Sunday, September 29, 2013

Persecution - Have You Heard the News?

Last Thursday was a day in which thousands of people from all over the world prayed for the release of American pastor, Saeed Abedini, and for millions of other persecuted Christians worldwide

Pastor Saeed's wife, Naghmeh, organized the intercessory prayer effort and released the following video:


We are living in a day and time when persecution against Christians seems to be on the rise like never before, and unfortunately, at least until recently, the church in the West has largely ignored it.
When is the last time you heard a sermon (or prayer request) for the persecuted church? It is not generally a subject one would bring up in “polite” conversation.  Yet, every year, thousands of Christians are persecuted or killed for their faith.  Estimates range from 105,000 to 176,000 Christians are martyred every year, or to put it another way at least one every five minutes.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

More about Grace...

I find it fascinating that (it seems) when anyone starts preaching or teaching about the subject of God's grace, there is always someone else who tries to accuse them of giving people a license to sin... A couple of things come to mind. 

First of all, I'm smart alecky enough to say that I never needed a license to sin - I sinned real good without ever needing a license!  People need a license to drive a car and to get married, but no one has ever needed a license to sin!

The next thing that comes to mind is that a person's sin consciousness is exposed by that statement.  The thoughts of their own heart are exposed.
Sort of like the older brother in Luke 15 who accuses his younger brother to their father of wasting his inheritance on wild living and prostitutes.  Funny, I do not remember any mention of prostitutes before.The word "prodigal" just means wasteful, not wild...  As the older brother made the case as to why he was righteous, he exposed his own heart. 

To paraphrase: "All these long years I served you obediently, and I never once disobeyed anything you told me... and you never even gave me a little kid [a measly little goat!] to celebrate with my friends... But when this son of yours , this fornicating prodigal comes, you roll out the red carpet!

The older brother was so sin-conscious, he could not understand that the grace the father was pouring upon the younger son, had always been available to him too!

Sin consciousness will always question your own performance.  Did I do enough for God to bless me?  Did I attend enough church services?  Did I give enough?  When things aren't looking good, sin consciousness tries to figure out what did I do wrong?

What grace does is liberate us.  We are free from sin.  Free from the law.  Free from the law's requirements. Free to love Jesus - Naked and unashamed because He has chosen to "be merciful to our unrighteousness, and our sins and lawless deeds He will not remember." Hebrews 8:12

Grace does not give license to sin, but sin consciousness pushes you toward the very thing you don't want to do.

When we truly come into a grace-filled, love relationship with God, the last thing we want to do is go lay down with the hogs and sin!  No, grace does not lead us to lasciviousness, it leads us to liberty.

I heard a great message this evening from Creflo Dollar while he was at the Southwest Believer's convention in Fort Worth,Texas on July 2, 2013.  I want to share the link for the video with you.