Lionheart Simplified Personality Profiler

I’ve recently reverted my attention back to personalty / strengths / aptitude tests. While there are some good ones out there, most of them are far too complex and time consuming for the average person.  I think the entire process can be greatly simplified.  To this end, I’ve developed the Lionheart Simplified Personality Profiler (LSPP).  For a limited time, I’m offering this to you at no charge, and you can take it right now.

If you’re ready, let’s get started. Read the question and choose the best answer. You can only choose one answer.  Don’t look at the scoring section until you’ve decided your answer, or you may be tempted to change your answer and thus invalidate the results of this test.

<SARCASM ALERT!>

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WHICH OF THE FOLLOWING STATEMENTS BEST DESCRIBES YOU ON A TYPICAL DAY?

1) I don’t know what I’m doing with my life, but I don’t like anyone else telling me what to do.

2) I don’t know what I’m doing with my life, and I really don’t care.

3) I don’t know what I’m doing with my life, and I really wish someone would tell me what to do.

4) I know what I’m doing with my life and I think this test is stupid but I’ll keep reading anyway.

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SCORING

The number of the statement you chose that best describes you is your LSPP Type.  Note that this test is not conclusive, and could in fact, be completely wrong.  Regardless, below is a brief summary of the characteristics of your personality type.  Understanding yourself is the key to success in life, and it is my hope that this information will help you in your quest for self mastery.

Type 1: THE JACKASS

Type 1 individuals are tenacious.  At least that’s what they like to describe of themselves.  But this is merely self-delusion, for in realty, they are just plain stubborn.  They attend classes, lectures, listen to sermons, read, study, and fill their heads with all kinds of knowledge.  While this is a positive characteristic, whatever benefits they may have to offer the world are negated by their overriding weakness.  They love their independence and refuse to become part of the “machine” and refuse to take orders from “THE MAN”.  While rejecting authoritarian dictatorship is a healthy thing, they throw the proverbial baby out with the bathwater.  They may pay lip service to the concept of submitted relationships, but at the end of the day, will do whatever they please.  They believe they will someday accomplish greatness because they are “called” and “anointed”, but sadly this is not the case.  They will merely become legends in their own minds because they never really DO anything.

Type 2: THE ZOMBIE

Type 2 individuals are laid back, relaxed, and rarely suffer from things such as excitement, enthusiasm or hyperactivity.  They take life as it comes.  When they encounter obstacles, they simply bounce off and go in another direction, much like a pinball in an arcade game.  Other personality types sometimes get a kick out of making fun of zombies, because of their meaningless wandering manner and their deadpan expressions.  However, when pushed too far, Type 2 people can become unpredictable, violent, and have been known to eat those around them for lunch, especially if they’ve smoked one too many doobies.

Type 3: THE SHEEPLE

Type 3 individuals seek to find meaning and purpose in life.  They want their lives to make a difference.  However, their desperation to instill purpose into their meaningless and empty lives often produces a gullibility that may cause them to seek out and blindly follow others who appear to be experts.  While a fortunate sheeple can be the proverbial “blind squirrel” who finds an acornic leader that will actually care for them and guide them on the road to success, this is usually not the case.  Chances are, they will instead be caught up in the Utopian rhetoric of a shady Type 1, where they will be herded into sheep sheds, regularly fleeced, and eventually converted into mutton stew.  Politically speaking, most sheeple are card carrying members of the Democrat party, love to watch Oprah Winfrey and get their news from MSNBC.  However, there are a significant numbers of Republican sheeple as well, most of whom consider the term “ditto head” to be a compliment.

Type 4: THE DISCIPLE

Type 4 individuals are those who want to succeed in life, and take personal responsibility for their own success.  They are seek out healthy mentors in their lives who can provide valuable wisdom and perspective and they make an investment of time and money to gain knowledge and understanding.  They see the value of living in community where there is a continual giving and receiving of life, and an accountability to walk out their destiny.  They take a weekly inventory of their successes and failures of the past week and make course adjustments when necessary.  They are always growing in wisdom by applying knowledge, taking action, and learning from their mistakes.  They seek to pass their insight and wisdom on to others and help them become successful in life as well.  They consider all viewpoints, weigh the evidence, and act wisely, being led not by circumstances, but by their strong set of internal values, self-understanding and clear vision of where they are going.

</SARCASM>

So – how did you score?  Of course my sarcasm is all in fun, and hopefully is not without some merit.

Most of us know what we SHOULD do, but most of us don’t do it, at least on a daily basis, and I’m preaching to myself here.  We are by nature procrastinators to the nth degree. We seem to be easily hypnotized, brainwashed and lulled into a catatonic state where we ignore the obvious until circumstances force us into action.  We’re dancing to the music on the Titanic even as the water is rushing into the belly of the ship.  Only when the water is lapping around our toes do we start thinking about locating and boarding the lifeboat, and even then we’re looking for a lifeboat that has music and a dance floor before we commit our feet over the side.

It’s time for us to truly “seek first the Kingdom”. This is not a time to be stubborn, lazy, or naive. It is a time for somber action by all those who name the Name of Jesus.

If we are honest, I think most of us can say we’re not truly putting the Kingdom first on a daily basis.  I’m not speaking about religious activity – I’m speaking about actively doing the work that God has for us to do.  Maybe we don’t know how – I’m sure that’s true for lots of us.  If that is the case, please consider that NOW is the time to put forth whatever time in prayer that it takes to hear His voice.

Here’s the truth – the Kingdom is the rule of God in our lives, and will remain a choice; something we elect to pursue or ignore on a moment by moment, action by action basis.  We’re presently in the biggest national crisis most of us have ever faced, and now is the time for the people of God to get their priorities in line and start living with genuine purpose.  Anything less will be catastrophic on a personal and national basis.

I’ll close with a quote I heard recently – “It’s great to have your ducks in a row, but it’s much better to know what to do with your duck”.

And one more for the fridge:

No Purpose – No life.
Know purpose – Know life.

Until next time,
R<><

Published in: on December 11, 2008 at 4:48 pm  Comments (5)  

Iconoclasm

I’m pretty sure that I drive my friends crazy sometimes. Maybe often.  I’m not sure, because they don’t tell me, but in my minds eye, I imagine them shaking their heads after reading my ramblings and wondering why I write what I write, or say what I say when I could spend my time being positive and spreading sunshine and roses and puppy dog tales.  Perhaps I’m wrong about that.  Maybe some will tell me one way or the other.

I figured it might be helpful to lift the hood and give you a bit of insight into the inner workings of Rich Carey’s mind, and since this blog is essentially my personal platform of pontification, seems like the best place to do it.  So here goes.

Even as a small child I was overly inquisitive about how things work. My mother loves to tell people how I used to disassemble perfectly good toys to discover what was inside.  Indeed, many of my early childhood memories include performing exploratory surgery on many of my Christmas presents – for example, talking stuffed toys.  Before the days of tiny computer chips, we used to pull a ring attached to a string that hung from the side of, say, a small Herman Munster action figure (I’d say doll, but real boys don’t play with dolls) whereupon one would hear Herman Munster’s voice mysteriously emanating from his chest, uttering the phrases he was most famous for on his weekly TV show.

There was of necessity only a small handful of phrases and sounds he could utter, so the novelty wore off rather quickly, probably before New Years Day rolled around.  Curiosity as to the exact nature of this voice technology began to build within me exponentially as the days wore on.  One could feel a hard, square box on the working end of the string buried within his otherwise pillow-soft chest.  As curiosity increased, my fondness for Herman’s voice was overcome by the irresistible urge to perform exploratory surgery.  Of course, in doing so, there was a strong likelihood that the patient would not survive the surgery.  On top of that, there would surely be repercussions from my parents, who (to this day) could not understand why I would subject my new toys to a premature death.

As you probably have guessed by now, my youthful wisdom prevailed and a voiceboxectomy was performed.  Upon removing the mysterious box, I remember being initially disappointed, since the voicebox itself was (unlike today’s toys), quite sturdy; seemingly built to survive a nuclear attack by the Russians.  (We need not even question the value of a Herman Munster doll on the Day After).  It would not yield it’s secrets easily, and it was not like I could just put it back in as though nothing had happened.  Yet, I was not going to be easily deterred by their meager attempts to conceal their mysterious technology from me (any Idaho boy who knows the value of a good hammer), so further disassembly was deemed necessary and thus performed.

For the sake of time, I’m tempted to refrain from telling you the secret of the voicebox, since it has absolutely no bearing on the issue at hand, yet to avoid being deluged by angry emails from frustrated readers, full disclosure is prudent.  The secret of the voicebox was a small, windup record player.  Quite ingenious for it’s day, really.  I found other uses for it over time, transplanting Herman’s voice into various other inappropriate but humorous locations.

As I grew older, my desire to discover how things work never waned, but rather intensified.  I moved on to electric motors, switches, radios, televisions (though sparks flew and electrical shocks were not uncommon, by the grace of God I survived), and eventually, my favorite toys of all – personal computers.

I’ve had the good fortune to transform this talent for understanding how things work into a career of sorts.  I was a journeyman machinist prior to starting my own computer company.  Anyone who knows me well knows that I like to fix broken things if they can be fixed and are of sufficient complexity to challenge me (cars and plumbing are most definitely NOT challenging, so don’t call). My wife even calls me “Macguyver” whenever I fix something around the house (such a term of endearment).

Many years ago, I became aware of and accepted the high calling upon my life as an apostle and ambassador of the King.  Since then, I’ve naturally been drawn to dissect what we call Church, seeking to discover what works and what doesn’t and try to find ways to fix what is broken.  Where other leaders appear to me to be content to leave well enough alone and just “trust God”, I cannot.  My worldview includes a prevailing understanding of man’s call to walk in dominion, responsibility and stewardship.  Where others see problems only God can solve, I see problems that God has called us to solve – not without Him, but in partnership with Him.

You see, I take this idea of “seeking first the Kingdom” very seriously. Faith is not “belief“, which is generally defined by western culture as “intellectual assent“.  Atheists argue that they don’t “believe” in the existence of God.  They mistakenly think (as many Christians do) that believing in the existence of God makes one a believer.  But this is not biblically accurate.  True belief involves faith, and faith involves action.  James said, “Even the devil believes, and trembles” and “faith without works is dead“.  Jesus said he who believes does the work.  Some of that work surely involves tearing things down, taking things apart, and stepping into confrontation with the powers of darkness as they manifest in the lives of people, systems, and the institutions of society.

Understanding the true nature of faith as an action is a key principle of the Kingdom. Mere intellectual assent is a pathetic substitute, and this false “faith” has incapacitated the Church.  When the Church rises up and starts walking in true faith, translating knowledge into actions that move beyond the realm of “I believe”, the Kingdom grows.  Apart from action, our believing is not faith, it is merely knowledge at best.

What does all this have to do with iconoclasm? Since many people do not know what iconoclasm means, here’s a definition from Wikipedia:

Iconoclasm, Greek for “image-breaking”, is the deliberate destruction within a culture of the culture’s own religious icons and other symbols or monuments, usually for religious or political motives. It is a frequent component of major domestic political or religious changes.

…People who engage in or support iconoclasm are called iconoclasts, a term that has come to be applied figuratively to any person who breaks or disdains established dogmata or conventions.

Thus, at the very core of my being, I’m iconoclastic. I’m fully aware that this is not the best way to make friends, and I’m going to be misunderstood, falsely accused, maligned, persecuted, and possibly even martyred someday.  This is somewhat problematic for me, because I truly have a tender heart and want people to love me and appreciate what I’m doing.  But deep within me is a knowing that I was born to pluck up, to tear down, and to clear the way for the coming of the King.  More than one prophet has used the term “bulldozer” when giving me a personal prophetic word.

So, regardless of how it may seem to others, I’m not tearing things down (i.e. shooting holy cows) indiscriminately, or to hurt people’s feelings, or just to cause trouble (although I must admit, I do enjoy it too much sometimes).  I’m trying, in my own often frustrating ways to point out what is broken, and hopefully to provide possible answers for our problems.  I refuse to sit silently by and not let my faith translate into action.

Mind you, I want to be teachable, and correctable by those who love me.  But if you think I’m wrong, you better come to me with something more than someone’s hurt feelings.  If you want to change my mind, you’d be advised to bring good arguments that can be substantiated by hard evidence because chances are, I’ve done my homework.

I’m looking for my tribe – a group of people who are unafraid to ask hard questions and to find out why things are the way they are.  I want to walk with people that are willing to risk breaking some things for the promise of a better world.  I want to feel the thrill of standing upon the rubble of the devil’s kingdom with a tribe of iconoclasts who were willing to put it all on the line for the adventure of a lifetime and the reward of setting a generation free to become all that they were created to be.

So again I ask – is anybody with me?

Silence isn’t always golden; sometimes it’s just yellow. (Selah)

Published in: on December 5, 2008 at 9:52 pm  Comments (8)  

Now Is Your Time

You’re afraid, and for good reason. As you look around, fear is rising in the hearts of thinking people everywhere.  You or someone you know is in danger of losing their job.  Your retirement account has been decimated as the stock market plummets to new lows.  You no longer have a safety net, and you are afraid.

Violence is on the increase, and the value of life is decreasing.  There are people in your city who would kill you for the money in your wallet, or maybe just for the sheer pleasure of it.  Gone are the days when you could leave your doors unlocked or your valuables laying around and trust that they would still be there when you returned.

You know you shouldn’t be afraid, but you are.  Go ahead and admit it. Acknowledge your fear and stop beating yourself up about it.  Ignoring it won’t make it go away.  Ignorant bliss is definitely not the answer.  We’re in a crisis, and you have every reason to be afraid.

But don’t embrace your fear, because fear can cause us to make very bad decisions.

In the face of the economic crisis, our governmental representatives wring their hands and wonder what to do.  They too, are afraid, and that only adds to our own fears.  In desperation, they draft bailout bills to save financial interests who’ve raped and pillaged the economy.  Now the automotive industry is lining up to get their share of the rescue package.  These bailout plans serve only to delay the inevitable crash while mortgaging our future and miring our children with massive amounts of debt.  Fear is the driving force today on Wall Street, Main Street, and Pennsylvania Avenue.

The promises of change permeated the presidential election, and the candidate who made change his one word campaign slogan won.  The people put their hope in the one who they believe will offer solutions to our problems and make us all safe again.

But it’s time to face the cold, stark realities of where we are. As much as we all want to believe that the government can fix our economy, our health care system, etc., etc,. the truth is, they cannot.  The numbers don’t lie.  We’re in the biggest mess we’ve ever been in, and things are going to get worse before they get better.  How much worse, we do not know, but we’re sailing into some very troubled waters.

In the Church, the prophets are divided. Some are declaring divine judgment, others are declaring blessing and supernatural intervention.  I think both are correct, and yet both are giving incomplete, and therefore erroneous information because neither position identifies the real solution.  Allow me to explain.

God’s judgment is upon this nation. He made if very clear in His Word.  As a nation, we are free to choose blessings or curses.  Ignoring God’s ways can only result in judgment.  Not because He is angry with us; indeed He is hurting right along with us because He loves us.  The natural result of leaping from a cliff is a fall to the ground.  Likewise, the natural result of unrepentant selfishness in a culture is broken families, scarred children, abortion, substance abuse and systemic poverty.  God’s ways work, man’s ways don’t.  Humanists will try to tell you otherwise, but history testifies against them.  Saying something is or isn’t true doesn’t make it so.  Truth is not relative to what we believe.  The whole of creation operates under physical and spiritual laws and we are subject to them, regardless of whether we accept them as truth or not.  We ignore them to our own peril.

We keep looking outside for help to come, but no help is coming. The sooner we accept this reality, the sooner we can get on with the program.  The answers we desperately need are already present within the hearts and minds of the sons and daughters of the King.

God wants to intervene in our world, but we need to understand that divine intervention has already happened.  The Kingdom has come.  The power of God has been released and the plan of God has been set into motion, entrusted to those who have ears to hear, eyes to see, and a heart willing to obey.

Somewhere along the way in development of Christian culture, we accepted the notion that God is separate and distinct from the Church.  We pay lip service to “Christ in you, the hope of glory”, but we do not live our lives as though it were really true TODAY.  We wear the label of the “Body of Christ” but our actions betray us.  We do not really believe these things, for true belief results in action, and meaningful action by Christians is in short supply these days, because we have been brainwashed by well-meaning pulpiteers and religious hacks.

Thus our fears are based in our lack of faith – true faith that is fixed not upon our government, nor upon a far-away God who is seated upon His Throne, but upon the Anointed One who lives within the heart of every true believer and is anxiously waiting for the opportunity to display His power and creativity through any yielded vessel who will truly put the Kingdom of God FIRST in their over-crowded, ever-busier life.

Here’s the truth.  Our fears need to turn to anger. Not an unrighteous, carnal anger that hurts people, but a righteous, turn-over-the-money-changer’s-tables kind of anger that refuses to sit back and accept the crap of our broken culture as “normal” any longer.

I am not afraid.  I am angry, and I’m not going to take it lying down any longer.

I’m angry at politicians who take an oath to serve the public and then go on to make a lucrative career out of serving special interests and protecting their positions of power.

I’m angry at preachers who offer up only pat answers for complex problems and lull the people of God to sleep with cheery platitudes and feel-good messages that just get us through another week.

I’m angry at self-centered, self-worshipping, soulless celebrities who think their fame and fortune somehow qualifies them to lead, represent, or speak out on behalf of the people of this nation.

But mostly, I’m angry at the devil who is behind all the destruction and death that is so prevalent in our world today.  He has successfully gained a significant foothold in our national culture over the past few decades, and we are being destroyed from within.  I’m mad as hell, and I’m not going to take it anymore.

I was born to be free, and I want my children and my grandchildren to be free – free to pursue life, liberty and happiness.  Free to love and to live in peace and harmony.  Free to see the fulfillment of their wildest dreams.  That is the will of God for every inhabitant of this earth, and I refuse the let the devil rob us of these things any longer.  I am pledging my very life to this cause.

No more will I remain silent or tone down my message in the name of political correctness, false religious humility,  or fear of  reputation.  My language will become intently more colorful, for I have a message that must rise above the din of meaningless prattle that fills the airwaves of popular Christian culture.  I believe it is truth, and thus will strike a chord in the hearts of many, and my full intent is to raise up an army of modern barbarians who are no longer afraid and who will pledge their lives to the cause of the Kingdom.

So, dear readers, this is a call to arms. A call to lay down your fears and pick up the sword of the Spirit.  It is time to become a warrior tribe, to take our message of true change to the streets, to stop being intimidated by the moronic voices of pop culture, political correctness and powerless religion.

It is time to boldly speak the truth in love, everywhere, every time, to everyone, whether they will agree with us, love us, hate us, or stone us.

Let’s stop the foolishness, stop waiting for a rescue from the outside.  This is our planet, our country, our city.  The King of Glory lives in our hearts, and He desperately wants out.  This is YOUR time.  Together, we can change our world.

Is anybody listening?  Is anybody with me? If you are, take a stand and post a comment on this blog.  Join my new Facebook group “Tribe of Kingdom Barbarians”.  Become part of the new Kingdom Barbarian Tribe!

“For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed to us.  For the anxious longing of the creation waits eagerly for the revealing of the sons of God. For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of Him who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself also will be set free from its slavery to corruption into the freedom of the glory of the children of God.” – Rom. 8:18-21 NASB

Addendum: 14 Dec 08

Last night Apostle (Papa) Wayne C. Anderson preached a great message on the rescue of God.  It is a very timely word – that we must not lose hope in the midst of the battles ahead and we need to be looking for His rescue.  This is the balancing message to my rantings above, and it got me thinking that I should clarify my position on this critical issue of God’s rescue.

Lest anyone think that in my “no help is coming” premise, I’m somehow limiting God’s power or desire to intervene in our lives supernaturally,  I’m not.  Scripture is filled with instances where God intervenes in human history on behalf of His people when they are in trouble.  How could a loving God do anything less?  And we certainly require His intervention to fix the mess that we’re currently in.

Yet, we must also remember that most, if not every time God intervened in human history, He required some kind of faith-based action on the part of His people.  We must also realize that since the arrival of the Kingdom on earth, the government of God has shifted to His ecclesia (Church).  Prior to that, the people had no options but to cry out to God for rescue.  Today, God is incarnate and actively working through those who engage the Kingdom and make it a priority in their everyday lives.

Sadly, we’ve not done well at this as His governing Body on earth, and I believe this is the season for that to change.  God WILL intervene on our behalf, but he will not reward the irresponsibility and poor stewardship that got us into the mess we’re in.  I think we’ve spent all together too much time waiting for God to do something for us, while He is waiting for us to do what He commanded us to do the last time He was here.

Our only hope lies in the Kingdom of God coming to this earth in it’s fullness.  We can’t do it without God, and He won’t do it without us.  At least that is my understanding of the nature of the Kingdom.

Published in: on November 22, 2008 at 10:52 pm  Comments (5)  

The Kingdom’s Finest Hour

America has spoken.  In the midst of our pain and fear, we have elected Barack Hussein Obama as our 44th President.  Not only that, we have given the Democrats a comfortable majority in both the Senate and the House.  For the first time since Reagan, this President has been empowered by the people to set a new course for our nation, yet with a significant difference.  The liberal press has a love affair with this man and now the relationship shall be consummated.  I doubt that we will see much honest evaluation from the mainstream press until the honeymoon is well past.  It appears that nothing can stand in his way for the foreseeable future.

As the announcement came last night, my first reaction was no doubt common to many of you – a deep sadness; a grieving over what I believed was a real chance of victory in spite of the insurmountable odds facing the McCain/Palin ticket.  They waged a valiant effort, but there were just too many obstacles they had to overcome.  John McCain and Sarah Palin both earned my respect not only in their campaign, but in their concession of victory to Obama.  They finished well.  And I’m confident that we’ve not heard the last from Gov. Palin.

As I’ve sought God for answers while the stark realities of “change” settle into my soul, I can honestly say that I have a peace that is passing my understanding.  I also have a renewed sense of resolve rising up inside of me.  Call it madness, willful ignorance or revelation by the Spirit, but I believe our best days are yet before us.  They will not be easy; indeed they may very well be the most difficult years of our lives.  Thus, “best” begs for a definition.  See if you can find one in my ramblings as I continue.

Our government has become an out-of-control monster that our nation’s Founders could not have imagined.  They fought, bled and died for a country where people could be free to live their lives in peace, in safety, and to pursue their dreams.  They gave us the framework of limited and balanced government that would serve it’s citizens and preserve these “self evident” truths.  The basis of this radical new concept of government was and is self-government and personal responsibility.  They understood that true freedom depends upon it.  They also understood that self-government is only truly found in the soul that is in right relationship with it’s Creator.

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“We have no government armed with power capable of contending with human passions unbridled by morality and religion. Avarice, ambition, revenge, or gallantry, would break the strongest cords of our Constitution as a whale goes through a net. Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.”

John Adams, Address to the Military, October 11, 1798

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Think of it – a nation where people are free to pursue their dreams!  Where greed, avarice and selfishness give way to sacrifice for the common good.  Where people live in peace with their neighbors and join together to fight against those who would threaten this dream.  This was the dream of our Founders.  It is also the dream that Barack Hussein Obama presented to us in his acceptance speech last night.

The problem many of us have is that we have not a shred of evidence that this man actually believes the promises he is making (a fact which seems to have escaped those who voted for him) .  The many questions raised by his detractors remain unanswered.  Is Barack Hussein Obama a great leader who can unite us and bring peace and prosperity to our nation, or is he just the latest (and greatest) fraud perpetrated upon a frustrated, gullible populace.  Only time will tell.

Another problem is this – those who seek to build a peaceful and prosperous society without God’s assistance ignore not only the Word of God, but the lessons of history.  America is at a crossroads.  We will either return to the divine wisdom found in preserving the Constitution in all of it’s original intent, or we shall go the way of the many empires who have fallen before us.  No matter what kinds of promises our government leaders make, the answer lies not in our government, but in the hearts of the people.  The power of government to harm is far greater than it’s ability to do good in this, hence the need for the people to limit it’s power and reach into our personal lives.

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“How prone all human institutions have been to decay; how subject the best-formed and most wisely organized governments have been to lose their check and totally dissolve; how difficult it has been for mankind, in all ages and countries, to preserve their dearest rights and best privileges, impelled as it were by an irresistible fate of despotism.”

James Monroe, speech in the Virginia Ratifying Convention, June 10, 1788

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“Guard with jealous attention the public liberty. Suspect every one who approaches that jewel. Unfortunately, nothing will preserve it but downright force. Whenever you give up that force, you are inevitably ruined.”

Patrick Henry, speech in the Virginia Ratifying Convention, June 5, 1778

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There are those who will always attribute Obama’s victory to a well waged campaign by a charismatic leader.  While this idea has merit, it is certainly not the real reason for his success.  His victory; indeed the final choices we were presented with in this election, stand as a testimony to the abject and wholesale failure of the Church to faithfully present the Gospel of the Kingdom to our countrymen. We have the privilege to live in a nation which can choose it’s leaders.  Obama’s victory sprung from the soil of a culture where entitlement, class-envy, personal gratification, god-be-damned lifestyle is celebrated and continually fueled by a liberal press where true morality is absent and truth always takes a backseat to profits.  Thus, we deserve the government we have been given, and we have nobody to blame but ourselves.

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“If Virtue & Knowledge are diffused among the People, they will never be enslav’d. This will be their great Security.”

Samuel Adams, letter to James Warren, February 12, 1779

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The sooner we accept this reality and repent of our folly, the sooner we can begin to work for change – the genuine, enduring, life-giving kind.  We can sit around and wait for a rescue from Heaven, but no rescue is coming.  God will help us, but He will not do it for us.  Stewardship is one of the most visible elements in the creation of man, yet is a virtue which is increasingly absent in our culture and as whole, and western Christianity in particular.  God has given us everything we need for life and righteous living.  He has vested us with Kingdom authority, with which we can overcome spiritual darkness and deception in our nation.  However, this will not happen because we shout at the heavens and shake our fist at principalities and powers.  Transformational change will only come about when the people of God accept personal responsibility for advancing His Kingdom in our homes, our schools and our workplaces.  We must become better stewards of the great freedom and liberty given to us by our forefathers, and of the great blessings of the Kingdom – righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.

Without God’s intervention, Barack Hussein Obama will fail miserably in his attempts to bring about the change he has promised.  He will need our help, and I for one, will stand with him wherever he stands for righteousness.  However, he will have to earn my trust, for today, he does not have it.  I will be unyielding in my pursuit of bringing the Kingdom of God to this once-great nation and will bitterly oppose any action by this new government that compromises the ideals of the Kingdom and hinders life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness among our people.

Now is not a time to be mournful over what was lost.  Now is a time to root up, to tear down and destroy the worldviews which distort reality.  It is a time to show the way of the King by demonstration of the fruit of a life wholly dedicated to Him.  Now is a time to get very angry with evil and unrighteousness in every form.  Now is time to put away our plastic, artificial Christianity and become the sons and daughters and warriors of the King of Kings.  The first century Church faced greater obstacles than we, yet in just a few decades turned the whole known world inside out.

The message of change is in the air.  Let it be the saints of God who bring the change which the people are yearning for.  God has set before us an opportunity to show the world what we are truly made of.  It can be the Kingdom’s finest hour, if we are brave enough to take a stand.

On a personal note, in the midst of alI my other noble endeavors, I hope to spend the next 4 years working with others of like mind to reform the broken political system that forces us to choose between the lesser of two evils.  I envision a new platform that is based upon righteousness and the principles of the Kingdom (though certainly not a theocracy) incorporating the ideals that will make our nation great once again.  If enough God-fearing people can put aside their self-centeredness and work together, I believe we can put an end to all the partisan bull crap that serves the professional politicians well, but divides our people.  I believe we can and will bring REAL change.  Anybody with me?

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“If men of wisdom and knowledge, of moderation and temperance, of patience, fortitude and perseverance, of sobriety and true republican simplicity of manners, of zeal for the honour of the Supreme Being and the welfare of the commonwealth; if men possessed of these other excellent qualities are chosen to fill the seats of government, we may expect that our affairs will rest on a solid and permanent foundation.”

Samuel Adams, letter to Elbridge Gerry, November 27, 1780

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“I wish to have no connection with any ship that does not sail fast; for I intend to go in harm’s way.”

John Paul Jones, letter to M. Le Ray de Chaumont, November 16, 1778

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“I have not yet begun to fight!”

John Paul Jones, response to enemy demand to surrender, September 23, 1779

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(All quotes excerpted from Founding Fathers Quotes website.  Highly recommended reading.)

Published in: on November 5, 2008 at 11:14 pm  Leave a Comment  

A Tipping Point is Within View

There is an excellent book by Malcom Gladwell titled, “The Tipping Point – How Little Things Can Make A Difference”.   Gladwell defines a tipping point as a sociological term, “the moment of critical mass, the threshold, the boiling point.”

Wikipedia says, “Tipping points” are “the levels at which the momentum for change becomes unstoppable.”

I believe our nation is at a point of critical mass, and the momentum for change is unstoppable.  Never in our nations history has there been so many problems with so few answers.  Public approval of our elected officials is around 15%, and for good reason.  Government intervention in our lives is responsible not only for an ever increasing loss of freedom, but for the meltdown of the global financial system.  The more they try to help, the more problems they cause.

The truth is, our political system is badly broken.  Our Founding Fathers never imagined career politicians, but rather true servant-leaders who would truly look out for the best interests of those they governed.  Today’s self-serving politicians are vastly different.  In the interest of self-preservation, the old guard has created a complex system of laws and rules where outsiders are effectively blocked from entering their sanctum and making substantial changes in the way things are done.  Maintaining status quo is the order of the day, and it will remain so, until “we the people” reach the boiling point – that moment of critical mass where we are mad as hell and will not willing to take it anymore.

The truth is, we need a genuine grassroots revolution in this country.  People need to stop living in denial.  This nation became great because it was built upon a foundation of divine truth.  Please take a minute to read carefully this section of the Declaration of Independence and see if you agree that it’s time for another revolution.

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.”

Has our present government reached this point of absolute despotism?  Probably not yet, but we are quickly marching in that direction.  Uncontrolled government spending and escalating budget deficits can only result in increased taxation.  The winds of socialism are growing in strength.  The present bailout plan being bantered about by Congress, when combined with the trillions of dollars in promised entitlement payments will seal the deal.  This massive debt is being laid upon the backs of a workforce which is decreasing daily.  Baby Boomers have begun piling onto the Social Security rolls and the system will soon reach critical mass.

In just a few short years, our children’s paychecks will be dramatically impacted and the level of resentment will increase exponentially as they find themselves unable to enjoy the fruit of their labors.  For them, the American Dream will become an unrealistic fantasy and a painful reminder of the unfairness of this nation.  This is a travesty of monumental proportions, and it angers me beyond words because it is a violation of the first order.

While I believe in political reform, our two-party system doesn’t need reformation; it needs abolition.  It is outdated and it only serves to perpetuate our crushing, life-robbing problems.  We need government, but we do not need the amount of government that we have.  Our Founding Fathers gave us a great gift in the founding documents of our nation.  I believe they were operating under divine inspiration when they crafted a government where people are empowered to pursue their dreams, enjoy the fruit of their labors, and live in peace and harmony.  They restricted government intervention in the lives of the citizens, and provided checks and balances which were meant to keep corruption and blind ambition out of the government process.

Even our judicial branch, the last check in the system has become corrupt in it’s actions.  In the past few years, activist federal judges have decided that their opinions are more important than the Constitution they were sworn to uphold.  Federal case law has replaced natural law and the intent of the Founders.  The rotten fruit of this arrogant folly is rapidly becoming a stench in our nostrils.  We are no longer a nation built upon a foundation of justice and righteousness. The sanctity of life and personal freedom are no longer valued by many sit upon their lofty benches.

The mentality of entitlement has replaced the virtues of personal responsibility and stewardship.  This is not only destroying families and reducing them to wards of the state, it is eroding our national prosperity and poisoning the minds of future generations who no longer place value on work.  We now have a large segment of the population who believes that the government is their source; that they have a right to food and shelter.

In fact, nobody has a right to these things – they have a right to pursue them.  They are not free, and as such, someone has to pay for them.  Of course, so long as politicians are free to take money away from those who work and give it to whomever they please, they can create a block of parasitic voters who remain in willful ignorance of how the world really works.

This is not a new problem, and the Apostle Paul summed up the scriptural idea of stewardship and responsibility in this way – “he that will not work, neither let him eat.”  This is how love operates – it uses the lessens of consequence to teach us how to live in true freedom, rather than being enslaved by being dependent upon others.  Of course we have a moral obligation to care for those who cannot care for themselves.  But it is not love to promote irresponsibility by stealing from those who work and giving it to those who will not.  Man was created to spend his life in fruitful labor.  Those who do not but are spared the consequences of their sloth are not only a burden on the rest of society, they often spend their energies in destructive and unlawful behavior.  This is one big reason why crime and poverty are often bedfellows.

If America has a future, it will be because we return to the principles that flow from the heart of God for mankind – the principles of the Kingdom of God.  Man was born to be free, to have dominion over the works of his hands, and to enjoy the fruit of his labors.  We need government to protect us from that which would restrict these freedoms.  It is up to WE THE PEOPLE to protect ourselves from the government.

As I look upon the horizon, I see a tipping point in view.  It is time for change – not from the top down, but from the bottom up.  We need a grassroots revolution.  Have you reached your boiling point yet?

Published in: on October 19, 2008 at 2:14 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Bobblehead Christians

Recently I’ve developed an online relationship with a self-avowed atheist. We found some common ground in the issues of politics at the time, and I was intrigued by his public claims that there is no God, so I pressed into him for more specifics about his belief system.  At first he was a bit evasive, no doubt due to many previous arguments he’d had with knucklehead Christians.  But I was persistent, kind, talked a bit of smack and tried to bait him out to share with me more about what he believes. I’m happy to say that he is opening up and starting to share his heart with me.  We’re moving beyond pat answers and into worldview, which is where I want to go with him.

I have no agenda at this time beyond seeing what kind of evidence he has used to arrive at his conclusions.  Of course, I do care about the eternal destination of his soul as well, but contrary to popular Christian evangelistic tactics, that is my endgame, not my first play.  I’ve taken a genuine interest in my new friend.  He gave me the privilege of looking into his heart, and I have reciprocated.  I’m meeting him where he is at – on the field of logic and reason.  We’ve both agreed that we like one another (we’ve not yet met in person) and we’d like to keep the discussion going.  I’ve given him honor, and he has done the same.  I’ve sought to earn the right to hear his heart, honestly, genuinely and without judgment.  I’m hoping he’ll join me in a public discussion here on my blog.  He’s thinking about it.

Contrast this with the approach of most Christians who, rather than being “fishers of men” are out with their 44 magnum study bibles hunting for souls to bag.  The typical evangelical mindset is focused on one goal – to “win someone to Christ” by getting them to pray the “sinners prayer”.  The victim person, that stands before them is a wretched miserable sinner who needs to repent for their wicked ways and get right with God (like me!), rather than an individual with deeply held convictions based upon life experience, teaching, etc. who may have little interest in hearing what we have to say, especially when they believe us to be fools.

It’s both comical and sad to see how most Christians approach evangelism. Either we remain silent in complete violation of the Lord’s command to go and make disciples, or we temporarily turn into some crazy aberrant religious psycho that doesn’t seem to be capable or rational thought.  Just look at the discussions that occur between atheists and Christians and you’ll find it littered with scripture quotations.  What kind of logic uses scripture to make a case with someone who has already determined that it’s not true?  How dumb is that?

I’ve found a lot of common ground with my new friend. He has examined Christianity through the lives of Christians and found it to be a very unattractive and unbelievable, thus he rejects God.  His logic is flawed, no doubt about it, and in time, I hope to change his conclusions by challenging his logic.  But I’ve looked through his eyes, and based on what he knows now, I find I agree with him more than not because of the hypocrisy, animosity and downright meanness that is found in many Christians – especially those who are “evangelistic” by nature, because they are often driven by religious spirits rather than being led by the Holy Spirit.

We used to have a guy in town that I called “Bumper Sticker Guy”.  This brother was so “radical for Jesus” that he literally covered his car with Christian bumper stickers, emblems, and anything else he could get to adhere to his car that proclaimed his message.  This guy would go out on the main drag and simply cruise in circles, driving up and down the block “witnessing” for Jesus.  While I do not doubt his sincerity, I’m amazed that he actually believes that anyone is going to embrace his message.  As a believer, I was more than offended by his approach, and desperately wanted to run him off the road lovingly confront him every time I saw him doing his thing.  This, my friends is what causes the world to think that Christians are idiots.  Would you vote for someone that shared the beliefs of Bumper Sticker Guy?  I wouldn’t, that’s for SURE!

Private note to Bumper Sticker Guy if you happen to read this.  I love you in Jesus, and I admire your boldness to be a witness for Jesus, but for God’s sake, please peel all that crap off your car and just start loving people.  You’ll be a whole lot more successful and you may live longer.

My friend Peter Lord says we need to “keep the Main Thing the Main Thing”. What is the Main Thing?  It’s not soul-winning, or praying, or quoting scripture or worship or another religious activity you can name.  It’s love.  God is love, and love is the evidence that we belong to Him.  Love is an irresistible force.  If love is not present in our conversations with those who do not yet know Him, not only are our chances of success extremely low, our entire motivation is wrong.

We also need to quit checking our brains at the door. We need to know why we believe what we believe, other that “’cause the Bible tells me so“.  Take away a Christian’s bible, and many become powerless to have an intelligent conversation with an unbeliever about why they believe what they believe about God.  We need to examine our worldview and identify the evidence that serves as a foundation for why we believe as we do.  Some of us might be shocked at how thin that foundation really is.  If we’re going to go up against the strongholds of unbelief in the lives of others, we’d best have something more substantial than what the preacher told us last week.

The early Church didn’t have Bibles. They didn’t walk around quoting the Old Testament to the Gentiles.  They had a personal revelation of Christ and they had His love flowing out of their hearts.  Their lives were filled with the fruit of having a close relationship with Jesus.  This was the greatest evidence they could present about the risen Christ.  Yet, I believe they also possessed a divine wisdom and the ability clearly articulate the reason for their faith.  But what really made their case bulletproof was when their faith was tested by the fire.  When the rocks started flying and the whips and chains came out, their faith endured because it was real and the were willing to lay it all on the line for what they believed in.  Suddenly all the words they had spoken carried a lot of authority because they were signed in blood.

Is your faith that real, that solid, so alive that you’re willing to die for what you believe in? If not, stop trying to convince others and work on those foundations.  The world doesn’t need any more bobblehead Christians or Bumper Sticker Guys.  They need to see real faith, in real people, who really know God.

Until next time,
R<><

Published in: on September 9, 2008 at 2:38 pm  Comments (2)  
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The Moment of Truth

A couple of years ago I had the opportunity to take my boys out fishing the flats of Tampa Bay. We had an incredible day, filled with sunshine, cooling breezes, and lots of fish hitting our lines. We managed to boat most of them, keeping only a few nice size sea trout for dinner. We caught all of our target fish – snook, redfish, and trout – a grand slam. We also caught a couple of bluefish and a black tip shark.

The highlight of my day came shortly after we arrived at our last chosen fishing spot. Our watchful captain spotted a couple of sizable cobia riding the wings of a large stingray, as they are prone to do. As luck would have it, they were swimming in the general direction of our bait. One peeled away from the ray to take my son’s bait, but unfortunately missed the hook and swam off. The other cobia and the ray turned away from the shore and also disappeared from our view.

A short time later, the other cobia and the ray (or another, we can’t know for sure) reappeared near the shoreline, but turned and swam the other direction away from the boat. Our captain quickly fired up the motor and circled around in an attempt to put us in a favorable position for another attempt. Even though we were not really geared up for a fish of this size and strength, the temptation was just too much to resist.

Sure enough, the ray and his wingman swam in our direction, and I quickly cast my baitfish in front of them. The cobia saw my bait and made a run for it. My bobber disappeared under the surface, I waited a couple of seconds, and then set the hook. My reel screamed in delight as the fish made a run away from the boat and time stopped for a while. The boys scrambled for the cameras to capture the saga.

For the next 20 some odd minutes, it was a vicious struggle of man versus fish. My light tackle was tested to the limits as the 40″ (dare we estimate) long beast strained to keep away from the boat. Each time I got him close enough to make a net attempt, he would make another run away from the boat. We were quite concerned about the light leader’s ability to hold up much longer against the constant pull of this incredibly strong fish. We figured the sooner we could get him into the boat, the better chance we had of bringing him home. We knew if we could just get him into the net, we’d have him.

Finally, the fish began to tire, but not before my arms began to ache (what a great feeling!). I brought him near the boat, and pulled him up to the surface and the captain got into position with the net. In a coordinated effort, I steered the fish toward the waiting net. Success was mere seconds away! 

The Moment of Truth

The Moment of Truth

As the net closed around the beast, he didn’t even slow down. Instead, he reached down deep inside, and with a thrust of his powerful tail, he pushed right through the bottom of the net as though it were made of paper. The weakened leader snapped, and in an instant, he was gone.

What looked like a certain victory for me turned into a sudden disappointment. I had placed my faith entirely upon the net’s ability to hold that fish. It never occurred to me that a fish could break through something as strong as that net. I assumed once he was safely inside, he was mine.

But the fish had a different perspective. It was his Moment of Truth. He didn’t stop to think of how strong that net must be, and how difficult it would be to break through it. He didn’t stop to think about how hard he had fought and how tired he was and how he was now facing the biggest challenge of his life at the very moment he was at his weakest. He simply saw that net as a barrier that had to be broken if he was going to live another day. He reached down deep inside, and pulled on that reserve of energy that is available to all of God’s creatures in times like these. And he moved from certain death to precious freedom in the blink of an eye.

So often we find ourselves in the Moment of Truth. The enemy plays us into his trap, wearing us down, and then, at our weakest moment, closes in for the kill. In that moment – the Moment of Truth, we can reach down deep inside and pull out that breakthrough strength that God provides for us in moments like this. We must never allow obstacles to become nets of death around us. There is always a rescue, if we call upon God and exercise faith in the Moment of Truth. And we too will leave the enemy with a shattered and empty net.

In the end, I was very happy, having had the opportunity to struggle with this fish. Like my father, I like to imagine that the ones that get away grow up to become the biggest and the strongest. And fortunately, we have the struggle on video tape, so I can enjoy it whenever I want to re-live the experience. It was a very good day, in my book of days.

Published in: on September 2, 2008 at 3:04 pm  Comments (2)  
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We Need a Kingdom Perspective!

Jesus Came To Establish A Kingdom, Not a Religion.

“I must preach the Kingdom of God to the other cities also, for I was sent for this purpose.”  Luke 4:43 NASB

Jesus had more to say about the Kingdom than any other subject.  Obviously, it ranks right up there on God’s priority list of topics His children should understand.

One major point of truth that we need to grasp is that Jesus did not come to establish a religion.  This may come as a surprise to many, but it is true.  Religion is man’s meager attempt to appease an invisible and unreachable god.  Even Christianity is a religion.  But Jesus did not come preaching a new religion, He came preaching the gospel of the Kingdom.

Many restrict the work of Christ to the cross.  However, Jesus came for much more than to die for our sins.  The cross was a tremendous victory in innumerable ways.  Not only did Jesus redeem us from sin and purchase a place for us in Heaven, but He took all of our sicknesses and diseases upon Himself and removed them from us forever.  Yet, we continue to fight the good fight of faith, enforcing the victory of the cross in our everyday lives.  This is because the cross is not for us an ending, but a beginning.  You see, Jesus came to establish the rule and reign of God upon the earth and to restore the dominion to man that was lost in the Garden of Eden.

When we accept Jesus as our Lord and Savior, we are not only saved from our sin, but become part of His Kingdom.  He becomes our King, and we become His subjects.  However, He is not looking for subjects, but sons and daughters who will rule and reign with him in this life, right here, right now.

Perspective Is Everything
Every one of us sees life through a unique pair of glasses.  Every situation we encounter, every relationship we enter into is interpreted through this pair of glasses.  Psychologists have given a name to this pair of glasses – paradigm.  Paradigm describes the unique perspective that each of us have of life.

Our paradigm is the totality of our education, life experiences, and relationships.  Unfortunately, our paradigm can be flawed, due to negative events in our lives.  Like a bad pair of glasses, we do not see reality clearly.  We interpret things incorrectly, draw erroneous conclusions and formulate bad decisions.

A “paradigm shift” is a term that describes a radical transformation of our perspective.  Something causes us to see things in a completely different light and our thinking is instantly changed.

For example, suppose you are driving down the street minding your own business, when suddenly, a car comes racing past you, swerving in and out of traffic.  They cut you off, nearly taking off your front fender.  Ahead, they continue to swerve wildly in and out of the traffic, clearly presenting a danger to everyone.

You assume this is a reckless teenager, as has been the case so many times before.  You decide that you should follow them up the road and give them a piece of your mind.  You speed up and catch them at the next stoplight.

As you pull up, you roll down your window, ready to let them have it.  However, you are shocked at what you see.  Rather than a reckless young driver, you see a man who is obviously in crisis.  You see the panic in his eyes.  Upon closer examination, you see that lying on the seat next to him is a little boy with a large, bloody towel wrapped around his head.  The man’s hands, tightly clenching the steering wheel, are red with blood.  You hear his choked voice as he reassures the boy.  “Everything is going to be alright, son.  We’re almost to the hospital.”  Before you can utter a word, the light changes, and they race off, leaving you in stunned silence.

In an instant, truth was revealed and your flawed perspective was radically transformed.  Your anger dissolved into a profound sense of empathy and you suddenly wanted to aid this unfortunate family.  You just experienced a paradigm shift.

Needed: A Kingdom Paradigm Shift
Based on what we see in the Church today, I believe that most Christians need a paradigm shift.  One of the greatest losses of the Church in the last 2000 years is the loss of a view of the Kingdom.  Somewhere along the way, we had a paradigm shift in the wrong direction.

Many of us have allowed the enemy to fit us with a pair of glasses that distorts reality.  Rather than seeing life through God’s eyes, we take a carnal, earthly perspective.  Big things look small, and small things look big.  We miss important details because our vision is out of focus.  Life is interpreted incorrectly and opportunities afforded by God for our benefit are missed.

We need to put on a Kingdom set of glasses, that we might gain a Kingdom perspective!  We were never meant to view this earth through an earthly, natural perspective.  We are supernatural beings, specially created in the image of God, with spiritual senses that are waiting to be awakened.  The apostle Paul prayed this way:

“I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened, so that you may know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, and what is the surpassing greatness of His power toward us who believe.”   Eph. 1:18-19 NASB

I once heard Jack Taylor say, “Celebration is the fruit of perspective.”  I believe this is a very profound statement.  For the Christian, perspective lies at the very heart of celebration.  Those with a carnal perspective can only rejoice when circumstances are favorable.  Their celebration is limited by their natural perspective.  However, a Kingdom perspective says, “Everything’s gonna be alright!”  No matter what is happening, we know that we are part of a Kingdom, and our King is in control.  Even if our circumstances don’t look so good, we can still celebrate because we have a Kingdom perspective!

A Kingdom perspective says, “God will be successful in all of His plans.”  We know that He will never fail.  Therefore, the only question in the matter is simply, will we be with Him?  Only those who see through spiritual eyes will overcome this world.  How desperately we need to gain a Kingdom perspective!

Until next time,
R<><

Published in: on September 1, 2008 at 8:40 pm  Comments (6)  
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