You may find this month’s Sheep2Sheep a bit weighty and out of character to what you might expect. If so, just skip on down the page, and if all you find appealing is Donna’s Corner, so be it. But this subject has been heavy on me for some time and I feel I have to get it off my chest in as factual and non-judgmental way as I can. If you are offended, please write and tell me where I went wrong, and mark your email “Private.”
Here we go, rushing into something as you will soon see. And I’m willing to be identified as a fool (for Jesus).
I’m probably considered to be a prude as well as a fool, certainly by unbelievers, and maybe even by some who identify themselves as followers of Jesus.
Why is this? Am I deluded, or just simply not keeping up with the times? Is it just me that thinks that society’s morals are in a spiral dive?
Have you ever heard the term, ‘critical mass’? This is a powerful concept. Malcolm Gladwell, a believer, defines critical mass in his bestseller, ‘The Tipping Point,’ as, “The way little things can make a big difference.”
Simply put, we can say that a critical mass is . . . *The minimum number of people or action required, to start or sustain a process, or a movement.
OK, let’s look at the number of people it takes to start a movement. For Jesus it took 12 quite ordinary men (minus one dropout), a group of supportive women, and as many as 500 other full or part-time followers. 2000 years later, over one billion people identify themselves as Christians . . . or how do you like the label, ‘Little Christs,’ which was a belittling nickname back when the new church was forming. [Acts 11:26]
Those early Believers formed a critical mass—for good. But what does a dark and demonic critical mass look like?
I think we would all agree that Adolf Hitler, a little man with an enormous ambition added to a small political base, became a critical mass—for evil.
Now, I’ve warned you, we’re about to move into territory where angels fear to tread. We’re about to discuss society’s missing morals, and how even we, as followers of Jesus, have witnessed and even contributed to the critical mass of anti-Biblical habits and lifestyles prevalent today.
What was the critical mass that got the ball rolling? Or has it always been this way? In one sense, of course it has—sin has been around a long time. But occasionally—as during the Puritanical and Victorian years—sin went largely underground. So, which is better (or maybe we should say, which is ‘less worse’), for us and for our children? Underground, or ‘open pit’ sin?
Which grows faster, hidden sin or flagrant sin? (It is my contention that the more that ‘forbidden fruit’ is displayed and acted out openly in public today, the more its rottenness festers and multiplies.)
Writes Franklin Graham, “Like a frog in boiling water, our culture has been so desensitized to immorality and debauchery that we have lost even the semblance of a moral compass.” Read his whole article: http://billygraham.org/decision-magazine/april-2014/hollywood-entertaining-ourselves-to-death/
If we ‘Little Christs’ buy into ‘the way of the world,’ why are we surprised that immorality and sins of every kind are rampant and present, even in the church—the Body of Christ—today? Twisting the words of an old song from about 50 years ago, “This must be right, because it feels so good . . .”
Kenny Luck, a pastor at Saddleback Church, shocks us by giving results of a recent study by ChristianMingle, an online dating ministry that asked Christian singles between the ages of 18 and 59, “Would you have sex before marriage?” The response? 63% of the single Christian respondents indicated yes. “It is equally honest to say that over 6 out of 10 self-proclaimed single Christians are, in practice, sexual atheists . . .” that's to say, “God can speak into some things, but not sex.” http://www.everymanministries.com/blog/featured/sexual-atheism-christian-dating-data-reveals-a-deeper-spiritual-malaise
Paul writes: “It is obvious what kind of life develops out of trying to get your own way all the time: repetitive, loveless, cheap sex; a stinking accumulation of mental and emotional garbage; frenzied and joyless grabs for happiness; trinket gods; magic-show religion; paranoid loneliness; cutthroat competition; all-consuming-yet-never-satisfied wants; a brutal temper; an impotence to love or be loved; divided homes and divided lives; small-minded and lopsided pursuits; the vicious habit of depersonalizing everyone into a rival; uncontrolled and uncontrollable addictions; ugly parodies of community. I could go on.” [Gal 5:19-21 The Message]
I dare you to read 1 Corinthians 6:8-12.
Immorality of all kinds has become acceptable by more and more who bear the name, “Christian.” You may think me harsh, judgmental, out of touch and more. We’re all fallen people. Donna and I and just about every family or extended family we know, has been touched by those who flaunt or ignore their sin; or else they don’t see that there’s any need to change.
Today, cheating in universities is a big problem, but big deal! It’s pretty well overlooked. The drug culture of the 60s, legalized abortion in the 70s, lasciviousness [Eph 4:19] in the name of art is now widely available; men are marrying men, women marrying women. Our children are susceptible to gender-confusion. What’s next? The mind boggles. Polygamy? Polyandry? Worse?
The drumbeat for polygamy and polyandry has already begun. Author Rod Dreher says about this and same sex marriage, "Stage one is to tolerate it. Stage two is to legislate it. Stage three is to make opposition to it intolerable. Wash, rinse, repeat." http://www.theamericanconservative.com/dreher/and-so-the-campaign-for-polygamy-begins/
“Be careful to . . . guard the morality of sex and marriage . . .” (Acts 15:20 The Message)
Immorality is like a tsunami; unless you’re on high ground, you will be swept away by the rampaging waves that drag everything and everyone with it. Pulling your hair out at unrestrained sin all around? Feel like climbing a mountain—and staying there until Jesus returns? What then, can we do?
Are we to judge others? Obviously not—there but for the grace of God, go I. Should we stand around and grieve the loss of moral guidelines? Retreat into our holy huddles? No! No! No!
So, what’s the answer? How then should we stay clear of this locust-storm of perversions in this present darkness? If you haven't already seen the movie, "God's Not Dead". . . GO! And take your unconvinced friends (especially atheists) with you.
We can certainly fight with the weapons at our disposal, by donning our spiritual armor, standing firm in the strength of God’s might. [Eph 6:10-18] As Dean Sherman puts it, “Spiritual warfare is the ability to walk consistently through the adversities of life.” We can safely say that the moral lostness all around us, is a challenging adversity to walk through.
All is not doom and gloom.
Don Finto writes, “I don't look forward to living at a time when world wickedness has reached its zenith, but I must remember that this will also be the finest hour for the people of God.” [Caleb Company, February 25, 2014]
God is here with us and truly wants to walk alongside us, day by day, temptation by temptation; He is an ever-present help in times of trouble. If we truly want to obediently follow in the footsteps of the Lamb, here’s a key verse that talks about what it means to be religious (not pompous, not high and mighty, not remote and removed, not irrelevant to life today, not adhering to a bunch of rules and don’ts).
“Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.” [James 1:27, NIV]
Get religion! If you have trouble with the ‘how’ of it, start by doing something personal(ly) for someone who has unmet needs. And keep yourself clean.
Those previously fearful angels are about to rush in to encourage us fools! Let's create a critical mass—it only takes a few.
P.S. Sort of connected to all this, read about The Bomb in . . . and Finally
Grumbling and complaining lead to unbelief. Gratitude and faith go hand in hand. Darlene Cunningham
No one has ever become poor by giving. Anne Frank
To order click on book.
"Thanks for your faithfulness in 'connecting' with all us YWAMers of past years. I am still indebted to YWAM London, England and the Dilaram House ministry in the early 80's. Salvation came to me and wow, 10 years in YWAM, 25 years in pastoral ministry, now 35 years later and Jesus is ever faithful . . . God bless, and keep up the good work." Larry Thomas, Canada
From Eyesight to Insight
We’re all on a journey just like the two on the road to Emmaus. [Luke 24:13-35] Our journey finds us on another road, the road to our heavenly ‘home,’ where Jesus has already gone to prepare a place for us. [John 14:1-3] Our Father wants to open our spiritual eyes and ears so we can see Him clearly, and listen carefully, as He walks with us by His Spirit. Sometimes we have to stop all we're doing in order to see and hear clearly.
Right now, I have had to "stop" for almost two months to have the cataracts removed from both eyes, one at a time, so that I can see clearly again. I didn't know I had a sight problem until I started to fall, and had dull visual perception. Light was becoming obstructed and my sight restricted. It was so subtle, that I didn't realize the problem until I visited the ophthalmologist for my checkup.
He said to me, “You have a problem with both eyes, and one is worse than the other. With your right eye everything is a blur, while your left eye isn't that bad yet. The problem is easily fixed, the cataract needs to be removed and this takes preparation and aftercare.”
I hadn’t known what I was missing, until the doctor brought it to my attention. I was so excited to think that one day I would see clearly again, and wouldn't need someone’s arm to guide me, or their eyes to warn me of obstructions when walking. Today, both eyes have new lenses and Peter is helping me with three kinds of eye drops, four times a day so that my eyes heal and don't get infected.
Does this sound familiar for us spiritually? Jesus the Great Physician, can remove the scales from our eyes; but it will take a time of seeing our needs, preparing our hearts, and then stopping so He can do His work. God wants to open our spiritual eyes but we must first discern our need and really desire our spiritual eyes to be opened.
When the doctor informed me my problem, I could have said, “Oh, I can see just fine, I don't need surgery.” Maybe that response would have been because of fear, unbelief or the lie that, “I can't stop! I have to keep my speaking commitments.” The doctor had said, “It's your choice if you want to see clearly.”
I've been crying out to God, "Open my eyes Lord, that I may see you and what is on your heart.” Show me if there is anything obstructing my spiritual eyesight or causing it to be dull. Generational sins or cultural sins can dull our senses and affect our outlook on life because it has become a way of life, but not Kingdom living.
Maybe our consciences have become seared by what we look at and listen to and we no longer know right from wrong. We no longer have the fear of the Lord. My dear friend Dr Bruce Thompson writes, "The fear of the Lord is the means by which we open ourselves to receive spiritual revelation.” [From his little book, From Eyesight to Insight. Click on the book image to order]
Just click on the photo, listen to, and watch as this little boy sings,
“Open the Eyes of My Heart Lord . . .”
As I listened to Christopher sing this prayer, tears rolled down my cheeks. My response? “Open the eyes of my heart Lord, that I may see you.” Please watch this and have it be your prayer.
My prayer for you, is Paul's prayer for the Ephesians, Amplified Bible:
17 [For I always pray to] the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, that He may grant you a spirit of wisdom and revelation [of insight into mysteries and secrets] in the [deep and intimate] knowledge of Him,
18 By having the eyes of your heart flooded with light, so that you can know and understand the hope to which He has called you, and how rich is His glorious inheritance in the saints (His set-apart ones),
19 And [so that you can know and understand] what is the immeasurable and unlimited and surpassing greatness of His power in and for us who believe, as demonstrated in the working of His mighty strength,
20 Which He exerted in Christ when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His [own] right hand in the heavenly [places] Eph 1:17-20
Love and Blessings,
P.S. More to come on insight. Watch for the next .
July 06-12: Sweden, YWAM Restenäs, with Mariette Louw
July 20-26: Romania, Prod near Sighisoara, with Donna Jordan
July 21-26: Norway, YWAM Skjærgårdsheimen, with Al & Carolyn Akimoff
Aug 03-09: France, YWAM Champagne, speaker Edwin Fillies
Aug 17-23: Switzerland, YWAM Châtel, speaker Dan Baumann
Aug 24-30: Italian Alps, Piemonte, near Turin, with Donna Jordan
and Finally . . . The Bomb
This word-bomb explodes in my ears, and in the ears and spirits of countless others, spreading radioactive profanity. It has become as commonplace in life as a chirping sparrow on the streets of a big city. There are several variations on the word-theme, and they do nothing to lessen or camouflage its meaning. I wonder if users know where this word and its abbreviated, illegitimate children come from . . . that this four-letter word may be an ancient acronym, whose two middle letters are ‘Unlawful’ and ‘Carnal’:
a) ‘unlawful’: criminal, prohibited, forbidden
b) ‘carnal’: lustful, lecherous, fleshly
Let’s clean up our dirty mouths, because out of our mouths flows that which is in our hearts. Or as Jesus said to some Pharisees . . .
“You have minds like a snake pit! How do you suppose what you say is worth anything when you are so foul-minded? It’s your heart, not the dictionary, that gives meaning to your words. A good person produces good deeds and words season after season. An evil person is a blight on the orchard. Let me tell you something: Every one of these careless words is going to come back to haunt you. There will be a time of Reckoning. Words are powerful; take them seriously. Words can be your salvation. Words can also be your damnation.” [Matt 12:34-37 The Message]
Till next time,
The Small Print
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