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We just celebrated April Fool’s Day, but let me propose something for you to think about that is not a joke…Hell will be full of believers.

"Believer" is an inadequate term to describe Christians because it doesn’t indicate the essence of a true Christian which is a "follower" of Jesus Christ. I believe in Satan, but I don't follow Him. James 2:19 says that demons “believe and tremble” at Jesus, but they don’t follow Him. Satan knows Jesus. He lived with Jesus in Heaven. He spoke to Him…and tempted Him. Satan is absolutely a “believer” in Jesus, but he’s not a “follower”.

The book of Revelation is clear about how things turn out in the future. As a result, I propose that when the following things occur, everyone will become an instant “believer”:

  • When Jesus returns to establish His Millennial Kingdom, every knee will bow to King Jesus - everyone will believe then. 
  • After Jesus throws the Anti-Christ and False Prophet into the Lake of Fire, everyone will believe. 
  • After the Great White Throne Judgment when Jesus demonstrates authority over all lives, everyone will believe. 
  • After Jesus defeats Satan once and for all (after His Millennial reign and before His Eternal Reign), everyone will believe. 

Thus, my conclusion, that Hell will be full of “Believers”. 

There are several men and women who warm the pews every Sunday morning. By their regular attendance you would certainly think they are true Christians. But some of them never witnessed to anyone about Jesus, never repented of their sins, never gave tithes and offerings and never talked (prayed) to Him. These are commands that all Christians are given, but many Christians don’t obey these commands. Do you obey the commands of God? If not, then ask yourself, “Can you really be a true follower of Christ if you don’t obey His commands?”

Being religious is not enough. To be a true follower of Jesus, one must have a personal relationship with Him. A true follower would profess publicly that Jesus is his Lord and Savior…would surrender his life to Jesus as Lord…would long to know Him better (e.g. Bible Study)…would want to serve Him…would want to be obedient to Him…would allow Him to transform his life…would bear fruit for Him and glorify Him as described in John 5:5-8.

The Bible promises eternal salvation for everyone who requests forgiveness in Jesus’ name (Romans 10:13). The importance of Easter (Resurrection Day) is that Jesus satisfied His Father’s justice by dying on the cross for all of mankind’s sins. God will pardon everyone who has genuine faith in Jesus, and He makes each believer a new creation in Christ (2 Corinthians 5:17).

Abide: “to accept without objection” – “to continue in a Place (Webster’s 7th Collegiate Dictionary)

Genesis 13:13 “But the men of Sodom were wicked and sinners before the Lord exceedingly.” In studying the scripture there is a principle called “The Law of First Mention.” Genesis 13:13 is the first mention of the word sinner(s) in the Bible. It references those abiding in the ancient city of Sodom. Sodom was one of the “cities of the plain” located somewhere around the Dead Sea. The city was infamous for its pagan worship and its depravity. Zondervan Bible Dictionary (M.C. Tenney) notes its name became synonymous with “vice, infamy, injustice, and judgement”.

As we live through a season of famous and powerful men being accused of sexual misconduct in varying degrees, it becomes increasingly apparent something is terribly wrong. How did we get to this place?

Truth be told, this is not a new place; it’s an old place. When God condemned the people of Sodom 4,000 years ago and labeled them sinners, the sin was sexual immorality and perversion. I Kings 14:24 informs that as the city of Sodom moved more and more away from the worship of Jehovah God they moved closer to the worship of man-made gods. The further away they drifted from God the deeper they sank into an immoral abyss. The obsession with sex and sexuality over time became how the people of Sodom identified themselves until the culture was completely immersed in finding new ways to satisfy an increasingly insatiable sexual appetite – nothing was out of bounds including violence and murder to achieve one’s lust. In that cultural climate, those who stood with Jehovah were the oddballs. Over time, however, their numbers diminished as they absorbed the norm in Sodom – “Everybody’s doing it”, “There are no rules except there are no rules” and “We are a sophisticated society living to assuage our desires.”

Our country’s biggest export around the world is Hollywood’s interpretation of life, love, right, wrong, people of faith and moral standards, as seen through the lens of a movie camera and projected on a bigger than life screen. The goal for all who view, to be seduced, to see things as men like Harvey Weinstein and Woody Allen see them. These two are examples of men without a moral compass who along with the everyday drip, drip, drip of men in media, entertainment and politics that felt entitled, by virtue of their power and position, to take advantage of the women who stepped into their grip. Now women are speaking out! Why now?  Why not sooner when the events transpired? One answer might be because the “the Casting Couch” and the rights of the elite to abuse was without recourse or consequence. It was part of the Hollywood culture, accepted without objection by one and all! To quote N.Y.C. radio host Mark Simone (WOR Radio) “Everybody knew this was happening for years – Everybody knew about Harvey Weinstein, Charlie Rose, Matt Lauer. When the subject of Weinstein’s’ behavior came up in conversation, people laughed and said, “that’s just Harvey!”

Problem: Every American abides in this highly sexualized culture. It’s having an effect on all of us, especially our Youth! We have been drawn in by the delusion that sin has no consequences.

But the truth is, sin always has consequences: Numbers 32:23 “… behold, ye have sinned against the Lord:  and be sure your sin will find you out.”

For all the “famed”, “respected”, “entitled”, “hypocritical” individuals who are being “outed”, that day has come. But if we miss being outed in this life we will all be judged by a just and Holy God in the next.

There is, however, a prescription by which sin is forgiven and neutralized – God does not leave us to ourselves to become slaves to our passions. He has provided a way out:

  • Psalm 32:5 Acknowledge our sin
  • 1 John 1:9 Confess it to God – Ask His forgiveness
  • Psalm 38:18 Be sorry for your sin – Repent
  • Romans 6:6 Don’t cater to your sin
  • Hebrews 12:4 Resist! (with God’s help, fight back!)
  • Psalm 19:18 Don’t go there!

If we learn from these ugly, disturbing events and, as individuals and as a nation, repent, reject this cultural rot and turn to Christ as Savior, there is a way out of Sodom!

God will heal our land. If not, if we continue to close our ears and our minds to all His warnings, ours will be the same fate as was Sodom: we will burn in the fires of our own lusts…and ultimately in the fires of Hell!

Following the ouster of prayer in public schools in the 1960’s I don’t recall when secular forces began their quest to remove manger scenes from the public square. In their ignorant intolerance they used Thomas Jefferson’s * (whom they now decry!) letter of January 1, 1802 to the Danbury Baptist Association of Danbury Connecticut containing the phrase “a wall of separation between church and state” reassuring the Baptist that the government hands were tied from interfering with or in any way controlling the affairs or decisions of the churches in America. They used the wall phrase as a shoehorn into the constitution to turn freedom of religion into freedom from religion (note Thomas Jefferson never signed the constitution nor was he present at the constitutional conventions of 1787).

Over time they accomplished their goal: no manger scenes on public land -eventually, that leached out into – no saying Merry Christmas, no singing Christmas carols at school, no Bible reading at school and no writing reports about one’s faith in Jesus Christ. No crosses at certain cemeteries – no Ten Commandments on the wall – no Ten Commandments at the Mall!

Well, they’ve just about run out of Christian traditions and symbols to tear down or cast aside, so now they’ve come for America’s history in the form of statues and monuments – to a certain segment of the population for whom nothing is sacred. NOTHING!! is scared, not even life in the womb, police on the street, marriage, history, tradition, the Bible, the Church – But there is a common denominator: once we reject God as the cornerstone of life there is a no solid foundation upon which to build a life, a family or a nation – we can’t simply blame a godless culture for the state in which we find our country in 2017.  Each of us has played a part in the secularization of America. We’ve done it through apathy, compromise, capitulation and a spirit of rebellion against God and His word.

Three thousand years ago that same spirit rose in Israel. The prophet Samuel made his two sons judges but they were corrupt and dishonest (some swamps never drain!). The people asked for a king claiming distrust of the establishment as their reason. Yet their own words betrayed their real motive. They wanted a king like all the other nations. The Lord then showed Samuel the true reason behind Israel’s desire for a king: I Samuel 8:7, “they have rejected me that I should not reign over them”. I need to look into my own heart and life to examine where I have pushed God out: is it my time, my priorities, my devotion to prayer, study and meditation on the word, my thoughts, attitudes, sin, my attendance at church, have I given into my fears, worries, anxieties, stresses, negativism or my own will? The list is long but I must ask as others have: Is it me, Lord?

God has given us the freedom to choose -  we can accept or reject Him, heed or disregard His word, follow His leading, or wander off on our own! But choices have consequences. Thomas Jefferson wrote these words in 1781 and I think they are even more applicable today “God who gave us life gave us liberty. And can the liberties of a nation be thought secure when we have removed their only firm basis, a conviction in the minds of the people that these liberties are a Gift of God? That they are not to be violated but with his wrath? Indeed, I tremble for my county when I reflect that God is just; that His justice cannot sleep forever”

First “they” came for the manger…now what?

*All Jefferson quotations from America’s God and Country by Wm. J. Federer published by Fame Publishing.

This is the first of a series of articles which come out of the experience of an artist whose work is in conflict with the dominant culture. Most of my paintings are of allegorical figures often inspired by the Renaissance and Romantic periods. Much of the great art of the past reflected, despite the Fall, humanity was still created in the image of God and therefore has great worth. But contemporary culture hardly reflects this exalted view of humanity, rather the subtext seems more like B.F. Skinner’s “To man qua man we readily say good riddance”. This diminished view of humanity runs through fine art as well as popular culture. It is most apparent in the culture’s morbid preoccupation with horror, the symbols of death certainly don’t reflect a reverence for life. I seem to be alone in recognizing the significance of these disturbing symbols in contemporary culture.

Christian ought to be interested in symbols since Jesus often used symbols in his teachings. For example, the Parable of the Sower uses the symbolism of seeds falling on different kinds of ground, some ground hinders the growth of seeds while other ground can nurture growth. The different kinds of ground can be interpreted as different cultural environments people live in. Some environments can nurture the spirit while others extinguish it. Unfortunately, it seems today, most seeds fall into what Max Weber called the Iron Cage.

On October 9, we celebrated Columbus Day in America.  Well, most of us did.

The Los Angeles City Council voted recently to eliminate Columbus Day from the city calendar because Christopher Columbus mistreated Native Americans.  It saddened me to think that we may one day have a country with no holidays.  I asked myself, “What is the purpose of a holiday anyway?”  My answer—to remember a significant person or event so that we can never forget the extraordinary distinction and always maintain a heart of gratitude for it.

If we are only going to celebrate holidays that honor righteous men and women, then all holidays celebrating particular persons will eventually be voted out—goodbye to honoring the birthdays of Martin Luther King Jr and George Washington.  Easter and Christmas celebrate a perfect man, Jesus, but His name alone offends too many people.

Labor Day offends lazy people, Halloween celebrates pagan gods and Thanksgiving includes the same Native Americans mistreated by Columbus.  At first, the celebration of our nation’s independence looks to remain on the list, but if you consider that the freedom we celebrate required bloodshed and death, then no way.  Those who are offended by killing will vote to eliminate Veterans Day and Memorial Day too.  Perhaps only New Year’s Day will survive, but eventually, the anti-firearms people may also become anti-fireworks people.  There you have it...a country with no holidays.

Don't despair, my friends…just be patient.  The Kingdom of Jesus is coming…the same one mentioned in the Lord’s Prayer…“Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done on earth, as it is in heaven” (Matthew 6:10) where every day will be worthy of celebration, especially the day Jesus defeats Satan (Rev 20:10).

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