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Then Jesus told his disciples a parable to show them that they should always pray and not give up. Luke 18:1
Sometimes God is silent, even when His children cry out for answers. The unfair becomes a test of faith that grows the prayer life of those who stay persistent with the Lord. No, He is not too busy answering the billion other prayers bombarding heaven, but He does want an unfeigned faith in His followers. God is not a cosmic “google” waiting to give unlimited information to all requests. Too much data can break a spirit, puff up a mind or confuse a heart.
Our Heavenly Father knows what’s best in how we process unanswered prayers. We may not be ready to receive what we want or think we need. We seem stuck in a stage of suffering because we are learning the depths of dependency on God. We feel like we are dog paddling in a phase of waiting because our patience needs to progress to perseverance. Our aloneness can suffocate us, but we breathe better spiritually in a close walk with Christ. Unanswered prayers produce prayer.
Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. Romans 12:12
Jesus says that even an unjust judge can be convinced of the right thing to do, but our Heavenly Father does not have to be convinced of good actions. He is all good and He knows what’s best for His children. He wants us to be convinced of the next right thing. So, a prolonged prayer process creates new convictions we cherish and cling to for comfort. For example, in prayer the Spirit may reveal anger in a pocket of our heart that He replaces with forgiveness. Unanswered prayer pushes us to unknown places that need soul care. Humble prayers are always productive.
Lastly, we remain in prayer to remain in Him. Our perspective grows in Christlike clairvoyance as we focus on our Heavenly Father in His liberal love and holiness. Trust wins, not suspicion, when we grow familiar with the dynamics of faithful living. Prayer becomes like oxygen for our soul, lest we smother ourselves in worry. Like a needy widow we need assurance from our righteous judge, Jesus! Yes, our Lord never sleeps, He listens intently and loves us passionately.
While he was speaking to me, I was in a deep sleep. Daniel 8:18
Prayer: Heavenly Father, while I wait on You, I will pray to You and remain in You.
© 2013 by Boyd Bailey. All rights reserved.
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You may be forgiven if you missed it during last week’s tsunami of scandals, but President Obama finally let slip that he is a socialist.
Buried in the 17th paragraph of one of those mewling New York Times pieces on the woes of Obama — can we start calling him Woe-bama yet? — appeared these two words: “going Bulworth.”
Obama himself, the Times explained, has been “longingly” telling his inner circle that what he’d really like to do is what Sen. Jay Bulworth, played by Warren Beatty in his 1998 movie “Bulworth,” did: to go public as an unabashed, angry and admitted socialist.
Warren Beatty in “Bulworth.”
It’s as if Ronald Reagan had been caught saying he wanted to “Go Strangelove.”
In confessing his dreams of “going Bulworth,” Obama confirmed that what he thinks and what he says out loud are two different things. He let slip the mask of a center-left moderate — a “pragmatist” who only cares about “what works.” The press and even right-of-center columnists like Ross Douthat and David Brooks have always insisted that this completely unconvincing masquerade is genuine.
“Bulworth” is set during the campaign season of 1996, when progressives’ frustration with Bill Clinton was reaching a boil (just before the Lewinsky scandal turned them into his defenders again). The title character is a cautious, Clintonian Democratic senator who breaks down in despair at his own moderate campaign, in which he questions race preferences, welfare and bloated government.
Recognizing that he is a sellout makes him despondent to the point of suicide (I trust this is not the part of Bulworth with which Obama identifies). So, he first takes out a life insurance policy, then hires a hit man to assassinate him.
With nothing left to lose, Bulworth speaks his mind and becomes a sensation and unexpected contender for the presidency by giving far-left campaign speeches in rap form. In the movie’s centerpiece moment, Bulworth does a rap about health care and cries, “Socialism!” to a stunned crowd. (The lyrics run, “Yeah, yeah / You can call it single-payer or Canadian way / Only socialized medicine will ever save the day! Come on now, lemme hear that dirty word: Socialism!”)
This is President Obama’s id, the little man he wishes he could let out to party.
But at least Bulworth is more upfront about the catch-all term for his program. President Obama and many others (including the Merriam-Webster Collegiate Dictionary) seem to confuse socialism with communism — common ownership of the economy.
But most people understand socialism as shorthand for a European-style economy that allows private property but is government-directed for the (alleged) common good.
A country whose economy is more public than private is socialist — such as France, where 57% of GDP is government spending. Few would deny that Obama’s goal is to put a beret on the US economy. Saying so, though, would require Bulworthian frankness.
Yet the flip side of Obama’s fantasy is what’s getting him into trouble: His administration may not be able to say what it fervently believes, but it can muzzle others who want to speak their minds.
The Benghazi e-mails show that his administration sought to shut up the CIA and conceal the damaging truth that it always knew al Qaeda terrorists (not demonstrators) attacked us last Sept. 11 in Libya. The AP scandal shows his Justice Department clamping down on what reporters say. The IRS scandal reveals his tax minions trying to silence the Tea Party.
This is an administration that wishes only one man ever got a chance to speak up, loud and proud, in unapologetically socialist terms — while everybody else gets a strip of duct tape slapped over their mouths.
New IRS Scandal Echoes a Long History of Political Harassment By Michael Scherer May 14, 2013
The Deception of Hyper-Grace!
Someone wisely stated, “The church has suffered more from her exponents than from her opponents.” This is certainly the case today, as we are seeing an onslaught of dangerous teaching sweeping through the body of Christ like never before. We have the graphic and prophetic picture of the serpent in Revelation pouring water like a river out of his mouth in order to sweep away the woman (Rev. 12:15-16). This, to me, speaks of the false river the enemy is attempting to use to deceive the church in these last days. Thank God that He has promised, “When the enemy comes in like a flood, the Spirit of the Lord will raise up a standard against him” (Is. 59:19, NKJV).
One of the enemy’s wiles is to take something that is inherently good and seek to make it appear better. The hyper-grace message is a prime example of this. What is more amazing than grace? Nothing sets Christianity apart more than the message of grace. None of us would ever know our magnificent Savior and Lord without His redeeming, reconciling grace. There is no sect, cult or religion that has any doctrine comparable to it. Grace is found in Christ alone!
Little wonder, then, that the enemy has sought to improve on this glorious message by appearing to make it even more glorious, while at the same time lacing it with his deadly poison of deception and distortion.
Consider how you would respond to a message exhorting you to guard your mind, stay sober, be obedient, don’t be conformed to your former lusts, be holy, conduct yourself in fear, obey the Word and put aside all malice, guile and hypocrisy? What if the message went on to tell you to love and read God’s Word, grow up, tell others about God’s goodness, avoid fleshly lusts, do good deeds, do right, don’t speak about evil, be zealous for what is good and sanctify Christ as Lord?
Many within the body of Christ today would cry out against such a message, claiming it to be nothing more than a religious spirit or legalism or even fleshly works. Grace, we are told, frees you from all these works and liberates you so that you are no longer under any obligation of any kind. Grace, they say, is the gift that comes to us with no strings attached. But is that really the message of grace? Has the enemy blinded our eyes through super-sizing the true message of grace—and thereby distorting it?
It may surprise you to know that all the exhortations I’ve listed above were taken directly from Peter’s first epistle. Now, here is a most amazing truth: Peter tells us in the closing verses of his epistle, “I have written to you briefly, exhorting and testifying that this is the true grace of God. Stand firm in it!" (1 Pet. 5:12, NASB, emphasis added).
Here we have one of the most complete and comprehensive revelations on true grace to be found in the New Testament. Yes, grace is totally and irrevocably free, and it provides us with God’s power to change us. That was its original intent. Paul, in his letter to Titus, explains it this way: “The grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all men, instructing us to deny ungodliness and worldly desires and live sensibly, righteously and godly in the present age” (Titus 2:11-12, emphasis added).
Peter and Paul saw the Lord, who is the only true embodiment of grace and truth. If anyone had a correct revelation and understanding of grace, these two men certainly did.
Paul, you recall, had to correct the Romans on their tendency to abuse grace by continuing in sin. This abuse of grace has now raised its head again and is being taught in ever-widening circles within the church. Those proponents of the hyper-grace message will tell you that since your sins past, present and future have all been forgiven, there is no longer any need of repentance for the believer. Repentance, they claim, is the acknowledgment of a sin that has already been forgiven. Why put back in the ledger what has already been erased? So the reasoning goes.
But is this really sound biblical doctrine? Paul, in his first letter to the Corinthians, scolded them for not dealing with the blatant sin of a brother who was sexually involved with his father’s wife. The Corinthians took to heart what Paul wrote. Then in his second letter, he commended them for their godly sorrow that brought them to a place of repentance (2 Cor. 7:9-10). He mentions repentance twice within two verses. If we did follow this erroneous concept of grace, then why was this sexual pervert disciplined in the first place, if his sin was already forgiven? Why punish him for something that is already under the blood? Jesus obviously didn’t consider this to be the case when He admonished five out of the seven churches in Revelation to repent.
Finally, as I have said many times, if we say that repentance is no longer necessary because all sin has already been forgiven, then why do we need to repent the first time in order to be saved? There is the belief by some that since all sin has been atoned for, all are saved but just don’t know it. This is the old but still very much alive false doctrine of universalism or ultimate reconciliation.
Jude was greatly disturbed by these errors in his day and tells us, “contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints” (Jude 3, NKJV). Why? Because there were those within the church who were distorting the grace of God and turning it into licentiousness. This, I believe, was also the subtle teaching of Jezebel in the church of Thyatira. I don’t personally believe she was openly teaching that it was OK to engage in sexual immorality, but rather that the fruit of her distorted message led to this type of activity.
This is also my great fear regarding the hyper-grace message. While I sincerely believe that many advocates of the hyper-grace message firmly believe they are proclaiming a fresh revelation of grace, I truly believe the fruit of their teaching will instead bring disgrace to the very God of grace they seek to magnify.
I can only plead with those who are caught up in this false teaching to re-examine their beliefs in the light of God’s Word rather than get carried along by the latest trend being taught by a few popular and flamboyant pied pipers. If the fruit of this teaching does not produce a longing after God and a desire to be like Him, then we should avoid it like the plague. Grace enables us to live and walk in victory over sin, the flesh and the devil. Anything less is not the true grace of God.
Tax this! Tax that! Tax…. gun ammo?
The California Assembly Revenue and Taxation Committee recently approved a measure called AB 187, which puts a 10 percent tax on all ammunition sold in the state. Gee, and I thought California’s high tax and anti-gun policies couldn’t get any worse.
Assemblymen Rob Bonta and Roger Dickinson support the bill. Both are Democrats. Shocking.
They say that the new revenue will help cities that have high gun violence. “Cities throughout the state, including Oakland, are suffering horrific and increasing gun violence. AB 187 will provide the City of Oakland, and cities in similar circumstances, with sufficient street-level public safety presence to prevent gun violence and attend to it when it does occur,” said Bonta.
Taxing law-abiding citizens’ ammunition will not curtail gun violence. It will now be more expensive for innocent people to defend themselves against armed criminals. AB 187 only makes criminals, who do not follow laws to begin with, more likely to buy ammunition on the black market to avoid the tax.
California legislators are also currently pushing bills that would let officials in Oakland draft stronger gun control laws, in order to “combat violence”. The thought that this would be effective is laughable. If gun control worked, Chicago would be the safest city in the country. Despite a history of strict gun policies, the Windy City is one of the nation’s most violent and deadly cities.
AB 187 would also fund new mental healthcare services for children in California. “Screening young children for signs of mental illness and addressing any issues early on is the key to a healthier and more productive adult life,” Assemblyman Dickinson said. “A limited tax on ammunition is a small price to pay for better mental healthcare for kids, reduced crime, and safer communities statewide.”
Hey Dickinson, instead of creating new taxes to pay for these important services, how about you stop the out-of-control spending on unnecessary, absurd programs in your state? A few of the (many, many) examples of waste:
-$200,000 was spent on “a tattoo removal program” in Mission Hills, California.
-$3 million was given to researchers at the University of California at Irvine to fund their research on video games such as World of Warcraft. Sounds like a pretty sweet “research job”.
AB 187 is an addition to Dickinson’s AB 760, which would impose a five cent tax on every round of ammunition sold in California. The tax itself is more expensive than the actual bullets.
California politicians are out of control. They irresponsibly spend their cities into bankruptcy, and then attempt to fix the problem by burdening law-abiding gun owners with new taxes.
The assail on gun owners across the country has become absurd and offensive. Just earlier this week a Second Amendment supporter was thrown out of a meeting in New Jersey for criticizing gun control. And yesterday, Vice President Joe Biden wrote a letter to a child, saying guns are bad so “use chocolate bullets“.
Where does it all end?
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