Beginning With Moses

Our family sat together this evening and found this gracious message from Dr. Steve Lawson. What an incredible testimony of the grace of God that points clearly and unequivocally to the centrality of the Lord Jesus Christ in the entire Scriptures.

Just to Clarify

Just to clarify if there are any questions, Defending Contending will NOT endorse any candidate in this election. Both candidates hold positions that defy the laws of God. This is not about the economy, Benghazi, lies, treason, their lack of theology, or anything apart from following the Scriptures when it comes to making decisions that will impact our lives as we stand before God.

 

Dump Them Both

I have lived almost half a century. Being both a US citizen and a British subject, I can say that I have seen my share of politics. I have seen the games, heard the lies, and watched the vitriol fly. This current election in the USA must be the worse I have ever seen. We are a laughingstock among the nations of the world, many of whom have no fear of us as a nation. More importantly, they have no respect for us because our leaders (and potential wanna-be leaders) have no respect for the laws of this land.

America used to be a very great nation. We are the nation that was silent for the first 3 years of The Great War, also known as World War I. Finally joining in, the men of this nation answered the call to arms and routed the enemies of freedom. That was ALL that was fought for.

The same thing occurred in World War II when the greatest generation of Americans who have ever lived rose up and resoundingly thrashed the enemies of freedom on two fronts (Europe and Asia). We asked for nothing, but gave much. After all was said and done, we sent more of men and women to former war fronts and America rebuilt those nations one brick at a time. We even paid for it with grants, many of which have still not been repaid.

The men and women who gave their lives in the theaters of war followed their orders so that we might have the freedoms we enjoy today.

Sadly, I never thought, and I am sure our Founding Fathers, nor those veterans of war from World War II on, could have thought or imagined that our nation would be allowed to flounder like a fish out of water. To think that the choices for President and Commander-in-Chief is down to the vulgar, trash-talking, debauched candidate on one side and a feminist, God-hating, traitor on the other side is just enough to make anybody with half an ounce of common sense want to vomit – violently!

However, there is something even worse than what we are seeing today. Our nation has become a nation that panders to evil. It calls good to be evil, and evil to be good. Our nation has become a culture that thinks it is entitled. It thinks it is entitled to disrespect the American flag while being paid millions of dollars. Sadly, most of the people who complain about this are the same ones who will still pay hundreds of dollars at sporting events every single week and thus support and endorse what is taking place.

Our society believes that is must speak from the pocketbook because after all, “it’s about the economy, stupid!” When will we ever learn? Obviously, it is true that those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it. This once great nation is repeating history. History shows that Rome was NOT destroyed by her enemies. She was destroyed from within. Rome thought she was entitled to what she had. Ultimately, she was destroyed because she forgot the reason she existed was because of God and God alone.

Not only is our society at large a problem, but even the evangelical church is a problem. We have people fighting back and forth across the aisles of Facebook, Twitter, and even church itself trying to decide why and which of the lesser of two great, monstrous evils to vote for!

Seriously?? Let’s put this into perspective.

Let’s assume in a few years that the choice is down to a president who promises that he or she will only kill 10 Christians per day versus a president who promises that he or she will only kill just one (1) Christian per day. Are our only choices really to vote for the lesser of these two evils? The cries are growing louder and I can hear some saying, “Oh, that would never happen!”

May I remind you that we can easily substitute the word “Christian” in the above sentence and replace it with “baby” or “infant.” We end up with the same solution. We soothe our conscience by declaring that we are only voting for the president who “promises to only kill just one (1) baby a day” on his watch instead of standing for what is right.

You can argue all you want while using the illustrations of Joseph being second in command in Egypt, and Daniel being third in command in all of Babylon. Those two men were NOT voted in to their office. They were placed strategically, specifically, and sovereignly in those places of power by none other than God for a specific purpose.

The Christians of Rome had no option to “vote” for the lesser of two evil Caesars. They would NEVER have been told by the apostles to “vote your conscience” or “vote for the lesser of two evils and hope for the best.” Utter ridiculousness! They were commanded to obey the laws of the land, to remember who was in control, to pray for the leaders of the land, to watch for the Lord’s return, and to pray without ceasing.

Today, we have many who are not only self-acclaimed evangelicals, but even claim that they believe in the sovereign hand of God. They then turn around and think that the entire picture puzzle rests upon their feeble shoulders of clay. They declare that God is in control, but refuse to believe Psalm 2 that reminds us that God sits in the heavens and LAUGHS at the wicked. The wicked say, “Let us break their bands asunder” but God holds them in derision.

Today, our churches rarely pray and are certainly not watching and hoping for the return of the Lord. Our churches are more concerned about keeping the peace between rival factions in the congregation instead of saying, “Thus says the Lord…the wicked shall not prosper!”

In the meantime, having cast aside the belief in the sovereignty of God, we have become more and more pragmatic in our belief system. We justify the killing of only one baby a day because “maybe God will take this candidate out of the picture after he becomes president so that we can be blessed with the second person in charge” and America will truly become a Christian nation again. Our pastors and churches have accepted the handouts of the government and thus have been lulled into silence for the sake of a few dollars saved on church supplies at the local office supply store.

I would be a fool to encourage our readers to follow their heart. Your heart and mine cannot be trusted. Jeremiah 17:9 makes this very clear, “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it?”

Both candidates are simply two sides of the same coin. They both endorse the murder of helpless babies and support the abomination of the homosexual movement. Evil is still evil and will always be evil. Please spare me the details of how “a vote thrown away is a vote for ______” or “if you don’t vote, you are not obeying your civic duty and thus in sin!”

No, no, no, and NO!!!!!!

I want to hear more pastors, Bible teachers, and evangelists crying out to God like Nehemiah to forgive their sins, the sins of their homes, and the sins of this nation. I want to hear more who will be willing, even as a top official, to pray for what is right and true, even if it means that you get thrown to the lions. I want to hear more cry for mercy for the tragedy that has befallen this nation, and plead to God asking, “How long, O Lord, will the wicked prosper?”

The truth is that if those who claimed the name of Christ were willing to cease being pragmatic in their approach to life and realize that the Scriptures are good for all that pertains to life and godliness (2 Peter 1:3), then we would become a voice crying in the wilderness, “Make straight your paths for the King is coming.”

With all the arguments that have been bandied about as to who we should or should not vote for, I am truly appalled at the lack of integrity that is seen in every quarter. I am appalled at the emotions that are in play instead of the Scriptures. I am appalled at the reality that many who say they love the Lord and believe He is King of Kings and Lord of Lords live as though the rise and fall of America depends on them casting a vote for the lesser of two evils!

I have no right to tell you to vote for either candidate. Americans, by the law of the land, have been given the liberty and the choice to make as to what they will do in this election and every election after this.

Those who claim the name of Christ though have a much higher calling. We are not called to obey our emotions. We are not called to vote with our pocketbooks. We are called to be ambassadors of the King of Kings, and I have to wonder how many in the world look on us with disdain because we have fallen hard and fast away from the truths we claim to hold dear.

As a true believer in the sovereignty of God and the dictates of Scripture, I personally cannot and will not vote for either candidate. I will not violate my conscience in order to pacify my emotions. Finally, I choose not to vote ultimately because to do so means that I must practice situational ethics in order to justify either choice.

Like Joshua of old said, “As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord!” We will wake up on November 6th giving thanks that we are one day closer to the return of the Lord. We will be able to sleep well at night knowing that we did not approve of one single candidate who stands daily to mock the Most High God. We will wake up knowing that no matter who will be the next president that our God still reigns and He ALONE puts up one and puts down another.

He alone can make our next Nebuchadnezzar to eat grass like a cow until he lifts up his eyes and praises the Most High God, and He alone can choose to feed the next Herod literally to the worms!

In conclusion, our readers have choices to make as well. My prayer is that each of you will pray about how you can make the right decisions that are in line with the Word of God. There should be and can be no other rule by which you decide your paths. Ultimately, we will each give account before God for the decision we choose to make, but we will not have the liberty to say that we loved what God hates because it was the better of all the other options.

Read God’s Word

It has been a while since I have even attempted to read through the Bible in a year. This year, I am doing just that, along with my regular Bible reading (reading through more slowly) and a Bible study.

This has me going through five different sections of Scripture at present. I thought it could be a bit overwhelming but, so far, I am enjoying it. Each portion is different from each other and yet each serves a purpose.

I don’t know if I will do this every year. I’ll have to see how this year goes but, for this year, I am looking forward to seeing what God speaks to me, as I draw near to Him and ask Him to show me the way I should go and to help me to be faithful. This continues to be my constant prayer.

You may not have the time to read as much Scripture as I hope to this year, but I encourage you to read at least some Scripture every day. Even if it’s one verse that you meditate on each day, it will not return void.

Psalm 119:11 says, “Your word have I hid in my heart, that I might not sin against you (emphasis mine). Although sin is sometimes pleasurable for a season, it is the pure in heart that shall see God (Matthew 5:8).

Won’t you take time to read God’s Word today?

PS — Here is a link to Crossway where one of the menus at the top offer several reading plans.

I Do Not Allow a Woman

John MacArthur is spot-on with his gracious approach to the godly role and high-calling of women within the church. Far too many women are violating the Scriptures because of either a misunderstanding of the Word of God, or because of a deliberate rebellion against God’s sovereign purposes for the Bride of Jesus Christ. When you start violating God’s clear commands, it is so easy to then start diverting down other paths to the point where you will hold to and even teach heresy like Joyce Meyers and Beth Moore have done.

Ortho-what?

Orthodoxy is defined “in the Christian sense” to mean “conforming to the Christian faith as represented in the creeds of the early Church.” This word comes from the Greek orthos meaning correct and the Greek doxy meaning opinion.

Orthopraxy is defined as “correctness or orthodoxy of action or practice.” The word comes from the Greek orthos meaning correct and the Greek praxis meaning deed or action.

It is often stated in many circles that doctrine divides. Doctrine does certainly divide but the belief or conformity to the Christian faith is a lofty ideal that many hold to unswervingly. The average person may not fully understand all the words or theological terms, but they have no issue repeating the creeds or stating that they believe just like their church believes.

The problem is NOT with too much orthodoxy in the church. Orthodoxy is easy to fine in most evangelical churches. Creeds grace the walls of many sanctuaries. Hymnbooks contain creeds or doctrinal statements that encourage the reader to understand what his or her chosen congregation believes. Bulletins include calls to recitation of orthodox doctrine. Books line the walls of the libraries found in the pastor’s study or the church lending room. Many of these books are a basis or a foundation of what can be expected in regards to doctrine. Pastors and teachers speak each week and many messages are based on a particular aspect of Christian doctrine. In essence, they are standing to share the “correct opinion” of what the Word of God has to say to the hearer.

The problem in much of what passes for American Christianity is that the orthodoxy rarely translates into orthopraxy. “Correct opinion” of the Word of God is not being seen as “correct deeds or actions” either within the church or outside of the church.

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Orthodoxy vs. Orthopraxy means:

  1. We believe God’s Word is sufficient for all that pertains to life and godliness (2 Peter 1:3), AND we practice this in each aspect of our daily walk.
  1. We believe the law of Christ (Luke 10:27), AND we show that we love God and our neighbor through daily interaction.
  1. We believe we are to have godly families (Ephesians 5 & 6), AND we show to those closest to us that our correct opinion translates into correct actions.
  1. We believe we are to be lights to a dark, sin-sick world (Matthew 5:16), AND we strive to share the truth of the Gospel by reaching out to those around us.
  1. We believe church is to be a fellowship of true blood-bought believers (1 Peter 1 & 2), AND we practice fellowship by desiring to spend MORE time than just 1 hour and 20 minutes on a Sunday morning each week.
  1. We believe church should be a representation of the fellowship we will enjoy together for all of eternity, AND we work diligently not to let minor things separate us.
  1. We believe covenanting together in Christian unity (Acts 2), AND we stop shopping for the next big fad on the Christian church horizon.
  1. We believe pastor-teachers are called to edify and exhort and encourage the local body of Christ (Ephesians 4), AND we refuse to compare them with the latest and greatest speakers on TV, radio, or internet.
  1. We believe pastor-teachers are to protect the flock (1 Peter 5), AND we take comfort as they lead us in straight paths instead of looking for reasons to leave.
  1. We believe we are to bear one another’s burden (Galatians 6), AND we take an active interest in the lives of those we have covenanted together with to ensure that needs are being met (including emotional and spiritual needs).
  1. We believe Christ died for His Bride (Ephesians 5), AND we take delight in loving and forgiving those for whom He died.
  1. We believe Christ forgives us of our sins (1 John 1), AND we do not hold unforgiveness or bitterness in our hearts toward those who can NEVER wrong us to the degree that we did to Christ before He saved us.
  1. We believe strife and contention are not part of the fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5), AND we refuse to take needless offense when others don’t respond JUST like we do or JUST like we expect them to do.
  1. We believe prayer is vital in the life of every true believer (James 5:16), AND we learn to discipline our lives and the life of the church to pray without ceasing.
  1. We believe only Christ is Perfect (1 Peter 1), AND we encourage each other to become more like Christ daily instead of demanding perfection from imperfect sinners saved by grace.
  1. We believe the Scriptures are infallible and inspired by God (2 Peter 1:21), AND we stop running to the local so-called Christian bookstore for the latest drivel that makes vain attempts to make us feel better about ourselves.
  1. We believe we are not to be conformed to the world (Romans 12), AND this means we will stop liking and loving what God hates. Wizardry, witches, demonology, vampires, titillating reality shows, etc. are NOT what God likes. In fact, if you can love these things of the world, 1 John makes it clear that the love of God is not in you and you are NOT a true believer.
  1. We believe we are but sojourners in this world (Hebrews 11), AND we strive to keep our focus on things of heaven and to have a continual perspective of eternity.

These are just a few ways in which we must grow in our spiritual walk if we are to make a difference in the world. All of the orthodoxy (or correct opinion) of God’s Word will never change you or those who know you unless it can be seen that such orthodoxy transforms you into having a biblical orthopraxy (or correct deeds).

The church has no business even claiming they believe correct orthodoxy if they do not also believe and strive to practice correct orthopraxy.

So, the question is this for each of us to consider today and every day – does your orthopraxy proclaim your orthodoxy or does your orthodoxy get in the way of your orthodoxy?