Daily Devotional for Friday October 5, 2012
The Spiritual State of the United States on October 5th, 2012
(2 Chronicles 7:14; 2 Timothy 3:16;, John 3:16; John 14:6)
***ASK BILL: Pastor Bill, is it a sin to go under hypnosis?
ANSWER: There are MANY reasons a Christian should run from hypnosis. It is the Holy Spirit who gives us the power to control ourselves. Hypnosis involves a transfer of control away from ourselves. We are to yield ourselves to the power of the Holy Spirit, NOT to another human. Hypnosis involves an altered state of consciousness when we are told in the Bible to be self controlled. Lastly, the techniques used in hypnosis are shared by mystical, philosophical, and religious systems, including the occult. In short, stay away from it!
I am fully aware that as you read this today, your mind is in many different places. You are preparing for or may even be at work. Thanksgiving is less than 7 weeks away, and you have lots of activities going on in the coming days with family and friends. You have whatever pressing issues there are in your life at this moment which are weighing on you. Actually, when you think about it, just dealing with your life and those in your immediate family each day can be a huge challenge. While you try to stay informed, aware of what is going on in the world around you, most of the time it is all you can do to simply live your own life. I totally understand that, and that is why today I want to share with you some of my insights to help you understand what the real spiritual condition of the United States is at this very moment.
Because of the unique work God has called me to these past 13+ years now, I am literally involved in hundreds of people's lives every single day. I hear every day from over 40,000 people. While I can't deal with each person individually, I do get good reporting every day what those 40,000 people are going through. The reason I still to this day personally handle anywhere from 150-200 emails at random is so that I never lose sight of what Liveprayer is about, helping people in their time of need, and keep very focused on what is really going on in this world so I can effectively minister to your life each day
I am dealing on a daily basis with people from 14 to 94, men and women, people who have incredible wealth and those who have nothing at all, those from every walk of life, blacks, whites, Asians, Hispanics, American-Indian, and folks from every ethnic background you can name. Over 20% of the people we reach each day at Liveprayer.com are outside the United States, so each day I am also dealing with people living in different countries who face the same problems those here in the US do, but with different cultural issues that have to be factored in.
It is in dealing with this vast and wide array of different people in every kind of situation you can imagine, and trust me, many you could never imagine, each day for over 13 years now that I share these insights with you. Since I deal with many of these issues on a regular basis, I don't think the issues themselves will shock you, however, I really doubt most people totally understand the degree of spiritual decay that we are seeing month after month in the United States. I also doubt most people really understand how void of God and Biblical Truth this nation really is. That void grows daily as does the hostility to those who do believe in God, Biblical Truth, and have faith in Jesus Christ.
Let me tell you what you may find most alarming. I laugh every time I hear Barna or any type of poll or study that says 80% of people in the United States believe in God, or go to church, or identify themselves as Christians. As you know, you can make a poll or study say about anything you want it to say. Here is the raw truth. Most everyone agrees there is a God or some sort of Supreme Being. When you weed out the non-existent false gods like allah, the man/god of Mormonism, and the rest of the false gods, and only talk about the God of the Bible, you are now at just under 50% of the population who believes in the one true God of the Bible!
When you talk about those who go to church and break it down to those who regularly attend a Bible-teaching, Bible-believing church where faith in Jesus Christ alone is the only way to be saved, now you are dealing with less than 20% of the population. When you weed out those who go to Mosques, Temples, or are part of cults like the Jehovah's Witnesses, Scientologists, and Mormons, you are left with less than 20% of the population who regularly go to a Bible teaching, believing church.
However, the most alarming issue that I have found in 2 decades of ministry are those who identify themselves as "Christians." Let me say up front that being a Christian means you have made the conscious decision to ask God to forgive you of your sins and by faith ask Jesus Christ (the Jesus Christ of the Bible who is God!) into your heart and life. You have made the conscious choice to give your life to Christ. THAT is what makes you a Christian. The fact your mom and dad are a Christian doesn't make you one. You don't become a Christian by birth! Going to church doesn't make you a Christian. The pews of churches across the nation are FULL of people every Sunday who are not saved, but think they are because they sit in that pew every Sunday. Just because you were "baptized" as a baby doesn't make you a Christian. Sprinkling water on a baby's head doesn't save them!
THE ONLY WAY YOU BECOME A CHRISTIAN IS BY MAKING THE DECISION TO ACCEPT JESUS CHRIST, THE JESUS CHRIST OF THE BIBLE WHO IS GOD, INTO YOUR HEART AND LIFE BY FAITH!!!
Having said that, let me take this whole "I'm a Christian" conversation to the next level, since this is what I deal with every day here at Liveprayer.com. I get people who identify themselves as "Christians" every day telling me that there is nothing wrong with homosexuality, nothing wrong with abortion, that people of other faiths will be in Heaven! If you are a Christian, that means you are a follower of Jesus Christ and have surrendered your heart and life to Him. It is no longer your life. It also means that you BELIEVE THE BIBLE! The Bible is God's inspired, inerrant Word, representing Absolute Truth and our final authority in all matters. It is the Book GOD WROTE! It is inconsistent to say, "I am a Christian but I do not believe what the Bible says."
The reason people who call themselves Christians deny the Bible is the same reason any lost person denies the Bible. It condemns their choices and holds them accountable for their actions. People hate being held accountable, and that is what the Bible does. So it is easier to just dismiss the Bible with the thousands of different reasons people come up with to try and make the case it is not really God's Word. Well, I am sorry, you can't be a Christian and deny the Bible! Jesus said you can't serve two masters. You need to decide if you belong to Christ or not. If you do, you need to follow His Word, not live in rebellion to it. That doesn't mean we don't sin or are perfect. It does mean we do our best to obey the Lord since Jesus said, "if you love me you will obey me!"
Let me give you a quick summary of some of my other observations. The drive by those in the homosexual community to make their deviant choice of sex socially acceptable has worked. The VAST majority of people in this nation do not see anything wrong with this choice of sex. Most alarming is the great job the pro-homosexual community has done in brainwashing kids that this is a perfectly acceptable way to live. Well over 80% of the young adults and school-age children in this nation see nothing wrong with homosexuality. THIS INCLUDES KIDS WHO ARE IN CHURCH AND REGULARLY ATTEND YOUTH GROUPS! As I told you years ago, it will be very soon labeled "hate speech" in this nation to speak out against homosexuality, even from the Bible. That is already the case in Canada and many European countries, and even in certain cases now in the US. Still don't believe how ingrained this perversion has become? WE NOW EVEN DEBATE WHAT MARRIAGE IS!!!
Killing babies via abortion is considered by the vast majority of people to be a choice left up to a woman. We will continue to legally slaughter over 4,000 babies a day in this nation until God finally decides to bring down His wrath on us. I still firmly believe it will be this one issue which will ultimately bring God's final judgment on the United States. The majority of the people in this nation see nothing wrong with abortion and not only accept it, but will fight for it to continue.
Sex outside of God's intended plan for it to enjoyed by a man and woman in the bonds of marriage is so ingrained in our culture now, people who decide to follow God's plan represent a SMALL FRACTION of society, EVEN IN THE CHURCH! Sex outside of marriage, adultery, and every kind of perverted form of sex is totally out of control in our nation. Living together is "normal." Sadly, sexual sin is just as big of a problem with people in the church since the church really has little impact on our culture any longer or even in the lives of those who attend. Most churches have turned into little more than entertainment venues, and have quit preaching holiness and righteousness and judgment so they won't "offend" anyone. Now it is all smiles, enjoy the show, drop in your dollar, and see you next week. Meanwhile, lives are being destroyed daily by those who commit sexual sins.
Speaking of the church, the biggest needs in the church are having an altar call at the end of every service, getting back to preaching the unadulterated Truth of God's Word with boldness, and to provide the people free counseling. Many churches NEVER have an invitation for people to accept the Lord. NEVER! There are churches today that are so far away from the Bible, they don't even believe it is God's Word and condone blatant since like homosexuality and abortion. People who are coming to faith in Christ in 2012 have many more problems, issues, and baggage in their lives than people who came to Christ even 20 years ago. Churches need to help their people with professional counseling to get beyond their past lives so they can be free to live in victory and grow in their faith to lead productive Christian lives.
Drug use (street drugs and abusing prescription medication) and alcohol consumption are both at all time highs. As people deal with the problems in their lives, tens of millions daily look to these forms of "escape." Gambling and porn continue to grow and are destroying millions of lives each year. Other addictions like the abuse of food and shopping are on a steep rise. Again, these are simply ways people have found to try and escape from life's problems rather than dealing with them. Of course in the end, not only do they still have their original problems, they now have even greater problems due to their bondage to these different forms of escape.
So in the face of all of this, where is the hope? JESUS CHRIST! I liken this time in our nation's history to many of the times we read about in the Old Testament when the children of Israel began to slowly turn away from God and to this world. Over time, they drifted further and further from God until they were ultimately living in all out rebellion to Him and to His Truth. It was during this time of great apostasy that God would eventually bring down His wrath on Israel. I clearly see that same scenario unfolding here in the United States.
We are living in the last days, Jesus is coming very soon and the last chapters of human history are about to unfold. I believe prior to that happening, this nation will be judged rather harshly for our rebellion to God. What form that judgment takes I can't tell you, but I do know God will not be mocked. However, what I also see is an unparalleled time in human history to bring people to faith in Jesus Christ. It was during God's judgment on Israel that many turned back to the faith of their fathers, and I see that happening here in the United States.
I see the difficult days ahead being a catalyst to help many come back to the God of the Bible, His Truth, and faith in Jesus Christ. The bad news is this nation is living in open rebellion to God our Creator and His Truth. The good news is that it is in this time of rebellion, as lives are being destroyed, as God takes His hand of blessings off our land, there is a great opportunity to bring people the one true hope there is, faith in Jesus Christ! God has raised up Liveprayer at this moment in human history to be part of bringing in that last great harvest of souls. God has raised YOU up at this time for that same reason!
I love you and care about you so much! It pains me to bring you a word like the one today, but I have to be honest with you. I can't tell you everything is great when it isn't. I deal every day with the real lives of people who have turned away from God or never knew him at all, and the problems and consequences they live with due to their rebellion. I can tell you this from being on the front lines 7 days a week. Yes, there is GREAT hostility to those who preach the Word of God since those who choose to live in rebellion to the Bible don't want to be confronted with their sin. However, there are many hurting and broken lives out there, more each day, who simply want answers, who simply are looking for hope. That is why I have given my life to the preaching of the Gospel!
That is also why I challenge you to help me by supporting the work here at Liveprayer. WE HAVE THE TOOLS TO REACH THE LOST AND HURTING MASSES AND I HAVE LITERALLY GIVEN MY LIFE TO GO ON THE FRONT LINES DAY AFTER DAY TO BOLDLY PROCLAIM THE TRUTH OF GOD'S WORD, CALLING PEOPLE AND THIS NATION TO REPENTANCE, AND WITHOUT COMPROMISE TELL PEOPLE THEIR ONLY HOPE IS A PERSONAL RELATIONSHIP WITH JESUS CHRIST!
Sadly, I see the spiritual state of this nation every day and the damaged and destroyed lives of so many. God has called me to reach this nation and to bring His Truth and hope to the lost and hurting. I am doing everything I can to do that, but need you to help me. When our lives are over, the only thing that will matter is our relationship with Jesus and the only lasting legacy we leave behind are those lives we touched for the Lord along our journey. All throughout human history, there have been those heroes of the faith who sold out and laid it all on the line for the Gospel. I am taking my stand for Jesus and am asking you today to stand with me as together, we lead our nation back to God's Truth and the lost and hurting to a personal relationship with Jesus Christ!
***My friend, we are in a WAR for the soul of this nation and its people. I will keep putting my life out there, declaring God's Truth and the hope we have in Christ, but I need friends like you to keep me out there on the front lines. I need your prayers and I need those who God has blessed to step up and help me financially.
Every day I get emails like the ones below. This is why I have given my life to serve the Lord and why I ask you to help me!
"Dear Bill, Thank you for your prayer last week that helped me accept Jesus as my Savior. I had lost faith because I've been through some hardships that took everything from me. Your emails are exactly what I needed to hear. I hadn't been able to pray for months because I have felt so alone and maybe like I've done something I'm being punished for. I will be reading your Devotional every day from now on. Thank you again!! "
"Bill, I kept saying to myself that we should contribute more to help solve your dilemma, but everyday I would hope and rationalize that someone else with much larger resources would step to the plate and for us to help out was too much of a stretch. I kept telling myself we should help more and not wait for others, but there was this uneasiness. But then came the answer to what to do. Your last few Devotionals have hit me right between the eyes. I apologize for not stepping up sooner."
I am humbled by so many dear friends of this ministry who stepped up and made the sacrifce to help me last week. During that time, we finally covered the balance of our August shortfall, and $10,000 of the $40,000 of our September operating budget. Thank you for your prayers and for those who were led and able to help me. If everyone follows the Biblical mandate to "give according to your ability to give," I am standing in faith that by the end of this weekend we can cover the final $30,000 of September's operations and begin working on the $40,000 we need for October!!! $20,000 of that September shortfall is past due, so I am praying for 3-4 people who are able to help me with a special one-time gift today to meet that critical need
Also, with just 87 days until the end of the year, we need to bring in $150,000 to cover our September shortfall ($30,000) and operating budget ($40,000) for October, November, and December. That is just 150 people sending a special one-time year-end gift of $1,000. Please pray about being one of those 150!
TO GIVE A GIFT TO LIVEPRAYER, you can use your major credit card on our secure server at: www.liveprayer.com under the "Donation" link, you can give using your PayPal account using my email address: email@example.com,or you can mail your gift to: Liveprayer, 6660 46th Ave. North, St.Petersburg, FL 33709. All gifts to Liveprayer are 100% tax deductible.
Thank you for your love, prayers, and sacrifce. We press on towards the prize, and to turn this nation back to God and His Truth!!!
In His love and service, Your friend and brother in Christ,