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There was a season when God was silent for 400 years. That’s nothing to gloss over. It was between the time of Malachi* and the opening words of Jesus Christ, recorded in Mark’s Gospel. When Jesus opened His mouth, He broke God’s silence in a massively significant way. His first words tell us something significant that we should do – throughout each and every day. When we get them into our regular way of life, we begin to walk in real freedom.
Remember: following God doesn’t limit us – it sets us free. So, what were the revolutionary words that slipped from Jesus’ mouth after such a very long time of silence, and what do they mean for us today? Here they are:
Be careful reading that verse, because you might think you understand what Jesus is saying. There are two words in this verse that have tremendous significance for the real Christ follower. These words are “repent” and “believe.” The verb tense in the Greek language that Mark used would be better translated into English as “repent and keep repenting” and “believe and keep believing.” This magnifies the significance of Jesus’ words. A richer, truer understanding of His words would read like this:
Everyone who is now following Jesus had an initial moment of repentance and belief. There is an first time when a person comes to terms with Jesus being God, Savior and friend. But that is the new beginning of an entirely new life – and that life is to now be characterized by repentance and belief. Everything a Christ follower does is to be marked by a continually turn from selfishness and the pursuit of things that don’t matter, to selflessness and things that will last forever. In other words, the glory of self is something from which we need to repent not once or twice, but continually – every day – throughout every day. Everything we think, dream and do is to be marked by belief in the Son of God, Jesus, as our Master, Savior of everything. When we do this, we walk in freedom. Perpetual repentance and belief are the new traits that must mark the life of anyone who claims to be following Christ.
*Malachi was the last Old Testament prophet of the book that bears his name. You can find it at the end of the Old Testament, right before Matthew’s Gospel.
I cradled you like a football in my left arm as you sucked on my pinky. Your eyes were shut, but mine were enlarged soaking you in – a miracle, blessing, gift and joy unlike any other I had ever been given. Mom, recovering from her battle wounds, was now breathing gently by our side, resting. You came into this world with a great deal of pain, Titus, but the moment you arrived, you delivered unspeakable joy. That joy has never – not even once – diminished. In fact, it continues to grow.
I remember cutting the glistening cord that connected you to Mom, and in so cutting brought you closer to us both. With you by my side, I am a better man. Your infancy transported me into adulthood, and helped make me become a better, although far from perfect, man. You are handsome, kind and gentle. Your character literally stops me in my tracks, forcing me to examine my own life, which seems to be so quickly fading.
My son, and my friend, you are pleasing to God, and pleasing to me. Not because of what you’ve done, but because you are my son – and you mean all the world to me. You will be special, important, unique and my priority until my dying breath. You inspire, fulfill, reward and thrill me every time I look at you. No moment with you is long enough. No gift can compare with you. You are one of a kind, and have been entrusted to me by the Almighty hand of God. I do not deserve the priceless gift I have in you – but you, my son, I do so very much, enjoy!
“In order to succeed at anything, you’ve got to cut through the noise . . . if you fail in this, nothing else matters.”
IN ORDER TO SUCCEED AT ANYTHING, you’ve got to cut through the noise, chatter and distractions and get down to the meat and potatoes of life. If you fail in this, nothing else matters. Take, for instance, our understanding of “grace” and “mercy.” We often confuse these two – as if they are the same thing – but they are not. Understanding their difference – and how they are each tied to the other – will enable you cut through life’s noise and succeed as a follower of the grace and mercy Giver, Jesus Christ. After all, the whole point of being a Christian is to follow Christ, not simply know about Him, right? Talk is cheap, action is priceless. Grace and mercy are not the same. Understanding them will change how you live today for you – and every day hereafter.
Hebrews 4:14-16 will blow your mind and change your life:
“Since then we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold fast to our confession. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every aspect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” (ESV)
The Greek word translated as “mercy” is “eleos” (ἔλεος). By comparison, the word translated as “grace” is “charin” (χάριν). Here is how these words differ – and how they are related: Mercy is when God withholds judgment. Grace is when God extends a gift. We need and receive both the instant we accept Christ as Savior – and we keep getting them every single moment thereafter.
By giving us mercy, God does not treat us as our sins deserve. The “white throne judgment” spoken of in Revelation 20:11-15, reserved for those who have not given their lives to Christ, is a judgment of eternal, conscious separation from God. If one’s name is not in the “book of life,” the life of separation from God experienced on earth will continue throughout eternity. The moment we give our lives to Christ, however, our name is written in that “book of life,” and we are given mercy – a permanent pardon from God from the judgment of separation we each deserve. Mercy is when God does not judge us as we deserve.
Through faith in Christ as Savior, not only are we spared divine judgment (mercy), we also are given favored status. God’s undeserved favor, His grace, is what gives us a new, favored status as a son or daughter of God:
“What I am saying is that as long as an heir is underage, he is no different from a slave, although he owns the whole estate. The heir is subject to guardians and trustees until the time set by his father. So also, when we were underage, we were in slavery under the elemental spiritual forces of the world. But when the set time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those under the law, that we might receive adoption to sonship. Because you are his sons, God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, the Spirit who calls out, “Abba, Father.” So you are no longer a slave, but God’s child; and since you are his child, God has made you also an heir.” – Galatians 4:1-7, NIV
The laws of the Roman world, upon which our modern laws of adoption descend, made it so that there was no legal distinction between adopted and a naturally born children. This is why God deliberately used the elevated imagery of adoption – not as a concession, but as a means of affection, value and worth. It was, and is, the way for God to make it so that it is the next best thing to Him having you as his natural-born son or daughter. This is undeserved. This is unspeakable favor. This is grace. THIS IS AMAZING.
You have mercy and you have grace if you’ve given your life to Christ. And if you haven’t yet done this, right now is the perfect time to do it. No one who truly accepts Christ as Savior will ever live to regret it. Why postpone the grace and mercy you need, and want? Today is the day to let grace and mercy reign. Let them cut through the noise, clutter and confusion of life so that you live today in the freedom, acceptance and beauty for which you were created. Don’t let anyone tell you differently – including yourself.
It’s hard to stop blogging, but that’s exactly what I had to do while we had Godfactor.com totally revamped. Today is the official launch day of our new site – and it gives me a chance to get back into the blogging saddle and write, write, write. Now I get to scratch that itch.
Here are some of the things you can expect from the all new Godfactor.com, and my blog:
ENJOY THE ALL NEW GODFACTOR.COM. A WHOLE NEW BEGINNING IS NEAR!
Absurd is the new normal. What kind of country do we live in where the people of Planned Parenthood, who were filmed boasting about selling the body parts of aborted babies, are cleared – but the people who filmed them are indicted? What has happened to us – and how can we recover? I really don’t care about stirring the pot and creating “water cooler” talk – and neither should you if you are really following Jesus Christ. What we should care about is doing something productive, to act as salt and light in a distasteful, dark world. So, this blog will not only address the problem, but also give you simple, practical, powerful things you can do this week to make a difference.
(In case you’ve been living with your head in the sand, the actual videos with proof of what Planned Parenthood did are below).
Can a man or woman who professes true love for Jesus Christturn the other cheek when the lives of innocents are not only being taken, but their body parts are also being harvested and sold to others? Do we even care about society any longer? Consider Isaiah 5:20 (NIV):
“Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter.”
Consider Proverbs 24:11-12:
Rescue those who are being taken away to death;hold back those who are stumbling to the slaughter.If you say, “Behold, we did not know this,”does not he who weighs the heart perceive it?Does not he who keeps watch over your soul know it,and will he not repay man according to his work?
HERE ARE SIMPLE, POWERFUL, PRACTICAL THINGS YOU CAN DO THIS WEEK TO MAKE A DIFFERENCE
Talks is cheap, actions are priceless. Instead of simply disagreeing with what Planned Parenthood did (and may still be doing with perhaps greater stealthiness), you can do FAR more. In fact, you are called to do this as a Christ-follower. Here are practical, powerful things you can do:
What we in the Church keep forgetting is that 2 Chronicles 7:13-14 is an “IF-THEN” statement.Revival and spiritual awakening are not things that come from thin air. They are the result of God’s people becoming so sick and tired of the absurdity of resisting Him and being complacent that we start doing what we were supposed to do in the first place:follow and love Him with all our heart, soul, mind and strength. REMEMBER, LOVE IS A VERB.
Here’s the infamous first video of a Planned Parenthood executive talking about selling body parts of aborted babies:
Here’s yet more footage that will make it clear baby body parts from abortions have indeed been sold:
More evidence is found here:
If you’re not yet convinced, please visit The Center for Medical Progress web site. If that doesn’t convince you, you might want to make an appointment with a cardiologist. He will need to make a thorough examination of your heart. Thereafter, consider contacting Dr. Ben Carson for a referral for a brain specialist.
The following is courtesy of David Daleiden, from The Center for Medical Progress. He can be reached at email@example.com, (949) 734-0859.
LOS ANGELES, July 14, 2015 — New undercover footage shows Planned Parenthood Federation of America’s Senior Director of Medical Services, Dr. Deborah Nucatola, describing how Planned Parenthood sells the body parts of aborted fetuses, and admitting she uses partial-birth abortions to supply intact body parts.
In the video, Nucatola is at a business lunch with actors posing as buyers from a human biologics company. As head of PPFA’s Medical Services department, Nucatola has overseen medical practice at all Planned Parenthood locations since 2009. She also trains new Planned Parenthood abortion doctors and performs abortions herself at Planned Parenthood Los Angeles up to 24 weeks.
The buyers ask Nucatola, “How much of a difference can that actually make, if you know kind of what’s expected, or what we need?”
“It makes a huge difference,” Nucatola replies. “I’d say a lot of people want liver. And for that reason, most providers will do this case under ultrasound guidance, so they’ll know where they’re putting their forceps. The kind of rate-limiting step of the procedure is calvarium. Calvarium—the head—is basically the biggest part.”
Nucatola explains, “We’ve been very good at getting heart, lung, liver, because we know that, so I’m not gonna crush that part, I’m gonna basically crush below, I’m gonna crush above, and I’m gonna see if I can get it all intact.”
“And with the calvarium, in general, some people will actually try to change the presentation so that it’s not vertex,” she continues. “So if you do it starting from the breech presentation, there’s dilation that happens as the case goes on, and often, the last step, you can evacuate an intact calvarium at the end.”
Using ultrasound guidance to manipulate the fetus from vertex to breech orientation before intact extraction is the hallmark of the illegal partial-birth abortion procedure (18 U.S.C. 1531).
Nucatola also reveals that Planned Parenthood’s national office is concerned about their liability for the sale of fetal parts: “At the national office, we have a Litigation and Law Department which just really doesn’t want us to be the middle people for this issue right now,” she says. “But I will tell you that behind closed doors these conversations are happening with the affiliates.”
The sale or purchase of human fetal tissue is a federal felony punishable by up to 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $500,000 (42 U.S.C. 289g-2).
A separate clip shows Planned Parenthood President and CEO Cecile Richards praising Nucatola’s work to facilitate connections for fetal tissue collection. “Oh good,” Richards says when told about Nucatola’s support for fetal tissue collection at Planned Parenthood, “Great. She’s amazing.”
The video is the first by The Center for Medical Progress in its “Human Capital” series, a nearly 3-year-long investigative journalism study of Planned Parenthood’s illegal trafficking of aborted fetal parts. Project Lead David Daleiden notes: “Planned Parenthood’s criminal conspiracy to make money off of aborted baby parts reaches to the very highest levels of their organization. Elected officials must listen to the public outcry for Planned Parenthood to be held accountable to the law and for our tax dollars to stop underwriting this barbaric abortion business.”
WHAT DO YOU THINK OF ABSURDITY BECOMING THE NEW NORMAL? WHAT ARE YOU DOING, AS A CHRIST-FOLLOWER, TO BE SALT AND LIGHT AND HELP TURN THINGS AROUND? HOW HUNGRY ARE YOU FOR THE TRUE REVIVAL AND SPIRITUAL AWAKENING THAT WE DO DESPERATELY NEED?