Wednesday, April 28, 2010




(Rev 9:21) And they did not repent of their murders or their sorceries or their sexual immorality or their thefts.

As Christians we have been very concerned about the abuse of drugs and alcohol. Many of us have been touched personally with someone we know and love who has struggled with this kind of addiction. But I have a pastoral concern for Christians who are addicted to prescription medicine. There are so many believers who are struggling with this "hidden" and legal addiction. It comes to my attention frequently in the course of my everyday ministry and counseling. So I would like to take this opportunity to encourage the body of Christ to be free as much as you can from pharmakeia!

The Greek word for sorcery in the New Testament is pharmakeia. It's from where we get our word pharmacy and relates to drugs. No, the hippies did not introduce drugs to the world back in the 1960's. Pagans of long ago used drugs in the worship of their idols. They would use hallucinogens to alter their state of consciousness as they used their incantations to communicate with the spirits. So now you know when you see the word sorcery in the New Testament that it has a background in these things and is related to drugs. That's why recreational drugs are so dangerous. And I'm not only talking physically or mentally but also spiritually. Drugs have been a doorway to the dark world for centuries. Stay away from pharmakeia.

But what about prescription drugs? Medicine was used in the Bible to help people in their affliction. Jeremiah speaks of the balm of Gilead (Jer 8:22; 46:11). Hezekiah recovered from a boil by the application of a lump of figs (2 Kings 20:7). The good Samaritan treated the injured man on the road to Jericho with oil and wine (Luke 10:34). And don't forget that Paul had Luke the physician travel with him on his missionary journeys (Col 4:14). And who knows if he applied salve treatments to Paul's eyes? (Rev 3:18; Gal 4:13, 15 )

So what about "good" drugs today? Science and medicine have come so far to help people get well, be relieved of pain, and to extend life. God can heal directly by His divine touch or He can also use doctors and medicine. But in the desire to get well we are to remember that all good gifts come from the Lord (James 1:17). And we are encouraged in the Word to seek the Lord for healing and to put our trust in Him and not solely in the doctors. (2 Chr 16:12) And in the thirty-ninth year of his reign, Asa became diseased in his feet, and his malady was severe; yet in his disease he did not seek the Lord, but the physicians.

Dear friend...I'm going to be bold here and say that of course prescription drugs are okay to use but make sure you don't become addicted! Christians are vulnerable like anybody else. Be under a doctor's care and use only what you need. Tell your doctor you want to be off any unnecessary drugs. This includes antidepressants and sleeping pills. Don't let something good turn into pharmakeia. Your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit and we are to have the mind of Christ. Be controlled by the Spirit and not by a substance. (Eph 5:18) And do not be drunk with wine, in which is dissipation; but be filled with the Spirit.

Let's be practical. We should pray for healing first. If the Lord doesn't heal us then maybe He wants us to go to the doctor and go that route. I heard some practical advice from a pastor once. He said that when he gets a headache he prays for the Lord to take it away. If He doesn't he then takes an aspirin. I like that!

So why don't you go through your medicine cabinet this week and pray over all your meds. What is needed and what is not? Perhaps it's time to call your doctor. And don't forget to call on the Great Physician too!


Wednesday, April 21, 2010




(Eccl 3:11) He has made everything beautiful in its time…

I don’t mind problems. As long as you can solve them! But what do you do when you can’t? If you’re like me at those times I’m tempted toward frustration and anxiety. When I see no end in sight it produces fright. And I can’t say good night because things are tight and I don’t feel right. (Forgive the “pastor’s rap” but that’s how it came out! Is that alright?) When things are up in the air I want resolution!

Well let’s keep on the musical track and use that word resolution. Resolution in western tonal music theory is the move of a note or chord from dissonance (an unstable sound) to a consonance (a more final or stable sounding one). You know that feeling when you listen to music where everything builds up? You expect after that point for things to settle down and resolve to a nice finish. It leaves you with a calm feeling after things were up there in the air and looking for a soft landing.

I don’t mind a little drama in life. But when it’s at my ongoing expense I feel like my dream has turned into a nightmare. I look for solutions but just find pollution (okay, I’ll settle down). Living life with strings unattached makes me feel like my life is coming unraveled. If my circumstances are not resolved then I feel like I am out of sync. Maybe it’ that control-freak in me, I don’t know. But one thing I do know is that it makes me turn to the Lord. If there’s no resolution then I go to Him and ask Him what’s up. Maybe I’m doing something wrong...or maybe not. It could be that it’s just a matter of time and I need to be (oh, what’s that hard word? Oh yeah…patient!).

Solomon said: To everything there is a season, A time for every purpose under heaven. (Eccl 3:1). He then went on to say: A time to be born, And a time to die; A time to plant, And a time to pluck what is planted; {3} A time to kill, And a time to heal; A time to break down, And a time to build up; {4} A time to weep, And a time to laugh; A time to mourn, And a time to dance; {5} A time to cast away stones, And a time to gather stones; A time to embrace, And a time to refrain from embracing; {6} A time to gain, And a time to lose; A time to keep, And a time to throw away; {7} A time to tear, And a time to sew; A time to keep silence, And a time to speak; {8} A time to love, And a time to hate; A time of war, And a time of peace. (Eccl 3:2-8)

If there is a time for everything in life, both good and bad, then I guess it has to all play out. I would like the good times to have no resolution but that isn’t realistic. That would be a vacuum-packed life with the perfect day becoming static and motionless. Would that be described as a happy hell? (figure that one out!!) But then I would like the bad times to resolve and roll over into the positive. And I know that will happen according to the promise of the Lord but I have to wait on Him and know He makes all things beautiful in its time.

So I guess I can do my best to problem-solve but when I can’t go any further I can just give it all to the Lord and go on with things not to my liking and be happy anyway. God is working out a plan and I can live with the tension of (unresolution?). (I just made up a word but don’t use it in Scrabble!) What a great place to be in life. Are you up to it?

If your solution is up, up and away in a not so beautiful balloon then you can expect the Lord to eventually make things end on a good note. Until then…enjoy the music!


Wednesday, April 14, 2010




(2 Sam 24:10) And David’s heart condemned him after he had numbered the people. So David said to the Lord, “I have sinned greatly in what I have done; but now, I pray, O Lord, take away the iniquity of Your servant, for I have done very foolishly.”

The U.S. Census counts every resident in the United States, and is required by the Constitution to take place every 10 years. "The actual enumeration shall be made within three years after the first meeting of the Congress of the United States, and within every subsequent term of 10 years, in such manner as they shall by Law direct." (Article I, Section 2) The Census helps communities receive money in federal funds each year for things like: Hospitals, job training centers, schools, senior centers, bridges, tunnels and other-public works projects, and emergency services. The data collected by the census also help determine the number of seats a state has in the U.S. House of Representatives.

But a census is nothing new. The book of Numbers takes its name from the two census’, the first one in chapter 1 at the beginning of their wanderings, and the second one in chapter 26 a generation later. (Numbers records over 2 ½ million people based upon these census figures). In order for the children of Israel to advance they must be organized and so the need for the census and the organizing of the tribes.

But one day David conducted an unauthorized census. He told his commander Joab to go throughout all the tribes of Israel, from Dan to Beersheba, and count the people, that he might know the number of the people.

Joab tried to talk him out of it but David persisted. When it was all over David's heart condemned him and he confessed his sin to the Lord. God spoke through the prophet Gad and gave David three choices of what the punishment would be. The Lord sent a plague among the people so David was led to sacrifice burnt offerings and peace offerings. The Lord heeded the prayers for the land, and the plague was withdrawn from Israel.

So what was David's sin? David's sin was pride and ambition in counting the people so that he could glory in the size of his nation and army. Instead of placing his faith in the Lord he was putting his faith in the size of his army. It was a lack of trust in God and reliance on self. The Bible says to boast in the Lord: (Psa 34:2) My soul shall make its boast in the Lord.... The Word warns us against putting our trust in anything but the Lord: (Psa 20:7) Some trust in chariots, and some in horses; But we will remember the name of the Lord our God.

It's easy to feel insecure and vulnerable in a world where a lot of things can go wrong. Maybe that's how David felt. He had all these nations around him and perhaps fear came upon him about being attacked. Or maybe the nation was growing in power and he wanted to see how many people there were as if they were money in the bank. That's what usually happens when we become prosperous. We become afraid of success being taken away from us or we put our ego in our prosperity and we like to know just how powerful we are.

People sure like to boast in numbers. How much money they have. How much their car cost. How many employees they have. But what if we had nothing? We would still have the Lord! (1 Sam 14:6) Then Jonathan said...nothing restrains the Lord from saving by many or by few.” Pastors can even be guilty of this as if church was all about bodies and bucks. I have learned to not count people in attendance because I can either boast or get bummed. People are more than just numbers...they are souls. And souls for whom Christ died. I like what someone told me one time...."Louie, we're in the book of Acts, not the book of Numbers!" How right he was and how right it is what Jesus said that all our hairs are numbered. Now that's something to boast about!


Wednesday, April 7, 2010




(Gen 12:3) I will bless those who bless you, And I will curse him who curses you...

Today (April 11, 2010) is Holocaust Remembrance Day. The internationally recognized date comes from the Hebrew calendar and corresponds to the 27th day of Nisan on that calendar. It marks the anniversary of the Warsaw ghetto uprising. In Hebrew, Holocaust Remembrance Day is called Yom Hashoah. Jews often refer to the Holocaust as Shoah (from the Hebrew word for “catastrophe” or “total destruction”). The word holocaust derives from the Greek holo (whole) and caustos (burned) and originally referred to a burnt offering, or a religious sacrifice that is totally consumed by fire.

The Holocaust was the almost complete destruction of Jews in Europe by Nazi Germany and its collaborators during World War II (1939-1945). The leadership of Germany’s Nazi Party ordered the extermination of roughly 6 million Jews. The Holocaust was the worst genocide in history. Those who carried it out methodically created the means to efficiently round up and kill millions of people. The Holocaust led to the establishment of international laws against human rights violations.

Jews were not the only victims of the Nazis during World War II. The Nazis also imprisoned and killed people who opposed their regime on grounds of ideology: Roma (Gypsies); Germans who were mentally impaired or physically disabled, homosexuals, political prisoners, criminals, nonwhites, and captured Soviet soldiers.

Some say the holocaust never existed! This is an extreme case of denial by those who are racist in nature and not wanting to face the facts so they may continue their campaign of intolerance and bigotry.

But anti-Semitism is nothing new. We remember Pharaoh's killing of the Hebrew boys (Exodus 1) and Haman's attempt at a murderous campaign against the Jews in the book of Esther. Herod tried to slay the Christ Child (Mat. 2:16). You can also trace this hatred of Gods people throughout secular history. Most notable are THE CRUSADES: The First Crusade resulted in nearly 10,000 Jews being slaughtered during the first six months alone. RUSSIAN POGROMS: In 1881-1884 pogroms swept southern Russia, propelling mass Jewish emigration. About 2 million Russian Jews emigrated in period 1880-1920. And of course the HOLOCAUST of WW II. But in reality if you do a study on anti-Semitism throughout history you find it scattered all the way through. And the worst holocaust is coming in the future Tribulation (Zech 13-14; Mat 24; Rev 12).

Why have people historically despised and persecuted the Jews? Satan has always had it in for God's people. He hates God and he hates His people. He knows if he can hurt God's people, He can get back at God. So all throughout history there have been attempts to wipe His people out. But the Lord has always preserved His people! From them came Christ our Lord! The Jews are God's people and He has made an everlasting covenant with them and has given them the land as an everlasting possession (Gen 17:8). And the nation that supports Israel will be blessed!

We must never be guilty of anti-Semitism. The Jews are God’s elect people, and were it not for Israel, we would have no Savior or Bible. We must love Israel and pray for its peace. Let us seek to win our Jewish friends to Christ and even thank them for the important contributions they have made to us as Christians. The nation of Israel may not always be right politically, but they are God’s people and He has a plan for their future. (Psa 122:6) Pray for the peace of Jerusalem: “May they prosper who love you..."


A synagogue burns in Siegen, Germany, on November, 10 1938. Kristallnacht, or The Night of Broken Glass, was a large-scale coordinated attack on Jews throughout the German Riech. Siegen now is the location of one of our Calvary Chapel Bible Colleges.


Saturday, April 3, 2010




(Mark 16:5-6) And entering the tomb, they saw a young man clothed in a long white robe sitting on the right side; and they were alarmed. {6} But he said to them, “Do not be alarmed. You seek Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified. He is risen! He is not here. See the place where they laid Him.

KARL MARX - German political theorist, 1818-1883. Where Buried: Highgate Cemetery, London, England.

SIGMUND FREUD - Austrian neurologist and founder of psychoanalysis, 1856-1939. Where Buried: Golder's Green Cemetery, London, England.

MOHAMMED - Founder of the religion of Islam, 570-632. Where Buried: Medina, Saudi Arabia in the house where he died.

CONFUCIUS - Chinese thinker and social philosopher, 551-479 B.C. Where buried: Ch'uFu, Shandong, China.

GAUTAMA BUDDHA - Spiritual teacher and philosopher, Founder of Buddhism, 563 BC–483 BC. Where buried: The Buddha's body was cremated in India and the relics were placed in various monuments (stupas).

PLATO - Classical Greek philosopher, 428-348 B.C. Where buried: According to Diogenes, Plato was buried at the school he founded in Athens, Greece.

MOHANDAS GANDHI - Political and spiritual leader of India during the Indian independence movement, 1869-1948. Where buried: Gandhi's ashes were poured into urns which were sent across India for memorial services...and one of which is in the Self-Realization Fellowship Lake Shrine in Los Angeles.

CHARLES DARWIN - British scientist, who laid the foundation of modern evolutionary theory with his concept of natural selection, 1809-1882. Where buried: Westminster Abbey, London, England.

CEASAR AUGUSTUS - First ruler of the Roman Empire, 63 B.C.-14 A.D. Where buried: His body was cremated on a pyre close to his mausoleum in Rome, Italy.

ALBERT EINSTEIN - Theoretical physicist, philosopher and author, 1879-1955. Where buried: His remains were cremated and his ashes were scattered around the grounds of the Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton, New Jersey.

ALEXANDER THE GREAT - King of Macedonia, conqueror of the Persian Empire, and one of the greatest military geniuses of all times, 356–323 BC. Where buried: His body was placed in a gold sarcophagus and brought to Alexandria, Egypt.

JESUS CHRIST - God. Second member of the Trinity. Savior of all humanity, separates B.C. from A.D. Where buried: Borrowed grave from a follower outside city walls in Jerusalem near the place of His crucifixion. Jesus rose from the dead and His grave is empty. Ascended to the Father. Soon coming King. Rules in the hearts of men. Will you ask Him to come into your heart today? (Rev 3:20) Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me.


Friday, April 2, 2010

Thursday, April 1, 2010



(Psalm 14:1) The fool has said in his heart, "There is no God." They are corrupt, They have done abominable works, There is none who does good.

Have you ever been tricked on April Fool’s Day? How legitimate people feel to play pranks on their friends and loved ones once a year. Some experiences are downright hilarious and of course others go way to far. But there is coming a day that will determine the true fool. It will be the Day of Judgment (Rev. 20:11-15) where the ultimate fool will come to terms with the God he has said didn’t exist. And there’s no turning back after that, no excuses accepted, or last minute changes made.

I believe there’s not an atheist alive who is completely honest intellectually. God always gives proof of His existence. There is the obvious order of the universe (Rom. 1:20) and the internal evidence of a moral code written on our conscience (Rom. 2:15). Then there is the Holy Spirit who has come into the world to convict men of sin (John 16:8-9). Does God exist? Three witnesses testify strongly: CREATION . . . CONSCIENCE . . . CONVICTION.

But still a person must choose for himself. God has given us a free-will to accept Him or reject Him. The Bible says to “CHOOSE LIFE THAT YOU MIGHT LIVE!” (Deut. 30:19)

I have a feeling that much of a person’s adherence to atheism, evolution, etc. is just an intellectual cover-up for a moral/spiritual problem. You see, if you attest to the fact of God’s existence, then you are morally/spiritually accountable to Him. So if you can explain God away, then you can go ahead and keep living a life of sin, it doesn’t matter. But it does matter because GOD IS and will hold each life accountable at the final Day of Reckoning.

To be tricked on April Fools’ Day is one thing. We can all take a little “humble pie” now and then. But to be fooled forever and to only have yourself to blame is another serious and grave matter. If you don’t know the Lord today, then today is your opportunity to receive His love. Then you won’t be fooled on the other side. Instead heaven’s gates will open wide as the Lord gladly says to you “Enter in...!” (Mat. 25:23)