Category Archives: Sin
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!
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.
© 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
Research* suggests 6 out of 10 Americans identify themselves as “Christian”.
Just over 4 out of 10 American’s claim that they are “actively practicing the Christian faith” (APC).
Surveys have shown that just over 1/3 of those 4 (those identifying themselves as “APC”) – that is between 1-2 of them – strongly support things such as murder (aka: abortion), unnatural sexual perversions (aka: gay lifestyle/same-sex marriage), fornication (aka: living together outside marriage in a committed, loving relationship), and the like. That means that 28 of every 100 actively practicing Christians is supportive of behaviors that Scripture teaches – unrepented of – will cause them to “not inherit the Kingdom of God”. So, can we assume that the other 72 out of 100 “actively practicing Christians” are firm in their Scriptural convictions regarding righteousness? Unfortunately, no – at least not entirely.
When this same 40% of American’s who claim to be “actively practicing the Christian faith” is asked these 9 simple questions – shamefully – everything changes.
- Have you made a personal commitment to Jesus Christ that is still important in your life today?
- Is your faith very important in your life today?
- Do you believe that when you die you will go to Heaven because you have confessed your sins and accepted Jesus Christ as your Savior?
- Do you believe that you have a personal responsibility to share your religious beliefs about Christ with non-Christians?
- Do you believe that Satan exists?
- Do you believe that eternal salvation is only possible by grace, through faith, and not by human works?
- Do you believe that Jesus Christ lived a sinless life on earth?
- Do you assert that the Bible is accurate in all the principles it teaches?
- Would you describe God as the all-knowing, all-powerful, perfect deity who created the universe and still rules it today?
You, like me, would probably answer 100% YES to all 9 questions, and, for a moment, wonder to yourself: “Isn’t that Christianity 101?”
Yet, would you care to take a guess at what happens to this 40% when these 9 questions become the criteria for a Scriptural definition of “Christian”? The group is reduced from 40%, to just under 7%! That’s right, 7 out of 100! There is not a question among these “9” that is extreme or unreasonable for a person who claims to be a Christian (Little Christ)… And yet, for the overwhelming majority of “APC’s” – these are not beliefs that they adhered to. How can that be?
So, if we accept that there is a 40% that are called Christian (let’s call them “The Christian 40”) – how do we distinguish the mere 7% who hold to the historic Christian teachings of “The Law, The Prophets and The Apostles”? I propose we call them “Scripturally Orthodox Christians” or “SOC” for short. (Side note: Jesus called them “Believers” – John 6:60-66.)
And of great concern to me is how prepared these 7% are to face the days we are now find ourselves living in – in which our society has – over as few as 20 years – become not just “Post-Judeo-Christian” – but even hostile towards SOC’s – a society in which the “religious establishment” (“The Christian 40”) will make peace with the ruling government of the day, and will oppose – even make war – against the 7%. As with our Lord – they will call us intolerant radical extremist, who hate & judge – they will claim we are not “Christian” at all.
Consider Acts 14:2, which reads:
“But the Jews (accepted established religion of the day) who disbelieved, stirred up the minds of the Gentiles (governments of men) and embittered them against the brethren (the so-called intolerant radical extremist).
“Are you an “SOC”?
Are you the 7%?
If so, are you prepared to face these defining days in which those whom you have worshiped side-by-side with, will become identified with “The Christian 40” and stir up the minds of the government, and embitter them against you? Are you ready…?
Stay tuned… Much more to come on “Dressed In Readiness With Our Lamps Lit: Living As A Scripturally Orthodox Christian in a Post-Christian Society”
* Some of the survey results that “inspired” this blog can be found at: https://www.barna.org/barna-update/culture/723-christians-react-to-the-legalization-of-same-sex-marriage-9-key-findings#.VaR1ePlViko
On 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:
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.
I’ve known some really good people in my life. In fact, I have known some “non-believers” who were more pleasant to be around than some who profess Christ. Problem is, how good is good enough? The Gospel of Luke tells the story of Jesus encountering a young man who inquired of Christ, “What must I do to inherit eternal life?”
As Jesus talked with this young man (Luke 18:18-27), we find that this man was far more “good” than anyone I have known in my 53 yrs of life. He confessed that he had never committed adultery, murder, stolen or lied, and has always honored his father and mother! (Who among us can honestly say that we have been that good?!? Personally, sadly, I am 0-5 on that list.) But Jesus said that was NOT good enough. In fact, we see in the opening of this passage that this fella also confessed Jesus was both God & Savior – I surmise this because 1) he asked of Jesus a question about eternal life… This strongly suggests to me that he knew Jesus was the Savior sent from God; 2) he knew He was God, for he called Him “Good”.
But, alas, confessing Jesus was both God & Savior, was not good enough either.
Lastly, Jesus essentially says to the man “You want eternal life? Then allow me to be Lord & King of your life, ruling and reigning over even your most prized possessions.” In this, the man walked away sad, for he was willing to admit Jesus was God; willing to admit Jesus was Savior; willing to live a “good” – even very good – life; but not able to surrender the throne of His life to The Christ.
Isn’t that our problem really? We want a Savior (for heaven); we want a God (in heaven); we want to be pretty “good” so we can feel good about ourselves (a little heaven on earth); but it all comes to a grinding halt when we are faced with the reason the Savior came… To make a way that we might return to know His rule and reign in our hearts and lives; knowing intimacy with our Father; and knowing the indwelling of the Spirit – i.e.: “thy Kingdom come”
So, here is what every person (including the rich your ruler) wants: “a list of rules for inheriting eternal life!”
- Acknowledge Jesus is God
- Acknowledge Jesus is Savior
- Do not commit adultery (or even lust); do not murder (or even hate); do not lie or steal; honor your mother and father.
- Surrender wholey to the Lordship of Christ without reservation into all aspects of your life that He might, by the indwelling of His Holy Spirit, and His sovereign regeneration of your life, bring His Kingdom to rule and reign in you…. (grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone).
Sorry, I realize #4 kinda destroyed “my list” – but after all, isn’t that the point…
Let him who has ears, hear.
Well, if nothing else – that title should have gotten your attention…
This blog may be a bit personal for us all – if we are honest – as most of us, I suspect, deal with the difficulty of reconciling when brothers & sisters in Christ hold tightly to views that are different that our own. I am not talking about preferences in worship style or dress or the color of the carpet – but things that range from doctrinal matters to matters of conscience.
Part 1: Matters of Conscience vs. Preferential Loving
I suspect for some, the struggle with matters of conscience is not really an issue – but for me it is, and I suspect for many of my readers it is as well. Fenelon says this: “You must never look down at someone who is not called to walk the way you are. God does what He wants with each one.” Now I see a couple of truths herein: 1) watch my attitude! And 2) embrace the truth that, as Paul said: “accept the one who is weak in faith, but not for the purpose of passing judgment on his opinions. One person has faith that he may eat all things, but he who is weak eats vegetables only. To his own master he stands or falls; and he will stand, for the Lord is able to make him stand.” (Romans 14:1-2, 4b)
Paul later, however, tells us:
Vs 13b: “…determine this—not to put an obstacle or a stumbling block in a brother’s way.”
Vs 15: “if because of food [smoke, drink, language, or any permitted indulgence] your brother is hurt, you are no longer walking according to love. Do not destroy with your food him for whom Christ died.” (My amplification in brackets)
Vs. 16: “Therefore do not let what is for you a good thing be spoken of as evil; for the kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.”
Vs 20-22: “Do not tear down the work of God for the sake of food. All things indeed are clean, but they are evil for the man who eats and gives offense. It is good not to eat meat or to drink wine, or to do anything by which your brother stumbles. The faith which you have, have [j]as your own conviction before God. Happy is he who does not condemn himself in what he approves.”
And in 1 Thess 5:22, this same Paul writes: “Abstain from all appearance of evil.”
Lastly, on the matter of conscience – Paul writes, not once, but twice:
1 Cor 6:12: “All things are lawful unto me,” but all things are not expedient. “All things are lawful for me,” but I will not be brought under the power of any.”
1 Cor 10:23: “All things to me are lawful, but all things are not profitable; all things to me are lawful, but all things do not build up;”
So here, I see our Lord clearly teaching us that we MUST be sensitive, prudent, careful and loving, with regards to our “matters of conscience”, putting the well-being of the brethren, and the sake of the reputation of the Kingdom on God within us, ahead of our own personal pleasures.
So I guess I am not baffled by our indulging in our permitted pleasures, as much as I am by our seeming lack of concern for the “whomever” that might be hurt by our “practicing, indulging or even flaunting” those pleasures – for though it might be permissible to indulge pleasures according to our own faith – it is NEVER permissible to hurt, offend or cause a brother to stumble. (Remember, faith is not just “what you confidently choose to believe” – it is, in fact, “acting in obedience to the Rhema word that you have heard from the Lord. Romans 10:17)
Let’s chew on this together… please – if not only for your sake, but the sake of The Body of Christ.
Part 2 Coming Soon: Assurance vs Deception
“Recap” of Inspirational Thoughts and Quotes from 2013 From My Facebook
Part 3 – July-September
I might have said a few things that I learned of the Lord in 2013 that will be impactful for the Kingdom. I have shared some of them here. Also, I have listed numerous quotes that impacted me, from local pastors to great Saints of old, including Tim Conway, Spurgeon, Chambers, Corrie Ten Boom, Pastor Jeremiah Stingl, Pastor Tom Myers, Pastor Don Morrison, Pasture Scott Mitchell, Pastor Alan Trippe, Major Ian Thomas, CS Lewis, Sparks, Phil Powell & many others. I know with confidence, these Saints, and I, would all say, in sincerity, that if any of these words are impactful, it is because they are not our own, but the Holy Spirit’s. I pray you find blessing herein. ~ Gary
CHRISTIAN: We have reached an all time low when we call areas of sin in our life, the fulfillment of God’s promise to us!! Wake up from your slumber, Follower of Christ – our Lord doesn’t bless us with sin!! Abstain from wickedness; run from the appearance of evil; do not get friendly with the world, nor the things of it! Make your life-source the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. Alternately, if you’re are finding the desires of your flesh gratified (and calling it blessing or promises fulfilled) then you are not living by the Spirit. God says “Whoa to Us!” Isaiah 5:20; James 4:4; Gal 5:16 – Gary Kienel
Inspired by my “Band of Brothers” (You know who you are), with specific content from Scott Mitchell & Phil Powell. On this day, I do thank God for being born in America, but not like many might be thankful – nonetheless, we have been afforded much because of the sacrifice of many of America’s Founding Fathers, likewise, I have been afforded even more, by the Founding Fathers of Israel & Christianity – may I live a life of dependence upon Christ alone, that is worthy of the foundation they have laid!
“My In-Dependence Day”
Because the Lord God has made me independent from the tyranny of self-rule
& free to be subject to His benevolent sovereignty;
I therefore celebrate this day, and all days, as “Dependence Day”;
I am totally & joyfully dependent upon my King Jesus.
His Kingdom is a nation of the King, by the King and for the king,
and it will endure without end.
May God bless and raise up His Church,
as we kneel before Him in repentance & submission.
– Gary Kienel
Most will reject this statement, others it may anger, however, to those who have ears to hear: “it’s not about America”. It’s about the Church. We are, by and large, so distracted by prayers for “America” that we can’t see clearly to pray for ourselves. A far, far greater concern than that of the condition of the physical nation, must be our concern for a spiritual people, that is “The Church”. She is not well. She must come to repentance. She must get on Her knees in submission; subject to Her King. We are the ones we need to be praying for; we are the ones who need to come to repentance.
Our prayers for America are not answered because we are praying amiss, with wrong motives! It’s not about our 401-K, our “well-being”, our national security or even our liberties.
The statistics are staggering, if we look with eyes to see: It is our mistresses, girlfriends & wives who are getting abortions. It is our eyes that frequent pornography. It is our marriages ending in divorce, hatred & bitterness – all the while calling it freedom. It is us, living in sin, claiming grace. It is our perverted & permissive compromise of the very Word that has brought us salvation, that causes us to embrace sins, debauchery, whoredom and abominations. IT IS US, CHURCH, WHO NEEDS PRAYER LIKE NEVER BEFORE.
Once the church is who she is called to be, those around her will be affected by God as He sees fit, even America. I implore you Saints, don’t be distracted by prayers for America, but be focused on prayers for the Church! She is the only hope for the World. For She is the visible image, of the invisible Sovereign Lord God, to the world!
Oh God, have mercy on me… – Gary Kienel
The mandate of Biblical Discipleship as modeled by Jesus, requires 4 things of the discipler (mentor) and the disciple (apprentice):
3) Intensiveness &
We are not only to teach with words (which we MUST do), but we also must MODEL it with our daily lives! How else will we see fans of Jesus, become followers of Jesus? How else will followers of Jesus, become disciples of Jesus? How else will disciples of Jesus, become believers IN Jesus? How else will those believers in Jesus be seen by the watching world and called, with complement & criticism: CHRISTIANS?
The world is watching… let’s make disciples!! – Gary Kienel
WARRIORS OF THE MOST-HIGH LORD GOD: We are in a war. There are those among us with bull’s-eyes on their backs. You know who you are. Tragically, we are witnessing an increase of causalities to our left and right – casualties like we would have NEVER imagined. Stand firm. Remain vigilant! Be on you guard. Some are being wounded in such a way that they are no longer able to fight. Others are being eliminated entirely from the battle. Sexual compromise, doctrinal lies & permissiveness abound. We are loosing our comrades to the desires of the flesh, the lure of the world & the attacks of the enemy, like never before. Too much alarm cannot be sounded! This warning is not for someone else…. IT IS FOR YOU! Remain diligent to the camaraderie of your fellow soldiers; hold steady & firm to the instructions of the warriors that have gone before us; stay in constant two-way communication with The Commander-and-Chief; remember often, the Ultimate Price that has been paid to insure the Victory on our behalf. – Gary Kienel
“When we hear God say, ‘You will have no other gods before me,’ we think of it as a hierarchy; God is always in first place. But there are no places. God isn’t interested in competing against others or being first among many. God will not be part of any hierarchy. He wasn’t saying ‘before me’ as in ‘ahead of me.’ A better understanding of the Hebrew word translated ‘before me’ is ‘in my presence.’”
– Kyle Idelman (Gods At War)
Recently a sister in the Lord posted a comment about how it seems that it has recently become the “cool thing” for Christians to cuss. Another sister in the Lord followed up with a comment that took this thought further and included references to drinking, promiscuity, tattooing and more. I had the following thoughts on such interesting statements as these:
The points that these sisters have made are thoroughly Scripturally solid – even if many of you take personal offense at the tattooing inclusion – bear with me, while I say this another way, quoting those who are far more respected than I.
The Apostle Paul, who was quoting both the prophets Isaiah & Ezekiel, when speaking to the People of God, told us that “we are to come out from among ‘the people of the world’ and be different & be separate”. It is clear, to anyone who is willing to be honest with themselves, that, as this same Paul warned his son in the faith, Timothy, the pastor at the church in Ephesus: “in the latter days, people will turn away from the faith, and go astray, and abandon holiness & sound doctrine, and do as they please” – we see this in all manner of worldliness and ‘darkness’ currently appearing in the lives of those who claim to be in the “Light” (I am not saying live in “perfection”; I am saying that for a true Christian to “justify” or “excuse” sin in their life is either deception or rebellion).
There was a time, when rightly so, many of the things that “Christians” viewed as “un-Christian”, were taboo; most of these things – from foul language to drunkenness to fornication, and yes, maybe even tattoos and immodest attire – are now being embraced, justified, excused, and in some cases even promoted from pulpit, as “acceptable” among god’s holy people. God Himself spoke to Moses and said to God’s people: “set yourself apart and be holy, as I am Holy.”
And one more sobering quote from the Apostle James, speaking to those who would identify themselves as Christians: “You unfaithful people. Don’t you know that embracing things of this fallen world is hostility towards the God whom you say you love? Living in this way makes you an enemy of God!” Yes the bar for living as Children of God, that is, Children of Light (ie: “Christian”) is very high, but it was The Lord God Himself who set the bar so high (and has graciously granted us the power of the inhabiting Holy Spirit to walk in this Holiness).
Do not be misled thinking I am suggesting that we, as God’s Holy Children do no fail, sin and fall short of the goal; for I am not speaking of those who “struggle” to reach the bar that God has set, but rather, I am writing this to those who “deliberately choose” to live below it, and argue that it is acceptable by God to live there! – Gary Kienel
“When a train goes through a tunnel and it gets dark, you don’t throw away your ticket and jump off – you sit still and trust the engineer.”
– Corrie Ten Boom
“C S Lewis said: “The real problem is not why some pious, humble, believing people suffer, but why some do not.”
“After all, the Word of God says: “All who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted.” (2 Timothy 3:12)
“Understanding that suffering and persecution come in a wide variety of appearances; the question begs to be asked: If you & I, individually, are not suffering persecution, in some manner or another, for the sake of Christ & His Kingdom, then why not? Could it be a lack of desire for godliness?!? #LookingInTheMirror” – Gary Kienel
“The Grace of God will never give you “permission” to return to a place where that same Grace of God has given you “remission” from!” ` Gary Kienel
Saint of God, are you intimately experiencing the apparent injustice of the seeming success and advancement of the heathen in your life? Read Psalm 37 slowly & thoroughly. It is a game changer!
“Do not fret because of evildoers, Be not envious toward wrongdoers. For they will wither quickly like the grass & fade like the green herb. Trust in the Lord and do good; Dwell in the land and cultivate faithfulness. Delight yourself in the Lord; And He will give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the Lord, Trust also in Him, and He will do it. He will bring forth your righteousness as the light & your judgment as the noonday. Rest in the Lord and wait patiently for Him; Do not fret because of him who prospers in his way, Because of the man who carries out wicked schemes. Cease from anger and forsake wrath; Do not fret; it leads only to evildoing. For evildoers will be cut off, But those who wait for the Lord, they will inherit the land. Yet a little while and the wicked man will be no more; And you will look carefully for his place and he will not be there. But the humble will inherit the land & will delight themselves in abundant prosperity. The wicked plots against the righteous & gnashes at him with his teeth. The Lord laughs at him, For He sees his day is coming. The wicked have drawn the sword and bent their bow to cast down the afflicted and the needy, To slay those who are upright in conduct. Their sword will enter their own heart, And their bows will be broken. Better is the little of the righteous than the abundance of many wicked. For the arms of the wicked will be broken, But the Lord sustains the righteous. The Lord knows the days of the blameless, And their inheritance will be forever. They will not be ashamed in the time of evil, And in the days of famine they will have abundance. But the wicked will perish; And the enemies of the Lord will be like the glory of the pastures, They vanish—like smoke they vanish away. The wicked borrows and does not pay back, But the righteous is gracious and gives. For those blessed by Him will inherit the land, But those cursed by Him will be cut off. The steps of a man are established by the Lord, And He delights in his way. When he falls, he will not be hurled headlong, Because the Lord is the One who holds his hand. I have been young and now I am old, Yet I have not seen the righteous forsaken or his descendants begging bread. All day long he is gracious and lends, And his descendants are a blessing. Depart from evil and do good, So you will abide forever. For the Lord loves justice & does not forsake His godly ones; They are preserved forever, but the descendants of the wicked will be cut off. The righteous will inherit the land & dwell in it forever. The mouth of the righteous utters wisdom, And his tongue speaks justice. The law of his God is in his heart; His steps do not slip. The wicked spies upon the righteous & seeks to kill him. The Lord will not leave him in his hand or let him be condemned when he is judged. Wait for the Lord and keep His way, And He will exalt you to inherit the land; When the wicked are cut off, you will see it. I have seen a wicked, violent man spreading himself like a luxuriant tree in its native soil. Then he passed away, and lo, he was no more; I sought for him, but he could not be found. Mark the blameless man, and behold the upright; For the man of peace will have a posterity. But transgressors will be altogether destroyed; the posterity of the wicked will be cut off. But the salvation of the righteous is from the Lord; He is their strength in time of trouble. The Lord helps them and delivers them; He delivers them from the wicked and saves them, Because they take refuge in Him.”
– Gary Kienel
Spoken by God through the prophet Isaiah nearly 3,000 years ago, who could have imagined the disgusting degree to which this perversion of Truth would become standard fare among those who claim to be “saved” – “born again” – “walking in the light”?!?
“Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil; Who substitute darkness for light and light for darkness; Who substitute bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter!”
Wake up “Christian” – evil is evil! We are called to uphold holiness; calling anything less than holiness “good” brings upon us the “woes” of God Almighty, and brings reproach upon God’s name! Remember, it’s not just with words that we call evil good and good evil, it is even more so with our actions, behaviors and the things we embrace. Let him who has ears to hear, hear, & be awakened to Truth. (Isaiah 5:20)
– Gary Kienel
“Jesus promised His disciples three things: that they would be completely fearless, absurdly happy, and constantly in trouble.”
– G.K. Chesterton
Oh that we mere humans would quit trying to define God by our understanding of things. Isaiah 55:8-9 is foundational for all faith in God: “For My thoughts are not your thoughts, Nor are your ways My ways,” declares the Lord. “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, So are My ways higher than your ways, And My thoughts than your thoughts.”
The greatest hindrance to our trusting & believing in God is our foolish insistence that we understand Him, and He measure up to our standards… that is, “our ways, and our thoughts”. The greatest step that you can take towards faith in God is to accept that His ways, and His thoughts are so far above ours, that we cannot understand them – but we can “accept them” without understanding them.
Move past your doubts, your fears, your thoughts & your ways – believe!
– Gary Kienel
When Jesus said, “repent” for the Kingdom of heaven is at hand, he spoke the word “repent” – it was recorded in Greek as “metanoia” which means: “To change your mind”. Change our mind from what? Wrong thinking? Thinking about what?
When Jesus spoke the word “Kingdom”, it was recorded in Greek using the word “basileia” which means: “the right or authority to rule & reign”. Rule & reign over what? My life?
Consider for a moment, that what Jesus was saying was: “Change your mind, from your own rule & reign over your life, to the rule & reign of God over your life.”
What must I do to be saved? It all starts when you “Repent” – Kinda changes everything, huh?
– Gary Kienel
“Yes, God is Love; but He is also the King. His Kingdom is a kingdom of love, but it is, nonetheless a Kingdom. To remove His Kingdom from His Love, creates a god in our own image, perverting Him into a Santa Claus or fairy godmother. To remove His Love from His Kingdom creates a cruel taskmaster, yielding slaves that can never achieve the requirements of the master. Oh but the good news is the King Loves! But before you “amen” this with your “like button”, remember, the only response to a loving king, is loving obedience! For these two neither can be separated – obedience without love is fruitless legalism, and love without obedience is self-indulgent permissiveness. God’s perfect way? A wholly compassionate father ruling & reigning over His obedient children who are madly in love with their daddy!” – Gary Kienel
Pity the one who is able to walk lukewarm & casual without obstacle or difficulty. “For the Lord disciplines the one he loves, and chastises every son [& daughter] whom he receives” (Heb 12:6) – Gary Kienel
James chapter 1 teaches us that there are 2 responses to every trial:
1) we allow our faith to be tested, demonstrating our trust in God’s rule & reign supreme, and we come forth as Gold, that we might receive the crown of Life, or
2) we allow temptation to stir the lust within us to doubt God’s rule & reign, and trust in our own lordship, which give birth to sin, who’s intent is to bring death.
Today, I choose faith… who’s with me?
(2 Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, 3 knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. 4 And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. 12 Blessed is a man who perseveres (endures) under trial; for once he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him. 14 But each one is tempted when he is carried away and enticed by his own lust. 15 Then when lust has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and when sin is accomplished, it brings forth death.)
– Gary Kienel
“By Grace; Through Faith; [Not BY Works, but FOR Works] have we been saved.” The same Grace that saved us by no effort of our own, is now displayed in us & through us “as a result of” – even the very purpose for – our having been saved. In other words, the purpose for redemption/justification is restoration resulting in sanctification! (Ephesus 2:8-10) Whoa to the one who after partaking in redemption, fails to position himself, through restoration, for sanctification, thereby making a mockery of the very Love that redeemed & justified him. Let him who has ears to hear, hear. – Gary Kienel
SEPTEMBER 13 (3:33am)
To whom it may concern: My heart breaks for those “precious and dearly loved, called out children of the most high God” who have strayed from The Path.
Some have wandered far off and don’t even know it. Others knowingly have set their course (and their hearts) to lands far far away. Still others have stumbled and been knocked off course and are roadside wondering what to do. For many, an ever-so-slight course correction will return you to the straight and narrow.
To some, I whisper: “You know.”
To other I scream: “Wake up!”
Some will not hear either; others will have a sudden enlightenment, and find rescue!
But to all His own, I assure you:
You cannot go too far;
You cannot go too often;
Your failures need not be fatal;
Your shame, which is good and necessary for a season, will not keep you from Him!
For He, our Lord, is a rescuer & a restorer of His own – after all, you know His voice!
He cries out: “It’s never too late! Child come home!” as He leaves the 99 and comes lovingly, with determination, after you, the one.
Whether knowingly one step off the Way in the midst of a solid journey – or deliberately running hard away from the path altogether – you will never outrun Him, nor be out of His reach, or beyond his love.
This promise is for His own, alone!
You are precious.
You are called.
You have been chosen!
You are set apart.
His faithfulness & goodness will sustain you!
He will – in fact He did – rend heaven & hell for you.
Child Come Home!
– Gary Kienel
Saints. Mistakes will happen. Sometimes errors in judgement; sometimes overcome by our “evil desires within”; and sometimes with sincere hearts seeking our Lord’s will. Sometimes it is a mix of two or all three. Whatever the case, we have a few promises from our Lord regarding “mistakes”, and despite the commonality of the first promise, I don’t want to gloss it over: “All things work together for good, for those who love The Lord, and are called according to His purpose.” Additionally, in the other extreme case, we have a similar result, and can say, as Joseph said: “that what [the enemy] intended for evil, God intended for good.”
Now I am not suggesting that because of God’s sovereignty, we can be apathetic or careless in our decision making; but what I am doing is making much of the truth of scripture’s teaching that we (born again saints of God), can rest assured that we have been “given a new heart & a new spirit” and have had “His Spirit placed in us” and we are, therefore a “new creature in Christ!”
So, you find yourself “awakening” from a condition of “oops, what have I done?” Consider your response carefully. If, as I shared above, you are in this place because the “evil desires within your flesh” rose up and you gave into them – then repent and rejoice! Repent not from just the giving in, but also repent from the evil desire within you! Then, rejoice! Rejoice that you were awakened to the mistake! Rejoice that God was not asleep at the wheel when this mistake was made, and that what was intended for evil by forces other than our Lord, were (past tense) intended for good by our Lord; additionally, rejoice that He has promised to work it for good in your life (you chosen lover of God)! Be encouraged to not too quickly blow past or through the repentance phase. You should not die there in your guilt & shame, but neither should you gloss over it as if it matters not that a mistake has been made.
As for errors in judgment. We are in Christ, yes – but, unfortunately we are “under construction” regarding our “mind” being transformed. So there are times we will just plain “get it wrong!” Again, repent & rejoice! Repent for the wrong thought processes that led you to a wrong conclusion & ask God to fix your mind of self, and make it the mind of Christ. Rejoice then, for you were awakened to your mistake & your wrong thinking… You could have stayed in that place & even died there – what joy that we have been graced to be awakened! God has intended & can work this too for good!!
So you say, but Gary, I prayed, I sought The Lord. I even fasted. I sought counsel. I thought my heart was right in the direction I went, but alas, I see now, it was a mistake. Good news! Yep, you got it: repent & rejoice! Repent for missing the mark, even though all indications were a “green light” – ask for wisdom as to where you went wrong; He will show you, for he promises wisdom to those who ask, and He who has called you is faithful! Then, while listening for wisdom, rejoice! Rejoice that your weren’t lost in your mistake and that He awakened you! Rejoice that He promises to work ALL things for good for you because you love Him, and are called by Him!
What I am saying is, no matter the reason you, as a lover of God, called by Him, with a heart for His kingdom, find yourself on the “other-side” of a mistake, you should simply, yet thoroughly, repent; then with excitement and courage, stand up, dust the dirt off of you, and with rejoicing, go again for God!
Mistakes will come, Saint. But for us, it is a matter of “rejoice when you face trials of various types” (and these mistakes are indeed trials of the flesh), for they are granting us the privilege of repentance, and the command to rejoice!
– Gary Kienel
“Christ can never be known without a sense of awe and fear accompanying the knowledge….No one who knows Him intimately can ever be flippant in His presence.”
– A.W. Tozer
“My problem with sin is that I don’t hate it enough!”
– Pastor Tom Myers