Episode 47: Living Dead

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– Begin Transcript –

There has long been a fascination with the idea of zombies, or the living dead. And you may wonder, “Where on earth is he going with this? What’s it got to do with Christianity?” But stay with me here. There is indeed a point to this topic, and the relevance will become clear shortly, I promise. The premise I’m about to lay out is complete conjecture on my part, so don’t go claiming that I said it was biblical fact. This will all make sense in a bit. Let’s start at the beginning…

In Genesis chapter one, we read of how God created everything. Genesis two gives a bit more detail of the Garden of Eden and the creation of man and woman. Verse 9 says:

And out of the ground the Lord God made to spring up every tree that is pleasant to the sight and good for food. The tree of life was in the midst of the garden, and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.

Keep in mind, there are two specific trees mentioned here. It states that in the midst of the garden were the tree of life and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. We all know the story, of course. God told Adam and Eve they could eat fruit from of any of the trees in the garden EXCEPT that of the tree of knowledge. But they let the serpent deceive them into eating from it anyway, thus they disobeyed God and sin enter the world. Sin wrecked everything, and so God kicked them out of the garden, cutting off their access to all the blessings it had to offer. Genesis 3:22-24 says:

Then the Lord God said, “Behold, the man has become like one of us in knowing good and evil. Now, lest he reach out his hand and take also of the tree of life and eat, and live forever—” therefore the Lord God sent him out from the garden of Eden to work the ground from which he was taken. He drove out the man, and at the east of the garden of Eden he placed the cherubim and a flaming sword that turned every way to guard the way to the tree of life.

Have you ever pondered this: Why was God so adamant that Adam and Eve be cut off from the Tree of Life? The Bible tells us that “Flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God.” Our fleshly bodies are corruptible and perishable. So, is it possible then – and this is my own whacky theory – what if our physical existence – though corrupted by sin – had access to immortality? Might it still age and grow feeble due to the curse of sin, and yet, never die? Eventually, that existence would be horrific.

Imagine your natural body getting old, diseased, or irreparably damaged in an accident – but without the ability to die. At some point, dying would be preferable, but you can’t. Your body would decay and become an awful thing to behold, but continue to live in that horrifying existence. Though still alive, you would be as the living dead. Not a very pleasant thought, huh?

This was not God’s plan for you. It wasn’t His plan for mankind, and humans – corrupted by sin – were prevented from gaining access to the Tree of Life. His plan for us to live eternally would come to fruition through the Resurrection of Christ. In order to regain access to immortality, we must be redeemed through the blood of Jesus. God’s Word tells us plainly in Hebrews 9:22 that:

…without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sins.

According to 1st Corinthians 15:54, the perishable must put on imperishable, and mortality must put on immortality. And this is only accomplished through Christ. In this way, we can live forever as God intended, with perfect and glorified bodies that will not only never die but never grow old or decay or get sick or suffer in any way. I gotta tell ya – I, for one, am looking forward to having no more aches and pains.

There is another way, however, that we become like the living dead. It’s not enough to know the truth of the Resurrection, but it should also change how we behave. That knowledge should compel us share it with other people! If we’re not doing this, not fulfilling the Great Commission as we’re instructed, then we’re not bearing fruit. If we aren’t producing any fruit and growing the kingdom of God, then we are as good as dead. If we are simply going through the motions and not actually living out our faith, we are like zombies – like the living dead – wandering aimlessly and without direction.

But we have been given direction! God has provided clear instructions for how we should live, and He gave us the example of the life of Christ. We should model our lives after His, loving our fellow man as He did – sacrificially and unconditionally. That’s not easy for us because our flesh has been corrupted by sin, but we are not merely beings of flesh – but also of spirit.

God breathed life into us, His own Spirit, so our spirits were once a part of Him. Our spirits long to be reunited with Him, and if we allow the spirit to overcome the flesh, we will become more like Jesus. Living a loving life like Christ is our calling, and in doing so, we will one day be rejoined with God the Father in Heaven. And THAT, my friends, is an amazing thought!

So, which is more preferable? To become as the living dead? Or to live by the example of Jesus and claim His Resurrection power, becoming alive in Christ? And we need to share this with everyone – that the choice is theirs to make. Forever damned, or forever glorified. An eternity of misery, or everlasting joy. Damnation, or salvation. And yes, now is a great time to choose. It’s the best time. And not choosing is actually not an option – that’s a default choice in itself to reject Jesus.

Sin is the curse that will corrupt your life if you let it. Sin wrecked all of mankind, so God made a way – through Jesus – to make all things new and to redeem us. But again, we’re all born into corrupted flesh – into sin itself. So our default destination is hell – an eternity of damnation, separated from God. He doesn’t send people to hell, but they choose it by rejecting His Son. We must intentionally CHOOSE to accept the free gift of salvation through Jesus Christ, believing on Him, and professing Him as Lord of our lives. Then, we’re saved.

How about you, my Christian friends? Are you bearing fruit? Are you witnessing? How often do you talk to nonbelievers about Jesus? Do you share the joys of what He has done for you? Are you telling others about the Good News of Christ? Let me encourage you – don’t be like the living dead. But instead, live daily in the resurrected life of Jesus! And let your light so shine among all those around you.

– End Transcript –

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Episode 46: Tools of the Trade

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Start Transcript

Welcome, everyone. Ladies and gentlemen, I believe whole-heartedly that there is an ongoing effort to silence, stamp out, and otherwise control the notion of a free-thinking society. I further believe that this effort is tied directly to the desire to squelch and squash Christianity. If citizens of a nation subscribe to the idea that God is their source of life and liberty, then the government lacks the level of power and control that the corrupt among them crave. There are many arms of this which we can observe today, and many tools of the trade (so-to-speak) which are used to turn our dependence away from God and onto government. I’m Stace Massengill, and this is the Kingdom Hero Show.

Show Intro

One consistent strategy of the establishment has been to demonize free thinking people as being haters. They call us racist, xenophobic, homophobic, transphobic, etc. So called “Asian hate” is the latest misnomer for the recognition that CoViD-19 is a virus that originated in China, as well as viewing the Chinese government as the oppressors they are. The truth is, it’s not the Chinese people so many have issue with, but rather it’s the tyrannical Chinese government. That reality gets twisted, however, by the media. But here’s a fact they don’t want to face: Weaving your narrative by twisting truth into lies is a sign of weakness. It shows that you have no valid argument upon which to stand.

Cancel culture and name-calling have always been tools of the establishment to shame and silence their free-thinking opponents. These are the tools of liars who know they can’t prove themselves right. Instead, they attack the opposition.

This is the same thing the Pharisees did when attacking Jesus… They got people to slander Him. They made false accusations, called Him a heretic, and worse. But the truth is that they feared Jesus. They were afraid of His influence on the people. The more the people trusted and believed in the words of Jesus, the less power and influence the Pharisees themselves could maintain over them. He was a threat to them, just as Christianity is a threat to those who wish to control our lives today. And that’s why there is such an attack on our faith – it threatens the power of the establishment.

Another tool of the establishment, when trying to deceive the populous, is misdirection. They’ll make you think they’re doing one thing you don’t like, getting all your attention focused on that, when something much worse is their actual intent. What do I mean? Have you noticed that even some of the leftist media propaganda complex is starting to challenge Biden now? These same people who were falling all over themselves covering for his lack of mental presence are now calling him on the carpet for his border policy and other things. Why? They’re following the script.

Getting a lame duck in the White House was their game plan from the start, so they could easily ditch him afterwards for a much more radical president…a.k.a. Kamala Harris. As much as we know Biden didn’t really beat Trump, there’s no way she could’ve. Allow me to elaborate…

As it was, their election fraud almost didn’t work out. The Dominion voting machines, which were set up to change a certain percentage of Trump votes to Biden, wasn’t enough to overcome the literal landslide of votes for Trump. So they had to take extreme measures to ensure Biden’s vote count was high enough to win.

Let me interject here, everything that I’m about to say has been documented. Contrary to what the establishment wants us to believe, the evidence is there, and lots of it. There are hundreds of signed affidavits attesting these things to be true, and I’ve seen the videos myself of this stuff happening. I saw the testimony of one of the truck drivers involved with transporting huge pallets full of signed ballots to other states. This is what people are being silenced and kicked off of Twitter and Facebook for saying, and it’s all absolutely true.

Specifically, poll workers ran batches of Biden ballots through the machines over and over again after the poll watchers were sent home for the night. That’s why we saw such massive spikes in Biden votes in the early hours of the next morning. That, plus the truckloads of Biden ballots that were transported from one city to another overnight. This was also why there were more votes than registered voters in those cities.

Now remember, this was all necessary to put Biden in the White House. Imagine the difficulty they would have had putting Kamala directly in the Oval Office. They didn’t even manage to get her the DNC nomination, but she’s who they wanted to use to bring about their radical agenda. So, they attached her as Biden’s VP pick – and we all knew He didn’t pick her himself. Make no mistake, a very radical agenda is what the establishment has in mind. Biden was the pawn they used to get their real choice in position to implement radical changes.

This tool of misdirection or deception is certainly not new either. It has been the method of choice for satan’s evil forces for as long as he’s been scheming against God and God’s people.

Still another tool being utilized is the rewriting or reinterpreting of our nation’s history and laws. This is literally taking truth and twisting it into outright lies. And yes, satan has been mastering that little trick since the Garden of Eden. Today, we see it evidenced by the idea that government is boss and we mere peons are to simply do as we’re told without question. That ruffles the feathers of the traditional red-blooded American, and with good reason – it goes completely against what the framers of our Constitution stated.

What is supposed to be a government of the people, by the people, and for the people has instead become a bunch power-hungry establishment elites trying to rule over us rather than represent us. These folks see themselves as more intelligent than us and more qualified to tell us how we should live our lives. Rather than help, they interfere. Rather than uphold the Constitution, they continually attempt to subvert it. And rather than serve us as they ought, they try more and more to force us into submission.

If ever there was a blatant example of government overreach, we saw it in the past year. They overhyped the CoViD-19 scare in order to instill fear and use it to infringe on our freedoms. To this day, despite the theatrical claims of the virus being a deadly threat, the numbers continue to show that those who test positive still have a 99.9% survival rate. Have people died? Yes. Is it a threat? Mainly to those in certain high risk categories – like the elderly. But the same could be said for several much more deadly viruses and diseases where the death rate is much higher, and yet never in our history has a virus with such a high SURVIVAL RATE been considered as deadly as we’re told covid is. And this deception was used to excuse the overstepping governmental shutdowns and restrictions we have witnessed in the last year plus.

Worse still, many of the deaths attributed to CoViD-19 were not actually caused by it. Hospitals and other medical facilities were incentivized to put down covid as the cause of death because of governmental funding. In other words, they were paid to lie. I don’t say this flippantly, either. I didn’t just hear that or just happen to read it somewhere – I knew of several cases of it happening locally. And then, it happened in my own family. After my father’s long struggle with dementia and failing health, he passed away late last year. To my mother’s dismay, she soon discovered the cause of death on his death certificate was listed as CoViD-19. We all know that is a blatant lie. But it did not surprise me because it had already happened to so many others.

Now, our government is maintaining the lie. They scare people into wearing masks and social distancing, then they use that same fear to get us to take vaccines. The motivation for many to get vaccinated is to get back to some since of normalcy. We were led to believe that getting vaccinations would be the key to ending all the restrictions. Those restrictions, by the way, were initially supposed to be temporary – just a couple of weeks to flatten the curve, remember? More than a year later, the restrictions remain. And worse yet, now we’re told that even after getting the vaccine we’ll still have to wear masks and socially distance and all that. Well then, what exactly is the point of the vaccine?!

Again, make no mistake, there’s a method to their madness. Mainly, it’s to further establish the mentality that government is in control, and they rule over us. This further embeds the false notion that they know what’s best for us. And that deepens the people’s sense of dependence upon government. And if you’re dependent upon them, they really do own you. You are their slaves.

If you haven’t noticed the attempts to take away more and more of our freedoms, then you really haven’t been paying attention. From religious liberties to parental rights to crucial rights recognized by the Constitution like freedom of speech and the right to bear arms, one liberty after another is being threatened. Why? Because the less opportunity you have to live freely, the more you must rely on the government.

Lost your job due to the overstepping restrictions enacted due to the overhyped covid scare? Yeah, the government has programs for that. Just put your trust in the government. We’ve got you. They created the crisis, but they want you to believe they have all the answers. And just like that, yep, they’ve got you alright. Hooked. Stuck. Dependent. Enslaved.

But listen closely. That’s exactly what happened to me. I lost my job because – despite the best efforts of my employers – the government’s overreaching imposition of restrictions due to the overhyped covid scare forced my company out of business. And for months and months since, with those job-killing restrictions still in place, all I’ve had to rely on was unemployment benefits. That made me dependent upon the government. However, I am not fully dependent on them. They are not my only source. Because I don’t place my trust in them, rather my trust is in a God who has always taken care of me and has never ever let me down.

Though I can’t really explain how, I can actually say that God has mercifully supplied my needs better during this time of unemployment than ever before. My trust in Him is well placed because He literally never disappoints. I know that He will soon lead me to the right job situation, and I have no worries about that at all. I am confident in my God because He has proven Himself time and time again.

Probably one of the most successful tools that’s been used against us is the tried and true concept of divide and conquer. If we stand united as citizens, we have numbers on our side. The establishment, then, has continually tried to divide us through class warfare and accusations of racism, homophobia, transphobia, or other bias. These are all tools of division, and we need to start recognizing them as such.

If they can get us all separated into different groups and sub-categories, training our focus on all the things that make us different from one another, then they’ll keep us from seeing all the ways that we are truly alike. They equate disagreement with hate, accusing we in the Christian category of hating people in the LGBT category. None of this stuff is about equality, as they claim. It’s all about causing divisions.

Racism has probably been one of the most popular tools the establishment has used to divide us, and it is ironically one of the most ridiculous concepts mankind has ever given credence to. We are all various shades of brown, and members of a single race – human. Skin color is frankly irrelevant. To think otherwise is simply ignorant. How any educated or reasonably intelligent person could cling to racist notions today is beyond comprehension.

And yet, the establishment and those in the leftist media propaganda complex have even recently been diligently seeking to confuse and divide people with the lie that Georgia’s voter ID bill is somehow racist. It is nothing of the kind, and anyone who has actually read the bill knows that claim is not true. We’ve already discussed the gross amount of voter fraud that has taken place, and the need for registered voters to have an ID is painfully obvious. Again, this has nothing at all to do with racism – it’s about dividing people as a means of control.

The tools of the enemy are many, and they all serve a singular purpose: to lead us away from truth and away from God. Now, more than ever, we need to hold firmly to our faith and to our trust in the Lord. There is much evil in this world. Satan schemes and plots daily against the Church. He seeks to kill, steal, and destroy. He uses fear and countless other tools to gain a foothold in our lives. He wants to control us, ruin us, and ultimately to drag us down to hell with him in the end. But we have the upper hand! We have Jesus! We don’t have to fear. We don’t need to be worried about our lives because God is so much bigger than all the problems of this world. And God actually loves us.

So hear what I’m saying. If you, like so many others have lately, have been struggling – if you’ve been afraid of what’s next – if you’ve found yourself worried and fearful regarding the future, I’m here to tell you right now that no politician or government program is the answer to your problems. The answer is Jesus. The answer is found in surrendering all your worries to Him and trusting Him to meet your needs. Put your trust in the Creator of all things, the God who loves you and wants to guide you through all the storms of this life and into the glory of life in Him.

Beware the tricks of the enemy. Don’t fall for that voice that uses fear to control you, then promises things and never delivers. God is a God of perfect love, and that perfect love casts out all fear. Don’t become a slave to a deceiving overlord, but rather put your faith in the King of kings and Lord of lords. Study the Word of God and ask for His wisdom. Put on the whole armor of God, and stand ready for battle knowing that victory is already ours in Christ.

I’m Stace Massengill, and I’m just saying. Until next time, God bless you!

End Transcript

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Episode 45: Are You Comfy?

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-Begin Transcript –

We are not meant to be comfortable when evil is lurking. We are meant to overcome it with good. As long as we are living in a fallen world, we should not be on the sidelines. Evil triumphs when good people do nothing.

Don’t believe the lie that you can’t make a difference, that there’s really nothing of consequence that you can do. Everyone can pray. Everyone can seek out God’s wisdom. And most everyone can speak truth to others in some way.

Don’t be afraid of perception. Don’t be swayed by fear of backlash. Truth has always been the enemy of lies, light the enemy of darkness, and good the enemy of evil. There is much wickedness to be fought, and there is no grand call for you to remain silent and complacent in your comfort zone.

But there IS a call to spiritual warfare, a call to right wrongs and take back what the enemy has stolen from us. So let me ask you, are you comfy? Or are you ready to become something more?

I’m Stace Massengill, and THIS is the Kingdom Hero Show.

– Show Intro –

For several years now, I have attempted to encourage Christians to be more than the sum of their parts – to live up to the name Christian – to make a real difference in the world and in the lives of those around us. As some of you know, this is where the term Kingdom Hero came from. For those of you who may be new to this program, here’s a quick recap…

A few years back when I was producing “the GC” web-series, I did an episode entitled, “Kingdom Heroes.” Some time later, I condensed that episode into a short “67 Seconds of Encouragement” video. Check it out:

So, this gives you the basics – the gist of what it means to be a Kingdom Hero. And this is why I continue to use that terminology today. But how often do we stop to realize the full implications of taking on the name Christian, or Kingdom Hero? The reality of trying to live our lives more and more like Jesus is huge. It’s more than just occasionally doing a good deed, and it’s definitely more than just showing up at church on Sunday.

There are usually a couple of roadblocks that the enemy will throw in our path to prevent us from being all we can be as believers. One is the lie that we as individuals can’t really make that big of a difference. This lie is straight out of the pit of hell, but it appeals to our carnal tendency to be a bystander. That’s where the other big obstacle comes in – complacency. Satan will use these things in concert with one another to keep us from being effective in the kingdom.

We need to get it through our heads that, there are no bystanders in the kingdom of God. Rather, that kingdom is composed 100% of DOERS. If you’re not doing the Lord’s work, then you are useless to the kingdom.

Do you realize that one of the first commands that God gave to mankind was to be fruitful? He told Adam and Eve to “be fruitful and multiply.” You may say, but that’s talking about procreation. Okay, but it doesn’t only apply to having physical offspring and populating the earth. It goes hand in hand with the Great Commission itself when Jesus speaks of “making disciples of all nations.” See, WE are disciples of Christ, and we are to replicate ourselves by making MORE disciples out of others. This is how we are fruitful, and it’s how we grow the kingdom. And if we’re not fruitful, then what good are we?

All throughout the Gospels, it is made abundantly clear that unfruitfulness is just not the way of things in the kingdom of God. It is repeated several times, but starting with Matthew 3:10…

Even now the axe is laid to the root of the trees. Every tree therefore that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.

This is a warning to us. It says even now the axe is laid to the root of the trees. We are charged as followers of Jesus to do His work – to make disciples – to spread the Gospel message to others – and in so doing, to be fruitful. Is that what we’re doing? Are we DOING anything to grow the kingdom? Are we telling others about Jesus? Are we living our lives in such a way that we are witnessing to those around us? Are we showing them by example how to be like Christ by living out His teachings? If not – if we are not being fruitful in any way – if we’re not even TRYING, then we are spiritually useless. And useless, non-productive branches get cut off and tossed into the fire.

Now, you might say, “Hold on, there! I’m saved! I’m a believer in Jesus. I’m not getting thrown into any fire. That’s crazy talk.” Alright, then. I would point you to Jesus’ conversation with Peter in John 21. The Lord asked him 3 times, “Do you love me?” And 3 times, Peter answered, “Yes, You KNOW I do!” What did Jesus tell him each time after he claimed to love Him? He told Peter to DO something, didn’t He? “Feed my sheep.” “Feed my lambs.” “Feed my sheep, Peter.” In other words, don’t just SAY you love Jesus – don’t merely CLAIM to believe in Him -but ACT ACCORDINGLY, DO SOMETHING that SHOWS it.

God’s Word doesn’t just call on us to believe, but to serve. And the scriptures illustrate to us time and time again that, in order to serve the Lord, we are to serve others. Jesus didn’t just say, these are my words, believe them. No, He told us plainly to DO his work. He literally commissioned us to continue the work He started in this world. His words in Matthew 28 are clear…

18 And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”

He was given all authority in heaven to commission us. He instructs us to GO – not sit idly by while the world spins ’round and ’round. He says to MAKE DISCIPLES, BAPTIZE, TEACH – not just to keep His teachings to ourselves. He says others should be able to OBSERVE all He commanded by watching us – so if they’re not seeing Jesus in us, what are they seeing? And He let’s us know that we are NOT ALONE in this work – we’re not on our own, but He is with us, and He will guide us in doing it if we just let Him.

Jesus also gives us a pretty good clue that doing His work here on earth won’t always be all puppies and rainbows. It IS work, after all. But it’s a labor of love. We have to remember that there will be roadblocks. There will be times when doing this work is really tough. People mocked Jesus, so they will mock us. They hated Him, so yeah, some will hate us. Because of our faith in Him, there can definitely be some times of suffering. But in Romans 5, Paul says…

… but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.

And further, in Romans 8, he says…

18 For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us.

Yes, there’s real WORK involved in being a disciple of Christ. Ask yourself what may be holding you back from doing more. Are there impediments that you struggle with which keep you from being a mighty warrior for God – from being a Kingdom Hero?

– Break Transcript –

As human beings, we can indeed be creatures of comfort. We like our perfect temperature settings, our comfortable recliners – yeah, believe me, I know. In fact, a few years ago, I was in a furniture store because I needed a some new living room furniture. And I saw this living room set that I just had to have. Was there a recliner? Yes. Did the couch also recline? Yes. Were there cupholders in the recliner, love-seat, AND sofa? Oh, YES! But what really sold me was that the recliners were all POWERED. Yep, just sit down, put your finger on a button, and your seat reclines back for comfort. Tap another button, and the headrest also adjusts for maximum comfort. Still another button illuminates the cupholder. I was in heaven, so-to-speak. And yes, I still own that amazingly comfortable living room set.

Hey, there’s nothing wrong with being comfortable. We like our church services in a climate controlled building where we can sit on padded chairs, right? It’s hard to get good sleep if you don’t have a nice comfy bed, right? Comfort is a big selling point on a great many things in our lives, but what can be a problem is when comfort becomes more important to us than things that ultimately matter so much more. Physical comfort isn’t nearly as important as the condition of our souls. Social comfort isn’t as beneficial as risking an awkward moment and potentially reaching a soul for Christ. In this sense, we can limit ourselves as effective soul-winners by choosing instead to remain safe inside our comfort zone.

Too often, our comfort level doesn’t allow for much eternal significance. Frankly, that’s tragic. Think about this for a moment: What if Jesus, the Crown Prince of Heaven, had just decided to remain there in the glorious and magnificent comfort of heaven? What if He hadn’t put all that aside to come to earth as a man? What if God had chosen not to take on flesh and make a way for our redemption? Is that plain enough for ya? How about this – What if there was someone about to die in their sins, and you had a chance to save them? But it required that you step out of your comfy place, wouldn’t you?

That is precisely the work that God has for us – saving souls from hell by reaching them with the message of Christ – and too many of us can’t seem to find it within ourselves to get up out of our comfortable recliners with powered neck rests and illuminated cupholders. Ouch, that hit close to home.

You might say, “But I would never ignore someone in real need.” Really? Well, that’s exactly what we do when we are so preoccupied with staying in our comfort zone that we can’t even SEE the need right in front of us. Or when we try to avoid an socially awkward situation, and in so-doing, avoid the very opportunity to help someone in need. Take the story of the Good Samaritan…

Luke 10

25 And behold, a lawyer stood up to put him to the test, saying, “Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?” 26 He said to him, “What is written in the Law? How do you read it?” 27 And he answered, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself.” 28 And he said to him, “You have answered correctly; do this, and you will live.” 29 But he, desiring to justify himself, said to Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?” 30 Jesus replied, “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and he fell among robbers, who stripped him and beat him and departed, leaving him half dead. 31 Now by chance a priest was going down that road, and when he saw him he passed by on the other side. 32 So likewise a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. 33 But a Samaritan, as he journeyed, came to where he was, and when he saw him, he had compassion. 34 He went to him and bound up his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he set him on his own animal and brought him to an inn and took care of him. 35 And the next day he took out two denarii and gave them to the innkeeper, saying, ‘Take care of him, and whatever more you spend, I will repay you when I come back.’ 36 Which of these three, do you think, proved to be a neighbor to the man who fell among the robbers?” 37 He said, “The one who showed him mercy.” And Jesus said to him, “You go, and do likewise.”

In this parable that Jesus told, the man in need was ignored by both a priest and a Levite. They went out of their way to avoid the man, passing by on the opposite side of the street. They didn’t deem that man’s troubles as being more important than their own comfort. They didn’t want to bother with him, so they pretended not to see him. Sounds like awful behavior, especially for supposed men of God like a priest and a Levite. But if we’re honest, that kind of callousness is all too common – yes, even among those of us who call ourselves Christians.

Moreover, the point that Jesus made was that our calling – if we are indeed followers of His teachings and set to inherit eternal life – is to show kindness, mercy, and compassion for others EVEN WHEN it isn’t comfortable to do so. The law that Christ fulfilled – and the greatest commandments He gave – were to LOVE God with all your heart, soul, strength, and mind, and to LOVE your neighbor as yourself. The good Samaritan in the story was indicative of the one who shows mercy and is truly a neighbor to the one in need.

And if you look closely at just how above and beyond this Samaritan went, he was also a great example of a Kingdom Hero. He didn’t only NOT ignore the man’s need like the other two men did, he had actual compassion for him. He went straight to him, not around him over on the other side of the street. He saw the need and immediately took action. But he didn’t only care for the man’s wounds, he then put this guy on his own animal and took him over to a lodging place, paid for a room there, and stayed overnight taking care of him. But wait, he didn’t stop there!

The next day, this Samaritan gave the innkeeper some money and had him see to the man’s needs, offering to repay anything above the amount he’d given if necessary. Wow! Who among us would go that far? Would you go that far out of your way? Would you go that far out of your comfort zone to help someone in need? That’s what a Kingdom Hero does, folks. And that’s what we should do. That’s the kind of people we ought to be.

But, it’s easy for us to get so caught up in our own bubble. We often don’t choose to look at anything outside of it. I’ve got places to be, things to do, and I can’t be getting sidetracked with stuff that I don’t have time for. Sound familiar? Are we so busy with our own cares that we think we don’t have time for doing what WE WERE PUT HERE TO DO in the first place?

– Break Transcript –

Finally, I’d like to approach this topic of serving others from a slightly different perspective. It’s the same, really, but just – ya know – different. The proper role of leadership really ought to be rooted in servanthood. I’m talking about a concept called “servant leadership,” and it’s something that too many so-called “leaders” don’t seem to understand. It’s unfortunate that so many who hold public office don’t seem to remember that they work for us. They instead seek to serve themselves and desire power to rule rather than to serve us.

Whether you are in a position of leadership in your job or at church or in some community program, you need to be familiar with this concept. If you’re a boss or supervisor, the best way to lead is through your own example. You need the respect of those you lead if you want them to actually follow you. When I worked as a manager in the food industry, I had to demonstrate my own willingness to get down in the thick of things and work hard if I wanted to inspire others to work hard for me. I also had to win them over by showing genuine concern for their needs. In many ways, I became a servant to them, which inspired them to serve our customers more fervently.

This is a biblical precept. Jesus spoke of the willingness to serve others first as essential to someone who wanted to lead. More than that, He illustrated it with His own actions by being a servant to His Disciples. In the Gospels, we read where He said…

“For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”

In Luke 22, He puts it this way…

26 … let the greatest among you become as the youngest, and the leader as one who serves. 27 For who is the greater, one who reclines at table or one who serves? Is it not the one who reclines at table? But I am among you as the one who serves.

We’ve all probably had an overbearing boss or two in the past, right? Maybe you even have one now. There are some that think leading is just bossing people around, telling others what to do while sitting around doing little else themselves. That’s not good leadership. That causes resentment. It doesn’t inspire hard work or good morale. People don’t want to work for someone like that. But now, if you see your boss getting out there and working every bit as hard as he or she expects you to, you’re more inclined to follow that example.

And when you know your leader is someone who actually cares about you and does things to help you succeed, that’s when you know you’ve got a great example to follow. Jesus was like this for His Disciples. Great leaders are like this for those who follow them. And this applies to teachers, pastors, and others who are charged with leading. Serving others is more important than barking out orders. Likewise, we have to be examples to those we hope to reach for Christ. We can’t just tell them to follow Christ – we need to show them how through our own example.

We can’t accomplish the work that Jesus commissioned us to do without serving. And we can’t do that without loving. It’s not enough to simply say we are Christians – we have to demonstrate it by really being Christ-like. Believing in Him is the just the beginning. We are called to live out our faith through our actions. We’re called to serve and reach others with the Gospel. We’re called to go above and beyond, much like the good Samaritan did. And yes, again, we’re called to be Kingdom Heroes and effect real change in the world. We’ll never do that by sitting on the sidelines and watching the world burn. It’s time to leave that comfort zone behind, and get involved in building God’s kingdom.

I’m Stace Massengill, and I’m just saying. Thanks for joining me. Until next time, God bless you!

– End Transcript –

Listen to the show HERE!

Episode 44: Foundation Is Key

Watch Show HERE

– Begin Transcript –

What we build on is important. You can’t just erect a house on any old thing. You wouldn’t want to just build it directly on top of dirt. Perhaps that’s how it was done when people didn’t know any better, but we’ve learned a few things the hard way over time. No, you first need to lay a good, solid, firm foundation. THEN, you can start to build the framework.

On this episode, we’ll deal with this concept as it relates to both our country and our lives as Christians. We will see that a foundation of lies is like quicksand – nothing can stand for long on that. But a foundation of truth is firm, and you won’t be moved or shaken when troubles come.

So, stick around. I’m Stace Massengill, and THIS is the Kingdom Hero Show…

– Show Intro –

Over the years of my life, I have worked a great variety of jobs. One of my least favorites was when I helped install septic systems. There’s not a lot of glory in a job like that. It’s dirty, back-breaking, and – did I mention? – dirty. But I did learn a lot while doing it. I was in a lot of new neighborhoods where new houses were being built, so I got to see the very beginnings of the construction work. If you’ve ever built a home or other building, it goes without saying that having a solid foundation is key.

The bigger the building, the more crucial the foundation is. Pouring the cement, smoothing it out in a timely manner while it’s drying, and forming it into a usable concrete slab – that’s a lot of hard work! And it’s not exactly a glamourous job, either. But the people who do it usually get paid quite well. That’s because the foundation is one of the most important parts of the building. It doesn’t get seen and admired, but it’s necessary to all the other parts that do get seen and admired.

Now, why is this so important? Well, you could just throw something together without a firm foundation. In the military, I learned to build a lean-to out of crude materials you can find in the woods – just put a few branches here, a few leaves and mud and pine-straw there, and boom. You’ve got yourself a nifty little temporary structure that might or might not keep the rain off of you. But it’s not gonna last long. A good gust of wind may blow it away, a wild animal could tear it down, or any number of things could utterly destroy it in very short order. That’s not something I’d wanna live in.

And I know you’re probably familiar with the story of the wise man who built his house on a rock, and the foolish man who built his house on sand. Things didn’t work out too well for the guy who built on top of sand, did it? Sand isn’t stable – it shifts and moves about under pressure. Think about it. Have you ever walked on a beach by the ocean? You can feel the sand under your feet shifting around just from the weight of you walking on it. Imagine how unstable that would be if the weight of an entire house was placed on it.

I know, this is elementary stuff, right? Sure, but these simple concepts sometimes seem to escape us. I mean, how many times have you seen a marriage or other relationship fall apart because it was built carelessly on things that are shallow or unstable. Foundation is key for lots of things. Buildings, relationships, and definitely our walk with God. Without the proper footing beneath us, we can easily slip and fall. And in our relationship with God, well now, that’s gotta be built on the firmest of foundations – the Rock that is Jesus Christ Himself.

On this show, I talk a lot about truth. Whatever the topic is, I have to rely heavily on the truth I know to keep things in the right perspective. In that way, truth is the foundation upon which I build a discussion. And truth is the tool I use to reach the proper conclusions. Without truth to build on, the discussion will fall apart and amount to nothing. I’d just be wasting your time and mine. But not everyone chooses to build on something as stable and immutable as the truth. No, some people like to live on the wild side – their foundation is one of lies.

But a foundation of lies is like trying to walk on top of quicksand. You very quickly start to sink, and you get deeper the more you struggle to free yourself. People who build their lives around lies have to work a lot harder, too. And that’s not a good thing. Ever notice that, in order to maintain one lie, you usually have to tell another lie? And then another, and another… Pretty soon, all you have a web of lies that’s easy to get tangled up in. You end up tripping over one lie while trying to keep another lie from being found out. It’s exhausting! —Not that I’ve ever done that myself.

Truth, on the other hand, stand on its own. You don’t have to try to support it when it’s true – it just stands there, SOLID. Yeah, like a ROCK! If I tell the truth – which I always do (snicker) – then I don’t have to remember what I said. Make up a lie, and you might forget it. But the truth is always the truth. That’s a pretty solid foundation. That’s something you can build on.

What’s one of the biggest problems with a very large number of politicians? You got it – their tendency to lie. I mean, it’s what they’re notorious for, right? When someone mentions politicians, you usually think of these dishonest people who make phony campaign promises to get votes and lie through their teeth every time they speak, don’t you? And such a person as that has basically become addicted to the power of their office, corrupted by greed, and lies are their first language.

That sounds an awful lot like one of the descriptions of satan, doesn’t it? He is referred to as “the father of lies.” One passage says that when he lies he is speaking his native tongue. But while it’s easy to point fingers at crooked politicians, or even at the devil, we tend to gloss over or excuse our own lies. But those lies, however harmless they may seem, can be insidious. If we give satan any foothold in our lives, he will exploit it. One little lie can lead to another, and another, until we find ourselves in quicksand. And the enemy will destroy you if he can, starting with a weakening of your foundation.

I’ve often noted that our country was founded upon Godly principles. The biblical values held by the vast majority of our founding fathers was what formed the foundation of America. The fact that she has stood for so long is a tribute to the wisdom of those biblical principles she was built on. But our government, however nobly intended, is still run by fallible men and women. And that once solid foundation is becoming more and more unstable year after year. It’s being chipped away at by corrupt people who want to remold it into something other than the constitutional republic that has assured freedom for more than two centuries.

The more they jack-hammer that foundation, the closer it gets to crumbling beneath the weight of oppression and tyranny. And why? Why would anyone want to destroy the very foundation under our feet? Precisely because it IS Godly in nature. They’re rejection of those founding principles are in fact a rejection of scripture – a rejection of God’s Word. I’m not trying to equate our founding documents with the Bible, understand. I’m merely pointing out that those documents are full of biblical truths and precepts, and THAT is what these people are rejecting.

This is the very foundation that has kept us strong and thriving. It has ensured our liberties. It has kept tyranny at bay. It has protected the rights of the people from being infringed upon by the government. And yet those who are foolish enough to do so are actually trying to tear it down in some misguided attempt to remake it in their image – in their idea of it ought to be. Essentially, they are cutting of the nose in spite of the face.

– Break Transcript –

What makes a foundation stable? Firmness. Durability. Being able to withstand all the pressure and weight of that which is built on top of it. A small structure only needs a foundation strong enough to support a little. A larger building, like a skyscraper, needs a much stronger foundation. What about a nation? Obviously, the foundation has to be seriously strong in order to support something as monumental as an entire country, its infrastructure, and its people. And that’s the foundation that so many have been trying to undo here in the USA for a very long time.

What’s an even more pressing concern is what this does to the people. When a country goes against the will of God, its people suffer for it. The moral decay that has been allowed to exist and spread like a cancer for so long is threatening to eat away at the very soul of America. Homeless people are being neglected in our streets – where’s their American dream? Innocent unborn babies are being barbarically butchered in the womb – where’s their safe space? These atrocities and others go on right under our very noses, and we just go on like it’s what? No big deal?

You might say, “Oh come on, that stuff has been happening forever.” Well, an awful lot of evil can happen when “good” people sit by and do absolutely nothing to prevent it. Don’t we then share in the blame? Feeding the hungry, comforting the weary, praying for the sick, speaking up for those who can’t speak for themselves – are these things really so hard to do? If so, then why? What have you built your life upon? Are you committed to God’s principles? Does His love and grace flow from you to those around you? If not my friends, then perhaps we should check ourselves.

I’ll say it again… What we build on is important. Are our lives built on the firm foundation of God’s Word? If so, then we ought to be making a difference in this world – by our actions and by our words. Are we getting tangled up in our own proclivities? Do we claim Christianity in name only rather than living it out? Are we letting Jesus be our example, or are we fashioning our lives to resemble someone else? Are we holding fast to the truth and rebuking the lies?

Psalm 15

O Lord, who shall sojourn in your tent?
    Who shall dwell on your holy hill?
He who walks blamelessly and does what is right
and speaks truth in his heart;
who does not slander with his tongue
    and does no evil to his neighbor,
    nor takes up a reproach against his friend;
in whose eyes a vile person is despised,
    but who honors those who fear the Lord;
who swears to his own hurt and does not change;
who does not put out his money at interest
    and does not take a bribe against the innocent.
He who does these things shall never be moved.

If you really want to firm up your foundation, study this passage. It’s full of goodies. It speaks of walking blamelessly, doing what’s right, speaking truth, not slandering, doing no evil, not holding a grudge, despising what is vile and honoring those who revere God, committing to follow through even if it hurts, and – look at this – not even charging interest on a loan, and refusing bribery. These are all attributes of someone who has a firm foundation in God’s Word and will NOT be moved, swayed, or otherwise deterred.

I don’t know about you, but I would love for such words to describe me and my walk with the Lord. But it doesn’t just happen. Much like that concrete slab we looked at earlier, it takes a lot of effort and hard work. It takes commitment. And it takes a willingness to trust God with those details that we usually want to put our own hands on. We get bogged down in the details way too often. We ask ourselves questions like, “How can I even make a difference anyway?” – “What if I fail?” – “How do I know that person is really homeless and not running a scam?” – or one of my personal favorites, “Can’t someone else do it?”

[clip – Homer: “Can’t someone else do it?”]

When we let those silly questions consume us, we tend to end up doing nothing. Best to not even go there. Just commit to doing good, pray about it, and let God point out opportunities to fulfill His will. Intentionally look and listen. Put in the work, and let God bless it. Read His Word and let Him bring it to life within you. Meditate on it. And walk it out. The more you do this, and the more time you spend seeking God and His will, the more firm your foundation will become. It’s not gonna happen without work.

Sometimes people can mistakenly think that all they have to do is maybe read a little scripture here and there, or go to church once in a while, or anything else that gives them a sense of doing their part. I’ve heard people say, “Well, I’ve been in church for a while now, and I think I know a thing or two about God’s will.” But that’s actually the problem. Too many times, we only know a thing or two and think we know it all. There’s a lot more to it than that, just like there’s more to laying a foundation than dumping out a little cement.

Let’s look a little more closely at that story of the wise man and the foolish man we mentioned before. And remember, this is Jesus talking…

Luke 6

47 “Everyone who comes to me and hears my words and does them, I will show you what he is like: 48 he is like a man building a house, who dug deep and laid the foundation on the rock. And when a flood arose, the stream broke against that house and could not shake it, because it had been founded upon the rock. 49 But the one who hears and does not do them is like a man who built a house on the ground without a foundation. When the stream broke against it, immediately it fell, and the ruin of that house was great.”

You see, it’s the wise man who hears the words of Jesus and DOES them. And it’s the foolish man who hears those words and does NOT do them. Our foundation has to be the words of Jesus. We must hear them AND do them. Otherwise, our foundation will be weak or non-existent, and our house – our very lives – will fall. And this passage emphasizes that it won’t just be ruined, but greatly ruined.

– Break Transcript –

Ask yourself this… “Am I firmly founded on the Rock? Am I following and living out the words and instructions of Jesus?” If you’ve struggled to make your life into something and find yourself falling short, is it because you’re trying to build on a shaky or faulty foundation? What are you building on? Anything less than the truth of God’s Word, and it might as well be shifting sand.

1 Corinthians 3

10 According to the grace of God given to me, like a skilled master builder I laid a foundation, and someone else is building upon it. Let each one take care how he builds upon it. 11 For no one can lay a foundation other than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ.

Paul was speaking of the church which is built on the foundation of Jesus Christ. No other foundation will do. Further down, he says what others build on it will be tested by fire, and…

14 If the work that anyone has built on the foundation survives, he will receive a reward. 15 If anyone’s work is burned up, he will suffer loss, though he himself will be saved, but only as through fire.

Now, what I find interesting is that right after Paul speaks of the importance of having Jesus as our foundation, he goes on to speak of us as being the dwelling place of the Holy Spirit…

16 Do you not know that you are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in you? 17 If anyone destroys God’s temple, God will destroy him. For God’s temple is holy, and you are that temple.

This sheds new light on our need for a good foundation in our lives. If we ourselves are to be the temple for God’s Spirit, then we certainly wouldn’t build Him some shoddy old rickety shack to live in. No, we’d want to build Him a glorious place worthy of His Presence. And since we, within ourselves, are completely unworthy, we can only be made worthy through Jesus!

With the words of Jesus written on our hearts, and with our own commitment to carrying out His commands, we lay that firm foundation for our lives. That is something we can build upon, and the Bible is our blueprint for constructing lives befitting as children of God.

– End Transcript –

Watch Show HERE

Episode 43: Unity or Conformity?

Watch the show HERE

– Begin Transcript –

Welcome to the show, everyone. We are doing something new here at Great Commission Ministries – we are combining our regular podcast with video and adding a new aspect to the program. Of course, GCM began in 2011 with a video web-series. After it ran for 7 seasons, we transitioned into other projects, moved into blogging, and then began a podcast from those blogs. Now with the addition of video again, I hope to expand the outreach of this show. For those of you who follow the blog, the printed transcripts will still be available at the website, kingdomheroblog.com [repeat]. These shows will now be found on our YouTube Channel, and we are also adding a video channel on the Rumble platform. I’ll have more info on that in the near future.

On this episode, I wanna talk a bit about the obvious double-standard that is running rampant in our current society. We’ve all seen and heard the recent calls for “unity.” But the ones calling for unity are the same ones who just a few months ago were calling for public outrage and social unrest. They spent over 4 years spreading lies about Trump and his supporters, blaming us for everything that’s wrong with the country. They claimed it was Trump who caused division and racial tension, when it was those on the left who had been fueling those fires since the Obama administration. BLM began under Obama, not Trump. Antifa has been the militant arm of the democrat party, much like the KKK once was. But for all the riots and unrest they on the left promoted, they blamed it all on Trump. And now – now that Biden is in office – now they are calling for “unity?” Really?

Let’s get to it. I’m Stace Massengill, and THIS is the Kingdom Hero Blogcast.

– Show Intro –

Some of you who have been following this program or my blogs for a while might be thinking, “Here we go, he’s getting political again.” But let me remind you that, as Christians, our call is to the truth, and we deal with moral issues. Often times those issues overlap with politics, but that’s no reason to ignore them. Whoever says that Christians should stay out of the political arena is either short-sighted or has a somewhat questionable agenda. And as I’ve pointed out in the past, moral issues should never be given a pass just because they’re perceived as political ones.

In dealing with the concept of unity, this is most definitely a moral topic. Living at peace and in harmony with our fellowman is lauded throughout scripture. On my show, I try very hard to keep a biblical perspective about everything. Now, I’m not perfect yet – God’s still working on me – so I may not always succeed at keeping that perspective, but that is indeed the goal here. So let’s start with the Word of God and what it says about unity.

Psalm 133

How good and pleasant it is when God’s people live together in unity!

Yes, it is talking about “God’s people” in this passage, but it should be just as easily understood that it is good and pleasant when everyone can live in unity. Plus, further down in the verse 3, it says…

For there the Lord bestows his blessing, even life forevermore.

So, when people live together in unity, God is pleased and He blesses the people for it.

1 Corinthians 12

12 Just as a body, though one, has many parts, but all its many parts form one body, so it is with Christ.

This passage is speaking of unity as it pertains to the body of Christ, or the church – which is made up of people – us. But it also deals with the concept of diversity and how it ought to exist along with unity. Regardless of our differences – be they political, ethnic, social, or whatever – we should still be able to work together in harmony with one another. We can have different opinions and still get along. We can have different political views and get along. We can certainly have different shades of skin color and still get along. To think otherwise is just plain ignorant.

But there are many on the left who speak of coexistence and tolerance, all while being completely intolerant of Christianity. They make it out to be the problem. They say we Christians are the intolerant ones, when we actually should only be intolerant of evil and wickedness. They call good evil and evil good, and yet they say we should get along with their wicked ways. They speak of unity, when what they really want is conformity. But we’ll come back to this.

Ephesians 4

Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.

Again, this is a clear call to Christians to be unified in spirit. But unity only works when everyone is participating in it. Where we should be patient with one another, there are unfortunately those who have no patience at all toward those they see as opposition. All the hate that has fomented from the establishment types in DC toward President Trump and his supporters is astounding. They paint us all in such a bad light that it would seem ridiculous to think they’d ever want to coexist with us. Leftist pundit Bill Maher has even gone so far recently as to claim that “Christianity is to blame for the Capitol riots.” Wow, I mean, really Bill?

Colossians 3

13 Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. 14 And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity. 15 Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful.

Okay, now we’re getting to the one thing that is required for unity to prevail in our hearts – LOVE. I’ve talked ad nauseum about the topic of love in the past, and we see here that is an essential and integral part of living in unity. It is safe to assume then that, the biggest reason for there not to be unity in our society is because there isn’t enough real love for one another. Where there is no desire to love, there is no hope for unity. And frankly, those who we hear calling now for unity have absolutely no desire to embrace those with whom they disagree. Again, they don’t really want unity – they say they do, but they want it on their terms – when it’s my way or the highway, that’s not unity. That’s conformity. That’s what they want. They want us to give in and agree to do things their way.

– Break Transcript –

So we’ve learned that love is necessary for unity. You can’t have the latter without the former. And the reason for a lack of unity is the sheer lack of love. In fact, we’ve seen the exact opposite. Racial divisions were reignited during the Obama administration. Anyone who disagreed with his policies was labeled a racist. This tactic was pushed in our faces at every turn. Out of this rising hatred, spurred on by false accusations of racism, the leftist media began upping their game, making police officers out to be racists. There was growing resentment toward good police officers because of the acts of a very few, and often times even those incidents were misrepresented.

This is when the organization calling themselves Black Lives Matter was born. As we’ve dealt with previously, this group is not at all what its name would have you believe. But if you disagree with their stance against what they call the patriarchy or their tendency to violently riot and loot, again you’re labeled a racist. They attempt to justify their actions and lay all the blame on “systemic racism,” the idea of which is toxic malarkey. Leftist groups like this have done more damage than good (if any good at all) and done more to perpetuate racism than to counter it. By spreading hate instead of love, they foster more and more division rather than unity.

And again, this started during President Obama’s time in office. Still, the establishment elites in Washington DC laid all the blame at the feet of Trump. Understand, when I speak of the establishment in DC, I’m not just referring to democrats and the left. No, this includes those on the right and within the republican party who only want to hold on to their political power and ill-gotten gains. These people are corrupt and encourage a corrupt system. They are self-serving bureaucrats who represent their own interests rather than the interests of the people they’re suppose to serve. Trump came along and challenged all that, and they hate him for it.

Donald Trump wasn’t a politician. He was a successful businessman who loved his country and got tired of seeing it go down the tubes at the hands of these power-hungry crooks. He was a real threat to them. So they had to make him out to be anything and everything the people would despise – racist, misogynistic, homophobic, crooked, a Russian asset, a traitor, a xenophobe, a liar and spreader of hate, etc. And everyone who supported Trump was demonized, as well. Hillary called us deplorables. The media called us racist and stupid. All of this hate was generated by those on the left and those in the establishment because Trump was determined to “drain the swamp” and get rid of their corrupt kind. They hated him and us so much that they cheated Trump out of his landslide re-election, and they said those of us who cried “foul” were dangerous and should be silenced and censored.

Right on schedule, Big Tech answered the call and silenced conservative voices. They kicked President Trump off of their platforms and even kicked alternative platform Parler off of the internet. These people who refuse to tolerate any opposing viewpoints, who have done everything in their power to shut us up, are now coming out and saying, “Hey, let’s all just get along now, okay?” After showing so much disdain and hatred for anyone who doesn’t agree with them, they now have the audacity to call for unity. After causing so much divisiveness and blaming us for it, they call for unity. After censoring their opposition, and cheating people out of their choice for president, now they want us to just sit back and shut up. But again, that’s not unity – it’s conformity.

When conformity is the call of our leaders, blind obedience and compliance is what’s expected. But that isn’t freedom – it’s tyranny. And the hatred on both sides of the aisle is what’s tearing our nation apart from the inside. As President Ronald Reagan once put it, “If America ever falls, it won’t be because of an enemy from without, but due to an enemy within.” Wickedness and corruption are ripping at the fabric of our foundations, and total destruction is their goal. A turn from God is their goal. Complete reliance upon government is their goal. Silencing every voice of truth is their goal. Control – total power and control of our lives is their goal. And they will settle for nothing less.

Ezekiel 11

1This city will not be a pot for you, nor will you be the meat in it; I will execute judgment on you at the borders of Israel. 12 And you will know that I am the Lord, for you have not followed my decrees or kept my laws but have conformed to the standards of the nations around you.

This passage is dealing with God executing judgement upon Israel for not keeping His laws but instead conforming to the surrounding nations’ standards. Giving in to conformity is the easy thing to do, especially when you don’t want to ruffle anyone’s feathers or appear to be going against popular opinion. But we are called to something higher than the standards of other people. We are called to uphold the standards of the Living God.

Romans 12

Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.

This familiar passage is quite clear in its instruction to us. Conforming to the pattern of this world is not at all our mandate as Christians. Instead, we are to be transformed by the renewing power of God’s Word. Only then can we pass the tests of this life and stay within His perfect will. When people who have shown us only hatred and intolerance call us to unity, without showing love or a real desire to tolerate our beliefs, what they are really calling us to is conformity. “Do as we say.” That’s a call to bondage – to slavery. But that’s not our call.

– Break Transcript –

So then, what should our response be? You who have followed this program for a while have heard me say that we should try to live peaceably with men but give the devil hell. It’s important to keep the two separate as much as possible. I’ve said many times that people are not our enemy – satan is. I often quote Ephesians 6:12, which states…

For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.

This is indeed a spiritual battle, and as such, it will not be won in the court of public opinion or in arguments with those who lack spiritual wisdom. This is a fight that is not with people, but against evil forces that are at work in our world. It can’t be won with physical weapons, but with weapons of spiritual warfare. That passage in Ephesians 6 goes on to tell us how to face such spiritual battles, and I encourage you to read and re-read these scriptures regarding the Armor of God. I won’t get into all that again now, but it’s worth your time to study it.

The point here is that, those people who are perhaps unwitting pawns of our true enemy, we should still try to view them in love. Those who are lost will never be found unless we care enough to witness and pray for them. In our battle to promote the truth, we need to keep in mind that there are lost souls at stake. Yes, we should fight lies with truth. Yes, we should stand up and speak for those who can’t speak for themselves. But yes, we also ought to treat everyone with love and grace – even when they speak ill of us. We don’t have to conform to their ways to show them love. We can demonstrate the true nature of unity to them by doing what Jesus has called us to do – follow His example.

Understand that, when we do this, many of them will continue to hate us. They hated Jesus, so they’ll hate anyone who is like Him. But conforming to their way of thinking and living is not the answer. That might gain us a few friends and make us more acceptable to the world, but it would separate us from Christ.

Mark 8

36 For how does it profit a man to gain the whole world, and yet lose his own soul?

We are not called to be man-pleasers, but to be God-pleasers. And we can’t please God by turning from His ways and conforming to those of the world. Unity is a wonderful and even a righteous concept, but it cannot be achieved by those who would force us into submission. Anyone who tells you differently has ulterior motives in play. Love them. Pray for their salvation. But do not conform to their ways. Ever.

– End Transcript –

Watch the show HERE

Episode 42: The Hope We Have

Listen to the podcast HERE

– Begin Transcript –

Welcome to the show, folks. We’ve been talking recently about the concept of love, and it’s one of many words today that is misused and tossed around out of context until its meaning is unrecognizable. Another term that is often misrepresented is the word, hope. If we listen carefully – with discerning ears – to those who spread this word on really thick in the political arena, we notice it being used to appeal to people who have lost a sense of hope. But in this arena, when uttered in an attempt to win votes or sell you an idea, the word is bereft of any real meaning. It is spoken in vain, devoid of worth, empty.

When hope is rendered in such a way, it becomes nothing more than fluffy terminology – something that sounds good but, in the end, means nothing. This has often been the result of political figures using the term for their own purposes, in empty campaign slogans, and to promise things they never intend to follow through on. Problem is, too many people fall prey to this. Too many people consider their source of hope to be the government. “If we can just elect these people into office, they’ll solve all our problems.” This is how governments get so big and intrusive and powerful and oppressive – people lose real hope and begin to place all their trust in government to save them.

Today, we will deal with this topic and remind ourselves that our true source of hope is not a politician or a government program – no, the hope we have is found in Jesus. And our trust is in the Lord. I’m Stace Massengill, and this is the Kingdom Hero Blogcast…

– Show Intro –

I’m sure you remember in 2016 when Hillary Clinton lost the presidential election to Donald Trump. Forget all the party-line political aspects to this, I’m just talking about the reactions of people reliant upon leaders in government to save them and make their lives better. Remember all the downcast faces of the Hillary supporters who were utterly devastated that she had lost? They were crying, screaming, and acting as if their entire world had just come to a tragic end. They were fearful – mainly due to the lies they were fed my the media – that Trump would destroy all of accomplishments of former President Obama, and that the country was doomed.

And even though the world didn’t end, and Trump actually got us out of wars and bad trade deals, he definitely took the country in a different direction – and that still made people on the left think he was the wrong person for the job. Regardless of any good that he did – which the media refused to speak of – people were unhappy that he was making government less intrusive. Many folks would rather be dependent upon government than to take responsibility for themselves. That’s just a fact. But now let’s flip the script, because it’s not just those on the left who tend to put way too much faith in people in power.

Since Trump has left the Oval Office, and Biden has assumed the role of POTUS, we cannot deny that there are plenty of people on the right who have appeared to lose hope. No, we don’t see all the ridiculous crying and screaming that we saw from Hillary’s supporters 4 years ago, but there are those who were supporting Trump that seem almost as devastated that he’s no longer in office. And most of these are afraid that Biden is going to undo all the good Trump accomplished, as he’s already made strides to undo some of it.

What we’re talking about here is misplaced hope. Too many of us tend to invest an unhealthy amount of faith in man – who is flawed – rather than in God – who is completely incorruptible. Yeah, Trump did an incredible amount of good – despite the constant opposition from his many enemies – and we were hopeful that he would remain office another 4 years and do even more. But is it possible that some of us forgot that our hope is not in man? A lot of the posts I’ve seen from folks would seem to indicate that they think our nation is doomed now that Biden is in office. But wait a minute, isn’t God still on the throne?

The truth is that we, as long-standing citizens of the most FREE nation on the planet, have such a narrow view of what real oppression is like. We are spoiled as Americans, having been born into all these amazing rights and liberties, and we take most of them for granted. We don’t know what it’s like in this country – yet anyway – to be rounded up and executed for our faith. We don’t understand the concept of persecution like many in other parts of the world. We’ve become so spoiled by our freedoms, in fact, that we feel entitled to them and even more. And all a politician has to do is promise you something else that you think you deserve and ought to have, and we grow even more dependent upon them. They become our source of hope, and we become less and less free.

Taking on a worldly view, we can fool ourselves into thinking that we are independent. But it’s not that we’re truly independent because we become dependent on this government program and that government bail-out and government subsidies and government-run healthcare and so on. So what is it that we think we’re independent from in this worldly view of things? God. That is the tragedy of mankind’s modern arrogance – that he thinks he no longer needs God. “I can just rely on this government benefit. I deserve it anyway. I’m entitled to it.” But little to no thought is given to what happens when that government you’ve put all your hope into decides that you’re not essential to its purposes and cuts you off.

Hey, don’t tell me that can’t happen. Were you paying ANY attention in 2020? Here was this virus with a 99+% survival rate, which was used as a political tool to undermine the greatest economy we’ve ever seen. Despite the incredibly high survival rate, it was hyped up and used to cause widespread panic, and our own government committed serious oversteps of its power. Mandates, lockdowns, and useless restrictions were put into place – supposedly for our own good. But those restrictions caused countless businesses to lose revenue and ultimately close down. If you weren’t deemed as essential, you were simply our of luck. I know this first-hand because I lost my job during this time when the company I worked for was forced to shut down permanently.

We saw in the last year just how easily this kind of thing can and did happen. And you’d better believe it still can and will happen again. So do you really want to put all your hope into a government run by flawed and corruptible men and women? Do you really think that they have your best interest in mind? Or wouldn’t you rather place your trust and dependence on the God who created you and truly does have your best interest in mind? The God who formed you in the womb with a plan and purpose for your life? The God who redeemed us to Himself through the sacrifice of His Son, Jesus, so that we could have REAL HOPE for eternal life? No politician – of any party – can ever offer you that.

– Break Transcript –

Scripture has a lot to say about hope. In the book of Psalms, David asks himself this question:

Why are you cast down, O my soul, and why are you in turmoil within me? Hope in God; for I shall again praise him, my salvation and my God.

~ Psalms 42:5, 42:11, 43:5 [ESV]

Again, how downcast do we allow ourselves to become when our candidate doesn’t come out on top? Yes, whether we think the election was legitimate or rigged. Where is our hope? In the man? In the election process? In the powers of our government? Or are we hopeful in God, who cannot be ousted from His rightful place in heaven?

Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God.

~ Romans 5:2 [ESV]

This passage tells us that it is through Jesus that we have been given access to grace, and it is this grace that sustains us – not a government program or subsidy. God is our provider, not some politician. And we should be rejoicing in the hope we have in Him, rather than being all negative and acting like we’re all in big trouble now that so-and-so is president. How short-sighted is that thinking?! And how pitiful if our hope is based on who’s in office rather than on He who is on the throne of glory.

Do we really have to remind ourselves of where our hope lies? Time and time again, we can find ourselves acting like we’ve forgotten this most basic of biblical lessons. When we lose a battle or our plans somehow fail, we revert to our carnal nature of doubt and hopelessness. For Christians, that should never be. But when it does, we need to remember these truths.

When his breath departs, he returns to the earth; on that very day his plans perish. Blessed is he whose help is the God of Jacob, whose hope is in the Lord his God, who made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them, who keeps faith forever…

Psalm 146:4-6 [ESV]

See, eventually we all die and return to the ground from which we were made. Whatever plans we may have had for the future will fall by the wayside, but God’s plans always see fruition. When our hope is in the Lord our God who made everything – including us – His blessings on us are assured, both during and after this life. Our faith can endure in spite of all circumstance if our hope is in Him. If bound to this life and the corruptible things within it, hope will fail us. But that doesn’t happen when our hope is in the eternal.

For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people, training us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age, waiting for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness and to purify for himself a people for his own possession who are zealous for good works.

Titus 2:11-14 [ESV]

So this scripture says that God has given us His grace – the grace to live this life in a righteous manner despite the ungodliness around us – and He brought the gift of salvation for all people. This is to be our hope. Not material things. Not any of the ungodly or worldly desires of the flesh. Instead, we are to renounce such things, living our lives in obedience to God and in waiting for our “blessed hope” to appear. What is that? The promise of glory, the return of Christ, and the deliverance from this life into one that is eternal. In light of this, our hope is in Him, and we ought to have great zeal to do good works in His name.

Furthermore, we should realize that any hope in things of this world is a fading or passing hope because this world is passing away. That is a dead hope, which is really no hope at all. In a world that denies God, the belief is that after this life is over, we’re done. That’s it. We just cease to exist. Our hope is not a dead one, but a living one, with faith that we will live forever with the Lord.

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you…

1 Peter 1:3-4 [ESV]

Again, we see that OUR HOPE is grounded in the gift of salvation through Jesus and the promise of everlasting life. Because of what Christ did for us, we hold on to a living hope – and we have an inheritance that will not perish, cannot be defiled or corrupted or plundered, and will never fade away. Our hope is not merely in this life, but also in the one to come. And it is Jesus Himself who is our ever-present, living, and eternal hope.

– Break Transcript –

This is why, as believers, we should stand out from other people in the world. He have a hope that can’t be squashed. You can hope for a better job, a better car, a nicer house, or for a certain person to be elected to an office. But when that thing you hope for doesn’t happen, you can end up losing all hope if you’re not careful. Your ultimate hope can’t simply rest on the things of this life or on a human being who can fail you. That’s a recipe for a miserable existence. You’d better get used to disappointment if that’s your idea of hope.

But no, we should be different. As Christians, the world should look at us and go, “Why are they always so hopeful? How on earth are they smiling and happy? What is it that keeps them in such a good mood even when things are going bad?” Because your positive witness to them will lead them to say, “I want whatever it is that they have.” And then, we can introduce them to Jesus – our everlasting source of hope.

And when the opportunity to witness comes, we need to be ready. They’re gonna have doubts. They’re gonna have questions. They’re gonna need to hear from your experiences that there is real hope in Christ. And God’s Word tells us to always be ready to give reason for the hope we have.

…in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect…

1 Peter 3:15 [ESV]

When offering our reasons for this hope in Christ, the manner in which we speak to the non-believer is crucial. We can’t just say, “Well, I’m a Christian, so I have real hope.” Where’s the explanation in that? Where’s the God-like love and compassion? No, our witness needs to be genuine, personal, and have real-world application to the life of the one we’re sharing Jesus with. More like, “Well, this is where I was when I found a better way. This is how beginning a relationship with Jesus changed my life. This is the hope I have and why I have it. This is how God made Himself real to me. And this is something you can have, too.” And fill in the blanks there with your own personal story of how the Savior gave you a hope that endures every circumstance.

We live in a world that seems to be without hope. It’s a world that too often puts its trust in corruptible things and people. Sometimes, we ourselves fall into this carnal trap. But there IS hope. And this hope is for all mankind. Christ came to make things new, to save the lost, and to redeem us to the Father. And the hope He gives us isn’t merely for this life.

If in Christ we have hope in this life only, we are of all people most to be pitied.

1 Corinthians 15:19 [ESV]

Indeed, the hope we have is not rooted in the temporary things of this world, but in the eternal things of the life to come. We have the hope of salvation, yes, but it’s also a hope of everlasting life – a hope that there’s so much more to our existence than what this life has to offer. There is a life to come that will last forever, where everything will be renewed, and where we’ll have new and glorified bodies that will never succumb to disease or death. THIS is the hope we have. And it is available to everyone who would believe in Jesus, accept His gifts of salvation and eternal life, and follow in His ways. And unlike most campaign promises, God’s promises are “Yes” and “Amen.”

– End Transcript –

Listen to the podcast HERE

Episode 41: Stay or Go? Making Sense of the Social Media Exodus

Listen to the podcast HERE

– Begin Transcript –

A couple of episodes back, we talked about the purging of conservative voices by Big Tech. But there has been a voluntary exodus from several of the big social media platforms, as well. Many people who are fed up with the censorship are opting to leave Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube, in favor of less restrictive platforms like MeWe, Parler, and Rumble. Of course, Parler users were stripped of their voices when Apple and Google dumped the app from their smartphones and Amazon kicked the popular platform off of their web servers. Parler may be back at some point after being forced to build their own servers from the ground up, but the cancel-card has been played – and so a lot of the disenfranchised are trying to unplug themselves from those who have been stifling their free speech.

While I understand the frustration and even the utter disgust some folks are experiencing, and I’ve considered disconnecting myself from media giants like Facebook and Twitter, I believe there is more to consider here. There are several simultaneous attempts going on right now to separate us socially. These efforts are being waged on multiple fronts. We talked in the last episode about healing the divisions between us, but how can we do that if we give in to the pressure to just up and leave all the outlets that want us as conservatives gone anyway? Aren’t we playing into their hands and allowing them to divide us further by leaving their platforms on our own?

Then there is the matter of how these Big Tech companies gather tons of personal data about us and sell it to advertisers for marketing purposes. They can get away with this because, simply by having an account with them, we have already given up our right to keep that accessible data private. Where we shop, where we eat, what our favorite music is, our marital status, the number of family members we have, our photos, where we live – all this stuff and a lot more is trackable online and companies like Google, Amazon, Facebook, and Twitter have access and share every last detail. Now, THAT kinda makes ya wanna go off the grid, doesn’t it?

Stick around. I’m Stace Massengill, and this is the Kingdom Hero Blogcast.

– Show Intro –

Long before all of this heavy censorship started happening, I thought many times about deleting my Facebook account. My reasoning back then was all about just wanting to unplug. I began to realize how much of my time was being spent on social media, and it was disturbing. I started trying to think of ways to ween myself off of it, but it quickly became obvious that this had developed into a full-blown addiction. Worse than that, Facebook had become a monster that had its tentacles in almost every major aspect of my life. Suddenly, deleting my Facebook account showed itself to be a virtual impossibility.

There are probably 20 things I do in service to my church that are dependent upon my access through Facebook. We have Messenger Groups through Facebook that I use for communication with – for example – my Audio Visual Crew. We have a Facebook Church Page AND a Group Page there for communicating with regular attendees. The church website is interlinked through Facebook. It’s all so interconnected that, if I were to delete my account, I’d lose administrative access to all that church stuff I’m involved in. Not to mention, the church also has a Twitter account.

So for me, simply leaving Facebook is NOT currently an option. And, as I said, voluntarily removing my own conservative voice from the platform would be playing into their hands. Shouldn’t I rather remain there and continue to offer an alternative view – a conservative and a Christian view – for as long as I can? If I am going to be a witness for Christ, I need to be where the mission field is. When they try to censor me for speaking the truth, should I just give up and leave? No, I don’t think so. Why should I make it easy for them to silence me?

Matthew 5

(Jesus speaking) 10 “Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. 11 Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. 12 Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.”

In other words, we should not shrink back from demonstrating righteousness to the world. Many will surely revile us for it, give us a hard time, even make fun of us – but when that happens, we are to count it as a good thing to be hated for Christ’s sake.

13 “You are the salt of the earth, but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trampled under people’s feet.”

Now let’s apply this to concept of being salt through our social media accounts. There we can do more good than we realize just by living out a Godly example in front of others. If we simply remove ourselves from the picture, who will be salt for those who need it?

14 “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. 15 Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. 16 In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.”

We should be like that city on a hill that can be seen far and wide. If we remove ourselves and our light from those who need it, who then will be the light that helps them to see the truth?

When you look at it this way, you start to see that a lot more good can come from remaining in an area – or a social network – than from abandoning it. That’s kinda like conceding defeat and granting territory to the enemy. Now, if they steal that ground from you and kick you off or censor you – that’s on them. But willingly giving it up to them? I just can’t see how that’s a viable option.

I will say this, though. I have opened up alternate accounts with other platforms – namely, MeWe and Parler. But that serves two purposes: 1) Those are my backup plans for if and when I get tossed from Facebook and Twitter. 2) By having accounts on other platforms, I’m widening my horizons and deepening my mission field. I’ll admit that I was once all for dumping the big social media giants in favor of the other guys who don’t censor my content. But now, no. Leaving a mission field to be taken over by the enemy? Nuh-uh. Not me. I’m not ready to sound the retreat.

– Break Transcript –

Okay, what about all the data mining done by these big companies? They get access to pictures and all kinds of personal information through social media and web tracking – how can I hope to maintain any kind of privacy? Now THAT is a good question, and there ARE answers – if you’re willing to pay a little something for the service.

But before I get into that, I know there are a lot of you saying, “What? Something else to cost me money?” Hey, I feel ya. You may not want to shell out your hard-earned income, but that depends on how important it is to you to hang on to some semblance of privacy. I’ll build the case for this in a bit, but right now I wanna give you a few tips that won’t cost you anything except some time.

Limiting your exposure to the internet is key, but that seems more and more difficult to do nowadays. We do pretty much everything online. Banking, shopping, communicating, paying bills – you name it. So let’s start with your smartphone. If you’re like me, every photo you take with your smartphone gets automatically uploaded to a web server so that you don’t lose it. Google Photos is one of the more common apps that does this for you. However, once Google has this access to your photos, it’s potentially accessible to anyone and everyone online. Wanna put a stop to that? Go into your phone’s settings and disconnect or discontinue Google’s access to your photo gallery.

Let’s talk about social media’s access to your photos and information. When you sign up for, say, a Facebook account, the sign up process that you are prompted through will guide you in such a way that – if you’re not paying very close attention, which most people don’t – you’ll be giving Facebook access to everything you do there. The default settings give them permission to gather your pictures and other data for whatever purposes they see fit. And if you’ve already been with them for a while, they don’t seem too forthcoming or user friendly when it comes to changing those privacy settings. But given a little time, you can go into those settings – making sure you investigate every nook and cranny – and change what information is visible to who. Still, it’s a tedious process to make any real changes, and it might be easier to delete the account and start over from scratch.

Obviously, this is not ideal. There are ways to limit what stuff can be seen, and you can do it for free, but it can take a lot of time. There are plenty of us who just don’t have the patience for all that. This is what sometimes makes me want to just delete every social media account I have and avoid all of it. But, oh yeah, I can’t delete my accounts and still do what I do for the church. Besides, getting rid of all your social media accounts would only be part of protecting your data. You’d also have to get rid of all your search history, shopping history, browsing history, all the tracking cookies on your computers and smartphones – and on and on it goes. Today, it is pretty much impossible to completely unplug.

That’s where certain pay services come in. What do you know about VPNs? If you’re like most people – absolutely nothing, right? VPN stands for Virtual Private Network, and this is something that can mask/hide/encrypt everything you do while connected to the internet. There are many different companies who offer this service. For a relatively small monthly, 6-month, or yearly fee, you can have a VPN protect all your online devices – smartphones, tablets, computers. Now before I start sounding too much like a commercial here, hey, I’m just saying that you might find it worth your while to look into it. I won’t bore you with a bunch of details about how a VPN works, but aside from keeping your data safe and private, there are other benefits to using one as well. But, I’ll let you do the research on that.

The point is, for most of us, our data is already out there. It’s kinda hard to put the genie back in the bottle, so-to-speak. But if you really want to get serious about protecting your privacy, anything that’s truly effective and worthwhile is gonna cost you something – period.

– Break Transcript –

So… Stay or go? Given all we’ve discussed today, you may be thinking that you’d have been better off if you’d never opened a social media account…or an Amazon account…or if you’d never bought a smartphone…or a computer. But these technological gadgets and modern marvels and tap-to-buy services are just so convenient, right? And once you have it, you very rapidly become so dependent upon it that you can’t imagine not having it.

A long time ago, it was automobiles. And indoor plumbing. Then it was electricity. And radio. Then television. And stereo sound. Then color TV. And high-definition TV. And, oooh, surround sound. Then home computers. Not so long ago, it was pagers. Then mobile phones. Eventually, it was smartphones – which is essentially a powerful computer that fits in your pocket. With each new thing, there quickly came the feeling of, “How on earth did I EVER do without this!?!” And so, separating ourselves from it doesn’t seem possible.

There are some things that we could do without. And if we had no choice, we’d find a way to survive without these modern gizmos we’ve become so attached to. All it takes is one strong EMP blast. An electromagnetic pulse would knock out everything electrical – temporarily, at least. Can you imagine how most of us would respond to something like that? Especially the youngest generation who’s had smartphones and computers around for literally their entire lives. “Dad, the wifi is down.” “No, it’s not just the wifi. it’s everything electrical.” “Well, can we watch TV?” “Uhm, no. That requires electricity.” “Ugh. Can I drive over to Janie’s house?” “Nope, the car won’t run either.” Talk about mayhem.

But as long as we have these conveniences, we’ll keep using them. It’s part of our reality now. This is the way it is. And privacy is becoming less and less of an actual thing. If you feel compelled to erase your online existence, good luck to ya. That won’t be easy, if even possible. If you want to delete your Facebook or Twitter accounts, that’s your prerogative. But it’s not the most practical way to get back any privacy you’ve lost. And if you’re motivation for joining the mass exodus from social media giants is political or out of frustration with all the censorship, again, it’s your prerogative. But in the midst of all the cancel culture, why would you cancel yourself?

If our voices are to be heard, leaving Facebook or Twitter isn’t the answer. If you were a missionary to, say, South America, and you met with some opposition there… Would you just up and leave? Would you give up and abandon the mission field just because of it? Or would you pray harder and seek for God’s wisdom and the courage to endure? Don’t give up the fight, my friends. Remain steadfast in the faith, no matter what the opposition says or does.

Ephesians 6

13 Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm.

Folks, don’t give in, and don’t give up. Put on God’s armor, pray and ask Him to help you stand up for what’s right – to be salt and light to the world, just as He has commanded us. And when you’ve done everything else you can do…hold firmly to your faith and to God’s promises. Refuse to be moved or shaken by all that’s going on around you – and simply STAND.

– End Transcript –

Listen to the podcast HERE

Episode 40: Bridging the Divide

Listen to the podcast HERE

– Begin Transcript –

Welcome to the Kingdom Hero Blogcast. I’m your host, Stace Massengill. On this episode, I’d like to build on some of what we’ve been discussing in the last couple of shows – that is, keeping things in the right perspective and trying to see others the way God sees them, and hopefully, showing more love and grace to those around us – particularly, the ones we tend to be at odds with. We want to recognize that our true enemy will use any and every tool at his disposal to try and cause division, especially within the church. If he can cause a falling out between brothers and sisters in Christ, it gives him an opportunity to destroy and demolish our efforts to grow the Kingdom. So how do we stop this? How do we recognize what’s really at work when we’re in the heat of debate or argument with our fellow believer? And how might we apply this to the divide between us and those who may not believe, but instead staunchly oppose us? How can we hope to overcome the things that tend to separate us? That’s the topic of today’s show… Let’s get to it.

– Show Intro –

Having been in the church practically my entire life, I have seen time and time again when petty disputes have caused giant rifts within the body of believers. It’s always a tragic thing when it happens. It doesn’t have to stem from some huge philosophical difference of opinion; it can be about something as minor as what color carpet is used in the auditorium. Seriously. The smallest of things can trigger a ridiculously large argument that the devil uses to tear the church apart. He absolutely loves doing that.

Let me give you a common scenario… Let’s say the worship team is practicing for the Sunday morning service, and a couple of the team members have differing ideas of how a song should be done. Or, they disagree about who should sing lead. Or maybe, they just have personalities that sometimes rub each other the wrong way. This is even more common when there are several family members serving together on the team because our filters are more likely to be off when talking to family. I’ve seen it a lot, even between my own brother and myself. Whatever the dispute in this scenario, if it is allowed to go unchecked and uncorrected, it can not only adversely affect the spiritual atmosphere of the practice session, but it can even cause one or more team members to storm out and never return. This would have devastating effects on the rest of the worship team, and those waves can ripple into the rest of the church and cause more damage.

Now in this particular scenario, one of the first things that needs to happen is that, the entire praise team should be made to remember why they are there. It’s not about opinions, and it’s not about any individual on the team. It’s about Jesus. The worship team exists for a specific purpose – to bring the congregation into an attitude of worship to God, and to lead them in praises to Him. It is a privilege and a solemn duty to serve in such a capacity, and so it should be treated that way. Everything else is just noise. Anything that causes discord is to be avoided or squashed when it happens. And this translates to any other situation where division arises in the church.

Sunday school teachers may argue over the curriculum, church board members may disagree about leadership decisions, or someone who attends regularly might get upset that someone else is sitting in their seat. It’s really sad the things that we will sometimes let get in the way of just coming to church and worshiping our Savior as we ought.

So what can we do to avoid that? Or what can we do to fix it when it happens? Yeah, we have to recognize it as an attack from hell – but how can we make sure our perspective is such that we CAN see it for what it really is? What are the symptoms to look out for when a potential source of division is approaching? And what are the core causes?

One benefit of having been in church for the better part of 50 years now is that I’ve learned to recognize certain situations that arise as possible triggers of division. That being said, I can still be blinded in a given moment by my own circumstances. Remember the instance I recently shared with you about getting corrected by my pastor when I spoke some words in response to a musician at church? This man made a comment that set me off a little bit, and I replied with a smart-elic tone, “I know dude, I’ve been doing this for over 30 years.” In that moment, I succumbed to my own pride and spoke in a way that could have angered or hurt my brother in Christ. Thankfully, my pastor was there to help me see my error. But how many times have we allowed pride or personal circumstances to cloud our vision and then used words or a tone that we shouldn’t have used?

So here, we have recognized a couple of core causes of divisive disputes: pride and short-sightedness. These are common, and they’re inter-related. How can we avoid these things? Number one – persistent prayer. Especially if you see that these are things that you struggle with more often that you’d like to admit. Daily one-on-one time with God is essential to every believer, and we need to be asking Him to help us with our communication skills and how we relate with others.

And if you’re really having a hard time with pride and failing to see how your words affect those around you, go deeper. Don’t just pray. Fervently pray. And fast. Spend time seeking God’s assistance in this matter. Wait for Him to speak to your heart. He might compel you to pray for that person you keep butting heads with. Perhaps you need to alter your perspective. Let God lead you. And don’t let up your prayers until you have an answer. Demonstrate to God (for your own benefit) how important this is to you, and ask Him to help you show grace in those times when that person pushes all your buttons.

1 John 4:20-21

If anyone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen. And this commandment we have from him: whoever loves God must also love his brother.

You may say, “I don’t HATE him. I just don’t get along with him.” Realize there’s no middle ground here. If you don’t hate your brother in Christ, then you love him, right? You know we’re called to love one another. You know that the Bible tells us that’s how people will know that we are Christians – when they see our love for one another. But when that person gets on your last nerve, do you respond by showing the love you have? Or do you bitterly and pridefully respond in a way that seems more indicative of hate?

Think about this… Love is like a healing balm that mends what’s broken and binds up what’s wounded. Hatred, on the other hand, breaks and rips apart that which should be undivided. The one you practice is the one that you will cultivate and perfect. Which one are you practicing? Love? Or hate?

– Break Transcript –

So far, we have brought to light some things within our own attitudes that can cause division: pride and short-sightedness. But there are other things that can be sources of division. Today we see things like class-warfare, politics, and race causing large chasms between people. How do we bridge those divides?

The same concept we just talked about should be the answer to that – LOVE. But it seems to be even tougher sometimes to love someone who appears to be so diametrically opposed to us. When we know there’s something we should be doing, but we are struggling to do it, what is the appropriate tactic? We mentioned this earlier. If you’re having a really hard time doing the right thing, go deeper. Get more determined about it. Pray harder. Fast. Fervently seek God’s help, and don’t let up until you get what you need. Show the Lord you truly want to do His will, and ask Him to help you do that.

Now you may say, “I’m doing all I know how to show grace and love to this person, but he is just so stubborn.” Understand that it’s not up to you to change that person’s heart. You may not even be able to convince him that you love him and don’t view him as your enemy. Your responsibility as a Christian is simply to love, show grace, and let the Holy Spirit do the work that you can’t. We are seed sowers, but it is the Spirit if God who waters those seeds and causes them to grow. We can’t allow ourselves to be discouraged when we don’t see the change we hope for. Leave that in God’s hands. Just love.

Keep in mind Jesus’ parable of the sower…

Matthew 13:3-9

“A sower went out to sow. And as he sowed, some seeds fell along the path, and the birds came and devoured them. Other seeds fell on rocky ground, where they did not have much soil, and immediately they sprang up, since they had no depth of soil, but when the sun rose they were scorched. And since they had no root, they withered away. Other seeds fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up and choked them. Other seeds fell on good soil and produced grain, some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty. He who has ears, let him hear.”

When we sow – when we truly show the love and grace of God to everyone, regardless of how they treat us – we must realize the end result of our sowing isn’t up to us. As I’ve said, it is the Holy Spirit that does the work after we have done what we are supposed to do. But it is also largely up to the fertility of the soil in which the seed lands. If that person we treat as we ought doesn’t possess the receptiveness or the depth of good soil, his or her heart may remain hard and unchanged. That seed may not ever grow there at all. But in our charge to love others, there is no exception.

And, besides – love is unlike any ordinary seed. To love is divine. Love is the kind of seed that has success where others do not. Whether or not we ever see the end result, love is more likely to cause lasting change in people’s hearts than anything else. Even when it falls on ground that is hard and dry, love has the innate ability to break through the toughest of surfaces. And when the Holy Spirit waters that seed, miraculous change can happen. Why else would Jesus tell His disciples that love is the greatest commandment? There is power in it that can conquer anything – including the hardened heart of someone who seems to disagree with you on everything.

Matthew 5:43-46

(Jesus said in the sermon on the mount) “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven. For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. For if you (only) love those who love you, what reward do you have?”

Here again, we see that we are not only to love those it’s easy to love, but we are also to love those that it seems much harder to love. There is greater reward in it. And moreover, this passage says to pray for those who persecute you. That’s not easy either, but that’s what Jesus tells us to do. God doesn’t withhold the sunshine or rain from the unrighteous, and so we shouldn’t withhold love and grace from anyone – no matter who they are.

Whatever things tend to divide us, we can bridge the divide with love – real love – the Agape love that God has for us in spite of our flaws is precisely the kind of love we should have for everyone else. Nothing else we possess matters as much as that. We can be rich or poor, republican or democrat, black or white, or anything in between. Love is our most important attribute.

1 Corinthians 13:1-3

If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give away all I have, and if I deliver up my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing.

This passage from the Love Chapter very clearly states that, without love, all the other talents and abilities and riches and accomplishments just fall flat and amount to nothing. You may have enough wealth to be financially set for life, but if you don’t have real love in your heart, you will never be truly happy. You might possess the greatest singing voice of anyone who ever lived, but if a Godly love for people isn’t a part of your character, your voice may as well be like the sound of braying donkeys. I could be the CEO of a large company that does business around the world, or the president and leader of a mighty nation, but that will count for absolutely nothing when I face eternity – all that will matter then is whether or not I followed Christ’s example in showing love, both for God the Father and for my fellow man. And without love, I will never bridge any divide.

The things that separate us are many, but only ONE thing can foster unity – and that’s LOVE.

– Break Transcript –

This concept that we’ve been discussing today – that love is the thing that can bridge the gaps and overcome the things that separate us – this is a central theme in the Word of God. In fact, you can’t talk about the things of God without talking about love. You cannot say you have a relationship with God unless you possess love. The two are inseparable.

1 John 4:8

Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love.

The old testament book of Deuteronomy speaks of the need to circumcise your heart when talking about loving God. As you likely know, circumcision can be quite painful. And the necessity for having a circumcised heart means there has to be a cutting away of things like pride and a self-serving carnal nature that impedes our ability to love like we’re supposed to. Anything that gets in the way or prevents us from having love in our hearts is also precluding us from truly having God in our hearts. Again, God is love.

So, how do we know that love can really build a bridge? Where’s the evidence of that? When in scripture do we see that being the case? As I just said a moment ago, this concept is a central theme in the Bible. In fact, it’s at the very heart of the gospel message. That message is a message of the great love of God.

1 John 4:10

In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.

This word, propitiation, indicates that there was a price that had to be paid to redeem us from sin. The cost of sin is death, and Jesus paid that price for us when He took up the cross and suffered the humiliation of crucifixion. This act put us back into favor and good standing with God the Father, and that was the ultimate act of love. That love bridged the divide that sin had caused between us and God.

Romans 5:8

God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

This is a sacrificial love. It’s an ever-lasting love. It’s a selfless love. What Christ did on the cross is the greatest example of love we could ever have.

John 15:13

Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends.

Think about this. How willing do you think you would be to give up your life for someone who is an atheist, a rank sinner, someone who’s guilty of crimes worthy of death? By all rights, that person deserves to die. But suppose you were given the opportunity to sacrifice yourself in that sinner’s place. Now perhaps I could imagine myself in this hypothetical situation and think, “I’m right with God, so if I die, I’ll be with the Lord. And this man who doesn’t know Jesus would have a chance to get saved.” Sure, I could think that. But in matter of fact, nah, probably not. I dare say, to my own shame, that I would likely not feel terribly inclined to step in and say, “Hey, let me die in his place.” But that is exactly what Jesus did for us.

The bar is set pretty high, my friends. The love that we are commanded to have is an awfully big thing. It’s a tough row to hoe for anyone who’s more focused on self than on others. It’s a difficult concept to grasp for those who care more about winning an argument than winning a soul. It’s hard to love someone if you’re judging rather than witnessing. But that Godly, self-sacrificing kind of love is exactly what is needed to overcome the things that separate us and bridge those divides that seem otherwise insurmountable.

Love really is the answer, folks. It doesn’t matter if the chasm is caused by differing opinions within the church body, or if it’s caused by differing political views. The division might be due to opposing social stances, or even something as ridiculously petty as skin color. Whatever it is, love is the key to mending every rift – no matter how huge it may seem. The world has its own way of doing things, but we are to hold ourselves to a higher standard. As Christians, we should be bridge-builders. And love is the way to get it done.

If you are struggling with hurt feelings between you and a fellow believer, or if you are having difficulty finding it within yourself to show grace and love to that person who pushes all your buttons, talk to God. Pray hard. Commit to a fast with the intent to seek God and His will. Demonstrate your willingness to change yourself and to be molded by the Lord – not to prove something to Him, but for the sake of disciplining yourself. Fervently pray, read God’s Word, and seek for answers. Ask Him to fill you with love for your fellow man, even for those who oppose you. And determine yourself to not let up until you get what you need.

I feel led today to close this episode with prayer. So, please, pray with me now…

Heavenly Father, thank You for Your great love. Thank You for sending Jesus to die in my place. Thank You for demonstrating this concept of love as an example to me. Now Lord, I ask that You would continue to mold me and make me into the man of God that I should be. I ask for Your help in living a life that is pleasing to You. Lord, let me show the same abundance of love and grace to others that You have so mercifully shown to me. And when I encounter a divide, give me the strength and courage and the depth of love to build a bridge, God. Help me to be a peace-maker, a seed-sower, a bridge-builder, and a soul-winner. And please help me in those times when I feel the pull to pridefully argue with my brothers in Christ to remember my place – that it’s not about me but about You, and that love is the more excellent way. Let me see others the way You see them, and with the measure of love that You have for them. Thank You, Lord, for hearing my prayer. And may my spirit always be ready to give You praise, for You are so worthy, God. You are my King and my source and my provider, and I give You glory. In Your Holy name… Amen.

– End Transcript –

Listen to the podcast HERE

Episode 39: Cancel Culture – Kissing Free Speech Goodbye

Listen to the podcast HERE

– Begin Transcript –

Welcome to another edition of the Kingdom Hero Blogcast. I’m your host, Stace Massengill. It appears that the purge has begun. Big Tech wasted no time after the certification of the electoral votes (illegitimately or otherwise) confirmed Joe Biden as the next president. Even though it was antifa members posing as Trump supporters that stormed the capital building – waved on in by DC police, who are bought and paid for by the left – Trump was blamed, and platforms Facebook and Twitter immediately suspended his accounts indefinitely. Indeed, the cancel culture we’ve been seeing for some time now is pushing into full “purge” mode. Conservative voices have been muzzled in the recent past, but now it seems to be rapidly escalating.

It’s not enough that these leftist entities are kicking conservatives off of their platforms, but they want to silence us completely. Efforts are being made to ensure that our voices have NO outlet that isn’t controlled by these Big Tech companies. Apple and Google have both gotten rid of Parler, for example, which is similar in format to Twitter but doesn’t censor your posts according to leftist standards. And rest assured, folks, this is only the beginning. The left does not believe in free speech, rather they want to promote their narrative only, and anyone who opposes them is labeled antagonist, racist, hateful, and gets censored outright. Period.

But freedom is a concept that runs deep in the heart of the average red-blooded American. It is a notion that cannot easily be stomped out. True freedom isn’t something that’s found in any of our founding documents. In fact, it’s a state of mind that can never be taken away. We’ll talk about this and more on the show today, so stick around!

– Show Intro –

I want to start this show by reading a few comments I have here from people in America who are frustrated and disheartened by what’s been happening lately in our country. And these are pretty typical of those of us on the “right” who consider ourselves to be conservative and simply want our values to be held as high and recognized as just as legitimate as anyone else’s views. Let me just read you some of these…

“This system is broken.. I’m tired of being bullied and being told that my logical thinking is wrong.” – Krystle

“I don’t trust anyone in the government or news.” – Michelle

“Unbelievable that they called this a riot when for the past year they called ANTIFA and BLM a peaceful protest.” – Rob (regarding Jan 6 gathering in Washington, DC)

“The very large majority of the protest was peaceful but no one talks about that.” – Sheila (about same)

“Still believe it was ANTIFA dressed up.” – Doctor V (regarding the so-called assault on the capitol building)

“WATCH THE VIDEO A POLICEMAN LET THE PEOPLE IN IT WAS A SET-UP BY THE DEEP-STATE” – Anderson

In fact, I did see the video that clearly showed some DC police waving protesters on up toward the capitol building. It did seem to be organized and allowed to happen for the purpose of painting Trump supporters in a bad light. Make no mistake, the people who were attempting to breech barricaded doorways were NOT representative of the 75 million people who voted for Trump – but that’s what they want everyone to think.

And there is a clear double-standard when it comes to the mainstream media’s reporting of BLM and Antifa riots as opposed to any of the peaceful protests or gatherings of true Trump supporters. Remember just a few months ago when the reporter was saying, “Yeah, it’s mostly a peaceful protest,” while cars and buildings were on fire behind him? This was the same incident – a BLM riot – in which retired St. Louis police captain David Dorn (a 77-year-old black man) was shot and killed while he was trying to prevent the looting of local businesses. They called that a peaceful protest? Really?

But this is no longer new. We know this happens all the time – this double-standard – and there isn’t much that surprises us anymore. And people are tired of it. They’re fed up. But at the same time, there has been this attempt to keep us quiet. The leftist propaganda complex – the mainstream media – has been attempting to condition us for years and years to accept without question the narrative they put before us, and we’re supposed to treat it like gospel. Don’t dare speak out against it or try to provide a logical reason for believing anything to the contrary, lest you be lambasted by them for being an idiotic simpleton who’s been duped by the radical right-wing.

And everything they on the left accuse their opponents of doing is exactly what they themselves are doing. They accused Trump of colluding with Russia, when it was Biden who boasted about his own collusion with the Ukraine on behalf of his son Hunter. They have accused Trump of inciting violence, when he has explicitly called for peaceful activity from his base – meanwhile, it was those on the left who were calling for violence and unrest. Examples? Here ya go…

On 8/15/2020, Democrat Rep. Ayanna Pressley called for targeting GOP officials with “unrest in the streets.” [cut 1]

In June of 2018, Democrat Rep. Maxine Waters openly encouraged people to bully Trump cabinet members and tell them “you’re not welcome here.” [cut 2]

And remember when Hillary Clinton defended the violent rioters who were burning and looting in October of 2018? [cut 3]

Here’s Democrat Cory Booker in July of 2018. [cut 4]

Let’s go back to February of 2017, here’s Democrat Senator Tim Kaine. [cut 5]

Right after Trump was sworn in as POTUS, this was Madonna speaking on January 22, 2017, about wanting to blow up the White House. [cut 6]

Still more hatred here from actor Alec Baldwin, who called for overthrowing the government of Donald Trump. [cut 7]

And this stuff just goes on and on. We don’t have the time to play every example of this vehement garbage from the left – we’d be here all week. Comedian Kathy Griffin released that video of herself holding up what was designed to look like the bloody severed head of President Trump. Joe Biden himself said he wished he and Trump were in high school so he could take him out behind the gym. Suffice to say, they can totally get away with things like this – but when a Trump supporter so much as looks at one of these people, they start saying they felt threatened or intimidated by those hateful Trumpsters. It’s ridiculous.

Anything and everything those on the left want to say or do is perfectly fine and is to be considered an exercise in free speech. But for those of us who disagree with them to hold opposing views, there is no freedom of speech. Remember what happened to Roseanne? Her tweet, if posted by anyone on the left, wouldn’t have made any headlines. But since she was an outspoken supporter of Donald Trump, she was accused of being racist and ABC fired her from her own newly revived TV show. That’s cancel culture. And it’s a cancerous disease that is infecting and spreading rapidly through our society. If allowed to continue, it will no doubt destroy our way of life entirely.

– Break Transcript –

Now, here’s a question: Since Trump is slated to be out of the White House within the next few days anyway, why are democrats so hell-bent on silencing him now and even talking impeachment again? What do you suppose they are afraid of? What possible threat can he be to them now? Perhaps a better question: What dirt might he have on them that they are desperate to keep hidden?

The corruption in DC has existed for longer than many people may think, and the recent election fraud is only the latest example. It’s been like this for a very long time. The corruption on both sides of the aisle isn’t a new thing by any means. But it was Trump who started shining a light on a lot of it. He was elected to “drain the swamp.” And he did expose some things, but the corruption we’ve seen only scratches the surface. Because of this, the establishment-types – democrat and republican alike – have fought hard against Trump from the outset.

You know you’re doing good when you catch flack from the opposition. And for the last 4 years, Trump’s opposition has been unhinged. As soon as he was elected, they fought him. False claims of collusion, phony accusations that he was a Russian asset, the fake dossier, the impeachment proceedings, with lie after lie they tried to take him down. He came out of all of it, exonerated, clean, and still they fought him. We just heard moments ago some of the seeds of upheaval and unrest his enemies tried to sow during his presidency – let’s hear all of those again… [cuts 1 – 7]

And there was so much more. They hated Trump more than anyone ever hated anyone ever before. They didn’t try even once to work with him on anything. They fought against him at every turn, the media painted him as a racist and a bully, and he survived it all. Unlike the typical corrupt politicians who made millions of dollars as career politicians, Donald Trump put his millions aside and took absolutely ZERO dollars as president, donating every bit of his presidential salary to charities. Unlike the typical corrupt politicians who flip-flop their stance on issues, Donald Trump’s love for his country was a constant his entire life and into his presidency, and he remained firm and unwavering in his principles.

Is Trump perfect? Absolutely not. But none of us are. People who criticize him for his shortcomings ignore his incredible achievements. Greatest economy in US history, lowest unemployment in US history, job growth so great that even minorities were enjoying the lowest unemployment rate ever. He brokered peace deals that no one ever thought possible. North Korea, the Middle East, everyone was willing to come to the table. The wall that everyone said couldn’t be built went up to secure our southern border. Every promise he made, he kept, unlike any politician before him. In fact, he wasn’t a politician at all in the traditional sense – and THAT’S why people voted for him!

People are sick and tired of the corruption and the direction our country was headed before Trump. And his opponents had no way to legitimately overcome the will of the people. So, yes, I believe whole-heartedly that they cheated. A rigged election is the only way to explain all the discrepancies and odd happenings during the 2020 election. Hundreds of sworn affidavits and testimony of fraudulent activities – all very real, but all very ignored by the mainstream media and refuted by phony fact-checkers paid by Big Tech. People know it, and they are right to be upset by it. But when we speak out about it, we get censored and cancelled and labeled as liars and troublemakers.

So, what are we supposed to do? One thing is certain: We can’t be silent. But there is more to consider here than the corruption of man. Again, that’s been around since Eden. Throughout history, we see where man has allowed himself to be corrupted by greed, power, and carnal desires. It’s not new. But we should be careful that our focus isn’t simply on fighting back. We have to understand that the evil that exists in the world isn’t just a physical enemy that we can punch with a fist or shoot with a gun. Yes, as Christians, we know this very well, but we tend to push that knowledge aside when we get enraged by sociopolitical issues. Everything becomes emotionally driven, and we must avoid that.

All the terrible things we see happening today that are caused by the actions of people in power – there is a sinister influence at work behind the scenes. The forces of wickedness in the spiritual realm are tugging at the puppet strings of those we see doing awful things. When we recognize that, we can begin to formulate an appropriate strategy. And there is instruction for this found in the Bible. It’s like the soldier’s handbook we got in basic training. It tells us everything that we need to know, battle tactics, how to defend ourselves, and how to overcome the enemy.

I have said previously that, the majority of the battles we face in this life will be won from our knees in prayer. Is there a time to wage a literal war against tyranny? Certainly. But we need wisdom to do the right thing in the right time. And our source for true wisdom – the wisdom above any other – is found in our relationship with God. In order to keep the right perspective when facing adversity, we need daily doses of God’s presence in our lives. This goes back to what I discussed in the last episode on prayer and fasting. Give that a listen if you haven’t already.

Similarly, our true source of freedom isn’t found within the founding documents of the USA – no, it’s found in that same relationship with God through His Son, Jesus. No matter what else happens in life – if we lose the rights afforded to us in the Constitution, or whatever – nothing and no one can ever take away what we have in Christ. God’s Word assures us of this.

John 8

34 Jesus answered them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, everyone who practices sin is a slave to sin. 35 The slave does not remain in the house forever; the son remains forever. 36 So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.

It is precisely because Jesus – the Son of God – has set us free (truly free) that we are “free indeed.” No government, no politician, and no tyrannical rule can ever change that. Furthermore, regarding any currently prevailing evil and corruption that we must deal with here and now, Paul said this…

Romans 8

18 For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us. 19 For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the sons of God. 20 For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of him who subjected it, in hope 21 that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to corruption and obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God.

Though we may be subjected to hard times and trials, it will not last. As children of God, we will be set free from all that bondage and corruption. True freedom comes from our Father, and His glory will be revealed to us in due time. And since we have this true spiritual freedom now that no one can take away, we should rejoice in it everyday, regardless of what else is going on.

Galatians 5:1

For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery.

In this knowledge that we have such freedom in Christ, we should never allow ourselves to submit to any yoke of slavery ever again. This includes the bonds of sin, the old law that was fulfilled by Jesus, and also that which takes place in the battleground of our minds. We shouldn’t regard the oppression of an over-stepping government, or any other trials, as to be greater than the freedom we have in Christ. Nothing is greater than that. The Son has set us free, so regardless of worldly tribulations, we are still free indeed. THAT needs to be our focus. That freedom needs to be our reason to keep on smiling and rejoicing every day! NO. MATTER. WHAT.

– Break Transcript –

Look, I know it’s easy to let all the nonsense we see happening in our nation drive us nuts. It can make us furious, anxious, and deeply troubled. But we don’t have to let it get the best of us. Step back, with God’s Word in hand, and put it all in proper perspective. And if you’re having a tough time doing that, spend more time alone with God. Fast. Pray. Devote time to having one-on-one communion with Him. Be quiet. Be still. Listen. Meditate on His Word. Get away from the TV, social media, and all the things that hinder you from being at peace. Just be with God and let Him speak to your spirit. Wait for it.

Here’s another thing. When you feel yourself getting angry or frustrated by something some politician said or did, take a prayer time-out. Stop and realize that God sent His Son for the sins of all mankind – even that corrupt politician who seems beyond hope. Pray for him/her. Really pray. There is an eternal soul at stake. God loves that person as much as He loves you. Show the love and grace that He has shown you by interceding on that politician’s behalf. This takes a bit of effort, but it might make an everlasting difference. Do this often enough, and you may start to see people more as God sees them.

You see, while cancel culture runs rampant in our society and threatens to destroy free speech, we still possess the freedom we have in Christ. Further, there is one type of free speech that no one can ever take away from us as Christians – PRAYER. Even if they forbid us from praying out loud one day, they can’t stop us from praying in our hearts. This communication with our Creator is the best kind of “free speech” we can have. It was bought with the blood of Jesus, our Savior, and it’s a right that cannot be revoked by any government on earth. So don’t let cancel culture get you down. We have access to God the Father on a heavenly platform that Big Tech can’t censor.

I wanna close with these three passages from the Word of God…

2 Peter 3

The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance. 10 But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, and then the heavens will pass away with a roar, and the heavenly bodies will be burned up and dissolved, and the earth and the works that are done on it will be exposed.

2 Timothy 3

12 Indeed, all who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted, 13 while evil people and impostors will go on from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived. 14 But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have firmly believed, knowing from whom you learned it.

Luke 12

Nothing is covered up that will not be revealed, or hidden that will not be known. Therefore whatever you have said in the dark shall be heard in the light, and what you have whispered in private rooms shall be proclaimed on the housetops.

So rest assured… God sees. He knows. Nothing takes Him by surprise. Satan’s lies and schemes will not be the last word. Our present troubles won’t last forever. Glory is coming, and when that day arrives, everything that is hidden will be exposed. The corruption, the lies, the wicked things done in secret – all will be made known. And vindication will be absolute. Meanwhile, trust God.

I’m Stace Massengill, and I’m just sayin’.

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Episode 38: Prayer and Fasting – Between You and God

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– BEGIN TRANSCRIPT –

Welcome again to the Kingdom Hero Blogcast. I am your host, Stace Massengill. In this episode, I want to discuss the importance and the benefits of fasting. We’ll look at different ways to fast, how it isn’t just about abstaining from food, and also the relationship between fasting and prayer.

With all the social and political upheaval going on, why would I choose now to talk about the topic of prayer & fasting? Well, there IS some precedent – January is typically a month when many Christian churches will focus on fasting. It’s the beginning of a new year, so it’s a great time to remind ourselves of the biblical reasons for doing this. But also, the fact that there is indeed so much unrest afflicting our country and the world right now is precisely why we need all the more to turn our eyes and our hearts toward heaven and seek God. Prayer & fasting is of paramount importance to us in this present time.

So stick around, folks. There has probably never been a more pertinent moment in history to refocus ourselves on what’s truly important and on the One that we should turn to in this current hour. As always, I encourage your feedback. If you want to send me your comments on any given topic, please do so by going to the website – kingdomheroblog.com/contact [repeat] – or you can choose to leave a voice message at anchor.fm/kingdomhero/message [repeat]. For now, let’s hunker down and do this…

– Show Intro –

We’re going to be relying heavily on passages from Matthew 6, so if you’d like to get that handy, go ahead. But before we dive into the scriptures, let’s look at where we are currently here in the stuff happening in the USA, and hopefully we will see just how applicable the topic of Prayer & Fasting is right now.

Here we are, a week into 2021, and there is some major social and political unrest going on within our nation. There has been heated debate about the elections and the likelihood of fraud. The implications of that are frightening to some and angering to others. There is a distinct divide occurring and many political – as well as societal – issues that have been brewing for years. A great number of people seem to believe that these things are all rapidly coming to a head, and it’s thought by some that yet another revolution may be coming.

In light of all this, it seems to many of us as Christians that we are caught up in the midst of the most chaotic time of our lives – and perhaps, in our country’s history. Some of us, then, could be finding it difficult to know how we ought to respond to these turbulent times. If there are those of us who truly feel that our nation is slipping down a steep slope toward socialism, for instance, should we advocate for taking back our country at any cost? Do we hear the drumbeats of impending revolution and think a violent revolt is the answer against an oppressive and controlling deep state? Or do we struggle with the idea of sitting back and allowing this perceived evil takeover of America?

While we read in God’s Word that “the battle is the Lord’s” and tend to think that we Christians probably shouldn’t be trying to take matters into our own hands, how do we reconcile that with history? If the patriots of the 1700s hadn’t fought a revolutionary war against the oppressive British king and his army, we wouldn’t have a nation today. If we hadn’t fought a war against Hitler and the Axis powers in the 1940s, we might not have a country today either. There are times to stand firm and fight, right? But – at the same time – how do we know whether or not we’re facing one of those times in history?

The reality is that, in this current age, there is rampant disinformation being spread. Historically, this was always a tool used to influence people. But today, with the internet and all the modern ways anyone can influence anyone elses thinking, we need a lot of wisdom to discern who’s lying to us and who’s telling the truth. We need a standard that we can rely on. We need a perspective that transcends our own limited worldview. More than ever before, we cannot afford to lean on our own understanding. This, my friends, is why we have to turn to God – for His guidance, His wisdom, His perspective, and His understanding.

And that leads us to our topic of Prayer & Fasting. But we need to also come to a true understanding of what these concepts are really about. As we have learned before, our true enemy – satan – perverts and counterfeits everything of value. There’s not much I can think of that’s more valuable to a believer’s walk than prayer and fasting. We’ve discussed in the past the importance of prayer, but on this show I’d like to talk about how it relates to fasting. So, where do we start? Let’s go to the Bible and make sure that, when we engage in something as important to our walk as fasting, we are doing it in a manner that is right and thereby effective. We will soon see that, if it’s done the wrong way, it becomes useless to us.

We’ll get specifically into prayer and fasting in a bit, but Matthew 6 begins with a very poignant concept that is echoed throughout the chapter. Verse 1 says this:

“Beware of practicing your righteousness before other people in order to be seen by them, for then you will have no reward from your Father who is in heaven.”

This verse speaks clearly about doing the right thing for the wrong reasons. And there are plenty of applications to that. The verses that follow talk about giving to the needy, for example. Obviously, supplying the needs of those in need is a good thing – it’s something that we definitely should do. But if I give to someone only to be seen doing it by others, hoping they we think highly of my generosity, that’s a prideful act of self-exaltation. We talked some about that in the last episode. If I’m giving for the purpose of my own glorification, there is nothing Godly in it. My actions wouldn’t be seen as faithful by God, and there is no heavenly reward for that.

It’s important to establish this upfront, before diving into prayer and fasting, because we must have a firm foundation to build on first. And from these first few verses of Matthew 6, we see that – not only are we to do right things for right reasons, but also – these things are between us and God. If others see us doing right, perhaps they will be inspired to do similarly – and that’s all well and good – but having others see our deeds should not be our motivation for doing them. Our motivation when helping others can’t be selfish or it’s counterproductive. Further, there are crucial parts of being a Christian that are meant to be between us and the Lord.

Moving on down through this chapter – and remember that this is Jesus who is doing the talking here – we see next where the Disciples are instructed in how to pray. Here we see the Lord’s prayer given as an example of how we ought to address God the Father with respect and praise, acknowledging His holiness and authority, bringing our petitions, and so on. While these verses illustrate the manner in which we should pray, we need to also keep it in the perspective established earlier. When talking to God, it is a conversation between us and Him. He should be our focus. Others hearing our prayer isn’t something that should enter into the equation. Prayer is a personal thing.

That leads us to the concept of fasting. The two things are deeply related. As we will see shortly, the act of fasting should help bring us into a closer and more focused communion with the Lord. And again, it is something that must be done in the right manner and with the correct motivation in order for it to be effective and beneficial for us.

– Break Transcript –

So far, we’ve learned that it’s not enough to do right things, but we need to do those right things for the right reasons. Now we come to fasting. What does the Bible say about how we ought to fast? Well, let’s look on down in Matthew 6, where we’ve been focusing today. In verses 16 through 18, we see once again see that our motivation plays a huge role. Much like the first 4 verses of the chapter told us that we shouldn’t give to the needy only to be seen doing it and be praised by our peers, this passage has Jesus dealing similarly with the concept of fasting. He says…

And when you fast, do not look gloomy like the hypocrites, for they disfigure their faces that their fasting may be seen by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face, that your fasting may not be seen by others but by your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.

Now obviously, there were those then who were making a show of their fasting publicly. Jesus speaks of hypocrites who made themselves look all tired and weakened from their fasting so that it would generate the “awws” and pity and looks of admiration from those who saw their feigned devotion. This is similar to how some people today will post their good deeds or fake devotion on social media in order to be seen by their peers. They do it for the recognition and praises of others, seeking validation for their selflessness. But this is not how we should be. Again, fasting is a personal thing which is between you and God. The passage we just read tells us that, if we are only seeking accolades and the adulation of our peers, then that empty gratification is all the reward we will ever get. What is more desirable for us is to please our Father and gain His favor and His reward.

The theme which resonates throughout this chapter of Matthew is one that reminds us where our priorities should be. Rather than being self-seeking and prideful, desiring to be revered and praised by others, we should be seeking after God and His will and His righteousness. The rewards of this life on earth are often appealing to our flesh, but fasting is about denying the wants of the flesh in favor of renewing the spirit within us and drawing us closer to God.

So ask yourself, what are the things in this life that tend to distract you from spending time alone with God? What stuff, even if it isn’t bad in itself, can become a barrier to a deeper connection with the Father because that stuff seems to preoccupy so much of our time and focus? These are the things that we should regularly take time away from in order to refocus on communing with the Lord. That’s the heart of fasting.

We tend to think of fasting as being about food, and it certainly can include that. But food isn’t the only area in which we can fast. Watching TV shows and spending vast amounts of time on social media can become addictive distractions that get in the way of a closer walk with God. There are plenty of things that we could cut out of our daily routine that would clear up more time to devote to seeking God’s face. And it’s good for us to recognized what those things are and to make changes accordingly. But there is a unique relationship between our food intake and our spiritual well-being to consider.

Often times, we turn to food for the wrong reasons. Eating when you’re hungry or in need of nourishment is one thing, but many people have real issues with eating food in an attempt to cure emotional needs or to calm anxieties. Sometimes, we just eat food because it’s there. I often have the bad habit of eating a snack simply because I’m watching a game or something on TV, and the two things just seem to go together. But it’s the act of consuming food that gives us a sense of satisfaction. Not just a physical satisfaction, but an emotional or psychological one. And yes, the satisfaction of food can become our substitute for doing things that would be much more beneficial to us, like exercise. Ah, but exercise is a discipline. Well, guess what? So is fasting.

The act of fasting from food doesn’t merely deprive us of sustenance. No, it refocuses us to lean on a spiritual sustenance. This denial of the flesh for the sake of the spirit puts us in a place where our reliance upon God is again in the forefront of our minds. It tends to bring us into an attitude which is more conducive to hearing from God, as well. The spiritual benefits of this go far beyond the physical benefits of consuming food. It helps us realize our need to consume the Word of God, as well as our need of Him in general.

Granted, there are health reasons why abstaining from food might be problematic for some people. In those cases, there are still ways to fast. Perhaps abstaining from one meal, or cutting back meals to a light but healthy snack, or any number of other methods. The point is to commit to an act that refocuses our minds and spirits on God and devoting time to Him in prayer and meditation on His Word. In some way or another, anyone can fast. And we must discipline ourselves to do it for the benefit of our spiritual connection to the Lord. It’s not to be seen suffering through the process for the sake of getting a pat on the back from others, but rather it is a deep personal act of devotion between you and God.

– Break Transcript –

Our discussion about prayer and fasting has greatly been about how these are things that are between us and God. They’re not for the recognition of others. They’re not about getting noticed. And as we’ve moved through this passage in Matthew 6, we have seen a central theme of doing these things for the right reasons – that we should be seeking a heavenly reward from the Father rather than an earthly reward from our peers. Moving further in this chapter, we see Jesus drives this point home. In verses 19 through 21, He says…

“Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”

The treasures of this world, as stated earlier, can seem desirable to us. But we just learned when talking about fasting that it is preferable to discipline our flesh in favor of aligning our spirit to be in tune with the Holy Spirit. These verses suggest that what a person desires reflects the condition of his/her heart. If I desire the praise and admiration of man, that’s where my heart lies. That’s my treasure. But the treasures of this world are subject to the elements of this world. They are fleeting. They can decay or be destroyed. They can be taken.

If I do something to be noticed by men, someone else can do something to take that attention away. But when I focus on pleasing God and doing His will, nothing can diminish the reward He has waiting for me in heaven. And God isn’t fickle like man is. He’s not gonna reduce my heavenly treasure just because someone else pleases Him, too. It’s not a competition with God like it is with man. And He has plenty to go around. He has the vast riches of heaven to generously bestow upon His children. And He wants bless us.

But there’s another aspect to this which bears mentioning. The attitude of the heart that we just touched on holds a deeper truth. Jesus talks about this in verse 24…

“No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money.”

Now He mentions money here, and we usually think of this scripture solely from the vantage point of money being the big bad of this scenario. But I tend to believe Jesus was using money as one example of what was really the main thrust of this passage. We can’t serve two masters. God is who we should serve. No one and nothing else. Not money, not material things, not the treasures of this world, and not ourselves. This goes back to doing right things for wrong reasons. Whether it’s giving to the needy or fasting or whatever, when we make a public show of it to gain the accolades of other people, then our motives are purely self-serving. That means we are placing our own desires above God’s will and trying to be masters of our own lives. But if we’re serving ourselves, we are not serving God. We can’t serve both.

Finally, let’s bring all this home. How does everything we’ve talked about here in Matthew 6 apply to our lives today in light of all the civil unrest we see going on around us? We can lose our focus easily when we see high-level corruption in our government. We can quickly become preoccupied with all the rioting and division and talk of oppressive government lockdowns and overhyped viruses. All the stuff happening today can make your blood boil and make you question everything. Where should we stand on the issues? How far should we go in the name of preserving our nation? Dear God in heaven, what do I DO!?!

There’s an answer for that in the closing verses of this chapter. We read in verses 25 through 27, Jesus says…

“Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life?”

Now, I’m no stranger to anxiety. And I know that there is plenty going on in our country and our world today that can cause us to be anxious. But Jesus tells us plainly here that anxiety serves no purpose. It doesn’t make things better, only worse. If our focus is on everything bad happening, we can’t see any of the good, and we’ll be distracted from doing the things that we ought.

You might say, “Yeah, but what about the corruption and election stealing and the threat of rising socialism?” And while I may think there are some very real and looming issues to be dealt with, I also have to believe this: If the time comes when revolution is the only recourse we have for preserving our nation, surely it will be obvious and no questions about it will remain. But in this moment, I must trust that God is still at work, and His will cannot be thwarted. All these worries and concerns which seem so big to us are minuscule to Him. Instead of worrying, the words of Jesus in verses 33 and 34 say…

“But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things [food, drink, clothing, and even security] will be added to you. Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.”

Again, this is all about refocusing ourselves on the right things. He tells us to seek after the kingdom of God FIRST. The kingdoms of this world rise and fall. It has been that way throughout history. And while it may be a cause for some concern to us, our focus should be on the things of God first and foremost. We have to trust that God will take care of the things that we cannot. But that’s hard for us to do when we don’t know what’s coming next or how God plans to work things out. How do we get some peace here and now? How can we lay aside all these worries we have and just trust in God? The answer to that lies within allowing ourselves to become more in tune with the heart and Spirit of God. How do we do that? Through prayer, through fasting, and through communion one-on-one with Him.

– End Transcript –

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