A Message to Nineveh

It was Jonah whom God used to bring me to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ, and Jonah has played a significant role in my discipleship to this day. Just a few days ago I was listening to Chuck Swindoll giving a sermon on Jonah’s mission to Nineveh. As usual, God used the prophet’s story to speak to me about my own reluctance to share what God has given me. That reluctance has been a constant theme in my walk with Christ, something I’m not proud of, but, for some reason, it’s always there. As a matter of fact, I feel so closely related to Jonah in my relationship with Christ that I wrote a book about him.

I disagree with Chuck that Jonah’s reluctance to go to Nineveh had anything to do with the message he was to bear. In fact, Jonah himself makes it clear that his reluctance stemmed from a combination of his strong dislike of the people of that city and his deep conviction that God, in his grace and mercy, intended to save them from their own impending disaster.

So it is for me today. God has given me a message of impending doom which I am reluctant to share for many reasons, not simply because I don’t like the people I’m to share it with. If I am to be honest though, I think to some degree, I have fallen before the warning Jesus gave His disciples in Matthew 24:12, that “…because lawlessness will abound, the love of many will grow cold.” Certainly lawlessness abounds in our age, as it did in Jonah’s and I find myself at odds with the culture that surrounds us to the point that my love, at least with regard to patience and compassion, has grown cold.

I find myself anxious for God’s vengeance on “them”, though He admonishes me in Amos 5:18 not to, “…long for the day of the Lord.” He warns, “Woe to you who desire the day of the Lord! For what good is the day of the Lord to you? Is not the day of the Lord darkness, and not light?

Is it not very dark, with no brightness in it?”

The fact is that many of the people who will receive this message and be effected by the events it foretells, are people whom I love very much. I am also reluctant for them, for the anxiety the message might cause them, but God has made it clear in 2 Peter 2, that “…If God did not spare the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah (but turned them) to ashes, condemned them to destruction, making them an example to those who afterward would live ungodly lives; (but He) delivered righteous Lot, who was oppressed by the filthy conduct of the wicked — then the Lord knows how to deliver the godly out of temptations and to reserve the unjust under punishment for the day of judgment.” Yes I urge you as believers to stand firm on the promises of God that he will rescue us from the coming destruction, as He has illustrated many times in His word.

That said, Jonah, at last obedient to God’s will, warned the people of “that great city”, that destruction was soon to come upon them. He warned that in forty days, Nineveh would be destroyed. My message is similar to Jonah’s and my hope, unlike his, is that God intends spiritual renewal, as He did with Nineveh. None the less, in Jonah’s story, Nineveh is representative of the “City of Man”. Today that construct is global in nature. The City of Man has become the lawless world and the destruction God intends will be complete, the annihilation of all civilization, “just as in the days of Noah”, but this time, by fire, as He demonstrated on Sodom and Gomorrah.

The message I bear is about timing, but not a forty day window, as Jonah preached, although anything is possible, but certain prophetic events must be fulfilled. Forty years is not out of the question, and some scientists have been very bold in predicting the coming event in precisely twenty seven years, that speculation based on rhythmic, clock-like solar cycles. Certainly the event, the mechanism of our demise, will come before one hundred years have gone.

There are hundreds of references in the Bible to the temporary nature of the earth and of our lives on it. So, what would ever make an intelligent, inquisitive mind believe that temporal Earth could go on infinitely into the future? The answer is, nothing. You would have to be completely ignorant of the Bible and of the patterns of Earth’s geological past to even toy with the idea of an infinite Earth. No, of a certainty there is a finite limit that has been well expressed in lore and faith, in science, and now, even in the halls of the political class; but only whispered there, lest they be overheard by the lesser beings they were sent to serve. That said, I am compelled to relate to you what I have seen and heard, what I believe the Lord has revealed to me, a message He demands I share with you and you can share with others.

So here’s what we know. We know that the mechanism of our destruction has been used by God at least once, it is recorded in the Bible, in Joshua 10:13b-14, “…Is this not written in the Book of Jasher? So the sun stood still in the midst of heaven, and did not hasten to go down for about a whole day. And there has been no day like that, before it or after it, that the Lord heeded the voice of a man; for the Lord fought for Israel.”

Scientists today, mainly cosmologists, have theorized and mostly proven a force that dominates the dynamics of the universe and our solar system even more than gravity. It is being called the “Plasma Universe” and it is based on the power of electro-dynamics. Tesla knew of it and proved it in many experiments, but without becoming too didactic, cosmologists have learned that it is really electrical energy that drives our planet, including earthquakes, volcanoes, violent weather and even heart attacks. Where does all this energy come from? It comes from our sun.

You see, our earth is a giant magnet. So is the sun, for that matter, and most of the other planets in our solar system, not to mention the stars beyond. When the particle energy that the sun constantly produces, called the solar wind, presses against the earth’s magnetosphere, it produces electricity by a method called induction. You can’t feel this, but the earth does. Those of you who have induction stoves know that you can lay your hand on the burner and feel nothing, but when you put a steel pan, or any Ferris, (magnetic) material on the burner, it heats up very quickly. That’s how electrical induction works.

The earth has an iron core, so when particle energy from the sun passes through the core, you don’t feel it, but the earth’s core heats up, just like the pan on your stove. The more energy, the more heat, so when the sun flares a large amount of energy, the heat of the earth’s core increases along with it. This becomes important because of the earth’s mantle. The earth’s mantle lies just below the earth’s crust, the part we live on. The crust is about sixty miles thick, thin, compared to the mantle. The mantle is made up of magma, that is semi-molten rock, like the lava flows you see coming out of volcanoes. Near the earth’s crust, the magma is cooler, approaching a more solid state called “plastic”. Deeper down, the magma is hotter, more liquid, but it is all spinning together, at the same speed, about a thousand miles per hour at the surface. You can’t feel that speed, because the oceans and the atmosphere are also spinning with the earth, but you can see the sun arc across the sky everyday as a result.

So, the earth’s crust is riding on the cooler, plastic portion of the mantle and the resistance between crust and mantle maintains the rotation speed, like the clutch in a car. But what might cause the clutch to disengage so that the crust slips? It’s happened before. It happened for Joshua the day he battled the Amorites. It’s happened more recently but only in very minor amounts that caused split second losses of time. All that is required is a solar flare large enough to create enough heat in the earth’s core to cause the mantle layer to liquify, even a little bit. That heat could disengage the clutch and cause the earth’s crust to float free of the spinning engine at the core.

Larry Burkett wrote a book entitled “Solar Flare“, before he died. He didn’t speak about the possibility of a shift in earth’s crust though. His book was more about the devastating effect such an event would have on our technology. At that time, few knew about this delicate mechanism of God’s design and those who did know were not talking. One of those who knew was a cosmologist named Chan Thomas. In 1963, Mr. Thomas published a booklet entitled, “The Adam and Eve Story”. In that booklet he speculated about an event, certain to come, in which the earth would be completely destroyed and all civilization annihilated within one, twenty four hour period. Before his book could penetrate the market, however, it was seized and sequestered by the CIA and few copies ever reached the public square. Thanks to FOIA, the book is available on the CIA’s website, but that version is heavily redacted. A few complete version are available out there, but they are hard to find and poorly formatted for reading.

In short, the book paints a picture of utter catastrophe in which the earth is torn apart by first, thousand mile per hour winds as the crust rapidly stops its rotation independent of the atmosphere, then by massive, miles-high tsunami’s as the oceans wash over the lands at mach speed. Current thinking on the matter seriously mitigates this scenario and certainly this was not the Biblical case. Joshua only noticed the day was longer without suffering any ill effects. The end result is in God’s hands and either you believe that He is in control, or you don’t.

None-the-less, I am convinced, along with many scientists that these things will come and likely sooner than later. And we are not the only ones who are convinced. One may ask several questions, like, what was the CIA’s interest in this book? Why have they withheld it from the public? And, what is being done about it in the halls of government? I will not speculate as I did in an earlier piece I wrote on this subject, but here is what we know:

We know that the sun is currently at Solar Grand Minimum which is the halfway point of an eleven year cycle. We know that at any time, but especially when the sun goes to solar maximum, we could experience a major, solar flare, even one capable of liquifying the mantle by way of induction, or worse, the possibility of what’s called a micro-nova.

We know that the earth’s magnetosphere, the shield that protects us from the solar wind, cosmic radiation and the radiation of a solar flare is weakening as the earth undergoes a periodic pole shift. We know that our solar system is moving out of the protection of a charged hydrogen cloud that has protected us from cosmic radiation for the past fifty thousand years. We know that as our magnetic shield weakens, the solar wind and cosmic radiation could strip away our atmosphere as we believe happened on mars.

We know that if the earth’s poles shift as anticipated and the earth’s crust should follow, that the Antarctic continent will end up near the equator, while Brazil ends up at the North Pole. We know that this has happened before, in the past. We know that our government also knows this.

We know that our government has been carrying on a major construction project in Antarctica for some time now. They have built an underground structure so large it can be seen from space and is visible via Google Earth. The structure is approximately fourteen miles long by five miles wide, perhaps some sort of bunker. At what cost we don’t know.

We know that $21,000,000,000,000.00 dollars has gone missing from our coffers since 1998, money spent without any accounting. No-one seems to know how, or where, but Someone does. All this seems to indicate that our government, the elite among us, have been very busy implementing a plan that might have something to do with Chan Thomas’ Adam and Eve Story. At any rate, the question is, what should we do?

I recently replied to some none-believers on twitter in response to a report about a strange, newly discovered radio signal, a repeating FRB, (Fast Radio Burst), coming from a point in deep space, 1.5 billion light-years from Earth. Naturally, given the times we live in, this discovery has aroused far more attention and speculation than it’s worth. In a revival of SETI-like interest, many people are wondering if the signal has an intelligent source and what it might mean.

As a writer of fiction, I responded to the question thus, “Let’s pretend that the source is intelligent life on a planet that is being stripped of its atmosphere by a catastrophic collapse of its magnetosphere. Let’s then pretend that in just a few years we are able to decode the message we received and find out that it is a cry for help. The message would have been sent 1.5 billion years ago, from an impossible distance, but we pour billions more dollars into researching the source anyway, only to learn that the message was sent from our future selves. I like that better than it just being a distant super nova, or a pulsar, don’t you?”

Though I was only being sarcastic, one man inquired of me, “What should we do?” My answer to him was simple, “REPENT! Get yourself right with God, the end is near.”

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has told us, in her infinite knowledge of such things, that we have but twelve years before our lack of environmental responsibility will destroy us. She’s wrong about the cause of death, but, who knows, she may be right about the time frame.

What I do know is there’s a way to be saved. “People get ready, there’s a train a comin’ – don’t need no baggage, you just get on board.” That train will be leaving the station before all this catastrophe comes down from heaven, as it did in the days of Sodom and Gomorrah. All you need do is repent, fall on your knees before a merciful and gracious God and confess with your mouth that Jesus Christ is Lord of all.

Obviously the evidence indicates that a flare, or a micro-nova is a survivable event, but the resulting destruction would push mankind back into the stone age. That’s a place I, for sure, would not want to be. So, there is another option and it doesn’t involve banging on the door of a bunker in Antarctica, begging for the elitist residents to let you in.

All of this has been prophesied in the Bible, and the Bible says that before Jesus comes in His glory, with “ten thousands” of angels to destroy His enemies, He will come quietly, as a thief, to remove His children from the earth. “His children,” are those who love Him and have confessed Him Lord with their mouths. As Jonah advised the people of Nineveh, so I advise you, Repent! Put on sack cloth and ashes, confess that you have lived in sinful rebellion against God and accept His gift of salvation. Declare that Jesus Christ is Lord and make Him Lord of your life, Then get on that train before it leaves the station. “You don’t need no ticket, you just thank the Lord.”

 

 

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A Word About Social Justice

Lev. 25:8-17

“‘Count off seven sabbath years—seven times seven years—so that the seven sabbath years amount to a period of forty-nine years. Then have the trumpet sounded everywhere on the tenth day of the seventh month; on the Day of Atonement sound the trumpet throughout your land. Consecrate the fiftieth year and proclaim liberty throughout the land to all its inhabitants. It shall be a jubilee for you; each of you is to return to your family property and to your own clan. The fiftieth year shall be a jubilee for you; do not sow and do not reap what grows of itself or harvest the untended vines. For it is a jubilee and is to be holy for you; eat only what is taken directly from the fields.

“‘In this Year of Jubilee everyone is to return to their own property.

“‘If you sell land to any of your own people or buy land from them, do not take advantage of each other. You are to buy from your own people on the basis of the number of years since the Jubilee. And they are to sell to you on the basis of the number of years left for harvesting crops. When the years are many, you are to increase the price, and when the years are few, you are to decrease the price, because what is really being sold to you is the number of crops. Do not take advantage of each other, but fear your God. I am the Lord your God.”

The trouble is, like the rest of the law, driven by sinful greed, the people failed to comply with either the Lord’s law of Jubilee, or David’s decree. (ref. 1Sam. 30:21-25) All the terrible suffering of the old testament was meant to prove to us that we are, at heart, criminals, in violation of the law. All the suffering of Christ on the cross was meant to free us from the burden and penalty of the law so that the Lord’s law of love could be written on our hearts; and, in the Law of Love, we would find the power to obey His command to love the Lord our God and to love our neighbor, as ourselves. Sadly, even though the power has been given to us, (the church,) we continue to live in disobedience. I ask you, where, in the church, is the Spirit of Jubilee, the Spirit of communal sharing and the love of God that was so present in the Biblical description of the church in Acts?

History has, more than once, proven the utter failure of Karl Marx’s sinful dream of a collective state. His folly has exacted a price of hundreds of millions of innocent lives over the decades since he penned his manifesto, the lives of men women and children, murdered for the sake of a failed ideology. Joseph Stalin spoke truly when he said, “Ideas are more powerful than guns.”

The real truth is, that state enforced communism will never work, because it is born of a godless lie, and perpetrated by sinful men under the influence of evil spirits. It is a polity born of covetousness and driven by greed, and a lust for power. As proof one only needs to finish Stalin’s thought on the matter. He said, “We would not let our enemies [the people] have guns, why should we let them have ideas?”

Indeed, why would we? More disturbingly, over the decades since his reign of terror, those who have followed have succeeded in attaining the goal of robbing the people of their own ideas. Otherwise, why would so many young people be so blinded to the truth.

It’s hard for me to believe that we have come to a generation that are willing to reject the bright future comprised in the ideologies of James Madison, (et-al,) for the dark terrors of Karl Marx. None-the-less, here we are, in a position where we have to ask two whole generations to forget what their professors in college told them was true, and think for themselves. I ask that you open your eyes and your hearts to the realities of our world, not some doctrinal, utopia.

Bella Dodd hit the nail on the head in her book, “School of Darkness,” when, in assessing her role and beliefs as a prominent member of the Communist Party of The United States, she pointed out, “We saw a bleak present and wanted to turn it into a wonderful future for the poor and the troubled. But we had no foundation for solid thinking or effective action. We had no real goals because we had no sound view of man’s nature and destiny. We had feelings and emotions, but no standards by which to chart the future.”

Such is the case for today’s young revolutionaries, such as Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez. They have feelings and emotions, but no standards upon which to chart your future. They are pretenders to a throne. Potential rulers who need to assess their own motives, whether they truly seek a better world, or only lust for elite positions of power, a state where they are the master and you are the slave. The answer to that question is contained in the history your professors withheld from you. The truth is that every human attempt at socialism, or its ultimate condition, communism, has been a brutal, despotic failure.

Bella Dodd wrote thus about such leaders, “Communists usurp the position of the left, but when one examines them in the light of what they really stand for, one sees them as the rankest kind of reactionaries and communism as the most reactionary backward leap in the long history of social movements. It is one which seeks to obliterate, in one revolutionary wave, two thousand years of man’s progress.”

Over those two thousand years there has only been one culture that has worked to improve the lot of mankind on Earth, only one culture that has brought light and relief from suffering, from hunger, from poverty and oppression. It is rooted in the ideal of freedom; free will, free speech and freedom of religion. It is based on proven laws handed down from God Himself in an ancient past and brought to successful fruit in the power of Christ. Whether you believe in Him or not, the successful cultures of the world, where both freedom and people thrive, have been rooted in the teachings of Christ Jesus and His church. Teachings that admonish mankind to “love the Lord your God, and love your neighbor as you love yourself.”

If we could just do that much, the utopia you seek would be ours. We would not need governments to rule over every aspect of our lives. I can only pray that someday this newest generation will discover that communism will never succeed by revolution. True communal living can only succeed by revelation. The truth is that a people who cannot love their neighbor in the same way that they love themselves, are not deserving of freedom, because freedom and love are directly proportional. Where the people lack in love for one another, freedom must also lack.

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The GaGa Effect

“They sailed to the region of the Gerasenes, which is across the lake from Galilee. When Jesus stepped ashore, he was met by a demon-possessed man from the town. For a long time this man had not worn clothes or lived in a house, but had lived in the tombs. When he saw Jesus, he cried out and fell at his feet, shouting at the top of his voice, “What do you want with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? I beg you, don’t torture me!” For Jesus had commanded the impure spirit to come out of the man. Many times it had seized him, and though he was chained hand and foot and kept under guard, he had broken his chains and had been driven by the demon into solitary places.

Jesus asked him, “What is your name?”

“Legion,” he replied, because many demons had gone into him. And they begged Jesus repeatedly not to order them to go into the Abyss.

A large herd of pigs was feeding there on the hillside. The demons begged Jesus to let them go into the pigs, and he gave them permission. When the demons came out of the man, they went into the pigs, and the herd rushed down the steep bank into the lake and was drowned.” Luke 8:26-33

 

Though few in the church recognize it, the truth is that demons and evil spirits surround us at all times and we are easily manipulated by them, even, and especially, those of us who confess Christ as Lord and Savior. There is an irony in that the unbelieving artistic among us, those with creative minds and especially those with creative genius, are more aware of the spirit world than those within the church. Observing this reality has brought me to an interesting  hypothesis, that is, that the door to the spirit world lies within our right brain, and those who are oriented to using the right brain, the creative among us for example, are more susceptible to spiritual influences than those who are mostly ordered by their left brain. Thus, the more creative a person is, the more vulnerable they are to the depravity of the profane. I have come to call my hypothesis “The GaGa Effect,” a reference to the artist known as Lady GaGa.

Whether we realize it or not, we have all been witness to the right brain’s sensitivity to the spiritual world. It is a trait that gives artists the ability to divine the future without even realizing it. Look at the art that is being produced today, especially in the entertainment industry, and you will see in it an overcast of impending doom. As an example, in 1998, Hollywood produced Armageddon, with Bruce Willis a movie about a prophetic catastrophe, an approaching asteroid called in the Bible, “Wormwood.” Within months of the movie’s release, our government began watching the skies, desperate to learn how frequently the earth is near-missed by wayward asteroids, an exercise for which many hundreds of millions of dollars have been spent each year since. There are many more examples we could discuss, but this was an early one.

As a writer and artist myself, I know that my inspiration does not come from within, but from without. My Muse is fixed in the spiritual realms, not in the visible world, and often, the vision, or themes behind the words I write, and sometimes the words themselves, do not come from my own mind, but are spiritually inspired. This is true for me as it is for any artist who will be honest about the source of their inspiration. Lady GaGa herself has said, in an interview, “I have no relation to the lyrical content of my music…” In the context of the interview it was clear that she meant she was not the source of her own lyrics, that they came to her from a spiritual source. She adds, “Evil is intelligent and invisible. It’s like a snake…. plotting who it will strike next.”

Having said that, I point out that all creative activity is oriented to the right brain. Art of any kind is right brain activity and is subject to spiritual influence. It is the right brain’s sensitivity to the spiritual realm that makes a person creative, not the reverse. Thus art often communicates a prophetic message without the artist even realizing it, (ie), trending themes in movies, literature, fine arts, fashiom and so on, portend future realities, and even Biblical events. For this reason it is important to analyze trends in all kinds of art for patterns that might indicate a common sense about current, or future events in our world. One such recent example is, the Bird Box, a new NetFlix movie starring Sandra Bulloch, adapted from a novel of the same name, by Josh Maleman. It is a story about an overwhelming, dark, spiritual depravity consuming the world’s population, as “the Nothing” did in “The Never Ending Story.” Have you noticed the growing depravity that surrounds us today? Bird Box is a warning to a depraved world that something evil is upon us, swallowing up human civilization the world over.

Although I have been aware for a very long time that my creative interests are partly spiritual in nature, it wasn’t until 1999, when I saw the movie, The Matrix, that I realized how powerful the spiritual influence over the creative process could be. The Matrix was written, produced and directed by the Wachowski brothers. I don’t know how much you know about them, but I assure you, they are no friends of Christ. Even so, the underlying Biblical message about sin, suffering and redemption in their motion picture creation is astounding and I’m sure unintended by them. Most of all, Morpheus’ message that the world you see every day, “has been pulled down over your eyes to blind you from the truth.” That is certainly a message that rings true from the Bible. Of course, in this particular case, the influence was divine, but that is not always the way of it.

The great danger for the creative individual, is the threat of profane influence in the creative process, and the danger goes well beyond just suggestive influence, to include the potential for a complete loss of self-directed activity. The more oriented a person is to right brain activity, the more creative they are; the more creative a person is, the more vulnerable they are to profane influence in their process and in their personal lives. This profane influence of which I speak does not come from a loving God, but from one or more of tens of thousands of demonic entities, including evil spirits, who know only evil, and have no greater purpose than to destroy the relationship between mankind and the God who created us. The creative mind is a mind that exists on a slippery, spiritual slope, ever in danger of sliding down into the grasp of these demonic beings who will use your creative process to their own purposes; often with the promise of fame and fortune. There are many in the music business who will readily testify to this influence and even a few who have openly confessed their regret that they actually sold their souls for the privilege; and they do not mean that in any metaphoric way. The speak of literally trading an eternity in Hell for fame and fortune here on Earth, in the same way that Esau traded his inheritance for a pot of stew.  There is a war going on inside us and all around us. A war that is illustrated in Revelation twelve, by the woman and the dragon, an illustration of the faithful one being a target of the forces of evil. But that illustration does not depict only the primary target. The illustration is more about a policy of the forces of evil to devour the things of God in their infancy and even before. As such, the most vulnerable in this spiritual war is the artistic mind, a mind that exists at that fractured border between genius and madness.

I cite, Stephanie Joanne Angelina Germanotta, AKA, Lady GaGa, as my example and proof, because she has recently struggled publicly with these forces in her life. There are many others out there who can testify to the truth of what I say, but I choose Lady GaGa for her artistic genius, her expertise in enfolding subliminal messages into her song and spectacle, and for her open struggle with the demonic forces that threaten to destroy her, body, mind and soul. What should be of greatest concern to all of Christianity is that Lady GaGa, an individual who is essentially a Pagan, is willing to speak openly about these evil, spiritual forces, while we, the church, are not. The truth is that the only prevention and cure for the darkness that is consuming our world is prayer, and if the church is not willing to pray for her, and the others, who will? We are like a bunch of pilots who have seen a UFO, but are too intimidated by social forces to speak up, too intimidated to point at the thing and sound the alarm.

This evil influence that consumes us has found its way in through holes in the wall of God’s protective mercy, left by Christianity’s failed maintainance. This darkness is the affect of our own apostacy that has resulted in God’s withdrawal of His mercy from the world. The evil has been insidiously born within the folds of fashion and popular culture, in every form of entertainment and art, in media and in false religion. One of the most popular names in music today, Beyonce, has said of her success, “I am demon possessed,” I couldn’t agree more, but she is not alone. In fact, though you may be shocked, we ourselves, the church that is, have also become possessed, right along with her. The situation is, in my view, quite overwhelming.

So, how can we liberate ourselves from the grip of demonic spirits? The answer is, quite simply, we can’t. The idea that we can do it ourselves is what got us into this mess in the first place, but remember, that nothing is impossible for God, in fact, what overwhelms us, is a simple matter for our savior. Our liberation can only begin in prayer and the confession of any unconfessed sin in our lives, and any unforgiveness that lies within our hearts. Our deliverance must begin with repentance. When there are no handholds left for demonic spirits to cling to in our lives, such as unconfessed, or undenounced sin, unbroken lies, or unforgiveness, these evil spirits will have no power left over you, nothing they can hold on to. They are forced, then, to let go, driven by the power that God has given us over them, through the authority of Christ. In His name, the authority to command them has been given to you and to me.

Be careful, however, that nothing remains hidden within you that might drive away the Holy Spirit, as with Ananias and Saphira. Jesus has warned us that an evil spirit, seeing the house thus swept clean, might return and bring his friends also. That would be tragic indeed. Aside from these remedies, I’m afraid there is no recourse, and unless the church takes action, the situation will only continue to get worse. So what will it be? Will we continue in unrepentant error, or will we step up, confess our sin and call on God to deliver us? The future of all the earth awaits our action.

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The Grinch Who Stole Christmas

Please forgive me that once again I enter the Christmas Holiday feeling as if I’m on the wrong path. I just want to keep it real, but it never feels that way. In part it’s because of all the confusion over what Christmas is really about. As evangelical Christians we’re fond of blaming a pagan, Godless world for our troubles, but it’s really we who are to blame.

A few years ago I took the kids to see “Arthur Christmas”. That movie is a perfect illustration of the very crux of the problem. First, that I took them to see the movie at all, and second, the movie’s message of raw materialism. I know what you’re thinking right now, but I’m not the Grinch. You see, in the modern age, the Grinch who stole Christmas wears a red suite and flies around in a reindeer powered sleigh.

Within our own family we struggle to change these lifelong traditions regarding Christmas. One person refuses to open presents on Christmas day, instead, moving the “orgy of materialism” to a January time frame. Another says, no, move the celebration of the “real” Christmas to January and hold the pagan “orgy of materialism” on the pagan holiday in December. The only thing we seem to agree on is that we’re not going to deny our children, or ourselves, that orgy.

I suppose that works well for a greedy economy, especially the retail sector, for whom enough is never really enough, but it isn’t what Christmas is supposed to be about. Regardless of what day it is that you choose to tear the wrapping from the mountain of presents under the tree, you will be shredding the true meaning of Christmas while you encourage every kind of abhorrent behavior the scriptures are trying to teach you and your children to avoid.

If you check, you might note from the scripture in Acts and secular history that the first century apostolic church had no idea when Christ was born, and never gave thought to a celebration of his birth. It wasn’t until much later, when the church became concerned about a calendar of feast days that Christmas began to appear among them. I often hear from evangelicals the complaint that the Pope changed the date of Christmas to coincide with a Roman, pagan holiday. It might have been, Gregory XIII or Julius I, or Benedict XIV. The truth of the matter is that, placing the blame on the Papacy, is a myth born of the reformation, a myth that leaves no one blameless.

History tells us that in 400 AD, John Crysostom, Archbishop of Constantinople, (not the Roman Pope), reestablished the date of Christ’s birth as December 25th, in a speech entitled, A Homily on The Birth of Our Savior which he gave in that great, Orthodox city. His speech revived an annual celebration which had pretty much died out by 386 AD, because the earlier, coinciding Pagan celebration of Saturnalia had overshadowed Christ’s birth even within the church. Much later, in British colonial times, Christian Puritans used the Pope mythology to make it illegal to celebrate Christmas at all. You could be tried for heresy and hung if you were caught violating that law. So, the idea of celebrating Christ’s birth was tainted from the start and, as it grew in popularity, so did more and more tainted ideas about how and when it should be celebrated. The result was that Christmas celebrations only spawned more controversy among Christians, who were already divided by hundreds of doctrinal disputes. Not much has changed in all the centuries between. The celebration of Christ’s birth remains another divisive theme within the church, as well as between the church and the secular community. The exact date upon which He was born loses all importance in the face of this truth.

The Eastern church’s tradition has always been, more appropriately, to celebrate Jesus baptism rather than His birth. They chose January sixth for that celebration, the Roman church’s day of Epiphany. Others believe, by complicated calculations, that his birth would have been in March, perhaps the seventeenth. Chinese astronomers of the Ch’ien-han-shu period, (circ. 12BC) recorded an event that, by coincidence, could well be the star of the Magi. They dated the sighting somewhere between March 10th and April 7th of the year 5BC, and recorded that the star, (Halley’s Comet,) was visible even during the day for seventy consecutive days.

No matter the date, the celebration should center on the themes of that greatest of Christmas carols, Oh Holy Night:

Oh Holy night, the stars are brightly shining. It is the night of our Dear Savior’s birth. Long lay the world in sin and error pining, till He appeared and the soul felt it’s worth…. Fall on your knees. Oh hear the angels voices. Oh night divine.”

Our celebration should consist of falling on your knees and giving thanks for “The Gift of God,” rather than a thankless orgy of materialism. That He, Christ, was born into this world is enough to celebrate. Though the scriptures do not testify to the date of His birth, they do testify to the gravity of His mission, a gravity that is made clear in the events that surrounded His birth. I love the implications in the strains of the Trans-Siberian Orchestra’s, “Christmas Eve (Sarajevo)” Both the music and the events that inspire it speak to the dangers He faced from the source of all darkness revealed in (Rev. 12:1 – 9.) Those verses reflect the danger our Savior placed himself in, thus the urgency for our need of a savior. We must learn to properly celebrate Christ, who came into the world for one purpose only, to save the world from its own sin.

The next most important aspect of any celebration is the “Virgin Birth.” The virgin birth testifies to us that we are not able to save ourselves, but we require a savior from a power beyond our own to intervene. Oswald Chambers points out that the virgin birth testifies to the fact that Christ came into the world from outside the world. He is not of this world, but is God, incarnate, Emanuel, come to live among us, in order to show us the Way, to reveal the Truth, and to become Life for us through the paradox of His own death on a cross.

Nothing is changed in this world by the church’s annual celebration of Christmas as the birthday of Christ. In fact, most of our Christmas Eve services are a dis-service to Him. Christ Jesus came into the world to die on a cross. It is that instrument of cruel death that God has changed into a symbol of new life; new life that comes from outside to change individual people on the inside, thus changing the world one life at a time. A simple, but powerful plan. So, keep it simple. Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas. Celebrate it every day of the year instead of placing all your attention on one illusive day. And remember, all the blinking lights, and decorated trees with mountains of gifts beneath, have never produced a single forgiven sin, or a single new life. Only Christ can do that. We, the church, have a responsibility to act for Him in the lives of the people around us each and every day of the year. “Christmas is love”. Whenever you choose to celebrate Christmas, use the celebration to give sacrificially, as our Savior taught us. Give until it hurts and the true joy of Christmas will become yours.

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Why Would God Allow Cancer?

I want to dedicate this piece to my mother, Mary Elizabeth Schott, who died of lung cancer in 2006; also to my brother-in-law, Gary Banks, who died of leukemia in 2015; to my dear friend, Lisa Laskovich, a sweet and godly woman, who died of brain cancer in 2016, to Bruce Rolland, who died of colon cancer in 2017, leaving behind a young widow and four children. There are a host of other friends and loved-ones who have been taken from us, in horrible suffering, by this evil disease.

I can’t tell you the number of times that someone has looked me in the eye with an angry heart and asked, “Why Does God Allow Cancer?”

Indeed. Why does God allow such evil to exist? But to more specifically answer the plaintive question of cancer and disease, we begin at the beginning, in the Book of Genesis, and note, in chapter one, that there is no mention of disease being created by God. The Scriptures never say, “…and God created cancer and saw that it was right and just, and it was evening and there was morning, the eighth day.”

The Holy Bible is God’s revelation of Himself to mankind and according to the testimony of the scriptures, God did not create disease upon the earth, nor any other evil thing, but, obviously, someone did. The creation scriptures, however, tell me that God was very aware of the evil that entered into the world, following His creation, a work that He saw and labeled, “Good,” on all counts. The Biblical proof that what God created was somehow corrupted after His Sabbath lies in the scripture following the creation of Adam, in Genesis, chapter two, verse seven. Because what God created before the Sabbath was, in God’s own words, “Good,” then God, in verse seven, formed Adam from the dust of a pristine world, as it is described in verses one through six.

Following that, I find it telling that God created an isolated garden, a special place for Adam to be separated from the rest of the earth, “eastward in Eden.” This garden, I’m convinced, was a place for Adam to be safe from the corruption and violence that God, in His omniscience, already knew was coming into the world. Otherwise what would be the point of the garden at all? Why wouldn’t God just grow the trees in the place where He formed Adam from the pristine dust of the ground, unless God already knew that something wicked was on its way?

I hope, as a Christian, you have an understanding of the phrase, “…and there was war in Heaven.” That phrase, from Revelation 12:7, is a vital key to understanding life on Earth. It is the key to understanding our world, its history and present, our relationship to God and the motivation behind His plan for us. It is the key to understanding the deeper meaning of so much of old testament scripture. For example, in the Book of Job, chapter one, beginning in verse six, a council of angels is called to present themselves before God and, according to the scripture, “Satan also came among them.” Because he is called “Satan,” and not “Lucifer,” we can know that his rebellion against God, in Heaven, has already taken place. Then the Lord asks him, “From where do you come?” Satan’s answer to this question should be of vital interest to every human being who has ever lived. He responds, “From going to and fro upon the earth, and from walking back and forth on it.

Further evidence of Satan’s prehistoric war coming to Earth is given in the New Testament with Jesus’ revelation to His disciples, in Luke 10:18, that he, Jesus, “…saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven.” And again, His warning in Revelation 12:12, “Woe to the inhabitants of the earth and the sea! For the devil has come down to you, having great wrath, because he knows that he has a short time.

Remember, as you read these scriptures, that the authority who speaks to you is the Alpha and the Omega. He is the Living God, who created the Heavens and the Earth, the second of the Trinity, who identifies Himself in Genesis as “Elohim,” the plural God. It is the Apostle John who connects Jesus with this creator entity in the first chapter of his gospel, identifying Him as the “Word,” Who spoke the whole of creation into existence.

The story continues, however, in Genesis chapter three, where a sinister and subtle third party interjects himself into the relationship between God and the man He created. The Apostle John makes a connection between Satan, the “dragon” and “serpent” of Revelation 20:2, and the “serpent” in the Garden, who tempts Eve to self- destruction, and through her, Adam. Their fall results in the destruction of God’s immediate plans “to prosper” mankind in the protection of a pristine Garden He created just for that purpose. God is left with no choice. In order to prevent Adam’s sin, thus his separation from God, from becoming an eternal condition, God is forced to cast him out of the garden and prevent him from reaching the Tree of Life.

Many say that on the day of Adam’s rebellion, everything was changed, that all of God’s “good” Earth became corrupt in that instant, but the evidence, Biblical and otherwise, indicates that the world outside the Garden had long since been corrupted and Adam was desperate to get back into the Garden because of the corruption and wickedness of the world outside. Otherwise, why would God have sent angels to prevent Adam returning to the Garden? It wasn’t because Adam would first seek out the tree of life. Adam, like his descendant, Esau, had no interest in that inheritance. He could have eaten the fruit of that tree at any time, but he chose the fruit of knowledge. No, God sent cherubim with flaming swords because, in returning to the safety and ease of the Garden, Adam might discover the Tree of Life and its fruit. In Joni Mitchell’s song, “Woodstock,” she penned a line, “…and we’ve got to get ourselves back to the garden.” Indeed we do, we like our father Adam, desperately need to return there, but, as Adam learned, and Joni didn’t, we can’t get there by ourselves. So it was, by Adam’s rebellion, called “sin,” in the Bible, that we have all been birthed into a fallen world, A world at war with God, because “sin,” our inheritance from Adam, is an intrinsic part of our nature.

Let’s begin there, in the knowledge that we are fallen people living in exposure to a fallen world. Where did the corruption and violence outside of the Garden come from? Let me tell you a story of rebellion and war, of the fallen “sons of God,” in Genesis six, called Egregore, or, as they were known by the Sumerians, the Urshu. These are only two of the monikers given the fallen angels of Satan’s rebellion, whose existence is recorded by every major civilization throughout the world. They are, in fact, the “gods” of ancient mythologies, whose stories are told in the apocrypha of The Book of Enoch. It is these fallen angels who were the true creators of disease, including cancer, all resulting from their failed efforts to foster their own race of eternal, hybrid beings through genetic engineering.

With regard to the mechanics of the disease, I don’t know if you’re aware, but, by God’s design, we are continually renewed. Each day, millions upon millions of our cells die and are replaced with new cells. That is God’s plan for us, if not His original design, but cancer exists in defiance of God’s plan, as do the angels who unleashed it on us. The story of Henrietta Lacks has taught us that cancer cells tend to never die, at least not as long as they are supported metabolically. (ref. Rebecca Skloot) These virtually, “eternal cells,” were engineered to defy the natural entropy of the cells that God created for a temporal world. They came from genetically engineered cells, designed to defy God on Earth, in the same way that the fallen angels defied Him by their rebellion in Heaven. The disease of cancer is a corruption of normal cell growth by cells with altered DNA that rapidly reproduce without dying off, as they should. Their continual existence and rapid reproduction most often forms a living tumor, in effect a foreign entity, living within the body of its host, that begins to usurp the body’s supply, as any parasite would. Of course there are many forms of cancer, not all develop as tumors, but all of them function on the principle of altered cellular DNA that creates a variant cell, the result of ancient experiments gone awry in repeated, rebellious attempts to create eternal beings in the flesh. I think I hear you asking, “So why did God allow such experimentation?”

In this current age, mankind has just caught up to the knowledge that angels had way back then. Today, scientists and even hobbyists are busy altering DNA and splicing genes in order to create new life forms for, God knows what purpose. God allows it now just as He allowed it then, but, because He allows it, doesn’t mean that He approves. But these experiments are all part of the rebellion against Him, in which Satan is compelled to prove to the angels who joined in his rebellion, that he, like pharaoh’s magicians, can reproduce the miracles of God. So, you might as well ask, “Why did God allow the rebellion in the first place?”

The answer to that is a little more complicated. It has to do with what I will call God’s Prime Directive, that is, His principle of free will. I will go into the doctrine of free will in another posting, but for now, just know that free will is the keystone to God’s ultimate plan for His creation. As a result, the angels were free to rebel, to show their true colors and when they were cast out of Heaven, down to the earth, they brought their corruption with them.

“So what about cancer? Why won’t God prevent it, if He can?”

This question is the more appropriate one. God certainly can, but the answer to the question has everything to do with God’s mercy. It’s important to first understand that God’s mercy lies in the principle that He does not inflict upon us what we truly deserve as rebels against His rule. Bear in mind that “rebels” are what we are to God. As sinners we have rebelled against God’s rule. Thank God that He is infinitely merciful to us in that He does not rain fire down upon us, as He did on Sodom and Gomorrah. Of course He warns us in that example and in other prophesy that He will, someday, when the cup of our iniquity is full, as it was then for the people of Sodom. But in the day of His mercy God has warned us that His wrath is ever building against us in equal proportion to our sin, like water building up behind a dam. And that is the crux of it. God’s mercy is like that dam. There are limits, and one day the dam will burst.

There are a ton of other metaphors in the Bible for God’s mercy. I prefer Nehemiah’s wall because it illustrates our equal responsibility in maintaining the mercy we so desperately require. Without God’s wall of mercy surrounding us, we have no defense against the destructive forces that have been unleashed in our world, both by Satan’s prior rebellion and by Adam’s following sin. What we need to recognize is that we who believe are responsible to build and to maintain the wall of God’s mercy through a proper relationship with Him.

Just as in the day of Nehemiah, each family in Christ, and within that family, each individual has been assigned a section of the wall to maintain, remembering that the wall protects us all, in its individual sections, as well as in its entirety. Nehemiah’s wall is the essential representation of God’s Mercy. When I fall into sinful behavior, as I sometimes do, my section of the wall begins to equally fall into disrepair. If I continue in sin, my section of the wall begins to crumble and soon, there comes a breach. That breach is like a door opened to evil, through which all manner of depravity can enter. Whatever enters in through my broken section of the wall effects anyone and everyone within. Let me say that again. Whatever evil enters in through my crumbling section of the wall effects anyone and everyone within. That literally means that my failure to maintain my section of the wall could be the source of your cancer.

That’s a very hard truth to accept, but we must come to understand that God’s merciful protection of us is directly proportional to our obedience to Him. Jesus said, “If you love me, obey my commands.” What’s obvious, though left unsaid, is the converse. If you don’t obey His commands, it means that you don’t love Him, so don’t expect to have his mercy to protect you from the forces that lie in wait to consume you. God explains this principle of balance through the prophet Hosea in chapter five, verse fifteen when God’s people have once again turned away from Him:

I will return again to My place

Till they acknowledge their offense.

Then they will seek My face;

In their affliction they will earnestly seek Me.

How true it is that we fail to seek God until we are afflicted. And you don’t have to look far today to see how afflicted we are, with disease and disaster, with depravity and moral collapse. We are drowning in a sea of sin and depravity. So let me ask you, how is your section of the wall. Is it crumbling? Somebody’s section obviously is, so much so, that, at times, it seems the wall has completely collapsed.

The time has come for God’s people, the Church, to get serious about sin. The time has come to fall on our knees and weep, to truly seek God’s face, to show our love for Him through obedience. The time has come to rebuild the wall, or suffer the consequences of its collapse.

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Making America Great Again

I’m not sure that we, as a nation and as a people understand just how angry God is with us in the moment. In the early 18th century of Colonial America, Johnathan Edwards, a Puritan preacher and theologian, wrote a sermon entitled, “God Makes Men Sensible of Their Misery Before He Reveals His Mercy and Love.”

He based the sermon on the scripture from Hos. 5:15,

“I will return again to My place

Till they acknowledge their offense.

Then they will seek My face;

In their affliction they will earnestly seek Me.”

Edwards concluded that, in the pride of our sinful nature, we will always turn our backs on God and that, until we clearly see our need for Him, we are not inclined to seek Him out. He put it this way, “Until the sinner is convinced of his sin and misery, he is not prepared to receive the redeeming mercy and grace of God, as through a Mediator, because he does not see his need of a Mediator till he sees his sin and misery.”

The truth of that message is revealed again and again throughout the scriptures of the Bible and supported by the extrabiblical history of the entire world, not just Western culture.

Knowing this, I find it strange that so little of what we hear today from the pulpits of America reflects this truth, or acknowledges God’s righteous anger over our apostacy. In the time that Edwards wrote this sermon, our pulpits were “aflame with righteousness,” as Alexis de Tocville observed. That flame led to a “Great Awakening,” a massive spiritual revival in 1734-35 and again in 1741. As much as the godless in America don’t want to acknowledge that we are a “Christian nation,” those revivals of the church’s power led to the birth of our freedom from tyranny and to our unique constitution, a set of laws that is the greatest plan for secular governance the world has ever known.

Today we, the church in America, half-heartedly pray for revival but our message to a lost nation is a weak, watered-down version of the Gospel, not the meat of our relationship with a living and, in this new age, angry God.

I wonder, did you go to church on our so-called “Easter Sunday,” without recognizing that we have allowed and even helped our “Easter” to become a Pagan celebration? But Easter is the one Sunday of the year that the churches in America are most filled with the lost who are seeking God’s forgiveness in exchange for their attendance. What was the message you heard from the pulpit on that day? Did it accurately reflect our sinful condition and the misery it has caused in every part of the world? (America’s reach is long and powerful. It has been so since the time de Tocville wrote about our nation’s greatness.)

Did the message you heard from the pulpit accurately reflect God’s righteous anger, or our dire need to repent and humble ourselves in fear before an angry, Living God? I seriously doubt it. The verse from “Oh Holy Night” comes to my mind, however, “Fall on your knees, oh hear the angels’ voices?”

Our reality is in fact described in the verses prior to Hos. 5:15, where the prophet speaks for God, saying, “For I will be like a lion to Ephraim, And like a young lion to the house of Judah. I, even I, will tear them and go away; I will take them away, and no one shall rescue.”

But we are so blinded by our own depravity that we don’t see the truth of our situation. Whatever we see that we recognize as being wrong, we blame on circumstances, on politics, on each other, or some interfering third party, but Jesus spoke the truth when He said of the church in this age, “So then, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will vomit you out of My mouth. Because you say, I am rich, I have become wealthy, and have need of nothing’—and do not know that you are wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked—”

Wake up church! Wake up from your sleep and repent!

When Alexis de Tocville, the French sociologist, came to America in 1831 to study our prisons, his experiencing of this nation prompted him to greatly expanded the scope of his journey. From it he ended up writing his famous treatise, “Democracy in America.” In it, he makes the following observation;

“I sought for the greatness and genius of America in her commodious harbors and her ample rivers and it was not there . . . in her fertile fields and boundless forests and it was not there . . . in her rich mines and her vast world commerce – and it was not there . . . in her democratic Congress and her matchless Constitution – and it was not there. Not until I went into the churches of America and heard her pulpits aflame with righteousness did I understand the secret of her genius and power. America is great because she is good, and if America ever ceases to be good, she will cease to be great.”

Want to “Make America Great Again?” Then recognize your sin and the misery it has caused, humble yourselves before your angry God, repent, pray for forgiveness then “go,” as Jesus commanded you. Go out into your communities and beyond. Go out from within the walls that are hiding the Truth and making you feel safe. “Go, and make disciples, not just converts. Go, as John the Baptist, urging repentance. Go and live the gospel, instead of just talking about it from flaccid pulpits. Show them the Way, don’t just tell them about it. Go, and Make America GOOD Again! Then, and only then, will America be great.

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Stardust

A few months after the Woodstock Music Festival, in 1969, the group, Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young, introduced their latest song, written by Joni Mitchell, “Woodstock,” in which we hear the refrain, “We Are Stardust.” The interesting thing about their musical collaboration is that, indeed we are wonderfully made of stardust. According to the Bible we were made from the dust of the earth, which, we have learned since, comes from the stars.

Though none of those four men, or Joni Mitchell, would willingly confess that there even is a God, let alone One that created the earth and everything in it, they seem to have somehow had innate knowledge that Adam, and thus his descendants were, in the words of Genesis, “formed… of the dust of the ground.” Joni’s lyrics even reflect an heartfelt desire to return to the peace and fellowship of the Biblical Garden of Eden.

“We are stardust, we are golden

And we’ve got to get ourselves back to the garden.

Then can I walk beside you,”

I believe that, in her subconscious mind “you,” should have been capitalized, “You,” meaning God. If it truly expressed her subconscious desires, the line should read, “Only then can I walk beside You.”

I could cite dozens, or perhaps hundreds of other examples of the artistic mind inadvertently testifying to God’s Truth. The movie, “The Matrix,” comes to mind. It seems to me that the artistic mind is more attuned, more sensitive to spiritual knowledge and the realm of spiritual influence than the rest of us are, and women more so than men. As a writer and artist, I have often testified that the stories I create, or take credit for creating, in fact, often seem to write themselves. The plot, the characters and the very words themselves often seem to come to my pen, as it were, from the ether. That experience has caused me to wonder why, what is the connection?

Scientifically speaking, artistic thought, that is, creative thought and abstract thinking are right-brain activities. As such, I postulate an hypothesis that the right brain is our door to the spiritual world. Now, don’t get all uppity. I’m not saying that creative people are more spiritual than the rest of us, but they are. My advice to any artist, or any sensitive, creative person is, don’t open that door without the Blood of Christ being present on the doorposts. The door that is our right brain is not only a portal to God, but it is also a portal to dark, demonic, spiritual forces that oppose Him.

Anyone who has spiritual eyes can see, in our present culture, the artistic mind tends to deny God, or truly, more often, to defy Him. This innate, though often denied, knowledge of God, in itself is a testimony to the reality of God’s existence and, along with Him, the existence of a spiritual realm that has a powerful influence and Dominion over our lives. The Apostle Paul says in Romans, one, “they are without excuse, for though they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were they thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened.”

Those are frightening words to a believer, as they ought to be to anyone who hears and understands what God is saying to us through the Apostle Paul. He is here, repeating a warning He uttered first to Moses, as recorded in Exodus. God spoke then of His ability and intention to darken Pharaoh’s heart, that is, to seal Pharaoh’s fate in the darkness he, Pharaoh, had himself chosen. That darkness is the denial and rejection of the knowledge of God. In Romans One, God says, through Paul’s pen, that, in the final days of mankind He will turn all who reject or deny Him over to a depraved mind. The scripture puts it this way, “Furthermore, just as they did not think it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God, so God gave them over to a depraved mind, so that they (will) do what ought not to be done. They have become filled with every kind of wickedness, evil, greed and depravity.” (Romans 1:28-29)

Have you looked around lately at the world of creative arts? Have you seen the spreading darkness in film, in what is laughingly called literature today? In music and most other forms of entertainment? In sports, in magazines and other media? I believe that music, being the “language of the soul,” is most strongly influenced. You can hear the evil influence of Satan in the rhythm and chords, in the lyrics and in the imagery that is evoked in live performance; it is blatant. Joni Mitchell’s passive refrain, “We are stardust,” has been replaced by Mick Jagger’s “Sympathy For The Devil.

In a balanced world, art imitates life. That’s not a perfect world, mind you. It’s a long way from perfect. It’s still a fallen world where, if you look closely, you will see, as in a dark mirror, that we are flying upside down, but at least we are able to distinguish light from darkness and we can acknowledge God, even if we don’t worship Him. The trouble with the world today is that life is imitating art. When you reach that point in a culture you can be assured that art has become fashion and fashion is an influence that has the power to enslave people. Whatever is fashionable is what drives human desire and that desire is born of covetousness. Oswald Chambers correctly identified covetousness as the hub of all other sin.

The influence of fashion in our world can be seen all around us today. We have altogether become cultural zombies, blind to truth and reality, like the people lined up along the road to see, yet not seeing, their naked king in the parable of “The Emperor’s New Clothes.” No one seems to be who they really are today, but everyone is trying to be the image of someone else whom they have been influenced to admire; whose image, whose false persona, in fact, they covet. The result is that, as we travel along the road of life today, we find very few whom we could identify as Joni Mitchell’s harmless “child of God.”

Instead, what you often find is a person hiding behind a persona of evil, one who pretends to be “bad-ass,” like so many who are in fashion today, pursuing an ideal of sinful covetousness. We have become like one who has lost sight of who they really are, in order  to acquire something they’ve been told will serve them so much more, like the Emperor’s new clothes. In her lyric, Joni Mitchell says, “And I don’t know who I am.”

How true it has become in the age in which we live. People today are confused about who they are and even what they are, about gender. The fog of depravity is so thick that some, though faced with the clear, physical evidence of their gender, deny it, insisting, vehemently, that they are the opposite. Flying upside-down in a world that Jesus said would one day call “evil good, and good evil.” So it has come,  this depravity, a sign to us of the age in which we are living, the age of Aquarius, an age of predictable darkness, in opposition to what the Fifth Dimension promised.

In spite of how much the fallen world denies, rejects and reviles God, their creator, they cannot help themselves from being used by Him to deliver his message of Truth and love. A message that, His will is that, none should be lost, but “…all should be saved.” The question to you today is, is it too late? Has God already withdrawn His grace and sent us the depravity we deserve? Has He already darkened the hearts of those who refuse to believe? I pray not, as Abraham negotiated with God for Sodom.

There is a Way for every person to be saved from the coming wrath, a wrath prophesied in the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah. It can be found in the Truth of the gospel of Jesus Christ, a gospel of repentance and the acceptance of a gift from God; that is, the blood of His own Son, shed for you, an atonement and a remission for your sins, a gift that will remove the blindness and depravity so that you can see the Truth. The offer stands, but don’t delay, time is certainly running out.

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Keeping The Main Thing, The Main Thing

29% of the world’s population have not heard, nor do they have opportunity to hear the gospel of Jesus Christ in their own language. Christ’s return hinges on the church’s completion of its mission to… “Go, and make disciples of all nations,” but, as the church today is modeled to “preach to the choir,” so is the distribution of resources for missions. Completing the Great Commission is not going to require more resources, it’s going to require better distribution and, most important, more dedication, that is, a heart for sacrifice.

As we observe Veterans’ day today, celebrating the secular sacrifices men and women make to defend our country against the physical forces who would destroy our freedom, the church should be aware of the need to defend the world from the spiritual forces of evil intent that surround us. The key to winning a spiritual war is the gospel of Jesus Christ. When we win that war, physical wars will come to an end.

Let’s begin today by celebrating, in a big way, the men and women who sacrifice their time, their resources, their family’s comfort and security, and, indeed, at times, their very lives, in order to carry the gospel of Jesus Christ to people who have no other opportunity to hear it.

In the church’s sincere commitment to Christ’s command, I look forward to the joyful day when Sunday morning attendance is down because, in the words of Pastor David Uth, “The church has left the building,” and it’s busy doing the work of Christ outside its fortress walls, in the surrounding community and beyond, spreading the Word of His Gospel to those who have not heard and didn’t know. Such work IS worship, and worship in Spirit and in Truth, as God has always desired of His people. Winning the war is the church’s sole responsibility. Only then will Isaiah’s prophesy in chapter 11:1-5 come to be:

 

“A shoot will come up from the stump of Jesse;

from his roots a Branch will bear fruit.

The Spirit of the Lord will rest on him—

the Spirit of wisdom and of understanding,

the Spirit of counsel and of might,

the Spirit of the knowledge and fear of the Lord—

and he will delight in the fear of the Lord.”

 

“He will not judge by what he sees with his eyes,

or decide by what he hears with his ears;

but with righteousness he will judge the needy,

with justice he will give decisions for the poor of the earth.

He will strike the earth with the rod of his mouth;

with the breath of his lips he will slay the wicked.

Righteousness will be his belt

and faithfulness the sash around his waist.”

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Familiarity Breeds Contempt

I recently watched a video on YouTube that resurrected an issue that has troubled me for a very long time. It’s an issue of concern that I have brought up many times among my Bible study groups, one I have given up to much prayer. The video helped to crystallize my thoughts on the matter, so I share it with you today.

Isaiah 11:1-3

“A shoot will come up from the stump of Jesse;
from his roots a Branch will bear fruit.
The Spirit of the Lord will rest on him—
the Spirit of wisdom and of understanding,
the Spirit of counsel and of might,
the Spirit of the knowledge and fear of the Lord—
and he will delight in the fear of the Lord.”

Nothing is hidden from God, not past, or present, or future. Two thousand years ago he inspired the Apostle Paul to write about future generations in his letter to the church in Rome. He said of men that they would become filled with all “unrighteousness, sexual immorality, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness, envy, murder, strife, deceit, evil-mindedness, gossip, backbiting, haters of God, violent, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, undiscerning, untrustworthy, unloving, unforgiving, and unmerciful.”

 

The knowledge of this scripture prompts me to ask the question, how do you see God? Some see Him as being only angry and wrathful, while others see him as being all loving grace and forgiving mercy. How you see God is often more about your relationship with Him than it is about who God is. God is more complex than any of us can possibly know, and how you see God is more often a result of how God sees you.

When God looks into your heart does He see one who is like His own son, or does He see someone else’s selfish, rebellious, poorly behaved brat? One who shuns Him, showing only contempt and disrespect. What God sees in your heart will most often determine His response, and thus, determine how you, in turn, see God. How would you respond to one like you, if you were God? How did your own father respond to such behavior? Was your father even present? Many aren’t today. Unfortunately, for way too many children, especially our sons, the fact of an absentee father is a way of life.

The Bible informs us in Proverbs 1: 7, that, “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge,” but what is meant by “fear?” I have heard it preached from more than one pulpit that the scripture doesn’t mean fear, as we understand it, it means respect. Really? Certainly respect is a component of fear, but I don’t believe it is more. No, when I read about the kings of Canaan in Joshua 5:1, that “their hearts melted,” I think that their fear went far beyond respect.

My father was a strict disciplinarian, whether the situation called for it or not. As a child, I loved my father and, at times, he was loving and affectionate in return, but when my brother, or I got out of line he could be quite severe. You must believe, that, at such times, I truly feared my father, and when the lesson was over, it was mostly fear that continued. That fear caused me to learn where the boundaries were and to become aware of the subtle changes in his response to me that indicated I was drawing too close to one of those boundaries. There was a look, a hint of coming wrath that he gave as a warning. I still remember that look, I taught it to my own children, but the look is not nearly as important as knowing the boundaries. The look is only a way of arriving at the knowledge by the use of fear, because, like it or not, fear is our greatest teacher and motivator. If Satan knows this, why don’t you?

Perhaps, you have become too familiar with Him. Perhaps, out of a lack of proper fear, you are not listening. It could be that you, along with the church as a whole, are not hearing His still, small voice. Perhaps you are unaware of the subtle changes in His response to your behaviors because you have wandered too far to hear Him calling you back. How will you see Him when He speaks with authority, or takes action to get your attention? No matter our experience with an earthly father, we have a Father in Heaven and we should show Him respect with an appropriate measure of fear, a fear that exceeds our familiarity and contempt. I tell you today that we have wandered far and our Father has grown impatient with anger. The only proper response for the church is to fall on our faces before Him and pray for His mercy, to repent and come to a proper fear of the Lord our God.

“The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, but fools despise wisdom and instruction.” Proverbs 1:7  “Fear the Lord your God, serve him only…” Deut. 6:13

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Compared to What?

Is the truth important today? Is the truth important when it comes to government, business, science, education, the press, morality, or history? Two thousand years ago Pontius Pilate stood before the Living God and asked, “What is truth?” His question was rhetorical. In his intellectual pride, he believed he already knew the answer. You see, Pilate believed, as so many people today, that the truth is a relative thing. In fact, in the Bible, Pilate is representative of those who see the truth as something that can be shaped and molded depending on one’s point of view. Pilate believed that “truth”, was not really important when measured against outcome. In fact, like  many who followed in the stream of history, and many in the present, he believed that everything we suppose to be truth should be shaped to accommodate a desired outcome, a philosophy that has become ubiquitous in government, in business, in science, in education, in the press, and in our own daily lives.
But Jesus said, “I am the truth… If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then will you know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”  John 8:32
Conversely, as Jesus is the source of all truth, there is also a source for all lies and that source is a fallen angel now called Satan. Jesus describes him as “…the father of lies,” in John 8:44

If the truth will set you free, then what about lies? Does Jesus, the Living God, imply that lies will enslave you? What does your own experience tell you about it? Have you ever been caught in a web of deceit? Have you ever felt that you were living in the story of the Emperor’s New Clothes? You don’t even have to be the one who lies. When our courts interpret law, or our legislators create law, based on lies we are all caught in their web. We are all of us enslaved by other people’s lies. The Bible tells us in 1 Peter, 5:8, “Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.” So, I ask again, is the truth important? And, if it is, then, what really is truth?

The truth is not a relative concept, a philosophical view, or a scientific theory. The truth is, quite simply, what actually happened. It’s not some individual’s observation, or emotional opinion. It’s not speculative theory based on sparse evidence, or a preferred outcome.  The truth is absolute. It is what actually happened and, no matter how faded it may be by historical distance, it cannot be changed. It is an anchor in time, immovable, unalterable and secure.

So, how can we know the truth? Where can it be found? If you are a seeker of truth, and I hope that you are, then finding the truth may seem a daunting task. For some, it seems  impossible, but in reality, the truth is very near you. It is in your heart and in your mind because God has planted it there like an instinct.

For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, because what may be known of God is manifest in them, for God has shown it to them. For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse… ” Romans 1:18 – 20

In the end, the truth will become what we choose to believe about it. The question is, will you choose to believe what actually happened, or will you choose to believe some distortion intended to shape an outcome? This choosing becomes vital, because what you don’t know can hurt you. What you believe about the truth, about history, and about eternity will most certainly determine your future, because the choices you make today and every day have consequences in eternity. Do you believe this? Do you believe in eternity?  As hard as it may be to understand, we are destined for eternal life.

One thing I think we can all agree on is that there must have been a beginning. I see time as a bubble within the sea of eternity; a distortion of the ambient surrounding fluid. The bubble is not moving through eternity, but we are moving through the bubble. By its very nature, time and the bubble, let’s call it “space,” have finite dimensions. The forces of entropy surrounding the bubble are wearing away its outer wall until one day the bubble will collapse and time will exist no more. The space it once occupied will be filled by the surrounding eternal “waters.” That collapse of time will cause an almost imperceptible, ripple, virtually unnoticed in the all-encompassing, eternal vastness, and then everything will return to what was normal before time existed, with one exception. The ambient condition will be light instead of darkness. Such is the nature of our existence.

But there was a beginning and in the final analysis it is the only place where the truth can be found. In the end, what you believe about the beginning will determine your future. The key to understanding the Revelation of St. John is found in the Book of Genesis, and what you believe about the beginning will shape the way you see the world. It will shape the way you live, the choices you will make, and the daily attitude of your heart. It will, in effect, shape the way that you see the truth. Knowing the truth becomes very simple when one returns to the source of  “what actually happened.”

Knowing the truth is actually simple, because there are really only two possibilities. One either chooses to believe that this bubble of time and all that has grown out of it is the result of a great cosmic accident, an inexplicable “big bang,” the progeny of a fluke, or one chooses to believe that it was created by design, the result of an intelligent plan. They cannot both be true, but only one, or the other. To know the truth, you must choose which to believe. Accident, or Design? Fluke, or Plan? Speculative reality, or what actually happened? Only you can decide this and so I ask you, “What is truth?”
If you choose to believe that life, reality, the universe that surrounds you, and all that is in it is the result of an accident of chemistry and coincidental kinetic energy, then I must wonder why you bother going on each day? I only pose the question because, logically speaking, there would be no other purpose to your life beyond that of the most useless parasite. You would exist only to reproduce and die. That would mean that Shakespeare’s Hamlet had it right in act 5, scene 5, when he said: “Tomorrow and tomorrow, and tomorrow, creeps this petty pace from day to day to the last syllable of recorded time; and all our yesterdays have lighted fools their way to dusty death. Out! Out brief candle! Life’s but a walking shadow, a poor player that struts and frets his hour upon the stage, and then is heard no more. It is a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, but signifying nothing.
But don’t stop with Shakespeare, because to believe in an accidental existence has many more ramifications. For example, there would be no God, which means that there is no spiritual component to life, only the physical, biochemical / electro-chemical sparking of synapses driving the human organism as it does an ant. If life is an accident then it has no value and if life has no value then there is no morality. Without morality anything goes, including killing anyone for any purpose, even children, even the unborn, killing in order to suit our own purposes; to “shape an outcome,” as it were. I testify correctly to you that both human history and the daily news are filled with the “outcome” of accidental thinking, thinking developed by accidental people who live in an accidental world of their own making; because they have chosen to believe in a lie.

But it doesn’t end there. In order to believe in a Godless, “Cosmic Accident”, you must also choose to believe in an impossible, continuing series of accidents that completely defy all mathematical probability. Even the scientists who promote the “Cosmic Accident” know that, scientifically speaking, their theory defies all statistical evidence and is mathematically and provably impossible. The mathematical odds of human life developing in such a way are (one in ten to the 164th power), a number too enormous for the human mind to truly comprehend, a number that actually exceeds the number of atoms in the entire known universe.  The refusal of elitist scientists to confess this truth to the public after convincing them that “Darwinian Evolution” is the reality, is an act of depravity, and their choice to believe in such foolishness is religion, not science.
More likely, however, is the fact that, just as politics is more about wealth and power than it is about social ideals, science is more about politics than it is about truth. Science is a business, like any other and, in an accidental world, where there is no morality, we do whatever it takes to acquire wealth, power and social status; we can “shape the truth” to fit a desirable outcome.
On the other hand, choosing “Intelligent Design” seems more logical and certainly opens a few more doors for our existence. For one, it allows the possibility that there might be more to life than just struggling through to sustain ourselves in order to produce the next generation. We might actually be more than insects,  live off of life’s refuse, suffer violence in order to reproduce, only to die in order to feed the next generation in an endless cycle of birth and death. Intelligent Design allows that there may be purpose to our lives beyond survival of the fittest. Purpose equals value, and value demands morality.  According to Intelligent Design there must be an intelligent source, a God, a creator. Thus there is a spiritual component to our existence, a link to the eternal and, in that eternity lies the hope for something beyond this life including the knowledge that we are not alone on a planet that is spinning out of control within an accidental machine bent on its own destruction. But, which is true? How can you know which to choose? Is the Emperor wearing spectacular new clothes, or is he really as naked as he appears?

You begin by trusting your instincts rather than what you’ve been told by people who have an outcome to shape. When I was a child I remember seeing Mary Martin play the role of Peter Pan in the Broadway play of the same name. I was mostly unimpressed by the idea of a woman playing the role of every little boy’s hero, but one scene stands out in my mind. It was a scene where Tinkerbell, the tiny fairy, was injured by Wendy’s unbelief. We, the spellbound audience, were told that “only we could save her” and that “if we didn’t do so she would die!” We were asked to clap our hands if we believed in fairies and wanted Tinkerbell to live. I remember that with tears in my eyes, armed only with a “child’s faith”, I began to clap. I clapped hard and long, to the point of pain. I would have clapped until my arms fell off, if that’s what it took to save Tinkerbell. What was required for the story to succeed was, “faith.”
Most of us today are just hanging on, just trying to maintain ourselves from pay check to pay check; if indeed there even is a paycheck. We act as if we have no future, no hope. Les McCann expressed the frustration of such a life in his song, “Compared to What?” In it he cries in refrain, that he’s just “trying to make it real, compared to what?” He asks a question that is important to all of us, so I pass the question on to you. “What is real and, to what should I compare it?”
When it comes to the truth there has to be a standard. We live in a world that is filled with standards, poor as most of them may be. There are standards that we use for every kind of activity, every day. A standard of behavior can be represented in law, or in a stated purpose. A standard of quality can be contained in a specification. But what is the standard for truth? Well, the truth lies in what actually happened, whether it is documented or not. What actually happened in the beginning? Was it an accident, or was it design? The Bible says, in its very first verse, “In the beginning, God created the Heavens and the Earth.” You must decide for yourself if this is true, only you can. I’ll clap for you. I’ll clap long and hard. Just remember that eternity is out there waiting, decide soon, you won’t live forever, …or will you?

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