Press Release

October 9, 2019. Richmond, Virginia. Marketplace Evangelism Ministries is excited to announce the acquisition of The Lantern & Shield Times LLC. The Lantern & Shield Times has been converted into a ministry media outlet for Marketplace Evangelism Ministries Inc. The platform name has been changed to Marketplace Evangelism Today which will be our distribution channel for Christian News, Devotions, and other areas of interest pertaining to the Christian Faith.

Marketplace Evangelism Ministries Inc. is a non-profit ministry under the covering of the Independent Assemblies of God International. Our goal is to engage the gospel of Jesus Christ in the marketplace and community, discipling new Christians, and teaching others how to share their faith in Christ without fear.

The new website is www.MarketplaceEvangelismToday.com. If you are interested in learning more about our ministry, please visit www.MarketplaceEvangelismMinistries.org.

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Are You in Danger of Going to Hell?

In my Bible study this morning, I was reading in Genesis about Noah and how God punished the world because of men and women sinning against God. They were living vile lives and had fallen away. But Noah was a righteous man and God saved him and his family in the ark. God flooded the entire earth and killed every living creature. The only ones spared were those on the ark including male and female of every living creature.

After the flood waters receded, God promised that He would never flood the earth again! God made a covenant with Noah. In Genesis 8, verses 20-22, Noah had built an alter and he took some of every living creature and offered God a burnt offering. God smelled the aroma and it was pleasing to God. God said in His heart, “I will never curse the ground because of man, for the intention of man’s heart is evil from his youth. Neither will I ever again strike down every living creature as I have done. While the earth remains, seedtime and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, day and night, shall not cease.”

Even as God has promised this, men and women, with their evil hearts have turned from God. Just look at our society today. Hearts have turned from the way of God and hearts burn for desire of same sex relationships and marriages. Men and women are living together as if they are married but without the marriage commitment. If things don’t work out, they leave and go into another relationship into the arms of another. In dating relationships, sex is expected without regard to any Christian values. We are living in a sexual “Sodom and Gomorrah,” where everything goes and society as a whole, doesn’t even blink an eye or even realize that this sin nature is an abomination to God.

Pornography can be found on any cable, satellite, or on the internet. It is just a click away. The United States is the largest producer of porn in the world. Girls and women are sold into sexual slavery right here in the US. People who pay for this pornography in fact are the ones who are supporting this sex industry. Many people who proclaim to be followers of Jesus are in fact addicted to it. It’s literally everywhere.

God sent His Son, Jesus to save the world. Jesus died a bloody and painful death for us all and still today, people reject Him. Their hearts are burning with desire of what this world and the evil one has to offer.

I wonder how God will deal with us before the return, the Second Coming of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ? Could Global Warming be God’s punishment for a sinning world who seems to be out of control and attempting to lead the entire unsaved world to hell?

Thanks to my Father who art in Heaven, I have Jesus in my life. As a matter of fact, my entire family is saved. But what about you and your family? Are you saved? Do you know the Living Christ who lives in the hearts of every born again Christian? If you want to know Him, here are some Scriptures to read and understand. Read them, and then if you believe, then pray to ask Jesus into your heart.

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” because, 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. 10 For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved. 11 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.”

If you proclaim to know Christ, and if you are addicted to porn, you need to seek help and repent from your sin.

Jesus stands at your hearts door and knocks. If you want to really experience a “true” relationship with Jesus, then consider inviting Jesus Christ into your heart and life and ask God to change your heart and transform you to be Christ-like in all that you do. Believe with your heart and mind. Ask forgiveness of your wrongdoing and sins, and confess with your mouth that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. Transformation means that you are a changed person for Christ.

Photo Credit: Pexels.com

 

Copyright © September 17, 2019. The Lantern & Shield Times, a Division of Marketplace Evangelism Ministries Inc. All Rights Reserved.

 

Do You Pray?

Just curious, How many minutes do you pray a day? According to several surveys taken from North American Christian Pastors, the average pastor prays only 7 minutes a day. Another survey states that pastors pray less than 15 minutes a day. And the most generous survey stated that pastors prayed 37 minutes a day. (Paraphrased from Dave Earley’s Book, “Prayer:The Timeless Secret of High Impact Leaders,” 2008, p. 1).

Dave Earley wrote, “Prayer allows God to do more in days, hours, minutes, or even seconds than we could accomplish without Him, in months, or even years, of work.” (Prayer, p. 5). If this is true and I know for fact that it is, why is it that the average pastor spends less than 22 minutes a day praying for the needs of his ministry, his congregation, and his own family? And if this is the norm, I can only imagine how long professing Christians pray each day? If we truly knew, the answer to that question, it would be shocking!

The American Church is under attack and is in a spiritual warfare with the evil one. Every Christian Believer must be on their knees and praying for our nation, state, community, church, church leadership, the sick, those in need, our own families, and the list could go on. If we want to see our nation turn back to God, we must be praying. If we want to see God working in our community and our nation, we must be praying and doing it in a serious manner.

What has happened to the Wednesday Night prayer meetings at churches around the nation? And what has happened where churches no longer have a Sunday night service? Have we become so complacent with the status quo that we no longer need to worship God as well as learn & study His Word? Prayer is as important as eating food to survive. It is the the medium that will sustain us in our walk and communication with Christ Jesus! Lack of communication with our Heavenly Father and Christ Jesus means that our relationship with our Lord is not where it should be.

I implore each of you that if you would earnestly seek our Father through Christ Jesus in prayer, your lives will change. Your problems will get resolved. You will experience the Living Christ in ways that you cannot even imagine! Jesus wants to hear from each of you. Won’t you place your trust in Him and pray and communicate with our loving Father? As Dave Earley said, prayer can save you an enormous amount of time. I truly believe that our God is still in the healing business. God is still in the doing business. He is still doing miracles. Praying to Him will pave the way for answers to prayer in ways that we may never understand. Just have faith and trust like a child. Pray and start to watch for answers!

References: Dave Earley, “Prayer:The Timeless Secret of High Impact Leaders” (Chattanooga, TN: Living Ink Books, 2008), 1-5.

Copyright © September 1, 2019. The Lantern & Shield Times, a Division of Marketplace Evangelism Ministries Inc. All Rights Reserved.

The Bachelorette: Reflections of Living a Christ-Like Life

This article is about professing Christians entering into the public eye through ABC’s The Bachelorette. Before discussing the ramifications of what happened on the show, I will attempt to establish the Biblical responsibilities of being a Disciple-maker to teach new converts the way of Christ in order to avoid these types of blunders.

Discipleship is one of the most important things to be involved with in Christian ministry. By being a teacher and leader of the gospel of Christ, this sometimes involves focusing on lifestyles of professed Believers, not judging them, but bringing to their attention how to live a Christian lifestyle as opposed to allowing them to continue in a lifestyle that is unholy. A new Christian may not know nor understand sin in their life. They may only be what we call a “Baby Christian,” but has never grown into a “Mature Christian.” If a person accepts Jesus as one’s Savior but then never really studies the Word of God, they will have stunted growth in their faith walk with Christ.

If we read 1 Peter 2:2-3, “Like newborn infants, long for the pure spiritual milk, that by it you may grow up into salvation—if indeed you have tasted that the Lord is good.” New Believers are like infants and they need to be fed spiritually. They do not automatically know how to live the Christian lifestyle. Peter uses this imagery of new birth as mentioned in 1 Peter 1:23, “since you have been born again, not of perishable seed but of imperishable, through the living and abiding word of God.” New Believers are “born again.” They are “babies” in Christ. In order for their faith to grow in understanding on how to live a life of Christ, they must be spiritually fed. As Peter writes, as a newborn baby drinks the milk of his or her mother, a new Christian should have the same yearning for spiritual food.

Mature Christians should be teachers of God’s Word to these new converts by discipling them with teaching that is pure and nourishing based on God’s Word. Look in Hebrews 5:12-14, “For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you again the basic principles of the oracles of God. You need milk, not solid food, for everyone who lives on milk is unskilled in the word of righteousness, since he is a child. But solid food is for the mature, for those who have their powers of discernment trained by constant practice to distinguish good from evil.” Again, although milk is nourishing for infants, the author of Hebrews desires that his readers become mature Christians in which solid food is more appropriate. The maturity needed to grasp Christ’s priestly ministry consist of a spiritual discernment which comes from consistent obedience to God’s will.

Paul wrote in Philippians 1:9-11, “And it is my prayer that your love may abound more and more, with knowledge and all discernment, so that you may approve what is excellent, and so be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God.” Paul is telling the Philippians through his prayer for them that the Christian faith which is knowledge and discernment, comes to expression through Christian love and behavior that is pure and blameless. It is important to note that through discipleship, the teaching of a new convert is important so that they will grow into mature Christians and not stay as infants on spiritual milk.

As I mentioned in the second paragraph, Discipleship is very important in helping a new convert in their daily walk with Christ. It is important to help them grow spiritually and to pour into them the gospel and ways of God. It is my hope that this article will bring to light what Christians should be doing when they profess Christ in public and then act in a different manner in the public arena.

As most of America watched most recently was the journey of Hannah B on ABC’s “The Bachelorette.” Hannah was looking for a husband. She was a professed Christian on the show and was immediately attracted to a man who also proclaimed to be a Christian by the name of Luke P. What they had in common was that they both professed Christ as their Savior. I do not think they realized that their lives would be so scrutinized by their actions on the show or how the show portrayed each of them. Their lives were under a constant microscope through the social media platform as well as the viewing television public. Choices made as well as actions on both parts lead to an ugly public break-up. Both had admitted that when they came on the show, neither were virgins. Luke admitted that after his conversion to follow Jesus, that he chose to remain celibate until marriage. It appears that the show made Luke out to be a “bad” Christian with camera shots of Luke’s anger and clenched fists.

In contrast to Luke, Hannah’s profession of faith was tainted with nude bungee jumping with a man, having sex four times with Peter in a windmill, spending the night with Peter in the “Fantasy Suite,” spending the night with Jed in the “Fantasy Suite,” and admission to Luke that she had sex twice with one of the other men (Peter), and that “Jesus still loves me.” These are just a few of the things that Hannah admitted to on the live show. She never had sex with Tyler, one of the three remaining contestants on the show.

Hannah ended up picking Jed, which he in turn proposed to her and she said “yes.” She later found out that Jed had slept with his former girlfriend the night before he came on the show. Hannah later broke off the engagement and gave back the engagement ring to Jed. On the live show, Jed was interviewed with Hannah and was shamed in his action of coming on the show and having a girlfriend.

Now do not get me wrong, this article is not meant to “shame” Hannah or Luke, but is written with hopes of bring to light how this generation views Christianity but does not follow God’s way of life. Unfortunately, the American Church has not done a very good job in discipling new Believers and are not feeding their congregants with solid spiritual food. As pastors, ministers, and disciple-makers, we must get back to basics and teach and preach the solid Word of God and not a politically correct watered down version of it. I truly believe that the reason that many young adults today are falling away from the Church is because the sound teaching is no longer being preached and taught from the American pulpit. That in itself is another story.

Recently on Twitter, I saw a Tweet about Hannah and Jed from the show and she shamed Jed in his multiple hookups with women prior to coming on the show. The problem I see here is that although she is judging Jed in his own sin, her sin is not addressed and her lifestyle does not match up with that of a Follower of Christ. The relationship with Jed, although at one point was intimate, was a throw away relationship when it came to light of Jed’s sin. It is hard to understand that if there is a true love relationship, forgiveness is not granted, therefore breaking up with the man she said that she loved and she had given herself to him.

Before the engagement, she had had carnal knowledge (sex) with Peter four times in a windmill. Having sex before marriage and in a dating relationship is called fornication and is as bad as adultery. As for a true love relationship, a true born again Christian would save himself or herself for marriage. Certainly, our society today may not live up to this because Christian leaders do not teach young people about sex, purity, and the righteous way to live holy lives based on the gospel of Christ.

A true Christian does not brag about how many times one has sex with a person or uses phrases like “Jesus still loves me” after admitting to committing fornication (sex before marriage) or adultery. This poses a flawed theology of the professing Believer. Jesus does love everyone and He wants a true relationship with all who come to Him. But don’t think that being promiscuous and willfully committing a sexual sin doesn’t mean that God will honor that behavior. On the contrary, that behavior causes a separation in our walk with God.

God’s grace is not cheap! Do not grieve the Holy Spirit by living a life in “willful sin.” If you love God and you call yourself a Christian, one would not want to brag about sin, but strive to please God through holy living, living a life of Christ, according to His guidelines, through His grace, love, and mercy.

Speaking the truth about how Jesus taught us to walk and live as a Christian Believer should not offend those who proclaim to be Followers of Christ. After all, Discipleship is teaching others how to walk and live the Christian life. As a minister of the gospel of Christ and a Disciple-maker, I will question those who willfully sin and attempt to disciple those so that they will fully understand the consequences of their actions.

Paul wrote in Romans 3:23, “all have sinned and fall short of God’s glory.” But this Scripture does not give us a pass or an excuse to continue sinning. We are to strive to live holy lives pleasing to the Lord. We are not to willfully sin and be proud of it. The Bible is very clear in Hebrews 10:26-27, “For if we go on sinning deliberately after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, but a fearful expectation of judgement, and a fury of fire that will consume the adversaries.”

If you are a new Christian, but have fallen back into sin, you can come back into a full relationship with Jesus by confessing your sin and asking Jesus to forgive you. Living the life of Christ can be difficult since our human bodies are designed in carnality, but through the Holy Spirit, He will lead and guide you as you study God’s Word. It is time to grow up into the man or woman God has called you to be, and that is through being spiritually fed with solid spiritual food as opposed to spiritual milk.

I will close with this one last piece of advice coming from Ephesians 4:17-32, “Now this I say and testify in the Lord, that you must no longer walk as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their minds.  They are darkened in their understanding, alienated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them, due to their hardness of heart.  They have become callous and have given themselves up to sensuality, greedy to practice every kind of impurity.  But that is not the way you learned Christ!—  assuming that you have heard about him and were taught in him, as the truth is in Jesus,  to put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires,  and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds,  and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness.

 Therefore, having put away falsehood, let each one of you speak the truth with his neighbor, for we are members one of another.  Be angry and do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, and give no opportunity to the devil.  Let the thief no longer steal, but rather let him labor, doing honest work with his own hands, so that he may have something to share with anyone in need.  Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.  And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.  Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice.  Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.”

Photo Credit: PEXELS, Hassan Ouajbir

Copyright © August 3, 2019. The Lantern & Shield Times, a Division of Marketplace Evangelism Ministries Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Causing Little Ones to Sin

Today’s Devotional is taken from Mark 9:42-48

In our world today, people have an aversion to talking about Hell and sin. It is very offensive and distasteful. People would rather talk about Heaven and forgiveness. It is important to understand that when we ignore sin and the consequence of Hell, we are robbing the power of the Gospel of Christ.

Please look at Mark 9:42-48, “42 “Whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him if a great millstone were hung around his neck and he were thrown into the sea. 43 And if your hand causes you to sin, cut it off. It is better for you to enter life crippled than with two hands to go to hell, to the unquenchable fire. 45 And if your foot causes you to sin, cut it off. It is better for you to enter life lame than with two feet to be thrown into hell. 47 And if your eye causes you to sin, tear it out. It is better for you to enter the kingdom of God with one eye than with two eyes to be thrown into hell, 48 ‘where their worm does not die and the fire is not quenched.’”

Verse 42 is not just about children, but about those in the faith that have been led astray to sin. A child is used as an illustration for the followers of Christ. Those who follow Jesus are little, small, and vulnerable. To lead someone who is a follower of Christ to sin, it would be better if a millstone were tied around their neck and they were thrown into the Atlantic than the consequences of them going to Hell. This is a warning about causing others to sin. Jesus loves us so much. We are all little ones in the sight of God. Therefore, if you are the cause of a Christian to sin, fall from their faith, mess up their relationship with Christ, then it would be better if a millstone were tied around your neck and you were thrown into the sea. Doing this calls for the most severe punishment, going to Hell. If your life is the cause of another’s life’s shipwreck, then you will be held responsible for your actions.

Verse 43 is directed for us. If we are doing something in our lives with sin, then we will be held accountable for what we do. Although Christ died for you, if you have asked Him to forgive you, you should not want to continue to sin. But if you intentionally sin, read what Jesus said about that in Verses 43-45, “And if your hand causes you to sin, cut it off. It is better for you to enter life crippled than with two hands to go to hell, to the unquenchable fire. 45 And if your foot causes you to sin, cut it off. It is better for you to enter life lame than with two feet to be thrown into hell.” Your hands and feet need to be under the control of Jesus so that you will not do things that are not pleasing to God. Your feet should be under the control of Jesus so that you will not be tempted to go somewhere where you shouldn’t go.

In verses 47-48, “47 And if your eye causes you to sin, tear it out. It is better for you to enter the kingdom of God with one eye than with two eyes to be thrown into hell, 48 ‘where their worm does not die and the fire is not quenched.’” If you are looking at things that you shouldn’t look at, then you need to stop. If your computer is tempting you to look at pornography on line, it would be better for you to smash your computer. Jesus said that you would be better to tear your eye out that to go to Hell. Understand this, if you are still playing with sin and not growing in Christ, then you have a spiritual problem which you better get eradicated as opposed to going to Hell for sin.

Although, the exaggeration of the millstone, gouging your eye out, cutting off your hands and feet are used to make a point. Jesus is talking about the costly and radical renunciations of sinful habits. He has identified the fallen heart as the origin of all defiling sins as mentioned in Mark 7:20-23, “20 And he said, “What comes out of a person is what defiles him. 21 For from within, out of the heart of man, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, 22 coveting, wickedness, deceit, sensuality, envy, slander, pride, foolishness. 23 All these evil things come from within, and they defile a person.”

In verse 48, Jesus’ images of the undying worm and unquenchable fire teach the unending torment awaiting those who die under God’s wrath, and thus the eternal significance of each’s individual response to God’s holy law and His Gospel. Mark 9:48, “‘where their worm does not die and the fire is not quenched.’”

Playing fast and free with sin in your life can affect others and potentially cause them to sin. Your indifference to sin can cause others to stumble and fall away from faith. If you feel that you can come to Christ and He set you free; that you can just do what you want or continue sinning, you are greatly mistaken. What defiles a man or woman comes from inside of that man or woman. Each of us are tempted by our own evil desires.  It is only through Christ and total commitment to Him that we can fight these desires. Total and true commitment leads to a transformation of the heart and a change in our lifestyles and actions. If one was involved in sexual sin prior to coming to Christ, it is not good to go to an R rated movie where you are watching sexual situations on screen or over the internet. This temptation can open yourself up to sin. Your eyes may take a second, third, or fourth look at the pornography you are watching in this R rated movie. You were bought with a price; therefore, you do not belong to yourself. You belong to Jesus, therefore glorify God with your body. You must do this in a way that is radical, because without holiness, no one will see the Lord. We must work out a strategy to eradicate sin. The only way to do that is to trust God and refrain from participating in opportunities to sin. If one was an alcoholic before coming to Christ, it would be best not to frequent bars. Taking that one drink can cause you to fall backwards.

When do we need to take action? The Bible says that we need to act now but in contrast, Satan says that we can do it tomorrow. We must humble ourselves and we must turn all our focus on Jesus Christ and ask Him to forgive us, change our hearts, and live our lives in a way that is holy and acceptable to Christ.

References:

Alistair Begg, Truth for Life, Sermon “Sin is Serious, Hell is Real.”

The Reformation Bible

Photo Credit: Trinity Kubassek; Pexels.com

Copyright July 16, 2019. The Lantern & Shield Times, a Division of Marketplace Evangelism Ministries.

“Here I am! Send me!”

About three years ago, my Mother-In-Law was hospitalized for a severe blockage in her bowel. While at the hospital, sitting in the cafeteria, I noticed a man and woman sitting at the table next to ours. The woman was weeping and appeared to be in anguish and sobbing. I could not sit idly without going over to speak with her. Little did I know that this was the beginning of my ministry. I was nervous, did not know what to say, scared that I would say the wrong thing, unprepared, not scripted, very raw, unpolished, but willing to heed the leading of the Holy Spirit, to at least pray for this woman.

I introduced myself and told them that I did not know why I was led to them, but felt that God wanted me to pray for them. I prayed and we exchanged numbers. The hospital was in Massachusetts. They were from Pennsylvania and I lived in Virginia. My Mom-In-Law was a patient in that hospital and the lady’s sister was in ICU because of a long battle with cancer.

Apparently, the chaplain in that hospital was scarce and this family needed prayer. They needed someone to pray over her sister. There was no one else around. They invited me to come to ICU and to pray for her sister. I accepted their invitation and went. I remember that her sister was hooked up to life support and was very ill. I stepped out on faith, laid hands on her, and prayed for her. I prayed for the family. The next day, I went back to ICU and prayed for the sister again. I read Scripture to her and the family. A few days later, my new friend’s sister went to be with Jesus.

I mention this, not because I want to boast, but because I want you to know that God can use Christians, even if they are not fully prepared. I know many Christians that do not want to pray out loud because they do not know what to say. Many may not take a step of faith to do something out of their norm for the gospel. I have had an aversion in my past where I would leave it up to a chaplain or a pastor to go pray. But God is calling all of His Believers to accept the call to serve.

Look at Isaiah 6:8, “And I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?” Then I said, “Here I am! Send me.” Many times, people ask God to use them, but then when the time comes, people turn down those Divine Appointments because they feel that they cannot be successful because they just do not know what to say. Let me point this out. It is not about me or you! It’s about Jesus Christ and His Gospel.

In 2 Timothy 4:2, Paul is giving Timothy instructions. He wrote, “preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching.” “Preach the Word; be ready in season or out of season.”  Let’s just focus on this part, “be ready in or out of season.” I truly believe that Jesus wants us to be willing, in or out of season. He wants us to be obedient to the Holy Spirit. You may be in a circumstance where you are the only pastor that people will see. If you don’t do something, you may be the only one who God is allowing and calling to minister to others in need. In my case, I was the only one at that time to minister to my new friends. You may be the only Christian that will ever witness or pray for someone.

Every day, we must live our lives and be open to be ministers of the gospel for those who are in need. If we want to be a servant of Christ, then we must not be so self-absorbed in ourselves but be open to Divine Appointments that present themselves daily for us to minister to others who are hurting and in need of a friend. This can only occur when we are in tune with Christ Jesus. Were you aware that going to visit someone in the hospital and laying hands on them and praying for them for healing, not only will strengthen the faith of the patient, but will strengthen the faith of the family as well?

My friend recently posted the following on my Facebook page: “I’ll forever be grateful for you dear Pastor Joe… for coming alongside of my Husband and I to pray with us over my Beloved Sister in the ICU. You went from being a complete stranger to a forever friend that day… and though- to such indescribable heartache- we didn’t get the miracle so many of us were desperately longing for… we know Lizzy will be there awaiting you in Heaven someday, and count you among her dearest of friends, too. God Bless You! Yours always.”

Again, I did not post this to boast, but to encourage all Christians to be open to the Holy Spirit. Step out on faith and pray for one another. Be obedient and the Holy Spirit will do the rest. If you truly love God, then you will love your neighbor by praying for them and helping them in time of need. “Here I am! Send me!”

References:

Photo Credit- Pexels, Luis Quintero

Copyright © July 10, 2019. The Lantern & Shield Times, a Division of Marketplace Evangelism Ministries Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Pornography: An Epidemic on Social Media

Were you aware that on Twitter, pornographers following account users are posting lewd and graphic images? I most recently reported four separate Twitter accounts which I thought violated the Terms of Agreement at Twitter. Unfortunately, four days later as of the writing of this article, Twitter has only acknowledged the reporting of these accounts but has done nothing to take them down. Every pornographer that follows me on Twitter, I block because one, I do not want them contacting my own followers; and two, these pornographers really do not actually look at my content because their posts are computer generated.

What concerns me the most about many social media platforms is their lack of taking action against pornographers. Were you aware that the pornographers within the United States are the largest producer of pornography in the world? Parents, your children are on social media. You may think that a particular social media platform is an innocent place for your children to post, but every type of sexual perversion you can imagine is out on these platforms following your kids. There are sexual predators trying to either lure your children to have sex with them or hook them on pornography. We have not even scratched the surface of how sexual predators lure your innocent children from your homes to meet up and before you know it, the kids have been abducted.

According to a study conducted by Proven Men Ministries, in 2014, 1000 adults across the nation took a survey about sexual behavior. Out of that survey, 388 were self-identified Christian men.  “Out of this segment, 97% of these Christian men admitted to viewing pornography. 80% of these men do not have or use a filter to block internet pornography off computers or cell phones. 78% of these men viewed porn before 16 years of age. 28% viewed porn before 12 years old. 55% of married men view pornography at least once a month. 32% between the ages of 18-30 think they are addicted to porn. Another 12% did not know for sure if they were addicted to porn. Not only can pornography be addictive, but it can lead to extra-marital affairs, which in turn will most likely lead to divorce.” See the following link for the full report: https://www.provenmen.org/pornography-survey-statistics-2014/

The statistics mentioned are just a few of the problems caused by pornographers. Parents, I am pleading with you. If you truly love your children, buy filters for computers that block pornography and do not buy your children smart phones as you cannot regulate what they view on most smart phones. Discuss sex with your children and talk about the consequences of porn addictions and premarital sex. If you would not give your child a loaded handgun to play with, why would you give them a smartphone so that all this evil can be downloaded into their phones and destroy their innocence and life? Once they have viewed these lewd and graphic images, they will not be able to forget them.

What does the Bible say about sexual immorality, adultery, and temptation?

Sexual Immorality:

1 Corinthians 6:9, “Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality.”

1 Corinthians 6:13, “Food is meant for the stomach and the stomach for food”—and God will destroy both one and the other. The body is not meant for sexual immorality, but for the Lord, and the Lord for the body.”

1 Peter 2:11, “Beloved, I urge you as sojourners and exiles to abstain from the passions of the flesh, which wage war against your soul.”

2 Timothy 2:22, “So flee youthful passions and pursue righteousness, faith, love, and peace, along with those who call on the Lord from a pure heart.”

Colossians 3:5, “Put to death therefore what is earthly in you: sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry.”

Ephesians 5:3, “But among you there must not be even a hint of sexual immorality, or of any kind of impurity, or of greed, because these are improper for God’s holy people.

Galatians 5:19, “Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality.”

Temptation:

1 Corinthians 10:13, “No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.”

1 John 2:16, “For all that is in the world—the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride of life—is not from the Father but is from the world.”

Job 31:1, “I made a covenant with my eyes, not to look lustfully at a young woman.”

James 1:14-15, “But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire. Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death.”

Psalm 119:37, “Turn my eyes from looking at worthless things; and give me life in your ways.”

Adultery:

Exodus 20:14, “You shall not commit adultery.”

Hebrews 13:4, “Marriage should be honored by all, and the marriage bed kept pure, for God will judge the adulterer and all the sexually immoral.”

Matthew 5:28, “But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart.”

Matthew 5:27-28, “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lustful intent has already committed adultery with her in his heart.”

Ephesian 5:11-12, “Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them. For it is shameful even to speak of the things that they do in secret.”

Consequences:

Galatians 5:19-21, “The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.”

1 Corinthians 6:18-20, “Flee from sexual immorality. Every other sin a person commits is outside the body, but the sexually immoral person sins against his own body. Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So, glorify God in your body.”

1 John 3: 4-10, “Everyone who sins breaks the law; in fact, sin is lawlessness. But you know that he appeared so that he might take away our sins. And in him is no sin. No one who lives in him keeps on sinning. No one who continues to sin has either seen him or known him.

Dear children, do not let anyone lead you astray. The one who does what is right is righteous, just as he is righteous. The one who does what is sinful is of the devil, because the devil has been sinning from the beginning. The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the devil’s work.  No one who is born of God will continue to sin, because God’s seed remains in them; they cannot go on sinning, because they have been born of God.  This is how we know who the children of God are and who the children of the devil are: Anyone who does not do what is right is not God’s child, nor is anyone who does not love their brother and sister.”

Proverbs 7:21-27, “With persuasive words she led him astray; she seduced him with her smooth talk. All at once he followed her like an ox going to the slaughter, like a deer stepping into a noose till an arrow pierces his liver, like a bird darting into a snare, little knowing it will cost him his life.  Now then, my sons, listen to me; pay attention to what I say. Do not let your heart turn to her ways or stray into her paths. Many are the victims she has brought down; her slain are a mighty throng. Her house is a highway to the grave, leading down to the chambers of death.”

Psalm 119:9-10, “How can a young man keep his way pure? By guarding it according to your word. With my whole heart, I seek you; let me not wander from your commandments!”

Philippians 4:8, “Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.”

Conclusion

Parents, if you love your children, protect them from the evils that lurk across the internet. Pornography can steal the innocence of your children. Adults, viewing pornography can cause a division in your fellowship with God. I urge you to repent from your sins immediately and stop looking at pornography. Please don’t allow pornography to destroy your life as well as the life of your wife and children. Pornography is a tool of Satan to cause division between you and God. If you are addicted to porn, I urge you to seek counseling immediately. Finally, this is for the women and men who work in the porn business. Please repent from your sin and come to Jesus and ask forgiveness. Then never go back to work in this industry. This industry is destroying lives and families. Stop allowing Satan to use your bodies and images to destroy your life as well as other people’s lives. I pray that God will change hearts and people will repent from their wicked ways. You will never find fulfillment in participating in porn, whether you are in the sex trades or if you are viewing it. It will only lead you to hell! Only faith in Jesus Christ can change your lives and give you forgiveness, love, satisfaction, and peace.

References:

Proven Men Porn Survey (conducted by Barna Group), located at https://www.provenmen.org/2014PornSurvey/

Photo Credit: Pexels

Copyright © June 1, 2019. The Lantern & Shield Times, a Division of Marketplace Evangelism Ministries Inc. All Rights Reserved.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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.

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: