The Undivided Heart

President Trump and God’s “Backward” Ways

We know from the Bible that Satan is considered “the god of this world” (2 Corinthians 4:4 NASB), meaning that he orchestrates the worldly, sinful order that dominates every culture on Earth. Then there is God’s divine order, which is not of this world and stands opposed to the work of Satan.

Naturally God’s order—the way of His kingdom—often goes against what worldly people consider the norm. But it also often doesn’t make sense to “religious” people, or those in political leadership who we often think have all the answers. We can see this throughout the Bible. Let’s start with Elijah. He was a prophet of God, but he wasn’t at all “religious.”

So who was this Elijah anyway? When he showed up in the palace of Israel’s king, Ahab, and his wife, Jezebel, in 1 Kings 17, the Bible hadn’t even mentioned him before, so he wasn’t exactly among the well-known prophets of his day. But Elijah approached King Ahab and prophesied of an upcoming drought that would stand in opposition to all the efforts of Israel’s religious and political systems, including meeting the basic needs of the people. Not to mention, this “nobody” prophet Elijah was basically declaring war against God’s own chosen people.

So this stranger from the mountains showed up in Ahab’s palace and more or less did everything backward according to Israel’s religious and political methods—which were totally in keeping with Satan’s worldly order. Elijah had no education and no previous exposure to the leaders of Israel that we know of, yet King Ahab for some reason spared Elijah’s life that day, even though he had prophesied a drought for the entire nation—and we find out in 1 Kings 18:18 that this judgment was God’s wrath being poured out on Israel because of the wicked deeds of the king and his forefathers. But Elijah came as a messenger from God, not caring at all about the ways of the world that Ahab and his ilk followed. The story of Elijah ultimately ended with the downfall of one of the most evil religious and political systems in recorded history.

Let’s fast-forward to the days of John the Baptist, the cousin of Jesus. Once he’d grown up, John went out to live in the desert (Luke 2:80), where he wore camel’s skin and ate locusts and wild honey (Matthew 3:4). Simply put, he would have been considered a wilderness weirdo! When he came on the scene, John had not had any previous exposure to the religious and political rulers of Roman-ruled Israel, and he himself was no leader among God’s people. Yet God handpicked John as the prophet to prepare His people for the coming of Jesus the Messiah. Notice that God did NOT choose any of the religious and political elites who, in the eyes of the people, would have been perfectly qualified for such a task.

In fact Jesus later warned His disciples about the religious and political leaders of Israel, telling His followers to watch out for these self-righteous and dangerous men—and even going so far as to say that “Such men will be punished most severely” (Luke 20:46 NIV).

In light of the lives of both Elijah and John the Baptist, I would rather see Donald Trump in the White House than any self-righteous religious or political elite. We know from 1 Samuel 16:7 that God pays little attention to what is seen, and the “seen” is exactly what President Trump’s opposition and even well-known religious figures have been quick to point out in regard to the sin observed in his life. But God instead focuses on what is unseen—each person’s heart—which opens wide the door to whatever God may want to do in an individual’s heart for His ultimate purpose, even to go so deep as to accomplish this by His divine grace exclusively. As it says in Matthew 4:45 (NIV): “He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.” This single verse alone eliminates any doubt as to whether or not God can use President Trump despite his own sinfulness and shortcomings. He can use him just as he can use any of us!

But it all does seem quite backward, doesn’t it? Let’s go back to the New Testament. The religious teachers in the days of Jesus thought Immanuel (“God with Us”—as in, the Messiah) would come down from heaven, overthrow the Roman Empire, and then rule Israel from a conquering king’s throne. The apostle John even recorded an event that shows this: “So Jesus, perceiving that they were intending to come and take Him by force to make Him king, withdrew again to the mountain by Himself alone” (John 6:15 NASB).

You see, the people of Israel had good intentions in wanting to make Jesus their king—much the same way that both Republicans and Democrats have good intentions for the country in representing their respective party. But in reading John 6:15, we don’t see the evil behind what the people wanted for Jesus, because their good intentions had nothing to do with God’s plan. Their evil was later exposed, as the crowds and religious leaders demanded that Jesus die. Why? Because of envy and jealously, and the fact that Jesus spoke out against them and wouldn’t do as they said or conform to their worldly ways.

This was a controlling and nasty evil spirit of religion and politics, which is alive and well today in church and the political system—the two often work together, after all. No wonder it’s important to leave religion and politics out of casual conversation! Hmmmm …

The biggest problem for the religious leaders of Israel, to their own disgrace, was that those esteemed teachers of the Law of God did not even recognize that Jesus was Immanuel! They just went on teaching and preaching the impending arrival of the Jewish Messiah, waiting for their personal Savior to appear according to the words of their prophets. And all along, He was walking among them! Then these self-righteous hypocrites then called for Immanuel to be crucified. That is so backward—and yet totally according to the plan of God!

Let’s look at some more examples of this backward kingdom of God’s:

  • The Bible says in 1 Corinthians 1:27 that God uses the foolish things of the world to shame the wise. Huh? That’s definitely backward!
  • Jesus said in Matthew 21:16 that God received praise from the lips of infants and nursing babies—not exactly something that agrees with the natural order of the world and the basic principles of language and intelligence.
  • Jesus also said that if the Jews would not praise Him, then the rocks would cry out instead (Luke 19:40).
  • In Numbers 22:21-39, God used a donkey to communicate His word at one point. (Do you see that there is hope for Donald Trump? Ha-ha-ha!)
  • The apostle Paul considered himself the chief of all sinners (1 Timothy 1:15), and he had at one time been a bloodthirsty hunter of followers of Jesus, yet he ended up being a powerful man of God, writing 13 books of the New Testament. So Christianity’s greatest enemy became its greatest defender. Now that’s backward!
  • I encourage you to look up some of the other backward principles of God’s kingdom: the first will be the last, the least will be the greatest, the meek will be the powerful, the ones who give away everything will have the most, etc.

Is there hope that God can use Donald Trump? I would say so! Better than that, if we truly believe the Bible, then we can study it deeper and discover that God quite often used wicked people to carry out His purposes. No, I’m not labeling President Trump as “evil” or wicked.” But according to the Word of God, we are ALL wicked and sinful people (Romans 3:23), so the argument that Donald Trump is not a righteous man and thus can’t be used of God is no argument at all in light of God’s character and what He might intend to do in and through our president.

I believe that the biblical principles inscribed upon the hearts of our nation’s Founding Fathers are being inscribed upon the hearts of our leaders today by God’s divine grace in a way we have not witnessed since first few decades of this country’s history. I further believe that the hearts of our leaders have become a reflection of the hearts of everyday Americans by the grace of God and by His commitment to the faith of the men and women who proclaimed the greatness of our God and the hopes for this great country at its beginning.

If the US is restored to a nation that fears and honors God, then it will happen because we ordinary Americans humble ourselves and quit acting as if each of us has the destiny of this country summed up perfectly by our religious and political views. Only through this kind of humility can Republicans and Democrats and all the rest be united so that we as a nation can reap the benefits from God’s promises for His people.

As I continue to search through the Bible, I find more and more that God so often does things in ways that seem backward to us and in opposition to the methods, suspicions, and predictions of the institutions of this world. So do not be surprised when we the people find that through our own humility, the hearts of our leaders will truly become a reflection of our own hearts, just as our Constitution demands. We the people are the true leaders of this country, and if we want the God of the Bible to deal with our enemies according to His divine will that has been predestined since the beginning of time, then it will ONLY be through our humility that we truly prove His grace in sufficient for ALL of us (2 Corinthians 12:9).

Never forget: “God is opposed to the proud, but gives grace to the humble” (James 4:6 NASB). If we remain divided, it will only be due to our pride, and if that happens, we will continue to declare that we ourselves are God in our own eyes and in no need of His grace, and thus we will keep opposing the one true God. Pride was the first sin of humanity—when Adam and Eve presumed that they knew better than God and willingly decided to oppose Him and His ways. Yet if we choose to humble ourselves, we will find Him to be the God of limitless power that He promises to be for those who follow Him wholeheartedly, and He will deliver this country from the hand of every enemy.

So join me in praying—not only that we as a nation would support the president because he is our leader and because God can use anyone He chooses to accomplish His will, but also that we would humble ourselves under the mighty hand of God so that He would pour out His grace upon us!

 

Scripture quotations marked (NASB) are taken from the New American Standard Bible® (NASB), Copyright © 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission. www.Lockman.org. Scripture quotations marked (NIV) are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide. www.zondervan.com The “NIV” and “New International Version” are trademarks registered in the United States Patent and Trademark Office by Biblica, Inc.™

Redemption Management

I want to make it clear that the purpose of this post is not to hate on the Christian Church.   In this post, I am only touching base on a topic I have been studying for 10 years—the demon of religion. I am currently writing a book on this that will delve much deeper than what you find in this post. I believe that even as the various Christian denominations disagree, in sometimes very aggressive ways, that God has revealed facets of Himself to them all. I believe the problem is that each religious institution believes that God has revealed Himself entirely to each of them. The teacher preaches that his doctrine describes Him perfectly and they are responsible for managing Him. I believe that is one of the most deceptive forms of pride and pride restricts the Holy Spirit and limits the teacher to whatever truth they do have and nothing more. The teacher is basically holding up his or her most pure doctrine and declaring “Look! This describes Him perfectly and there is nothing else!” I don’t believe it and I have not witnessed it either. Nor do I believe the He has revealed Himself entirely to me. At some point, we as believers will need to humble ourselves and consider that maybe we haven’t discovered all of Him.   Through this humility we will subject each other as teachers and the children of God to receiving additional facets of His Glory. We will discover that redemption is of many colors and goes deeper than we can possibly comprehend. It took the Son of God to bring redemption to earth and it takes the Son of God to manage it.

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Prison Cell

The Hell Cell

Imagine with me a drug addict in a prison cell. He is dirty, wearing tattered clothing. This prisoner is sitting on a concrete sidewalk with his back up against a brick building. His sleeves are rolled up and you can see bruises on his arms from all the needles he has used to inject drugs. Empty syringes lay scattered around him. Demonic beings lurk about him to his right and left, appearing to be half-animal, half -human. The addict lives in his own private “prison cell,” and he cannot do anything without the approval of the demons. They even grant him the desires of his heart to continue using drugs. And when he’s unable to get the drugs, he is overwhelmed with horrible thoughts and physical sensations.

The addict is twenty-four now, but his years have been hard almost from the beginning. His father sexually abused him from the time he was five until thirteen. When the young man was fourteen, his dad committed suicide. His mother was a junkie and sold her body for heroin. She disappeared not long after Dad died.

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Prayer for America

Father, we just want to take a moment and thank you for not leaving us in this world without Hope. Thank you for sending your precious Son Jesus Christ to earth with us in mind. His suffering was unimaginable, but we know that we are the reason He did not complain of the pain and persecution. We understand that Jesus was quiet on the cross because it was worth it to Him to suffer in such a horrible way then so that He could reach us right now. We understand that there is a reason you instructed us in Hebrews 4:16, “ Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need. His suffering was the precursor to this opportunity for us to approach You now with every need. Thank you for showing us why we are to come to you boldly! It is because Jesus suffered enough to cover it all and we should be confident when approaching you! We should be bold and we refuse to allow the power in His suffering to be diminished because of our lack of faith. We believe! We believe in miracles! We believe that it is your great pleasure to reveal Jesus Christ to the world and (more…)

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Judging Others

Have you ever met anyone called to the unique “ministry” of judging others? I’ve been around people so gifted in identifying sin in the lives of others that it was difficult to see a need for Jesus in their own life because their path was seemingly so straight and narrow. The only clue that sin may be in the life of those called to this ministry of judging others is the huge banner that hovers over their head everywhere they go. It reads, “Don’t judge me by my appearance. The sin is in my heart. Do you hear it coming out of my mouth?”

It would be safe to say that all people have been guilty of judging others at some point. I can’t speak for everyone, but I would suspect that it’s true. I have found from experience that being wrongfully judged, or even rightfully judged, can be very painful. I can also say that being judged by Christians has been more painful than being judged by those who do not know Him. The purpose of this post is not to judge, but to shed light on what it means to judge others so that we can get it into perspective and grow together as believers. I only share this post because I have been that Christian judge and it was humbling to learn more about me through His Word. (more…)

The First Assignment of Jesus Christ

I would like to start out with a brief note about my faith. As many of you already know, I am a Christian author who wrote The Depth of Grace, Find Hope at Rock Bottom, and I am now working on three additional titles: The Depth of Words, The Depth of Religion and The Depth of Comfort. One objection I have heard concerning my writing efforts is that I do not have any special degree in religious or biblical studies. It’s true that I’m not a pastor, and my walk is probably considered unusual, given I have been alone in His Word for over 13 years now. When I started studying the Bible, I was a full-blown drug addict who sold drugs to support my habit. I was also considered one of the most violent men in Shreveport/Bossier, Louisiana.

So, yes, the truth is that I can’t offer up an impressive list of degrees in biblical studies to intrigue readers. However, I can honestly say that when I started studying the Bible, I studied as if my life depended on it. There wasn’t one aspect of my life that I could be proud of when I began searching for Him. I didn’t trust people and didn’t trust the church, so I was very alone when I began my studies. I can tell you today that, since then, I have walked with Jesus and have come to know Him personally. I have not had guidance from any religious institution, but I have witnessed miracles and I believe. I know Him.

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sacrifice

The Depth of The Sacrifice

To truly understand the more basic principles regarding Jesus being the Lamb of God crucified is to never again postpone repentance for any reason, especially shame and guilt. It seems that the more fortified religious institutions today can delve so deep into scripture during a teaching that we almost have to be biblical scholars to even understand. Today, lets scratch the surface regarding Jesus who was and is the crucified Lamb of God so that we may be fully convinced of the raw power in His blood regarding repentance and forgiveness.

While reading my bible one-day years ago (as a drug addict), I noticed in the Old Testament that during the Jewish Passover celebration, God’s people would choose their best lamb for a sin offering so that their sins could be forgiven. Once they picked the perfect sacrifice from their flock, they would bring the animal to the priest who served in the earthly tabernacle. The priest would then examine the sacrifice to make sure it was worthy to cover the person’s sins. If the sacrifice were without defect, the priest would offer forgiveness for their sins by the shedding of the blood. Take note that the priest never examined the person. He always examined the sacrifice. If the priest found the sacrifice worthy, their sins were forgiven. (more…)

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Forget as God Forgets

This concept, forgetting our failures as God forgets them, is one of the most freeing and powerful lessons God has ever taught me. There is nothing more discouraging than living with our past mistakes as if they will always be with us. The truth is that we need to somehow learn to remove our past sins from our minds so that they no longer keep us bogged down. This is possible and this post of one of many to come that will help us all get free from past mistakes.  Myself and all readers in some way are found somewhere in the blended 41,000 different christian belief systems.  At the end of the day we all need encouragement.  We all need comfort, mercy, grace, love, and the same goes for everyone around us.  If this post touches your heart please pay it forward 🙂

“Because we know that just as you share in our sufferings, so also you share in our comfort” (2 Corinthians 1:7). Parakaleo is the Greek word for comfort in this Scripture. It is used for every kind of call to a person, which is intended to produce a particular effect: “comfort, exhort, desire, call for, beseech.” Parakaleo is derived from the word paraklesis, which means “an appeal, encouragement, exhortation, consolation, comfort.” This comfort is received from the Father: “And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever; even the Spirit of truth” (John 14:16-17 kjv). This comfort is everything made available to us through the blood of Jesus Christ. When we share this comfort with someone who has shared in our sufferings, will they not be comforted? So when I suffer in an area and God comforts me, heals me, and sets me free, and I share this same comfort with you, you will be healed or set free in the same way I was comforted. “For just as we share abundantly in the sufferings of Christ, so also our comfort abounds through Christ” (2 Corinthians 1:5). If we are truly comforted by the Holy Spirit it should be more than a comforting thought.  If we have an experience with the “comforter” something will actually happen to us and there will be no denying it.  If this is true, which it is, God who comforted me with the truth in this passage will comfort you. (more…)

The Undivided Heart: Blog Introduction

Is it possible for God to truly give His people an undivided heart? If we take a step back, maybe a hundred steps back, and look at the Christian church, it is safe to say we are divided beyond measure. This truth, representing 41,000 different Christian belief systems, is remarkable to say the very least. This same truth has been researched and studied by prestigious scholars on every Christian front for hundreds of years.

So I’ll ask the same question again: Is it possible for God to truly give His people an undivided heart, as He proclaimed in Ezekiel 11:19 (NIV)—I will give them an undivided heart and put a new spirit in them”? This brings me back to one of my favorite verses 🙂 —It is the glory of God to conceal a matter; to search out a matter is the glory of kings (Proverbs 25:2 NIV). Will you join in this search with me? Can we seek Him together? I believe in us! God believes in us because Jesus is in us! He put Him there!

I’m proud to announce that I have decided to start a blog. My intent is to open dialogue among Christian leaders, everyday Christians, backslidden Christians, and people who might not know God but are curious and have questions about Him. One purpose for this blog is for everyone who feels a desire or need to communicate can do so here. I do not believe that God needs people to have a master’s degree in theology or a PhD in biblical studies to truly reveal His heart to the world, although I do respect and appreciate each of our biblical experts. But I’ll prove that we don’t have to be scholars to share God’s love with the world: His intent was that now, through the church, the manifold wisdom of God should be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly realms (Ephesians 3:10 NIV). (more…)