Politics and Christian Responsibility

Politics and Christian Responsibility

Christian Responsibility and Politics 

I remember very well when I came to Owosso as the new Pastor of Bible Baptist Church. I wanted a good reputation towards the saved and the lost of the area. I thought gaining some status among the people would be a great avenue to influence others for Christ, hence I joined the Young Republicans of Shiawassee County. We had monthly meetings and plotted how to influence  politics at the local,state, and national level. 

As soon as I could I tried to find a receptive ear and share the gospel of the death, burial, and resurrection of our Lord Jesus to these lost conservative ideologues. Do you think I found that “receptive ear?” I think not. As soon as they knew what I was up to I was dismissed and the conversation turned back to politics. They were quick to say words to this effect, “Don’t get us wrong we believe like you in many respects and we are glad to have you along for the ride. Huh! The Ride! Even today Republicans court the evangelical vote because it only helps their cause of course.

More to follow! Please leave comments as to what you think.

Help For A Faltering Prayer Life

Help For A Faltering Prayer Life

Prayer Life Boring?

I had the privilege of meeting with several ladies not too long ago and I could sense their frustration with not having a consistent, vibrant prayer life. One by one they voiced their dissatisfaction and stories of failure. Now to be sure these are good ladies who want to have an energetic life of praying but the problems they listed that afternoon are the very problems that will bother us also and they will hinder a  time of intimate prayer with our Lord Jesus. Yesterday I was talking with a man who explained how his prayer life had also stalled.  Friends, I am so firmly convinced that God Almighty is very exciting to talk to but we approach Him in wrong ways with wrong ideas about Him and it leads to a boring prayer life and eventually  we quit seeking Him in the secret place, the prayer closet, so we let others talk about it and we say, “Amen!” Remember we are not praying the Rosary or doing contemplative meditation. Those methods will sap the vitality out of your spirit to be sure! Let’s list a few hindrances and see how we can get the victory.

The Flesh Hinders

For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would. Galatians 5:17. Leonard Ravenhill said, “Prayer is not the preparation for the battle. It IS the battle!” He also said, “Men of prayer must be men of steel for they will be assaulted by Satan even before they attempt to assault his kingdom.” That being said, your adversaries the world, the flesh, and the devil will do everything to keep you from getting alone with the Lord to see the Lord do great and mighty things for Him and through Him. It is BEST to get up early and get alone with the Lord for the greatest results. Let’s talk about the flesh a little. If you are like me we are tired and will fall asleep if we have a comfortable prayer position. (Between the sheets!) Get up and walk around when you pray if you are a person who will doze off while kneeling or sitting. Get out of bed and realize you are about to have an audience with the Creator-Sustainer God…. the One who controls the universe and all that is in it! This is thrilling! Many times we focus too much on ourselves and the dull sound of our voice so instead, put all of your focus upon Him! Remember how you shouted during the UM, MSU football game and you were excited or sad at the result? This time of entering into the prayer closet my friend is so much more important than any football game! Talk out loud and brag on Him and tell Him how much you love Him. Thank Him for his many blessings instead of going to complain on facebook at how mean people are. Pray and confess to the Lord that your flesh is hindering you from prayer. Ask Him for practical ways to overcome these fleshy hinderances. It may also help to shower, eat some food, or drink a cup of your favorite beverage to help stave off the drowsiness. Many people are just too tired because they stayed up late! Get off the phone and go to bed early and rise up early.

The Devil Hinders

Satan knows you are a threat to him and his kingdom because all prayer is really a matter of spiritual warfare and he is clever in stopping or stalling your prayer time. Listen to me! Intimate prayer, real storming the gates of heaven praying is the most powerful thing the Christian can do and Satan works hard at giving us substitutes for this communion with God. I have been with many Christians and since I am a Baptist let me just pick on us Baptists a little bit but I am sure your group is like ours in many respects. We believe in prayer bless God! We believe God hears and answers prayer! Glory! He can move mountains in answer to prayer! Come on preacher! Preach it Man! He delights in the prayers of His saints. Yes, we talk a mean talk but we do not pray! Why is that? I believe we somehow think that the believing in prayer almost equates to actual prayer itself but it does not! Satan LOVES for you to write about prayer. He delights in people talking about prayer. He does not mind if you possess books by Ravenhill, E. M. Bounds, Spurgeon, and others on prayer. Satan will pat you on the back when you quote the great divines on prayer. He thinks it is great that you once prayed all night many years ago and still brag about it. He is pleased with you that you once used to fast and pray. Think about this, “Prayer is as mighty as God, because he has committed himself to answer it. (Leonard Ravenhill) I am under such conviction right now! Excuse me. I’ll be back in a while. (Next Day) I was prompted by the Holy Spirit to go and practice what I was preaching yesterday so I had to steal away for a long time and get fired up. I had a tremendous time with the Lord and was very encouraged by our time together. The devil hates prayer and will offer even good substitutes for praying. (Like blogging!) Remember the devil knows that the good is the enemy of the best.

The World Hinders

There are, it may be, so many kinds of voices in the world,  and none of them is without signification. 1 Corinthians 14:10 That being the case it is true that the world system is always vying for our attention. Try these things to shut out the world. Keep your phone off or away from you as you pray. Get alone far from the noise and “voices” that are trying to distract you. Rise early before the children do and they start to ask for breakfast. It would help if you had a special place in the woods where you can go for a prayer walk without anybody seeing or hearing you when you want to shout to the Lord or cry or clap your hands. God makes us many promises in the Word of God and he will never lie to us concerning them. Call unto me and I will answer thee great and mighty things, which thou knowest not. Jeremiah 33:3 God WANTS us to pray. He LOVES to hear His children’s voices asking for His help. Marvin Smith, Pastor of Harvest Baptist Church said, “It’s as though God is in the unemployment line waiting to be put to work, but we don’t ask Him for help!” We are just too busy and esteem other things more important than fellowship with God. I have the same trouble also. When I sit down at my desk at the church it seems like all of the paperwork begins to talk to me. “Remember you said you would take care of me first!” “HEY! Over here, dude. I have been sitting here for two days now! Get with it.” If we are not careful those things that beckon for our attention will distract us from our primary duty of daily fellowship with the Lord. There is nothing my friend nothing as important as heaven hearing from you and you hearing from heaven. Nothing comes even close! Nothing!

Let Us Hear The Conclusion Of The Whole Matter

Prayer time is important but we don’t treat it as such because we tried it and we fell asleep or we got busy with life: Therefore….

1. Don’t give up! Just when you want to quit the most is the time to stay the course!

2. Go to bed earlier and wake up earlier. It works! You must train yourself.

3. Shower and drink a cup of coffee and walk around praying out loud and praying loudly.

4. Sing songs to the Lord and fall in love with Him. Love Him more than any person alive.

5. Remember the devil is after you and your family. Prayer is the best defense and offense.

How To Avoid Depression

How To Avoid Depression

Keep Thy Heart With All Diligence

The above title is from a great verse found in the Bible, urging us to be very careful as to what we allow into our lives whether it be through the ear or the eye. Having said that there are still things that happen to us that put us into a downward spiral even if we have been careful to avoid the negativity that is so prevalent today. Right up front, we are not saying that this post will keep everyone from all depression ALL of the time. These are just a few ideas that you will find helpful.  Let’s get started. Be wary of social media, prime-time television, the evening news, and negative people, specifically those who are scornful (Those who express contempt and derision).

To break these down many experts are finding that there is an increase in depression with an increase of social media use. There has even been a new term coined called Facebook Depression which describes the negative aspects of large amounts of time on different media. {Anxiety and Depression Association of America} See Dr. Jeff Nalin’s blog. Teens are especially vulnerable to cyberbullying and have even been known to have such a low self-worth that after being bullied they take their own lives! Then it is true also true that many will spend hours on their phones and miss out on proper social interaction with their parents and friends.

Primetime television will suck the life out of one’s soul if you will let it. I am going to date myself here by saying I enjoyed watching the Archie Bunker Show. But to be brutally honest it taught me to despise people, criticize others whom I did not like and tended to make the watchers of the show extremely self-righteous and judgemental. We began to identify with Archie and that my friend is a dangerous thing! Cheers! is a show I never got into and if the mention of that makes you bristle then you need to ask yourself what kind of edifying conversations can come from a show that is featuring drunk people at a bar? There is low brow humor galore to keep you hooked but the end result is a shallow “me first” philosophy of life. The Jerry Springer show was once almost off of the air and the producers told Jerry to get the ratings up no matter what it took and Viola! we have Trash TV, complete with off-duty Chicago police officers to break up the fights that the audience came to see. This type of drivel only causes one to despair at humanity and the downward spiral society is in.

The evening news can be overwhelming too. I understand that it reports the “news” around the world but it is usually full of the murders that took place that day or the latest terror attack. Remember positive events do not usually get Neilson ratings up. I DO care about other parts of the world but the constant barrage of horror that others are enduring overwhelms us and is depressing or we just come to the point that we don’t care anymore.

Negative people are the hardest to avoid because we may have to interact with them every day at the workplace or school. But ask yourself, “Do I have to listen to this stream of gossip, bile, or hatred as the other person wants me to?” I was once talking with Brother Doug Fisher and he said when the conversation turns so as to criticize others he politely excuses himself with a valid reason. Those reasons may include: “I need to get a drink of water. ” or “I need to make a phone call.” or “I need to flush my ears out.”

Be Proactive Against Depression!

How in the world can one be proactive against depression? Isn’t it true that I am doomed to an endless cycle of mood swings, trips to the doctor to alter my meds, and another session of therapy? NO! The following suggestions are not a cure-all but I strongly believe we can do something to fight back when we feel the onset of a depressive cycle. It is now October in Michigan and endless sunny days of riding the bike down to the park to play with the kids are coming to an end. Instead, we are being met with the cold, rainy, and rather gloomy weather which will eventually turn into snow! There I said it! The word snow is treated as a cuss (or curse) word to many. I have already heard a man who is manic depressive mourn that he was sure that SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder) was just around the corner lurking for him. With that type of attitude, he will surely help with a negative self-fulfilling prophecy in his life.

While it is true we cannot all board a jet for a trip to the Bahamas we can make the best of the situation we find ourselves in. First, talk about it with someone you can trust and begin to plan to be with people when you are tempted to despair. Don’t go it alone please! The worst thing you can do is to isolate yourself when sad or depressed. Secondly, being a man of faith I get out a list of Bible verses that remind me of God’s great love and care for me. Some of these are: “Fear thou not, be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; Yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness. Isaiah 41:10 To be dismayed is similar to depression. Take it personally when He says that He is your God! He is your personal God and you must take that promise and believe it with all of your heart! Further, He says He will Strengthen, help, and even uphold thee! Those are some wonderful promises that you can take to the bank of heaven.

Another verse that has encouraged me is in the Gospel of John. We read, “Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid. John 14:27 When I read MY peace I give unto you that means so much! The Lord Jesus has perfect peace and He promises to give us that peace? Friend, that is out of this world! It is a supernatural peace that passes all understanding! (see Philippians 4:6,7) Also, note that is NOT what the world will give you for peace, a temporary, fleeting, shallow peace brought on by pills or booze. The key to these verses giving us help is to not read them from an intellectual perspective but to personalize them. Picture, if you will the Lord Jesus sitting down next to you and saying, “I know you are having an anxiety episode (or) I know you are very depressed and no one seems to care, but I want you to know, …” Then you let Him minister to you with these verses.

Some more verses are: For God hath given us a spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind. 2 Timothy 1:7  I also like a verse found in Joshua. “Have not I commanded thee? Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the Lord thy God is with thee withersoever thou goest. Joshua 1:9

The problem with these verses is….wait….there is no problem. We have become too familiar with them and quote them without realizing we are looking at the very promises of God unto His children. I have had many a troubled night turned into a time of peace and then praise as I have reflected upon the precious promises of God. There will be other blogs on depression coming soon. It is such a scourge that Satan is using against the child of God and holding many in bondage. Please feel free to comment and suggest topics related to depression or anxiety or just share your story. I am listening and I care.

A Drunk No More!

A Drunk No More!

I Am NOT A Sober Drunk!

I Am Not A Sober Drunk! Thirty-eight years ago I was reading A Gideon’s Bible to find out where I was going after I died. I was concerned about where I would spend eternity and being raised Catholic, I was not familiar with the basic message found in Scripture. I quickly found out that I was a sinner under the condemnation of God. After finding out that salvation was a gift through the death, burial, and resurrection of the Lord Jesus I asked Him to forgive me of my sin and give me a new life.  Since the Bible was not important in my former religion I had to start from scratch. What a thrill it was when I found that God declared me to be a new creature (creation). In 2 Corinthians 5:17 we read, “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold all things are become new.” Note that it does not say, “You are still a drunk and will have to manage your addiction for the rest of your life.” No! It says that the person who is in Christ is a new person and the old things are passed away! I am thrilled the Lord has given me victory over alcohol, weed, LSD and other substances for over three dozen years now.

The problem that needs to be dealt with is a spiritual problem that will not be solved by endless aa meetings in the Shiawassee County or anywhere else for that matter. I have to freely admit that a nebulous “higher power” will never help me or you but a vibrant relationship with the risen Savior, the Lord Jesus will! I love to claim that, “I am crucified with Christ:”  (The old Tim Whalen, the sinning, cussing  drunken sailor has been defeated at the cross). “…Nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me!” That, my searching friend, is the answer! Christ through His Spirit will live in your heart and control you if you will let him. He is the reason for my victory over alcohol, pot, hashish and immorality. His victory is permanent and does not need endless open or closed meetings.

Lynn Appleton says that “Despite all public pronouncements about alcoholism as a disease, medical practice rejects treating it as such. Not only does alcoholism not follow the model of a ‘disease,’ it is not amenable to standard medical treatment.” She says that “Medical doctors’ rejection of the disease theory of alcoholism has a strong basis in the biomedical model underpinning most of their training” and that “medical research on alcoholism does not support the disease model.”

Lynn M. Appleton. Rethinking medicalization. Alcoholism and anomalies. Chapter in editor Joel Best’s Images of Issues. Typifying Contemporary Social Problems. NY: Aldine De Gruyter, 1995, page 65 and page 69. 2nd edition

Lynn M. Appleton


I Called The Doctor And The Doctor Said…

Is addiction a disease, or is it a choice? To think clearly about this question, we need to make a sharp distinction between an activity and its results. Many activities that are not themselves diseases can cause diseases. And a foolish, self-destructive activity is not necessarily a disease. Psychiatric Times, Modern Medicine Network   It becomes very clear when we do a contrast and compare of the two possibilities. If you compare addiction with a true disease we see that in addiction there is not an infectious agent to be found (as in tuberculosis), no pathological biological; process (as in diabetes), and no pathogens can ever be found as a causitive agent!

One study found that only 25 percent of physicians believed that alcolohism is a disease. The majority believed alcoholism to be a socail or psychological problem instead of a disease. [57]Mignon, S.I. (1996). Physicians’ Perceptions of Alcoholics: The Disease Concept reconsidered” Alcoholism treatment Quartly. 14 (4): 33-45. doi: 10.1300/j020v14n04 02

Only The Truth Makes Free

Reformers Unanimous is a faith-based addictions ministry that points people to an intimate relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ as the cure for addictions and destructive behavior. I was set free over thirty-eight years ago and the old Tim Whalen seems like another person. In fact, that is the truth! I am NOT who I was before I met Christ. Like we read in 2 Corinthians 5:17, I am a NEW creature (creation) in Christ. The life which I now live is an exchanged life. I have exchanged my sin, lifestyle, and attitudes for the Lord Jesus Christ’s character in me. You see this program (RU) is not a self-help program. It is a God Help program! I freely confess that anything good concerning me is a work of God’s grace in my life. I was sad to hear recently of a person who kept saying, “If I can do it, so can you! Just believe in yourself and try harder!” When we praise ourselves we actually set ourselves up for failure! Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall.” (1 Cor 10:12) Pride truly goes before destruction. I hope the person stays sober and clean but even better than that is to have victory! There is a difference. We are not talking just having victory over substance but having eternal life beginning and continuing when we die. That ONLY comes through the new birth found in salvation through Jesus Christ.

Friend, may I ask you this simple question? When did you become aware that you were not in a right standing with Almighty God?  Have you come to the point that you had to admit you were powerless to change your life because of your sin and that you could not work your sin debt off? The Bible says that, “… the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” (Romans 6:23 A gift cannot be worked for nor earned. It is simply received by faith. This gift is so needed because  it is true, “…all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.” Romans 3:23

Searching friend you must come to God on His terms, not as you understand Him, but as He presents Himself in the Word of God! “…we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.” Romans 5:1b To do this simply call it what God calls it, Sin. Turn from your sin and know you cannot change yourself but Jesus Christ can! Call upon the Lord, asking Him to save you from the sin and its power and its pull over your life! “For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.” Romans 10:13


You may want to pray something as simple as this: “Lord Jesus I have come to realize that I was born a sinner and that I have no power to save myself. I believe that you became sin for me and died in my place on the cross. I believe you were raised from the dead and now offer me this new life and freedom from sinful addictions. I turn from my sin and ask you to come into my life and deliver me from ALL of my sins and give me your forgiveness in its place….Thank you, Lord Jesus, for salvation. Help me to give you the glory as you have now set me free! Friend if you have just now trusted Christ for salvation, please leave a comment or contact us at the end of the website for further help. Also, please see reformu.com for further resources.

How To Conquer Bitterness

How To Conquer Bitterness

It has been said that bitterness and acid will destroy the vessel that contains them. How true! I have had the awful experience of being bitter at others and, friend it is just not worth it! I beg you to read this blog unto the bitter end (pun intended) and begin the journey out of the prison you have created for yourself by allowing unforgiveness and bitterness to invade and permeate your soul. You may not think you need to do this but those around you can see it and meanwhile you will continue to justify the bad spirit you have worked so hard at keeping unless you take the first step by admitting you are bitter and then wanting the victory over it. Only the Lord can deliver you. In fact, I will be posting other blogs on this subject because it may take you some time to get set free. “Looking diligently lest any man fail of the grace of God; lest ANY root of bitterness springing up trouble you, and thereby many be defiled.” Hebrews 12:15 Bitterness starts with an unforgiving spirit towards a person or persons who have offended us. In some cases, there may be bitterness towards God Himself! I mean when you think about it God could have stopped the offender from hurting you right? We will address that aspect later.

You May Think You Are Justified

Years ago I had a man come into the office and he was a wreck emotionally from the unforgiveness he held on to as a result of the abuse he had suffered at the hands of his father maybe fifty years earlier. I will not go into the details here so as to not bog you down with mental images. Suffice it to say it was horrible! He said repeatedly, “I hate my father! I hate my father!” The wicked dad was now dead and probably in hell (his words.) Yet because he had not forgiven his dad he was suffering greatly which was affecting his wife and grown children. He stuttered profusely and was paranoid that his wife was cheating on him. He had a continual conflict with his grown son who had learned to be bitter by watching his dad. This poor man had not forgiven his dad for the cruelties and therefore had been delivered over to the tormentors. (Matthew 18:34) Some of the things that will torment a bitter person can be hives, colitis, stomach ulcers, germaphobia, recurring nightmares, unexplained anxiety attacks, and a host of other illnesses.

During another counseling time, I was talking with a man who told me how his stepmother had him and his brother fight as gladiators for her sick entertainment! His bitterness at her and his biological dad was easy to see some seventy years later. The problem did not end at his hatred and bitterness towards his stepmother. It extended to others who were alive who had offended him recently. Remember, “and thereby many be defiled”? Hebrews 12:15c It was impossible to dislodge him from the bitterness he had. He reveled in it!

No doubt there are those reading this who can say, “But you do not know what happened to me!” It is true I do not know the sufferings you endured but the Lord does, and He wants you to get the victory over it. It may be you were raped, beaten, abandoned, or viciously attacked. The very essence of forgiveness is that you must forgive the moral debt they owe you. Let me explain it like this. Let’s say you and I go into business. I provide the funds and you buy the equipment needed for a coffee house.  After a period of time, I come to you and ask how the business is doing expecting a return on my loan. You hang your head and say how the business went belly up because a customer found a dead rat in a biscuit he was served and he sued you out of business. So I say, “You have none of my money to return to me is that right?” and you reply, “No, I lost it all.” I am going have to forgive the debt. You simply can not pay me back what you owe me. There it is! Did you get it? Your offender cannot pay you back what is owed you. Maybe he took your innocence, maybe your purity, maybe your good name, maybe a child was murdered and he cannot give him or her back to you. So since he cannot pay you back, you take it upon yourself to hate him or her until you feel better about it. You may as well drink salt water to satisfy your thirst. Any sailor will tell you if stranded at sea, never drink ocean water to quench your thirst. You will go insane in a short amount of time. The same is true for bitter people. You are drinking the poison out of the cup hoping the other person will die and all the while you are the one getting sick! A person who is bitter will not think clearly. The occupation in your mind of the offender will cloud your thinking. A good working definition of bitterness is “the unresolved violation of my justice system.” Please remember that it is not our place to put them on trial or to exact a pound of flesh from them. They cannot undo their sin(s) against you! They cannot pay you back! That is the Lord’s job to exact whatever type of justice is due. You and I will never do it right. By the way, Christian aren’t you glad the Lord has forgiven you of all your sins past, present, and future? Why don’t you do the same? The Lord will give you the grace to do so. Read all of Matthew chapter eighteen right now. Do NOT forgive them and then wait for the Lord to hurt them. That is NOT forgiveness! God desires mercy and not sacrifice. So should you!

 Having A Conscience Void Of Offense

It is a wonderful thing to not be bitter! I know! I have been bitter (starting with unforgiveness) a few times and have been tempted many other times. Years ago my precious deacon left me for another church and they took him right in and made him a deacon there. I was devastated! I loved him dearly and because of a few misunderstandings, he left without trying to work it out. I was honest with the Lord when I said, “Dear Lord I do not even want to forgive him! This hurts so much!” (Might as well be transparent with God.) He knows all of our thoughts anyway. I began by praying, “Lord I know I should forgive but I can’t. Can you please help me to at least want to forgive him?” after weeks of praying I began to want to a little. I kept praying and God gave grace and I forgave him in my heart. I had the victory! Then the Holy Spirit said, “Now take him out to lunch.” We had a great time together. You may be asking, “Did he say he was sorry for what he did?” No, and your offender may never ask your forgiveness either! Don’t set yourself up for disappointment by expecting them to do so.