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How to Get Away With Murder – A Spiritual Perspective

I remember anticipating and then finally watching the first episode of “How to Get Away With Murder” with an enthusiasm I hadn’t had in a long while. For the most part, I don’t usually watch television drama series because a lot of them just haven’t interested me in recent years. However, when I saw that Viola Davis was going to be starring in her own series, I was ecstatic because she is one of my favorite actresses. I set the DVR to record the entire season after the first episode was over because I was immediately captivated. The character of defense attorney Annalise Keating was intriguing, dark, cut-throat and even sexy in a sort of interesting way. The plot was slowly established over the course of the season and a number of questions that we the viewers wanted answers to, which kept us tuned in each week. Who killed her husband? Did her husband kill the young college student? The dialogue was sharp-tongued and laced with punch lines, even though they weren’t necessarily comedic ones. Each episode ended in a way that was designed to keep viewers thirsting for more and eagerly anticipating next week’s show. As a creative writer, I was drawn in by the plot, entertained by the sassy dialogue and just overall fascinated. Heck, I even imagined what Shonda Rhimes’s checkbook must look like these days, since she is now the writer for three very popular shows… However, I was also uncomfortable at times when I watched this show because it glorified several values and behaviors that are completely contrary to the Word of God.

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So despite my intrigue with this show, I think that I may not be watching season two… (Sigh) The truth is that when Holy Spirit begins to rain down conviction, you can either take heed or be disobedient. There has to come a point in the life of a believer where you decide to be a genuine disciple of Jesus Christ and not be carnal-minded. I have to decide if I’m going to be entertained by the very things that offend God. Now I imagine that many of you may be rolling your eyes, or thinking that I’m trying too hard to be spiritual. All I can assure you is I’m just speaking what’s in my heart and I’m now at this crossroads. Am I willing to give up entertainment that glorifies what He has deemed as sin? If I am truly trying to be Christ-like, how can I enjoy being entertained by sinful situations where redemption and restoration are not even a part of the show’s concept? At what point do I began to make the sacrifices necessary to become His disciple? After all, Jesus Christ stated to his disciples that there is a COST to follow Him, and often times we don’t want to pay it. The situation of me watching this show is just a small example of this.

As a man who is trying to enter a season of consecration and who is trying to walk in sexual purity, is it profitable for me to watch a show where everybody is having sex all over the place? There are all kinds of affairs going on and the sex is so pervasive that they might as well all be attending one big orgy. There is also the element of homosexual activity between men. All of this sexual perversion is completely opposed to the moral order that God established in His Word. Yet, Annalise is agonizing over the fact that her husband cheated on her with one of his students, but she is having an affair herself! Am I missing something here??? By the way, there are too many scriptures to list that deal with sexual sin. I think we all know what the Word says for the most part… (smile)

As much as I like Viola Davis, Annalise Keating is over the top. She has stated many times that she doesn’t care whether or not her clients are guilty. She is only interested in defending them and winning her cases, even if justice isn’t served; all while instructing law students to think the exact same way! That’s pretty ruthless when you really think about it… In spite of my curiosity about this character, she doesn’t appear to be the warmest personality and also seems to have a really jaded outlook on life. The fact is, we still don’t know much about her, and I think the mystery of this character only adds to the intrigue of this show. But alas, I may not get to find out more about her. I have a decision to make. Am I going to be obedient and stop following this show, or will I succumb to my thirst for “creativity” and silently wish that I was as successful as a writer as Shonda Rhimes? Sounds like I have some soul searching to do…

Nathan S. Allen Copyright ©2014

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A Field of Tares

I want to start by saying that I don’t have a heaven or hell to put anyone in. We have all fallen short of the glory of God and have to be redeemed by the blood of Jesus Christ. However, according to John 3:3, we must be BORN AGAIN. Jesus answered and said to him, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.” This means that we are supposed to become a new creature and that the old man dies so that the new man in Christ can live. Yes, we will still have struggles in our flesh and our minds have to be renewed. Yes, God’s grace is sufficient but that does not mean that our lifestyles don’t have to change. Jesus Himself asks in Luke 6:46, “Why do you call Me lord but don’t obey me?” (paraphrasing) God’s grace is not a license to sin. It is a window of opportunity to come be cleansed and made whole. The Bible clearly states that we must work out our soul salvation and it also says to study to show thyself approved. What this boils down to is that there is in fact a standard. We who are children of God live differently than those who don’t believe and are in the world. The New Testament, especially the letters of Paul, is essentially about our new life in Him. The Bible is the code book, the script, the instructions that we are to live by. No one is immune to this reality. We cannot simply live any old kind of way and still call ourselves children of the Most High.

John 14:21 He who has My commandments and keeps them, it is he who loves Me. And he who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and manifest Myself to him

The reason I am writing this is because the below link is to a post on a blog that perfectly illustrates the reason why Christianity in this country is a complete joke. It is also a shining example of the pervasive lukewarmness that is in the American church. It is the reason why the body of Christ has no power and influence in this country. Those who share this mindset are tares and not wheat. This blog shows the kind of mindset that will cause many on that day to hear those words “Depart from Me, I never knew thee.”

Please click on the link below and read.

http://www.dontquotetheraven.com/2013/05/im-christian.html

Ok so now you’ve read it. I know; it’s pretty sad isn’t it? I can see why believers in other countries think Americans are CLUELESS when it comes to being disciples of Jesus Christ because too many folks have the exact same attitude as the blogger. By the way, if you saw the numerous comments in response to the post, you will find that the overwhelming majority are in agreement with the blogger. Thus, a field full of tares. Counterfeit… Scary!!!

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The blogger made the statement that no where in the Bible does it state that someone has to be perfect. But according to Paul in Philippians 3:12, we are supposed to strive for perfection in Christ. The ultimate goal is to be like Him. Right? I want to live a life that is pleasing to him. The kind of mindset exemplified in the shared blog post will never lead to a life that pleases Him. How do I know? Because the Bible says so. If your life hasn’t changed since supposedly accepting the call to follow Jesus then your salvation is in serious question. The concept of grace has been severely perverted by the modern day church in this country.

Romans 6:1-4 What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound? 2 Certainly not! How shall we who died to sin live any longer in it? 3 Or do you not know that as many of us as were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death? 4 Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.

I’m not trying to sound harsh; I just want to be real with you. Sadly, the author of the blog post I shared is truly lost in their own world of self-indulgence and wanting to live a life that centers around their desires, instead of a call to holiness and dying to self. I’m paraphrasing here but the Bible clearly states numerous times that the old man must die so that the new man can live. People want to stay stuck in their old ways and proclaim Christ as their lord, but it doesn’t work that way. We must become a NEW CREATURE. Wake up church.

Matthew 13:24-30 24 Another parable He put forth to them, saying: “The kingdom of heaven is like a man who sowed good seed in his field; 25 but while men slept, his enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat and went his way. 26 But when the grain had sprouted and produced a crop, then the tares also appeared. 27 So the servants of the owner came and said to him, ‘Sir, did you not sow good seed in your field? How then does it have tares?’ 28 He said to them, ‘An enemy has done this.’ The servants said to him, ‘Do you want us then to go and gather them up?’ 29 But he said, ‘No, lest while you gather up the tares you also uproot the wheat with them. 30 Let both grow together until the harvest, and at the time of harvest I will say to the reapers, “First gather together the tares and bind them in bundles to burn them, but gather the wheat into my barn.”’

Matthew 13:36-41 36 Then Jesus sent the multitude away and went into the house. And His disciples came to Him, saying, “Explain to us the parable of the tares of the field.”
37 He answered and said to them: “He who sows the good seed is the Son of Man. 38 The field is the world, the good seeds are the sons of the kingdom, but the tares are the sons of the wicked one. 39 The enemy who sowed them is the devil, the harvest is the end of the age, and the reapers are the angels. 40 Therefore as the tares are gathered and burned in the fire, so it will be at the end of this age. 41 The Son of Man will send out His angels, and they will gather out of His kingdom all things that offend, and those who practice lawlessness,

So there it is. Let’s remain wheat and not allow the DECEPTION of the age convert us into tares.

Nathan Allen Copyright ©2013

 
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Posted by on September 3, 2013 in Spirituality

 

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Jerry Sandusky: The Disaster of Hidden Sin

Jesus Christ stated Himself that “What is in the dark will come into the light.” (Paraphrasing) This is why it is important to be honest with ourselves about our secret faults and hidden sins because involuntary exposure is usually not pretty at all. Unfortunately, that giant called PRIDE will make us keep our issues a secret or even swim down that river called DENIAL. (The Nile) We even tell ourselves that we will eventually change and we minimize our issues, sinking hopelessly into major deception. But of course, eventually the brown stuff hits the fan and the problem is magnified before those around you. Redemption is now going to be an uphill climb and you’re so deep in shame that you either sink back in fear, or run towards REPENTANCE as if your very life depends on it.

We all must realize that when hidden sin is never dealt with, the fallout has a domino effect. In the situation with the Penn State University sex scandal case, those dominos may still be falling years and years from now. Jerry Sandusky was the defensive coordinator for the university football team that had built a well-known tradition of being one of America’s great college programs. Joe Paterno was the head coach for sixty-one years and became the face of the university. Well, both of these men’s glory has come to a miserable end. As you probably know, Jerry Sandusky now awaits his sentencing after being found guilty of multiple counts of child molestation, and Joe Paterno died in the midst of this scandal as it rocked the air waves around the world. The volcano of sin erupted and it is still spewing lava and ashes. Several boys had been molested by Sandusky on the Penn State campus over a period of years. When Joe Paterno became aware of this activity, he chose to protect the program and did not take the necessary actions to ensure that an investigation was launched swiftly, which could have spared some young boys from the abuse. Sadly, college football is big business in this country and the Penn State program had way too much to lose. Reputation, millions upon millions of dollars and Saturday home games with fans filling one of the three largest football stadiums in the country were all more important than the lives of the young victims. Well, what they thought they were covering up has now come back to haunt them. It’s just like when a dead body surfaces and has all kinds of forensic evidence that leads the investigators to the killer.

The Penn State University sex scandal is still hot in the media and now the football program is going to suffer some extremely stiff penalties as a result. The university has just been fined sixty million dollars, the football program will get no post-season play for the next four years and it will lose twenty scholarships for the next four years as well. This is going to be DEVESTATING. I’m sure that home game attendance may suffer some for the time being. Penn State has the second largest football stadium in the country. Think about the surrounding businesses like hotels, restaurants, etc. who probably make a significant amount of their profits during football season. They are likely going to see a plunge in sales this next season and for several more. The effects will be staggering! I can already imagine that many high school recruits will see no choice but to pass up this once great program for other opportunities. I also believe that high school kids in the state of Pennsylvania may no longer want to attend this school as a result of this scandal. The university may also lose top donors and sponsors, and the number of potential civil suits from the victims and other entities that will likely be filed is SCARY. But all of this is due to HIDDEN SIN! One man’s secrets have affected millions of people! True enough, Joe Paterno’s actions play a part in this because he chose his friendship with Jerry Sandusky over doing what most sensible people would have done in reporting the child abuse and molestation. As a result, he just went from being the most winning coach in college football history to 12th all time because all wins from 1998 to the present are now considered vacated on the record books. The Apostle Paul said that it is sin to not do what we should. Joe Paterno’s legacy has now been tarnished forever and his INACTION victimized others. Penn State University now has an uphill battle in regaining its reputation and maybe even in recovering financially.

Jerry Sandusky has ruined his family name and I have strong empathy for his relatives. And while we should certainly be praying for his victims, his family needs just as much prayer because they have been victimized, just in a different way. The actions of this man have traumatized so many lives, and it is now surfacing that he has been molesting children long before his actions on the Penn State campus. History now will only regard him as a pedophile. What are supposed to be the golden years of his life will now be spent in prison. His golden years will now be aluminum foil, if even that…

So when did this all begin? I tell folks all the time that the guys who get caught trying to meet up with underage minors on that show “To Catch a Predator” are really no different than the average man. People like to believe that something is inherently wrong with these men, but I don’t believe that. These guys were just like me and countless others at one point in their lives. They probably had issues with self-pleasure, fornication and pornography just like most men. It’s just that their sin issues never got dealt with and somehow a crucial door opened to their hearts at the perfect time in the midst of their sin. The enemy and his demonic forces came in and darkened their hearts. Jerry Sandusky fits perfectly into this category. Imagine what could have happened had he gotten help a long time ago. Granted, I don’t know what his beliefs are but his secret sins/desires could have been dealt with if he would have been honest with himself and someone he trusted. Sadly those chances ran out a long time ago…

The good news is that you and I still have a window of opportunity to be made whole. The Lord is very patient and He is extending His grace to all of us. His grace is sufficient. The truth is that there are resources around us if we really, truly want help. There are various ministries available to us that God has put in place to heal the broken and set the captives free. The power of the blood of Jesus is real and the battle is already won! And get ACCOUNTABLE! So many people professing to be in the body of Christ have rejected accountability even though the Bible is full of examples. The Word says and I’m paraphrasing “iron sharpens iron.” The first part of Proverbs 27:6 states that “faithful are the wounds of a friend.” Unfortunately, there is this demon called PRIDE that seeks to hide instead of to confide. No matter the situation, I would rather be embarrassed in front of someone who sincerely loves and cares about me than be embarrassed on the six o’clock news! Can I get an “Amen?”

Sin is just like a sore that eventually starts to fester. Then infection manifests and it begins to spread around the body. Before we know it, now certain internal organs are infected and it becomes a life or death situation. The man who is addicted to pornography eventually becomes a rapist or some other form of a pervert. The person with the out-of-control temper eventually kills someone in a fit of rage. The person who tells “white lies” eventually embezzles money from their place of employment. The person with secret, dark desires becomes a serial killer. The person experimenting with marijuana or other “party drugs” moves onto heroin or crack because the “highs” weren’t high enough. These scenarios have played in the lives of many people, so we can’t lie to ourselves believing that it will never happen to us. Even worse, multiple lives are hurt and destroyed in all of these scenarios. Your sin does not affect just you! So let’s please take hold of the Heavenly Father’s hand that He is extending to us. Be honest with yourself and with Him. Expose yourself to the people that God has placed in your life and confess your sins. Jesus instructed the man with the wounded hand to stretch it out before he could be healed. (See Mark 3:1-5) In other words, it had to be exposed before it could be healed. It could not remain hidden! Jerry Sandusky will probably never get redemption in his lifetime and now his only hope is to somehow work out his soul salvation before he takes his last breath. However, it is not too late for you and I. We can still sit in the mercy seat and be made whole… Take care and God bless!

 
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Posted by on July 23, 2012 in Spirituality

 

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Struggle Vs. Resolve

“I’m a work in progress.”

“God knows my heart.”

“This is something I just struggle with.”

These are all familiar statements that are commonly made by many people who profess to be in the body of Christ. I’ve made these statements several times myself, but have since shied away from them because I know now that they really are excuses. True enough many of us are in fact walking out our deliverance in various areas of our lives. Romans 12:2 says, “And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.” (NKJV) If we have truly repented then we are dedicated to living a life that is pleasing to the Father. So if this is the case, then we allow the Holy Spirit to redirect and restructure our lives in such a way that will help us not give into sin so easily. However, the problem is that so many people confuse struggle with resolve.

One sign in one’s life who really wants to be free is the presence of accountability. James 5:16 says “Confess your trespasses one to another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much.” (NKJV) If you have hidden sins in your life that no one else knows about, then you are lying to yourself when you make statements like, “I’m a work in progress.” People don’t embrace accountability because it means that they can’t simply do whatever they want. The truth is that confrontation does not feel good and most people don’t others getting in their business. God will put people in our lives to walk with us. Iron sharpens iron. However, without accountability, you will likely continue to fall over and over again. Those who have confused struggle with resolve will likely reject correction and find ways too justify their sinful behavior. Yet, some of these same folks will say that they are a work in progress. Please… Get real. Are you really progressing, or has your behavior not changed at all, except for the fact that you might go to church and know how to speak “Christianese?” Without anyone to be accountable to, you will become numb to your situation the more that you go unexposed and find comfort in the idea that you can get away with your sin issue. It’s funny how it is forgotten that the Father sees everything and He knows us better than ourselves. People are always talking about “God knows my heart.” Well according to Mark 7:20-23 that is not a good thing. The scripture says, “20 And He said, “What comes out of a man, that defiles a man. 21 For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, 22 thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lewdness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness. 23 All these evil things come from within and defile a man.” Wow… This scripture made me stop saying that “God knows my heart” altogether!

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From my own experience of walking out deliverance in certain areas of my life, I recall vividly that the Holy Spirit really came alive and began to give instructions. Sometimes instruction came from the suggestions of others who knew my situation as well. For example, if fornication is something you want to be free from, then the Holy Spirit will begin to instruct you on restructuring your life. This might mean that you stop hanging out at clubs where there is temptation. It will likely involve other things like getting an Internet filtering program, avoiding certain types of music and movies, getting rid of the phone numbers of sexual partners and distancing yourself from them. These would be the actions of someone who is truly struggling with sin, not someone who has just resolved to be that way. I remember a time about five or six years ago when I was in the shower. I would often times pray and engage in praise and worship while cleansing. This time I was heavy because I knew that I was still in bondage in certain areas of my life. I began to cry and lament. Then the Holy Spirit dropped a bombshell on me and said very plainly, “You’re not desperate enough.” Whew! What I realized from that day forth is that someone who is struggling is DESPERATE and HUNGRY for change. You get to the point where you no longer care about who knows your business and are willing to pay whatever costs necessary to get free. In Matthew 5:29-30 Jesus says, “29 If your right eye causes you to sin, pluck it out and cast it from you; for it is more profitable for you that one of your members perish, than for your whole body to be cast into hell. 30 And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and cast it from you; for it is more profitable for you that one of your members perish, than for your whole body to be cast into hell. (NKJV) I believe this is where the rubber meets the road and what separates the wheat from the tare. Someone who is struggling will make the sacrifices in order to live a repented life. Someone who is lying to themselves and who has resolved that a sin issue is just a part of them won’t make the necessary changes to be free because they haven’t truly experienced godly sorrow. They are only concerned with people finding out and in fact only experience worldly sorrow. THEY ARE NOT STRUGGLING!

A person who has confused struggle with resolve will NEVER change. A person who honestly struggles will eventually change and get to the point where they really are free from that sin issue. It may be a bit of a journey, but the length of that journey is largely determined by their decisions. The Apostle Paul stated that we must die daily to our flesh and crucify it (paraphrasing). This is not an easy task for everyone.   

I can honestly say that there are people in my life who know my issues. My own journey has been rocky and the Father has shown me other issues in my life that get in the way of my walking in total freedom. But I am able to find comfort in the fact that my struggle is in fact lessening and that smooth sailing is on the horizon if I’m willing to make the right choices. Being transparent may not always feel good, but that is largely because of pride. However, the more you do it, the easier it becomes. Hopefully, you will be honest with yourself about your situation. There is a distinct difference between struggle and resolve.

Nathan Allen Copyright© 2012

   

 
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Posted by on July 17, 2012 in Spirituality

 

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