Are we the prostitute?

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attention to the downtrodden and the outcasts likewise dr daniel ...

As I studied Revelation 17 and 18 this week, I could not help but think of the United States when I read about “Babylon the Great, the Mother of Prostitutes and of the vile thing of the Earth.” (Rev. 17:5) The similarities are overwhelming.

He also said to me, “The waters you saw, where the prostitute was seated, are peoples, multitudes, nations, and languages (Rev. 17:15). This nation prides itself in being a melting pot.

For all the nations have drunk the wine of her sexual immorality, which brings wrath. The kings of the earth have committed sexual immorality with her, and the merchants of the earth have grown wealthy from her excessive luxury. (Rev. 18:3) This nation has been the world leader in most everything for centuries. The nation who comes to the aid of all and buys from all over creating wealth for other nations as we live in access, having more than we would ever need.

As much as she glorified herself and lived luxuriously, give her that much torment and grief, for she says in her heart, “I sit as a queen; I am not a widow, and I will never see grief.” (v. 7) We live luxuriously and are accused of having a great arrogance about our power, safety, influence and importance.

I urge you to read these chapters and see what you think. I’m no theologian, but that shouldn’t keep any of us from picking up God’s word and asking questions, researching and discussing. Because, no matter what other great theologians may say, only God truly knows the message behind the mysterious verses of Revelation.  As we continue through Revelation 18, we see the great destruction that comes to the prostitute as God judges her with His mighty wrath for all her evil ways.

For this reason, her plagues will come in one day— death and grief and famine. She will be burned up with fire, because the Lord God who judges her is mighty. (v. 8) All the merchants of the earth will weep and mourn over her loss, because no one will be able to buy merchandise any longer— (v.11), all her cravings, splendid and glamorous things will be destroyed, never to be had again. (v. 14)

And every ship master, seafarer, the sailors, and all who do business by sea, stood far off 18 as they watched the smoke from her burning and kept crying out: “Who is like the great city?” 19 They threw dust on their heads and kept crying out, weeping, and mourning:

Woe, woe, the great city,
where all those who have ships on the sea
became rich from her wealth,
for in a single hour she was destroyed.
20 Rejoice over her, heaven,
and you saints, apostles, and prophets,
because God has executed your judgment on her! (17-20)

Then a mighty angel picked up a stone like a large millstone and threw it into the sea, saying: In this way, Babylon the great city will be thrown down violently and never be found again. Revelation 18:21

I’m no end times scholar, but I have lived in the United States all my life. I know the history and faith in which the country was founded and I know the ways and laws of our Heavenly Father and Creator. I can see how this country has fallen away from the ways and laws of God. I see hate, greed, lust, jealousy, rage, deception, sexual immorality, false teachings and selfish pride that seem to be seeping into every pore of this nation.

Are we the prostitute? If we are not, we certainly could be. The hope I have is that, just like the prostitute by the well that Jesus gave His forgiveness and Living Water to, we as a nation may still have the chance to acknowledge Christ and turn back to Him for that same grace and redemption.

 

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Join us for Bible Study

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gim

The first session of God In The Middle starts this week at Hope Community Church. I’m thrilled to be leading this Bible study God placed on my heart, but I’m even more excited about what we are going to discover together.  Just like our lives, every week will look different. Come anticipating what’s next. We aren’t just going to read His word; we are going to experience it through coloring, hands-on projects, conversation and more. I don’t call this the no excuses Bible Study for nothing! Come as you are, as much as you can. I’m praying for each of you who will be attending and look forward to our 7-week journey together. 

What you need to know:
Time: 7:00 pm – 8:30 pm on Wednesday evenings (Starting Sept 21)
Place: The class will meet in the chapel at the Raleigh campus. (Located at the top of the stairs from the atrium)
Books: Will be available for pickup outside the chapel. Your class fee covers the cost of the book.  If you did not pay online, please bring a cash or a check for $10 to cover the cost of the book.  If you need help covering the cost of your materials, please let us know.
Supplies: You will need your Bible, a pen and a set of colored pencils.
Register HERE

Now . . . for this week’s blog. . . . Letters to Angels

In the book of Revelation (chapters 2-3) we discover letters are written to the angels of the seven churches. I find this fascinating. Letters to angels! Scholars believe these seven churches were chosen because they were the first churches to provide the Gospel to all the other churches that followed. Each of the seven letters seems to follow a similar format consisting of: an introduction, a compliment, a condemnation and then a command to correct the problem addressed. It’s so fascinating! I hope you will read it all for yourself because today we will just look at the complaint of the church of Laodicea.

“Write to the angel of the church in Laodicea:

“The Amen, the faithful and true Witness, the Originator of God’s creation says: 15 I know your works, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish that you were cold or hot. 16 So, because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I am going to vomit you out of My mouth. Revelation 3:14-16

The complaint against this church was that their people were essentially somewhere in the middle of Christianity. They believed, but were not passionate and all in. This letter clearly instructs that that isn’t enough! Lukewarm is defined as slightly warm or warmish. Do we want to be known as “slightly” Christian or “Christianish”? I certainly do not. In fact, I hear from women all the time that the reason they aren’t going to church is because they had some friends who were “Christians” and they weren’t very kind or lived wild lives. I’ve heard from single women dating who have chosen to date men who don’t go to church because the ones they have dated that do attend church aren’t very nice. This is when I say that “Christianish” people make sharing the Gospel with other more difficult than most atheist do.

I was greatly convicted by this reminder. God would rather us be either hot or cold instead of somewhere in the middle. Just fence sitting and waiting to see which way is more acceptable to society or more politically correct isn’t what He is looking for. When we are in the word of God, the call is clear and our convictions strong. I deeply desire to have the Father sitting at my table. How about you?

Because you say, ‘I’m rich; I have become wealthy and need nothing,’ and you don’t know that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind, and naked, 18 I advise you to buy from Me gold refined in the fire so that you may be rich, white clothes so that you may be dressed and your shameful nakedness not be exposed, and ointment to spread on your eyes so that you may see. 19 As many as I love, I rebuke and discipline. So be committed and repent. 20 Listen! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and have dinner with him, and he with Me. 21 The victor: I will give him the right to sit with Me on My throne, just as I also won the victory and sat down with My Father on His throne. 22 “Anyone who has an ear should listen to what the Spirit says to the churches.” Revelation 3:17-22

Conscience Condemnation

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polly

Last summer we were at an event where a friend asked me a question concerning a conversation we had started earlier in the day. Unfortunately, another friend, who hadn’t heard our previous conversation, didn’t understand the context of my comment and was offended. She graciously left the conversation never saying a word. However, a few days later, another friend told me how it had upset her and I felt horrible. Honestly, I didn’t sleep very well for a few nights and finally just called her to see if I could come over to talk. I shared the “entire” story and apologized for hurting her feelings. She received it with the gracious nature I always see her display. She explained that she was fine and was sorry that I had been so upset by it.

Dear friends, if our conscience doesn’t condemn us, we have confidence before God 22 and can receive whatever we ask from Him because we keep His commands and do what is pleasing in His sight. 23 Now this is His command: that we believe in the name of His Son Jesus Christ, and love one another as He commanded us. 1 John 3:21-23

The definition of conscience is: the part of the mind that makes you aware of your actions as being either morally right or wrong; a feeling that something you have done is morally wrong

 

I’m certainly not saying we shouldn’t do the right thing, right a wrong that has been done or apologize. When the Holy Spirit tugs on our hearts we should respond to seek forgiveness and restoration in relationships. What I want to highlight is that our conscience will often trick us into thinking we aren’t good enough for God’s love, forgiveness and grace. It takes over a judge and jury while we sit on trial, but that is God’s place. We are almost always harder on ourselves than anyone else could ever be. That’s why it was like a flashlight was spotlighting verse 21 for me.

“If our conscience doesn’t condemn us, we have confidence before God and can  . . . . “

We may let go of God because our shame and guilt build up a wall around our hearts. We may let go of God because we feel like our past is to broken or we aren’t good enough. We may let go of God, but He never let’s go of us! Let’s not let our conscience condemn us! That is Satan and his lies. Let’s trust in God’s word and trust in the One who breathed life into man and placed the stars in the sky. Let’s trust in His love for us and give thanks for the blessings He has given and continues to give so we can stand with confidence at His throne in the final days.

 

Thank you to my friend and amazing artist, Polly, for the illustration today. Praying as we all look in the mirror we will remember who we are in Christ and everything else fades away.

 

Spin Cycle

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But know this: Difficult times will come in the last days. For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, boastful, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, ungrateful, unholy, unloving, irreconcilable, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, without love for what is good, traitors, reckless, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, holding to the form of godliness but denying its power. Avoid these people! 2 Timothy 3:1-5

Avoid these people? “How?” I wrote in the margin of my Bible. How can I avoid all these people when they seem to surround me? Now, I’m not trying to say I’m never any of these things, because I’m just as flesh and blood as everyone else, but the media, commercials, songs, business owners, politicians . . . seem to fill the news and airwaves with every one of these items on a constant spin cycle. It’s overwhelming. In fact, I reached the point a few weeks ago where I was so totally drained by the world I felt spiritually empty. I had poured it out and poured it out, but forgotten to surround myself with other believers to fill up. Church, Bible study and small group aren’t enough! I prayed and hibernated for a few days when God answered my prayers in a mighty way by giving me an emergency refill of deep and meaningful “Jesus” talk. He brought true Christian friends into my path on Friday, Sunday, and twice on Monday. It renewed me and helped me realize how I had neglected to recharge with those who are like-minded. We are called to serve and be the light to those who surround us at work, in our neighborhoods, community and even churches. However, we are only able to serve if we are filled up because we will face evil, deception and the deceiver will try to shut us down with exhaustion, frustration or guilt. We need reserves for that so we don’t fall victim to the persecution and deception.

In fact, all those who want to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted. 13 Evil people and impostors will become worse, deceiving and being deceived. 2 Timothy 3:12-13

We must remember to fill up not just at church and small group, but by time with God and having close friends, family and co-workers who we can sit down with and share meaningful Biblical discussions. This is vital to our hearts and minds so that we have the knowledge, strength and courage to proclaim God’s love with grace and patience.

Proclaim the message; persist in it whether convenient or not; rebuke, correct, and encourage with great patience and teaching. 2 Timothy 4:2