Born For Glory

Vil Son PhotoBORN FOR GLORY

   Yesterday I left for work at the usual time—and hit every red light for thirty miles and trailed every pokey driver between all of them. I could feel the heat rising. And in the fog of frustration, I may or may not have had a few spontaneous thoughts…

   “Really? Buses have to sit for five whole minutes at every empty train track they come to??”

   “Sure. Cut in front of me and slow down. I have all day.”

“That light saw me coming and turned red on purpose…”

   “Please! Pick a lane—any lane…”

   “Look up the word ‘yield’.”

   Now, I don’t remember praying for patience, so I had a little sidebar with God. “This can’t be a coincidence so what’s going on, please?” His response?

   “Pick up your crown, sit down with me, and engage like the royalty you are.”

   Oh… right… We’re seated above the circumstances, not under them; we don’t react to  situations, we command them; we don’t surrender in fear of defeat, we battle from a position of victory.

   We rule.

   Is that presumptuous to think? Is it a sin to say? Is it blasphemous to live? Not according to the Word.  We’re seated with Christ. We co-reign with him. We will judge angels. But when we have a difficult day or season or life, it’s easy to lose sight of that. Or maybe we simply don’t know that. But the Word is clear: We’re royalty. And why?

   Because we’re sons and daughters of the King.

   Maybe you’re in the midst of a really horrific season in life. Maybe your whole life has been one long, uphill fight. Maybe you’ve been enduring a years-long crisis or a soul-shattering tragedy. Or maybe you’ve failed or messed up so badly that you’ve mangled your entire life.

But here’s the thing: you are not defined by who you are, what you’ve done or what you’ve been through.

   You have a purpose and a destiny from the Lord; there’s a reason He created you, and He wants you to discover that purpose and fulfill it.

   Now granted, you have to know the Lord to discern His purpose, but even many Christians don’t know why they were born and now they’re just trying to “get through” life.

   NO. You were born for glory.

   You were born to rule this world, to overcome evil, and to ease pain. You were born to expose the darkness, to share the truth, and to spread hope. You were born to encourage, to defend, and to decree. And how do you do all of these things?

   You dare to dream.

   Your dreams and visions are the road signs pointing to your destiny. And perhaps the thing you were created to do will be different than what I was created do—or maybe it will be similar—but it’ll be yours. No one else ever will bring to that thing what only you can.

   Maybe that business is already out there. But God wouldn’t have called you to do it if it didn’t need to be done your way with all of your talent and life experience. And multiply this principle by a hundred other things: pastoring a church, teaching a class, caring for a loved one, raising a difficult child, running for office, working as a manager or a car mechanic or a salesperson, writing a song or painting a mural—no one else’s heart will ever touch that thing the way yours will.

   A friend recently told me he wanted to write a book but the topic had already been done—and done again. And many times, as writers, we hear that; a tiny voice whispers, “Someone beat you to it—don’t even bother.” But I’m here to tell you: That book—your book—has not been written. Maybe the topic has been addressed a dozen times but your life experience and your knowledge and your insights have not. That’s why publishers ask what books are similar to yours and what’s unique about yours—because there will always be something new that you have to bring to the table.

   Here’s the truth: You were born to take that territory and possess that mountain. You were made to rule and reign in the land you’ve been appointed to. You were made for so much more than the box or label that you or others have assigned to you.

   You were born for glory.

   And all you have to do to walk in your royalty is to believe that that’s your destiny.

   It’s time to rule.

  

 

 

 

 

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“Angels of Light”—Or Not…?

Full Moon Castle“ANGELS OF LIGHT”—OR NOT…?

   Did you know that 40% of Christians believe in psychics? (Protestant—38%, Evangelical—33%, Catholic—46%) Are you aware that one in three (29%) Christians believes in reincarnation (P—26%, E—19%, C—36%)? And did you know that 26% of Christians believe that spiritual energy can be located in physical objects (think mountains and trees) (P—32%, E—24%, C—47%). The bottom line? Six in ten (61%) Christians hold at least one New Age belief (Pew Research Center, “Facts In the Numbers,” October 1, 2018).

   The problem is that not one of these New Age or occult beliefs is, in any way, shape or form, compatible with the Bible or any doctrine or principle in it. But why should we care? After all, we should be tolerant of the beliefs of others, including Christians—right?

   Wrong. Very wrong.

“UNDER COVER OF LIGHT—Occult, New Age and False Religions,” Sunday, October 21st at 10 am, Cornerstone Community Fellowship, 7793 Brewerton Road, Cicero—JOIN US!

   The Bible is very clear about occult activity and our participation in it. In fact, God says, “I will oppose anyone who turns to mediums and spiritists [spirit guides, psychics] to prostitute themselves by following them, and I will cut them off from their people” (Lev. 20:6).

   That’s pretty explicit. My concern here: No one I know, Christian or otherwise, wants to have their destiny opposed by God. Yet He will—He said so. And do you really want that? Do you really want all of your years of dreaming and planning to go up in smoke? Do you really intend for all of your blood, sweat and tears to be wasted? Do you actually want to see all those nights of burning the midnight oil evaporate into thin air? Or worse?

   Do you want to fail?

   Many people don’t believe God means what he says in his word. The ironic thing is that some Christians stand on his word for the things they need to fulfill their destinies and then discount his word when they don’t like what it says.

   Did you know that that kind of picking and choosing from the Bible is a mainstream New Age belief?

   Of course the main objection when people hear what God says about occult activity is always some version of “but what’s the big deal with checking out a psychic or having a séance or playing around with tarot cards or Ouija boards? It’s all just fun and games; no one gets hurt.”

   You get hurt. The word “occult” means “hidden”. And occult activity is hidden by Satan expressly for the purpose of destruction—yours. In fact, his goal is right there on the printed page: “’The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy…’” (John 10:10). And it’s so much easier for him to do that when we cooperate with him and engage in the occult. But we do that because the primary strategy Satan uses to destroy us is deception.

   The fact is, you’re not the exception to his little agenda; none of us are. It doesn’t matter whether we know the occult is Satan’s territory or we don’t. Satan doesn’t say, “Oh, well, you didn’t know I intend to destroy you, so I won’t. Go ahead and play.” Sorry. Nor does it matter whether we visit a psychic, chant a mantra, participate in “past life regression,” or talk to grandma through a séance—we’re treading on territory patrolled by demons. (Btw—if anyone shows up at the little get-together with grandma, we need to be aware that it’s not grandma. It’s what’s called a “familiar spirit”—a demon who appears as someone we know so that we’ll engage with it.)  

   Deception.

   “Spirit guides” are another entity to stay away from. In fact, run from. I used to know a psychic—a spirit guide— who’s job it was to contact spirits from the “other side” and give advice based on what the “spirits” would tell her. But the advice was not helpful; in fact, it was destructive. But all part of the plan. However, she was a “nice” person—she didn’t look like a Satanist or anything—so people believed her.

   To their peril.

   “And no wonder, for Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light. It is not surprising, then, if his servants also masquerade as servants of righteousness…” (II Cor. 11:14-15).

   Deception.

   I know, I know. You’d be able to tell if you were being deceived. But that’s the tricky part about deception—you really can’t tell.

   As to reincarnation, that’s another lie from the pit of well, you know where. How do I know? Think about it—if we could all go to heaven just by coming back until we “get it right,” then Christ really wasted his time on the cross, didn’t he? I mean, if we could be saved from the fiery pit any other way, then we wouldn’t need a Savior, would we? It’s not rocket science.

   It is deception.

   “But,” (you say), “what about Harry Potter and Casper the Friendly Ghost and the Ghost Whisperer and the Good Witch—they’re all good people, they’re all nice.” They are but can I just tell you? There is no such thing as a “friendly” ghost; a “ghost whisperer” is simply another name for a spiritist/psychic/spirit guide; and God didn’t differentiate in the Bible between “good” or “bad” witches. What he did say was, “Now a man or a woman who is a medium or spiritist shall surely be put to death” (Lev. 20:27).

   Now, why would God say that? That just sounds mean. But God has a reason for being so unequivocal about witchcraft. He says, “’Do not turn to mediums or seek out spiritists, for you will be defiled by them. I am the Lord your God’” (Lev. 19:31). The fact is this: God is prohibiting occult activity for our sakes; it “defiles” us. That means it makes us “polluted,” “unclean,” even “foul” (Strong’s). And a holy God and his Holy Spirit cannot commune with us if we are polluted by the enemy.

   Let’s face it: the desire to engage in the occult, the “hidden,” is intriguing. There’s a mystery about it; people want to know more about the secret spirit realm. That’s the lure.

   Deception.

   The truth is, there’s nothing mysterious about the occult if we read our Bibles. God fuels all that is holy, and Satan fuels all that is evil. God works out in the open, the light, and Satan works in the hidden, the darkness. God will tell you the truth so that you can choose who or what you want to follow, and Satan will deceive you so that you don’t understand who or what evil you’re “choosing”. God will never override your free will, and Satan will destroy your free will. God brings freedom, and Satan brings bondage.

   God has come to bring you life, and Satan has come to bring you death. That’s all.

   “’When someone tells you to consult mediums and spiritists who whisper and mutter, should not a people inquire of their God? Why consult the dead on behalf of the living?’” (Is. 8:19).

   Do you want to know what your future destiny holds? Ask God, he’ll tell you. But one thing I can tell you: What your destiny holds depends upon whom you’re following.

   Choose wisely.

The “A” Words: Authority and Accountability

Riot IV

THE “A” WORDS: AUTHORITY AND ACCOUNTABILTY

   Let’s face it—even wolves have an authority structure. The Alpha dog is the one who keeps the others in line. If it weren’t for him, there wouldn’t be a pack, there’d be chaos. And we see lines of authority all throughout nature. There’s a “pecking order” in the barn; the geese follow a particular goose; rams butt heads to find out who’s in charge; and I’m pretty sure lions have some sort of show down to determine the Big Cat. (I did see The Lion King.) Even families in nature have a structure; all the little duckies follow the mommy duck in a no-nonsense line. Lion cubs get swatted into order, and I’ve never seen a calf or colt bucking the bull or stallion.

   Unfortunately, not so among humans—in families or in society. The result? Chaos in families and in society. The parenting trend in our culture over the last several decades has been to allow children to “rule the roost” (which, by the way, would never happen in the henhouse). We’ve all seen parents who are too intimidated by their children to stand up to their naughty behavior. This means that the authority structure in the home has broken down, and therefore, children (in these homes) are not taught even to acknowledge authority much less respect it. This then translates into meltdowns in our classrooms, workplaces, churches, courts, and even the streets of our nation; without respect for authority, it’s difficult (impossible?) to contain people who are not getting their way, much less to accomplish anything productive.

   So how do we offset this? There’s only one way: We have to recognize and comply with the need for both authority and accountability. And if that recognition does not begin with us, it has no hope of spreading to anyone else.

   But does submitting to authority and accountability mean that we subject ourselves to horrific abuse by those who wield their authority like Attila the Hun? Does it mean that, like browbeaten doormats, we silently quake in fear in the wake of bad leadership? Does it mean the return of slavitude and the breakdown of civil society?

   No.

There’s a time and a place to address abuses by authority, but it’s not by burning, looting, accosting, and assaulting those in charge. There are means of protest which do not erode or decimate a nation.

   So—what can we do to preserve civility on our turf?

   Suggestion #1: At least consider respecting authority. Granted, some people don’t deserve the positions of authority they hold, but instead of starting with the assumption that all authority is corrupt or incompetent, how about we at least wait until they prove that before we accuse them of it? In fact, why not begin with the opposite perspective—that all authority deserves to be respected? For example, let’s just assume that policemen and women have our backs and deserve to be respected for—what again? Oh, right—risking their very lives to protect—us. And ditto with the military; let’s not assume they’re all evil warmongers but rather selfless people who love their country and—us. Not to mention pastors—it’s actually possible that they do have better things to do all day on Sunday than the care and feeding of clueless sheep. (Wait—did I say Sunday? I meant Sunday through Saturday…) And let’s not forget teachers. Let’s just pretend for a moment that they’re not just in it for the big bucks and summers off and that they might actually like a kidlet or two. Besides, who doesn’t love arguing with teenagers for a living? Every. Single. Day. Almost.

   Suggestion #2: Consider being accountable. I know, I know—there’s a medieval concept. After all, being accountable to anyone would certainly imperil all our freedoms and rights as homo-sapiens. Right? But when you think about it, is it really such a horrific idea—especially if there is no one else to speak into our lives with just the right blend of wisdom, truth, and love? We’re usually blind to our own faults or we would’ve already dealt with them, so what’s wrong with getting another perspective? (And if we prefer to ignore our faults, then there’s a reason for accountability.) If we have an accountability partner, we can make character adjustments a lot sooner rather than later; we can get another viewpoint on potential decisions; or we can simply have that rock-in-a-storm to talk us off the ledge when we think the world is ending.

   Being accountable doesn’t mean we’re signing up to be raked over the brimstone every time we have a little chat with our partner. It can actually be the beginning of a beautiful friendship. And the Bible does say that “iron sharpens iron” (Prov. 27:17) and that “two are better than one…” (Ecc. 4:9-12).

   Seriously, King David would never have become king if he had not continued to honor King Saul’s position as king even though Saul was trying to kill him. David said (and I’m paraphrasing), “Far be it from me to touch God’s anointed.” Granted, I know better than many that sometimes it’s not easy or even safe to respect the authority we’re under, but that doesn’t mean we can’t do it—at least from a distance. Can we not at least pray for those in authority, if nothing else? Can we not at least be polite, even if we don’t have the greatest parent/boss/political representative, etc.?

   Respecting authority does not mean that we always agree with those in authority, nor does submitting to accountability mean that we’re relinquishing our free will if we choose to listen to someone wiser than we are. One thing I do know: If more people in our society were willing to do those two simple things, everything would change.

   Unity would happen.

 

  

Kingdom vs. Democracy

Crown-Constitution

KINGDOM VS. DEMOCRACY

   Living in a democracy is far different than living in a kingdom. Agreed? In a democratic republic, we vote in our leaders and, if we don’t like them, we vote them out. Simple. However, in a true kingdom (without a parliament), people have no say in who rules; whoever occupies the royal cradle is who they end up subject to. Sometimes that works out. Nevertheless, given human nature, most of the time, not. (You know what they say: “Absolute power corrupts absolutely.”) Still, subjects of a monarchy are often at an advantage when they become Christians. Why? Because they view Christ as a king and not an elected official.

   Of course, your average American Christian would argue that point; the party line (whichever party) is, “We know Jesus is King!” Maybe. We even sing songs to that effect. But still, knowing it and acting on it are two different things entirely.

   Now, to be sure, it’s not our fault that we don’t know the difference between a kingdom and a democracy. Moreover, those of us in said democracy believe that we have the advantage over a kingdom. After all, all we know of kings is that tyrant King George back in the day who taxed our tea without a thought as to what we’d drink with our crumpets. Or mad King Ludwig of German fame—proof positive that you can’t impeach a king. Or King Herod, the murderer, or King Henry the VIII, the adulterer/murderer, or King Louie XIV, the oblivious—and on and on it goes. (King Arthur, of course, was the exception, but alas… that was long ago…)

   The point is this: much of the confusion for Christians is that we give lip service to the idea that we are the subjects of Christ the King but, having little understanding of the difference between a kingdom and a democracy, in our ignorance, we presume much. So—here’s a little primer on the differences:

   Thing #1: Leaders. In a democracy, we elect our leaders, and those not directly elected to their positions are appointed by elected officials. This means that virtually all of our leaders in the United States are subject to We the People. In a democracy, our leaders serve us. In a kingdom, on the other hand, leaders are members of a monarchy who are born to their positions, not elected; therefore, they are not subject to any of the people. Rather, the people exist to serve the king. In terms of the Kingdom of God, this translates to this:

Christ is our king, not our president. As such, He is not subject to We the People nor can He be voted out. Period.

   Is that fair? To those raised in a democracy to whom everything is about “rights,” maybe not. Which brings me to…

   Thing #2: “Rights” and “Fairness.” In short, in a democracy, we have some rights. In a kingdom, we don’t. End of story. And unless and until the king decides we do have some, that will never change. Therefore, as to the above quandary regarding whether it’s “fair” that a king can’t be voted out, doesn’t matter. A kingdom concerns itself not in least with what’s fair to you or me. “Fairness,” in a kingdom, is not a doctrine. This is not to say, however, that all kings are ruthless or unfair. Christ is not, fortunately for us. Although, if He chose to be, that would be fair because “fairness,” in a kingdom, is defined entirely by what the king believes is fair. And there is no discussion about that nor is there any filibustering. In a kingdom, one protests the king’s view of fairness to one’s own peril.

   Thing #3: Laws. Kingdom laws are determined the same way as kingdom “rights” and “fairness;” the king is the one who determines what the laws are and he then decrees them. Furthermore, once a king establishes a law, no one, including the king himself, can negate the law. In the Bible, we have the (unfortunate) example of King Xerxes who carelessly decreed a law that the Jewish people could be slaughtered by whoever wanted to on March 7th of some year. However, when confronted with what a stupid idea that was, even he couldn’t cancel the law; the best he could do was to issue a new decree which would give the Jewish people permission to fight back. In the Bible, God says that His Word—His laws—are established “forever”. They will never change. In a democracy, on the other hand, laws can be protested, amended and even revoked.

   This particular difference between a kingdom and a democracy is the one which causes the most confusion and anger among Christians.

Some in the body of Christ think that if they don’t like a law or principle in the Word of God, they have the right to protest and/or ignore it entirely. Not so.

   In a kingdom, the only real freedom we have is whether to obey the laws of the king or not. However, the consequence for disobeying the laws is always punishment, and there is no appealing that.

   Thing #4: Subjects. In a democracy, We the People are called “citizens” because we are all equal members of a civil society (at least in theory). In a kingdom, people are called “subjects” because they are subject to the king, meaning that they are, essentially, at the mercy of the king. Hopefully, the king is merciful.

   Among the king’s subjects are his “gentlemen-in-waiting” and, for a queen, “ladies-in-waiting”. These are the king’s and queen’s closest confidants, his/her best friends, and the ones most influential to the monarch. However, this does not mean that these nobles are equal to the king or queen; they are appointed by the monarch and can be dis-appointed as well. Their job is to “wait” upon the king or queen.

   In terms of the Kingdom of God, we are Christ’s gentlemen and ladies-in-waiting. However, we are more than that; we are co-heirs with Christ; we rule and reign with Him. However—and this is key—we still wait upon Him. He is still the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords and we exist for His delight.

   I love the tale of King Arthur because I believe he is a visible type of Christ. (History suggests he was a real Roman commander-turned-king who reigned in England, establishing Christianity, in the pagan days of the druids.) He ruled over his kingdom but he had elevated his knights to a “round table”—an outrageous concept in his day. In other words, they had equal input into his decisions. And while he had the final decision, he listened to them. They were his companions and best friends and he loved them. He was, like Christ, a benevolent king who ruled in the best interests of his subjects and friends.

   In the Kingdom of God, the enigma is this: we serve in total subjectivity to Christ the King. Yet, because of who He is—a loving and benevolent king—He has chosen to elevate us to a higher position than we could ever achieve in a democracy. We are His co-heirs, His companions, His very friends.  

   And we are the most privileged of people to be so.