Category Archives: Carnality/Flesh/Worldliness

May I Have Your Attention Please?

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In what has been arguably the most bizarre presidential campaign in modern history, tomorrow, Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton will be POTUS Elect #45, and the future of the US, and even the world, is facing a dramatic turn of events.  But, thank God, that in His sovereignty, the Elect of the Lord, have no need to fear, or panic – for it is our Lord who appoints His Divine choice as the leader of this country (and all others).

Now, in the midst of this day we are living – with a large amount of “Christiandom” wallowing in the permissiveness of carnality, or blatantly living in a love affair with the world;  and, with a substantial amount thoroughly distracted by an unhealthy allegiance to patriotism that is dangerously close to spiritual adultery – we, as Christians, need to pause for a moment, in the midst of this political climate of division and distention, and ask the question: Are we ready for the days ahead?

Regardless the outcome, we face a potential firestorm of assault from both sides when their candidate loses… this will likely bring a tumultuous period from November 9th, til January 20th.  But then, once Inauguration Day – and The First 100 days – arrives, something significant will take place.  Either way, I am concerned for the American Church. There are urgent – even overdue – questions that each member, individually, and corporately, must come to terms with.

I submit to you the following concerns: if Hillary wins, the Church in America will face a time of tribulation like has never been seen in our young 240 years. I do not believe that most are ready for the judgement, and the persecution that this will bring.  Alternately, if Trump should somehow pull out a victory, it is likely, for the most part, that the Church will rejoice, and quickly return to our worldly slumber, embracing our freedoms and liberties.

You see, it is time for the Church to step up. We – as aliens, sojourners, even ambassadors from another realm – are the moral compass for whatever nation we reside in. Martin Luther King Jr said in 1963:

“The church must be reminded that it is not the master or the servant of the state, but rather the conscience of the state. It must be the guide and the critic of the state, and never its tool. If the church does not recapture its prophetic zeal, it will become an irrelevant social club without moral or spiritual authority.”

We need to reevaluate our roles, obligations, and loyalties to any worldly systems of government or rule.  We must come to terms with the very real truth that, as born-again children of the most high God, we are ambassadors sent from the Kingdom of Heaven, wherein is our eternal citizenship, to live as sojourners in this land called America. And, as ambassadors, we must grasp the depth of responsibility that we have to take our direction in all things – including our democratic progress – from our source of Life, that is: “every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.” (See my blog on faith, hearing, and *rhema*)

17-20 months ago I was among a contingent of men of God who began to speak out a strong message of conviction that “a storm is coming, and we must be prepared.” Could the days ahead be this storm?? Are we ready for dark days?

I am greatly disturbed by the multiplicity of yard signs I see in my area that state: “America Needs Jesus” –  Really? That type of thinking seems to shortcut Our Lord’s method, which was to “The Church”and commands us to “Go and make disciples.”  Seems to me that what the signs need to proclaim is a change if thought-process to Christians, stating: “America needs the Church” … (it’s the Church that needs Jesus!)

If you’ve stuck with me this far, you may be asking “but how?” Dr Michael Brown recently said:

“What ultimately decides the state of the country, is the state of the Church. What ultimately decides the direction of the country, is the direction of the Church. [Therefore] are we going to devote ourselves to prayer, Scripture, making disciples, holy living, and reaching the lost?”

What is our “state” (or condition) – what is or direction?  What are our priorities; what do we value greatly? These are hard questions we must prayerfully ask! We must address them from our pulpits (while we still can). We must seek Scriptural answers, answers that are “every Word that proceeds from The Mouth of God”, not with logic, rational, or careful human calculation.

If we ever expect to fulfill God’s commission to us as His Church, living by faith, pleasing Him, and impacting the world for His Glory – we must learn to hear His Voice, and His Voice alone, and by Grace, obey.

So Church, if Hillary is God’s choice for POTUS #45, then we will find ourselves neck deep in an anti-Christian environment like we have only read about in books! She will make all-out war on babies in the wound, and make criminals out of  anyone who is not in agreement with her demonic and abominable assault on biblical marriage. She will spew her ungodly, liberal ideology from the rooftops, and make it the law of the land. So I ask: are you dressed in readiness? Don’t think for a minutes that our all-powerful and glorious God would not do such a thing – for He has before, and will again – if not now, then one day soon.

And what if “The Donald” should put in a change of address to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue? Will we collectively sigh a breath of relief, whipping our brow and declaring: “that was a close one”?  Will we kick back, relax, and return to our safe, comfortable, quite, church-going lifestyle, wherein nothing changes about our allegiance, loyalties, devotions, or priorities towards God, because it doesn’t have to change – cause “we really dodged a bullet this election”?  Again I ask: are we ready? Or have we wasted so much time, effort, and energy, being distracted by an agenda towards life, liberty, and the pursue of happiness, that we are actually laboring in our own strength to avoid the very things that Jesus promised His Followers: judgement (for refinement and purification), tribulation, and persecution. Is my lamp lit?

It is time to get ready.  Time to give my time, energy, effort, and attention to the hearing of our Heavenly Father’s voice, and obedience to what we hear.  It is found in abiding, and living by His life, not our own.

A storm is coming, I tell you! A storm like we have never seen in the west. Are we dressed in readiness with our lamps lit? Do we have the oil that we need to keep our lamps burning? Or will we be caught like a thief in the night unprepared, and naked – like a sheep to be slaughtered. The time is now, Saints of God. The time is now to prepare.  If we are not wrapped in His Grace, and Abiding in His word, His righteousness, His love, His glory, and His very life, we are doomed. We must take shelter in the Secret Place, that we might thereby abide in the Shadow of the Almighty. It matters not who is POTUS #45 – what matters is our readiness.  There is no other way.

May you find rest and peace in the confidence that our Lord and King is fully in control – for our Good, and His Glory.

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Heal Our Land

Thursday, May 5, 2016 is the 65th National Day of Prayer. People will gather all across this land petitioning God for variety of things, most of which, will sound a lot like “Please make America great again”, by asking for His blessings upon everything from the President, to our economy.

However, I submit to you, that before anything great can happen in a nation, it must happen in a society. And before it can happen in a society, it must happen in our communities. And before it can happen in our communities, it has to happen in our homes. And before it happens in our homes, it must happen in our individual hearts.

As we approach this year’s National Day of prayer, I challenge you, if you believe in the power of God, and you have a longing to see His glory displayed, then read that often quoted passage from 2 Chronicles 7:14. However, this time, think not about a nation, nor a society, not a culture, not even our communities or our neighborhoods, but think about our hearts – your heart, and my heart.

Ask Him, if you dare, to humble you, to cause you to seek His face, to reveal to you your wicked ways, to give you courage to turn from that wickedness. And imagine if you will, that the land that needs healing is not America, nor your state, or even Washington, DC, but rather, the land that needs healing is my wicked, deceitful, self-centered heart.

If we “Christians” – this National Day of Prayer pursue a feverish passion towards humility, repentance, and a renouncing of our wickedness – we can be assured of GREAT change by the 66th National Day of Prayer, in 2017. ~ Gary E Kienel

Adulterous Allegiances

Adulterous Allegiances: Friendships With The World

“…you adulteresses… do you not know that friendship with the world is hostility towards God?”(1)

Scripture in the book of James calls the people of God “Adulteresses”, because of our friendship with “the world”. We, even the very called out and anointed ones of God, have aligned ourselves with worldly matters, lusts, and idols – qualifying us as active participates in an adulterous lifestyle.

We have many lovers, but should only have One!

We justify this disgrace by our claim that Jesus is our ‘First Love’. But is being first of many, acceptable? Kyle Idleman, in his book “Not A Fan” writes: “Jesus is not interested in being first of many; He must be your one and only.” (2) Idleman goes on to say that “Jesus doesn’t want followers who have split allegiances.” (3)

Christ-Follower: I implore you to ask the Holy Spirit to reveal to you the difficult truths of an adulterous split allegiance with the world.

Some may be obvious: Money – Education – Career – Success – Status – Control – Pleasure – Sex – Possessions…

Some not so obvious: Denominational Affiliation – Political Affiliation – Leisure – Security…

While others are hailed as respectable or honorable: Patriotism – Family – Marriage – Savings – Retirement …

Undoubtedly, there are other things that could be on these lists. Perhaps there were some items listed that caused you a twinge of anger at the mere suggestion that it might be an “adulterous allegiance” before a holy, almighty, and jealous God, however, remember:

“Not everyone who says to me ‘Lord, Lord’ will enter the Kingdom of Heaven.” (4)

“The Gate is small, and the way is narrow, that leads to life, and few are those who find it…” (5)

“Strive to enter by the narrow door, for many [of the few who find it] will seek to enter and not be able.” (6)

What allegiances are you – knowingly or unknowingly – tightly holding on to, that are preventing you from entering the narrow door? Indeed many adulteresses stand outside the door, having found “the way”- having confessed that Jesus is Lord – yet the baggage of their “many” friendships with the world are preventing them from passing through. Don’t let this be you!

A Prayer

Oh Heavenly Father. Have I made knowing you and loving you the first priority of many, rather than the only priority in my life? Only by your Grace, Father, I ask with a pure heart: may the Holy Spirit supernaturally reveal to me the adulteress allegiances in my life. I ask that you will grant me mercy and grace to renounce the whoredom of friendship with the world in all its forms. Grant me courage to see these lovers for what they are and to embrace the humility to confess and repent of them. Help me to see that these allegiances are battling for control of my mind, and ultimately, the throne of my heart. Through prayer and Your Word, may I restore Jesus to be, not only my first love, but my only love. Amen.

 

http://www.NoSpectators.com

© 2016 Gary E Kienel ~ EDGE 1B.3

(1) James 4:4a; (2) “Not A Fan”, Kyle Idelman, © 2001, Pg 63-69; (3) abid; (4) Matthew 7:21; (5) Matthew 7:14; (6) Luke 13:24

Ambassadors, Citizenship, Allegiance & Ballot Casting

In honor of the road that starts this evening in Iowa, and ends next January in Washington, DC…

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This is a hard word, Christ-Follower… Can we hear it?

Election season is upon America. The question for the Child of God is not who do I vote for… Carson, Cruz, Huckabee, Rubio, Sanders, or even Clinton or Trump?  No, the question is: “Heavenly Father – as a stranger, a sojourner, an alien, and an ambassador of the Kingdom of Heaven – wherein the new me – born of Your very Seed – alive by Your very Life – is a citizen of another realm: “Heaven” – am I to even cast a ballot (am I permitted an opinion in such matters)?”

If we hear a “yes” from our King (for He might indeed say “no” – for this is an affair of the very world which we have been called out of), then and only then, shall we ask of Him secondly: “As a new creature, commissioned as an Ambassador of Heaven, granted permission to cast a ballot in this human affair – which candidate would You, my King, have me to vote for?” (Does this sound extreme and even ridiculous?!?  I told you it was a hard word.)

Remember, Scripture instructs us that the righteous walk by faith, and live by every Word that proceeds from the mouth of God.  And likewise: a soldier in active service does not entangle himself in the cares of civilian life, in order that he may please his commander.  As a regenerated, born-again, child of God, we are to have dashed our life, our opinions, and even our very self, upon the rock that is Christ, thereby living out of His life alone, and expressing the only opinion that is left… His!

This is a hard word, many cannot hear it. But it is time we – the Church – grow up into the Sons and Daughters of God that we have been redeemed to be – revealing His Glory to all of creation!

So, for me, the question begins not with: “which candidate do I want to vote for that I believe will be the best, next, U.S. President?” but rather, “Father, am I to vote; and *if so*, for whom?”

Many will suggest this is unpatriotic; but it’s not about temporal patriotism, it’s about eternal allegiance.

Amen.

A Gospel Diagram

Ponder the below diagram which I designed to help illustrate so many aspects of our Christian Life: Old Man vs. New Man – Life vs. death – The Kingdom of God vs. The Sin of Mankind…. This is… “THE GOSPEL”:

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Negotiations in Progress

What is to follow is definitely the most unique blog I have ever written.

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I am learning some unexpected truths in recent weeks…

Unless I am missing something, there are only 2 basic ways to resolve conflict? 1) force/domination/control; 2) communication/mutual respect/compromise.

One requires manipulation, intimidation, selfishness, pride, and arrogance; the other requires selflessness, yielding, deferring, showing preference, humility & sobriety.

Which one sounds like Jesus?

Which one requires the Life of Jesus to be manifested, by Grace, in my life?

For any conflict to be resolved, both parties must have an abiding attitude of Biblical repentance: my ways & my thoughts, are NOT God’s ways & God’s thoughts. In fact my ways and thoughts are contradictory to His. Possessing a foundational attitude that my ways and my thoughts are “wrong” will go a long way in resolving conflict. But – as will life in general – we don’t really believe we are wrong… Do we?

No one enjoys conflict. Yet, conflict is clearly a natural part of life.

To see conflict resolved, both parties have to be willing to lay down “self” at the negotiation table and both must approach resolution with a willingness to “take all the blame” (if both are willing, then in the end, neither will have to).

Hidden (or not so hidden) agendas have to be abandoned, and both parties must want the good of the other, above their own good. Coming to the table – reserving force or control as a possible option “if all else fails” – will not produce lasting results (at least not godly results). It is better to come to the table willing to accept your own defeat, than to come resolved that “at all costs” you will settle the matter!

So there are two problems with this: 1) I have to have these qualities in me; 2) The other person has to have these qualities in them (and technically a third problem when we accept that we only have control over our own qualities).

What are we to do then, if we don’t see signs of these qualities in the other party? Seems to me, all I can do is to diligently ask God to work the qualities in me, and as He does – sit back, wait and trust, and see what He does in the other party…

Just sitting here pondering the hurts, pain, wounds and scars of much unresolved conflict around me….

~ Gary

P.S. Also, remember, there is only one Being who can persuade change in the heart of a person, and it isn’t me nor you – we are at the mercy of the Grace of God alone…. Just the way He wants it!

Prayer of Confession & Intercession for the National Day of Prayer 2015

prayer1On Thursday, May 7, 2015, during Douglas County, Georgia’s National Day of Prayer observance, my dear friend, brother, and mentor, John Brown, offered a eye-opening prayer of confession and intercession for the Church in America.  In many ways it brought a bit of sobering reality to the participants in this gathering – encouraging us to look inward – and not outward – as we prayed that day.

I wanted to share the transcript of that prayer for your edification.  I pray that you might chew on the many morsels of repentant cries herein, as if they were your own:

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Prayer for the National Day of Prayer

“O Lord, great and awesome God, You keep covenant and steadfast love with those who love You and keep Your commandments,

Listen to my words, O Lord;
consider my groaning.
Give attention to the sound of my cry,
for You are my Lord, my King and my God,
for to You do I pray.

Enable me by Your empowering grace, to pray according to Your will, breath Your living word through me, for You have promised that if we pray anything according to Your will, that You will hear us, and that we will have whatsoever we ask.

O Lord, we – the American church, have sinned and done wrong and acted wickedly and rebelled, turning aside from Your gospel of the Kingdom — Your Reign, and the commandments that our Lord taught us to observe.

We have not listened to Your Son, our Lord Jesus, nor to Your servants the apostles and prophets, who spoke in Your name to our Elders, our pastors, our teachers, and our fathers, and to all the people of the church.

To You, O Lord, belongs righteousness, but to us, the American Church, a member of the city of the living God, the Heavenly Jerusalem, the church of the firstborn, the bride of Christ, ——— belongs open shame.

To us, O Lord, the American Church — belongs open shame, to our Elders, our pastors, our teachers, and our fathers, because we have sinned against You.

To You, O Lord our God belong compassion and forgiveness, for we have rebelled against You, and have not obeyed the voice of the Lord our God by walking in Your ways, which You set before us by Your Son the Lord Jesus Christ, and the apostles and prophets.

For we have played the harlot, sharing our affections — that belong only to You, with this American nation. We have made of her an Idol. Looking to her for our well-being, our security, our health, our lifestyle, and our provision.

Looking to America for our rights to pray, and worship, and to be the people of God. Ignorant of the reality that on the day that we gave to the American Constitution, our rights to pray, and worship, and be the people of God, was the day that we lost those rights.

We have chosen to see ourselves as citizens of America rather than as ambassadors of the Kingdom of God to this fallen nation.

We lift up prayers for our lover, America — at the neglect of prayers for the Kingdom of God and its citizens, our brothers and sisters in Christ.

Each denomination, congregation, and man — building his own kingdom at the expense of unity in the body of Christ, which according to our Lord’s prayer for unity, would convince the world that Jesus is the Christ sent from God the Father, and that You, Father, love us even as You have loved Your own Son.

O God, we see the storm that is on the horizon, this calamity that is coming, that You are sending — to cleanse Your Church of all that is not of You. Yet we have not entreated the favor of the Lord our God, turning from our iniquities and gaining insight by the truth of Your Word.

And now, O Lord our God, who redeemed us by the blood of the Lamb, as of this day, we have sinned, we have done wickedly.

Because for our sins, and for the iniquities of our fathers, the Bride of Christ, Your people have become a byword among all who are around us. Our hypocrisies have made us a laughing-stock.

“O Lord, according to all Your righteous acts, let Your anger and Your wrath turn away from us, Your called out people.

Now therefore, O God, listen to the prayer of Your servant and to his pleas for mercy, and for Your own sake, and Your name’s sake, O Lord, make Your face to shine upon the American Church, which has become desolate.

O my God, incline your ear and hear. Open Your eyes and see our desolations, and the people that are called by Your name. For we do not present our pleas before You because of our righteousness, but because of Your great mercy.

O Lord, hear; O Lord, forgive. O Lord, pay attention and act. Delay not, for Your own sake, O my God, because Your church and your people are called by your name.” 

Now O Lord,

Let all who take refuge in You rejoice;
let them ever sing for joy,
and spread Your protection over them,
that those who love Your name may exult in You.
For You bless the righteous, O Lord;
You cover him with favor as with a shield.

I do pray, with intercession, for Your people,

In the name of Your Son, our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

AMEN

What Sort of People Ought You Be?

A_Storm_Coming_by_MikeyStudios

You have likely heard the old adage: “If you knew you were going to die tomorrow, how would you live differently today?” I wonder if anyone has every truly experienced a life change as a result of this concept? So, consider this:

If you knew there was a time of intense persecution, which could not be avoided or escaped, coming to your community – what would you do? How would you live differently? Or…

If you knew that forces were on the verge of a full-scale invasion of your land – and the threat was immanent and verified – how would you react? How would you prepare? Or…

If you knew that a time of judgement was on the immediate horizon – clearly positioned to directly and personally affect every aspect of your day-to-day life – what would you do to ready yourself? What would change?

In our world, events like this are very real, everyday occurrences for much of our planet – except here in “the west”, where, for all of our lives (at least those born after about 1940), the vast majority of us have known ease, freedom, liberties, abundance and rest. But *what if* all that was taken away – or at least highly restricted? How would you react? How would things change?

From a spiritual perspective, The Holy Scriptures have taught us to “come out from among the world”, “be not of the world”, “live in readiness”, “be watchful”, “be alert”, and much more, in the way of preparation for that which will come (maybe many times over) throughout our lives, to test us, try us, prove us and refine us.

So, if this is how we are to live anyway, how much more so, if we are hearing from multiple sources, in a variety of venues, that a storm is coming?

I challenge you to wake up! To step up! To rise up and become the unashamed, passionate, radically devoted, extreme lover of God in Christ, that the Holy Spirit will enable you to be! Why? Because of the storm? Sure… But how about because that is who we who have “been given the gift of Life in Christ” are called to be everyday!

We have been called to be a people who live by radical organic Christ-initiated faith!

Wake up Saints and live!

We have been called to be a people who love one another with an extreme illogical sacrificial love!

Arise Church and love!

We have been called to in passionate intimacy with our Heavenly Father that is unmatched and unbridled that will bring to light an unashamed display of His Glory in our lives!

Step up in prayer people of God and shine!

We have been called to a surrendered life of death to self and life by The Spirit of God that empowers us to demonstrated the fulfillment of Christ’s rule and reign in our lives that proves the Grace of God to a watching cosmos that both desires and hates such a thing!

So yield absolutely and bathe in the Grace that works, that His Name will be magnified.

When these unashamed, passion, radically devoted, extreme lovers of God in Christ come forth, Her radiance will offend the multitudes, but will miraculously cause His glory shown to all the earth. She will be hated by all; but deeply loved by God. Her purity will shine like he dawn; Her countenance like the noonday sun!

So I say to you, in the words of God through the Apostle Peter: “…what sort of people ought you be in holy conduct and godliness, looking for, and hastening the coming of the day of God…?”  

A storm IS coming – but irregardless, we are to be a people – if we are indeed His people – who dress ourselves in readiness, with our lamps lit, every day! Wearing Christ-initiated faith, sacrificial one-another love, Holy Spirit empowered grace and passionate intimacy with the Father, at every moment, in every way. Amen!

\o/ Surrendering Daily,

~ Gary

More on what it means to wear “Christ-initiated faith”, “sacrificial one-another love”, “Holy Spirit empowered grace” and “passionate intimacy with the Father” – coming soon.

Lines Are Being Drawn

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SAINTS OF GOD: Are you watching the news? Are you reading the headlines? Are you paying attention to what world leaders are saying – and what they “are not” saying? It is all becoming so clear. It is not ISIS we need to fear (as if we should fear man anyway). It is not the American government we need to “watch out for.” No, but the table is being set, and it is becoming clearer every day. As it was for our Lord, so shall it be for the people of God, in the days ahead.

 

The US government (even most of the free world for that matter) is clearly establishing its opposition (and intolerance, in the name of tolerance) to “radical religious extremism” – whether ISIS, Al Qaeda, Hamas, Boko Haram or the like.  Meanwhile, “church leadership”, by and large, in epic proportions, is increasingly establishing itself as firmly embracing compromise and unscriptural positions on non-negotiable positions on what they call “social issues”, such as homosexuality, same-sex marriage, and abortion – as well as condemning as “judgmental”, the antiquated notions of morality, truth and faithfulness – and opposing those who firmly embrace Scriptural positions on such matters.

 

Can you see the line being draw?  Soon, with the full support of governmental laws (right here in the good ole’ USA), the vast majority of church leadership (or maybe I should say “pharisaical religious leaders”) will begin to attack those Saints who hold firmly to traditional scriptural principles. (It is happening already, and is rapidly in the increase.). They will call us “radical religious extremist” and “intolerant haters”, and they will use ever-increasing laws against such extremism to silence, reduce or otherwise “eliminate” the faithful. (Thus resulting in a clear distinction between those who are “faithful sons of the Kingdom”, and “the goats” who are wearing a label, but are casual, marginal, and/or insincere.) There will become two camps: those who are firm in their faith in Christ Jesus (and will be “dealt with”), and the rest who will be “accepted” among the “religious” and among “the world”.

 

This is not a call to arms. This is not a warning to run and hide. This is not a plea to step up and attempt to bring about change (it’s long since too late for that – the only change we can bring about is in ourselves). No, rather this is a passionate cry to those “true Christian believers” to prepare yourselves for the coming storm(s) of persecution:

 

  • Establish now where your allegiance lies (the Kingdom of God, or the kingdoms of this world);
  • Devote yourself to abundant prayer (become increasingly certain and familiar with the Father’s voice);
  • Become assured of your personal community of godly support (be clear as to whom you stand with, and who will stand with you);
  • Commit yourself to a life of faith (hearing the Father’s voice, agreeing with Him, and taking obedient grace empowered action according to what you have heard Him speak);
  • Establish your determination to live by the Life of Christ in you, as one who has been set apart for holiness and righteous, to be the light of the world, no matter the cost.

 

Remember… Jesus has said it, and so it shall be:

 

“…a servant is not greater than his master, if they hated me, they will hate you too;”

 

“…a man’s enemies will be those of his own household;”

 

“…father will turn against son and mother against daughter; brother will betray brother…”

 

“…many false teachers will arise and lead many astray;”

 

“…you will be hated for my name’s sake.”

 

The time is now! The days are short! Dress yourself in readiness & keep your lamps lit. Carefully examine and insure your “house” is built upon the Rock.  For there is… a storm coming!

Let him who has ears to hear, hear.

 

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King’s Table or A Pauper’s Buffet?

In a recent blog (“Believe!”), I made some bold statements in my closing paragraph:

“Reader, it’s time for some soul searching… what role does Jesus Christ really play in your life?  Is He nothing more than your “favorite motivational speaker”?  Or have you committed to following Him – yet still at a distance – offended at some of His audacity, and ready to “walk” as soon as He gets too close?  Or, are you among those who would proudly wear your “Jesus is my homeboy” t-shirt, since, after all, you number yourself among the inner circle… but in your heart, do you believe all His outrageous and extreme claims – really?”

Yes, that’s right – I believe from the passage of scripture referenced (John 6:53-69), that there were those among the crowds, follows and even the disciples themselves (a group much larger than “the 12”), who were “just waiting to be offended” and “give Jesus the straight-arm, and walk away”.  I believe there are those among us today, and I believe they are many.

Folks, I am gonna say it as clear was I can – and if you are waiting to get offended with Jesus, here is your big chance.  Being a true believer in Jesus is NOT a Golden Corral buffet, were you can pick and choose your favorite foods and ignore the rest. No, not at all.  Being a true believer in Jesus means being seated at the table that He has prepared for me, in the presence of my enemies (Ps 23:5a), and devouring with gratitude, every morsel of food set before me!  How dare we come to the King’s table, and pick and choose what we will and will not eat?!?  Imagine it: “Thank you King Jesus for this beautiful spread of organic brussels sprouts, artichokes, nutritious tofu with avocado dip, and such carefully crafted Limburger cheese fondue – however, I was hoping for mac n’ cheese, bacon, McDonald’s fries and one of those molten lava chocolate cakes from Shoney’s.”  Jesus shakes his head in disappointment, as we push back from the Kings table, and leave…  to our shock, He doesn’t run after us, or offer to heat up a can of Chef-Boyardee ravioli… He just lets us leave, tears in His eyes… and an increasing disgust in ours.

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During this advent season we frequently read passages such as: “For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, which is Christ the Lord.” (Luke 2:11)  Newsflash: baby Jesus born that day was NOT just Savior… no, no – the Holy Spirit clearly wrote for us, that He is both Christ and Lord, as well.  Oh how we get excited and love to load up our plates with that Golden Corral sweet baby Jesus, come to save us from hell, as He lies in that adorable bed of straw!  We might even carefully and curiously indulge is a small helping of “Christ” (the anointed one) – after all, it’s good to have connections with “the big man upstairs” in case we need something – but we make it clear: “don’t get carried away, Jesus; just mind your own business, and we will get along just fine! 

As for being “Lord” – heaven’s no!  I ain’t looking for a Lord, King or Master – I’ve got that covered myself.  So, baby Jesus, you just serve up my all-I-care-to-eat buffet of starches and fast food burgers, and let me rest in the false assurance of “when I get to gloryland”, but don’t serve me up any of that nasty food I don’t like – cause I will straight-arm you and walk away disgusted. (And then act shocked when You one day say to me: “depart from me, I never knew you.”)


Christian.

Follower.

Casual Admirer.

Disciple.

Whatever you consider yourself to be, as it relates to this man, Jesus – I ask you: will you lay down your rights, your wants, your likes, loves and desires, for this man Jesus?  Will you be awakened to Christ as He calls you to His table – prepared for you – and surrender to believing that He – this Jesus – whom you have called Savior – is both Christ and Lord?  And no matter your preconceived notions about the food He is serving up at His King’s Table – it is light-years better than the picking and choosing of the buffet life you have made for yourself – serving up peace, hope, joy and rest, both now, and for eternity!

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