things and they will become part of your life. If you want to truly be successful in walking with Christ, then you must stop worrying about things that you have no control over. Embrace it and continue to walk with Christ as He will see you through. Anxiety is incompatible with trusting in God.

Dr. Crisp suggests that if you are struggling with anxiety and depression, then read through Philippians 4:4-9 at least 100 times. You are not trying to memorize these Scriptures, but you are trying to internalize them so that the oppression will cease. My suggestion is to read these verses at least 10 times each day and pray at least four times each day. Pray in the morning before getting ready for work, at noon, in the afternoon, and at bedtime. Getting into a true prayer life with our Lord is the only way to have a true relationship with Jesus. Not only should you read these Scriptures but also start reading God’s Word. I read early in the morning because it helps me through the day. I also read some at night before bedtime.

For Christ to empower you so that you can do all things through Him and His strength, you must have a real relationship with Him. The only way to do that is to acknowledge that you are a sinner, lost without hope. Pray and ask Jesus into your heart. Ask Him to come into your life and forgive you of your sins. He will surely do that if you ask him. Dr. Crisp stated, “The moment you are saved, you are forgiven for whatever you have ever done in your life. God declares you to be righteous because it’s not that you alone are righteous but is based on the finished work of Jesus Christ that makes you righteous.”

If you do not know Jesus as your Savior, then please read through these Scriptures to understand what Jesus did for you.

The following are Scriptures from the Holy Bible which explain the way to Christ.

Romans 3:23, “All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.”

Romans 6:23, “For the wages of sin is death (hell) but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus.”

John 3: 3, “Jesus replied, ‘I assure you: Unless someone is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.’”

John 14:6, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”

Romans 10:9-11, “If you confess with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. With the heart one believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth one confesses, resulting in salvation. Now the Scripture says, ‘No one who believes in Him will be put to shame.’”

2 Corinthians 5:15, “And He died for all so that those who live should no longer live for themselves, but for the One who died for them and was raised.”

Revelation 3:20, “Listen! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and have dinner with him, and he with Me.”

John 3:16-17, “For God so loved the world that He gave His One and only Son, so that whoever believes in Him will not perish (go to hell), but have eternal life (Heaven). For God did not send His Son into the world that He might condemn the world, but that the world might be saved through Him.”

If you want to ask Jesus into your life, then pray this prayer. Once prayed, then you will be saved and have the empowerment mentioned in Philippians 4:13.

“Heavenly Father, I have sinned against You. I want forgiveness for all my sins. I believe that Jesus died on the cross and rose again. Father, I give You my life to do with as You wish. I want Jesus to come into my life and into my heart. This I ask in Jesus’ name. Amen.”

I pray that you will receive Jesus Christ as your personal Savior and that you will live for Him the remainder of your life. It is through Jesus that I can face tomorrow and the uncertainties of life. As the song goes, “Because He lives, I can face tomorrow. Because He lives, all fear is gone. Because I know He holds the future. And life is worth the living just because He lives.”

References:

Dr. Tony Crisp, “Living Beyond Brokenness,” Grove Avenue Baptist Church, March 9, 2019.

Copyright © March 9, 2019. The Lantern & Shield Times, a Division of Marketplace Evangelism Ministries, Inc. All Rights Reserved.