Are You a Good Person?

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Turbulent Times

The following is a treatment of several things that we are dealing with as September ushers in the beginnings of Autumn. Together they represent some turbulent times.

Item One: Ground Zero. One of the big things in the news right now is Muslims pushing to build a mosque at ground zero in NYC. While, Constitutionally, they have the right to do so, allowing them to do this will only further the terrorist agenda. There is the issue of putting up this mosque in an area that has been the site of nearly 3000 deaths due to actions by radical Muslims. I agree with the people who believe they should not be allowed to do so. My reasoning may be a bit different than some others. Most talk about the emotional issue of rubbing the survivors of the victims of that tragic even. This is definitely one point of the issue. The point that I come at this is more historical. Wherever Islam has waged jihad and won they have built a mosque on the holy site of that region. If you don't believe that, tell me what is now sitting on the Temple Mount, the very place where the Jewish Temple was built. The Dome of the Mosque now resides there and, if my intel is correct, it is a violation of the law for Jewish citizens to even stand on top of the Temple Mount. So, historically, we see that radical Islam always builds a mosque on a site of high prominence to raise their victory banner. Don't let them do this. I'm not saying we should hate the Muslims. Some people think that's what I'm saying. It most certainly isn't. We should love them, as Jesus told us to, especially the radical Muslims responsible for much death and hardship. The love of God, as shone through His people, is the only sure weapon against radical Islam.

Item Two: Tied in with this is a pastor in Florida who plans on burning Qu'rans on the 9th anniversary of 9/11. Again, this is a display of a lack of love for our enemies. Attacking the Muslim holy book, which incidentally instructs them to follow the teachings of the Bible and proclaims Jesus as the highest prophet of God, is terrible. I want people to realize that this person is acting religiously, not in accordance with the Word of God. This man has even been warned how such an action may cause problems for our military overseas, specifically in Afghanistan. I personally have asked Muslims about what the Bible and the Qu'ran teaches, and showed them that Jesus is God. Incidentally, if Jesus, who the Qu'ran teaches is the highest of prophets, and the Bible teaches that a false prophet is known by a single false prophecy, and Jesus claimed to be God, but their prophet Mohammad teaches that Jesus is not God, then either Jesus is not God, but a false prophet. Yet Islam teaches that Jesus is a prophet yet not God. You can't have it both ways. You either except both or reject both. And if Jesus is a true prophet of God and God Himself, then Mohammad is a false prophet. And if Mohammad is a false prophet on what foundation do you place Islam? Now I can discuss this with Muslims and give my opinions and viewpoints precisely because they HAVE the Qu'ran to check it out. Still, the bottom line is we shouldn't be depriving people of their holy book. What are we going to do about the holy book for Buddhism, who are putting Christians to death in Sri Lanka? or the Hindu holy books because they are putting the Indian and Pakistani Christians to death.

Item Three: The economy. Obama and the Democrats, and some Republicans, think that the way out of our economic difficulties is to raise taxes to meet the deficit. Don't they realize that doing this INCREASES our deficit? How? It's really very simple. Our economic strength has to do with how much we, as a people, have to invest and spend. The less the population has the weaker our economic structure becomes. So why in the world would anyone want to take more away from that population. To put it in even more simple terms, if I have an extra $10 then that is going to make its way into the economy. I'm going to buy something and that store is going to have an extra $10 to pay off their debts, maybe hire more employees, etc. When I am taxed, that $10 is automatically reduced t0 around $6, and that's before local and state taxes and other fees that may apply. When all of these fall into place I'm lucky to have $4 left to spend. Where has the $6 gone? It has gone to pay for programs that don't work, are non-existent, to public officials and to the poor who should be out finding jobs. So take away most of the taxes, require healthy people to work for a living and if you're going to put a cap on anything, put a cap on what our Representatives, Senators, Federal Judges and the President and Vice President make. Stop spending all this money like it's growing on trees. It isn't. The working people are tired of having the government's hand picking their pocket and then turning them over to the "poor" to have our pockets picked once again. This is what I call "top down blessings from a bottom up responsibility" which simply means, we as individuals have to stop demanding government pay for this or that, and work it out ourselves. Find ways to get it done, and in so doing we will rely less on State taxes and the states will not have to demand money from the Federal government asking for funds, which will only increase Federal taxes. We have to find people with imagination, vision and insight, not politicians who have forgotten that they are to represent us and that their salary is paid for by our tax dollars. We need people who will show us how to lead ourselves. Democracy is the strongest (human) form of government because we lead ourselves and are not dictated to. This has been changing to the point where Washington, DC now calls most of the shots. We need to severe this bond with the Federal government, while maintaining a healthy trade and communication with them. Then we can once again rise.

There is a fourth issue, and that is of turning to God. If all we do is the best we can do and leave God out of the equation then we are dooming ourselves for destruction. If you don't believe me just watch. You can see it happening right now.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Like an Eagle

Like an Eagle

by David Brollier (8-15-10)

Teach me your ways oh Lord, I pray. Show me the wonders of Your ways.

And I beheld the eagle soaring in the sky, majestic in every way.

Then the Lord said unto me, “What causes the eagle to rise? Is it the might of his wings?”

And I replied, “No Lord, but the winds, the currents of winds lift it up.”

The Lord answered me saying, “You have answered well, for it is not the strength of the eagle that causes it to rise, but the strength of My Spirit.”

Then I remembered how the Hebrew word for wind means both wind, and breath, and spirit. Likewise the Greek word for wind also means wind, and breath, and spirit.

“Have I not said in My Word, ‘Not by might, nor by power, but by My spirit, saith the LORD of hosts’? Therefore learn My ways from the eagle.”

I watched and all of a sudden the eagle plummeted to the ground with great speed. It turned neither to the right, nor to the left, but was as an arrow of Heaven sent down by the very bow of the Lord. Yet as I watched, and as the eagle neared the ground, it spread out its wings, lowered its talons, and snatched its prey off the face of the earth. With its mighty wings it now made its way back up into the skies. It found a cleft high up in the mountains, and there fed its young, then opened up its wings and it was as if it was lifted from that place and begain once again to circle among the skies.

“Do you understand what you have seen?” the Lord asked.

“The eagle dropped out of the skies, caught its prey, then brought it to its young. After this it returned to the skies,” I answered.

“You have seen well. Are not My people like this eagle? Do not those I anoint in service do as this eagle has done?” He asked.

“Please, Lord, make this clear to me,” I prayed.

“Those I call, those I anoint to My service I lift up by My Spirit. There they are refreshed and strengthened by Me. There they enjoy My presence and I enjoy fellowship with them. Then at the appointed time I send them forth with a mission, a task, whether great or small, and in their obedience they drop from the heights where I have lifted them to minister to those who are lowly. They are strengthened within their own spirit to do mighty things in My name, to trample upon the lion and the serpent, to proclaim My Word, to lift up those that are cast down, to cast out demons in the way, to bring healing in their wings to those who have suffered. They are empowered by Me, by My Spirit, to bring peace and love and mercy upon the face of the earth, for they are ministers unto Me. Then they enter that place where I again lift them up by My Spirit and bring them to My people, those who are yet young and untrained. With the victories I have worked through them they teach My people, they raise My children in the power of My Word. Then they go once more into that secret place, that place of thanksgiving and praise and are lifted up into My presence. There we fellowship as Father to son, for so they are to Me.”

Then I realized that the ways of God are for his people to humble themselves before Him, that He might lift them up. They wait upon Him as a servant waits upon his masters will, while at the same time enjoying the portions at his table. The Lord then sends them forth with a command, “Do this?” “Say that” and they fly like arrows from the bow of the Lord against the enemy, bringing back the spoils, that which they have learned from exercising their faith in the Word of the Lord, back to his children and teach them. After teaching they rest back in the Lord and He lifts them up once more and are refreshed, for they need refreshing, renewed, for our flesh cannot bear in and of itself the service they were called to. Praise and thanksgiving flow from their hearts, past their lip, and become the music of the Lord. There they wait again until they are again sent forth.

As I thought on these things the Lord spoke to me saying, “You have been taught of mountains and valleys. Others have stated that it is the mountaintops upon which you find your victories, but I say to you it is on the mountaintops that you bring My victory down into the valleys. Have I not said, ‘Every valley shall be filled, and every mountain and hill shall be brought low; and the crooked shall be made straight, and the rough ways shall be made smooth’? Know then, that I am Lord of All. In Me you have all the strength you need for any tasks I assign to you. For I lift you up, and I send you forth, and I give you strength to rise on wings like eagles, and strength to walk the streets of the downtrodden. I lift you up and put My words in your mouth for My children. Truly I say then to you, in this I have made the mountains and hills low in your site, and I have filled the valleys with every good thing. I have taken every crooked way, and in My Son, and all those who follow after Him by My spirit, and made them straight.”

“What does this mean, Lord? I am slow, and do not understand?”

“Do you not understand these things? I tell you the truth that many times it is the valley you are in that I have proclaimed to Me your mountain, for there you will learn to wait upon Me. You will learn to rest in Me and I will lift you up, but those things you see as mountains, those victories you experience, you experience not on the mountains, but in the valleys. Just as light can be more clearly seen in dark places, so also can My strength in you be more clearly seen in the valleys. Therefore I have made both mountains and valleys one thing to you. I have set before you a path that I have made straight, walk in it, or there shall be valleys that you enter that I do not want you to go through, and mountains rise up in your way that I would not have in your way, but that I may bring you back to Me I allow even these valleys and mountains to exists so that even in them I may, in you, raise up those valleys into the Heavens, and bring low the mountains that you may walk safely over them.”

Then He spoke again before the vision left me saying, “This is the way, walk in it.”

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Poor in Spirit

"Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven." (Mat 5:3)

These "Be Attitudes" of Christ are really Christ's commentary on the Law of God. So we have a unique view of all the teachings of the Law in this very famous sermon of Jesus.

The first "B" is "Blessed are the poor in spirit." Most people would at least hesitate at such a teaching. After all, who really wants to be poor? Yet, Jesus isn't talking about physical poverty here, He's talking about spiritual poverty. By this I'm not talking about spiritual depravity, but a humbleness of one's spirit. Let us examine this a bit.

Those who are rich in spirit are proud. They are, "full of themselves" as we say. The problem with a rich spirit is that there isn't any room for God or the many blessings He wished to give us. When we humble ourselves before God, then we become poor in spirit. We create a place for God and His blessings.

There's a song where a person is wondering why they aren't receiving any blessings. Then after some struggles he realizes, "You could not fill hands that were already filled." I had a discussion with my son when he was little that was simply amazing. We were drinking a couple of cokes and I decided he was old enough to learn how to look at things in a positive light. You probably all have heard how a glass can be seen as half empty or half full. It's the way we view this that either brings us under depression or makes us victorious. We'll as I'm explaining this to my son, I'm also drinking my coke. Finally, just as I make my last comments, I set down the empty glass. My son not only understood what I was saying, but took it to another level. "Look Daddy!" he said. "Your glass is full all the way to the bottom." I was stunned. He had spoken truth in a way that I hadn't even seen. I learned from my son that day, as it is written, "Out of the mouth of babes and sucklings hast thou ordained strength because of thine enemies, that thou mightest still the enemy and the avenger." (Ps. 8:2)

Look around you. The world is in a mess. Why? Because we have turned away from God. We are full of ourselves. We have no room for God, but even little children who don't live in Christian homes are more pure in heart than most adults. They, being poor in spirit, are rich in God. We also read in Rev. 2:9a "I know thy works, and tribulation, and poverty, (but thou art rich)". This was to written to the church at Smyrna. Compare this with this passage, "Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked:" (Rev. 3:17)

So where do you stand? Are you poor in spirit? Have you divested yourself of your own desires so that God may fill you with His riches? Or are you clinging to those fleshly desires to the point of your own dissatisfaction? God wants to bless you, but the choice He leaves up to you.

David Brollier

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

You Will Not Covet

This is the last of the Ten Commandments, but it's pretty inclusive. The word covet means "to want ardently (esp., something that another person has); long for with envy," and has synonyms of, "desire, envy, wish for; see envy, want." What's more, covet is a verb, not a noun or an adjective. It mean you are actually doing something. When the word "covet" is used, I think it is all too often vague for most of us, but when we change it to "desire" or "want" this commandment takes on a life. It seems like a strong hand strangling the very life out of you. For who doesn't have wants, desires, goals, ambitions? How many of us have wanted something simply because someone else had one?

Parents, here is a good teaching tool, but you must learn to live the truth of it as well. When a child says, "Aw, come on. All the other kids have one," tell them that they are guilty, already, before God for coveting something that is not their's. "All the other kids get to go to dances!" young Mary whines. "Oh, so you would covet this before God? You would give away the treasures He has to have what they have?" Now, you know they're going to bristle at this. So be gentle with the way you use it. The Law isn't meant to clobber people and beat them down. It is meant to train and teach. And if they must make mistakes to learn, do you, as parents love them any less? So it is with God. We will be looking at this in future posts. For now, teach, train, guide your children, and yes, yourself, so that you don't want something because someone else has it.

Confession time! I remember back when everyone had CB radios. My dad had one, of course he is an amateur radio operator to begin with. Then my brother got one. I felt I NEEDED one. I've actually had two or three. They were mildly amusing and helped time go by on long trips. But did I really need it? No, I got it because others had it. I coveted what my dad and my brother, and what seemed like everyone else had. If you must covet something, covet this, a closer walk with God, a love from Him that controls the way you think about yourself and others, and moves you to reach out and give. Covet this and you will do well. Covet the things of people and you will always, always, find yourself ensnared by them to one degree or another.

You Will Not Bear False Witness

In Exodus 20:16 we have a commandment which people have translated to mean the same as "Thou shalt not lie!" Now, while I agree that lying is a sin, bearing false witness is specific kind of lie. In the legal profession, it is called perjury, a prosecutable offense even in our courts.

Some of you may be breathing a sigh of relief, thinking I've finally come across a sin that you are not guilty of. Do you ever judge a person? Have you ever said, "Why doesn't that idiot get in the other lane if he wants to drive so slow?" or "Ms. Jones is a real pain in the neck as a teacher"? These are judgments which we have no right or authority to make. When we say things like this we often know they are lies or at the very least, exaggerations. Either way we have perjured ourselves before a Holy God, who alone is Righteous, having the authority to be Judge over all.

Perjury o being a false witness is the same as being a hypocrite, isn't it? It is a direct attack on someone else, using the weapon of the tongue. When we attack another we might just as well attack Jesus, for He who answered them, "When saw we thee an hungered and fed thee? or thirsty and gave thee to drink? When saw we thee a stranger and took the in? or naked and clothed thee? or when saw we thee sick or in prison and came unto thee?" to which Jesus replied, "Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me." Likewise He says to those who reused any such help, "Inasmuch as ye did it not unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye did it not unto me."

We know that there are no levels of sin, for sin is disobedience to God. Yet this disobedience is an attack on God. Watch, therefore, what comes out of your mouth, for it will reveal what is in your heart. Better you should fill up your heart with good things, feasting on the Word of God, and spending times of fellowship with Him who is love. Then when you do open your mouth, good will come out, not evil. You will not perjure yourself before your God.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

You Will Not Steal

This is another of those commandments that, on the surface, you will either feel shame because you have or are stealing, or reassurance because you are not. That's the surface, however. When you look more deeply into it things get a little more harsh. Our perceptions of right and wrong are usually wrong to one degree or another. They have become dulled over the centuries so that a statement like, “Thou shalt not steal” means only one thing. I mean, it's obvious, right? It deals with stealing. The problem is that we tend to feel that if we only take some paper or pencils from the office, that's really not stealing. We put a value on the word. We also limit the word to just taking material objects, when it can be applied to so much more.

Stealing is taking something, anything, regardless of size or value, from another. When we view this commandment with this definition we realize that all of us have broken the Law. Now there will be a few hold-outs. Some who, in the righteousness of their own understanding, will say, “Nope, I'm not even guilty of that.” Well, let's see if I can refresh your memory. Can you account for all of your time? Have you spent time with your spouse, children, or parents the way you should, or have you been lazy or selfish, doing mostly what pleases you? I don't know of anyone who has been so perfect in handling their time that they have not stolen time from their families. How often we watch a movie where a child or parent watches the other die and grieve deeply because they never got to say, “I'm sorry,” or “I love you.” Money you can pay back. Items stolen you can replace. Time, however is a thief of all of us. It robs us and we cannot get that time back, nor can we get time back to make things right when we waste our time and rob time from our friends and families. What about the time we spend with God? Even if we get to Heaven, by the mercy of Jesus Christ, and His blood, and have eternity to praise God, we cannot get back that time that we should have had with Him. We cannot find those quiet hours of prayer we desperately needed in this life. We cannot possibly praise God enough, even if we were to start now and praise Him throughout eternity.

There is another, perhaps more practical aspect of our time stealing from God, which God Himself had His servants write in His Word. In Malachi 3:8 we read, “Will a man rob God? Yet ye have robbed Me. But ye say, Wherein have we robbed Thee? In tithes and offerings.” What we have, all of it, is a blessing from God to be used to bless others as He has blessed us. Not to recognize that is an insult to God. Not to tithe is robbing, not just God, as it says here, but all the people of God. Not being open to hear His voice and give beyond that ten per cent, which is what an offering really is, is to rob Him of His chance to bless us, and our chance to bless Him.

With each commandment we find yet another way in which we have sinned, another reason for God to condemn us. Yet God, who is rich in mercy, says to those who receive His Son, “Blotting out the handwriting of the ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to the cross.” (Col. 2:14) Let us therefore live a life of service to Him in all gratitude, praise, worship and thanksgiving, not out of command, but out of love for Him who so greatly loved us.

Monday, September 24, 2007

You Will Not Commit Adultery

Those words are from Exodus 20:14. Jesus quotes from this in the Sermon on the Mount, saying, "Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not commit adultery: But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart." (Matthew 5:27,28) He equates sexual lust with the act of adultery itself. As I've been trying to point out, the keeping of the Law is something that must be kept in the heart.

To understand how relevant these words are today, think of all those, men and women, who are caught up in pornography. They may never go out and actually have sexual intercourse with someone, but according to Jesus, they are guilty, just as if they had. A lot of guys will say something to the affect of, "It's just natural to lust after a naked woman." Really? Is it really natural to go out and find places where you can look at a naked woman? Because in order to lust after her, you'd have to look at her. Unfortunately, the Internet has become the place to find pornography of every possible description and perversion. Women get caught up in this on two fronts; there are those who enjoy looking at pictures of naked men, and there are those who like to pose naked for men. Think of all those "Cam" sites where you can call a woman on the Internet and she will do all kinds of things so you can see her on your computer.

And it's not just limit to pornography either. Today's fashions are ridiculously obscene. Men are getting to see a whole lot more than I could have imagined when I was a kid. Some women are blissfully unaware of how tempting they look. It almost seems as if current fashion trends were set by hookers downtown.

Is Jesus really serious about this command then, seeing we are practically bathed in naked and near naked people? Consider the words following two verses, "And if thy right eye offend thee, pluck it out, and cast it from thee: for it is profitable for thee that one of thy members should perish, and not that thy whole body should be cast into hell. And if thy right hand offend thee, cut it off, and cast it from thee: for it is profitable for thee that one of thy members should perish, and not that thy whole body should be cast into hell." (Matthew 5:29,30) Now I don't see anyone gouging their eyes out because it "offends" them, or cutting off their right hand, for that matter. That doesn't mean Jesus wasn't being extremely literal in what He was saying. If pornography has become such an addiction that the only way to free yourself from it is to gouge out your eyes, Jesus is saying, "Do it! Better that then have your whole body thrown into hell."

Being practical about this, however, we would have to admit that we are all guilty of committing adultery in some manner or another. Gouging out our eyes would only leave everyone blind. Jesus provides another solution. In the book of Romans we read, "I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God." (Romans 12:1,2) In otherwords, instead of gouging out your eyes, take your whole body and offer it up to God as a living sacrifice. Let Him take care of it, transforming you into the image of His Son. You do this by the constant renewing of your mind. Again, as Paul writes by the power of the Holy Spirit, "Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus." (Philippians 2:5)

Okay. Makes sense, at least more sense than cutting my eyes out, but how do I do this? By doing three things; First you must establish a relationship with God through His Son, then you are counted as family. The Father in Heaven no longer sees your sins, but His Son's righteousness. Second, you spend time with Him in prayer, for it is in prayer that you get to know God. You get to know His mind, that the way He thinks may become the way you think. Third, you spend time in the prayerful study of His Word. Many Christians fail at one or both of these last points. When this happens, it is like going into battle naked. You are without protection against the enemy, but worse, you have cut off communication from headquarters.

Therefore, let Jesus become your Commander in Chief, the Captain of the Hosts of Heaven, not just some vague "savior" figure. Spend time with Him, so as a soldier in His army He can train you, teach you and cloth you in His armor. Then open up that precious Bible and let the living waters of God wash over you, as it is written, "That he might sanctify and cleanse it (your mind) with the washing of water by the word." (Ephesians 5:26 emphasis mine)

We have committed grievous crimes against the God of Heaven, yet in a mercy and a love that cannot be measured, He extends forgiveness of all these sins. He took them upon His own body, that is upon Jesus, and nailed them to the cross. Let us leave them there and follow Him. Let us rejoice that the Father no longer sees us in our fallen state, but in the purity and perfection of Christ. Our best form of worship to Him then is to obey the Law, no longer because God commands us, but because we know that doing so will please Him. Let our love grow that this might be accomplished by the working of His Holy Spirit in us. - David Brollier