I must start by letting you know that I did not watch the SOTU address. I am sure that President Biden said some things that resonated with both sides of the aisle. Perhaps he didn't. That is a matter of public opinion that is extremely relative. Many professional writers--most, who have previously written speeches for past Presidents-- grade each SOTU on an A-F scale similar to academic grading. However, even this is relative and divisive. While this is not the nail I wish to hammer it is important as a Christian to note Paul's words in 1 Tim. 2:1-4 when he instructs us to offer entreaties, prayers, petitions, and thanksgivings on behalf of all men, for kings and all who are in authority. Yes even the President you may not agree with or like. I will be the first to say I need to repent of this and pray instead of criticize. You too! Again, this is not the point of this short diatribe.
First, I think it safe to say that no one has to be a rocket scientist or multi-talented super genius to understand the state of the union. With inflation at 6.5% it is difficult for most to afford basic needs. Additionally, we have normalized mental and emotionally devastating child mutilation (trans-gender surgery), very explicit and provocative "family friendly" drag queen performances, clothing and apparel companies using extremely suggestive themes in their advertisements that (intentionally or unintentionally) exploit children, and if you thought it couldn't get worse; the Grammy's came to town and said, "hold my drink." I do not perceive to know what goes through each individual's mind when they choose to act in a certain fashion; but, it is safe to assume that the heart is indeed wicked and desperately sick (Jer. 17:9) when a once popular television awards show that celebrates music opens with a satanic ritualistic performance. I will not link to the video because I would not willingly want anyone subjected to it. I strongly advise caution if you so choose to watch it. Additionally, I would not label it R, rather X-Rated.
I do not know Sam Smith nor Kim Petras (a man identifying as a woman), in fact I only just heard about both when reading articles about their "performance" at the Grammy's. Here is what I do know. They performed a set with pyrotechnics, stage performers, backup dancers and caged humans. Both were dressed in blood red outfits and Sam Smith's top hat had horns popping off the top. Kim was dancing provocatively in a cage with fire all around. Various dancers and stage performers were seen bowing down to Sam Smith and worshipping him (bear in mind he was representing Satan). If their "show" was not enough to feed the flesh, their song, titled unholy, was peppered with lyrics about "daddy committing blatant adultery on the side while mommy was unaware." While the song lacked "curse" words it was littered with vulgar language about adulterous acts. But even this is not the shock factor. Why? Because there is nothing new under the sun (Eccl. 1:9).
The shock factor is not the debauchery and wickedness of the entire performance. The shock factor is not even that it was streamed across the world and seen as "musical performance." The shock factor sets in when you come to realize that these are the people influencing your children through music, entertainment, books, cartoons, and in many schools around the nation. What adds a bit of bite to that sting is that the majority of Christians don't do anything about it. Why? We have bought into the double standard lie that has been shoved down our throats by the anti-Christ crew over the last few decades. We are told to keep Jesus to ourselves, to keep our religion private, to worship in our homes, churches, and cars but do not dare bring that true unashamed, bold, exclusive Biblical Christianity with its "intolerant" Jesus to bear on the public sector. Yet in their double speak they willingly perpetrate vulgarity in the most depraved way knowing its evil and encourage others to do the same (Rom. 1:32). It is piped through the sewer line directly into your living room, pocket, your kids phone, and their school in the name of "tolerance."
Jesus was very clear, "he who is not with Me is against Me; and he who does not gather with Me scatters," (Mt. 12:30). There is no such thing as tolerant neutrality. If you are for Jesus dear Christian, you cannot be for anything that goes against Him. We have seen increasingly over the years that America is moving further and further away from any discernible notion of being "with Christ" and is rapidly moving toward being against Him. This is not entertainment, this is not art, and it is not tolerance in any way. It is a blatant prideful, arrogant, and intolerant spitting upon the name of Christ. It is a hatred for the things of God because that is what Satan does, he hates God and anything that represents Him. Bake the cake or be shut down. Support the LGBTQ+ agenda or be shutdown. Worship at the altar of Satan or be shutdown. Is this not why Satan fell. He wanted to be worshipped and take the place of God. If you want to know the state of the union, look around at what is celebrated, accepted, and praised. Newsflash, it is not Godliness. It is sin! The state of the union is Satanic worship, idolatry, wickedness, and depraved. Move off the fence dear Christian and insert yourself into the battle.
10 Finally, be strengthened by the Lord and by his vast strength. 11 Put on the full armor of God so that you can stand against the schemes of the devil. 12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers of this darkness, against evil, spiritual forces in the heavens.
Author - pastor josh
I know the majority of you reading this title are saying, “yeah right, not possible.” Hold onto that thought and consider that I was once of the same mind set. Let’s face it. We are inundated with worldly demands that vie for our attention with diligence and tenacity. With the ever advancing technological dynamics of our day, we are lead to believe that we can recover time or at the very least use it wisely. Unfortunately, neither of these misleading paradigms are true.
We soon find that the ever expanding technological advances simply demand more work, more effort, requires more ways of communicating, which leads to increased expectation on those utilizing the technology. Let me preface this by not saying what you think I am saying. Technology is simply a tool with no inherent value aside from what we put on it. Therefore, it is neither evil nor good. It is truly in the eye of the beholder. If you spend 50%, 30%, 20% or any time of your day on a particular social media platform or video streaming service, it is not the social media platform/video streaming service, nor the internet, nor the device of your choosing at fault.
The fact is simply this, as soon as the alarm screams its ominous toll our precious time starts to fade quickly. We need to intentionally forecast time on our Creator. Therefore, before we get started on the how, it would prove useful to address the why. Although, the aforementioned address to technological advancement and its insatiable lust for our time probably gives way to some form of “why,” we will address it from the lens of Scripture.
Our world is full of “why.” If you want to experience this in all of its fruitfulness, simply allow yourself an afternoon with a toddler. All jokes aside, there are many reasons why we should want to grow closer to God. The first and most important reason is this: “You should love the Lord your God with all your heart, mind, body, soul, and strength. In addition to the first and greatest commandment, we can look at a few verses that further support the “why.” However, by no means an exhaustive list, we can see the importance God places on growing closer to Him.
The LORD is near to all who call upon Him, To all who call upon Him in truth.
Draw near to God and He will draw near to you.
And without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him.
1 Timothy 4:7
Have nothing to do with irreverent, silly myths. Rather train yourself for godliness
While all of these verses address the “why” I want to focus on the 1 Timothy. Paul says here we are to train ourselves for godliness. That is the process of sanctification over the course of our life as God the Father continues to mold us into the image of God the Son (Jesus) by power of God the Spirit (Holy Spirit). What do we have to loose with growth in godliness (sanctification)?
Our fears, our propensity toward sin (Caveat of course I mean we will willingly choose to sin less), our shame, our guilt, our baggage, our meanness, our anger. What do we have to gain? We gain the ability to properly love, choose joy, experience true peace, maintain patience in all situations, extend kindness, overflow with goodness, keep faithfulness to God, pour out gentleness and exercise self-control. All to the glory of God, for our good by His mercy and grace. Let’s move to the “how.” How can this be accomplished in 30 minutes? Well, there are 4 things we can do each day that will help us. This is not an exhaustive list but a great start.
I know what you are thinking, “I can’t sing.” No worries, I cannot sing nor carry the proverbial tune in the 5 gallon drum; however, this practice does not mean you have to sing. The purpose is to worship the Lord in song by focusing our hearts, minds and ears to the tune of the music while simultaneously praising God. Find a station on one of the many smartphone apps that allow you to listen to music or search a web platform. I listen to older hymns not because they are inherently better than contemporary music; rather, I do so because they generally contain a lot of theological truth/doctrine in the lyrics and this helps keep me focused on God.
2. Pray the Bible
If you have never done this, you are missing out. If you have ever felt like you say the same things about the same things in prayer, this is for you. If you feel like you don’t know how to pray or what to say, this is for you. All that aside, this is for everyone. Praying the Bible is the amazing process of reading scripture, steeping it in your heart and sending it back up to God in prayer. Let me explain how it works and then give an example.
Thumb to the Psalm of the day (e.g. if It is the 10th, Psalm 10, the 25th Psalm 25 etc..) and read the first verse out loud or silently. Whatever comes to your heart or mind, simply turn it into a prayer and send it back to God. When nothing else comes to mind, read verse two and repeat praying until nothing else comes to mind and then on to verse 3 and so on. This can be done until you meet the time you have set for prayer or nothing else comes to mind. I thought when I first learned this technique that there would be no way I could ever pray for 10-15 minutes let alone 5 but once you get into this routine, time will easily pass by. Your heart will be filled with God’s word and your lips will be full of prayer.
We will use Psalm 4 as an example. – Psalm 4 Verse 1 – Answer me when I call, O God of my righteousness! You have relieved me in my distress; Be gracious to me and hear my prayer. God, I pray that you will answer me when I call to you and right now Lord I call out. Please bless my family today… Lord God you are my righteousness, thank you for being my righteousness God. Without You oh God, there is no Salvation, thank You for Your Salvation….God you relived me in my distress Lord when I was dealing with that storm or sickness or temptation… God thank you for your grace, be gracious to me and hear my prayer as I pray for so and so, and for situation and thus…. I hope you can see the potential for your prayer life in using this method. Remember whatever or whoever comes to mind, just pour out your heart to God with His words.
3. Bible Intake
This process is simply reading the Bible to yourself. A good practice is to choose a book of interest or one you have not read through and begin in chapter one. Read out loud and slowly while trying to mentally soak in the Word. This will help you get through books of the Bible and cause you to start probing the text more as what you read manifests applications and questions for your life. Remember this process is simply to read God’s word and take in what you read. It is not time to study the depth of the text.
4. Meditate on Scripture
This process is where you choose a devotional book to begin in and study the text more thoroughly. For example, if you choose the book of James, begin in chapter 1 and read a few verses. Have your journal handy so that you can focus your thoughts as you meditate on what you read. You might wish to focus on “bond-servant” in James 1:1. There are various ways to meditate on this. You can ask questions :
The main idea behind Scripture meditation is to focus deeply on the text. James says in 1:2, “Consider it … ” The word consider means to think deeply on, look at from various angles, meditate on, concern yourself with. Simply put, we should consider the text as we read it. Scripture meditation is a great way to increase our understanding of the text as well as draw out application. This list is by no means meant to be exhaustive but a small starting point for us to intentionally grow closer to our Creator using a Biblical method. Furthermore, this process is flexible which means if you only have 10-15 minutes a day, great! Start there and slice up the 4 activities in a way that works for you.
I know it is tough to schedule more things in our already too full calendar but when it comes to sanctification and growth in godliness, let something else go and make this a priority. The benefits far outweigh the cost. Make more time for God and less time for the world. In the words of most notable missionary evangelist, Jim Elliot: “I believe the enemy has made it his business to monopolize on three things, noise, hurry and crowds. Satan is quite aware of the power of silence.” Don’t let the world steal all your time. Give some to God for worship, prayer, reading His word and meditating on its meaning. When we go to face our Great Creator we will be asked what we did with the time we were given.
The definition of Savior is:
"a person who saves someone or something (especially a country or cause) from danger, and who is regarded with the veneration of a religious figure."
Why say Everyone is Looking for a Savior? Well, the short and simple answer is because they are. It’s our nature as human beings. Consider why every story containing a heroic protagonist always involves good triumphing over evil. From video games to movies everyone is looking for a savior. Most have a distorted and self-absorbed understanding of this “savior” but the concept holds true all the same.
We will consider one video game from years ago and one recent movie. I used to be into the Final Fantasy video game franchise. From FFI to whatever number they are at now, the premise is the same. Some terrible tragedy is happening or about to and it is up to some unsuspecting slightly arrogant and pride filled person to stop it. Along the way the protagonist learns very important things about life and self. There is personal reflection, introspection and a host of other life lessons that turn our once arrogant pride filled goober into a wise, “others focused” hero who would do anything to see the greater good realized.
Final Fantasy 10 carried the same premise but in this case our protagonist was a self-diluted insecure boy whose father he thought abandon him early in life to chase a ridiculous dream of becoming a famous blitzball player. Tidus, the protagonist is also a blitzball player like his “dead beet” dad and during a major game in his home town a creature massive in size destroys the city. Auron a longtime friend of Tidus’ father (we realize later in the game) tells Tidus the creature is called Sin. It goes from city / world to city / world and destroys almost everything in its path.
Now as the story goes, Tidus meets many other friends and a young woman named Yuna through Auron. He soon realizes that the many friends are Yuna’s “guardians” and she is on a quest to defeat Sin. Tidus therefore becomes the 11th or 12th guardian (I can’t remember) and travels with the team. Yuna goes to various temples and worships to gain strength for her plight. When she comes to a town that Sin has already destroyed, she performs some sort of healing or miracle that helps the townspeople. Starting to sound familiar yet?
After Tidus and Yuna develop a close emotionally and conversationally intimate relationship he finds out that the only way for her to defeat Sin is to give her life in the final battle at which time she both defeats and becomes Sin. Does this sound like the game developers picked this story up somewhere… anywhere… or I don’t know perhaps the Bible. Most every other video game that involves good and evil follows this same concept.
Next we discuss a recent movie. The Death Cure was the last in the Maze Runner franchise. Many are familiar with either the movies or the books so I will not go into much detail. However, the same premise holds. The protagonist does all he can to help everyone. There is a contagion spreading in the Maze Runner series that turns people into “crazies” who attack everyone and everything and suffer from violent outbursts. Those in power are trying to find a cure but every promised development comes up short. After a lot of running, fighting and rescuing we find out toward the end of the movie that they found a cure. At this point the Maze Runner world is in complete upheaval.
There are fires, buildings collapsing, people are dying and the medical staff, down to just one person still desperately trying to find the cure, realizes that the blood is the cure. In a very dramatic way they call back the protagonist by telling him how many lives he can save and how he can make the world a better place. He need only come back, possibly sacrificing himself to save everyone because his blood contains the cure. Does this sound familiar to anyone? Ever heard a story like this before?
My point in simply this, everyone is looking for a savior. However, because we live in a sinful world we are prone to make up our savior in our own image so that s/he acts, thinks, speaks, and saves how we want. We commit the egregious sin of idolatry to comfort ourselves. Why are we willing to do that? It is because we are all looking for a savior. We desperately hold onto anything in this life that is good and brings us joy because in this world we will have pain, suffering, heartache, trials, temptations and death. None of which was part of the original design by God. All of this is merely the effects of sin.
"And the Lord God commanded the man, “You are free to eat from any tree in the garden, but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for on the day you eat from it, you will certainly die.”
"Therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, in this way death spread to all people, because all sinned."
The problem is our desire to make up a savior in our image. If the savior we are so desperately trying to find is made in our image than that savior is wicked to the core (Jeremiah 17:91; Romans 8:62; Revelation 21:83; Ezekiel 18:204), insecure, tired, heartbroken, and is unable to save self let alone anyone else. We desperately search out a savior because deep down we know that we are hopeless and even on our good days we feel a longing that cannot be filled with the worlds fleeting carnal pleasures.
God tells us that He is the only savior (Isaiah 43:115). God is the only God there is no other (Isaiah 45:56). God promises a savior to deliver His people all throughout the Old Testament and delivers in Jesus Christ (Matthew 1:217; Acts 5:318). Jesus says He is the only way, the only truth and the only life, no one can get to the Father except through Him (John 14:69).