How to Use Presidential Terms to Accomplish Great Things in Your Life Instead of Whining and Complaining

new-year-goals


“Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.” –Philippians 3:13-14

One of the things we see in the Old Testament is how that people dated events in their lives by the number of years the king had been in power. For example, Daniel says, “In the third year of the reign of king Belshazzar a vision appeared unto me after that which appeared unto me at the first…” I believe that, instead of whining and complaining, we ought to use every president’s term as a time marker to accomplish things that God wants us to accomplish in our own lives. Below are some ways that you can get started doing that.

Try to learn a good quality from the outgoing president and the incoming president that you can apply to your own life.

For example, from President Obama, you can learn how to make your family stronger. You can also learn how to believe that the impossible can be done. For him to become the first black president certainly seemed like an impossible situation, but he believed he could run the greatest country on earth and he did.

From Donald Trump, you can learn how to raise your children to be responsible adult leaders. You can also learn the power of hard work and doing what it takes to be a winner in life.

Instead of whining, complaining, and worrying about the state of affairs in the world, decide what you want to do with your life in the first four years of the new president’s term and set some goals so that you can accomplish it.

Here are some things that you can do over the next four years:

1. Get a degree
2. Start your own business
3. Learn Spanish, Chinese or some other language
4. Write a book and publish it
5. Go on a mission trip to another country or in your own community
6. Learn to understand the stock market
7. Develop an exercise regime and stick to it

Now, I did not vote for President Obama for certain reasons, but instead of whining and complaining, I chose to set some goals and accomplish several things during his eight year term. God has allowed me to get four advanced degrees and I am working on my fifth degree, a Doctor of Ministry degree as his term comes to a close.

Also, instead of whining and complaining pray for the president and his family and for their guidance and safety. You can also lovingly and respectfully address certain issues you are concerned about to the administration and do what you can to help change some of those issues.

Why We Ought to Thank God for and Pray for the Government and Law Enforcement Even When We Don’t Agree With Them

On duty

PART 1

PART 2

SCRIPTURE: Romans 13:1-6

1 Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God.

2 Whosoever therefore resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God: and they that resist shall receive to themselves damnation.

3 For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to the evil. Wilt thou then not be afraid of the power? do that which is good, and thou shalt have praise of the same:

4 For he is the minister of God to thee for good. But if thou do that which is evil, be afraid; for he beareth not the sword in vain: for he is the minister of God, a revenger to execute wrath upon him that doeth evil.

5 Wherefore ye must needs be subject, not only for wrath, but also for conscience sake.

6 For for this cause pay ye tribute also: for they are God’s ministers, attending continually upon this very thing.

7 Render therefore to all their dues: tribute to whom tribute is due; custom to whom custom; fear to whom fear; honour to whom honour.

In recent months, all the way up until today, the issue of police officers indiscriminately harassing, arresting, and/or killing young black men has been at the top of our news cycle repeatedly. Last week, the ruling of the Ferguson grand jury in the case of Police Officer Darren Wilson shooting 18-year-old Michael Brown came down. Many in the community there reacted negatively to what they believed was an unfair decision. Some said it was a man getting away with murder just because he happened to be a police officer. The angst of that community boiled over, not only in Ferguson, but across the nation, and led to two days of marches, protests, and in some places, violence, looting, and rioting.

Our hearts go out to the family of Michael Brown, as well as the families of Trayvon Martin, Eric Garner, Akai Gurley, and especially Tamir Rice, the 12-year-old boy who was shot by police in Cleveland. These families and many others had an empty seat at the Thanksgiving table last week because of tragic circumstances involving law enforcement officials. We cannot begin to understand the depth of their pain.

Now, in light of all of the protests and debates that are going on about race in this country, including in the Christian community, let me say that I love being black; I love how God made me. I am not one of these blacks who strangely want to be white, or who do not feel validated unless they are approved by whites, or who feel like they have to have a white wife to be somebody. We have too many black people like that in the church today. I have jokingly said in the past that I love being black so much that I married a black woman (although she is from Jamaica), I have black children, my bedroom and bathroom are black-themed, I only wear black suits, I don’t own any other colored suit, and if I had the money, I would blacktop my driveway. So, I love being black and I love black people.

When God called me to preach, He gave me a burden to reach black people. Even though I was raised in the black church, I was saved outside of the church. The church that I grew up in was steeped in religion, but did not have true salvation. They had “a form of godliness, but denied the power thereof.” So, as Paul said, God gave me a burden “for my brethren according to the flesh.” And I have been preaching and ministering to all people, but especially to black people, for 35 years.

However, I thank God for white people, brown people, and all people, and the unique gifts and talents God has given to each of us. Just the other day, a white couple did something for me and my family that my parents nor my in-laws have ever done for us. And, all of you black people who are running around, claiming that white people are the problem, you know you have some white friends who will stick with you and support you quicker than your own family members.

With that being said, I do identify with the racial issues that many are raising in our community as I am a black man who has dealt with these issues for 40 years. I dealt with it when I bought my first brand new car. As I was driving to a friend’s house to show him the car, the police pulled me over thinking that I had stolen the car. (At that time, I was a full-time minister of the Gospel.) Without verifying any information, they took me off to jail and left my new car on the side of the road.

Another time, when I was serving as a pastor, I went to a Subway. Even though I was dressed in my suit, and driving the church van with the church name on it, a police officer followed me into the restaurant and said that I had said something “fresh” to the lady at the counter when I had not said anything to her at all. It seemed to me like the lady was in on it because she didn’t say anything to deny what the policeman had suggested.

Even as an older black man who lives in a quiet, predominantly white neighborhood and area, I am still watched and harassed even when I am just going to Walmart. So I understand where the frustration of many in the black community is coming from.

Not only have we been hearing repeatedly of police shooting and killing young men of color, but we hear of how the justice system often seems to be skewed against certain groups of people, and those people feel that they will never get a fair shake. Some people feel that taxes are too high. Some say that the government is infringing on religious liberty, the right to free speech, and the right to own guns. And while some feel that the government is doing too much, there are those who say the government is not doing enough. They want the government to do more about immigration or poverty or education.

In the midst of this discontent with government and law enforcement, we often find ourselves grumbling and complaining about what the government is or is not doing, and we lose sight of the biblical command to be thankful for all things, including the government. Paul writes in his letter to Timothy, “I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men; For kings, and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty.” Today, I want to share with you from the Word of God three reasons why we ought to be grateful and thankful for the government and law enforcement.

1. We ought to be thankful for the government and law enforcement because they are ministers ordained by God. Paul writes in Romans, “Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God.”

Paul is writing to Christians living in Rome — the center of the empire’s power in the first century. Just as many who live and work in Washington D.C. see the rotunda of the Capitol each day, these Christian citizens saw the signs of Roman imperial power all around them as they lived, worked, and worshipped God.

Paul explains that governmental power or authority is ordained by God. The Greek word for “ordained” means to appoint, to order to a certain place, or to assign someone responsibility or authority. It is the same word used in the book of Acts when Paul and Barnabas were “appointed” or ordained to go to Jerusalem to meet with other Christian leaders. Paul also used this word when describing his conversion experience. He said that Jesus told him that he should go to Damascus where he would be told what had been “appointed” or ordained for him to do. In most Christian traditions, a man must be ordained by other, older, wiser church leaders before he can preach.

So, just as God has set up a leadership structure in the family — with the husband and father being a minister (or priest) in the home; and just as God has set up a leadership structure in the church — with a pastor being the leader or “shepherd” of the flock; He has set up a leadership structure in the realm of human government, and those leaders are ordained as “ministers of God” as well.

The Bible tells us that God only gives “good and perfect” gifts. So, governmental authority and those who represent that authority are not bad in and of themselves. However, they are not perfect. As one writer for Religion News Service said this past week in response to the Ferguson grand jury decision: ‘Christians should know better than anyone: as long as there are sinful, flawed people running the justice system, the system itself will always be flawed.’

Husbands and fathers make mistakes. Pastors make mistakes. Politicians make mistakes. And government leaders make mistakes. However, the Bible encourages us to still show gratitude for each of them and to give them the respect they deserve, not because of who they are, but because of the God-ordained position of authority that they are in.

2. We ought to be thankful for the government and law enforcement because they allow us to live quiet and peaceable lives. Paul writes, “Wilt thou then not be afraid of the power? do that which is good, and thou shalt have praise of the same: For he is the minister of God to thee for good.”

You have heard the phrase: ‘when the cat’s away, the mice will play.’ Well, some people are a lot like mice. In the absence of visible or perceived authority, they will act according to their sinful impulses. And some people will even act criminally in the face of authority. We saw this in Ferguson with people looting stores and burning down places of business. Well, imagine if that kind of activity were an everyday occurrence. Those of us who are law abiding citizens would not be able to live our lives in a peaceful and quiet way.

That is why we need laws, governments, and law enforcement. Without laws and law enforcers, you would have reckless drivers and careful drivers on the highways at the same time, and that would result in higher instances of road rage and car accidents. However, because we have laws and law enforcement, everyone has to obey the speed limit and the same rules of the road. That is why our highways are places of order.

We may not like the amount of taxes we have to pay, but the money that we give to the government helps fund our police forces and our military so that we can live safe here at home. Our money also goes to pay those who keep the various aspects of government running. We rarely think of them when tax time comes, but they, too, are part of the reason why we can live peaceful, quiet lives in the United States.

So, we ought to be grateful for the government and law enforcement because we are able to live and work peacefully for the most part in this nation.

3. We ought to be thankful for the government and law enforcement because they act against evildoers. The Bible says, “If thou do that which is evil, be afraid; for he beareth not the sword in vain: for he is the minister of God, a revenger to execute wrath upon him that doeth evil.”

Most of us do not have the time, patience, or skill to chase down and mete out punishment on those who do wrong in our society. Do we grieve internally when we hear about the tragic things that happen in our society each day? Yes, we do. But I, for one, am also glad that there are those who are trained, talented, and gifted in the area of criminal justice. And, I am glad to know that my tax dollars go to pay their salary so they can keep people who harm others off the streets.

James Madison, one of the founding fathers of this nation, famously said, “If men were angels, no government would be necessary. If angels were to govern men, neither external nor internal controls on government would be necessary.” Because of the fallen world we live in, both government and controls on government are necessary. When we see the government doing wrong — from the president on down to the local city council — we have a responsibility to speak out about it, especially if the government is doing something that is in opposition to God’s word. But, we can be grateful that, for the most part, our communities are not overrun by rapists, murderers, thieves, and child abductors. In a nation such as ours, the government has done a pretty good job keeping evildoers at bay.

Peter writes in his first epistle, “Submit yourselves to every ordinance of man for the Lord’s sake: whether it be to the king, as supreme; Or unto governors, as unto them that are sent by him for the punishment of evildoers, and for the praise of them that do well.” In 2011, when President Obama authorized the U.S. military to carry out the killing of Osama bin Laden, that was a government punishing an evildoer. This past week, when President Obama awarded several Americans the Medal of Freedom, that was government praising those citizens who had done well.

We ought to be thankful that we have government officials who are in the business of punishing those who do wrong and applauding those who do good.

As I said before, government is not perfect. However, as Leon Morris writes, “Ordered government is not a human device, but something of divine origin.” Even though our government and law enforcement officials are flawed and sometimes make mistakes, God saw fit to ordain this human authority structure for the keeping of order in earthly society. The opposite to this orderliness is chaos and rampant crime. We don’t have such a situation today. And for that, we can be grateful.

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

If you do not know the Lord Jesus Christ as your Savior, allow me to share with you briefly how you can be saved from your sins and be guaranteed a home in Heaven with God today.

First, please understand that you are a sinner, just as I am, and that you have broken God’s laws. The Bible says in Romans 3:23: “For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.” Please understand that because of your sins, you deserve eternal punishment in hell. Romans 6:23 says “the wages of sin is death…This is both physical death and spiritual death in hell. That is the bad news.

But here is the good news. John 3:16 says “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”

If you believe that Jesus Christ died on the cross for your sins, was buried, and rose from the dead, and you want to trust Him for your salvation today, please pray with me this simple prayer: Holy Father God, I realize that I am a sinner and that I have done some bad things in my life. I am sorry for my sins, and today I choose to turn from my sins. For Jesus Christ sake, please forgive me of my sins. I believe with all of my heart that Jesus Christ died for me, was buried, and rose again. I trust Jesus Christ as my Savior and I choose to follow Him as Lord from this day forward. Lord Jesus, please come into my heart and save my soul and change my life today. Amen.

If you just trusted Jesus Christ as your Saviour, and you prayed that prayer and meant it from your heart, I declare to you that based upon the Word of God, you are now saved from Hell and you are on your way to Heaven. Welcome to the family of God! I want to congratulate you on doing the most important thing in life and that is receiving Jesus Christ as your Lord and Saviour. For more information to help you grow in your newfound faith in Christ, go to Gospel Light Society.com and read “What To Do After You Enter Through the Door.” Jesus Christ said in John 10:9, “I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture.”

God loves you. We love you. And may God bless you.

What President Obama, his Administration, and Other Leaders of Nations Ought to Do Now (Part 3)

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[audio https://www.buzzsprout.com/3192/222975-what-president-obama-his-administration-and-other-leaders-of-nations-ought-to-do-now-part-3.mp3]

God’s Plan for the Nations #9

TEXT: Psalm 2

Psalm 2 is a messianic psalm based on historical reality. It is divided into four three-verse stanzas. David speaks in the first stanza, God the Father speaks in the second stanza, Jesus Christ speaks in the third stanza, and the Holy Spirit speaks in the fourth stanza.

In the first message in this part of our series titled, “What President Obama, his Administration, and Other Leaders of Nations Ought to Do Now (Part 3), God’s Plan for the Nations #9,” we began looking at what God would have the nations to do in light of the punishment that will come down on them because of their disobedience to Him. David urges the leaders of the world to “Be wise now therefore, O ye kings: be instructed, ye judges of the earth. Serve the Lord with fear, and rejoice with trembling.” The nations are encouraged to confess their sins, repent, and return to the laws of God. Wise leaders will lead their nations to listen to this instruction and turn back to God.

In our last message, we looked at the second part of God’s solution for the nations, and that is that the nations should turn to Jesus Christ for salvation. The world indeed needs a moral revival in which all of the nations turn back to God and begin obeying His laws. However, not only do we need a moral revival, but we need a spiritual revival. The sick and sinful hearts and souls of mankind need to be healed and made whole. And the only way that can be done is through Jesus Christ.

Today, we want to look at God’s promise to bestow blessing and favor upon the nations if they repent of their sins, begin obeying God’s laws, and turn to Jesus Christ for salvation. The Psalmist concludes this passage on a hopeful note by saying, “Blessed are all they that put their trust in him.” Not only those people, but those nations, who put their trust in the Lord Jesus Christ will experience God’s blessings.

Allow me to first share with you what Charles Spurgeon said about this last phrase in verse 12 from his classic Treasury of David. He said, “Note the benediction with which the Psalm closes:—”Blessed are all they that put their trust in him.” Have we a share in this blessedness? Do we trust in him? Our faith may be slender as a spider’s thread; but if it be real, we are in our measure blessed. The more we trust, the more fully shall we know this blessedness. We may therefore close the Psalm with the prayer of the apostles:—”Lord, increase our faith.””

According to the Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church, a blessing is “the authoritative pronouncement of God’s favor.” Psalm 33:12 says, “Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord…” If the people of the Gentile nations begin following God’s laws and place their trust in Jesus Christ, they will experience God’s blessings and favor. Israel was blessed as long as its people worshiped God and followed His law in their hearts. When they ceased doing that, they were cursed and they began to suffer God’s judgment.

Every nation should strive to be in a position to receive God’s favor. Samuel Adams, an American statesman and one of the signers of the Declaration of Independence said, “The name of the Lord (says the Scripture) is a strong tower; thither the righteous flee and are safe. Let us secure His favor and He will lead us through the journey of this life and at length receive us to a better [life].”

This past week, President Obama quoted Scripture to support his immigration policy. He quoted God’s command to the Israelites in Exodus 22:21 which says, “Thou shalt neither vex a stranger, nor oppress him: for ye were strangers in the land of Egypt.” Although some people didn’t like him doing that, it was good that he acknowledged the Lord and His Word. However, he needs to do more than just quote Scripture. He needs to confess his sins of leading the nation down the wrong path, and he needs to lead the nation in repenting of its sins, turning back to God, and trusting in God once again.

In this passage, the phrase “trust in him” bears the meaning of taking refuge or taking shelter. Those who trust in God will find that they are under God’s protection. God will protect and provide for those nations that trust in Him. The only way to be safe from the wrath of God is to be under God’s favor.

The message of Psalm 2 is largely futuristic. It speaks of a future king and a future judgment. However, it is also a message for the nations today. While God has seen fit to declare that the rebellious nations will suffer under His wrath, He has also provided a way of hope for those who wish to turn back to Him. The question has been raised for six years: President Obama is smart but is he wise? If President Obama is wise he will confess his sins and repent, and he will lead the nation in prayer and repentance. And every wise head of state and nation will take advantage of this opportunity and turn back to God before it is too late.

What President Obama, his Administration, and Other Leaders of Nations Ought to Do Now (Part 2)

plan-for-the-nations

[audio https://www.buzzsprout.com/3192/220949-what-president-obama-his-administration-and-other-leaders-of-nations-ought-to-do-now-part-2.mp3]

God’s Plan for the Nations (Part 8)

TEXT: Psalm 2

In last week’s message, we began looking at what God would have the nations to do in light of the punishment that will come down on them because of their disobedience to Him. Like Nineveh under the preaching of Jonah, God desires for the nations to repent and begin obeying His laws. The Psalmist says, “Be wise now therefore, O ye kings: be instructed, ye judges of the earth. Serve the Lord with fear, and rejoice with trembling.” Although governmental leaders spend time and money debating and implementing new plans and new laws, many of them overlook the main thing that our nation and every nation needs to have in mind — and that is to repent and return to the laws of God. David says that wise leaders will listen to instruction and will turn back to God.

We also looked at three specific things that President Obama should lead our nation in repenting of:

1. Seeking to suppress and certainly not doing enough to stop people from suppressing the first amendment rights of Christians to live according to Biblical principles, to worship as they please, and to speak as they please.

2. The sin of abortion — the murder of innocent babies.

3. The sanctioning and promoting of homosexuality, the homosexual agenda, and homosexual marriage on the federal government level.

Not only does America need to repent of these and other sins, but many nations need to repent of these sins. The first part of the solution to the problems that the world faces today is for the nations to turn back to God and to begin obeying His laws.

Today, we want to look at the second part of that solution, and that is that the nations should turn to Jesus Christ for salvation. The Psalmist says, “Kiss the Son, lest he be angry, and ye perish from the way, when his wrath is kindled but a little.” This verse may seem a bit difficult to understand at first. What does it mean to “kiss the son?” Well, commentators have noted that while the rest of the psalm is written in Hebrew, the phrase, “Kiss the Son,” is written in Aramaic. Clearly, when this psalm was written, David was speaking directly to the foreign nations surrounding Israel.

As we have seen in our previous messages, not only does “son” refer to David himself as God’s anointed, but it also refers to Jesus Christ, the descendant of David and the Son of God. During the Old Testament period, the nations were encouraged to show respect and reverence for God’s people and God’s anointed king. As we look forward to the second coming of Jesus Christ, the phrase, “kiss the Son”, is an invitation for the Gentile nations to come and join in the reverence of God’s Son who is Israel’s Messiah and the Savior of the world. The Bible Knowledge Commentary states that “it is clear that the psalmist is telling the earth’s kings to submit to the Lord and to His anointed son, Israel’s king.”

The term connotes the paying of homage as one would do to a king — to bow down to the king, to kiss his scepter, or to kiss the ring on his hand. Paying homage is an act of surrender; it is a way of saying, ‘You are Lord and I am not.’ That is what the nations are encouraged to do.

As we have already discussed, the world needs a moral revival in which all of the nations turn back to God and begin obeying His laws. However, not only do we need a moral revival, but we need a spiritual revival. The sick and sinful hearts and souls of mankind need to be healed and made whole. And the only way that can be done is through Jesus Christ.

Not only must the nations turn back to obeying God and doing good, but they must also turn to the Gospel of Jesus Christ. The Gospel is more than just a moral change or a shift in our behavior. As Dr. Harry Ironside explained, “The Gospel is not a call to repentance, or to amendment of our ways, to make restitution for past sins, or to promise to do better in the future. These things are proper in their place, but they do not constitute the Gospel; for the Gospel is not good advice to be obeyed, it is good news to be believed. Do not make the mistake then of thinking that the Gospel is a call to duty or a call to reformation, a call to better your condition, to behave yourself in a more perfect way than you have been doing in the past… Nor is the Gospel a demand that you… give up your sins, that you break off bad habits, and try to cultivate good ones. You may do all these things, and yet never believe the Gospel and consequently never be saved at all.”

You’ve probably heard the song, “Jesus is the answer.” Well, that is more than just a saying. Jesus truly is the answer for the world today. It is fine for us as Christians to hold rallies and demonstrations against the various issues of moral decline in our country, but we ought to spend even more time going out and telling people about Jesus Christ. A law can change people’s behavior, but only the Lord can change their hearts. This nation and every nation needs the Lord Jesus Christ.

As the song says:

Jesus is the answer, for the world today,
Above Him there’s no other,
Jesus is the way.

If you have some questions
In the corners of your mind,
Traces of discouragement,
The peace you cannot find,
Reflections of your past,
Seem to face you everyday,
But this one thing I do know,
That Jesus is the way.

Jesus is the answer, for the world today,
Above Him there’s no other,
Jesus is the way.

Once again, David applies a sense of urgency to this command for the people of the Gentile nations to bow down, to surrender their lives to the Lord Jesus Christ. He says, do it now “lest he [the king] be angry and ye perish from the way.” If our nation or any nation is to survive and flourish in these tumultuous times, we must as a people turn to Jesus Christ now while there is still time, while the judgment spoken of in this passage is still a thing of the future.

What President Obama, his Administration, and Other Leaders of Nations Ought to Do Now

plan-for-the-nations

God’s Plan for the Nations (Part 7)

TEXT: Psalm 2

Throughout this series, we have looked at two major aspects of God’s plan for the nations. The first aspect, which we covered in the first three messages, was an overview of what is wrong with the nations. We asked and answered the question of the Psalmist: Why do the heathen rage against God? From that question, we talked about the sinfulness of the nations, their rejection of God, and the reason the world is in the state that it is in today.

The second aspect of God’s plan for the nations, which we covered over the last three weeks, was God’s reaction to the nations that have rebelled against His authority. We learned that God will indeed judge the nations and that His Son, Jesus Christ, will sit on the throne of David in Jerusalem. Even though the devil will stir up the Gentile nations to oppose Christ’s return, he and his cohorts will be defeated and Jesus Christ will rule in the earth with all of the nations being subject to Him.

Today, we are going to begin answering the question: What should the nations do in this present day in light of what we have already learned? In light of what God has already stated will happen to rebellious nations, what should the people of earth concern themselves with right now?

The nations should repent and begin obeying God’s laws. The Psalmist says, “Be wise now therefore, O ye kings: be instructed, ye judges of the earth. Serve the Lord with fear, and rejoice with trembling.” David is calling on the heathen nations surrounding Israel to voluntarily submit to the laws of God. He tells them that this is the “wise” thing to do. The nations are advised to abandon their foolish rebellion and begin serving the Lord.

This week, due to the outcome of the recent election, Americans experienced a shift in the political direction of the country. New senators, new representatives, and governors will be taking over from old ones in about two months’ time. These new leaders will attempt to correct what they consider is wrong in the country. They will attempt to implement new plans, new agendas, and new laws that they believe will help the country or their state or the people in the districts that they represent. Sadly, however, while I am sure that their ideas are noble and well-intentioned, many of these leaders will overlook the main thing that our nation and every nation needs to have in mind — and that is to repent and return to the laws of God.

Recently, Billy Graham said, “Even though America is just as wicked as Sodom and Gomorrah ever were, and as deserving of the judgment of God, God would spare us if we were earnestly praying, with hearts that had been cleansed and washed by the blood of Christ. The problems of the world will never be settled unless our national leaders go to God in prayer. If only they would discover the power and wisdom that there is in reliance upon God, we could soon see the solution to the grave problems that face the world!”

Tony Evans said, “America is in trouble. From sea to shining sea we are witnessing the devolution of a nation. The United States is quickly becoming the divided states. Disunity and conflict abound. Family breakdown, the immigration crisis, the threat of terrorism, an abiding racial divide and political dysfunction all point to a deeper problem. Regardless of which side of the political aisle you sit on, it is clear: Things are unraveling at warp speed. Like never before, we must pray for our nation and her leaders.”

A few weeks ago, an admitted Satanist drove a car into the Ten Commandments monument on the property of the Oklahoma State Capitol, smashing it to pieces. Symbolically speaking, many in our nation have done the very same thing — trampled the Word of God and the laws of God underfoot. And it is not just the people — it is the government also. The governments of America and many other nations have sanctioned, promoted, and defended activities such as homosexuality, the killing of innocent babies, and the suppression of people who hold Biblical views. They have endorsed acts of rebellion against God, and because of it, as we have seen, judgment is coming. God will judge the nations.

But, right now, that judgment is still future, and David says that a wise ruler, a wise king, a wise judge (or president, or prime minister) will listen to instruction, will repent, and will begin serving the Lord and obeying His laws.

In light of that, I would like to say that if America is to avoid God’s judgment, President Obama must repent of his pride and arrogance, as shown this past week in his response to the election results which showed that voters had repudiated him and his policies. With a humble spirit and attitude before God and man, President Obama should also lead the nation in repenting of the following three things:

1. Either seeking to suppress and certainly not doing enough to stop people from suppressing the first amendment rights of Christians to live according to Biblical principles, to worship as they please, and to speak as they please. Within the past two years, we have seen Christian churches, schools, and business owners sued, fined, and denounced because they refuse to go along with providing contraception for their employees or they refuse to go along with the homosexual agenda. As you might recall, Hobby Lobby went to the Supreme Court to defend their right to refuse to offer contraception coverage in health care plans for employees due to religious objections. More recently, the lesbian mayor of Houston, TX, subpoenaed the sermons and other communications of pastors who opposed a city ordinance that would allow men who feel like they are women to use female bathrooms and women who feel like they are men to use male bathrooms. Situations like that are happening all across this country and President Obama should lead the nation in repenting of such behavior.

2. President Obama should lead the nation in repenting of the sin of abortion — the murder of innocent babies. According to the U.S. Census Bureau and the Guttmacher Institute, there are approximately 1.21 million abortions in America each year. How can God bless a nation where innocent blood is shed so frequently? How can God bless a nation where so many people decide they have the right to kill an innocent baby that they had nothing to do with creating? President Obama ought to lead the nation in repenting of this atrocity.

3. President Obama should lead the nation in repenting of sanctioning and promoting homosexuality, the homosexual agenda, and homosexual marriage on the federal government level. God condemned homosexuality as an abomination in His Word, and He destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah because of the homosexuality that went on in those cities. America is on the same path of destruction if she does not repent while she has a chance. Billy Graham related this story: He said, “Some years ago, my wife, Ruth, was reading the draft of a book I was writing. When she finished a section describing the terrible downward spiral of our nation’s moral standards and the idolatry of worshiping false gods such as technology and sex, she startled me by exclaiming, ‘If God doesn’t punish America, He’ll have to apologize to Sodom and Gomorrah.'”

If President Obama is wise, if our other governmental leaders are wise, if the leaders of countries around the world are wise, we will repent of our sins, and do as King David said — “Be wise now therefore, O ye kings: be instructed, ye judges of the earth. Serve the Lord with fear, and rejoice with trembling.”

There are two key words involved in this verse.

The first one is “serve”. According to the Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology, the Hebrew word for “serve” combines two ideas — action and obedience. It means obedience in action. We need people in this country who will not just talk about obeying the Lord, but who will be about obeying the Lord.

The second key word is “fear.” This word involves “emotional foreboding or dread of impending misfortune.” David wants the heathen nations to use the previous decree of God’s coming judgment as an incentive that would spur them on to obedience. According to John Calvin’s Commentary on the Book of Psalms, by opening this verse with the adverb “now”, David “signifies the necessity of their speedy repentance, since they will not always be favoured with such an opportunity. Meanwhile, he tacitly leads them to understand that it was for their advantage that he warned them, as there was yet room for repentance, provided they made haste.” In other words, the fear of coming judgment should be a motivating factor in our repentance.

If you were to ask the man on the street, what is the solution to the world’s problems, you would get varying answers. Some would say we need equal distribution of wealth, others would say we need more education, still others would say we need less government or more government. However, the truth of the matter is that all of those suggestions are merely bandages; they will bind up the wound and stop the bleeding for a little while, but they will never heal the infection.

In 1863, while the nation was in the midst of the Civil War, President Abraham Lincoln issued a proclamation for a national day of fasting. He said, “It is the duty of nations as well as of men, to own their dependence upon the overruling power of God, to confess their sins and transgressions yet with [the] assured hope that genuine repentance will lead to mercy and pardon; and to recognize the sublime truth, announced in the Holy Scriptures and proven by all history, that those nations only are blessed whose God is the Lord.”

Psalm 33:12 says, “Blessed is the nation whose God is the LORD; and the people whom he hath chosen for his own inheritance.”

The solution to the world’s problems is for the nations to repent of their rebellion against God, to turn back to God, and to begin obeying His law.

President Obama, We are Pulling for You to Succeed Against ISIS, but God May Not Be with You

President Obama
President Obama

TEXT: 1 Kings 22:13-18

13 And the messenger that was gone to call Mi-cai-ah spake unto him, saying, Behold now, the words of the prophets declare good unto the king with one mouth: let thy word, I pray thee, be like the word of one of them, and speak that which is good.

14 And Micaiah said, As the Lord liveth, what the Lord saith unto me, that will I speak.

15 So he came to the king. And the king said unto him, Micaiah, shall we go against Ramothgilead to battle, or shall we forbear? And he answered him, Go, and prosper: for the Lord shall deliver it into the hand of the king.

16 And the king said unto him, How many times shall I adjure thee that thou tell me nothing but that which is true in the name of the Lord?

17 And he said, I saw all Israel scattered upon the hills, as sheep that have not a shepherd: and the Lord said, These have no master: let them return every man to his house in peace.

18 And the king of Israel said unto Jehoshaphat, Did I not tell thee that he would prophesy no good concerning me, but evil?

During the Old Testament era in which God allowed judges and kings to rule His people, Israel, it was traditional for the king or military leader to enquire of the Lord before going to war. In response to such prayers, God would send one of His prophets to the kings and tell him yay or nay. Sometimes, the prophet would say something similar to, ‘Yes, you can go to war because the Lord is with you and you will be victorious.’ However, at other times, the prophet would say, ‘No, do not go to war because the Lord is not with you, and you will not be victorious.’ We see these types of scenarios in the lives of Moses, Joshua, David, Saul, Hezekiah, and the kings mentioned in the passage which we just read — Jehoshaphat, the king of Judah, and Ahab, the king of Israel.

In Exodus 33:15, when Moses is instructed by God regarding leading the children of Israel into the Promised Land, Moses tells God, “If thy presence go not with me, carry us not up hence.”

In 2 Samuel 5:18-19, when David was the king of Israel, we read: “The Philistines also came and spread themselves in the valley of Rephaim. And David enquired of the Lord, saying, Shall I go up to the Philistines? wilt thou deliver them into mine hand? And the Lord said unto David, Go up: for I will doubtless deliver the Philistines into thine hand.“

In Numbers 14, when the children of Israel prepared to take the Promised Land after their initial disobedience and refusal to do so, Moses tells them, “Wherefore now do ye transgress the commandment of the Lord? but it shall not prosper. Go not up, for the Lord is not among you; that ye be not smitten before your enemies. For the Amalekites and the Canaanites are there before you, and ye shall fall by the sword: because ye are turned away from the Lord, therefore the Lord will not be with you.”

In 1 Samuel 28, when Saul was faced with the Philistine army, the Bible reads, “And when Saul saw the host of the Philistines, he was afraid, and his heart greatly trembled. And when Saul enquired of the Lord, the Lord answered him not, neither by dreams, nor by prophets.”

Now, at the beginning of 1 Kings 22, we are informed that there were three years of peace between the kingdoms of Israel and Judah and Syria. However, in a previous war, the Syrians had seized the Israeli city called Ramoth-gilead. Israel had never retaken the city, and so Ahab, the king of Israel, goes to Jehoshaphat, the king of Judah, and proposes that they go to war together in order to take the city back from the Syrians. Jehoshaphat wisely suggests that they go to God before going to war. He tells Ahab, “Enquire, I pray thee, at the word of the Lord today.” So, King Ahab gathers 400 prophets and says, “Shall I go against Ramoth-gilead to battle, or shall I forbear? And they said, Go up; for the Lord shall deliver it into the hand of the king.”

To make a long story short, Jehoshaphat did not trust Ahab’s 400 prophets who claimed to speak the word of the Lord, so he asks for another prophet. King Ahab begrudgingly tells him that there indeed is another prophet in Israel, the prophet Micaiah, but says, “I hate him; for he doth not prophesy good concerning me, but evil.” Jehoshaphat has Ahab to call for him anyway, and that is where we come in to this passage today. Micaiah comes and delivers a message that is truly from the Lord, and, just as he suspected, it is not a message that Ahab likes. Ahab learns that although Jehoshaphat has agreed to go to war with him, and although 400 prophets have predicted that He will be victorious, the most important ally that he could have, and the only ally he really needs is not on his side. Micaiah delivers a message that is truly from God — that the joint armies of Israel and Judah will be defeated by the Syrians and scattered across the land.

In light of this background from Scripture, and in light of events that are going on in our world today, the Lord has given me a very specific message for such a time as this. As you know, President Obama announced this past week that he along with a coalition of European and Middle Eastern nations will be expanding the fight against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (also known as ISIS). I am led to say to President Obama that I support what you have chosen to do to combat the Islamic State which is slaughtering Christians and minorities indiscriminately in Syria and Iraq. Many Christians support you; the American people support you; it is the right thing to do. In fact, last week, I did a podcast showing the Biblical basis for such action against these evildoers.

Mr. President, let me say that I am a biblically conservative Christian and because of your position on homosexuality and abortion, I did not vote for you in either of the past presidential elections. However, as a biblical Christian, I could not vote for Romney last time either because of his Mormon cult religion that would not allow blacks into the priesthood for years. Plus, one of the first persons he hired on his staff was an openly homosexual individual. Also, I respect Dr. Ben Carson, however, based upon our Christian tradition of respecting governmental authority, I believe that he was disrespectful in using the National Prayer Breakfast to confront you. There are some things that I can commend you on. You seem to be a good husband and father. You appointed Dr. Suzan Johnson Cook as the international ambassador for religious freedom after urging from Christian groups; you have also recently appointed Rabbi David Saperstein to that position. I also commend you on allowing American doctors who were stricken with Ebola to come back to the country to be treated. And, I commend you on your program to help young black and Hispanic men, as long as you do not promote homosexuality.

However, I believe that God is leading me to say that He is not with you because of other things that you have done that are displeasing to Him — particularly what you have done to support and promote homosexuality, the homosexual agenda, and homosexual marriage in this country. I am afraid to say that although there is no reason why the United States and its allies should not prevail against the terrorists of the Islamic State, this could turn out to be another debacle in a long line of debacles that have happened throughout your presidency.

In fact, I believe that a part of the reason why the world is facing this crisis is because you have chosen to promote homosexuality in this country and around the world and you have chosen to not only support abortion, but to fund abortion through your signature healthcare program. You have committed moral atrocities by promoting the homosexual agenda at the United Nations, by withholding medical and financial aid to the people of Uganda when their government decided to enact laws punishing homosexual offenders, and by not taking the opportunity you had to solidify a measure that protects Christian organizations from being sued because they refuse to hire those whose lifestyles are contrary to the Bible.

As you already are well aware, the Islamic world sees America as “the Great Satan.” Part of this is because of America’s unyielding support of Israel. But another part of it is because of the immorality in this country. Although we claim to be a “Christian nation” much of what goes on in our society not only contradicts the Bible, but also contradicts the Muslim Quran, the Jewish Torah, and the Christian New Testament. When you publicly support homosexuality — something which is condemned by the Jewish faith, the Muslim faith, and the Christian faith, two of which you have ties to due to your upbringing — you only further entrench in the minds of many Muslims in the Middle East the view that America is the enemy. That is part of the reason why ISIS is beheading our citizens in Syria. They feel that they are doing the right thing (according to their holy book) by punishing our people whom they see as infidels, unbelievers, and apostates. Mr. President, the truth is many in the faith of Islam have lost all respect for you personally because of what you have done.

Some will recall that in 2007, the then-president of Iran, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, spoke at Columbia University in New York City and mocked Americans by saying, “In Iran, we don’t have homosexuals like you do in your country. In Iran, we do not have this phenomenon.” The more the president and others in our society promote this abomination, the more enmity will fester between the West and the Muslim world. The beheadings of Americans and Britons that we have seen is just the tip of the iceberg. The Islamic State is aiming for another 9/11. They have already declared that one day an Islamic flag will fly over the White House.

Although you naively and untruthfully suggested that the Islamic State is not Islamic, we cannot deny that the roots of this conflict are religious — even if the religious nature of the sides engaged in this fight can be traced back to the same figure — Abraham. In response to your comments, Dr. Albert Mohler, president of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, stated: It is “an indisputable fact that the terrorist organizations that have most targeted the West, and the United States in particular, are specifically driven by an Islamic ideology and by the unquestioned ambition to further the reach of Islam not only throughout the Middle East but also in the rest of the world.”

Mr. President, the world will not be able to bear another defeat on your watch. What are some of those defeats?

  1. The complete pull-out from Iraq, which many believe was the wrong thing to do. In fact, what President Bush predicted would happen if we pulled out in 2007 is now happening. Bush said, “It would mean surrendering the future of Iraq to Al Qaeda. It would mean that we’d be risking mass killings on a horrific scale. It would mean we allow the terrorists to establish a safe haven in Iraq to replace the one they lost in Afghanistan. It would mean we’d be increasing the probability that American troops would have to return at some later date to confront an enemy that is even more dangerous.” That is precisely what we are doing today.
  2. The attack on the U.S. embassy in Benghazi, which left four U.S. officials dead.
  3. The current failure of the state of Libya despite your decision to militarily support rebels’ efforts to overthrow the government.
  4. The fall-out from Edward Snowden’s leaking of massive amounts of data concerning the U.S. National Security Agency’s surveillance and intelligence practices. Many now believe that America’s enemies, including ISIS, are using this information against us.
  5. Russia’s wrongful seizing of Crimea and its incursion into Ukraine, which led to the re-starting of Cold War tensions between the former Soviet Union and the United States.
  6. The ongoing U.S.-led nuclear talks with Iran, which have bore no fruit.
  7. The prisoner swap that the United States government made to bring Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl home in exchange for five Taliban leaders.

Mr. President, I say again, the world cannot bear another failure of foreign policy on your watch — much less a defeat at the hands of the ruthless Islamic State who will seize any chance they can to perpetrate terror against not only their own people, but against Israel, Europe, and the United States. More than ever, you need God on your side.

Now, as I close, I want to share briefly with you three steps on how this situation can be turned around for the good of President Obama, the United States, and the world.

1. Notice that God will sometimes not allow victory if there is sin in the camp. Throughout Scripture, we see that many of the military victories of the Israelites were directly tied to the spiritual condition of the nation. Often, God would allow the king to be defeated at the hands of his enemies because of his own disobedience. King Saul is an example of that. He would not submit to the Lord and to the Prophet Samuel, and God allowed him to suffer defeat repeatedly at the hands of the Philistines before he killed himself in battle.

Another example of that is Joshua at Ai. When the Israelites were defeated at Ai, God informed Joshua that it was because someone in the Israelite camp had sinned. As soon as Joshua dealt with the sin and the sinner, the Israelites were victorious over their enemies.

2. Notice that God’s approval is necessary for victory. Right now, President Obama has the secretary of state flying around the Middle East seeking promises of support from Arab nations in the region. However, I want to remind the president of Solomon’s words in Proverbs 21:31: “The horse is prepared against the day of battle: but safety is of the Lord.” In other words, you can have all the king’s horses, and all the king’s men, but if God is not on your side, you will not win. Or, as the Prophet Isaiah puts it: “Woe to them that go down to Egypt for help; and stay on horses, and trust in chariots, because they are many; and in horsemen, because they are very strong; but they look not unto the Holy One of Israel, neither seek the LORD.” Mr. President, I encourage you to follow the example of King Jehoshaphat and seek the Lord before you go to battle.

3. Notice that repentance is the only way to true blessing. Right now, America has many needs. Not only do we need victory over ISIS in the Middle East, but we need economic and financial stability here at home. The government is coming up with all kinds of plans. Politicians are making all kinds of promises. But all of it is futile if we continue on the path of spiritual and moral decline.

We don’t need another plan or another promise. What we really need in this nation is repentance. President Obama needs to repent of promoting homosexuality, the homosexual agenda, and homosexual marriage. Others in this nation need to do the same. All of us, Christians included, need to repent of our sins and our lack of trust in God. We need to turn back to God and turn back to the spiritual principles of the Bible and the moral principles that are not only in the Bible, but are also in the Torah and the Quran.

When we turn from our wicked ways and seek God’s face, we can be assured that God will be on our side because we are on His side. As Psalm 37:39 says, “The salvation of the righteous comes from the LORD; he is their stronghold in time of trouble.”

________

For those of you who are listening who do not know Jesus Christ as their Savior, allow me to share with you how you can get to know Him today.

First, please understand that you are a sinner, just as I am, and that you have broken God’s laws. The Bible says in Romans 3:23: “For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.” Please understand that because of your sins, you deserve eternal punishment in hell. Romans 6:23 says “the wages of sin is death…This is both physical death and spiritual death in hell. That is the bad news.

But here is the good news. John 3:16 says “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”

If you believe that Jesus Christ died on the cross for your sins, was buried, and rose from the dead, and you want to trust Him for your salvation today, please pray with me this simple prayer: Holy Father God, I realize that I am a sinner and that I have done some bad things in my life. I am sorry for my sins, and I want to turn from my sins. For Jesus Christ sake, please forgive me of my sins. I now believe with all of my heart that Jesus Christ died for me, was buried, and rose again. I trust Jesus as my Savior and I choose to follow Him as Lord from this day forward. Lord Jesus, please come into my heart and save my soul and change my life today. Amen.

If you just trusted Jesus Christ as your Saviour, and you prayed that prayer and meant it from your heart, I declare to you that based upon the Word of God, you are now saved from Hell and you are on your way to Heaven. Welcome to the family of God! I want to congratulate you on doing the most important thing in life and that is receiving Jesus Christ as your Lord and Saviour. For more information to help you grow in your newfound faith in Christ, go to Gospel Light Society.com and read “What To Do After You Enter Through the Door.” Jesus Christ said in John 10:9, “I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture.”

God loves you. We love you. And may God bless you.

If ISIS, Al-Qaeda, and Boko Haram are Not Going to Hell, Please Tell Me Where They are Going (Part 3)

gwthrone-hell

TEXT: Revelation 20:11-15

This past week, acting partly in response to international demands and domestic critics, President Obama announced that he was expanding U.S. efforts to defeat the terrorist group known as ISIS or the Islamic State. I believe we all would agree that it is the right thing for our nation to do, and we support all other nations who are confronting this terrorist army, which the CIA has stated could be made up of as many as 31,000 fighters. Right now, it seems almost as though they cannot be stopped. In fact, just a few hours ago, they released the video of a third beheading — this time of a British aid worker. The governments of the world may not be able to deliver the complete justice that ISIS, al-Qaeda, and Boko Haram deserve, but perhaps they can give these criminals a taste of the justice that is coming their way.

There often seems to be a lack of fair punishment of evil in our society. But, as we have seen from God’s Word in the previous two messages in this series, there will come a day when every evil deed that was ever committed that was not washed away by the blood of Jesus Christ will be brought to the light, and the person who committed that deed will receive the punishment they deserve. “Vengeance is mine,” saith the Lord, “I will repay.”

This event is known as The Great White Throne Judgment. Jesus is the Judge. And every person who did not receive Christ as their Savior while they were alive will be there. We also have learned that, at this judgment, books will be opened which contain a record of every evil deed each person at this judgment has committed.

Some years ago, there was a popular Chick gospel pamphlet called “This Was Your Life.” It told the story of a man who died, went to the Great White Throne Judgment, and was confronted with video recordings of every evil thing he had ever done: every lustful glance, every unethical business deal, every time he had shrugged off the preacher’s invitation to get saved. That’s what it will be like when the books are opened at the Great White Throne Judgment.

We also learned that while this judgment is described in terms of a courtroom, there will be no trial. Instead, there will simply be the sentencing of individuals to their punishment, and that is what we will look at today in our final message in this series.

1. First, we see that death and hell are eradicated. The Bible says, “death and hell were cast into the lake of fire.”

2. Second, we see the final death. Our passage goes on to state, “This is the second death.” For those who have accepted Christ as their Savior, there is a life after this life — and that is eternal life in Heaven with God. For those who do not accept Christ as their Savior, there is also a life after this life — and that is eternal death and separation from God in the Lake of Fire.

3. Third, we see the lake of fire. The Bible says, “Whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.” When we speak of hell today, what we are really referring to is the lake of fire. The Bible speaks clearly that this is a place of eternal punishment for the devil, the rebellious angels, the antichrist, the false prophet, and all of those who die without accepting Christ as their Savior.

God is also just. The feeble, human-run governments of this world may not be able to carry out justice on this Earth. But, the Bible assures us that every atrocity, every beheading, every murder, every rape, every lie, every sin that is not washed away by the blood of Jesus Christ will be judged. Every violent extremist who participates in the actions of ISIS, al-Qaeda, Boko Haram, and others will receive just retribution for their deeds. God will ensure that justice is done.

GLMX #164: The Affordable Care Act: Life, Death, and an Insurance that is Guaranteed

Obamacare. Some people celebrate it. Some people hate it. Its official name is the Affordable Care Act. And, this week, it was once again the subject of much debate.

The goal of the Affordable Care Act is to make sure essential health benefits are extended to all Americans. Its major provisions are scheduled to roll out in January 2014. A health insurance market place has already been created in which citizens “shop” for the health insurance plan that is right for them. There are four levels to choose from: bronze, silver, gold, and platinum. Those who don’t have insurance by January 1 will be charged $95 or 1% of their income.

No matter how much insurance one has, nothing can ensure that you will never get sick. Not even daily exercise and eating right can prevent you from falling ill. And, if you do get sick, the Affordable Care Act — at the platinum level — will only pay up to 90% of your hospital bill. Even though health insurance reform was passed with good intentions — to make sure everyone has access to affordable healthcare — it is not a perfect plan. Some politicians even feel it is an extraordinarily bad idea and are working to have it repealed so that it will not take effect on January 1, 2014.

I want to tell you about something that you can be insured against — death. No, I am not just talking about having the money to pay for funeral costs. I am talking about overcoming death all together. In fact, you can know what will happen after you die with far more certainty than you can know what will happen if and when you get sick.

It’s not insurance I’m talking about. It’s assurance. The word “assurance” means “confidence or certainty.” A word of assurance is a promise.

Jesus Christ gave us words of assurance in John 8:51. He said, “Verily, verily, I say unto you, If a man keep my saying, he shall never see death.” He also said in John 11:25-26: “I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live: And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die. Believest thou this?”

+ Plus, listen to CeCe Winans singing “Blessed Assurance”

GLMX #151: There is Someone Who Does Know Everything About You

Over the past few weeks, the American people have had their eyes opened to the fact that they are being watched by the government far more than we may have thought. We found out that the National Security Agency, which is responsible for the collection and analysis of foreign intelligence and the protection of U.S. government communications, has been storing millions of phone call records in a massive, searchable database. On top of that, through a secret program called PRISM, users’ actions on some of the most popular websites on the internet including Facebook, YouTube, Yahoo, Gmail, and Skype were being recorded. Additionally, it has been reported that the government has repeatedly requested huge amounts of data from Apple, Google, Microsoft, and others, on the millions of customers who use their services.

This unexpected level of surveillance surprised and shocked many Americans. Some were outraged and felt as though the government was going too far in trying to keep tabs on its citizens. But, did you know that there is someone who knows far more about you than the NSA, the FBI, or the CIA?

Yes, the Bible says in Luke 8:17, “For nothing is secret, that shall not be made manifest; neither any thing hid, that shall not be known and come abroad.” Another verse, Hebrews 4:13, says, “Neither is there any creature that is not manifest (made known) in his sight: but all things are naked and opened unto the eyes of him with whom we have to do.” God knows everything you have ever done, good and bad. In fact, he knows everything you are thinking of doing. In Ezekiel 11:5 he says, “I know the things that come into your mind, every one of them.”

Not only does God know everything about us, but we will have to answer to him for our actions when we meet him after we die. Ecclesiastes 12:14 says, “For God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good, or whether it be evil.” The Bible says that after we die, we will not only meet God, but we will go to one of two eternal destinations — Heaven or Hell — based on an all-important decision that we make in this life.

+ Plus, listen to Lecrae singing “God is Enough” (feat. Flame & Jai)

GLMX #142: Here One Moment and Gone the Next

This past week was certainly among the most turbulent weeks America and the world has ever experienced. It began on Monday, at the Boston Marathon, when a joyous event was turned into a scene of terror. Three people who had gathered with many others to cheer on the runners as they crossed the finish line were killed by two bombs that exploded on the sidewalk. One of those killed was a restaurant manager, another was a young Chinese college student, and the third was an eight-year-old boy who was there to cheer on his father. 183 other people were injured, many of whom had to have legs amputated because of the blast.

This past week, poisoned letters were also sent to President Obama and a U.S. Senator from Mississippi. Thankfully, these letters were intercepted before they reached their destinations.

On Tuesday, a massive earthquake struck the Iran-Pakistan border. The quake was so powerful that it was felt across the Middle East and Asia from Dubai to India. 34 people died from this earthquake.

On Wednesday evening of this past week, a fire broke out at a fertilizer company in a small town in central Texas. Volunteer firefighters rushed to the scene. While they were fighting the fire, a huge explosion occured. It was so powerful that it registered as a small earthquake. 14 people, including the firefighters, have since been confirmed dead, many people have not been accounted for, and dozens more are without homes or material belongings.

Finally, on Saturday, a 6.6 magnitude earthquake struck a region in southwestern China. At the latest report, over 200 people are dead from this quake and over 6,700 people have been injured.

Many people recognized that so much tragedy in such a short period of time seems unusual. Two CNN reporters even referred to the Boston Marathon bombing, the West, Texas explosion, and the poisoned letters sent to President Obama and a U.S. senator as being similar to biblical plagues that seemed to be hitting the country all at the same time.

The terrible loss of life that struck the world this past week is both astounding and heart breaking. All of the people who died from events that were beyond their control have one thing in common. None of them thought they were likely going to die that day. They were living their lives just like you and I are doing today. They just wanted to go to work, go to school, go to the store, and spend time with their family and friends. They wanted to enjoy a fun sporting event with other residents of their city. They wanted to spend a peaceful evening at home eating dinner or watching TV. Yet, all of them were here one moment and gone the next. In the space of a bomb blast, an earthquake, or an explosion, they each passed from life into eternity.

Such events should cause us to soberly remember that our lives are just as fragile. We are not special. We are no better than those people who died this past week. Hebrews 9:27 says that “it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment.” We, too, can be here one moment and gone the next. We can pass from life to eternity in a moment of time by some unexpected, tragic event that is totally beyond our control. Such events remind us that we need to be ready for what comes after death — our eternal destination.