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Thursday
Dec072017

When Jerusalem Divides the World

On Wednesday President Trump declares the United States will be moving its embassy in Tel Aviv to Jerusalem recognizing that Jerusalem is the capital of Israel. Immediately the world goes nuts. Why? Well, that is a good question. Israel is a sovereign nation and has a right to designate it’s own capital city. Yet the Palestinians who also claim Jerusalem as theirs, feel they should have Jerusalem as their capital once a two State plan is devised. The problem with all the politics concerning Jerusalem is that it doesn’t give you the whole story. The decision about Jerusalem isn’t about people, it’s about God. It is His city, and He has given the land to the Jews.

The Bible says that Jerusalem is a trap and a snare to many people, so why does it create such controversy? It’s quite simple if you follow the prophetic reason. It is the city where Jesus will rule and reign for 1,000 years and that is why this city has so many enemies - it is Satan’s attempt to thwart the future kingdom of Jesus’ reign on earth.

There is a warning from God to those who want to divide Israel or change the plans God has for His people and His land:

Isaiah 8:9-13 

Raise the war cry, you nations, and be shattered!
    Listen, all you distant lands.
Prepare for battle, and be shattered!
    Prepare for battle, and be shattered!
10 Devise your strategy, but it will be thwarted;
    propose your plan, but it will not stand,
    for God is with us. 

11 This is what the Lord says to me with his strong hand upon me, warning me not to follow the way of this people: 

12 “Do not call conspiracy
    everything this people calls a conspiracy;
do not fear what they fear,
    and do not dread it.
13 The Lord Almighty is the one you are to regard as holy,
    he is the one you are to fear,
    he is the one you are to dread.

We know that in the last days, God will shake all nations and He will bring all nations against Jerusalem (Zechariah 14). The key to understanding the last days is God Himself. He is the one behind bringing the nations of the world to Israel for the distinct purpose of making Himself known. The city of Jerusalem is plainly revealed in the Book of Zechariah as the place Jesus will set up His kingdom.

Zech 14:9 “And the LORD will be king over all the earth. On that day there will be one LORD--his name alone will be worshiped.

Jerusalem will be His throne! This is why Christians need to familiarize themselves with how God uses Israel to facilitate the return of Jesus Christ. Israel is not a popular theme in many churches, but God is getting everything ready for the return of Jesus Christ, and Israel is in the middle of it all. The move by President Trump is just a small step in that direction. I have told people for years, if you want to understand Biblical prophecy, study Israel’s role. More than any other prophetic sign, Israel becoming a nation on May 14, 1948 was the super sign of the centuries. Israel didn’t diminish with the advent of the New Testament, nor was Israel replaced as some teach today. Israel becomes the context of the fulfillment of Bible prophecy. Popular Bible commentator Jan Markell says that it is unfortunate that Christians don’t focus and study more about Israel because Israel is critical to understanding the last days as described in the Bible. 

There will be protests, and more condemnation of Trump’s declaration, but remember this is not just an American President fulfilling a campaign promise, he is being used by God to set the stage for the coming of the King.

I leave you with a thought from Pastor Jay Christianson as he reflects upon this signing by President Trump

  1. Cyrus (a Gentile) declared that the Jews could return to Jerusalem, 70 years after the Babylonian Exile.
     
  2. On November 29, 1947 The UN adopted Resolution 181 creating a legal basis for the creation of the state of Israel. This was a decision of the Gentiles on behalf of the Jews and it lead to Israel becoming a nation on May 14, 1948.
     
  3. President Trump who has been called God’s Cyrus of our day, has now affirmed Jerusalem as Israel’s capital 70 years after the UN Decree.
     
  4.  Israel will celebrate its 70th year anniversary this Spring 2018.
     
  5. 70 years is a biblically significant number and we are watching it all play out in our day.

 Keeping it honest and truthful….K

 

 

Monday
Dec042017

The Lessons of a Health Alert

While on vacation in late October this year I discovered I had heart disease. That disease was never on my radar, and anyone who knows me would be shocked. My lifestyle and dietary habits would usually not make someone like me a candidate for quadruple by-pass surgery, yet there I was on November 28th, having surgery. I am not going to bore you with any of those details, but while recovering in the hospital I found myself reflecting on the meaning of life and how to preserve the amount of time I have left. First of all, I am alive today because of God’s mercy through a tennis game with my friend David. God’s mercy used my friend David to challenge me to a game of tennis, something he has done in the past. After ten minutes I had to stop playing because I could no longer breathe and started to throw up.

So the first lesson I learned about living is:

Don’t Ignore the Signs

I was so stubborn in believing that my condition was due to something completely different than what it was. Even after failing a stress test I couldn’t be convinced that heart disease was the cause of my problem. Had I ignored the fact that four of my arteries were 90-95% blocked, I would probably be dead by now or pretty close.

Life is like that too. The signs that there is a God can be seen every day, but people live their lives totally ignoring Him. Stubborn people like me, thinking something else is truth when at the end of the day life boils down to a simple fact: do you know God? Many people ignore the signs all around us of his return, thinking it really doesn’t matter one way or another. Yet it does matter because unless you take action today there may not be a tomorrow to make any critical changes.

This all leads me to the second lesson I learned:

Stress is a Killer:

Life has so many unexpected twists and turns and most of them stress us out. Stress is one of the main ingredients of heart disease, yet few of us know how to deal with stress and learn to live with less of it. My goal in living a healthier lifestyle is to learn how to live right everyday. I know we hear that a lot, but most of us if we could, would agree to a sit down with a health coach, a spiritual advisor, dietitian, spiritual coach and a financial planner - and together they would help us to be better prepared to live above the stressful issues of an unhealthy life. This would be extremely helpful against the areas that cause us the most stress, but who has the time to do that? But that is my point. We spend our time on things that just plain keep stressing our lives and it is a vicious cycle that keeps stress in our lives. An example of this was the news from last week. The stories were full of stories of sexual improprieties and resignations. And you know what? It didn’t matter to my life at all. So I decided that I don’t want to be drawn into the things of life that don’t matter, and I refuse to plant stress in my life but choose to invest in the good things in life.

Lastly, in light of this thought on investing time to be with good friends and family is invaluable. The many well-wishers, people who took time to pray for me, and those who visited me, was an obvious investment of time. That was how America was built into a strong nation. Americans worked together, built strong families, and cared for their neighbors. It is like my friend Steve who is the longest friendship I have, over 55 years. Steve and I don’t always agree on things, but at the end of the day, it’s our friendship that wins out and is extremely important to both of us.

Moving forward from surgery? Life lessons are usually learned in some of the most unexpected and dark moments, but they bring the greatest reward.

I thank you all for you kindness toward my family and me.

Keeping it honest and truthful….K

 

 

 

Monday
Nov272017

The Day of Reckoning

Matthew 12:36 “And I tell you this, you must give an account on judgment day for every idle word you speak.”

I have said for years that we don’t take the day of reckoning very seriously. The main reason is that most of us don’t want to face the idea we are going to die, and then comes judgment. That is an uncomfortable topic, yet it is probably the most important element in our lives. Life is not that complicated: you are born, you live your life, and then you die. You won’t be remembered much beyond the funeral, and what you did in life will be forgotten by most and you simply become a name on a gravestone. That’s reality. Sounds depressing doesn’t it?  Yet, it is not about what this life has afforded you, it is all about the treasure you have laid up in heaven. What you did here will count for a lot once you stand before God on the day of reckoning, but I wonder how many of us have been diligently investing into laying up treasures in heaven?

Matthew 6:19-21 “Don’t collect for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal. 20 But collect for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves don’t break in and steal. 21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

This is the day of reckoning; the time all truth about your life will be exposed and revealed. It will not be a day for excuses or regrets, and your bucket list will be revealed as the true source of where your treasures lay. Too many of us play it safe with our lives, calculating and re-calculating the cost of being fully devoted to Jesus, and only contributing to His Kingdom when it is convenient.  Convenient isn’t in the vocabulary of God because many times it is when it’s inconvenient that God takes notice and adds rewards to your treasures in heaven. Living your life in the understanding that a day of reckoning will happen to all people, whether you are a follower of Jesus or not. No one gets a pass and everyone will stand before God - some to damnation because of their unbelief, and others to their rewards because of their faithfulness to Him.

I am a firm believer in the course of action that says, “If you are going to design something, keep in mind the finished product and then back up and design it according to that end result.” Life is like that as well - the end product is standing before God and then rewinding to what you will do today. How will you influence your day of reckoning today? How kind will you be toward others, how truthful will you be about your behavior, how much will you sacrifice for Him today, and how forgiving will you be toward those who offend you?

Facing Almighty God is more of an ominous thing that we think, and I realize that if you are a believer in Jesus, you will be given the sentence of life and for some that may be all you want out of being a Christian. For others, I think you are looking for the words that will be the verification of a life well lived. Those words will be, “Well done, thou good and faithful servant.”

My advice: Keep the day of reckoning as a goal to guide and motivate your life, because it will pay off one day when you are forgotten on earth, but known throughout His kingdom.

You never know when your day of reckoning will happen.

A cowboy appeared before St. Peter at the Pearly Gates. "Have you ever done anything of particular merit?" St. Peter asked.

"Well, I can think of one thing," the cowboy offered.  "On a trip to the Black Hills out in South Dakota, I came upon a gang of bikers who were threatening a young woman. I directed them to leave her alone, but they wouldn't listen. So, I approached the largest and most tattooed biker and smacked him in the face, kicked his bike over, ripped out his nose ring, and threw it on the ground. I yelled, 'Now, back off or I'll kick your butt!”

St. Peter was impressed, "When did this happen?"
 
"Couple of minutes ago."

Keeping it honest and truthful…K

Tuesday
Nov212017

Facing The Truth About Sexual Abuse

Jeremiah 17:9 “"The human heart is the most deceitful of all things, and desperately wicked. Who really knows how bad it is?”

I am glad women are speaking up and that they now feel empowered to do so. Men have always had the power and they have always gotten away with their inappropriate behavior. This is not just in the entertainment and political industries, it can happen in the Church. I know personally of women who have been harassed sexually and were abused repeatedly in the Christian workplace. Women working for ministries never felt they could make an allegation against a colleague or especially against an employer because they needed their jobs. Men who claimed to emulate the character of Christ and were in leadership positions often were the worst offenders of sexual abuse. I don’t want to make the Christian workplace out to be worse than it is, but we can never overlook the least likely places where this kind of behavior takes place.

However, talking about the guilty will only expose the problem, and unless there is a moral shift in culture I don’t believe much will be resolved. We have seen where racism has been exposed but the struggle against it continues to be a problem today. If this trend of exposing the abuse to women is to have a lasting affect, men will have to change. Men will need to take responsibility for their behavior and know that it is not only wrong; it is a crime to abuse someone sexually. Even then some men will continue to be sexual predators because it is in their nature. Now, many people reading this may disagree with me, but men are easily aroused and stimulated by even the thought of a sexual encounter.  They also have society on their side - at least how society has dismissed men’s “boys will be boys” behavior. Psychologists believe men can change and it starts with changing the way men see women. Now, I have no argument with any of this, because I believe the problem lies primarily with men and how they use their influence to manipulate women.

Yet to simply say men are the problem is like saying, “drunk driving kills people.” We all know drinking and driving is harmful behavior, but yet it hasn’t gone away. We all know racism is bad for everyone, yet racism still exists, and in some cases it’s gone viral. The problem of sexual abuse exists, but our attempts to find solutions in training, education, and social re-engineering of men will never solve this problem. The problem of racism, gender violence, sexual abuse, prostitution, abortion, drug addiction, hatred, murder, and divorce, is because of our heart. Our hearts are sick. There is no cure for what ails the human race because only God can cure and heal our hearts and our land.

Here is a life lesson about the heart from my own life. I am in shape, I exercise daily, I eat only high quality foods, and I don’t abuse my body with drugs, nor do I deny it sleep. Yet on a recent visit to the Doctor it was discovered I have heart disease and will need an operation. The operation will replace the flow of my main arteries around my heart because they are all clogged. I was shocked to hear this news, and when I questioned the Doctor about how this could happen because my lifestyle was clean and healthy, he just smiled and said, “You can’t overcome genetics.” 

So I am scheduled for quadruple bypass surgery next week. I tell you that because this blog will be missing for a few weeks while I recover, but more importantly is the lesson about “genetics.” You can do all you can to live right, think right, and be right, but the genetics of sin is always nipping at your heels.  Unless men and women deal with the genetics of sin, they will always fall prey to sinful behavior. As a society we can do more education and training, we can even re-engineer the way men think, but at the end of the day if you don’t deal with the genetics of sin you will fail in changing sexual abuse. America is suffering with heart disease, and until we turn our lives back to God, we will never see this disease go away, in fact it will eventually kill our nation.

The heart has to change, or it will die by its own disease.

Luke 6:45 “A good person produces good things from the treasury of a good heart, and an evil person produces evil things from the treasury of an evil heart. What you say flows from what is in your heart.

Matthew 15:19 “For from the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, all sexual immorality, theft, lying, and slander.”


Keeping it honest and truthful…K

 

 

Thursday
Nov162017

The Mirror Between Washington and Hollywood

What is trending today? Sexual accusations have been in the news the past few months. It started with Harvey Weinstein, the Hollywood producer who was accused of sexual abuse, and then most recently Senator Al Franken has had his past come back to haunt him. We hear more and more of these powerful or famous people getting accused of unwanted sexual advances and I am sure these who have been accused are just a few sacrificial lambs. The power of influence will always create privilege and that privilege will take advantage of people. Powerful men without character and without a moral compass are potential predators. That may be strong for some of you, but as a man, there is no question in my mind that men are by nature predators. Why do I say this?

 Men are much more visual predators than women and will fantasize about their sexual encounters with women. These kinds of stimulus can create the basis for sexual fantasy to turn into reality when the opportunity presents itself. The only way a man will manage fantasy, urges and motivations, is to have a moral basis for his temptations. Every man is tempted more often than a woman, and can and will act out his temptation. So if all of this is true, then men, who are rich, powerful, and famous, have an advantage to lure women into their sick world.

Let’s look at Bill Cosby whose escapades involved drugging women and molesting them. So what was it about Bill’s fantasy that drove him to take advantage of a drugged woman? As much as that disgusts most of you, there are many Bill Cosbys in Hollywood and Washington D.C. - we are only hearing about a few of them in the news today.

I would say that most rich men in either Hollywood or Washington have used their influence to solicit sexual favors of some kind. The only way a man of influence refrains himself from living in sexual gratification is if he has a moral compass. Do you think I am teasing you with facts?

 Eric Anderson from the Washington Post writes:

Cheating and affairs are more common among the rich and less common in conservative cultures. Studies have found that the more money and celebrity men have, the more likely they are to cheat:

It has been reported:

  • In over 1/3 of marriages, one or both partners admit to cheating.
  •  22% of men say that they've cheated on their significant other.
  • 14% of women admit to cheating on their significant other.
  • 36% of men and women admit to having an affair with a coworker.
  • 17% of men and women admit to having an affair with a sister-in-law or brother-in-law.
  • People who have cheated before are 350% more likely to cheat again.
  • Affairs are most likely to occur two years into a marriage.
  • 35% of men and women admit to cheating while on a business trip.
  • 9% of men admit they might have an affair to get back at a spouse.
  • 14% of women admit they might have an affair to get back at a spouse.
  • 10% of affairs begin online.
  • 40% of the time online affairs turn into real life affairs. 

Now add the power of influence and wealth to the mix and you have a sexual cocktail that is intoxicating and lethal.

So when you question my assumption that the rich and the powerful in either Washington or Hollywood are guilty of unspeakable immoral corruption, you have to be naïve.

The power of influence and money corrupts the moral character of most people, and it is only those who believe in God and know that He sees every action and desire will have a chance to resist the temptation fostered in these corrupt cities.

So as we see the sacrificial lambs of O’Reilly, Franken, Clinton, Ailes, Cosby, Weinstein, Weiner, Spacey, Toback, Affleck, Bush Sr., Helperin, just to name a few who are in media, entertainment, and politics, represent only those who have now been accused.  

I know you don’t need to have a lecture on this by me, but we know that these men who are accused of sexual indiscretions are only the tip of the iceberg.

It is just proof that our nation has moved far from away from its godly beginning.

Matthew 15:19 “For from the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, all sexual immorality, theft, lying, and slander.”

Keeping it honest and Truthful….K

 

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