Edification Focus

This is a follow-up to my previous blog.

With each passing day, I have felt more and more that I need to de-clutter my life. In my last blog entry, I began by saying:

The more I do for God, the happier I am.

During the last few days, I feel that God has been challenging me to narrow the focus of my online presence. I have my personal Facebook page, my GCM ministry page, another page solely for political postings, two Twitter accounts, etc. Each page or account has a specific purpose, and they rarely crossover with one another.

Two days ago, as plainly as possible, God asked me a question that wrecked my fragile balancing act. He didn’t mince words, and He didn’t let me slide by with a flimsy excuse. I put it all into a personal journal that I keep, and I want to share a part of that with you…

… I heard in my own spirit, “Why are you still keeping your personal Facebook page separate from the ministry I have given you?” 

In my mind, I quickly formulated the argument that I had the two accounts connected and did occasionally share stuff from the ministry page onto my personal page. However, I knew that argument would not fly with God. He knows my deepest thoughts, and He wouldn’t have asked the question if it weren’t necessary…

… In answer to God’s question, I simply said, “I didn’t want to seem like I was pushing my faith on people.” Then He asked, “What is the purpose of Facebook for you?” I replied, “To connect with people and share my thoughts.” God said, “So, to show people who you are and what you think?” I answered, “Yes, exactly.” Then He pinned it down for me. “And who exactly ARE you?” He asked. 

The inescapable truth rang loudly like a gong in my head. Who am I? Apart from Jesus, I am no one. But because of His grace, I am a child of God. I am His servant, and my purpose is to do His will. My reason for existence to be about my Heavenly Father’s business. And with that truth ringing in my head, I answered Him with a simple, “Ah, I get it now.”

… And I needn’t worry about people getting offended by my faith. Sharing who I am isn’t “pushing” it on anyone. That’s a trick of satan to keep us from witnessing. Fact is, the truth of the Gospel message is going to offend some people, and that’s not a bad thing. We have to get uncomfortable sometimes in order to decide to change. If my friends are heading in the wrong direction, my witness SHOULD make them uncomfortable. That’s often how the Holy Spirit initiates changes in a person’s heart.

Today, I felt another urging of the Holy Spirit. More clutter to get rid of? Yep. This time, it was a polite but firm conviction regarding an alternate identity I have used for years on Facebook for political posts. Now, while on the surface there may be nothing wrong with Christians having and sharing political beliefs, the point is that it had become a distraction for me.

What I felt God was saying to me was that, all too often, the sometimes heated debates I found myself getting into were running counter to the attitude I should have as a follower of Christ. Debating things is fine, but passionately proclaiming my political views tends to put me in an adversarial state of mind. It can get my blood pressure up. It even makes me turn into a self-righteous sounding pundit. But mainly, it just doesn’t do ANYTHING to edify the Kingdom.

While I won’t fault anyone for speaking out on important issues, politically or otherwise, the extent to which I was involved in this was ultimately self-defeating. And having all these different versions of “me” is exhausting. The Stace that my family sees, the one my friends see, the one my political followers see, the one my ministry followers see, etc. It can get confusing. And it’s not at all healthy for me.

There is ONE God, and there is ONE me. The me that EVERYONE should see has many layers, but he is just one guy. And that guy is a servant of Jesus Christ. Imperfect, yes. Still struggling with sins, yes. But forgiven, and eternally grateful to my Creator who loved me enough to send His Son to die for my sins.

There is only ONE Stace Massengill, and God has asked me to make that clear so that I can be a transparent witness for His Kingdom.

Has He made a similar request of you? Do you have a bunch of unnecessary clutter in your life? You might be surprised at how much we tend to weigh ourselves down with a lot of baggage that we simply don’t need. I urge you to talk with God and ask Him to point out the distractions in your life. Let Him show you the stuff you can do without and how liberating it can be to dump the excess weight.

We are supposed to be FREE from any bondage, yet we willingly take on the yoke of it. Get rid of the distractions today, my friends. Put aside anything that hinders you from the work of God.

Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us…

Hebrews 12:1 [NKJV]

Be free again. Be free in Christ.

The Desires of My Heart

Take delight in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart.

~ Psalm 37:4 [NIV]

What I am learning as I grow older and (hopefully) wiser is that, the more I do for God, the happier I am. While that might not sound like a huge revelation, it is a profound truth. It’s how we are designed, to use gifts and abilities He has given us for His purpose. When we do what we are designed to do, it is pleasing to God AND to us.

Understanding the Scripture

That verse above does not mean what many people think it does. They first gloss over the whole “delight in the Lord” part, which is the most important part of the passage. Then they focus on the latter part and mistakenly believe God will give them anything their fleshly (carnal) heart wants. This is not at all the promise being made, and we would never be satisfied if it was.

Worldly desires are usually material possessions, wealth, and power. Those things don’t make us truly happy. Oh sure, we may get a brief thrill from owning that shiny new muscle car or that big fancy house. But the “joy” we may think these items will bring is always fleeting. These things are temporary, and the thrill is likewise quick to fade.

The key to understanding individual scriptures is to keep it in the context of the rest of the Bible. We can use other scriptures to shed some light on the truth God wants to illuminate. Scripture interprets scripture. Meditating on it, praying, and seeking for answers will bring it into proper focus.

Where Is Your Treasure?

Let’s look at another passage that can help us to understand the one above.

19 Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal.
20 But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal.

~ Matthew 6 [NIV]

So if the things we treasure are temporary and perishable, those things will never bring us a true and everlasting joy. Now go back to the original scripture. What’s the first step? Yes, delighting ourselves in the Lord. How do we do that? It is in our obedience to God’s commands that we experience a joy that He gives.

I delight in your decrees; I will not neglect your word.

~ Psalm 119:16 [NIV]

Direct me in the path of your commands, for there I find delight.

~ Psalm 119:35 [NIV]

I delight in your commands because I love them.

~ Psalm 119:47 [NIV]

We do things for God because we love Him and want to please Him. In turn, He has designed us to take joy and great delight in doing so. This is how we can delight ourselves in the Lord. So then comes the resulting promise: He will give us the desires of our hearts. We mentioned what that doesn’t mean, so what DOES it mean?

God Given Desires

Since the Lord equips each of us with our own unique talents and gifts, the thing that tends to bring us the most happiness is using those abilities in His service and for His purpose. But we tend to get off track, easily distracted by the things we think will bring us pleasure.

So rather than granting wishes like a genie and bestowing us with material possessions that are temporary, our amazing and loving Father fashions our desires to coincide with the talents He’s already bestowed upon us. In this way, He is literally giving us the desires of our hearts.

Fleshly desires only satisfy the flesh, and only for a moment. But Godly desires satisfy our innermost beings and bring eternal delight to both us AND the Lord.

Who is Fashioning Your Desires?

If you do the things that please God, taking delight in His ways, He responds by fashioning the desires of your heart to keep you in His will. This brings a joy unspeakable that’s full of glory.

If instead your actions are self-serving and based in the carnal desires of the flesh, that will be your only satisfaction. It will fade away as quickly as it came, and disappointment will be the only constant in your life.

Want more joy and happiness in your life? Do more for God. The more you bless Him, the more He will bless you. We are designed to worship Him and to use the abilities He gave us for His kingdom. Do what you were made to do.

The Truth About LOVE

Love, Hollywood Style…

It’s probably happened to all of us. We’re watching TV or a movie, when two of the characters become attracted, admit their feelings, and boom – next thing you know, they’re in a sex scene, as though that’s the logical progression and that’s what “love” is. WRONG.

This happened recently while I was watching an adventure series, and I immediately became annoyed. It bothered me partly because scenes like these do NOTHING to advance the plot of the show, and I find that irritating. But it also bugged me because it was done as though that were simply supposed to happen next. Love is so often misrepresented as sensuality that it has become synonymous with sex. And that does the concept of love a major disservice.

What is Love, Really?

While there is indeed a place for sex and sensuality, that isn’t what “love” actually is. Years ago, I did a GC video called, “What is Love?” In it, I first mentioned all those things we tend to associate with love that love is NOT. The “warm fuzzies” you get when you’re around someone you’re attracted to – not love. This is because love is not merely a feeling or emotion. And no, it’s certainly not synonymous with sex. So if that’s not what love truly is, then what ?

In that video, I went on to use “the Love Chapter” of the Bible to illustrate the true nature of love. It tells us the following…

Love is patient, love is kind and is not jealous; love does not brag and is not arrogant, 

does not act unbecomingly; it does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered

does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth; 

7 bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

Love never fails;

1 Corinthians 13 NASB

While this is nothing like how the entertainment industry portrays love, these qualities would also seem to go against our fleshly nature. But real love isn’t self-serving. It’s not just out to please itself. Love is quite the opposite of that. In fact, the worldly idea of love is actually childish and immature.

11 When I was a child, I used to speak like a child, think like a child, reason like a child; when I became a man, I did away with childish things.

1 Cor 13 [NASB]

This would seem to indicate that some of us need to grow up and adjust our view of love.

The Greatest Commandment

Not only is love something very different from what we tend to see on TV and in film, it is also of much greater importance. In scripture, love is described as “a more excellent way.” More excellent than what? Hate? Sure, but not only that. To truly love is more excellent than ANYTHING else. It is the foundation of our Christian faith.

36 “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?” 

37 And He said to him, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ 

38 This is the great and foremost commandment.

39 The second is like it, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ 

40 On these two commandments depend the whole Law and the Prophets.”

Matthew 22 [NASB]

Loving God. Loving our fellow man. These are the most important acts we can ever commit, and we are instructed to do so. It is precisely because of this emphasis on love and its significance to our faith that the enemy has sought to pervert it.

Original vs. Counterfeit

Previously, I have eluded to how satan is a counterfeiter. He has nothing original. He takes an existing truth and twists it, perverting it into a lie. This is just what he has done to the original truth of love. The idea of love promoted by this sinful world is a perversion, authored by satan himself – the father of lies.

Whereas genuine love between a man and woman is blessed in God’s design for marriage, the worldly view of love jumps straight to satisfying carnal desires. The sex and sensuality originally given as a wonderful gift to enhance the marriage relationship has been perverted into a strictly self-serving gratification of one’s sexual wants. It has nothing at all to do with LOVE .

God’s original idea of love came from His own nature. This love puts others first, rather than being selfish. It comes from a place of care and compassion, rather than a fleshly need to possess and use for sinful pleasure. Love is something that should permeate our lives and influence our every action. And so, the enemy has tried to flood our minds instead with impure thoughts and selfish desires.

Love One Another

34 “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another.

35 By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.”

John 13 [NASB]

When Jesus spoke these words, there was no doubt what He meant by it. Likewise, we must seek truth at all times to understand how to carryout His commandment for us to love one another the way He intended. Realize that satan will attempt to confuse and trick us, and he will tempt us with his false idea of love. But it’s our duty as Christians to know the truth and be set free by it, and to truly love as Christ loved us. He loved us so much that He gave Himself for us. He illustrated the perfect idea of love, as He even explained before His crucifixion…

13 Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends.

John 15 [NASB]

Through studying biblical instructions regarding love, and through following the example of Jesus Himself, we can learn to show the world what love truly is. And we should seek to do so at all times.

The Truth About Freedom

… It comes with responsibility.

I begin by re-sharing something I wrote 8 years ago…

On July 4, 1776, our nation’s founders declared their independence from the tyrannical rule of England’s king. They declared independence from the overbearing, overtaxing, and downright oppressive nature of that king. But to be truly independent of one form of government, these pioneers had to come up with a way to govern themselves. They believed free people should not be reliant upon any government for their needs. They knew from experience that a people who were dependent upon government were slaves to it, and would never be free.

In forming this new nation, these founders carefully designed a system of government that would be “of the people, by the people, and for the people.” They never intended to allow tyranny and oppression to overtake them again. But how can a people hope to sustain independence? Did they become totally self-reliant? The freedom they hoped to preserve could only happen by recognizing where their strength came from…the Creator of all things.

This is how independence was achieved. In order to break the bonds of dependence upon a tyrant, they instead put their trust in the One who is incorruptible. Acknowledging their dependence upon God, they declared independence from Great Britain. And the country they formed, that “more perfect Union,” still stands today. There are those, however, who are chipping away at its foundations by attempting to turn people’s reliance away from God and back onto government.

When you celebrate Independence Day, is it just another holiday? Just a gathering of friends or family for a cookout? Just a chance to shoot some fireworks? Or do you stop and realize what July 4th is all about? By all means, celebrate! Gather with friends and family. Shoot some fireworks. Have fun. But remember why we have these awesome freedoms, and hold tightly to those freedoms. Don’t accept any effort to make you more dependent on government, but instead keep your faith in God alone.

Depend on God, not government. And may He continue to bless America…and you.

I wrote the above words on July 3, 2011, and I still believe them.

Our Guiding Perspective

Furthermore, I believe we need to view the actions of our government and its leaders through a very specific lens. Does what they do benefit “we the people,” or does it benefit them? Does it protect our rights and liberties, or does it shrink those rights in favor of granting more power over our lives to the government?

I don’t care if they’re on the right, left, or in the center, we must closely examine the impact of their policies and determine what their real agenda is. As Americans who want to remain free, we owe it to the sacrifices of those before us AND the generations ahead to remain vigilant. We have to scrutinize the actions of our leaders to make sure that they aren’t simply attempting to gain more power for themselves at the expense of our freedoms.

The Wisdom of Our Forefathers

Our founding fathers knew this to be true. That is why they recognized individuals’ rights within the constitution as off-limits to the government. The Bill of Rights, they called it, comprised the first several amendments. Each of these amendments recognizes rights of citizens that “shall not be infringed.” This means no law should be passed that takes away or limits those rights.

One of today’s hot topics is gun control. People cite mass-shootings as reasoning for imposing more restrictions on gun ownership. But law-abiding gun owners aren’t the problem – law-breaking criminals are. What good are more laws that will simply go unheeded? The 2nd amendment protects the individual’s right to “keep and bear arms,” but lawmakers have continued to attempt more and more restrictions which infringe upon that right.

Some claim that amendment is outdated, or that it somehow applies to hunting. Both assertions are incorrect. The founders had experienced tyranny firsthand. They knew that an armed population would never allow an oppressive government to rule over them, and THAT’S exactly what they had in mind when they vowed to honor each citizen’s right to the protect themselves from tyranny with firearms.

With Freedom Comes Responsibility

Every right we have has a corresponding responsibility attached to it. Along with our freedom of speech, we have a responsibility to speak truth rather than lies. With our right to bear firearms comes the inherent responsibility to not misuse them for purposes like committing murder or other crimes. Each freedom carries a responsibility to not abuse our right, but to instead DO what is right.

As believers, this sense of right and wrong comes directly from the Word of God. And yes, faith and freedom go hand in hand. As American citizens, we believe strongly that we are endowed by our Creator with certain unalienable rights. Among them are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Sound familiar?

Attacks on Our Fundamentals

I’ve already blogged about the efforts to devalue human life (see my Truth about Abortion blog), but that’s just the tip of the proverbial iceberg. Lately, we’ve begun to see an attack upon the concept of “citizenship” itself. Countless immigrants came into this country via proper channels, observed our laws, and went through the process of becoming American citizens. But now, there are those who foolishly say, “open the borders and let everyone in!”

Many in DC claim these illegal aliens should have rights to “free” health care, even though hardworking citizens are paying for it. They make a mockery of citizenship, and they ignore the fact that this is grossly unfair to immigrants who came here legally – not to mention the fact that this continued influx of undocumented and completely unvetted people is unsustainable and endangers all of us by weakening our security. And maintaining our nation’s security is supposed to be a paramount function of government.

Ask yourself why such unwise practices are so widely advanced by some of our leaders. What could be their motivation? Go back to that “lens” through which I said we ought to view all their policies and actions. Do these things empower us and protect our liberty? Or do they weaken us and give more power to government? Think about it.

There have been sustained attempts for many years to fundamentally change America into something other than the freedom-loving and God-fearing country it has been since its birth. A shift in our priorities and morals has slowly occurred. With each deviation, our focus has become blurred and our attention pulled further and further away from the righteous and biblical foundations of this great nation.

American Greatness

As a means to that end, certain proponents of a revisionist history seek to deny this greatness, instead promoting an alternative view. You’ve probably heard the pompous politician who proclaimed the preposterous notion that “America was never that great.” Or perhaps you possibly heard another one of these people piously pose the question, “When was America great?” Put simply, my response goes like this:

Indeed, there are many who choose to point out our past mistakes rather than admit the reality that we’ve also learned from mistakes and sought to correct them. They not only keep reminding us of some of these shortcomings, but they also tend to exaggerate others, and even manufacture still more. Their goal – to destort the true view of American greatness and the fact that it has been due to the Godly principles ingrained within our founding documents.

A Dangerous World-View

Far too many people today hold a distorted view of what freedom means. They think it should be no strings, no holds barred, complete unrestrained exercise of their deepest desires. However, this can’t be universal. If everyone held this view, it would be chaos. So there HAVE to be SOME rules, and they tend to make them up as they go. I mean, they don’t want to go along with the BIBLICAL standards American law was actually BUILT upon.

So their rules end up being beneficial only to them. They can do whatever they want, and we can’t stop them or even speak out against them. They have free speech, but we do not because our ideas differ from theirs. We aren’t allowed to oppose or contradict them in any way.

They rail at us for trying to impose our views upon them (simply because we HAVE different views, not that we ever actually try to impose), while they are somehow free to force THEIR views and opinions on US. Freedom for them is doing what they please, no matter who it hurts in the process.

This does not lead to liberty at all, but rather, it leads to oppression and bondage. They who refuse to tolerate Christianity deem Christians as the “intolerant” ones. And they unwittingly place themselves in slavery to sin and decadence at the same time.

The Cost of Liberty

You see, there’s a price for freedom. Our liberty in Christ came at a great cost. Jesus paid that debt on the cross so we could be free from the chains of sin. Our freedom as Americans comes at a high price, as well. Yes, we owe a debt of gratitude to every soldier who fought, bled, and died for the cause of liberty. Every troop currently serving to protect our country today, every police officer who serves and protects their community, every fireman, every EMT or paramedic, and yes – every public servant or government official who truly cares about and represents their constituents deserves our respect and support.

But the cost of freedom continues. That cost goes far deeper than just thanking those who help preserve liberty. As partakers in that freedom ourselves, we also have a very important duty. The truth about freedom is that it comes at a price for ALL of us. What must we do? Steadfastly, we have to remain vigilant. Keep watch for the schemes of those who would destroy our freedom. Know the tricks of the enemy, and realize that this battle will ultimately be won from our knees in prayer.

“For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places.”

~Ephesians 6:12 NASB

In the battle for the heart and soul of America, it is a spiritual fight we face. Are you prepared?

Happy Independence Day!

Have a safe and blessed July 4th.


A Call to Persevere

Today’s blog is inspired by a post from my brother, Stan Massengill:

Hang on; help is on its way! In the meantime focus on being an encouragement to others. God, who sees, will reciprocate divine encouragement to you.

…Hebrews 10 –

23 Let us hold resolutely to the hope we profess, for He who promised is faithful.

24 And let us consider how to spur one another on to love and good deeds.

25 Let us not neglect meeting together, as some have made a habit, but let us encourage one another, and all the more as you see the Day approaching.… [NIV]

God Bless!

This, from a man who has been inspiring and encouraging others to persevere merely by living out his faith in the midst of his own recovery.

In late October of 2018, Stan suffered a major stroke. Week after week, I saw him go from not being able to walk at all to gradually regaining the strength to walk again. He fought hard to get his left side functional again, and 6 months into that recovery, he was hit by another setback – the need for triple bypass open heart surgery.

Of course, he was somewhat discouraged by the prospect of having to regain much of the ground he had reclaimed from the stroke. But he faced it like a champ. Though he still uses a cane for added stability, I have personally seen him improve and walk around with no cane and zero assistance. He has also regained a lot of the speech capability he had lost and had to relearn. My brother is literally a “walking, talking miracle.”

So when you are feeling down or discouraged, remember to look up. God has you. He has your circumstances. He holds your very future in His hands. And I’m sure Stan would be the first to tell you that your life couldn’t be in better hands than God’s.

The Truth About TRUTH

Many people today have a strange view of what “truth” means. They may call it a progressive view to say that “truth is relative,” but even if I believe with all my being that an apple is a pear, it doesn’t make it so.

Rejecting Absolutes

I did an episode of the GC covering this way back in 2011. The biggest problem with the idea of truth being relative is its foundational argument that states, “There is no such thing as an absolute truth.” This laughably self-defeating argument relies on a contradiction. Saying “there’s no such thing as an absolute” is ITSELF an ABSOLUTE STATEMENT. How can you argue against absolutes by using an absolute statement? Answer: You can’t. The argument should fall apart right there, right?

Unfortunately, people can be quite stubborn about their beliefs. The problem comes when they are confronted with the truth and reject it outright. This is where the phrase comes in that says, “Don’t confuse me with the facts, my mind’s made up!”

So in that GC video, I used the example of gravity. The law of gravity holds an absolute truth. If 10 people jump out of a plane at 20,000 feet without a parachute, they will ALL die. This is just as true for the 10th person as it is for the 1st one. That’s the nature of truth – it is absolute. Truth must be truth for all, or it isn’t truth at all.

Truth Never Lies

The most convincing lies have an element of truth to them, which makes them sound believable. But truth itself does not lie. A clever person can use a truth to mislead someone, but this act twists that truth into something other than a simple fact. It becomes corrupted and no longer truth because it now suggests something that is not true at all. It is now a lie.

Example: I used to work for a company that was less than upfront about certain things. When I realized this, I became very uncomfortable and left due to their questionable tactics. Basically, we were being taught to sell a product by telling people a truth that would lead them to believe a lie.

I could tell you that widget A will not cost you a dime because I’m gonna give it to you. But what I don’t tell you is that widget A is of no use at all without widget B, and well…widget B is definitely gonna cost you. This isn’t only a lie because it’s misleading, it’s a lie of omission because I’m deliberately NOT telling you a key truth about the product.

So it’s possible for someone to state a truth, but in actuality be lying to your face.

Truth Has No Agenda

When people lie, there’s always an agenda involved. Whether they mean to blatantly fool you for some nefarious purpose or simply don’t want to admit the truth, the goal is to deceive. Deception is always agenda driven. There’s a purpose to it, a reason behind it, and it often requires several more lies to “support” it.

On the other hand, truth doesn’t need an agenda. It stands on its own. Truth is simply truth. If I tell you the truth about something, there is no ulterior motive involved. I’m simply stating fact.

That’s the great thing about truth – it’s simple and easy to remember. When you lie about something, you have to remember what the lie was to continue the farce and pretend it’s true. But as the saying goes, “when you tell the truth, you never have to worry about remembering what you said.”

In my experience, lies are always eventually exposed. When I learn that someone has lied to me, it destroys any trust I had in that person. Regaining trust after your lies are exposed is extremely hard. Hence another old saying, “honesty is the best policy.”

Biblical Truth

When Jesus had a really important truth to share, He would preface it with the expression “verily, verily, I say to you…” This means “truly, truly,” but He didn’t just say that to indicate what He was about to say was true because Jesus never lied. Again, this expression indicates that what follows it is an important truth. It was like saying, “Hey! Listen up! Pay attention! Hear me! This is important!”

The Bible also gives us clear warnings about giving an ear to those who would deceive us with their clever and crafty lies. But how can we know if someone is lying? The best way to spot a counterfeit is knowing what the real thing looks like. So… By studying and learning for ourselves what the truth is, we can easily know a lie when we hear it because it contradicts the truth we know.

We should also learn to recognize the very different characteristics of truth and lies. As already stated, truth has no agenda, but lies do. Lies tend to have an ensnaring quality, while the truth is liberating. Indeed, lies will trap you and put you in bondage. You have to create more lies to keep your original lie from being exposed, so you become enslaved by lies. However, truth breaks those bonds. As scripture says, “You will know the truth, and the truth will set you free!”

Speak truth. Know truth. Live in truth.

Go Fish (a Bible study)

Read along with me scripture from John 21 in the New American Standard Bible (NASB). As the chapter begins, Jesus has already appeared twice to His followers since raising from the dead…

Jesus Appears at the Sea of Galilee

1 After these things Jesus manifested Himself again to the disciples at the Sea of Tiberias, and He manifested Himself in this way.

2 Simon Peter, and Thomas called Didymus, and Nathanael of Cana in Galilee, and the sons of Zebedee, and two others of His disciples were together.

3 Simon Peter said to them, “I am going fishing.” They said to him, “We will also come with you.” They went out and got into the boat; and that night they caught nothing.

Think a moment about the significance of this 3rd verse. They’ve seen their Master and know He’s alive again. They possess the knowledge and teachings He gave to them. But without having His guidance on a daily basis, some are uncertain about how to proceed, so they begin to go back to what they know best – fishing. Now it’s time for Jesus to show up and nudge them in the right direction…

4 But when the day was now breaking, Jesus stood on the beach; yet the disciples did not know that it was Jesus.

5 So Jesus said to them, “Children, you do not have any fish, do you?” They answered Him, “No.”

6 And He said to them, “Cast the net on the right-hand side of the boat and you will find a catch.” So they cast, and then they were not able to haul it in because of the great number of fish.

7 Therefore that disciple whom Jesus loved said to Peter, “It is the Lord.” So when Simon Peter heard that it was the Lord, he put his outer garment on (for he was stripped for work), and threw himself into the sea.

8 But the other disciples came in the little boat, for they were not far from the land, but about one hundred yards away, dragging the net full of fish.

Okay, look at verses 7 and 8. Here’s Peter, the often outspoken one of the bunch, the impulsive disciple who had drawn his sword and cut off the ear of a Roman guard who had come to arrest Jesus. He had since denied the Lord 3 times, and he likely still felt guilty about that, especially after Jesus rose from the grave.

Now again, Peter impulsively jumps into the water and rushes toward his Master – even though they were a short distance from land, he could not wait like the others! Was this because of his zeal alone, or perhaps his need and hope for the Lord’s approval? Jesus knew, and Peter’s actions would not go unnoticed...

9 So when they got out on the land, they saw a charcoal fire already laid and fish placed on it, and bread.

10 Jesus said to them, “Bring some of the fish which you have now caught.”

11 Simon Peter went up and drew the net to land, full of large fish, a hundred and fifty-three; and although there were so many, the net was not torn.

Still anxiously leaping forward in the moment, Peter is the one who runs over to grab the large net full of the greatest catch any of them had ever seen, and he drags it to the shore.

The next thing that happens is uniquely important. Notice whenever Jesus has a meal with His disciples, he begins to drop some knowledge on them. His first words to them some 3 years earlier were, “Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.” Those words were about to gain their full meaning…

Jesus Provides

12 Jesus said to them, “Come and have breakfast.” None of the disciples ventured to question Him, “Who are You?” knowing that it was the Lord.

13 Jesus came and took the bread and gave it to them, and the fish likewise.

14 This is now the third time that Jesus was manifested to the disciples, after He was raised from the dead.

The breaking of the bread is ALWAYS an important moment. It points back to the Cross, and how Christ was beaten and His skin broken as a sacrifice for us. Now that was fulfilled, and He had risen. He would soon leave the ministry in the hands of His followers, to carry on the gospel message to the world.

But first, there’s that matter of restoring Peter. In so doing, Jesus also would illustrate the best reason of all to follow His example – Love…

The Love Motivation

15 So when they had finished breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon, son of John, do you love Me more than these?” He said to Him, “Yes, Lord; You know that I love You.” He said to him, “Tend My lambs.”

16 He said to him again a second time, “Simon, son of John, do you love Me?” He said to Him, “Yes, Lord; You know that I love You.” He said to him, “Shepherd My sheep.”

17 He said to him the third time, “Simon, son of John, do you love Me?” Peter was grieved because He said to him the third time, “Do you love Me?” And he said to Him, “Lord, You know all things; You know that I love You.” Jesus said to him, “Tend My sheep.”

It was no coincidence that Jesus asked Peter 3 times, “Do you love me?” He had denied knowing the Lord 3 times for fear of being arrested along with Him. He always talked a big talk, but now Jesus was making it clear to him that he also needed to walk the walk.

If we’re honest, how often have we been like Peter was? Oh, we may talk big about following Christ, but where are we when the going gets tough? How do we respond when it seems like God is a million miles away? Sure, Peter once walked on the water – just as Jesus did – but then he took his eyes off the Lord, distracted by his surroundings, and got consumed by the waves around him. Do you ever find yourself crying out to God, “Save me!” like Peter did?

Now, I don’t mean to beat anyone up for having a less than perfect faith. Instead, I want to encourage you. Know that, in our efforts to be like Jesus, we may sometimes act more like Peter. But Jesus was willing to rescue Peter from his own lack of faith. He was also willing to restore and equip him to be a great soul-winner.

Peter was quite correct in saying, “Lord, You know all things. You know that I love you.” Jesus does indeed know all things. He knows if you love Him. And He can work with that. We don’t have to be perfect, just willing. Jesus can do the rest. He will equip us and perfect us, and we can also be “fishers of men.”

Are you ready to go fish?

Is America a Christian Nation?

About three-quarters of Americans identify with a Christian faith.


80% of Americans Believe in God.


Though these numbers have fluctuated over the years, it can still be said that the majority of Americans do indeed identify with Christianity. Naturally, people who call themselves Christians will have varying degrees of actual practice of their beliefs. They don’t all fall in the same denomination, some do not attend church services regularly, etc. But by and large, more Americans claim the Christian faith than all other religions combined. – For now.

So when President Obama declared in a speech that the United States was “no longer a Christian nation,” what did he mean by that? Likely, he was trying to appeal to the growing numbers of Muslims and make them feel more included. Or perhaps it was merely an effort to make any other religious group feel more at home in what has traditionally been known as a Christian nation. Whatever his intent, the numbers do not back up his claim. – Yet.

Despite any changes in the demographics, the fact remains that the United States was founded upon biblical principles. The Christian influence of the majority of our forefathers is clearly seen in the Declaration of Independence, the Bill of Rights and Constitution, as well as the founding documents of the original colonies. The desire to be able to freely worship God was one of the biggest reasons the colonial settlers came to the New World to begin with. It’s largely why they decided to stand up to the tyranny of Great Britain’s King George. And this Christian influence has permeated throughout our country’s history. – So far.

As for the apparent decline in Christian influence more recently, this is greatly due to the opposing carnal nature being allowed to thrive in our society. Sexual perversion is glorified and promoted in film and television. The horrific act of abortion is presented as a woman’s “right to choose” and lauded as “healthcare.” Christianity is portrayed in the entertainment industry as backward thinking, non-scientific, and even racist. It’s no wonder people are developing such a bad idea of those of us they laughingly refer to as “Bible-thumpers.”

But this negative attitude toward the church is not all because of outside misrepresentations. Indeed, some of it is our own fault. Too many “churches” no longer teach about the concept of sin or our need for a Savior. Afraid to offend people by preaching against sin, we are failing to offer an alternative to sinful lifestyles. And we haven’t been willing to speak up and correct those misconceptions about Christianity. If the world keeps seeing us as hypocrites because we don’t live out what we claim to believe, it’s surely our fault.

How often do we take the time to explain that we are not perfect and don’t instantly expect perfection of anyone else? We must be clear that we are not better than anyone, but we do serve a Lord who forgives. Our salvation is not due to anything we do, but instead is a gift afforded to us because of what Jesus did. We are all on equal footing, and Christ came to save the world rather than condemn it. Yet when we appear to condemn others for their sins while struggling with our own, we perpetuate the stereotype of those “holier-than-thou” Christians that no one will ever care to listen to.

So, let’s be real. Is America a Christian nation? Perhaps statistical data still supports that assertion, but are we who claim to be Christians living like it? Because if we do not behave as Christ did, if we do not accurately represent the Christian faith to those around us, and if we aren’t willing to be humble and do the work of God to show His love to all, then we risk losing our country to those who are willing to do who-knows-what to make America something very different from a Christian nation.

Hate Speech vs. Free Speech

“…this concept of hate speech is not at all compatible with free speech.”

I was raised under the axiom, “If you don’t have anything nice to say, then don’t say anything at all.” That being said, I didn’t always live by it. There were usually some consequences that came along with saying rude or unkind things. So, while I would never try to excuse someone for verbally being a jerk, I would still contend that anyone does indeed have the right to do so. In this country, we enjoy many liberties – free speech is certainly one of the most important. That’s why it’s protected in the 1st amendment.

However, in today’s society of touchy feely and emotionally driven attitudes, it has become nearly impossible to have a traditional opinion about anything without being labeled a hater. Disagree with the ideals of politically correct thinking, and you are accused of using hate speech. This is no exaggeration. You believe in traditional marriage between a man and a woman – hate speech. Say there are only two genders – hate speech. Think America should take care of its homeless and veterans instead of giving free stuff to people who enter illegally – yep, hate speech.

It’s a misnomer, actually. Most people accused of using hate speech don’t really hate anyone. They’re just guilty of having an opinion that differs from the so-called accepted societal norm. The term “hate speech” gets thrown around far too much. People are constantly being accused of having an attitude that they do not have, and it’s all based on how their beliefs and opinions make certain other people feel.

This is where the problem lies. Feelings are subjective. They vary from person to person. Just because something offends someone doesn’t mean that something is wrong, much less that it should be illegal.

In the realm of social politeness, it is important to appreciate other people’s feelings and take them into consideration before saying or doing something that might be taken as offensive. But within the scope of the law and general behavior in a truly free environment, feelings do not matter at all. You cannot legislate based on emotion. It is not fair to impose your own sensitivities upon others.

A fundamental principle of liberty is that one person’s rights end where the next person’s rights begin. Think of it like property lines. My land extends outward until it reaches the border with my neighbor. If my freedom begins to infringe upon the freedom of my neighbor, we have a problem. There are lines that we can’t cross.

Nowadays, there are those who seem to equate disagreement with hatred. I can disagree with you without hating you. But these people act like, if you don’t agree with their opinions, you are just an awful and hateful person. Rather than engage in a thoughtful conversation, they instead accuse you of hate speech.

With such a purely subjective idea of “hate,” it becomes painfully clear that this concept of hate speech is not at all compatible with free speech. We either have the right to believe whatever we want, or we don’t. If you are continually accusing others of hate speech because their opinions offend you, then you don’t really believe in free speech. Remember, in this arena, feelings don’t matter. Offense is subjective. Not everyone will agree with you. Accept it and get over it. That’s just part of life.

It must truly be a miserable existence for those who seem to be constantly getting offended by pretty much everything. Plenty of things offend me, but I don’t choose to dwell on it. Sometimes, we just have to accept things and move on. Offenses don’t have to govern our lives. You can actually choose whether or not to let an offense trigger you into a frenzy. Or, at least, I can. I don’t let other people’s opinions bother me. And I’m a much happier person because of that.

If something really offends you to the point that it makes you feel angry and upset, ask yourself why it bothers you so much. If you want to speak out against it, fine. Freedom of speech is a good thing. But if you think it’s okay to trample someone else’s free speech, try to limit or take it away, or accuse them of hate speech… Don’t be surprised when you meet stern opposition.

People should defend their rights. But no one has the right to not be offended. That’s just silly.

The Truth About Abortion

You will find that I am quite passionate about this topic, and I’ve definitely done my homework. In fact, the more actual research I do on abortion, the different types and various stages of development at which it is done, the more appalled I am by it. Much of what I’m going to cover is difficult to talk about, and it can be upsetting to hear, but I believe it is necessary to shine a light into this dark place and expose the ugly truth.

Honestly, if more people would seek real knowledge for themselves, more minds would be changed. Unfortunately, a great many people seem to be intellectually lazy. This is why it is up to us who know the truth to share that truth.

Today, information is readily available and easily accessible to anyone who has an inclination to seek it out. So, if you have any doubts about the information I’m going to share with you here, I invite you to look it up for yourself. It’s all right there on the internet.

One Twitter user who challenged me recently on this topic demanded I give my sources. That would seem to be a reasonable request, accept for one thing: You can literally Google the topic – or use whatever search engine you want – and quickly find all the relevant information you could ever need. I have no need to make note of specific websites or articles or URLs when absolutely anyone can easily find it without that. If you’re too lazy to look it up and verify it for yourself, then you’re likely a person who’s unwilling to believe the truth even when it IS staring you in the face.

However, although I may not list every single source, I will (for the sake of being forthcoming) tell you that some of my research came from the following (among others):



Partial Birth Abortion



First things first – let’s define the word, “abortion.” Probably the simplest and most blunt meaning is “to terminate a pregnancy.” As innocuous as that definition may sound, soft terms such as these are often used to hide the brutality of the practice itself. But one can also literally translate this to “ending the development of a fetus.” Let’s not split hairs or mince words, though. That means “to end a human life in its early stages of development.” In other words, killing the unborn child.

They like to use the term “fetus” rather than “baby” or “child” so that they can claim it isn’t an actual human life yet. But this claim is fallacious. The word fetus comes from the Latin foetus, which literally means “child” or “small one.”

And it obviously is a human, rather than a dog or cat or horse or anything else. It’s also alive, otherwise it would not be developing and growing.

Non-viable Clump of Cells

Another popular claim of pro-abortionists is that the developing fetus is just a clump of cells. We were all once a tiny clump of cells, but growing and developing just the same. We were still human lifeforms, despite how small. Indeed, we were a small group of human cells, containing DNA that stored all the biological information that would determine who we would become. And if you look at those earliest phases of human existence, you see how quickly discernable features like eyes, arms, and legs form. Within 6 weeks, there’s even a detectable heartbeat.

Then they say, “Yeah, but it’s not viable yet.” I think maybe these people should look up the definition of the word “viable.” But I know, what they mean is, “It can’t survive outside the womb.” Every time I hear this statement, I want to ask, “AND?!” They seem to think that is some kind of disqualifier. “If it can’t survive outside the mother, then it’s not yet a viable human life.” Really?

Let’s examine that logic for a moment. If we take you outside of the Earth’s protective atmosphere and toss you into space, you can’t survive either. Does that make you any less human? It’s the same argument. The mother’s body is what nourishes and sustains the preborn life. That is the natural design and function of things. Just like the planet’s atmosphere provides you with certain protection, the womb does that for the baby.

Furthermore, the unborn child is an example of human life in its most vulnerable state. This is when we have the most responsibility to care for it. Ah, but ignoring responsibility is what this is really about. Around 99.5% of all abortions are done purely out of convenience. According to ProlifeAction.org, less than 0.5% of abortions are described as “hard cases.” Here’s the breakdown…

I would argue that the rare case of the mother’s life being at risk is the ONLY occasion when a very hard choice must be made. In that instance, I can’t tell you who’s life is “more important.” But this situation is the rare exception, so it can’t be used to justify all the other abortions that happen because people don’t want to accept responsibility for their own voluntary actions.

Oh, but what about rape and incest? First, at 0.03%, incest is even more rare. But I will, at least, stipulate that it is a problem. Rape is even moreso. It’s a horrible crime, and the perpetrators should be punished. But execute the unborn child? It isn’t that baby’s fault. Why compound an already heinous act with yet another one by murdering the child?

Keep in mind that these cases are not why most people get an abortion. The vast majority are those who made a conscious decision – a choice – to engage in consensual and unprotected sex. They chose to do the very thing that resulted in a pregnancy. Throwing caution to the wind, they acted irresponsibly. And that unwillingness to accept the consequences carried over in the decision to abort, end, kill the innocent not-yet-born baby.

Types of Abortions and What Happens

Here’s what the “medical” community says:

Again, you may notice the soft terminology used to downplay the cruel nature of these “minor procedures.”

It’s worth noting that the first “medication” that stops the pregnancy from working actually halts the development of the unborn child. If that isn’t enough to kill it, the next step seals the deal by enabling and inducing miscarriage. And when they say “remove the pregnancy,” that translates as “destroy the baby.” Never forget that we’re talking about the innocent life of a child.

Are you ready for this?

Okay, put simply, this is literally sucking the tiny and very much alive fetus out bit by bit. Witnesses who once worked for Planned Parenthood described seeing the little hands, legs, and even faces of the unborn being sucked through the surgical tube. This is not only disgusting – it’s downright disturbing. But let’s move on to the next method.

Now THIS explanation again uses rather vague and innocuous or harmless sounding words. But it also purposefully omits the gory details of the barbaric D&E procedure. Using forceps to remove the pregnancy translates to this… The forceps are a long, thin, plier-like tool. The surgeon uses this tool to reach in and randomly grab whatever he can get hold of – might be an arm or leg, etc. – and pull it out. Piece by piece, the unborn child’s body parts are torturously ripped away. Finally, the tiny head is grabbed and crushed so that it can be removed. Graphic enough for you?

There are a few other kinds of abortion…

In this method, saline is injected into the uterus. What that does to the mostly developed child is horrific. It burns the baby’s sensitive and still porous skin like an acid eating away at flesh. This means of killing the unwanted child sometimes doesn’t work, but instead causes debilitation, and has resulted in the birth of babies with cerebral palsy.

Thankfully, certain kinds of late-term abortion have been banned for a while now.

This unthinkable procedure involved pulling a fully developed and usually still alive baby from the mother feet first, all but the head. Then surgical scissors were jammed into the back of the neck at the base of the cerebellum. Naturally, the baby would squirm and writhe in pain. Using the instrument to pry open the wound, a tube was inserted to suction out the brain matter. Once the dead body of the child went limp and the soft skull collapsed, it would be fully removed.

Partial-birth abortions may be banned, but every method is a horrible act and an incredible injustice. The travesty of abortion has been accepted in our society for many decades, and it surely breaks the heart of God, as it should break all of our hearts.

Abortions per year, etc.

Do the math, and that’s over 5200 abortions every hour, nearly 87 per minute, or almost 1.5 aborted babies every second. These stats alone make abortion by far the number one killer of human beings, and we excuse it? Worse yet, we encourage it!

I have to admit, when I saw these numbers and did the calculations for the first time, it was quite overwhelming to think about. It was all I could do to not burst into tears at the realization that so many innocent little lives were constantly being snuffed out. Every day, every hour, every minute, every single second! This irrefutable truth should be appalling to everyone.

The Bottom Line

I could talk to you about how the Roe v Wade court case was ultimately based on a lie – Yes, this infamous case was built on the premise that the plaintiff was raped, a claim she later admitted wasn’t true. Though she recanted and even had a complete change of heart later in life, the court ruling had already become the foundation for abortion “rights” in America. All this, due to a lie.

Or I could address such self-serving and asinine arguments as “my body, my choice.” In actuality, that growing child inside you is NOT your body. It is indeed a separate body, which possesses the same right to life that you do.

Then there’s the bogus idea that men’s opinions on the issue don’t matter. Being a man does not disqualify me, but it instead mandates that I ought to be willing to recognize and fight for the rights of the unborn. It’s my duty, in fact. At the same time, being a woman doesn’t give you the right to kill your unborn child just because you may not want it.

And I could remind you how that Margaret Sanger was an awful racist who founded Planned Parenthood as a means to exterminate black people. It’s historical fact. The sad truth is that, even to this day, Planned Parenthood aborts/kills more black babies than any other ethnic group. Look it up.

Still, some others scream, “If you take away access to safe clinical abortions, people will seek out unsafe back-alley abortions where the woman can end up bleeding to death!” First of all, there’s no such thing as a safe abortion. The end result is almost always the death of a child, unless it’s a botched abortion attempt. And this argument is literally saying, “If you don’t let people kill their babies in a clinic, they’ll just do it at home.” Uhm, not as likely as you think. And murder is murder, no matter where it’s done.

While I could debate the various aspects and excuses people offer up to defend abortion, I believe those things are rather irrelevant in light of all the facts I have just laid out. My purpose is to instead defend the unborn, and to give voice to those who cannot speak for themselves. And I am not alone. People of this nation have begun to rise up, and laws are being passed that protect those most precious and innocent lives.

Help spread the truth about abortion!

Let us no longer be the SILENT majority!

Supplemental information…

KNOW the truth, SHARE the truth.