I was fortunately to spend a week recently at Long Boat key Florida with my wife. On the beach were carefully marked of sea turtle nests. Every morning teams of people roam the beach looking for new turtle nests that they can protect and inventory. All beach side residents are told to keep their lights out at night so as not to confuse the turtles. Great care and effort are taken to protect the unborn turtles. If a person violates a turtle nest or destroys a turtle egg the repercussions are very severe.
It is a criminal offense in Florida to disturb a sea turtle, her nest and her hatchlings which is punishable by up to 60 days in prison, a $100-$500 fine, or both. That is just for the first offense. If someone is convicted a second time within one-year of the first offense, they can face up to six months in prison, a $250-$1000 fine, or both. The penalties and fees continue going up from there with each additional offense. Federal penalties include jail time and fines up to $15,000 for each offense.
However in America there is no penalty for a doctor to kill an unborn human in the womb! Hard to understand why the life of an unborn turtle is considered so much more valuable than the life of unborn child. That is insanity!
We are excited and honored to recognize our 2016 international graduates. All of these students have worked hard and “studied to show themselves approved” as ministers of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. ICM was privileged to give full scholarships to all of these students.
Congratulations to the following students –
ICM Peru – Campus Director – Pastor Mario and Sara Coello, Lima Peru.
Bachelor of Arts in Ministry
Ruben Elder Hernandez Rodriguez
Tanya Ingrid Castillo Sanchez
Luis Alonso Cayetano Ramos
Hentry W. De LAa Cruz Vigo
ICM Africa – Campus Director Apostle John Smith – Joy Bible College, Chocolate
City, Monrovia Liberia.
Certificates of Completion – Diploma of Ministry
Bendu O.Kamara Smith
Gracious Grace Sackie
Christian Johnson, F
Martha Faith Nyemah
On June 26, 2015, in a 5-4 ruling by Justice Kennedy, the US Supreme Court ruled that the US constitution requires states to provide for same-sex marriage.
The topic of same-sex marriage is extremely polarizing with those holding to a biblical world view on one side and a secular world view on the other.
Of the commentary I’ve seen published from the biblical viewpoint, what I find the most disturbing is the dialog is focused on the acts of the individual because it misses the bigger picture.
It is true that the book of Romans addresses same-sex marriage and those subscribing to a biblical world view are quick to quote Romans 1:26-27 which says,
For this reason God gave them over to degrading passions; for their women exchanged the natural function for that which is unnatural, and in the same way also the men abandoned the natural function of the woman and burned in their desire toward one another, men with men committing indecent acts and receiving in their own persons the due penalty of their error.
Alone, this verse is out of context with the bigger picture. It’s the bigger message that so many are apparently missing. Let me explain.
Note the plural pronouns in the above verses:
- God gave them(PLURAL) over to degrading passions;
- for their (PLURAL) women exchanged
- also the men (PLURAL) abandoned
- burned in their(PLURAL) desire
- men (PLURAL) with men (PLURAL)
In fact, the only reference to the individual is “receiving in their own persons the due penalty of their error” meaning that each individual is accountable for their own choices, good or bad. I am not accountable for your bad choices and you are not accountable for mine.
So what is going on with all the plurality? Who are these verses speaking to?
The answer is the nation. God is speaking to a people also known as a nation. Throughout God’s Word, we see verses addressing the individual and other verses addressing a nation. In these verses, it is the nation God is addressing.
Now, let’s look at Roman 1:18-20 where we can see part of the bigger picture.
For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, because that which is known about God is evident within them; for God made it evident to them. For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse.
In these verses, God tells us that His divine nature is self evident in creation. In other words, the proof of His divinity is so plain to see, literally staring you in the face, so-much-so that you have no excuse for not seeing it. All are without excuse.
The next ten verses, Romans 1:21-31, God’s word says that in spite of God’s self-evident nature, seen in creation, they (PLURAL) choose to indulge in their sinful passions anyway.
In the middle of listing all the sinful acts they (PLURAL) are engaged in, God says something very interesting. He says He will give them (PLURAL) over to their sin – but He doesn’t just say this once. God says this three times!
- Rom 1:24 Therefore God gave them over in the lusts of their hearts to impurity,
- Rom 1:26 For this reason God gave them over to degrading passions;
- Rom 1:28 And just as they did not see fit to acknowledge God any longer, God gave them over to a depraved mind, (emphasis added)
What does that mean – God gave them over? It means He’s leaving them to their sinful choice. He’s walking away, leaving them alone – He’s abandoning them.
This is a judgment – a penalty for willingly disregarding God’s word and choosing to act in rebellion. This is a judgment of abandonment.
Now remember all those verses with the plural pronouns? That is who this judgment applies to – not the individual, but the nation, a people.
At this point, you may be asking how an individual’s choice can bring a judgment on a nation? Clearly, verse 27 holds the individual responsible for their choices.
The answer is, it’s not the individual’s choice that qualifies a nation for the judgment of abandonment; it’s the nation’s condoning of sin – they’re giving their hearty approval of it. Look carefully at Romans 1:32:
and although they know the ordinance of God, that those who practice such things are worthy of death, they not only do the same, but also give hearty approval to those who practice them.
Once again, we see the plural pronouns speaking to the nation. This verse says that despite the fact that God’s divine nature is self-evident in creation, and despite the fact that they (a nation) know and understand that those who practice such things are worthy of death, they (a nation) not only do it anyway, but they (a nation) give their hearty approval to those who practice them!
They (a nation) give their hearty approval to those who practice these sinful acts.
On June 26th, 2015 the United States of America, a nation, gave their hearty approval to same-sex marriage and celebrated their approval by flooding the White House in the colors of the Rainbow flag – the symbol of the gay and lesbian movement.
So, what does this mean for America? It means that as a result of the Supreme Court’s ruling to uphold same-sex marriage, and subsequent celebration of that decision as seen in the White House photograph, America is now qualified for the abandonment judgment.
In my lifetime, America has always been a blessed nation. I believe this blessing manifests through abundance, provision, and favor. I believe America is realizing a birthright blessing that God promised many years ago, but that is a topic for a different post.
Now that America has undeniably qualified herself for the abandonment judgment, I think America is on a path that will gradually see less and less abundance, provision, and favor as God gives America over to her degrading passions.
While some celebrate the high court’s ruling, I am saddened by the path America’s leaders have chosen for this nation.
In ministry and Christian counseling, one of the biggest obstacles are the lies of the spirit of illegitimacy. This spirit refuses to accept, that through Christ, you are a new creation – born again of incorruptible seed and worthy of the blessings of the Father. Instead, the spirit of illegitimacy claims you’re a forgery, a counterfeit, an illegitimate son or daughter and therefore not qualified to receive an inheritance as a son or daughter of God.
This is the big lie that keeps so many brothers and sisters in Christ from discovering their true identity. This is the big lie that holds so many brothers and sisters in Christ from walking into their rightful inheritance as redeemed children through the blood of Christ.
The truth is… you are legitimate. You are genuine. You are more than qualified. You are highly favored. You are of the royal priesthood. You sit with Christ at the right hand of God.
That is the message in this video that one of my sisters shared with me today. Please give it a watch and receive its message into your heart.
Here I am again, Lord, and before me is the enemy’s scheme. I am not ignorant of the devil’s schemes as You warn – I see it, but against it I am weak.
It is almost as if the enemy can see into my mind and build a desire that is perfectly fit to me and no one else. It reminds me of a song I once heard, “could it be that somebody else is looking into my mind?”
Oh Lord, the scheme is not compelling. No, it’s much more subtle than that. It’s more like a hunger that must be fed or an itch that must be scratched.
My mind is divided into two wills – one that desires to follow You and be true to your call and another that burns with a desire that won’t be denied. It tears me in two. I struggle between them and I must admit, if only to You, there is a part of me that desires the darkness, the evil, and the indulgence.
The call of darkness is strong…much stronger than I, and I fear I cannot stand against it for long. The desire to yield to its temptation feels like the attraction, and comfort, and company, of an old friend. It reminds me that I once welcomed it – that we were once friends. It is warm and fuzzy in an odd way as it dangles its promise before me. My heart quickens at the promise as the arms of my mind reach for its embrace. Yet, I know, behind the curtain of attraction lie razor teeth hungry to shred and devour me, and I know, left to my own, I cannot resist – I cannot stand against it.
Hear me Oh Lord as I call upon your name. Deliver me from the evil within me. Give me strength where none exists. I cannot stand against my fallen nature alone.
Lord, I need you.
Jesus is our ultimate example of dying to self. He only said and did what the Father told Him. He didn’t eat for 40 days. He didn’t fall to Satan’s offers of power, prestige and fleshly satisfaction. He didn’t follow the ways of the world, instead He talked to, touched and spent time with those looked down upon, outcast, considered unclean and caught in sin. He left His wealth and power and judgment at home in heaven. He loved those who were unlovely and unloved. He didn’t set His own agenda and wasn’t ruled by a “to do list;” instead He flowed with grace and ease in the agenda of His Father. He was full of God’s Self. He was poured out and God the Father was poured in and overflowing, touching lives for all eternity.
Who would you rather be filled with? Your self or God’s Self? It’s your choice. Where you pour out, God will pour in and He will show you how to do it if you don’t know how. Ask Him today to fill you with His Self.
-Dr. Christie Self
Forever . . . God is faithful. Forever . . . His word reigns. – Dr. Christie Self
There is a blindness that is physical that can make us feel cut off from the world, left out, alone, limited. And then there is a spiritual blindness. A blindness we may not even realize we have that keeps us apart from God. It is led by deception and lies. It tells us we are independent, self-sufficient, we can go our own way and do our own thing without consequences. But it is a lie. God’s way is not the way of the world and it never will be. God is God and He is not mocked. His way is His way, His thoughts are His thoughts. If we seek Him, He will show us His ways and His thoughts. He will “lead,” “guide,” “make darkness into light,” “and rugged places into plains.” Are there dark places in your life, rugged places? His part is clear. As you seek Him and walk in relationship with Him, He will lead you. You don’t have to know the way. You just have to seek to know the One who does. The One who loves you with a depth of love so deep it’s hard to even begin to comprehend. Read the last part of the scripture again . . .
“These are the things I will do, And I will not leave them undone.” Are you ready to let go and let Him lead? You will not be disappointed. He can see what you cannot; He knows your needs and He will lead you true. – Dr.
Where do we go for the words we long to hear? Words of truth and love; words that draw us to taste and see that they are sweeter than honey? There are many words and voices around us and even in us, but they are not always true and they are not always spoken in love. What voice do we listen to, trust and believe above all others? There is only one voice that will always speak the truth and will always speak out of an unending love for us. It is God’s voice; the voice of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. His word, the Bible is a garden full of His wisdom and truths and His nectar is free for all to come and partake. So drink of His truths and His love today. You are precious. You are His. He created you and He longs for you to choose to walk in His presence, in the garden of His love each and every day.
Dr. Christie Self