8/20/19

Crossing Over

Landscape in the land of Jordan.

So Joshua called together the twelve men he had appointed from the Israelites, one from each tribe, and said to them, “Go over before the ark of the Lord your God into the middle of the Jordan. Each of you is to take up a stone on his shoulder, according to the number of the tribes of the Israelites, to serve as a sign among you. In the future, when your children ask you, ‘What do these stones mean?’ tell them that the flow of the Jordan was cut off before the ark of the covenant of the Lord. When it crossed the Jordan, the waters of the Jordan were cut off. These stones are to be a memorial to the people of Israel forever.” Joshua 4:4-7 NIV
Ministries, churches, and leaders experience certain seasons and times of particularly powerful manifestations of God. In such times, the miracles and the victories seem to come easier. There seems to be little effort or faith needed except to follow the cloud. But these same ministries, churches and leaders must enter new depths of faith and relationship with God. The Holy Spirit will nudge us to cross over into territory where more participation in faith and action is required from us, the believers. As the times change, the miraculous may be less obvious, the victories less poignant, and the methods and manifestations different.  You are in new territory.  You are in territory where greater levels of faith and action are required.  You must leave some things behind in order to possess that which lies ahead. You remember what God did in previous times to help you trust Him in current times. But...you must move forward!

Israel experienced this kind of crossing over. They had a miraculous 40 years of following the presence of God and God providing for them in the wilderness. After the supernatural crossing of the Jordan River, the Lord told Joshua to build a memorial at Gilgal. This was to be a remembrance of God’s role in stopping the flow of the Jordan so that the entire nation could cross into the Promised Land.   ‘Joshua said to the Israelites, “In the future when your descendants ask their parents, ‘What do these stones mean?’ tell them, ‘Israel crossed the Jordan on dry ground.’  For the Lord your God dried up the Jordan before you until you had crossed over. The Lord your God did to the Jordan what he had done to the Red Sea when he dried it up before us until we had crossed over. He did this so that all the peoples of the earth might know that the hand of the Lord is powerful and so that you might always fear the Lord your God.” Joshua 4:22-24 NIV.  God knew the nation would need a new level of faith to contend for and retain the new territory. That faith would be passed on to future generations as the territory was possessed. 


While the people rested and memorialized the crossing of the Jordan River, Joshua was contemplating the challenge of Jericho, the first city-state that stood before them.  They had never encountered such imposing walls in the wilderness! Battles were different there! But Joshua had made the mental transition to contend for what stood before him, not lingering on what stood behind him. The manna stopped flowing from heaven and the people harvested food from the land they now entered. It was a new way of provision. God’s provision of food would now come from the land He promised rather than from heaven. Something had changed in how God would be involved in the life of the nation. They had crossed over.


We know from the rest of the Book of Joshua that Jericho was conquered as Joshua partnered in faith and action with the Lord. We know city after city fell to the nation of Israel as they went from battle to battle and from victory to victory. Each battle was different. It took years to accomplish the first phase of dominion in the Promised Land. Israel could remember, but they could not return to the other side of the Jordan River. It never dried up again. They could only move forward into new territory, a land of promise. 


The lesson for us is that we must remember the past, participate in the present and anticipate the future. The Lord will be with us always, but how He operates and partners with our faith changes as we cross over. He expects, and even demands, a level of faith and action not needed before the crossing.

6/17/19

Freedom in Christ Month!


Therefore if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed. John 8:36 NKJV
In America, the month of June that has been declared ‘Gay Pride Month’.  This declaration was made by former President Clinton and expanded by President Obama. The impact has led to progressive destruction for the nation.  We have moved from gay pride to pride in all forms of non-heterosexual behavior. The month is now recognized by some as pride in a plethora of sexual choices under the banner of LGBTTQQIAAP (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, transsexual, queer, questioning, intersex, asexual, ally, pansexual).

Whatever sexual expression these letters represent, the operative word for the recognition is ‘pride’. The underlying agenda of activists is to be prideful of what they believe is their identity, and what Biblically is their choice of free will. The activist agenda is to be proud of their sexual identity. Scripturally, pride is a major issue with God. Pride is a form of self-exaltation, justification and affirmation.  Proverbs 13:10 tells us through pride comes nothing but strife. A study by the US Center for Disease Control (2015) found that LGBTQ individuals experience far more violence from each other than non-LGBTQ individuals. For example 44% of lesbian women experienced physical and sexual violence from their partners.


Biblical history and scriptural context of right and wrong have never affirmed, approved, sanctioned or endorsed these particular choices for the human race. The fact that activists proclaim their pride reveals a root source of the problem.  Pride is a form of captivity to self. Under the New Covenant of faith and grace, Jesus can set people free of pride and false identities.  Therefore if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed (John 8:36 NKJV). When we are ‘free indeed’ we choose the identity of Christ and are set free from the inside out to walk in righteousness in our choices. Through Christ, captives can be set free from pride and choose to walk in humility. 


Activists, and many who are caught up in the LGBTQ  movement, strongly proclaim all such people are ‘born this way’.  Even some activists question the assertion of being ‘born this way’.  Gay activist and history professor John D'Emilio once stated, "'Born gay' is an idea with a large constituency, LGBT and otherwise. It's an idea designed to allay the ingrained fears of a homophobic society and the internalized fears of gays, lesbians, and bisexuals. What's most amazing to me about the 'born gay' phenomenon is that the scientific evidence for it is thin as a reed, yet it doesn't matter. It's an idea with such social utility that one doesn't need much evidence in order to make it attractive and credible." In addition Camille Paglia, a social critic, academic, feminist, and lesbian, stated in her book Vamps and Tramps, "Our sexual bodies were designed for reproduction .... No one is born gay. The idea is ridiculous ... homosexuality is an adaptation, not an inborn trait."


However thin the science is, activists have convinced a large portion of America, especially in corporate and government institutions, that sexuality is a ‘born this way’ fact. A recent survey found that about 42% of adults believe people are born gay. This group of 42% was found to be primarily whites, females, political liberals, high-income earners, and those who seldom or never attend church. As a ministry leader I am somewhat encouraged that lack of church influence is part of the reason for such beliefs. That means there is hope that the church and courageous ministry leaders can and will counter such beliefs with Truth. 


I challenge ministry leaders to speak Biblical truth to this cultural issue and to pray for the captives to receive the freedom Christ purchased for all of us. There are thousands of testimonies of men and women who have been set free as they chose Jesus Christ to transform their chosen identity into His redeemed identity. You won’t find these testimonies published in the mainstream media or in corporate or government institutions. I recommend Charisma On-Line as a good source of encouraging testimonies during the month of June. As we move through this month let us declare and intercede for freedom for the captives. Let’s proclaim June to be Freedom in Christ Month!!

4/2/19

Dispelling the Murk of Immigration Theology


“When the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the holy angels with Him, then He will sit on the throne of His glory. All the nations will be gathered before Him, and He will separate them one from another, as a shepherd divides his sheep from the goats. Matthew 25:31, 32
Much debate surrounding immigration within evangelical churches focuses on compassion as the spiritual motivating force to accept most, if not all, people desiring to enter the USA.  According to a recent international Gallup poll (2013) there are more than 138,000,000 people who desire to live in America. We know there about one million people that immigrate legally each year and another one million or more that enter illegally. A recent study estimates at least 22 million currently living here illegally (Yale University 2018). So how do we approach the immigration and national borders from a scriptural perspective? I posted my scriptural perspective of the Biblical principle of national borders and sovereign nations previously.  Now I move to another aspect of this issue.

A centerpiece of scriptural debate around the subject of compassion toward people, especially in the immigration context, is Matthew 25:31-46. This section of scripture is often cited by proponents of open national borders to advocate we embrace and bring in any and all people who may have fewer material possessions or more difficult life circumstances than found in Western culture, especially American culture. So, let’s focus on that issue today.


This section of scripture in Matthew is the closing piece of Jesus’ sermon on the Mount; a powerful message primarily focused on end time events.  A key point in His sermon is found in verse 31, “When the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the holy angels with Him, then He will sit on the throne of His glory." The majority of Biblical theologians agree this verse establishes the time frame context for the rest of the sermon…the return of Christ after the seven years of tribulation. This event is on earth, not in heaven; therefore it does not take place during the time of the final judgements that occur in heaven, i.e. the judgement seat of Christ (1 Cor. 3:12-15) which is only for believer’s rewards, and the white throne judgement (Rev. 20:11-15) where the lost are judged.  The timing is immediately at the end of the tribulation and the beginning of the millennial reign of Christ on earth. This is a specific judgement of nations/peoples existing during the tribulation. Therefore, applying this scripture specifically to immigration policy today ignores the context of Jesus’ message and the whole counsel of scripture


Next Jesus says in verse 32, "All the nations will be gathered before Him." The context is that the nations existing on earth at that time will be gathered before Him upon His arrival. This will be a mega-event, not a conference room meeting! The nations will be primarily gentile since that is the common understanding throughout the New Testament, i.e. non-Jewish nations. In those nations will be the saved and unsaved people living at the end of the tribulation. But the nation of Israel will be also be present and, most believe, will have accepted the returning Messiah who appears in glory. Israel will declare Jesus as Messiah before Jesus appears in Jerusalem. They will do this in accord with Luke 13:34, 35 when Jesus spoke to the Jews in Jerusalem, ‘I tell you, you will not see me again until you say, ’blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord'.


Then Jesus goes on to say in verse 32 and 33, ‘He will separate them one from another, as a shepherd divides his sheep from the goats. And He will set the sheep on His right hand, but the goats on the left.’ Now begins a judgement that separates those in the nations before Him. He already knows which ones are sheep and which ones are goats. The sheep will be the saved ones and the goats the unsaved. 


Now Jesus declares a basis for this specific judgement, ‘Then the King will say to those on His right hand, ‘Come, you blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: for I was hungry and you gave Me food; I was thirsty and you gave Me drink; I was a stranger and you took Me in; I was naked and you clothed Me; I was sick and you visited Me; I was in prison and you came to Me.’  He is separating them based upon the evidence of their faith in Him, even though they did not physically see Him when they did good things for the ‘stranger’. They were already ‘blessed of My Father’ indicating a relationship with Him before this event. Because of faith in Him the sheep displayed compassion toward the ‘stranger’.  


Some people use these words,  ‘I was a stranger and you took Me in’ as the primary basis for an ‘open borders’ policy for all nations and acceptance of all ‘strangers’.  The word for stranger is ‘xenos’. From this word we hear the allegation of being ‘xenophobic’ applied to those who support limited immigration. Xenophobic means irrational fear of strangers as it applies to immigration. However, the Church familiar with the Word of God has neither fear nor irrational thinking on the immigration question. To be discerning and apply wisdom to immigration policy is quite rational and reveals a more complete Biblical world view. To endure the scorn of having and declaring a Biblical worldview is to be fearless in the face of persecution!


Now, another pivotal point. Jesus says in verse 40, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me.’ The key question and the foundation upon which He is judging is how His brothers were treated! Who are the brethren? Three reliable resources I consulted for this post agree that ‘brethren’ are His Jewish brothers, the Root of Jessie, the Jews from the lineage of Jacob…Israel! Understanding Matthew 25:31-46 hinges upon this context of the time frame and recognizing the brethren to whom Jesus was referring.


There will be great persecution, executions, and terrible troubles during the tribulation. Some individual gentiles and Jews will choose to believe in Jesus before His arrival, but much of this evil will be directed towards the nation of Israel. Israel will be a target of the massive invasion of Satan’s forces during the tribulation. But Israel will embrace Jesus as Lord as stated above. The judgement in Matthew 25 is based upon how those alive treat Israel in the worst of times; when they are naked, hungry, surrounded, strangers in the world. Who embraced them, fed them, supported them, and took them in when they fled persecution? The goats are the unbelievers who did NOT help the believers, especially the nation of Israel, during the tribulation.  


Jesus then says, "And these (goats) will go away into everlasting punishment, but the righteous (sheep) into eternal life.”  The end result of Jesus’ judgement is clear. These goats (un-believers) are the first fruits of what other non-believers will experience at the resurrection of the dead at the white throne judgement.


This specific judgement at the end of the tribulation is narrowly defined in context and in timeframe.  We must not overreach the intent of this scripture to create doctrine for immigration, or worse, a new doctrine for salvation. We live in the dispensation of grace. "For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast" (Ephesians 2:8, 9). Rather, let us recognize that how we treat Israel is important to God!


Click here to read more from Harvey on theology and immigration.

3/19/19

Is Jesus The Illegal Immigrant's Ticket to Ride?

"To be clear, the blood of Jesus and the power of His resurrection did not buy a ticket of entry into any sovereign nation in the world."
For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast. Ephesians 2:8, 9
A Gallup poll (2013) of people in 154 nations found that the USA is a desired permanent destination for over 138,000,000 people. They want to come to America. In this context there is great debate about immigration in America, especially over illegal immigration on the southern border. Between 12 and 20 million people currently live in the US illegally already.

The war for the wall on America’s southern border has both secular governmental and spiritual governmental components. Regarding the spiritual component, one element of the evangelical church sees immigration and refugees the same way as the helpless widow and the orphan.  These evangelicals see governmental policy through the lens of Matthew 25: 31-46. This section of scripture finds Jesus speaking of the judgement of sheep and goat nations. Specifically in verse 35b some people define immigration policy by; ‘I was a stranger and you took Me in’. They see every stranger (alien, non-citizen) as the immigrant foreigner who desires entry into the US. They believe we must accept them into our midst in order to align ourselves with Biblical truth.  In my post last week I articulated Biblical principles found in Israel that clearly rejects such a big umbrella of acceptance, and I will continue in this vein today.


This particular passage is viewed by some to be guidance for national policy, personal policy, and the pathway to salvation. They view the reference to sheep and goat nations as those who do the works found in Matthew 25 (more on sheep and goats next week). Some who self-identify as ‘evangelical’ believe the good works mentioned in this scripture are the dividing line of separation between heaven and hell, eternal life and eternal fire. They believe this scripture represents the primary truth of all Christian theology.  Organizations embracing this far left limited view of scripture include groups such as Sojourners and the Red Letter Christians. Shane Claiborne, a Christian social activist who is co-director of Red Letter Christians, said about this portion of Matthew 25 regarding the sheep and the goats:

"... the goats who did not care for the poor, hungry, homeless, imprisoned are sent off to endure an agony akin to that experienced by the ones that they neglected on this earth…We build up walls to keep immigrants from entering our country…And the more walls and gates and fences we have, the closer we are to hell."
This political left view among self-identified evangelicals is completely counter to the whole counsel of scripture, and, as such, I wholeheartedly reject it. This does not agree with the core doctrines of faith, grace and believing upon Jesus Christ alone for eternal life.  "For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast (Ephesians 2:8, 9)." We must embrace the truths of Biblical counsel and stand on Kingdom foundations. The ‘Red Letter Christians’ see the words of Jesus as their source of all truth, not the rest of the Bible. For example, Micah Bales, a Bible teacher who was formerly an organizer with the radical Occupy movement, blogged about Matthew 25 on the Red Letter Christian site:
When Jesus judges the world, according to this passage (i.e. Matthew 25), he won't care what you think about him. Instead, all that will matter is how we answer questions like, "Did you care for the stranger?"
That is heresy! We must beware of the misappropriation and outright heresy of some of these beliefs!  The far left heretical use of Matthew 25 undermines the totality of the gospel message of salvation by faith alone. It undermines the whole counsel of God. Bales also said in regard to refugees:
"If we turn our backs on the Syrian refugees, we reject as irrelevant the claims of Jesus. We deny the truthfulness of the Bible. We renounce the Christian faith altogether…Let me be clear: You cannot ignore these refugees and be a follower of Jesus in any real sense."
According to such beliefs, if people go to hell for not feeding the poor or bringing in every immigrant, then we must conclude that people who do feed the poor and bring in every immigrant do go to heaven. In other words, they propose the gospel as a gospel of works not a gospel of faith and grace. This is wrong!

This works-based measurement of salvation is centered on man’s perspective of doing good…especially in the context of Matthew 25. But if that is to be embraced as the metric of eternal salvation (the wrong metric I must add!) there would need to be an objective scoring of the nations.  The Charity Aide Foundation uses international data to measure charitable ‘doing good’ to poor and needy. Out of thousands of individuals surveyed in 2018 in over 150 nations, the US scored #4 on their charity index!  The US also scored very high in the ‘helping a stranger’ aspect of the index. Western European nations that push for open borders and unlimited immigration scored quite low. Only the Netherlands, United Kingdom, and Norway made the top 20 charitable nations. So, does that mean the top 20 nations get to heaven? These scores change from year to year. Which year are the good works valid for entry to heaven? In a recent budget the President of the US asked for $39 billion for aide to foreign nations. Does a national budget get us all IN? Does the charity index mean the US is a sheep nation? Or does it mean that we individually are sheep? NO! This works-based heresy must be rejected both as a national policy and as a spiritual principle for salvation. It is wrong!


Moving on to another aspect of immigration. When it came to the offering of sacrifices and the worship of the true and living God, Israel, under the Law of Moses, had specific guidance for temporary residents, "[T]here shall be one statute for you and for the stranger who sojourns with you, a statute forever throughout your generations. You and the sojourner shall be alike before the LORD. One law and one rule shall be for you and for the stranger who sojourns with you" (Numbers 15:15-16).  The law here is the entire law beginning with the Ten Commandments and all of the details of spiritual and civil law in Israel.  Those who were vetted were welcome in Israel as long as they entered freely into the worship of Israel's God and complied with the law. Such people were foreigners from other tribes and nations. A sojourner is defined as one who ‘stays temporarily’.  They would be like those in America who have long term visas and green cards. Immigration then, as now, was not a right – it was a privilege that was granted only under certain specific conditions. Boundaries were for inclusion as well as exclusion. "Strangers and aliens" were to be received in Israel, and were to be treated with fairness and justice. But they were also to be taught the values and worldview on which the civilization and nation rested.


The biblical fact that we are to care for the unfortunate does not mean we should violate the law or eliminate national borders in doing so. It doesn’t mean every ‘stranger’ or ‘sojourner’ should be allowed into the nation.  What are their motives? Will they assimilate into the culture and embrace core values? Or will they change the values and culture such as what happened to Israel leading up to their exile to Babylon?


Supporting, enabling, and/or encouraging illegal immigration or no-border-immigration is a violation of God's Kingdom principles. Only those intentionally misusing scripture or those ignorant of the Word regarding relevant kingdom principles will drink this Kool-Aid!  To be clear, the blood of Jesus and the power of His resurrection did not buy a ticket of entry into any sovereign nation in the world. We must not invoke cheap compassion to advance a political policy that devalues the cross of Christ!
 

More next week on the sheep and goat nations...


3/12/19

What Does the Bible Say About Borders?

The international border wall between San Diego, California and Tijuana, Mexico.

"He has made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined their appointed times and the boundaries of their habitation, that they would seek God ..." (Acts 17:26-27)  
America is in a war for the wall and the womb; a battle for protection of unborn and newly born babies and for a secure sovereign nation.  In my previous post I focused on the war for the womb. In this post I will focus on the war for the wall

Nations were God’s idea. Boundaries for a nation were God’s idea. God created nations to worship Him and express their love for Him through their culture and identity. The Old Testament includes specific laws about non-citizens entering Israel. They were permitted to pass through or stay with permission of Israel. Lacking such permission they were to be refused entry or deported outside the boundaries. While national boundaries may change over the centuries, the central spiritual purpose of a nation, and the concept of a sovereign boundary to define geographic dominion have remained Biblically intact. 


The Church has a role through the Great Commission (Matthew 28:19) which mandates that we ‘make disciples of all nations’.  Jesus recognized nations as a target of His great commission to the church. The great commission specifically says ‘go’ to all nations (vs. 19).  He didn’t say ‘come’!  


National boundaries exist to define the limits of governmental authority, the limits of internal legal systems and financial responsibility, the limits of responsibility to protect citizens, and the limits of other peoples and governments attempts to intrude, invade or infuse foreign laws upon a sovereign nation.  Nations create laws and systems to protect and promote the well-being of citizens within their boundaries. Nations can enter into beneficial inter-nation agreements be it financial, social or militarily to the extent such agreements reflect the core principle of benefiting and protecting the nation.


In ancient cities the gates and walls constituted a security system. For example, Nehemiah's return to Jerusalem was not only to rebuild Jerusalem's walls but also to restore its gates (Nehemiah 2). Guards watched from towers beside the gates. Elders, or community leaders, sat "in the gates" helping maintain the legal and commercial order of the city. Walls and gates are practical security and prophetic symbolism. They protect the people within and declare to those beyond that what is within is of great value. It is noteworthy that when Nehemiah returned to Jerusalem to restore the walls and gates the tribes that surrounded Jerusalem ‘were very much disturbed that someone had come to promote the welfare of the Israelites.’ (Nehemiah 2:10)


God's laws were to be written on the "doorposts" of one's home as well as on the gates to the city (Deuteronomy 6:9, et al.). The values of the family, city, and nation were to confront every "stranger" seeking entry as protection for those within the walls. In every nation the home is the example of a protected border with walls and doors designed to allow entry only to those the owner chooses. Gated and walled communities of the wealthy in the US often have walls and gates to keep uninvited and un-vetted people out.  Many corporate office buildings have security guards and electronic security to determine who enters the building. For example, anyone can knock on my door and request entry, but I do not have to let them in. I have dominion legally and morally over my home. In fact, if I or my family is threatened with home invasion I have the legal right to physically defend my border.


Paul the Apostle told Athenian philosophers that God Himself "made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined their appointed times and the boundaries of their habitation, that they would seek God ..." (Acts 17:26-27)   Borders and boundaries defining a nation are key to being and remaining a nation. Without borders and boundaries there is no nation. Without a distinct culture and God ordained purpose you don’t need to be a nation!!


Some politicians and nominal Christians believe that immigration bans or restrictions are unbiblical. However, we see in the Bible that when there is open hostility or willful violation of a nation’s law such bans are required. For example, the people of Ammon and Moab were hostile to Israel as Israel came out of Egypt. God then forbade the nation of Israel to accept any immigrants from either of these people groups to "the tenth generation" (Deut. 23:3). Immigration exceptions were made for those who were properly and satisfactorily vetted. Ruth, for instance, was a Moabite but was not only allowed to enter Israel but to become a part of the line that led to the Savior of the world. It should be noted that Ruth was embraced as an immigrant because of her willingness to reject the religious practices of her native land and completely assimilate to her newly adopted homeland. She said; "Your people shall be my people, and your God my God" (Ruth 1:17). Immigration law for Israel included the integration into and embracing of the culture of Israel.


The Bible reveals that "gatekeeping" is a critical component in the theological concept of borders. Gatekeepers watching over the entry to the Hebrews' tabernacle and, later, the Temple, provide a historic example of those who are the sentinels of the nations' core worldview and values: they occupied an "office of trust." (1 Chronicles 9:17-22) Today the civil authority of gatekeeping is within the Customs and Border Protection division of Homeland Security. However, I believe the spiritual authority of gatekeeper for America is in the church. We hold the spiritual office of trust to intercede for, speak to, preach, vote and advocate for Biblical values and worldview regarding national borders and security.


In America we have between 12 and 20 million people living here who violated national laws and boundaries by entering without permission or by staying beyond the terms of their legal entry.  The President has proposed to protect the most vulnerable parts of the southern border of the US with a wall, barrier or other entry proof structure to prevent illegal entry into the nation. In February, 2019 border patrol agents apprehended 66,000 people including more than 36,000 in ‘families’ along the southern border, a record high in recent years. That brings the total number of arrested families over the past five months to more than 130,000. It’s an increase of more than 300 percent compared to the same five-month period in 2018. The Department of Homeland Security now projects that almost one million people will be apprehended this year. That would mean almost one million known criminal violations of national sovereignty and secure borders. Tens of Thousands of others will not be apprehended. And, approximately one million more will immigrate legally. 


A Gallup poll (2013) of people in 154 nations found that the USA is a desired permanent destination for over 138,000,000 people, the first choice among the nations.  The southern border is vast and porous. While many people from Africa, Asia, and the Indian subcontinent may desire to come to American their primary entry port is an airport where security is very high and they must have legal documents to enter. However vast numbers of Central American and Mexican people enter illegally through the land border with Mexico. . In recent months the Border Patrol has apprehended people coming across the southern border from more than 40 nations. It is commonly known that if you desire to enter the nation illegally the southern border is your passage way. Therefore, we have a war for the wall.


Supporting, enabling, and/or encouraging illegal immigration or eliminating national borders is a violation of God's principle of sovereign nations. The Church must not be part of supporting, enabling or encouraging illegal immigration or eliminating national borders. We are spiritual gatekeepers! 


Those seeking to immigrate to another country should always obey the immigration laws of that country. While this may cause delays and frustrations, these reasons do not give a person the right to violate a civil law or God’s principles of national sovereignty.  A wall is only needed if those desiring entry do not respect the rule of law and willfully violate the un-walled borders of a nation.

More next week on this subject...




Click here to read last week's post on the War for the Womb.

2/28/19

Babies, The Bible, and The Bottom of Our Society

So shall they fear the Name of the Lord from the west, and His glory from the rising of the sun; When the enemy comes in like a flood, The Spirit of the Lord will lift up a standard against him.  ~ Isaiah 59:19

This week in America we entered new territory as a nation, a deeper dimension of evil previously not thought possible. The United States Senate failed to get the required 60 votes to pass a law that would keep babies surviving abortion alive. All Republicans present for the vote supported the proposed law. Democrats, with the exception of three, voted against it thus defeating the bill. A couple weeks ago the State of New York signed into law the legalization of killing babies up to actual birth with the approval of mother and one physician. 


The Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision of 1973 has progressed from making abortion legal to making infanticide legal. The Democratic Party has become the governing party of death in America. They call themselves ‘progressive’. Yes, they are progressively evil in the governing of the people. 


While there may have been prophetic voices in 1973 predicting the slippery slope of Roe v. Wade, most of the church was not aware of the issue. While Southern Baptists, the largest protestant denomination, are now pro-life, their leadership has admitted that the denomination supported legalizing abortion in 1973 given the argument of health for the mother. 


Before her death Mother Theresa said "Abortion kills twice. It kills the body of the baby and it kills the conscience of the mother. Abortion is profoundly anti-women." "A nation that kills its children in the womb has lost its soul."


Dr. Alveda King, niece of Dr. Martin Luther King has said, "Abortion and racism are both symptoms of a fundamental human error. The error is thinking that when someone stands in the way of our wants, we can justify getting that person out of our lives. Abortion and racism stem from the same poisonous root, selfishness."

But there are lights shining in the darkness as many State governments push back against abortion including Tennessee which recently approved the ‘heart beat’ law which prohibits abortion after detecting the heartbeat in a baby. President Trump recently approved revised rules for using certain federal grant monies that will now prohibit abortion provider organizations like Planned Parenthood from access to those tax dollars. 


The difference of perspective on this issue across America is whether or not a Biblical worldview influences government. Where state and federal government are not influenced by Biblical values they will be influenced by satanic values. There is no middle ground today. Satan will never be satisfied with small victories. He wants every person and every nation to bow to him and his value system of death. Yielding to his value system is a progressive road to destruction. Christian leaders and believers have clear choices as to the government they choose.
 

There is a standard and a shout to El Shaddai arising again across this land that we must be a nation that embraces life for the innocent. "So shall they fear the Name of the Lord from the west, and His glory from the rising of the sun; When the enemy comes in like a flood, The Spirit of the Lord will lift up a standard against him ( Isaiah 59:19)." To lift up a standard in the Hebrew means ‘to cause to flee, to cause to go away’. It is time to cause the enemy to flee!!!

America must be a ‘sheep nation’; to follow the footsteps of Jesus and the apostles of the church speaking forth redemption and restoration in the nation.  A prophet of old said “Declare among the nations, Proclaim, and set up a standard; Proclaim—do not conceal it— Say, ‘Babylon is taken, Bel is shamed. Merodach is broken in pieces; Her idols are humiliated, Her images are broken in pieces’ (Jeremiah 50:2).  It is noteworthy that the pagan god Merodach, whom Jeremiah spoke strongly against, literally means ‘slaughter’.
 

The remnant of the church must arise. It is time to come out of the shadows and cast light to dispel the darkness. Speak from the pulpit. Speak to those governing. We must rise up against government approved practice of slaughtering the innocent, inside and outside the womb. How we vote and whom we support reveals our worldview and the alliances within our hearts.

2/8/19

Seeing From God's Perspective


But blessed are your eyes because they see, and your ears because they hear. For truly I tell you, many prophets and righteous people longed to see what you see but did not see it, and to hear what you hear but did not hear it. Matt. 13:16, 17

As I entered the New Year I was seeking what the Holy Spirit would say to me about the year 2019. I was not clearly seeing, perceiving, hearing or discerning His direction for a couple weeks. Then He began to show that the need for His body, the church, is ‘to see as the Father sees.’ As I discerned and digested that phrase I was weighed down with the magnitude of what the Lord desires for me, our local church, and, I believe, His church at large. One thing He desires is for this year is to increasingly see from His high perspective, from an altitude where things are not tangible and the earthly tangible things are understood from HIS perspective.


In Matthew 13:17, 17 Jesus told his disciples they were ‘blessed’ to see and hear that which the forefathers and prophets longed to see and hear, but did not. But many who saw Jesus with natural eyes did not see him with spiritual eyes. Many witnessed the miracles, attended His parade as he rode into Jerusalem before Passover, but they did not attend His crucifixion. Many sat under his teaching on the hillside, but did not sit in the upper room with the 120. They saw as men see rather than as the Father sees. They could neither see nor perceive the greater magnitude of what was revealed in tangible signs and events. 


We live in a time when our spiritual eye sight, a kind of prophetic insight, must increase if we are to see and understand natural events and circumstances. We must see the visible things as God sees them. This will require our five natural senses to move to the background and our spiritual perception to the foreground. 


There was a time when Paul was speaking to Jews in Rome while he was under house arrest. He was trying to convince them of the truth of Jesus as Messiah and Savior. Some believed but others did not. Those that did not left after his last words to them. Included in his last words were, “‘go to this people and say, “you will be ever hearing but never understanding; you will be ever seeing but never
perceiving.” For the hearts of this people have grown dull. Their ears are hard of hearing, and their eyes they have closed, lest they should see with their eyes and hear with their ears, lest they should understand with their hearts and turn, so that I should heal them.” ’ (Acts 28:27 NKJV) Paul’s quote from Isaiah 6 revealed God’s perspective of those that did not believe….they would not or could not SEE that which the Father God had done and was now doing. Healing in this context was not so much physical but spiritual...healing unto revelation, redemption, and discernment for a people operating by their intellect. 


There have been times of trial and trouble in my life where I could only see the natural circumstances, most of which were a great trouble for me. I could not get past the natural to see what God was doing in the midst of those troubles. In hindsight I discovered a great work He was doing, not because He caused the trials, but because He used them to move me into a new place of seeing and understanding, of perceiving and discerning; a place I had yet to occupy.
 

We must develop our spiritual eyesight as we look upon personal and national circumstances around us. We must see His perspective of event in our nations. We must see how He using leaders in government and in the church to bring Kingdom alignment when it seems chaotic. If we only look and see with natural eyes we can be deceived and disappointed, not seeing what God sees from high above. There is vision beyond the natural. It is a spiritual insight, perspective, and perception. As we move through the coming months I challenge you to seek and pursue God’s eye sight. This is an active process, not an instant transformation. Discover in His Word the mysteries that bring understanding to the natural things. Perceive in events and circumstances which the natural eyes cannot see.

Want to read more about discernment?  Click here!

12/24/18

Prophetic Proclamation Precedes Manifestation


“For unto us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on His shoulders. And He will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the increase of His government and peace there will be no end. He will reign on David’s throne and over his kingdom, establishing and upholding it with justice and righteousness from that time on and forever. The zeal of the LORD Almighty will accomplish this."~ Is. 9:6, 7

About 700 years before the birth of Christ Isaiah proclaimed Jesus birth, his names, his government, his throne, his righteous role and the absolute assurance it all would HAPPEN. Isaiah proclaimed an event of worldwide impact. This scripture is the most common reference we hear during the days of celebrating Christ’s birth yet many in the church do not embrace the prophetic gift or function of prophet in the church today.

A kingdom principle threaded throughout scripture is that prophetic proclamation precedes visible manifestation. Prophecy is gifted to the church to assure believers that God saw it before we see it. He knew it before we know it. He heard it before we hear it. He is not surprised by fulfillment of prophecy because He is the author of the prophetic gift given to the church. We are not to be surprised or ill-informed when it happens!!

Some prophecies are fulfilled long after they are spoken, e.g. the messianic prophecies of Old Testament prophets like Isaiah. Other prophecies are fulfilled quickly such as the prophecy to Mary.  The angel went to her and said, “Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you.” Mary was greatly troubled at his words and wondered what kind of greeting this might be. But the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, you have found favor with God. You will be with child and give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of His father David, and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever; his kingdom will never end” Luke 1:28-33.  The angel’s proclamation was fulfilled very quickly through the supernatural conception and birth of the Messiah.  As believers we must discern the authentic voice of prophecy and be neither disappointed nor surprised by the length of time or means of manifestation. God desires us to know that He is author of both timing and means, and He informs us before through prophecy.

The principle of the prophetic preceding manifestation is evidenced even through John the Baptist. The angel prophesied the conception of John before doing so for Jesus. John was conceived six months before Jesus. He was born six months before Jesus. He was named by God before Jesus. His ministry began before Jesus. His father Zechariah prophesied upon his birth ‘and you my child will be called a prophet of the Most High; for you will go on before the Lord to prepare the way for Him (Luke 1:76).

Prophets and prophecy go before to prepare a way. The gift is alive and well today! We live in a time when the church must be discerning of the prophetic voices at the personal, local church, national and global level.  We are in a dispensation of ‘preparing’. Our responsibility upon discerning the authentic voice of prophecy is to believe.  Elizabeth said upon greeting Mary, ‘Blessed is she who has believed that what the Lord has said to her will be accomplished’ (Luke 1:45).

Prophetic proclamation will precede visible manifestation. Believe it. Neither doubt nor worry about timing… just believe it will happen.  Let our celebration of Christ’s birth be the prophetic prequel to celebrating His return.

11/27/18

Choose to Be a Victor


We are hard-pressed on every side, yet not crushed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed— always carrying about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our body. 2 Cor. 4:8-10 (NKJV)

I have been preaching in our church on the concept of victims versus victors.  All of us have been victims at some time in life. A victim is someone who has been harmed or diminished in some way. How we respond when we are harmed or diminished determines if we remain a victim or rise to be a victor. A victor is someone who has been harmed but rises above it to choose a victor’s perspective. Very often people who are victims, whether of minor or major harm, will linger and meditate on their victimhood to the point of it becoming their identity. But a victor seeks heart transformation and overcomes the temptation to identify as a victim.


In the corporate offices of America we have procedures and policies for those who feel aggrieved or victimized by someone or something. In such cases the harm is often called a grievance.  The world’s way of dealing with this is for the victim to file a grievance with the Human Resource Department which will investigate and determine if there must be restitution for the victim. In cases of criminal activity victims may go through legal proceedings to gain restitution or some form of justice. But the most critical aspect of being a victim is how we respond in our mind and heart. Will we embrace victimhood as our identity? Will we seek empathy from other victims and pursue vengeance for the wrong?


The early church offers us the Kingdom way of responding when bad things happen. When harmed, persecuted, perplexed, or hard-pressed they took their grievance to their Heavenly Father. They did not look to earthly government but to heavenly government. They are our example. They filed their perspective of being a victim with the Divine Resource Department. They took their grievance to God, confident He would settle it…first and foremost in their mind and heart.
 

There are many great examples of Godly men and women choosing to be a victor amidst victim circumstances.


  • Joseph-thrown into a pit, sold by his brothers, falsely accused of sexual assault, imprisoned wrongfully, completely separated from his family into a foreign culture. Yet…he said to his brothers upon being reunited…'it was not you who sent me here, but God to preserve a remnant.'
  • Daniel-a man of noble birth taken captive to Babylon, trained to be a servant to the king, interpreted dreams for the kings, elevated to great honor in the palace, maligned for not worshiping false gods, elevated again to great honor in the court of Darius, framed by jealous satraps, thrown to the lions by Darius, elevated again to great honor, and stayed in the courts of Cyrus while the remnant of the Tribe of Judah returned to Jerusalem to restore the temple and the walls. 
  • Jesus-born of a virgin, son of God and son of man, no room for him in the inn, 40 days fasting in the desert, tempted by Satan with the world’s kingdoms, offered himself as Messiah to Israel and was rejected, falsely accused by his countrymen, convicted, flogged, denied by Peter three times, crucified by the gentiles, separated from his Father who turned away at the moment of his greatest burden on the cross when he became sin.
  • Paul- received from the Jews the forty lashes minus one, Three times beaten with rods, once pelted with stones, three times shipwrecked, spent a night and a day in the open sea, was constantly on the move, in danger from rivers, in danger from bandits, in danger from fellow Jews, in danger from Gentiles; in danger in the city, in danger in the country, in danger at sea; and in danger from false believers,  labored and toiled and often gone without sleep, was hungry and thirsty and without food, was at times cold and naked. 
  • All of the original apostles, except Judas and John, were killed for their faith, yet never wavered in that faith.
 These men stood as victors rather than victims. They made a choice of perspective which elevated them above victimhood. King David, often under great pressure and attack, said; but you, God, see the trouble of the afflicted; You consider their grief and take it in hand. The victims commit themselves to You; You are the helper of the fatherless( Ps. 10:14). Biblical examples of choosing the perspective of a victor are abundant. Choose the way of the victor. Take your grievance to the Lord.

Click here to read Harvey's previous message, From Victim to Victor!

10/30/18

From Victim to Victor!


But you, God, see the trouble of the afflicted; you consider their grief and take it in hand. The victims commit themselves to You;  You are the helper of the fatherless. Ps. 10:14

This scripture acknowledges that affliction in some form is a reality for all people. But it directs those afflicted, the victims, to the Father for help. In this Truth lies the secret of moving from victim to victor.

We have in our nation and in much of western culture, a condition that has become an overpowering force in every dimension of society. It is the condition of being a victim and taking upon oneself the identity in such a way it defines who we are.

 You and I will be victims of something or someone at various times in our lives. There are many degrees of severity in being a victim, from unwarranted physical attack and injury to simply being hurt by someone’s words or innuendo.  A ‘Victim’- is one harmed or injured by an event or action. Everyone is a victim at some point in life….no one is exempt! We have rules and laws in place for the most obvious kinds of victims. For example if you drive your car carelessly and cause damage to another person’s body and/or vehicle, there is embedded in our law a form of justice. You or your insurance company must pay for the damages and expenses of the victim’s person and/or vehicle. That is simple and most of us in America have been on one side or the other of creating such situations. That is where the idea of being a victim ends…at least it should be.

But there is a more insidious culture that as emerged over the last few decades that uses victims to create power for evil purposes. It is the industry of victimhood. It uses people’s perceived or real victimization, magnifies the impacts and damages be they physical, financial or emotional, and uses them for financial gain, political power, and cultural division.  In America we saw this played out so clearly as a nominee to the Supreme Court was accused, maligned, debased, and virtually assassinated in character because a woman accused him of a sexual impropriety at a high school party over 35 years ago. There was no evidence and no corroboration. The nominee and his corroborating witnesses declared that it never happened. However, the very allegation created the perception that the woman who made the accusation could have been a victim. What followed was an outburst of chaos, protest, profanity, intimidation, harassment and violence devised by organizations that live off the industry of victimhood. Organizations such as Planned Parenthood, Demand Justice, People for the American Way, LGBT groups, National Abortion Federation, and dozens of others used the identity of victimhood to further their agenda. This resulted in mobs using the nation’s capital as their pulpit of power. They projected the identity of ‘perpetrator’ upon the court nominee, men in general, and anyone (man or woman) who disagreed with them. This kind of mob mentality can only happen when organizations exist to perpetuate the industry of victimhood to extend their power in a nation.

Poverty is a common measure of people being victims of circumstance. More than 1.3 billion people live on less than $1.25/day which is considered extreme poverty by global standards. I have traveled into many tribal areas of the world where people live at or near this standard. But the vast majority of those people do not perceive themselves as victims. Vast financial resources continue to flow into nations where these conditions exist, but as Jesus said, ‘the poor you will always have with you’.  (Matt. 26:11)

There is now playing out in Mexico, our neighbor to the south, a situation based upon the premise of victimhood.  Several thousand Hondurans and others are caravanning to invade the USA on the southern border. Some of them may be in poverty.  They have been told by industry advocates that they deserve a job in the USA. They believe such a job is an entitlement because they are victims. This caravan was initiated by an ‘open borders’ group that desires to eliminate national boundaries as we know them. The caravan violated the Guatemala national border, the Mexican national border and is headed to the US with the intent to violate this border.  They were not interested in staying in those nations which could have harbored them IF they were true refugees. They travel as a mob intent upon creating a scene on the border that will make them appear as ‘victims’ of our government. They do not intend to enter legally.  They know that in states like California they can get a driver’s license which will allow them to vote as faux citizens.

We must see this for what it is, a group of people organized into a mob and funded by those who live off the industry of victimhood.  They do not do as the Psalmist said; commit themselves to You (God), who would help them in their own nation.  A victim descends into the state of victimhood when they embrace the identity of being a victim. They neither forgive nor move on in their hearts to a place of inner peace. They become ripe to be used by the industry, those who gain power and money to perpetuate the victim identity for their purposes. The industry will do all it can to maintain the identity of victimhood in all that have entered.

The 1st Century church was heavily persecuted but looked to the Father for their peace and provision. They did not look to government or other advocates….only to the Father. 

The Apostle Paul speaks of the intense state of persecution that COULD have caused them to embrace victimhood. For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,] made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of God’s glory displayed in the face of Christ. 7 But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. 8 We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; 9 persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. 10 We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body. 11 For we who are alive are always being given over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that his life may also be revealed in our mortal body. (2 Cor. 4:6-11)

They were victims of religious and cultural persecution and often financial loss but chose to be victorious and reveal Christ in their circumstances. The difference between being a victim of a circumstance and embracing the identity of victimhood is how we respond to personal victimization.  The leadership of the 1st Century church did not see themselves as victims. The leaders did not encourage or advocate victimhood. They responded and embraced victory in every circumstance IN CHRIST. It was and is the better way.  If the USA receives this caravan as victims, the nation will, in reality, undermine the gospel by encouraging trust in government over God. Victimhood will reign! But there is a better way!  They may be hard pressed on every side financially, but they are not crushed if they look to Jesus for their provision in their nation.  Victimhood always seeks to make a personal problem everyone else’s problem. We pray and believe for a better outcome; that the people caravanning will see the better way!