Heartbeat of God

[people will be] brutal, 2 Timothy 3:2k

Violence has risen in the world in parallel with the rise of anger. When people get away with crimes, they feel the need to continue until someone stops them or pushes back. Anger, then violence, and then more anger. We’re seeing that in Western Europe and in inner cities of the United States. Gang-related violence as been on the rise and will continue to do so until authorities call it for what it is.

I have a friend who lives and works in the inner city of London. By trade he’s an actor and still get small parts when they suit him. He chooses to remain in a very violent section of London preaching the Gospel and transforming lives. I’ve stated here on this site countless times that missions is messy. You get involved with people and they will turn your world upside down. My friend knows the dangers (he grew up in New York City), but remains there because that’s where God wants him.

Perhaps it’s the “scaredy cat” in me, but I look at his situation and wonder why he just doesn’t begin his retirement in a safe, Christian community in Florida or North Carolina. There he could preach and teach and do great ministry. No, that’s not for Kurt. Not at all. He is where the heartbeat of God is. While we cower at the mess the inner cities are, God moves.

Are you where the heartbeat of God is? Am I?

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The Disciplined Life

[people will be] without self-control, 2 Timothy 3:2j

Since we live in a “Have it Your Way” and a pamper yourself world, it’s not surprising that we see the extensive hedonism and me-ism in society today. Why go shopping in the mall when you can shop online and have everything delivered tomorrow? I want this, and I want it now! The credit companies will accommodate your out of control spending because they’ll take in quite a few dollars when you pay them back. In order to get spending or overall lusts under control, we need discipline.

Discipline is never easy in any way it’s tried. That’s the nature of discipline. It take work and dedication.

They disciplined us for a little while as they thought best; but God disciplines us for our good, in order that we may share in his holiness. 11 No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it. Hebrews 12:10-11

This discipline is for our own good. In a world where everything is permissible, it pays to be disciplined in the areas that no one is disciplined in.

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Fake News

[people will be] slanderous, 2 Timothy 3:2i

It used to be that journalist were actually required to report the news with zero bias. Now it seems they show their bias at every turn. When they’re bias, they are far from fair and balanced. They’re not afraid to slander people they disagree with. Unfortunately it’s carried over into the masses as well. The level of profane discourse has risen over the past decade or so. With the anonymity of the internet, people can make accusations without any basis of fact. When that accusation is refuted, the damage has already been done with no apologies from the anonymous poster.

Christians are slandered and mocked on TV and in the movies with no fear of retribution. Interestingly enough, when Muslims commit atrocities in this nation, those who mocked Christianity come to their defense saying they’ll defend Muslims against any backlash from Christians. No backlash ever comes but they are certain to defend against it. We shouldn’t be surprised. It’s the way of our times.

In fact, when we are being effective for Christ, we’ll see more and more of this kind of behavior from the enemy and his minions. Of course it’s totally not fair when we’re slandered, but this is not the end of it by any stretch of the imagination.

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People Will Be Unforgiving

[people will be] unforgiving, 2 Timothy 3:2h

Bitterness and anger seem to rule the day. Everyone is offended at something or other. Then they hold grudges until there’s an apology. Sometimes the unforgiveness remains for a long long time. We hold on to bitterness for a long time. We nurse it, ruminate about it, dwell on it, and when we talk the bitterness in our speech comes out. God never intended us to hold onto bitterness. It only hurts us, not the person it’s aimed towards.

A very practical example is a company that I recently interviewed with a total of 5 times (including a lengthy face to face interview). Twice during the process I was assured that being notified about the results is the best thing to do and their decision would be soon. Nothing. I emailed HR. Still nothing. It’s been a month and a half now, and still nothing. Now, I could sit and stew about this for a long time, but what good does it do. I could write a letter stating my disappointment at their lack of communication and what I consider rude protocol, but what good would it do? On the other hand, what good does it do me to seethe and foment and get upset even thinking about it. They wronged me and they’re not going to apologize for it or make it up to me in some way. That’s it. It’s over. It’s time to let it go.

Let it go. Give it to the Father and let Him deal with it and me as He sees fit.

Just let it go.

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People Will Be Without Love

[people will be] without love, 2 Timothy 3:2g

There seems to be a lot of vitriol in the public arena these days ever since President Trump took office. It’s been smoldering for years but is boiling over now. Why? Why are people so hateful and spiteful? Where has the love gone? Perhaps the harshness has been there all along and it took someone like blunt Donald Trump to expose it (some would say ’cause it’).

I think this goes back to people being angry. Of course the internet certainly doesn’t help to calm people’s nerves. No, the internet pours fuel on the fire for things like this. Just as a loving kitten vidoeo can go viral, so can a hateful, vindictive tweet.

So then, what’s the solution? The solution, of course, is Jesus Christ. But what if this hatred is coming from Christians? We should know better but we don’t always. Unfortunately we can’t control what others say or do, so we have to live our lives knowing that God can and will deal with hatred in His body. If we can influence these people, then we should.

Staying connected to the Vine is our only hope of not becoming tainted by wrong and sinful attitudes. We have to be refreshed daily by the Holy Spirit, perhaps more often. Otherwise we run the risk of becoming just like them. We’re different; we were bought with a price.

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People Will Be Unholy

[people will be] unholy, 2 Timothy 3:2f

It’s almost as if these verses are being lived out in 2018. It’s pretty amazing how timeless these truths are. Not only do the atheists and agnostics not believe, but they denigrate and mock those who do. They purposefully provoke to cause reactions and when we react, they try to quote the Bible about turning the other cheek or something similar.

Unholy men and women have existed since before this was written, but it’s becoming more and more blatant as the days go by. It’s something we should expect because their father is the father of lies.

So, how do you pray for the blatantly unholy? The same as you would anybody else. They are sinners in need of a savior. But I’m convinced they have to be at the end of their rope to recognize their need. They’re not going to come willingly. Their will is just too strong to do otherwise. The god of this world has blinded their eyes. Remember, we are in a spiritual battle for the hearts and minds of Satan’s children.

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Counting Those Blessings

[people will be] ungrateful, 2 Timothy 3:2f

As people become angrier and more divided in this country, they forget what got us here. When they forget that, they / we become ungrateful. the cycle continues until nobody recognizes what’s truly important.

This is one of those simple days where we sing the song and take action:

When upon life’s billows you are tempest tossed
When you are discouraged thinking all is lost
Count your many blessings name them one by one
And it will surprise you what the lord has done

Count your blessings name them one by one
Count your blessings, see what God has done
Count your blessings, name them one by one
Count your many blessings see what God has done

Are you ever burdened with a load of care?
Does the cross seem heavy you are called to bear?
Count your many blessings ev’ry doubt will fly
And you will keep singing as the days go by

Count your blessings name them one by one
Count your blessings see what god has done
Count your blessings name them one by one
Count your many blessings see what God has done

So, amid the conflict whether great or small
Do not be disheartened God is over all
Count your many blessings Angels will attend
Help and comfort give you to your journey’s end

Count your blessings name them one by one
Count your blessings see what god has done
Count your blessings name them one by one
Count your many blessings see what God has done

Count your blessings name them one by one
Count your blessings see what god has done
Count your blessings name them one by one
Count your many blessings see what God has done

Those of you old enough to remember these lyrics will be singing it throughout the day and thanking God for His blessings.

Those who don’t remember it, here is how it goes.

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People will be Disobedient to Their Parents

[people will be] disobedient to their parents 2 Timothy 3:2e

Without God in their lives, children will inevitably lean towards disobedience. Why? It goes back to the previous point of children being lovers of themselves. In other words, children are born selfish. Until it’s corrected, life is about them and always has been. So it stands to reason that they will disobey.

Everyone reading this knows children by name. You also know their ways and methods. For a child to grow into maturity requires adequate discipline and work. And chances are good that if you know these children by name you are already praying for them. This generation growing up will need all the prayer and support they can get. It’s a vastly different world than we grew up in.

Pray specifically that the light of the gospel will penetrate their tiny hearts.

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People Will Be Abusive

[people will be] abusive, 2 Timothy 3:2d

Torn on any sports show and hear how another famous athlete abused his girlfriend or wife. Look at Hollywood and the culture there. Abusive to people who want to get ahead. Lastly look at governments who overlook and condone massively abusive behavior and jail anyone who speaks out against it. Is it getting worse than when this was written? Probably. At least we’re able discover and expose more of it in near real time.

I think it truly grieves God’s heart to see the abuse that continues unabated. We ask, “Why is this happening?” but a better question might be, “What can we do to help stop it?”

We can take actions but it first starts with a willingness to start and follow through with it. It’s not an easy task by any means, and not everyone can do it. A friend of mine is a nurse and she was offered a job at triple what she was now making but it involved day to day contact with abuse victims. She turned it down because she knew how hard it would be on her.

If you know someone who is involved in this kind of work, pray for them and write them a note letting them know that you’re undergirding them in prayer.

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