The Enemy Has Stolen God’s Omnificense!

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     I know what you’re thinking…. she has spelled the word wrong. Doesn’t she mean God’s Omnipotence, or His Omniscience, or perhaps she meant to say His Omnipresence. No, I want to talk about Jehovah God’s Omnificense. You’ve never heard that word, let alone heard it used to describe God? Don’t worry. I hadn’t either until I listened to a teaching by Pastor Henry W. Wright, who is also a Doctor of Christian Therapeutic Counseling. The teaching was on the spiritual roots of Disease and Illnesses, but it was his use of that word Omnificense to describe God’s Nature that intrigued me and has taken me on a path of discovery.

     You see, it is his assertion that this word was once included in Christian doctrine among the familiar characteristics used to describe God — His Holiness (He is separate from all moral defilement and abhors it); His Righteousness (He will not tolerate sin); His Sovereignty (He is supreme above all things); His Eternal Nature (He is infinite and had no beginning; His existence will never end);  His Omniscience (He is all-knowing, all-wise, and all-seeing); His Omnipresence (He is present everywhere); His Omnipotence (He is all-powerful); and His Immutability (He never changes; He is always reliable and trustworthy). And there are many more desciptors of our Father in Heaven: Incomparable, Just, Divine, Faithful…. the list goes on and on.
     But when I discovered the word Omnificense and its meaning, I cannot ignore its implications for our Father in Heaven. It means “creating all things; having unlimited powers of creation”.  Isn’t that an appropriate description of our Creator? And although my research could find no instance of its use in English translation Bibles, I could find reference as it pertains to our God in — of all places — a website discussing the Super Powers of Marvel Comics! And if you’re unaware, the superheroes of Marvel Comics have captured the imaginations of our children with box office megahit movies featuring Spiderman, Captain America, Guardians of the Galaxy, Black Panther, X-Men, Fantastic Four, the Avengers, and antagonists like Doctor Doom, the Red Skull, the Green Goblin, Thanos, and Loki. Furthermore, according to the Super Powers website, these “superheroes” even have their own universe, and the characters that possess Omnificense “can create anything without limits, including concepts, existence, reality, and even the totality itself. They can also create from nothing or even create one thing from another, such as manifesting an image from a comic book, creating life from the dead, and duplicating anything. The user can create basically anything they choose on an unlimited scale”.
     It is astounding to read what this counterfeit image of God as Creator in this counterfeit universe is believed to be able to do: create dimensions; generate energy; create life and matter; create portals, create universes; create weapons. There is even an ability called Omnificense Genesis, which is “the power to create an unlimited amount of anything from the user’s own essence.” By now, you should be seeing that the Enemy has found a way to capture the imaginations of our kids with images of false gods (euphemistically called super-heroes) by imitating the very nature of the One True God.
    And if you think I am taking this way too seriously, let me give you a run-down of the “Users” of Omnificense power in this false reality… at the very top, in the number one position is God, as noted in the Abrahamic Religions! In the number two position is The Dragon, followed by The-One-Above-All, Presence, Michael Demiurgos (in Gnosticism, Demiurge is a heavenly being, subordinate to the Supreme Being, that is considered to be the controller of the material world and antagonistic to all that is purely spiritual); God (as represented in Bruce Almighty – a human version); Haruhi Suzumiya (a popular female character in Japanese animation who possesses unconscious god-like abilities to change, destroy, and reshape reality to her desires); Users of the True Word; and the Choushin (a trio of super-dimensional deities responsible for the creation of the multiverse and all of the higher dimensions of existence. They are essentially Omnipotent, Omniscient, and Omnipresent, only surpassed by Kami Tenchi. The Choushin consist of Washu, Tsunami, and Tokimi — also Japanese animation). I could give you more names such as Demon Lord; Snake of the Festival; Spawn, the Mother of All Things; and Doctor Monty of Call of Duty and Black Ops III. But I think you get the idea.

     Is this giving anyone else the creeps? And can you see the design the Enemy has on our impressionable children? What kid, in this technologically advanced world where everyone is just trying to be seen, doesn’t want to identify with a super-hero? The sad thing is this generation is totally unaware that the only authentic “User” of this super power of Omnificense is actually represented in this false universe — the God of the Abrahamic Religions (Judaism and Christianity) is real. All the others are false. But unfortunately, the One True God has been reduced to just one of a couple dozen false gods. 
     The fact that the Omnificense of YHWH has been lost to our faith, while it has been resurrected in a false universe and reality, should give us all pause — as well as alert us to the danger of this rise in popularity of Movie Superheroes. It shouldn’t surprise us that the devil has found a way to imitate the very essence of YHWH as Supreme Creator, and repackaged Him in a plethora of tempting and exciting superheroes to feed our culture’s addiction to entertainment.  
     Besides the obvious counterfeiting of and fraudulent imitation of YHWH’s unique power, these movie characters are providing a door into the supernatural for those kids (and adults) who are looking for ways to escape their “boring” existence. Little do they know, that is a portal into the demonic realm. So I caution you to be aware of what may seem like a harmless movie or cartoon to stimulate the imagination. We must be ever vigilant to see the transparent schemes of our Enemy, and return the title of OMNIFICENT GOD to its rightful owner.

1 Chronicles 29:11    Yours, O Lord, is the greatness and the power and the glory and the victory and the majesty, for all that is in the heavens and in the earth is Yours. Yours is the Kingdom, O Lord, and You are exalted as head above all.

How We Christians Judge

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     I’m going to talk about what will be a debatable subject among Believers … our capacity to judge others — especially our fellow Christians. This topic has surfaced after watching a new series of videos by Darren Wilson called Questions With God, where he asks hard, often thorny questions about God and faith.  Yes, it is that Darren Wilson who produced the highly controversial Holy Ghost series of films, where he took viewers to locations around the world to see if the Holy Spirit could truly lead a film. [In full disclosure, I loved the Holy Ghost series].
     I am also interested in this subject matter due to a recent question posed to me by one of the members of our Home Church.  Claire is an intelligent and passionate seeker after the Lord, and she was asking mine and Mark’s opinion on an article she had seen regarding Bethel Church and “Destiny Cards”.  In short, there was a barrage of articles appearing across Christian websites condemning Bethel Church for promoting occultic practices at a New Age festival.  It involved the use of “Destiny Cards”, which were likened to Tarot Cards. 

     I read several of the articles, and knowing the sources were ultra-Conservative sites and not prone to “coloring outside the lines”, I decided to write to Bethel and see if I could get them to clarify. [NOTE: It goes without question, that I do not approve of anything resembling Tarot Card readings or what could be classified as fortune-telling.  But I have seen too many instances of deliberate distortion against fellow Christians on some of these sites to believe their condemnation without further research].
     I reached out to Bethel by sending them an email which read, “We are a small Home Church in South Texas who is teaching from Bill Johnson’s book, When Heaven Invades Earth.  One of our members is concerned after reading an article on The Christian Post’s website that Bethel is confirming the use of Destiny Cards.  Could you please explain to me if this is true — and if so, explain your reasoning for approving this method of providing a prophetic word to believers. We have been encouraging our group, who are coming out of strict legalistic doctrines and battling spirits of religion … Stories like this make it difficult to keep them from sliding backwards.  Thank you for your time”.
     I was pleased to receive a reply within a few days.  It read: “Thank you for reaching out to us to ask about this issue directly. We appreciate your effort to know the truth and value the opportunity to bring clarification to this recent conversation. We’ve compiled our thoughts and perspectives in a statement on [the ministry known as] Christalignment and the supposed “Christian tarot cards,” as well as points of clarification that we feel are necessary from our leadership”. 
     They went on to include an official statement from Bethel concerning the subject of “Christian Tarot Cards”, and Christalignment, the ministry that was under attack.  Bethel made it very clear that Christalignment was not affiliated with Bethel, although the son of the ministry’s founders is involved with Bethel. The leaders at Bethel reached out to the ministry to make sure they understood what they were doing, and what they have been accused of doing.  And they made it clear that Christalignment stated that they stand in agreement with the Scriptures that all occult practices (like tarot cards) have no place in the Kingdom and should not be used.
    The long and the short of it can be explained in this section of Bethel’s response to me: “Reaching people where they are with the truth and love of God is our job as believers. Many people will not come to our churches, yet they are in great need of a personal encounter with Jesus. The leaders of Christalignment feel called to share the Gospel with a people group that most of us would feel unsure of how to approach. We value their efforts to minister to unbelievers in the ways they can more easily receive it and in the places they are going, like New Age festivals… This ministry is a form of outreach meant to share Jesus with those who have never met Him, or think they hate Him, or worse, that God hates them. This practice is not what the ministry leaders do in their church, in their devotional lives and Bible study, when making major life decisions, or when discipling people. It is not taught as the next great way of maturity, a secret new thing for young Christians, or an easy syncretism. This ministry is a way of getting people to stop and engage with fellow humans so that they might encounter the love of the Father and the truth of His Son Jesus Christ. If one of our sons or daughters was away from the Lord and looking for truth at a festival, we would be praying for them to meet believers like this ministry, who know the love and truth of God”.
     I have to tell you, that I value the honesty and the sincerity with which this response from Bethel was presented.  They didn’t give me a canned [or short] answer.  They provided a well-thought-out statement, addressing what they had discovered when they took the time to research the issue and talk to those involved.  I wish we could all follow that example! Which brings me back to Darren Wilson’s Questions with God series.  I was particularly struck by some statements presented by Chad Norris, the lead pastor at Bridgeway Church in Greenville, NC. 

     He said that it had been his experience, early in his Southern Baptist faith background, that his Christianity was defined by the 5 or 10 things he couldn’t/didn’t do.  When it came to having discussions with other Christians about debatable topics it was often characterized by “seeking to understand without listening”.  In other words, his mind was always going through his mental roladex looking for ways to dispute what his Brother or Sister in Christ was trying to explain… which always lead to misconceptions about their faith practices or beliefs.
     He said his paradigm looked like this … You are either in or you’re out [in eternity], based on what you believe. And if you happen to believe incorrectly, then everything is at stake.  So … [please get this, because I believe this is the crux of why so many Christians are terrified of considering any new concept of God] … Pastor Norris says the pursuit of his life became having the perfect theology, and if anyone [or any theology] threatened that, it threatened his eternal security. Heaven and hell are on the line, here, and we’re going to fight! Because if I’m wrong, I can lose it all! 
     How many of our fellow Christians can identify with this thought pattern?  How many would be honest enough with themselves to admit that this is their belief system?  And sadly, Christians who fall into this category will absolutely condemn anyone who strays outside the “acceptable pattern” of what gets you into eternity with God. 
    But for me, it comes down to this… are we not all called to preach the Good News of Jesus Christ to all the world?  How are you going to do that if you’re not going out into the world, including all the ugly and unholy places?  That includes New Age festivals and Heavy Metal concerts, and means consorting with prostitutes and drug dealers and gang members on their terms! They’re not going to listen to you, if you don’t.  
    Do I always approve of the methods or the language or the actions of my fellow Christians who approach sharing Jesus in these unorthodox manners? No. But if the love of Jesus is their baseline, and there is fruit on that tree they’ve planted, then I believe they are doing God’s work and those other matters are between them and God.  
     There was another portion of Bethel’s response to me that I think fits this subject.  They wrote, “At times, some of the efforts of a particular ministry may not be wise risks or best practices, and may need to be addressed. If someone is doing something a fellow believer is concerned about, that believer should go to them directly and privately share their concerns, seeing if they can build mutual trust and value for one another. Perhaps, an explanation will bring understanding, or they can adjust to protect their connection in Christ. But even if they must ultimately disagree about the validity of the belief or practice, they have built a bridge for ongoing dialogue and possible change. One might end up saying, “I don’t appreciate the way they are doing such and such and think there are dangers, but I value their priorities and look with generous eyes to see what they are trying to accomplish.” 
     Isn’t that where our hearts should be aimed?  Shouldn’t we be encouraging those who are being obedient to the assignments God has given them — even if they fall outside of the mainstream Christian activities, or are something we would never consider? Isn’t that what Jesus did?  He, too, upset the religious boundaries of His day, and was condemned for “not following the rules”. 
     As for the Christalignment ministry team, here in their own words is how God has told them to share His Kingdom through “Destiny Cards”: “Our aim at Christalignment is to attract tarot reading clients, people who are fully into new age practices, psychics, and witches. All of these people can immediately recognize that our cards are not tarot once they sit down at our tables. Card sets, including cards we made named “Psalm cards” with scriptures on them, address the gifting in a person’s life. The color God is showing the person in a prayer encounter will speak to the person through the prophetic image on the front or meaning on the back. It’s the same as when we give someone a prophetic painting, just much smaller. They are all non-predictive, but we call them Destiny Cards, as we believe that giftings and callings given by God for people are certainly part of their destiny. All cards contain beautiful paintings by four different world renown prophetic artists and these paintings alone have deep meanings that have led to salvation and healing for many clients.
     The team is trained not only to be able to release deep encounters with the Spirit of Truth to clients but to also release words of knowledge and healing. For clients to see Jesus standing before them in an encounter is not uncommon, and many of them get born again.  The prophetic word given over us four years ago was that we would see hundreds of witches come into the kingdom, thousands of people turn from darkness, and that tarot cards would be disabled. Praise God this is happening!! As a deliverance ministry, we are able to stop clients ever going to a psychic again and this is our aim”.
     This ministry will not be for everyone. And I will be honest with you, it’s outside my comfort zone. And that’s okay. They are filling a need to reach the New Age community in this lost world; and they are instrumental in implementing encounters with Jesus. So, where are you being called to serve a lost world? Because if you’re not in the world and you are limiting yourselves to serving fellow Christians, you may be sharing the love of Christ, but how much fruit are you producing for the Kingdom? May all of us be led to serve and focus on the assignment the Lord has for us to preach and live the Gospel, make disciples of nations, and build the Kingdom of Jesus Christ. 

2 Corinthians 4:5-6    “We don’t preach ourselves, but rather the Lordship of Jesus Christ, for we are Your servants for Jesus’ sake. For God, who said, ‘Let brilliant light shine out of darkness’ is the One who has cascaded His light into us — the brilliant dawning light of the glorious knowledge of God as we gaze into the face of Jesus Christ”.

Am I Following the Lord’s Commandments … Or Tradition?

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     Yesterday, I made a couple of statements that have set me on a path of much contemplation. I’m pretty sure that there are many of you who have struggled with this same concept, so let’s just have an honest discussion, OK?  What I’m about to talk about has been a challenge to me in my Christian walk, and I simply want the Body of Christ to grow together in love and understanding over this issue.  So, here it is … I wrote that there are Christians becoming dissatisfied with being “in the box”, but not yet comfortable enough to let go of their traditions.  I also said that Jesus did not come promoting man’s religious traditions.  And I have to tell you that there is one tradition that has never settled well in my soul or spirit, and I just want to share what I think Scripture is revealing to me.  It is the tradition that Christians are to be in a church setting every Sunday, or they are failing a Scriptural mandate.

     Regardless of the fact that Sunday worship was never part of the early Church, and it’s origins are derived from Emperor Constantine’s worship of the Sun god, I can tell you that I have felt frustrated while sitting in Christian circles and hearing comments like “Well, at least they were in Church on Sunday” — as if that one act fulfilled some Christian checklist of what makes a righteous person. And never mind how they behaved the rest of the week!  Plus, where did the every Sunday come from? Shouldn’t our greater consideration be whether that person was fulfilling the Commission Jesus gave every Christian in Mark 16 and Matthew 28?  And didn’t Jesus say, “You will recognize them by their fruits”? Nowhere do I see Him saying that His followers will be recognized by their Church attendance, or that Church attendance guaranteed a saved soul.
     I would like us to consider that perhaps this is a man-made tradition and not a commandment from Jesus or the Father. Yet there are many Believers who cling to this tradition, and they always go to a corrupted use of a partial verse in Hebrews 10 as the foundation of their argument … they will quote it as follows, “Let us not forsake the gathering together as is the habit of some”.  So I decided to take a good look at this Scriptural reference. FIRST OF ALL, there is a whole important segment of that verse between “Let us” and the “not forsake gathering together” part.  SECOND OF ALL, I believe we need to consider the context of the entire chapter of Hebrews 10.  Let me try to summarize my understanding of it as concisely and accurately as I can.
     In Chapter 10, the writer of Hebrews is juxtaposing the religious system of the Old Covenant with the freedom from sin [offered by faith in Jesus] in the New Covenant. The Old Covenant was characterized by ceremonies and traditions that could never completely deliver one from sin.  The New Covenant completes the atonement of sin [through Jesus’s sacrifice] and cleanses those who are being sanctified and brought to spiritual completion and maturity. Righteousness comes by faith in Christ, not any Law. Yet how many Christians don’t think they can live a righteous life if they are not involved in some kind of structured, organized religious practice?  [For the sake of argument, we are just considering Sunday Church attendance, but I’m sure you are thinking of other rituals that have taken on un-Scriptural significance]. 
    The writer of Hebrews goes on to say that there is a new and Living way to live life; and we can receive a full assurance of faith by believing [with a true and convicted heart] the promises made by Jesus.  THEN comes Hebrews 10:24-25, from which the fragment of Scripture is used to validate man’s tradition … And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.  
     Now, I know I’m probably not going to convince someone who may be struggling with their religious traditions, but I ask all to seriously study these two verses. One cannot simply extract the middle of that sentence [to prove their argument] and ignore the significance of the entire precept.  The idea of not neglecting to meet together is for the purpose of stirring up one another to love and good works. It is not about Church attendance!  It’s about loving our fellow man and doing good works!  And what are those “good works”? I would propose to you that Jesus came as our model of how to do “good works”.  He says in Matthew 5:16In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.  He says in John 14:12Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever believes in me will also do the works that I do; and greater works than these will he do, because I am going to the Father.
     I contend that the “good works” are the works that Jesus did; His ministry to the sick, those dying in their sin, Deliverance and Healing [both physical and spiritual]. So the Scripture actually says don’t neglect to meet together to stir each other up to do these works, and then goes on to say that meeting together is to encourage one another, and all the more as we see the Day of the Lord drawing near.  The other part of doing the good works of Jesus is to preach the Gospel of the Kingdom; and to go out and make Disciples of others to spread the Word so that no man may be dead in his sins — because the rest of the Chapter goes on to say that there will be a Divine Judgment and It is a fearful and terrifying thing to fall into the hands of the living God [incurring His judgment and wrath]. And that’s why we don’t need to neglect to meet together — to bring people to a saving faith in Jesus; teach them about Kingdom living; and then send them out as Disciples to teach others.  That is what the “encouraging one another, and all the more” is about!

     So, I can’t help it.  When these two verses are reduced to an argument for Sunday Church attendance, with no regard to the exhortation to do the good works that Jesus commanded us to do — which by the way, does not get accomplished sitting in a pew — then I can’t help feeling that we have just exchanged the Religious System of the Old Testament for a new System that is just as ineffective for saving souls and advancing the Kingdom!  In both systems, it is Jesus, and Jesus alone, who accomplishes the cancellation of our sins — not the traditions of the systems! I can’t help recalling Mark 7:13 … “Thus you nullify the word of God by your tradition that you have handed down. And you do many things like that.”  We need to honestly ask ourselves if our traditions really confirm and advocate for the Word.  Or are they part of our own standards for worship?

     Back to Hebrews 10 … I am NOT saying that you have to separate doing the good works and loving your fellow man and encouraging Disciples from Sunday church attendance.  And I am not saying that there aren’t Church congregations, both large and small, who are bearing much fruit for the Kingdom! God bless you if that is your mission! But if you are one who needs that tradition of structured gathering, honestly ask yourself this question … Do I see my Church/Home Church doing the good works, saving souls, and making Disciples? Or are we telling ourselves that’s what we’re doing as we meet together, listen to a sermon, teach a Sunday School class, have a meal together?  Are we encouraging each other to go out into the world [as Jesus and His Disciples did] to display the power of the Holy Spirit to change lives? Or are we content to gather together and “talk” about partnering with Jesus and the Spirit?  Are we substituting the study of Jesus’s model for actually doing what He did for the glory of His Father?
     I will admit that these are questions that Mark and I are asking ourselves.  We feel as though God is finishing up a season of downloading His knowledge about His Kingdom and the part we play in it, and He’s about to take us into a new season … one that demands we walk out what He’s taught us.  And I will also admit it’s hard to make these transitions in our service to Him and our fellow man.  It’s much easier to study and discuss — and, yes, to “meet together” and declare these new revelations — and it’s harder to put them into daily practice.  So, I empathize with you, if what I’ve presented is difficult for you to swallow.  And if you disagree, then can I, in love, challenge you?  Can you at least accept that there is no clear Scriptural mandate that Sunday Church service is obligatory to serving God and His Kingdom? I am not condemning those who do.  I simply ask that you do not judge or condemn others who see a different calling upon their lives as to how they worship and walk out their faith. The important thing is that our lives serve as a light to shine upon the glory of God – every day! 
Colossians 1:9-12    And so, from the day we heard, we have not ceased to pray for you, asking that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, so as to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to Him: bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God; being strengthened with all power, according to His glorious might, for all endurance and patience with joy; giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in light.        

Is Eliminating Our Past A Good Idea?

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     I spoke to a friend the other day who had just returned from a trip to Ireland, and he was enthusiastic about his experience.  Like me, he is a lover of history, and he went and on about the historic sites he saw.  He was effusive about the castles, museums, and tours he went on that featured the struggles of ancient Ireland, the invasion of the Emerald Isle by the English, and the Crown policy of “plantation”, by which English and Scottish Protestant settlers displaced the Irish Catholic landowners.  That hostility and animosity is still a part of Ireland’s national character today.

     Likewise, my youngest sister has been visiting Prague, Czechoslovakia and the country of Poland this past week. She is sharing photos and her thoughts as she visits awe-inspiring 13th century churches and synagogues, the Jewish Quarter (ghetto), and the concentration camps where so many Jews were exterminated by men with evil hearts. 
     The hearts and minds of both my friend and my sister were moved and educated by seeing the rich history of these European countries.  The tour guides provided lots of insight about the historic events that took place among the ruins and majestic places they visited.  Monuments related the historic events that helped shape the current and modern country.  And the native inhabitants are eager to tell the stories of where they came from [historically], and which define who they are now.

     So, now I am forced to take a look at my own countrymen who seem unable to see the value in our history — both the good and the bad — and I wonder if we truly know who we are, and are we interested in being proud of who we’ve become.  I don’t usually like to engage in current political discussions on this blog, but I am deeply conflicted when I see our younger generations calling for the removal of our Confederate memorials and statues.  It is not because I am a racist, or I condone slavery — that would be a ludicrous accusation.  I simply do not understand how they think that destroying our memorials will 1) erase our history,  2) insure that it will never be repeated, or 3) change current attitudes, opinions or hostilities.  When they look upon these historical statues, do they really feel the memorials speak for continuing racist policies?

     First of all, they are showing their incredible lack of knowledge when they claim that every Southern general endorsed slavery; that the entire reason for the Civil War was to maintain the wicked, reprehensible, and immoral institution of slavery.  Perhaps they need to revisit the history books of decades ago [since I suspect the revisionist history being taught today is possibly in error].  But I do not want to wander into the weeds of debating what was in the hearts and minds of Southerners a century-and-a-half ago — anymore than I want to debate the reasons why today’s Southerners honor these memorials and statues. We can debate states rights, Southern pride, and white supremacy ad nauseam and never agree.
     I simply want to point out that the Irish and the Czechs and the Poles in Europe aren’t pulling down their statues or destroying their memorials — even though they could employ the same moral argument that some of the memorials are evidence of a shameful part of their past.  What’s the difference in our mindset?  Perhaps the Europeans recognize, somewhere in their souls, a principle that God voices in the Bible… we should remember our past sins, but not focus on them; that our past (both good and bad) has led us to where we are today.  But it does not have to identify who we have become.
      In fact, I believe it is important to understand that our past does not have to have an influence on our present behavior.  When we can recognize our sin, repent for it, and receive forgiveness, we can look at the past without any fear of repeating it.  And we don’t need to destroy the cultural memory of those sins as a safeguard against backsliding.  That doesn’t mean we ignore the ugliness of our past history. It just means we don’t have to hang on to it and let it continue to reinfect us.  It is important that we recognize we have evolved into a new identity… we must not forget where we came from, but instead, rejoice in who we’ve become.
     Do those who wish to destroy every shred of evidence of the dark days of slavery in our historical memory somehow think that it changes our history? Out of sight, out of reality, if you will?  If at the end of that awful war — which resulted in 620,000 deaths; nearly half of the 1.26 million Americans who have died in the nation’s wars — reconciliation could take place and Christ-like forgiveness offered between our countrymen, why is there so much hate and vitriol today over the past?
     Why can we not look upon the aftermath of the Civil War and see that we, as a nation, did not suffer decades of guerrilla wars as some nations have endured after their own civil wars?  Why can we not see that the nation moved forward, despite ongoing racial struggles, and we have much to be proud of? It has been a long and difficult struggle, but there has been progress. Is there still racial prejudice and dark souls among men?  Yes, and there always will be until Jesus comes back and removes the instigator of such evil.
     But just because a statue of Robert E. Lee exists somewhere on a town square, it does not mean we are at the same place in our national character as we were 156 years ago.  That statue honors a man torn by a national debate that nearly destroyed our nation, yet he could say at the end of the Civil War, “I have fought against the people of the North because I believed they were seeking to wrest from the South its dearest rights. But I have never cherished toward them bitter or vindictive feelings, and I have never seen the day when I did not pray for them.”  Did he own slaves?  Disturbingly, the answer is yes. And there is no amount of rationalization that can justify that fact. There are many men throughout the world from that time who will have to stand before the Lord on Judgment Day and account for that sin.
     And removing his statue will not erase the dark shadow that hung over this nation for four long and bloody years. Only the blood of Jesus can do that.  And I pray that the same evil influence that whispered hate and enmity in the ears of our ancestors, will not find minds willing to embark on another civil war.  I guess we will find out… more statues and memorials are coming down by the day.  The question to be answered is this … when the last statue comes down, the last street name is changed, and the last reminder of the injustice perpetrated against our fellow man is totally eradicated from our cultural conscience and memory, will we all then be able to live in harmony and peace?
     Will the absence of stone and iron memorials change the hearts of those who are intent on hate? Will we at last, as a nation, be free of the temptations of the Enemy and love our neighbor as ourself? I contend that it will be the renewing our minds [to be like Christ] that will ultimately eliminate the poison that is spreading through our national discourse.  Perhaps then we can begin to listen to each other and live in true harmony.
     I wish it was as easy as pulling down a monument.  I denounce our national sin of slavery, and any attempt to limit a man from becoming all that God intended him to be … just as I decry our current national dialogue that seems intent on destroying our unity.  We don’t have to let our past failures continue to divide us. Let us look towards building new memorials and testaments to a unified future.  There is a bigger picture here… looking at all that God has delivered us from and looking forward to all He wants to do in this amazing nation!  Let it begin today!

Colossians 3:12-14   “Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity”.




The Loss Of Faith In This Generation

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     Those of us, who are of a certain age, remember the famous statement by Ronald Reagan: Freedom is a fragile thing and is never more than one generation away from extinction… The same can be said of Faith, which is its own kind of freedom, wouldn’t you say?  And while I do not agree with Christian Apologist Ken Ham on his “Young Earth Creationist” theory, I am in full agreement with what he wrote on his website, Answers in Genesis.  Mr. Ham said, “Every generation has the same decision to make: Will I serve the God of the Bible or a false god? The “god of this world” may shift his seductions slightly from generation to generation, but the basic challenge is always the same. So, Christians must be ever vigilant. Every newborn must be taught the truth from scratch or else that soul could be completely lost. While statistics indicate that churches and Christian homes are failing to reach kids, God has given us all the resources we need to turn the tide!”     

     Sadly, I believe this generation of young adults is on the verge of succumbing to a most clever seduction of the Enemy.  Dr. R. Albert Mohler Jr., who serves as president of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, supports this theory by explaining, “When Christian Smith and his fellow researchers with the National Study of Youth and Religion at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill took a close look at the religious beliefs held by American teenagers, they found that the faith held and described by most adolescents came down to something the researchers identified as Moralistic Therapeutic Deism.”  

     Exactly what are the foundations of such a belief system?  1) A god exists who created and ordered the world and watches over human life on earth.  2) God wants people to be good, nice, and fair to each other, as taught in the Bible and by most world religions.  3) The central goal of life is to be happy and to feel good about one’s self.  4) God does not need to be particularly involved in one’s life except when God is needed to resolve a problem.  5) Good people go to heaven when they die.
     As you can see, this is a belief system based on the premise that “the self” is primary, and God is an appendage to the lives we live.  He’s there, but only when we need Him; like a “Medicine Cabinet God”.  And you can see touches of Gnosticism in these beliefs too: the goal is to be happy, and pleased with yourself; Faith is subjective (personal, individual, emotional, instinctive, intuitive); there is no recognition of God’s superiority or Jesus’s sacrifice for our sins — all we have to do is “be Good”. 
      In other words, this is very close to the same lies and seduction that Satan offered Adam and Even in the Garden: That the Word (Bible) is not reliable (allowing for doubt and distortion); That God doesn’t have our best interests in mind, (if I follow His rules, I won’t have any fun in this life!); and That your sin isn’t all that bad (God knows I’m a good person overall and that’s what counts).  In essence, our latest generation is believing the lie that Satan told Eve:  Be your own God!
      After conducting more than 3,000 interviews with American adolescents, the University of North Carolina researchers reported that, when it came to the most crucial questions of faith and beliefs, many adolescents responded with a shrug and “whatever.” As the researchers explained, “For most teens [and I would surmise young adults], nobody has to do anything in life, including anything to do with religion. ‘Whatever’ is just fine, if that’s what a person wants.”

     It’s abundantly obvious — most Millennials can tell you more details than you want to know about the lives of favorite musicians and television/movie stars, or about what it takes to get into a good college, but most are not very clear on who Moses and Jesus were.  And with this conclusion, it is equally obvious that our culture has not followed God’s commandment to “train up” the next generation.  He says it over and over in the Bible … when God miraculously enabled Joshua to lead the people through the Jordan River, the first thing He told Joshua to do was to take twelve stones from the riverbed to build a memorial. But what was the memorial for? God wanted Joshua to explain, “When your children ask their fathers in time to come, saying, ‘What are these stones?’ then you shall let your children know . . . the Lord your God dried up the waters of the Jordan before you until you had crossed over . . . that all the peoples of the earth may know the hand of the Lord, that it is mighty, that you may fear the Lord your God forever” (Joshua 4:21–24).  The stones were to remind the parents to make sure they taught the next generation about the true God. They were instructed to pass on the knowledge and fear of God to their children.

     But, as a nation and a culture, I’m afraid we have failed to do this.  When we took God, the Bible, and prayer out of our public schools, [and failed to establish them in our homes], we are left with generations of kids who have no foundational knowledge of God and His Word, and once in college and living on their own, they are likely to abandon Him altogether.  What’s even more sad to me is that both these kids and their parents have not been taught apologetics ((how to give a reasoned defense of the Christian faith) in their homes or churches, so they don’t believe it themselves and certainly can’t defend it to others. 
     In effect, this theory of Moralistic Therapeutic Deism boils down to a couple of ideas … It’s all about individualism (let’s not be judgmental, and everything is relative to the individual); and just “being nice” is central to living a good and happy life and being a good, moral person. That means being nice, kind, pleasant, respectful, responsible, at work on self-improvement, taking care of one’s health, and doing one’s best to be successful.  Just like Satan taught:  Be your own god!
     As the researchers explained, “This is not a religion of repentance from sin, of keeping the Sabbath, of living as a servant of sovereign divinity, of steadfastly saying one’s prayers, of faithfully observing high holy days, of building character through suffering, of basking in God’s love and grace, of spending oneself in gratitude and love for the cause of social justice, et cetera. Rather, what appears to be the actual dominant religion among U.S. [young adults] is centrally about feeling good, happy, secure, at peace. It is about attaining subjective well-being, being able to resolve problems, and getting along amiably with other people.”
     But that’s not what God commanded us to teach the next generation!  In Deuteronomy 6:6-7, He tells us, “These words which I command you today shall be in your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up.” Instead, we have allowed ourselves to be seduced by Satan:  Don’t listen to God! He just wants it to be all about Him!  I’m offering you an easier, more pleasant faith that is way more tolerant and undemanding. Instead of doctrines of Trinity, holiness, sin, grace, justification, sanctification, church, and heaven and hell, I am offering you a life on this earth [now] centered on happiness, niceness, and an earned heavenly reward (but that’s later, you don’t have to worry about it now). 

    By now, it should be obvious that Moralistic Therapeutic Deism is a faith in “self”, not Faith in God.  We tend to treat spiritual problems with a medicinal treatment plan.  Sin, and the Wrath and Justice of God, are terms that don’t fit in well with our modern language and goal of self-actualization (the realization or fulfillment of one’s talents and potentialities). 

     So how do we reach a generation that is falling away from Faith in Jehovah God, as well as a nation that largely considers itself Christian, yet has very little knowledge or experience in Biblical Christianity?  It is apparent that we need to return to the directives God has given us in His Word… We must be earnest and persistent in teaching our children what the Bible says about God, so that they know WHAT they believe, WHY they believe it, and HOW to defend the Faith against the attacks of today’s secular culture.  Then we have a generation that can proclaim the Gospel of the Kingdom of God with AUTHORITY, because they believe by Whose Authority it stands.  
     They must be taught what “Faith in Christ” means… to know what it means to “Be Saved” and to “Walk with God”, and all from a Biblical perspective, using God’s own words!  We must answer their hard questions about sin in our culture and what happens when you die without knowing Jesus as your Savior.  We cannot give them more tolerant and permissive answers.  They must be taught Truth as God presents it in His Word — not what the popular opinion is.  Once they accept the Bible as true, and the Authority of the One who inspired it to be written, then the world, with all its challenges, will begin to make sense to them. They need to see the reality of sin, and know God’s Grace and Mercy, as well as His Judgment.  
     Once this generation knows [and believes] the Gospel Message that Christ died for us, was buried, and rose again with a promise of salvation to all those who have faith in Him, they will know that the power of that Gospel to save sinners rests on the authority of God’s Word.  They will then need to be encouraged to boldly proclaim that Gospel to a lost world — something that we have failed to do for several generations, and our society and nation are suffering for it.  But it is not too late!  We must replace the religion of Moralistic Therapeutic Deism with a genuine Faith in Jesus Christ by committing to instructing our children and grandchildren as God, the Father commanded us.  If we plant the seeds of the knowledge and authority of God through His Word, our Father and the Holy Spirit will be faithful to water them. It may take only one generation to lose Faith, but we can begin today to raise up the next one in Truth and Commitment to God and for the salvation of the world.  With God and His Word instructing us and them, how can we fail?
Judges 2:10-12  All that generation also were gathered to their fathers; and there arose another generation after them who did not know the Lord, nor yet the work which He had done for Israel.  Then the sons of Israel did evil in the sight of the Lord and served the Baals, and they forsook the Lord, the God of their fathers, who had brought them out of the land of Egypt, and followed other gods from among the gods of the peoples who were around them, and bowed themselves down to them; thus they provoked the Lord to anger.  

Have We Lost Our Way?

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     I was intrigued with a recent article on the Charisma News website.  It quoted a prophetic statement made by Dr. Elton Trueblood, the former chaplain for Stanford and Harvard universities in the early 1900s. He was once asked what the church in America would look like in the last half of the 20th century. Dr. Trueblood stated, “By the year 2000, Christians in America will be a conscious minority surrounded by an arrogant, militant paganism.”  Well, we are nearly two decades past his prognostication, and I daresay that not only is the Body of Christ surrounded by paganism, but we are becoming increasingly comfortable with compromising with the pagan world.
    I feel confident in saying that because I see too much evidence that the Church and Christians are willing to let the “leaven” of the world infiltrate our professed faith in God.  Remember, in our discussion of God’s Feasts yesterday that He warned the Israelites about sweeping the corrupting influence of Egypt out of their lives. Yet, I’m afraid that I see the world and its corrupting values permeating the sanctity of our Church buildings and our faith.

     I’m pretty sure that some of what I’m about to say will be viewed as legalistic, rigid, and uncompromising.  But I would like to propose the idea that it is precisely because of our compromise and lack of obedience to God’s Word that the world is in the mess it’s in. Because the Church has presented only a picture of a Loving and Merciful God, there is no fear of Him or His Judgment.  In addition, we have let the ideology of “tolerance” overshadow the areas in which Jesus was intolerant. As followers of Christ, we have become tolerant about divorce; about what constitutes the Biblical concept of marriage; about wickedness in high places; about immorality, as evidenced by the existence of rampant pornography, sex trafficking, and pedophilia; and crime and godlessness have become accepted norms in society, with nary a peep out of the Church.
     We have forgotten that Jesus warned us to enter by the narrow gate. He said, narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it. This is perfectly illustrated by the Billy Graham Association, which wrote, “If you should ask a man the directions to New York City and he said, ‘Oh, just take any road you wish, they all lead to New York,’ you would question both his sanity and his truthfulness.  Nevertheless, we have somehow gotten it into our minds that ‘all roads lead to Heaven.’ ” Yet, even Billy Graham, himself, whose faith in Jesus is without question, when asked whether those who belong to religions that reject Christ as Savior (Judaism, Islam, Buddhism, etc.) and secularists will be saved, responded, “Those are decisions only the Lord will make. It would be foolish for me to speculate on who will be there [in heaven] and who won’t. … I don’t want to speculate about that.” I guess he’s forgotten the Word of God!
    In fact, there was a time when no professed Christian would have dared to entertain the thought that other gods offer a path to eternal life. What was once solid doctrine has slowly eroded into the acceptance of multiple paths to eternity. And with that sliding scale of righteousness, we are becoming the makers of our own moral values. The consequences of Biblical sin are diminished, while standards of Divine morality or Divine revelation go unspoken.  How convenient is that? When God’s standards are ridiculed or non-existent, then no one’s moral values can be judged wrong. And when there is no Divine revelation, then we become our own god; the world operates by the religion of man and his politics, and we will be saved by secular values…. the path is wide that leads to destruction. That is why the modern Church is in danger of operating more on man’s traditions and thought than God’s Word.
     Sadly, we have removed the profound sense of mystery that is God and His supernatural characteristics, and reduced Him to just a slightly larger image of ourselves.  And we have allowed occultism, mysticism, magic, and the mysteries and worship of other gods to grow and replace YHWH’s once exalted position. We are embracing Christian yoga, for goodness sake!
     And because we Christians have not stood firm in the Word as our guiding principle, we have seen the breakdown of the family; our youth abandoning their faith in God, as well as confusion over their God-given sexual identities; and the shocking increase of perversion in our culture.  I fear that we are headed for a showdown — a confrontation between true Believers and those who profess a faith that has no foundation in Jesus.  This confrontation is already apparent in our society and it will soon split our Churches.  Greed, idolatry, and adultery with the culture is permeating the Body of Christ, and Jesus will no more allow His Church to succumb to such wickedness as He allowed the moneychangers to defile His Father’s House.
     It’s time the Church and the Body take a good hard look in the mirror. We have not been about our Father’s business and we are now in a battle for hearts and minds, and the destiny of millions of souls hangs in the balance. I sense that we will soon hear a voice from Heaven announce, “Take your sickle and reap, because the time to reap has come, for the harvest of the earth is ripe.” I believe the Body of Christ in America is in for a big transition.  Will we become the kind of Bride Jesus is looking for? I, for one, will not be in agreement with the world; nor will I compromise with those in the Church who insist on taking the wide path. I’m ready for the battle that is to come, and I will not hide the Light that is in me under a bushel basket. I will expose the lies of satan and the unfruitful works of his darkness and death. And I will tell the Lost of the abundant Life available when we are in fellowship with Jesus. Let us join together to find our way once again; to recover our path to Jesus, and return this world to the Lord!

Proverbs 25:26   “Like a muddied spring or a polluted fountain is a righteous man who gives way before the wicked”.


A Prayer For Our Nation

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     It goes without saying that our nation faces critical times. There is blatant strife and conflict in all the arenas of our life: social, political, racial, cultural, and religious. People are divided like I have never seen them in my lifetime… and I can remember the Vietnam War, the political assassinations, and the racial riots. But now, if you wear the wrong T-shirt into a crowd, you are inviting violence. No one trusts the media; and we find it difficult to trust each other. And if all this discord and dissension weren’t enough, now we hear that witches, satanists, and occultists are joining forces for a planned ritual in which they intend to destroy the President of this nation. I kid you not!
     They plan on invoking “demons of the infernal realms” in order to bind President Trump and all who encourage, promote, or assist him. I want to be very clear, this is not a blog about Donald Trump.  This is a post about the very real spiritual war that is being waged on our country, regardless of who you voted for. It is about the false gods that this nation serves. And it’s about how far off the rails we have come; about all the various religions that we follow that do not worship the One True God. And it’s about the chaos that has ensued because of these ungodly and sinful influences.
     To bring it all into perspective, I want to share a new insight I received yesterday as I pursued a new study I am doing on The Lord’s Feasts.  Next month will begin the holy Passover week, which the Lord instituted so that the tribes of Israel might commemorate Him bringing them out of 430 years of enslavement to the Egyptian false god system.  Throughout their ancient history, the Egyptians worshipped as many as 2,000 different gods at different times and in different places.  But in the story of Israel’s Exodus from Egypt, we encounter the ten plagues that God brought against the idolatrous Egyptians.  The number ten is significant in the Bible, signifying “a fullness of quantity”.  Therefore, God is telling us that the ten plagues means Egypt was completely plagued with sin and idolatry.  Furthermore, each of the ten plagues God brought against them was a spiritual battle against a specific god.
     In particular, here are the gods or goddesses of Egypt that correspond to the type of plague God pronounced in this spiritual battle for the Israelites: the plague of the Nile turning to blood (Hapi – Egyptian god of the Nile); frogs coming from the Nile (Heket – Egyptian goddess of fertility, water, and renewal); lice from the dust of the earth (Geb – Egyptian god of the earth); swarms of flies (Khebri – Egyptian god of creation, movement of the sun, rebirth); death of cattle and livestock (Hathor – Egyptian goddess of love and protection); ashes turned to boils and sores (Isis – Egyptian goddess of medicine and peace); hail rained down in the form of fire (Nut – Egyptian goddess of the sky); locusts sent from the sky (Seth – Egyptian god of storms and disorder); three days of complete darkness (Ra – the sun god); death of the firstborn (Pharaoh – the ultimate power of Egypt, and a symbol of an anti-Christ spirit.
     As you will notice, each of the plagues increases in severity along with the increased power of the corresponding gods.  The Lord names His demand in these series of spiritual battles: “Let my people go, that they might serve ME!” But the spiritual forces of evil do not relent, and God pronounces that He will execute judgment against ALL THE GODS OF EGYPT.

Ra, the Sun god

     Here’s what we need to understand… this is not some metaphorical fairy tale of the mythological gods of ancient Egypt.  These gods were real and they practiced their power and influence among all the people living in Egypt — even the Israelites.  The people of Israel had been crying out to the Lord for centuries for release from their bondage, but even in their misery, their relationship with the Lord had suffered. There is now a battle between God and these other gods over the very people God has called His Own. And you know what?  The same could be said of the chaos, division, and corruptive ways we are now seeing in our nation.
     So, we have to ask ourselves: is the same thing happening in America today? Are other gods battling with the One True God for the heart and soul of our nation? We have always prided ourselves on being a melting pot; a nation where all faiths are welcome and no practice of religion is forbidden. And I know that I will receive condemnation for being exclusive, but how does our God feel about that, and are we due His judgment for participating in worship of Allah, Buddha, Shiva, the Angel Moroni, the Pope, or any other spirit behind men that proclaims they are “from God”? And what are we to do about it?
      Now, I know that this nation is our temporary home. But it is also territory that we, as Christians, are to claim for the Kingdom of God.  So it is in our interest, and the interest of God, to get in this spiritual battle, which is no different than the one waged in ancient Egypt. And one way that we can do that together is intercessory prayer; it worked for the prophets Ezekiel and Samuel; and worthy role models, they are.
     First, let’s understand what intercessory prayer is.  It should go without saying that intercessory prayer is the action of intervening on behalf of another by praying for them. We petition God for mercy on their behalf. And I believe that God honors intercessory prayer because it shows a heart that seeks God’s good and perfect will for another; a heart that pleads for the sake of another.
     And a benefit of intercessory prayer is that it brings us into communion with Christ, who is the Son of El Elyon, the Most High God, and who is Intercessor for all men. As Charles Spurgeon so eloquently put it, “When we pray for our fellow sinners we are in sympathy with our Divine Savior, who made intercession for the transgressors.” We also walk in the shoes of Samuel and Ezekiel, Israel’s devoted Prophets who prayed for the wayward nation of Israel. And if any nation can be described as wayward — perverse, disobedient, rebellious, defiant, erratic — it is the United States of America. I believe the division, discord, and defiance we are seeing in our nation is a result of the influence of other gods. And should someone want to put forth the argument that allowing everyone to worship the god of their choice brings about an all-embracing, all-inclusive and universal understanding of our differences and can actually promote unity in our acceptance of each other, let me ask you this … how is it working for us?  I see more animosity, prejudice, and hostility than ever before; and combined with pornography, sex-trafficking, illegal drugs, and pedophilia, we are seeing the strategic battle plans of other gods who wish to defeat God’s Ultimate Plan for reconciliation with the world.
     So, I would like to propose an intercessory prayer on behalf of our nation; a prayer in which we can join together to plead before our Father in Heaven.  It is not the perfect prayer, but a starting place for each of us to petition God for His mercy upon this land:

     Father God, we boldly and confidently come before your Throne today, to plead our spiritual condition as a nation.  Father, we know that the Blood of Christ is always before your Throne, interceding on our behalf, but we want to take responsibility for the state of this nation, and to repent for not turning away from the world and following Jesus with our whole heart.
      Father, we are guilty of bowing down at the altar of Molech, legislating the shedding of the innocent blood of millions of babies.  We have profaned your Church by allowing the sinful practices of the world to infiltrate your sanctuary, and the conspiracies of false prophets to blaspheme your holy laws.  We have allowed the Leaders of this land to practice extortion and commit robbery. They have oppressed the poor and needy through political systems, and have taken advantage of those seeking refuge, without maintaining the protection of the righteous — all without godly justice.
     We see the increase of sexual perversion in our land, and the cost it is enacting upon our families, our children, our marriages, and the truly vulnerable. We admit that we have not always treated our bodies as a holy Temple for Your Spirit, and that grieves us. 
     Father, we recognize that Your Judgment is due upon this land; that we have made no distinction between what is Holy and what is common or evil in Your eyes.  We acknowledge that we have made the worship of other gods equal to the worship of You and Your Son.  Father, we repent of these sins and plead the blood of Jesus upon all our transgressions.
     So, now we come before Your Throne, asking for forgiveness and that you release Your Power and Fire to burn up the works of darkness in this nation.  And because we have been given Power and Authority by Jesus to carry on His work of destroying the works of the devil, we release that fire of God [within us] to burn up the idols of this land.  Let the works of witchcraft and occultism be burned in Your fire.  
     We release the Sword of the Lord against the powers of hell, in the Name of Jesus. Let every altar erected by the Enemy, and the idols and images of the land be broken by Your Power, Oh Lord.  And, in the Name of Jesus, we bind the principalities and powers in the regions where we live, and we ask that you pour Your contempt upon these demon princes.  Break their strength, and bring down the proud and the arrogant, cleansing this land of all unholiness and unrighteousness.
    And Father, we ask that You release Your flood waters of Holy justice to rain down on this land, returning us to a righteous and godly people.  LORD, we know that the day will come when You will come in a flood of Godly Power, and all the floodwaters of sin and ungodliness will give way to fresh floods of Your Glory. Father, we pray that that Day will come soon; a Day when we will see Your Kingdom fully established on this earth, and the Prince of Darkness and his demons judged and defeated.  We thank You for the Grace and Mercy You have extended to us, and humbly ask that You bless this land, causing Your face to shine upon us, and that Your Way may be known upon this land and upon the entire earth. We pray for Your Salvation among this nation unto the ends of the earth. May You yield favor and increase upon us as we pray that Your Kingdom come, Your will be done, on earth as it is in Heaven. Amen.

1 Samuel 12:20, 22     “Do not be afraid; you have done all this evil. Yet do not turn aside from following the Lord, but serve the Lord with all your heart … For the Lord will not forsake His people, for His great name’s sake, because it has pleased the Lord to make you a people for Himself”.


Oh, These Perilous Times..

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     I am becoming increasingly aware that our society and culture; our country; and yes, the entire world is in the midst of precarious and uncertain times.  And I find myself asking if these are “the perilous times” of which the Bible talks about.  Certainly, the nature of our political and social consciences couldn’t be more divided.  The demarcation between right and wrong; moral and immoral has been mocked, and relativism rules the day.  Some of the leadership within the Church seem to have lost their way; others are stuck in doctrinal quagmires; and our Youth are abandoning the faith of their ancestors in ever-increasing numbers.  So what does this tell us?
     For me, I am faced with how to become the heart, hands, voice and compassion of Jesus to a progressively secularized world.  I have been honest about the direction God is taking me. He has brought me out of the Church building and given me the task of showing what the Power of a one-on-one relationship with my Savior looks like.  I am listening for His direction and finding that there are just as many self-professed Christians that need to be introduced to that Power, as there are non-Believers.
     And let’s face it… the Church doesn’t have a very good reputation in the world.  It is seen either as too conservative or too liberal; rich in worldly measures and poor in spiritual values; having too much influence in the public square, or no impact on society at all.  If I can give my own evaluation of how God intended the Church to establish His Kingdom on earth, it is this: to share the Gospel Message about the Kingdom; equip and train servant-minded leaders and followers; provide assistance to the poor and the sick; and prepare and educate the next generation to carry on this heavenly commission. Is this the picture we have of the Church today?  Is this the picture we are passing on to the Millennial Generation?  Or is it a portrait of the Laodicean Church which says, ‘I am rich; I have prospered and grown wealthy, and I am in need of nothing?’
     If so, then does this correspond to those perilous times in the last days that Timothy warned about:  For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away.’
     In case you don’t see it, these verses point to a future time when there is a great moral degeneration in the world; a time when there is a breakdown in the ethical and social values of societies.  We see that happening with all the uprisings, protests, rioting and toppling of governments. All you have to do is think about ISIS; the persecution of Christians that is on the rise; the decimation of the Syrian people; the racial violence in our own country.  We can see the danger of groups realizing the power they have when they unite, and this is a dangerous situation.  And when you add failing economies to the situation, and how it can have worldwide implications, then “perilous times” comes into sharper focus.

     Perilous times are marked by those who love their pleasures more than they love God — and that includes Christians.  We can see that in how much television, movies, music, sporting events, socializing, partying, Facebook and the internet take up in our lives.  How much time do you think the average Christian spends with God?  I can tell you that when it’s time to stand before Jesus, our Judge, that one hour on Sunday in the church building is not enough!  And when I think about the content of the TV shows and movies that are watched by those who are to be Christ’s representatives on earth… well, I’m pretty sure God considers all the sex, occult, and antichrist images to be an abomination.
     Timothy tells us that perilous times will be identified by covetous and proud people.  I would venture to say that a majority of people today are seeking after worldly riches, rather than eternal heavenly treasure. And it saddens me to see that we are teaching our young girls to be coveted after for their looks and the seductive clothing they wear; and then to be proud of it!  Look At Me is the motto of this generation, and the explosion of social media proves it.  Sadly, our pride keeps us from being humble before God, or turning the other cheek to our fellow neighbor.  And our pride keeps us from helping those in need, in case it might cost us too much. When covetousness and pride become the hallmark of a people, we are living in perilous times.
     Other symptoms of these dangerous times are the disrespect that our youth have for the older generation, the police, or anyone who stands in the way of them getting what they want.  People, in general, are unthankful for the blessings they have received in this world, and take what they have been given for granted.  But, as Christians, we must ask ourselves if we are adequately thankful to God for what He’s done in our lives.  If we have a roof over our heads, food on the table, clothes on our back, and a family that loves each other, do we bother to acknowledge what He has done for us — or do we take credit for it ourselves?  When I hear the testimonies of those who are being persecuted in the Middle East, and have lost everything — homes, family members, even their country — yet still praise the Lord for His presence in their lives, then I am truly humbled and see the ungratefulness in the rest of the world for what it is … a lack of holiness.
     And that leads to another of Timothy’s signs of perilous times — people will be unholy.  We need only to look at the difference in our churches in the last 50 years.  The holy atmosphere of worshipping YHWH has been replaced with venues that look like theaters, concert halls, and social gatherings.  The message has also been perverted. Christians now seem to think that they will be saved IN their sins, rather than Jesus saving them FROM their sins.  Do you ever hear the Ten Commandments preached? Does anyone even understand what it means to live a holy and righteous life unto God — let alone practice such a lifestyle?  Believe me, if we Christians would model what that looks like, we would stand out like a sore thumb — yet that’s what we’ve been called to do and what the world needs to see from us! Instead, it can be said that we Christians are looking more and more like the world.
     It is perilous times when Christians not only do not understand what the Kingdom of God looks like, nor that we are to help men inherit it.  God is clear that there are those who will not share in His inheritance … Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God.’  Yet we allow our fellow Christians and their Churches to accept these practices without a thought as to what it will cost them.

     Today, it is quite evident that people have become lovers of themselves and despise those that do good.  We are more interested in our external appearance than the condition of our hearts.  Everything is commercialized and temptation abounds in every area of our lives.  Polls in 2014 said that 71% of Americans identified as “Christian”.  But if they really knew what it meant to be a follower of Jesus Christ, then we would not have people starving, or in need of adequate medical care, or living on the streets.  Satan has done a good job deceiving professing Christians into thinking it is okay to spend the money that God has made them stewards of on THEMSELVES, rather than using it to help the sick, the needy, the poor, and furthering God’s Kingdom.  When Christians are blind to their duties as keepers of the faith, then perilous times are upon us.
     Finally, when Christians are living a life that only has “a form of Godliness”, but no evidence of the Power of God in their life experiences, then times are perilous indeed.  God sent His Son to show us the way to live a life that exhibits the image of God.  We are to show the world the Power and Authority of the One True God among all the lesser gods that are vying for man’s attention.  But Christians and the Church are unaware that this is our mission.  “Power” and “Authority”, as descriptors of our Christian walk, are dismissed in favor of “Grace” and “Love”.  And when the Enemy knows that God’s Power and Authority are missing from His Church, then our Adversary has been given an open door to infiltrate our places of worship, our homes, our communities, and our world with his power to deceive and lead astray.  Without God’s emissaries on earth acting in our full mandate and character, the result is perilous times for all humanity.  And we are all aware that will become known as “The End Times”.
      We are already seeing war, famine, natural disasters, incredible and rapid increases in knowledge. Our air and water being poisoned.  Birds of the air and the Fish of the seas are dying in huge numbers. And these are just a few of the Biblical signs of Christ’s eminent return.  I worry about loved ones who still do not know Jesus, and I worry about the Christians whom Jesus will say He does not know.  So, I recognize that we are living in perilous times, and my spirit is crying out for the Body of Christ to fulfill our assignment.  Yes, times are perilous, to be sure … but as long as we have one minute left, it should be our goal  to show one more person the image of Christ in us.  Our time to do so is NOW!

John 9:4   “We must work the works of Him who sent Me while it is day; night is coming when no one can work”.

The Women’s March: The Jezebel Spirit In Action

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     The contrast couldn’t have been more stark — the Pro-Life March in Washington D.C. last week was respectful, loving, and celebrated the life of an unborn child.  On the other hand, the (Million) Women March, just days before, was hostile, hate-filled, and had a decidedly anti-God spirit about it.  And it is that spirit that I wish to examine today.
     First of all, as a woman, I must say that I found very little in common with the vitriolic speeches I saw being performed by “celebrities” at the Women’s March.  And honestly, if this was supposed to be about solidarity among all women, it was a dismal failure from my perspective.  Although founders of the march stated its purpose was not to be an anti-Trump rally, it very clearly became one.  And when pro-life women were not allowed to join the march, then it was quite obvious what this was… an Activist rally of a particular stripe.  If you called yourself an activist for abortion, or an activist for the LGBT community, or an activist for the Black community, or an activist for any cause that was anti-Christian … then you were welcomed with open arms.
     It was obvious to me that aggressive feminism was on parade, with racism and political bias marching in step.  And it was blatantly obvious to me that the Jezebel spirit was all over this confluence of angry women.  And frankly, it is time we have a discussion about the influence of this most powerful combatant in our spiritual war with the dark side.

Jezebel and Ahab worship
at the altar of Baal

     Yes, there is a demonic spirit that bears the name of an actual woman who existed in the Bible. This woman is considered one of the most wicked in Scripture and here are the simple facts of her life:  Jezebel was the daughter of Phoenician king Ethbaal, who also served as a priestess to Baal worshippers. King Ahab, most likely for political reasons, took Jezebel as his wife during either the tenth or ninth century B.C. Phoenicia was a much more worldly and cosmopolitan civilization than Israel, which might explain Jezebel’s rebellion against the conservative lifestyle of her new home.
     Ahab began worshipping Baal upon his marriage with Jezebel, and even built a church to Baal (1 Kings 16:32). In fact, the Bible tells us that Ahab  “sold himself to do evil” (1 Kings 21:25), and he “did more evil in the eyes of the LORD than any of those before him” (1 Kings 16:30). For her part, Jezebel brought hundreds of Baal prophets to the country. Her defense of her native religion was so fervent that she ordered the extermination of the prophets of Jehovah, the Israelite God. Even the famous prophet Elijah fled once he discovered that Jezebel had a personal vendetta against him.
     Jezebel is also famous for her involvement in the death of Naboth, a righteous man who refused to give up the inheritance of his family land to the King. Ahab was unsuccessful in negotiations for Naboth’s field, so Jezebel stepped in and found conspirators who accused Naboth falsely of a crime that resulted in Naboth being stoned to death. Ahab accepted the wicked acts of Jezebel, and because of Ahab and Jezebel’s shocking murder of Naboth, God condemned them both.
     Ahab would die in battle, while Jezebel continued to hold some influence over the land. When she got word that Jehu was coming to kill her, she applied makeup and dressed herself in fine clothing. (Jehu was the King of Israel, noted for exterminating the house of Ahab at the instruction of Jehovah). Some believe that Jezebel’s adornment was an attempt to seduce Jehu or to die in a dignified manner. In any respect, she was pushed out of the window and her body was eaten by dogs (2 Kings 9:30–37).
     But the world had not seen the end of Jezebel. Because the real life Jezebel was such a willing student of the false and evil god, Baal, her spirit became a very powerful tool for Satan to use throughout the centuries, and we saw her on full display during the Women’s March in Washington D.C.  Let me explain further… As I have written in the past, a careful study of the Bible reveals different kinds of spirits; some of which I would call “purpose spirits” — the purpose of a spirit of anger is to provoke a person to act out in rage; a spirit of murder’s purpose is to get someone to commit murder; and a spirit of lust, a spirit of rejection, or a spirit of pride all have purposes with which they are charged to perform for Satan.  But there are overlords in the demonic kingdom; ranks and hierarchies of demons that we encounter in spiritual warfare: rulers, authorities, principalities, powers, forces, dominions, princes, etc.  They are the smartest and most cunning of Satan’s evil spirits, and Jezebel is one of the highest-ranking in his evil kingdom.
     She is able to attack and influence people in more than one way.  In other words, she has many strategies to gain the power that she craves, and her sphere of influence knows no bounds — marriages, churches, and yes, even whole societies can be transformed by her evil designs.  And I want to show you how the traits of this Jezebel spirit were evident among the hundreds of thousands of women who participated in the Women’s March…
     The Jezebel spirit will try to infect and contaminate a person in the same way that the real-life Jezebel infected King Ahab with her evil intentions.  People will say and do some of the most horrible things, but yet find some way to rationalize it and think they are perfectly justified in doing what they are doing. This spirit will play some of these people like fiddles, like a puppet on a string, with the puppet master being the Jezebel spirit itself.  The personality traits of someone exhibiting the Jezebel spirit are the following:  vileness in speech; lustful and seductive; prideful and narcissistic; judgmental, critical, condescending, and demeaning; combative and confrontational; cannot tolerate constructive criticism; hates anything associated with Christianity or Biblical values of a woman.

Actress Ashley Judd

     I believe the following remarks by those who played prominent roles in the March will demonstrate the personality traits of the Jezebel spirit:  “I am a NASTY woman”; “We are here to be NASTY”; “Our p—–s aren’t for grabbing”.  These are all remarks made by actress Ashley Judd as she cunningly professes to be protesting the mistreatment of women by sexual predators.  But, sadly, I believe that her molestation as a child opened a portal for the Jezebel spirit to come in; the spirit that ultimately convinces that child fragment of Ms. Judd that it’s okay to be angry and strike out in retaliation for the injustice done to her.  But the Jezebel spirit operates with maximum pride. As a result, it will try to infect the host with that same kind of pride.
      And I’m sure you’ve seen Madonna’s rant during at least one news cycle.  Her profanity-laced speech is pure Jezebel.  And Scarlett Johannsen’s speech displayed the narcissistic attitude of the Jezebel spirit:  “Before I can support you, Mr. President, you must support me!”  Each speaker was infused with self-righteous anger and professed to speak for all women.  The Jezebel spirit worked perfectly in that environment… all the speakers knew how to talk the talk, and draw impressionable people into a web of distorted and hate-filled tirades.  They all had charismatic energy that had a powerful effect upon the crowd, whipping them into a frenzy.  And the leaders were all sharp, intelligent, attractive people.  And those are the kinds of people that the Jezebel spirit targets; people who like to be out front; controlling and dominating people — just like Queen Jezebel, herself.
     But here is what we need to see; here is the devastating effect that the Jezebel spirit has had on our country and society … When you combine the power that this spirit has to emit a seductive, charismatic type energy off a person, and then it attaches to a person who is naturally attractive, sharp and intelligent, you have a very deadly combination that this spirit can work with to achieve its ultimate goal. And that goal is to get total control so it can then work to take down and completely destroy either a person, marriage, church, ministry, friendship, company, a government, or a country.
     Just like the Phoenician princess Jezebel, who was a high priestess of Baal, this spirit seeks to infiltrate (like Queen Zezebel did Israel), and once in, it seeks to attack, undermine, and destroy everything in its path, taking absolutely no prisoners. It’s goal is total death and destruction. Plain and simple. Its purpose to to cause major dissension, strife, and chaos.  The Jezebel spirit will go after anyone in a leader position (that’s why there was so much hate displayed against President Trump at the March).  It will have a mocking attitude about the spirit (hence the jokes about Trump’s appearance).
     But the bottom line is this … we have given far too much ground in our society to this evil and hateful spirit.  We see her influence in the worship of abortion, worship of unnatural relations between the sexes, worship of radical feminism, and the ensuing confusion in gender identity.  We have allowed this seductive spirit to lure us into a false sense of pride about women’s issues, and Jezebel has established a stronghold in this toxic environment; a stronghold from which she launches major attacks on the family unit, upon unborn children, and upon the sanctity of marriage.

Jezebel and her prophetesses

     I know that defenders of the Women’s March will declare that is was all about respect and equality; an opportunity to present hope and optimism for women of all ages and ethnicities.  And, in no way am I insinuating that women deserve less.  But to this woman, it felt rife with evil and hate. The women I saw (who say they represent me) appeared demanding and manipulating. And when I see signs that read,  “If Mary (Magdalene) had had an abortion, we wouldn’t be in this mess!”, then I know in my spirit that I am seeing the blasphemous spirit of the priestess of Baal.  She is alive and well in the 21st Century.  And we seeing her in women who reject holiness, and who indulge in self-worship.  And as alarming as this may sound, the goal of the ancient Jezebel is being broadcast by the Jezebel spirit in this Age: that the false god of Baal be worshipped at the same altar as the True God… and the sacred rite of abortion is the sacrifice he desires.
      I want to leave you with a quote by Landon Shott, who ministers with his wife, Heather:  Jesus’s words in the New Testament (Revelation 2:20) were, “Nevertheless, I have this against you: You tolerate that woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophetess.” In the New Testament, Jesus noted the spirit behind the woman Jezebel. Theirs was toleration of the spirit by the ignorance of it. I believe that the spirit behind the woman, Jezebel, is the very same spirit at work in our nation today. This spirit is bringing the same destruction to the political sphere and God’s house, the church, through compromise, self-worship, immorality and a removal of the prophetic voice (prophets). We must be spiritually discerning at what is going on in our nation. We can’t link good causes with evil spirits. We cannot compromise with a Jezebel spirit. We can’t align with it; as Jesus said, “We can’t tolerate it!” We need to expose this spirit, confront it and defeat it through prayer and humility. 

1 Kings 21:25    “But there was none like unto Ahab, who sold himself to work wickedness in the sight of the Lord, whom Jezebel his wife stirred up.”



A Couple of Thoughts On The Future…

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     It happens one week from today … the nation is waiting breathlessly as our country experiences the peaceful transfer of power.  As I watch the circus that has become our political process, I am not sure that anything in this world will change until Jesus returns.  I sense that half of the country is eagerly expecting a new beginning of honesty, authenticity, and trustworthiness among those who govern us; while the other half is anticipating oppression, repression, and suppression.  T
     Those who lean Left, politically, fear the loss of all they’ve gained in the last 43+ years: their newly acquired right to marry anyone of their choice, regardless of sex; their ability to choose to destroy a fetus; and their newfound freedom to culturally express themselves as any gender on any given day.  Those who lean to the political and religious Right hope to see the demise of all those “freedoms”.
     We, here in America, pride ourselves on our bedrock of Freedom and Human Rights.  As I contemplate our future, both here at home and abroad, I am deeply concerned that we are too far down the path of unrighteousness to effect any dramatic turn in direction.
     Take this for instance: the First Amendment to our Bill of Rights protects the free exercise of religion and the freedom of speech, right? But for far too long, our Churches have restricted themselves from being able to express their opinions on moral, cultural, or political issues.  

“No one can serve two masters …”

      We are all familiar with the 501(c)3 tax status, which exempts churches from paying federal income taxes as a non-profit public charity.  But as I look around at the mega-churches and the healthy bank accounts of even small town churches, I hardly consider churches “non-profit”.  What I see is this … in an attempt to benefit from man’s laws, the Church has become a privileged government entity, receiving monetary “favors” in exchange for operating under and representing private civil law.  In other words, our churches now operate under man’s law instead of the freedom of God’s Law, trading the headship of Christ for the mandates of the State.
     Now, along comes Donald Trump, who as our President-Elect, declares that he will remove or repeal the Johnson Amendment, which limits freedom of speech from the pulpits.  This amendment is a change in the U.S. tax code, made in 1954, which prohibited certain tax-exempt organizations (including churches) from endorsing and opposing political candidates.  In this election cycle, Christian citizens received this as a ray of hope that the pastors in our pulpits could return to speaking God’s whole Truth without fear of government intervention or retaliation.
     But I wonder if it is really the fear of the government that has silenced our pulpits, or the fear of cultural disapproval?  Haven’t we really silenced ourselves in an attempt to appease and pacify the growing cultural objection to our Biblical belief system?  Not only have we kept silent, but we have actually adopted the culture as our guiding model for administering our churches.  Same-sex marriage is not only becoming more acceptable in Christian churches, but abortion as a sin is minimized, and the Bible is increasingly discredited.
     When I consider that more churches will adapt to these kinds of Biblical sin, yet condemn a healing or deliverance ministry as “too controversial” (even though Jesus modeled both for us!), then I know that Satan has infiltrated the Church and the seminaries.  And it saddens me that we, the Body of Christ in our nation’s churches, would look towards the repeal of a piece of legislation as our lifeline, rather than the pure, unadulterated, and solid Word of God.  In reality, all the Johnson Amendment did was to limit pastors from endorsing or opposing political candidates.  But what stopped them from speaking out about political corruption (and preaching what God is really saying in Romans 13); or speaking out about LGBT activism, abortion, cohabitation, unwed mothers — any of which have become celebrated statuses in our culture?
     The truth is that no new administration is going to change our culture overnight, and if we are pinning our hopes on Trump and his gang of “outsiders” to effect any great shift in the direction of our government policies or societal culture, then I’m afraid we are going to find ourselves hugely disappointed. And it is not just our churches that determine whether our Christian principles will be upheld.  Our governmental offices and institutions have the ability to stifle our worldwide Christian outreach as well.

     Take for instance, the nomination of Rex Tillerson as President-Elect Trump’s Secretary of State. Many are excited about his executive management skills and I’ve read more than a couple of inspiring stories about the righteous character of the man.  But I’m also curious to know about the man; especially when I read that, as head of Exxon, Tillerson oversaw large donations to Planned Parenthood.  Are we to anticipate that this organization’s radical abortion agenda will be supported as part of our foreign policy?  Also, Mr. Tillerson served on the Boy Scout national board when that organization extended troop leadership to homosexual males.  As a Christian, those actions give me pause, because as Secretary of State, he will have considerable influence on the global impact of the United States, and I am seriously concerned about what social policies we are exporting to the world.
     For instance, will he continue to uphold the October, 2016 rule for the administration of USAID (The United States Agency for International Development; the government agency which is primarily responsible for administering civilian foreign aid)?  This rule, enacted by President Obama (without Congress) prohibits organizations that contract with USAID from discriminating on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity in the administration of aid. In other words, as expressed in an article on, “authentic Christian principles must be betrayed in order to serve poor, diseased, displaced and suffering people”.  Will Christian-affiliated mission groups be barred from service to the disadvantaged of the world unless they endorse the homosexual agenda?  As Roger Severino, director of the Heritage Foundation’s DeVos Center for Religion and Civil Society, said, “Disaster relief agencies may now be required to open their women’s shower and sleeping facilities to biological males who self-identify as women or be stripped of all funding for alleged ‘gender identity discrimination’ “. Is that the message we want to send to the world? And is that truly representative of Jesus’s form of social justice?
     So, as much as I hate to say it, I’m not so confident that change is in our future … that anything like repealing the Johnson Amendment will affect the culture of our churches.  I fear that our churches have become institutions unto themselves, more concerned about perpetuating their existence than discipling followers of Jesus in how to live a Biblically righteous life.  And I am waiting to see if the attitudes and behaviors of elected government officials will reflect a desire to promote Christian values at home and in the world, or if we will see the continued advancement of our culture’s immorality.
     To tell you the truth, I am more excited and optimistic when I talk to fellow Christians who, single-handedly, are walking out the Great Commission — Believers who are being bold and taking advantage of the opportunities presented to them to engage with their fellow man and share their faith.  I’m talking about people who, in the course of their day, share Jesus with their physical therapist, the waitress at lunch, the grocery store clerk, or the child in their classroom.  These are Believers who are not ruled by the laws of men; who do not let the opinions of the disbelieving culture inhibit them from shining the Light of the Lord into someone’s life.
     I know that will sound like a fantasy dream to some.  But I honestly believe that these simple acts of faith will be honored by God more than all the repealed laws and extraordinary government appointments man can make. Jesus didn’t ask us to build massive church buildings and congregations in His Name, or institute powerful governments to represent Him.  He asked us to make disciples of men, baptize them into the Kingdom of God, and teach each man, woman, and child all that He has commanded us.  We do that one person at a time, compromising nothing in our message, and fearing no one but Him.  THAT is the future that I’m ready to witness!  Let it begin with me!

1 Peter 3:15   “but in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect,”


The Holiday Blues: A Heavenly Assessment

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     How many times have you heard people describe some degree of depression after the holidays? If you scour the internet, you will find all kinds of reasons that people suffer “the blues” during and after the holidays: feeling isolated and without close connections to family or friends; grieving over the loss of loved ones; unrealistic expectations and comparing your life with others; lack of self-care; the feeling that something has ended. All these can contribute to a sense of despair and hopelessness.
    I can understand these feelings of melancholy if you are a secularist or have no faith in God. But if we are Christians, then we need to embrace the Truths about who we are in Christ — the Truths that Satan would like to keep hidden so he can keep us living in defeat and bondage. So, if you are a Believer and yet find yourself feeling despondent or dejected today, let me remind you of a few things:

1.  You are created in the image of God.  I don’t think there are very many of us who can even comprehend what that means.  We are created just a little lower than God, Himself, and there is no other created creature that occupies that distinguished position.  There is something about us that is like God and that makes us exceptional and extraordinary.
2.  God planned us before He made the world. Before the very foundations of the world were formed, God knew that He wanted to create you. And He made you to be an eternal being, living in His image. Your existence has been planned before the beginning of this earth, and whether you were planned by your earthly parents or not, you were planned by God and you are here because He wanted you here. God has orchestrated your life, your family and your story to be perfectly individual. Rejoice in that knowledge!
3.  As His special creation, we get to create others in His image. That is a privilege that not even angels can claim, nor any other creature in heaven or earth.  And, if by some chance, you have not been granted the opportunity to create another human being, then know that God has another plan for you. All of us have worth in His eyes, and none are born without significance to His Kingdom.
4.  Only we humans have been redeemed.  God didn’t lift a finger to try and reclaim His relationship with any of the fallen angels.  There is no other created being for whom God has sacrificed Himself to save from His wrath.  We are indeed valuable to Him!
5.  Only we have been entrusted with the Holy Spirit.  The very breath of God has been given to us who believe in Jesus, the Messiah. That should tell us how much our Father in Heaven wishes to be connected to us. To have God abiding in you should fill you with the immensity of His love for you, and His desire to share the same Authority and Power [with you] that He gave to Jesus. There is no reason to ever feel that life is defeating you! The very power of heaven is a part of you!
6.  Only we have been adopted into God’s family.  We are joint heirs with Jesus.  We can say that our Daddy is the King! And as the children of God, we are princes and princesses in His Kingdom.  What’s more, the spirit realm sees us this way; they see that we hold a special position and they are jealous.
7.  When God wanted to incarnate Himself, He chose to become like us.  As Creator of the Universe, He could have become like anything else He created.  But He didn’t come to earth as some imposing or formidable animal, or even as a majestic angel.  He came as a man, and never once resorted to His Deity.  And when He left this earth, He left as the man, Jesus, who now sits on the right hand of God in the heavenly realm.  He identifies with you and understands your experiences and emotions; your triumphs and your obstacles.
8.  He never returned to simply being God. This very moment, the man, Jesus, is interceding on your behalf before the throne of God, as your personal advocate.  He referred to Himself, while on earth, as the Son of Man, so He relates to you and understands you. If you want to know how special you are to Him, then contemplate this… He worked out the entire plan of salvation as a human, with the Power and Authority He received from God, our Father, and then He gave that same power and authority to us! Nothing can defeat us — unless we let it!
     If you call yourself a Christian, then these are very identifiable and defining characteristics of who you are. As you contemplate each one, ask the Holy Spirit to show you how these Truths elevate you above the cares of this world. Any feelings of depression or sadness are unjustifiable when we recognize who we are!  Don’t let Satan or his demons convince you that any of these Truths don’t apply to you. These holidays are simply man-made festivals designed to make us look to each other, or the world, for our value. They have nothing to do with God, or His Glory, or our true identity.  In His eyes, we are so much more than the perception the world mirrors back at us. Look to your Father in Heaven; your intercessor, Jesus Christ; and your Counselor and Guide, the Holy Spirit, for your true identity, and savor the sweet satisfaction in your spirit. Then let go of everything else!

I want to thank and give credit to Dr. Charles Kraft for his wise insight in his sermon “Do You Know Who You Are?”

1 John 5:4   “For everyone who has been born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith.”

The Challenge For Christians In Our Culture

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     How many of you feel that we are not living in a Christian culture?  At the very least, I think we can say that our society and culture continually challenge us to live a Christian life.  If we say, as a Christian, that the Bible is our guidebook or manual for living a life that is pleasing to God, then it is the Source by which we must evaluate our culture.
     First, we must understand that God is not disconnected, or distant from, or even outside our culture … and He doesn’t want us to be either!  After all, He created us, and it is human beings who create the culture.  Furthermore, we are not to shun the culture or fear it when it doesn’t represent our Christian values.  In reality, I believe that God wants us to be responsible for our culture; to be stewards of this world He created and to contribute to it and transform it.

     And when you look at our culture today … the anarchy in the streets; the political and social division; the lack of moral absolutes … it is easy to see that we have some work cut out for us.  While acknowledging that we Christians have not been good stewards of the culture, I am choosing, at this point, to concentrate on how we begin to influence the culture moving forward.  I know I have addressed this before, but it is easy to say that we are to love one another, and show compassion and mercy, and turn the other cheek — all actions that imitate our Lord — but it is sometimes difficult to equate Biblical principles when we hear that the Bible is outdated and it no longer speaks to our generation.  How are we to incorporate the Bible into our responses to the culture?
     To begin with, we would do well to search the Scriptures for answers.  There are good examples for us to follow in the Bible; examples that mirror what we are facing today.  And while there are those who may think that this ancient Book could offer nothing to us modern 21st Century citizens, I want you to consider what Paul had to say about the culture of the city of Corinth, and how Believers were to respond to it.
     Believers in Corinth inhabited a culture which resembles ours in many ways. Like America, it was diverse ethnically, religiously, and philosophically. Like our nation, it set a standard [in the known world] for wealth, literature, and the arts. And it had a notorious reputation for its flagrant display of sexual immorality.  Sounds like a brochure promoting life in America, doesn’t it?
    So, how did Paul first reassure, and then instruct, the Believers in this corrupt city on how they were to live within this un-Christian culture?  He really gave them a pretty ingenious plan to follow, and it is contained in 1 Corinthians 9:19-22:  For though I am free from all, I have made myself a servant to all, that I might win more of them.  To the Jews I became as a Jew, in order to win Jews. To those under the law I became as one under the law (though not being myself under the law) that I might win those under the law.  To those outside the law I became as one outside the law (not being outside the law of God but under the law of Christ) that I might win those outside the law.  To the weak I became weak, that I might win the weak. I have become all things to all people, that by all means I might save some. 
     Note that Paul expresses the Liberty we have as Christians (I am free from all) to relate to all people. He is not suggesting that we be false in our appearance, but rather to put ourselves in the shoes of all that we meet, so that we might understand where they are coming from.
     Liberty is something that all Americans subscribe to, no matter what side of the political aisle they fall on.  But we must make it clear to our culture that we recognize that our Christian life is one lived in the liberty of God’s grace.  The liberty we have is for the purpose of glorifying God.  We must make it clear that a liberty, or a freedom, that condones sin is just another form of slavery.  Although the protestors in our streets have the liberty to do so, we must make it clear that we do not condone violence or destruction of property.  That does not glorify the God who created us all!  On the other hand, while we must be sensitive to the pressing concerns of our fellow citizens, we must maintain the liberty to uphold our Christian standards.
     And speaking of protestors, how are we supposed to make our voice heard above all the dissenters, agitators, and demonstrators in our current culture?  Well, Paul dealt with that, too.  In Acts 17, the Bible says that while Paul awaited Timothy and Silas to join him in Athens, his spirit was provoked within him as he saw that the city was full of idols.  The idols consisted not only of carved and graven images, but philosophies that had become cultural idols.  Among these philosophies were the teachings of Epicurus (Epicureanism), and Stoicism, the foremost popular philosophy among the educated elite in the Hellenistic world and the Roman Empire.  Do you see the similarities, and would you agree that the so-called “educated Elite” of our day have successfully made idols of themselves?

     Paul found himself being challenged on how to open up a dialogue, or communicate, with these philosophies that were at odds with Christianity.  Epicureanism was embodied in the belief that “pleasure” was the greatest good, and that the way to attain such pleasure was to live modestly, to gain knowledge of the workings of the world, and to limit one’s desires.  Followers were religious skeptics, professing doubt in divine intervention or heavenly authority.  Stoics maintained that it is virtuous to live a good life and maintain a will that is in accord with nature; that the way a person lived their life was the best indicator of his goodness… A Stoic would change his will to suit the world and remain, in the words of Epictetus, a Stoic philosopher, “sick and yet happy, in peril and yet happy, dying and yet happy, in exile and happy, in disgrace and happy.”
     As one can see, these philosophies put the emphasis on man and his will and efforts.  There was no consideration of the One who created them!  We can likewise see that same idolatrous fixation on the ideologies of Materialism, Individualism, Relativism, and Secularism — all of which have become idols of behavior in our culture.  It was no different in Paul’s day!  But evidently, Paul was able to converse with any segment of the population. Why can’t we become like Paul, and as alert, thinking, sensitive, concerned, discerning Christians, challenge ourselves to confront our culture in all of its diversity and pluralism?  I will admit that it is easier to converse with those who are like-minded, but that is not our only responsibility.  We must learn how to coexist with people who are different than us, and accept the challenge that Paul did in the city of Corinth … that we might win more of them for the Kingdom of God.
     Yes, it is reported that Evangelicals were largely responsible for the shift in direction that our recent Presidential election seems to be indicating for our country and our culture.  But we’ve got to do more than show up at the ballot box every four years.  That alone will not influence our culture.  Shouldn’t we be trying to find the “points of understanding”, or the common ground, and build from there?  We must not isolate ourselves out of a spirit of arrogance or repulsion — or even in orchestrated disapproval — but insert ourselves into the culture, so that we might imitate Jesus and make Him known among the idolators.  I suspect that just like Paul (in Acts 17:32-34), we will at first be mocked or sneered at; then there will be those who will say “tell us more”; until finally some might join us and believe.
     We must be fully prepared for God to be rejected, but equally prepared to share more of Him when asked; and ultimately we can hope to rejoice when the seeds we’ve planted fall on fertile soil.  I know that’s hard to imagine as we watch the coverage of the angry people in the streets and the continuous bashing of our Christian principles by the idol-worshippers in our land. But in the end, I think it is incumbent upon we Christians to have a change of attitude about our culture.  Instead of viewing it as an enemy that we must battle or defeat, maybe we should see the culture as a means [or a vehicle] to be used by Him and His people for His purposes.
     As we watch the continuing coverage of the animosity and anger in our culture, we see what a challenge there is before us.  But it is no different than the challenge Jesus faced as He confronted the culture in His homeland, or the challenge that Paul and the other Apostles faced as they engaged the cultures of the ancient world.  The question becomes this … can we have the same impact they did?  We certainly have the advantage of reaching more people, quicker and more creatively, than they did.  But in the end, perhaps it is the simple knowledge of the Power of the Word — the Word that speaks of true Liberty, Forgiveness and Repentance — that is the most effective.
     Are we up to the challenge?  Or has our culture convinced us to be silent, insignificant, and powerless?  That is now how Paul and the other Disciples of Jesus dealt with their cultures.  Hear me! There is a profound truth that we must face in our present day and culture … yes, we are confronted with a daunting challenge, but we know that greater challenges await us in these Last Days!  Now is the time to prepare for those greater challenges, and we need to learn how to trust God and to draw on His strength in this present challenge, in order that we might be strengthened spiritually, mentally, and emotionally for the greater challenges to come.  As the Bible tells us, a perverse culture is going to be the least of our problems!

Jeremiah 12:5    “If you have raced with runners and they have worn you out, how can you compete with horses? If you stumble in a peaceful land, what will you do in the thickets of the Jordan?”


What Now? How Do We Move Forward?

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     It has been nearly a week since our national election and there seems to be a concerted effort to continuously promote division amongst our populace.  It’s as if a powerful “force” is determined to create rivalry, bitterness, and hostility between us.  We can point to outside agitators, but we know who that “force” really is, don’t we?  And I believe that the animosity we are seeing here in our nation, on earth, is mirroring the hostilities that are occurring in heaven between God and His host, and Satan and his followers.
     So, how are we to react, and what are our responsibilities?  I think I can sum it up by sharing an interesting experience I enjoyed this past weekend.  I have told you that my husband is an artist and part of our business is to exhibit his art at various shows and events.  He is primarily a Western artist, but every once in awhile, he is inspired to paint a different subject matter.
      As to be expected, there is always a cross-section of people who enjoy the arts.  They are not classified by political ideology, race or ethnicity, or whether they share religious beliefs or not.  In fact, we try to receive all people on an identical footing, with the idea that we are disciples of Christ, wherever we find ourselves.

“Yeshua” – My husband’s comment on the painting:
“The emotion and impact of the Crucifixion is
stunning and heart-rending. The cut limestone
background and weathered Mexican wood
of the sideboard it rests upon only accentuate
the emotion of this piece.  Dramatic lighting
and the carved stone of the figure of Messiah
are poignant and touch my spirit”. 

     That being said, it has been suggested to us, by one of the venues in which we exhibit, that presenting faith-based paintings is probably not a good idea because the public isn’t interested in seeing them.  Of course, that doesn’t deter my husband, who will not deny the glorification of our Lord because someone doesn’t accept Him, or it makes them uncomfortable.  And, often, they are the first paintings to sell, because they strike an emotional chord in someone who loves Him as much as we do.
     Another artist who attended our opening was a photographer who had the same experience.  Likewise, she was advised not to enter a moving photograph in a contest because it featured an image of an open Bible through the window of an old church, with the panes casting a shadow of the cross across the wooden floor.  That photograph was very emotional and she received several orders for it.
     I relate all this to illustrate how easily the Enemy tries to convince us that our message of Christ is unwanted, unwelcome, and uninspiring.  And I believe that is the message that is being encouraged in the wake of this contentious election.  But, I believe just the opposite is true!  Right now, our nation needs the hope that Jesus inspires in those of us who are His disciples.  And it’s taken me a bit to get to my point, but here it is …. Now is the time for us to live out what it means to be a disciple of Jesus Christ.  And exactly what does that mean and how do we do it?
     First of all, a careful study in Strong’s Concordance tells me that to be a disciple of Jesus is to follow His teachings.  That means more than to be His student or pupil, but to be an upholder, a defender, and a true believer in Jesus.  In other words, it is our faith accompanied by action; to be an imitator of Christ within our spheres of influence.
      Very simply put, we need to show our nation — and the world — that we have faith in Jesus’s message; that we live and love according to His holy principles; and above all, to show them what a life abiding in Christ looks like.  We are not nasty, racist, homophobic, misogynist, sexist haters.  In fact, we are honorable and moral people who will accept you even if you don’t accept us.  We won’t hate you for your sins, because we know what it is to be a sinner.  By exhibiting what it’s like to be a disciple of Jesus Christ, we hope to show you Someone greater to believe in than yourself or the shiny temptations of the world.
     Don’t get me wrong, we would love nothing more than to create a curiosity in others about the peace we find in the midst of all this discord and disharmony.  We want to share our testimony and tell you how we’ve been able to endure the difficulties and struggles in our lives; how and why we don’t covet money, or prestige, or possessions.  We want to share the Source of why we are moved to paint, or photograph, or write about the One who defines our life.  Yes, I will admit that I want to teach you about Him, so that you might love Him as much as I do.  But I want to do that by showing you what it’s like to serve others, to put others first, and to seek  Him above all things worldly.
     Those are attitudes that have been missing in our national discourse, and no elected official is going to be able to legislate Discipleship.  True discipleship comes from being a committed follower of Jesus, imitating Him in how we treat others, and adhering to His commandment to be the Light of the world.  There will be those who will respond to us, and those who will reject us.  We mustn’t concern ourselves with the job of convincing people to accept us.  We must live our lives as examples of Christ, and let the Holy Spirit convict those He will.  So, in the intense and impassioned days ahead, do not lose your focus, nor turn aside from your responsibility as a Disciple of Christ.  Let not the world discourage you nor dissuade you from your purpose… because they will certainly try.  Just remember that we are equipped to carry on as His witnesses … and our nation needs our example.

John 15:8    “By this My Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be My disciples.”

Can We Make The Church Great Again?

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I wrote this post on the eve of Election Day, so I do not yet know who was voted in as our next President.  And, to be honest, the point of this post is not to comment on the 45th President and the changes that are about to come upon our country — whether good or bad — but to remark on the state of the country due to the absence of influence by the Church.  Let’s face it, we are where we are because the Church has abandoned its moral obligation to the Body of Christ, and failed to honor God’s will.  The question now becomes, “Can We Make The Church Great Again” and change the course of our history?      

     As much as I am inclined to treat the internet with disdain and contempt, it does give me the opportunity to read and hear opinions of others that I might otherwise never have the opportunity to experience.  One of my favorite sites to peruse is one called, written by Coach Dave Daubenmire, and from whom I borrowed todays’s blog title and subject matter.
     In case you are unfamiliar with Coach Dave, he is a veteran 35-year high school football coach, who was spurred to action when attacked and eventually sued by the ACLU in the late 1990’s for mixing prayer with his coaching. After a two year battle for his 1st amendment rights and a determination to not back down, the ACLU relented and offered Coach an out-of-court settlement.
    That event led to a decision to leave coaching in favor of encouraging the Body of Christ to enter into the cultural war.  Coach Dave developed PASS THE SALT to bring together the Body of Christ across denominational, racial, and economical lines to demonstrate to America the power of Biblical unity. His vision is to unite, organize, and mobilize the Army of God to be Salt and Light as stated in Matthew 5:12. 
     Coach Dave believes strongly in challenging the status quo of the modern Church, and in doing so, taking the fight to the cultural enemy.  He has become a recognizable voice in the media, and is an unashamed, articulate apologist for the Christian worldview.  So, it is with a nod of approval that I share with you some of his latest opinions, along with my own commentary on the subject.
     As you can guess by the title, Coach Dave is playing off Donald Trump’s campaign slogan, “Make America Great Again”.  But as all of us who mourn the state of the modern world, we recognize that not only is America not great anymore, but neither is the Church.  Just as America’s influence and power have faded in the wake of “political correctness” and compromise, so has the Church’s.  Even in my lifetime, the Church used to be a powerful force in demanding morality among our nation’s populace.  But today, the promotion of immoral behavior has become America’s greatest export, and the Church is largely silent, and certainly not unified in calling for repentance.
     As Coach Dave points out in his blog post, “The greatness of America was that we once taught our children that real liberty was not doing whatever one wanted, but rather choosing to do what was right.”  And that idea was supported and taught by the Church, which provided the moral compass of the nation.  Not anymore.  Today, there is no consistent standard of what is right and wrong.  It is all “relative” and according to “what seems right in one’s own eyes”.
     You might recognize that from a Bible verse in Judges, Chapters 17 and 21, and is a result of the sin of Micah in continuing in idol worship.  There were no judges in the land of Israel at that time to point out this sin, or restrain the people from it.  The law of God had been forsaken and replaced with subjectivism (the philosophical theory that there is no truth outside of one’s own experience; or the idea that there is no absolute Truth).  This is exactly what we are seeing today in our postmodern, relativist culture.  It is to be expected that the world will act like this, but this attitude has also entered, and almost overwhelmed, Christendom as we know it.  Christianity is being remade in the imaginations of men.  The rules are being set by false teachers, and the Christian masses are quick to follow.
     But what does the Bible say?  In Proverbs 14:12, it says,  There is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death.  So Americans are clinging to the idea of making America Great Again, in the hopes that we can turn the tide of wickedness, violence, corruptness, degeneracy, and immoral behavior that has come to define our culture and society.  But the truth is that America will not be great again, until the Church, or the Body of Christ, becomes great again and a force of righteousness in our land.
    It’s really very simple to see … there is a direct correlation between diminishing God in our land, and our turn towards immorality.  We have removed the Biblical foundations that the Church once embodied, and as a result, our families, our schools, our government, and our faith have suffered.  Coach Dave points out that, according to the latest Pew Research Poll, 71% of Americans identify themselves as Christian…a decline of 8% in the past 7 years.  Let that sink in a minute.  Only 4% of Americans call themselves atheist or agnostic, yet it is this very small minority of Americans who have THEIR religious beliefs represented in the government.  How have Christians permitted the values of the overwhelming majority of society to be banished from public discourse? How has the American Church, which was once the backbone of our great nation, permitted our government to become agnostic in regards to moral behavior?
     I believe the truth of our “lukewarm” foundation lies in the impressions of Dietrich Bonhoeffer, the Lutheran pastor, who came to America in 1939, hoping to wait out Hitler’s oppression in Germany and who hoped to return to rebuild the German Church after the war.  But he was greatly disappointed in the American Church, as these comments display:  I now wonder whether it is true that America is the country without a reformation? There hardly ever seem to be “encounters” [with God] in this great country.  But where there is no encounter, where liberty is the only unifying factor, one naturally knows nothing of the community which is created through encounter … Lively and original, but too much analysis and too little Gospel … The separation of church and state does not result in the church continuing to apply itself to its own task; it is no guarantee against secularism.  Nowhere is the church more secularized than where it is separated in principle, as it does here.  This very separation can create an opposition, so that the church engages much more strongly in political and secular things.
     Sadly, Bonhoeffer’s reflections have come to full-blown fruition these 76 years later.  And as Coach Dave surmises, it doesn’t really matter who won the election, The Church should be held accountable for the direction the nation takes going forward.  Will the results look like we got a reprieve from God and a chance to return to a moral nation, or will the anti-Christian tactics of those who continue in power come to bare on anyone who dares to proclaim the Supremacy of God?
     I couldn’t agree more with Coach Dave, who finished his blog post with the following statements:  “As goes the Church, so goes the nation. It is time for true believers in Jesus to call out the charlatans in the pulpits masquerading as pastors and demand a return to Biblical values as the foundation of this nation. We must actively oppose the self-centered Gospel currently belching out of the mouths of the hirelings who are peddling snake-oil Christianity in order to advance their own kingdoms”.
     Pretty tough assertion, but nonetheless called for and necessary.  Can we, as a nation, be redeemed and forgiven by our God?  Absolutely!  The Bible gives us a picture of just that in the history of the Judean King, Manasseh, one of the most wicked kings that the divided nation of Israel had seen.  As frightening as it sounds, Manasseh’s punishment by God was exactly what he and the nation needed:  “Therefore the LORD brought upon them the captains of the army of the king of Assyria, who took Manasseh with hooks, bound him with bronze fetters, and carried him off to Babylon. Now when he was in affliction, he implored the LORD his God, and humbled himself greatly before the God of his fathers, and prayed to Him; and He received his entreaty, heard his supplication, and brought him back to Jerusalem into his kingdom. Then Manasseh knew that the LORD was God”. (2 Chronicles 33:11-13).
     Will that be the history of our nation?  Let us pray that it won’t be necessary that we be defeated and taken into captivity.  Let us pray that we, and our next leader, have the heartfelt desire to humble ourselves and pray, asking for forgiveness.  But most of all, it is my prayer that God’s Church will repent and ask for forgiveness; and that we, the people, will unite in obedience to our God and return to His righteous ways.  That is where our hope and our strength and our liberty truly lie.

Ezekiel 18:30-31    This is the declaration of the Lord God. “Repent and turn from all your transgressions, so they will not be a stumbling block that causes your punishment.  Throw off all the transgressions you have committed, and get yourselves a new heart and a new spirit”… 

Taking Another Look At “The Veils” Of Our Existence

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     Nearly three-and-a-half years ago, I wrote a post titled The Veils Of Our Existence.  It was based on a theory proposed by the late Don Harkin, former Editor of The Idaho Observer.  Mr. Harkin suggested the existence of a world system of Power-Elites that the masses don’t comprehend because these Power-Elites have cleverly developed a virtual pasture so green that few people seldom, if ever, bother to look up from where they are grazing to notice that they are being led over the cliff.
     Three-and-a-half years ago, my level of understanding of these “veils” did not include the spiritual battle that was being waged at each stage.  I still think each of these stages exists and is valid, and in order to progress to a higher understanding of just how we are to maneuver through this existence called life, we must be able to pierce each successive veil and move to the next level.  It is part of our human journey on this earth… only now, I see this journey with the added benefit of spiritual eyes. So I would like to revisit this interesting speculation, and add a new spiritual perspective to Mr. Harkins’ conjecture.  I’m interested to know how many of you have grown in your understanding, as well.
       The First Veil = Politics. There are over 7 billion+ people on the planet.  Most of them will live and die without seriously thinking about anything other than what it takes to live and breathe for one more day.  That means that 90% of all humanity will live behind this first veil and never pierce it.  That leaves 10% of us who will vote, be active in our societies and have an opinion.  Our opinions are often shaped by government officials, MSM or other “experts” who claim to be voices of authority.  But of those with an opinion, 90% will never really think for themselves and will adopt the opinion of others, while 10% will pierce the second veil and move forward in their thinking.
     My New Perspective:  All this remains true, but now I see that there are spiritual forces behind those involved in the government, Mainstream Media, and “experts”, or voices of authority.  Of those of us within the 10% who form their own opinion, how many understand that politics is not the answer — that our power will not come from our affiliation with whomever wins elections, but from Jesus Christ?  And what small percentage of that 10% realizes that our time on this earth should not be spent supporting man-made power structures, but using our power from Christ to “do the things He has done, only greater”? (John 14:12).
     The Second Veil = History.  There will be 10% of us who will explore the world of history, the relationship between man and government, which will lead to the meaning of self-government through constitutional and common law.  Ninety percent of this group will live and die without going on to pierce the third veil.
     My New Perspective:  The Constitution is no longer my route to real freedom.  Man’s laws and self-government will only get me so far.  My true freedom lies in letting Jesus heal my spiritual wounds, and recognizing that I don’t have to suffer the “fiery darts” of the Enemy.  The history that consumes me now are the experiences of those — both from the ancient world, and the modern — who have learned what it means to transcend the tyranny and oppression from the spiritual realm to walk in the footsteps of Jesus.  That is true freedom.
     The Third Veil = Resources of the World.  Of the group that pierces this veil, 10% of us will come to realize that the masses are controlled by extremely wealthy and powerful families whose old world assets have been manipulated to become the foundation upon which the world’s economy is currently indebted.  (Think Rothschilds, Rockefellers, Vanderbilts, the Royal Monarchs).  But sadly, 90% of this group will never pierce the fourth veil.
     My New Perspective:  Yes, the masses are controlled by these extremely wealthy and powerful families; and behind them are the spiritual forces of wickedness and evil.  I believe that they have sold their souls for earthly wealth and power that will prove false when the Day of Judgment comes.

 The Fourth Veil = The Illuminati, Freemasonry and other secret societies.  There are 10% of us that recognize these societies use symbols and perform ceremonies that transfer mysterious knowledge that is used to keep us ordinary people in political, economic and spiritual bondage to the oldest bloodlines on earth.  This has been seen frequently at Super Bowl halftime shows (Beyonce flashing “the Rockefeller” sign; Madonna sporting symbols of the occult) and during the Grammy’s (Nikki Minaj’s ode to “Roman”, the demon whom she says possesses her).  Just check out the Youtube videos for each of these demonstrations!  But once again, 90% of those who have reached this level of understanding will never pierce the fifth veil.
     My New Perspective:  Boy, has my understanding of this grown in the last few years!  The Lord has shown me just how much devastation has been sown on families steeped in these secret societies.  The oaths and curses taken during secret ritual ceremonies have resulted in great oppression among many Christians, who don’t even know these secret societies have permeated their families or their Churches!  And the evidence that these societies have infiltrated our entertainment industry is overwhelming.  I am literally seeing the signs and symbols everywhere I look throughout our culture.  Sadly, I believe that our country is steeped in the occult mysticism associated with these groups, and they are influencing every area of our lives.
     The Fifth Veil = Technological advances by these Secret Societies. I may lose some of you at this point, but I urge you to do your own research and study the Bible in depth.  There are hints of the knowledge behind this fifth veil, but you have to be willing to connect the dots.  There are 10% who make it this far in their understanding who learn that the secret societies are so far advanced technologically that they are able to do things that were considered science fiction just decades ago.  The inventions of Ray Kurzweil and his prediction of “man’s singularity with computers” is an example of such advanced technology.  But what’s interesting is that this technology is actually ancient, and compares to what Nimrod was trying to accomplish at the Tower of Babel; namely to become like God.    Are we getting dangerously close to that concept again?  Nearly 90% will never get beyond this understanding to the sixth veil.
     My New Perspective:  To say that technology has surpassed science fiction is putting it mildly.  Human-animal hybrids are being created in Great Britain, and a surgeon plans to reanimate human corpses.  Books are being written that tell us immortality is accessible to everyone, outside of any religious worldview.  Inventors and artists openly admit that they are “channeling” spiritual sources of knowledge.  All this is being downloaded from entities in the spiritual realm to control and deceive the human race.  We better understand who we’re dealing with.
       The Sixth Veil = Aliens and Monsters may be real.  It is going to take a huge leap for the 10% who get to this level of understanding.  But if you study your Bible closely, you will see mention of fallen angels mating with earthly women to give birth to Nephalim (Giants) (Genesis 6:4 and 2 Samuel 21:20, for example).  There are many modern-day Biblical scholars who are prepared to say that the minotaurs of old and the UFO and alien sightings of today are evidence of these fallen angels.
     My New Perspective:  My how far we’ve come in these last three-and-a-half years!  The growth of the remnant of the Church who understands the truth of Genesis 6 has been astounding!  I know that there are “spiritual monsters” and they are called demons.  I have encountered them in deliverance sessions, and seen them stare out of the eyes of people who had no idea they were being oppressed by them.  Savage and brutal and bizarre attacks upon people are increasing and are evidence that the Enemy is bringing the spiritual battle to our physical world.  Although, yes, these demons are real, we should have no fear because He who is in us is greater than he who is in the world.
     If you have made it this far and can conceive of the concepts behind the sixth veil, then perhaps you can see that what waits for us behind The Seventh Veil = Peace of the Lord.  It’s hard to imagine, but I can foresee a small group of people whose soul is so evolved that they can exist on this earth, yet be unafraid of the evil that abounds in this realm.  The only way I can describe it is to have such peace from God that you are unafraid of death.
     My New Perspective:  Actually, my perspective has moved in a new direction on this veil.  It’s not such a small group that sees the evil ascending on the earth from the second heaven, or spiritual realm.  These last few years has seen an amazing growth in this knowledge within the Body of Christ.  It’s as if the Holy Spirit has done a massive data dump upon Christians!  We not only know that and discern this spiritual warfare, but we also have been given the knowledge that we have the Authority of Jesus to fight [in this war] through the Power of the Holy Spirit.  And that’s where our Peace comes from… knowing that we can rebuke the devil and he will flee; knowing that the Lord is our banner in this fight and goes before us; and we know that Jesus will not only never leave us nor forsake us, but He who began a good work in us will complete it.  That is called Peace!
     That brings us to Harkins’ Eighth veil, which can only be the pure energy, authority and life force that is God.  We can only hope to tap into that Power, and I think the closest we can come to that is to seek a personal, intimate relationship with the One True God, the Ruler of the Universe and abide in Him.
     My New Perspective:  Yes, a personal, intimate relationship is necessary to tap into that Power, but it is incumbent upon each of us to know that it is available to us.  We are not to be mindless robots, sitting idly by waiting for God to win this war all by Himself.  We are created in His image, exhorted to imitate Christ, and called to an inheritance in Christ.  He dwells in us!  That energy, authority and life force are not to be squandered, but used to gain ground in defeating the Enemy in our lives!
     So, as you can see, with each veil of understanding that is pierced, the number of people “who see” gets exponentially smaller.  When I first wrote this blog post over three years ago, I saw mainly through “worldly” eyes.  I was focused on “the low information voter”, and the gullible citizens who I saw as useful idiots and tools of the state.  I actually thought my vote really mattered and changing the politics of the nation would solve the world’s problems.  I didn’t see the spiritual component.
     I can honestly say that I believe I am at that Eighth veil, and I so grateful to my Lord and the Holy Spirit for helping me to see through the murkiness of the veils and how they obscured my vision of God’s Truth.  I see that my existence here on earth is more than just this physical realm, and my victory in this life depends on my readiness to work with Jesus and the Holy Spirit to do battle with the spiritual realm.  I now truly know that I do not battle against flesh and blood, but have the Authority and Power of Jesus and the Holy Spirit to free myself of spiritual bondage.
     I will admit that it’s a long road to progress through these veils, and if you are just beginning to awaken to their reality, then I hope you can see that living, breathing and thinking are just the beginning to greater understanding.  And there is nothing to fear… we know that victory is ours in the next life.  Until then, it an honor to stand for our Lord and represent Him to all we come in contact with, and to help others to push through the veils.  As we teach them the meaning of each obstruction, and show them how to move to the next stage, it will be one less obstacle between them and God.  That is a goal worthy of effort by every Christian.

2 Corinthians 3:16-17      “Nevertheless when one turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away.  Now the Lord is the Spirit; and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty.”

How Easily Satan Fascinates and Captivates Us

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     I know there will be some who will dismiss the topic of my blog today as unworthy of their time or attention.  But this subject has come up in conversations with fellow Christians and across my news feeds a number of times, so I guess the Holy Spirit wants me to talk about it.  At the very least, I want to give a personal warning in case this deceptive distraction has entered your physical or spiritual territory.

     I am talking about Pokemon, the role-playing card game that has recently gained new popularity among kids and adults.  I know that there will be those who say it is an innocent game; we have nothing to fear from it, and the new version of Pokemon GO is nothing more than a creative mobile app designed as “a location-based and augmented reality game; that it promotes physical activity and helps local businesses grow.”  Are you kidding me?  First of all, if you are willing to accept that description without looking into it any further, then I’m more than a little worried about your ability to discern the schemes of the Enemy in this technological world.

Harmless little creatures that inhabit a virtual world? Or something far more ominous in nature?

     I will also say that the intricacies of the game are too far-reaching and complicated to present them in their entirety on this post.  Suffice it to say, that I want you to get an idea of just how satan can work within this game and its alternate universe in order to get us to mimic his strategies and schemes, and to walk outside the path God would have us follow.

     First of all, Pokemon is a shortened version of the Japanese name “Pocket Monster”, and Pokemon are supposed to be “monsters” that have special powers and share the world with humans.  Did that get your attention?  If not, here is a very simple explanation [by promoters] of how the game works:  “Pokemon are creatures inspired by plants, animals and various other things. Each one has different attributes, skills and quirks; they also can evolve into newer, stronger Pokemon with some training. In Pokemon GO, the ultimate goal is to capture them — all 151 of them — to add to your personal collection.  Doing so makes you a Pokemon master.”  Here’s how I interpret that explanation … Pokemon are inspired by spirits, demons or god (all false), and among their various “quirks” or “abilities” listed are scorching, stomping, poison, mimicry, stealth, use of claws and biting, reading minds, teleportation, inducing headaches, high intelligence, consumes people’s dreams, hypnosis, confusion… oh, yeah, they also evolve into more powerful entities, too.  
     In short, the idea of the game is to have players learn how to collect as many Pokemon as possible, train them, and use them against other people’s Pokemon by invoking the various abilities of each Pokemon creature.  Does that sound eerily familiar to the assignments that the devil gives to his demons?  And now that the game has developed a mobile app, it is playing into this world’s obsession with technology.  After establishing a game account, the player creates an avatar by selecting a hair, skin, and eye color; style; and outfit.  Isn’t that just a little bit creepy?   You are in essence, creating an alter of yourself, and it is outside the realm in which you were created by God.  Actually, you have now become the Creator of yourself, so to speak; your own god.  (Sounds like the temptation in the Garden of Eden, doesn’t it?) So now you have millions who are preoccupied with their alternative self (avatars), and who are forever trying to gain more power.  Yes, it is a subtle implication, but does not the Bible say, Now the serpent was more crafty (subtle, skilled in deceit) than any living creature of the field which the Lord God had made  (Genesis 3:1).
     And here is another aspect that should concern you:  When a player encounters a Pokemon, they may view it on their phone either in augmented reality (AR) mode or with a live rendered, generic background.  AR mode uses the camera and gyroscope on the player’s mobile device to display an image of a Pokemon as though it were in the real world.  
     BUT, unlike other installments in the Pokemon series, players in Pokemon GO do not battle wild Pokemon (any Pokemon that are not currently owned by a Pokemon Trainer) to capture them. During an encounter with a wild Pokemon, the player may throw a Poke Ball at it by flicking it from the bottom of the screen up toward the Pokemon. If the Pokemon is successfully caught, it will come under the ownership of the player.  That certainly suggests bondage and domination to me.  I could go and on about the rules and the innuendos of the game, but I hope you’re starting to get the picture.

     If not, let me give you one more piece of information before sharing some of the consequences of playing the game.  Pokemon GO was developed by Niantic Inc. and is funded by Nintendo. However, the original Pokemon franchise was developed by Wizards of the Coast, who gave the world the occult games, DUNGEONS & DRAGONS and MAGIC THE GATHERING. Pokemon comes from a long line of anti-Christian, occult, and evolutionary development. I know there will still be those (and that includes the Christians who are advertising their Churches as Pokemon locations) who will say that “it is only a game”.  But it is a role-playing game and involves fantasy and elements of magic and potions.  That is definitely something the Bible warns us against!
     Besides that, look at the thousands of hours people are spending on their phones playing Pokemon GO; (the app has been downloaded over 15,000,000 times in its first week in the U.S.).  The word “idolatry” comes to mind.  And here we are in the Last Days running around trying to capture mythical and virtual demons, when we should be focusing on our mission to save souls.  Who do you think we’re pleasing — God or satan?
     Finally, there are the stories of men walking off cliffs while playing the game; crashing cars into trees; armed robbers luring victims to isolated locations; and perverts and pedophiles preying upon inattentive targets.  But perhaps the most disturbing story I have heard is of a Russian woman in Moscow who claims that a giant Pokemon raped her after she fell asleep while playing the game.  Police and her husband dismissed her complaint, suggesting she see a psychiatrist.  But the woman insisted that the Pokemon GO app on her phone could still detect the same virtual character’s presence on her bed, and that there are too many Pokemon at her place and even the dog can sense them. She says the dog barks whenever she plays Pokemon GO.  (Any of you who have dogs will likely be able to attest to their extra sensory perception).
     So, now you’ve read the entire spectrum of how Pokemon GO influences one’s life — from a harmless mobile app that helps you get some exercise; to testing your ability to capture and train virtual “creatures” (spirits?) with occult powers; to these monsters allegedly raping a player.  Think it’s all too ridiculous to be true, or that I’m stretching the truth?  Yes, it seems like I’m describing something “out of this world”.  Guess what?  IT IS!  Throughout mankind’s history, satan has found a way to infiltrate our world by tempting our impressionable minds and flesh with his ideas and his supernatural, mystical, or magical beliefs, practices, and phenomena.
     Pokemon GO just a harmless mobile app?  Do you not think that satan can draw us away from God by working through technology and with humans who develop occult-influenced games?  If those game designers are not as focused on the Lord and His truth (as we all should be), satan, through his demon hosts, can somehow raise thoughts and questions in our minds that lead to creating things that honor him instead of the True God of the Universe.  Then from that designer’s human mind to ours, the Enemy uses external temptations (a mobile app) by which he seeks to control or influence our minds through what we see, read, hear… and play.  This is simply how he works through this world system over which he rules.  So you can dismiss my assessment of this game if you like, but I am willing to say that it is just one more spiritual weapon that the god of this world is using to deceive us and lead us away from God.  Consider this:  Doesn’t the game of Pokemon Go sound a whole like the Bible verse that says, Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour?

Acts 13:10            “You son of the devil, you enemy of all righteousness, full of all deceit and villainy, will you never stop perverting [making crooked] the straight paths of the Lord?” 

How Seriously Do You Take Your Citizenship?

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     I think it’s safe to say that every American is aware that we are in the midst of a heated political season.  The upcoming Presidential election is not only one of the most interesting contests we’ve seen in awhile, but it appears to me, at least, that Americans are taking their citizenship seriously.  But what does it exactly mean to be a United States Citizen?  Besides being a legal inhabitant of our nation, what are our responsibilities and duties?  How do we show our allegiance to our country?  On a simple level, our duties can be separated into two groups:  mandatory responsibilities, such as paying taxes; and duties not demanded by law, such as voting.  On a civil and public level, we are called upon to respect the rights, beliefs and opinions of others — even if we think they’re “extreme,” “outrageous” or “morally wrong.”  We are to stay informed of the issues that affect our community.  We are to serve on a jury if called to do so.  We are to participate in the democratic process.  And, finally, we are to defend our country, if the need arises, both from foreign and domestic enemies.
     That identifies our duties and obligations as citizens of this country.  But are you aware, that if you call yourself a Christian, you are first and foremost, a citizen of Heaven?  But how does that compare and contrast with our citizenship in this country?  First of all, as an earthly citizen, we know that if we are born in the U.S., we legally belong to this country and we have the rights and protection of this country.  But guess what?  When we are born again by faith in Jesus Christ, we are born into the Kingdom of Heaven, and our real citizenship is in Heaven.  We are, in effect, a colony of people living at an outpost of the Kingdom.  We are living at some distance from the residence of our King, and we are a branch of His Kingdom.  So, how do the two “citizenships” differ, and how do they affect each other?  It’s really very simple … how you live your life as a citizen of this country must reflect your citizenship in the Kingdom of God.
     If we are reborn in Christ, we also legally belong to the Kingdom of God, and we have the rights and protection that belong to citizens of that Kingdom.  The problem is that we have to decide how we are going to live while we are temporarily existing in this remote location.  If we are a true citizen of Heaven, then similar to the responsibilities of citizens in this country, we must respect and follow the belief system of our Father; we must stay informed about Scripture and the issues that affect God’s Kingdom on earth, represented by us; we must be willing to participate and serve as our King’s servant — even if it generates a hostile environment; and finally, we must defend His kingdom, both from spiritual and human enemies.
     But, we must also admit that every human being is born into the kingdom of this world, in which Satan rules.  And because citizens tend to adopt the culture and practices of the nation or kingdom in which they reside, we too often grow up adopting the culture and the practices and values that characterize satan’s kingdom.   (Just look at how easily the Jews, who had a covenant with their God, abandoned their connection to YHWH — and adopted the culture and values of Babylon — during the relatively short period of 70 years in captivity).  Like those ancient Jews, we can easily become citizen-slaves to satan and this world, and live by his rules and value system.  

     When God grants us citizenship in the Kingdom of Heaven, through faith in Jesus, we become “new creatures”.  We no longer desire to be citizens of this world and we become citizens of an eternal kingdom where our Father is the King.  We are given the power and privileges of citizens of that kingdom and we are adopted into the family of God.   Our focus then turns toward eternal things,  storing up treasure in heaven, and receiving our inheritance and rewards.
     Now, I know that those last words — “inheritance” and “rewards” — will scare many Christians; mainly because they incorrectly associate them with doing good works to get into heaven.  That’s not what Scripture says!  Receiving our inheritance and rewards as citizens in the Kingdom of God is separate from receiving eternal life, and is something above and beyond that gift of amazing grace.
     The website redeeming explains this concept very well:  “Eternal life is a free gift of God to all who simply (and only) believe in Jesus for it. When we believe, we are adopted into God’s family and become His children.  Honor, privilege, and recognition is our Inheritance at the Judgment Seat of Christ, and is reserved for those children who live as Jesus lived and follow God’s will and ways for our lives.  Just as rebellious and unfaithful children are sometimes written out of their parent’s inheritance in this world, so also, (while God will never abandon or forsake His children), we can lose some of our inheritance if we fail to follow Him.”
     Rewards, on the other hand, are added bonuses or additional incentives God offers as a way to encourage faithful living and self-sacrificial love for others.  Careful examination of Scripture reveals that there are crowns that will be given as a special token by our Lord to honor and reward all of those who have faithfully served Him in this life – way above and beyond what the average Christian would have considered doing for Him.  These rewards are the 1) the imperishable crown, 2) the crown of rejoicing, 3) the crown of righteousness, 4) the crown of glory, and 5) the crown of life.   These crowns, or rewards, are what the Apostle Paul was referring to when he said, in 1 Corinthians 9:24-25, “Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one receives the prize (reward)? So run that you may obtain it. Every athlete exercises self-control in all things. They do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable.”  

     But here is the irony of the honor and recognition that will be ours at receiving those rewards … On that day, when we relinquish our citizenship on this earth, and enter into our eternal citizenship in Heaven, and stand in the presence of the Lord Jesus Himself, all good deeds we have done will pale in comparison.  At that moment, we will lay those crowns at His feet, because we know that despite what we may have done on earth to earn these rewards, only Jesus is truly worthy of glory and honor.
     And that marks the character of someone whose citizenship in Heaven is more valuable to him/her than their citizenship here on earth.  I know that, at the moment, our future seems all tied up in the next election for the Presidency of the United States.  But the reality is that we live for a short time in these physical bodies, and we should be anticipating our future in our real home.  We should consider ourselves as only ambassadors to this earth; our actual citizenship is in Heaven, and we are only here until our Father sends for us and we go home.  Until then, I will endeavor to live my life as a citizen of Heaven, first, and a mere resident in this foreign land I temporarily call “home”.

Philippians 1:22-23      “If, however, it is to be life here and I am to go on living, this will mean useful and productive service for me; so I do not know which to choose [if I am given that choice].  But I am hard-pressed between the two.  I have the desire to leave [this world] and be with Christ, for that is far, far better;” 

Connecting More Dots

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     Chaotic events in the world are beginning to happen at breakneck speed; like contractions during a birth.  Dallas … Nice, France … Turkey … Baton Rouge … all in less than two weeks.  And we are facing the Republican National Convention in Cleveland this week; God help us!  I fear that the New Living Translation of Matthew 24:8 is playing out: “But all this is only the first of the birth pains, with more to come.”  

     Saturday evening into Sunday morning I wrote the following post and think it is important enough to still run it this morning.  But I wanted all to know that I am not impervious to the tragedy that happened in Baton Rouge yesterday.  Sadly, it is a continuation of the rage that I believe is being orchestrated against all of us in the country, regardless of our race.  It is spiritual in nature, and regrettably, there are far too many people with hearts of stone who are only willing to listen to the devil’s lies, and those of his collaborators.  If you know nothing else to do, just get on your knees and pray.  (Click here for my suggestion, if you’re not sure how to pray). Ask the Creator of all men to change the hearts of wicked men.   Recognize Him as Jehovah Nissi, our banner or battle standard.  He is our forward Guard and our rear Guard.  As long as we are under his banner, our victory is always assured.  If we ever depart from it, our defeat is a certainty.  
     We need to face it — this Christian life is a picture of warfare.  Just as in ancient battles, we are to obey every command of our King, and run to His banner, which is the Cross, when the fight becomes too much for our flesh.  But we also need to realize that the battle is won in the spiritual realm, and we are to put on our full armor of God and get to the battlefront!  No matter what the news says today, or tomorrow, next week, or next year … trust in our Lord and Savior!  These birth pangs will soon give way to His justice and righteousness.  We are in the heat of the battle at the moment, and we need to keep drinking the Living Water that is Christ!

     Over the weekend, as I followed the events in Turkey, I couldn’t help but discern that God gave me a huge download of knowledge that connected more dots in the evolution of His cosmic chess match with the devil.  I’m still trying to fit all the pieces together, so I hope you’ll be patient with me, as I try to write this down as fast as I’m receiving it.  Hopefully, it will make some sense to you, or one of you can expand on what I’m presenting.
     My journey over the last few days began with receiving a book that my Spiritual Warfare mentor suggested I read, called Rulers of Evil, by F. Tupper Saussy.  At the expense of offending faithful Catholics, I must recommend this book as a fascinating book of the history of the Catholic Church and its influence on the world empires, as well as the founding of America.  Moreover, the author gives an intriguing account of the history of Biblical knowledge and how it interacts with the Roman Catholic papacy.  PLEASE, I am not recommending this book under the pretense of Catholic-bashing!  I am a lover of history and the author is able take a vast amount of historical information and present it in a chronological and coherent manner.  I had barely begun reading (page 24 to be exact) when I saw a link between what happened in history to what is unfolding in Turkey and here in the United States.  Let me start with the historical impetus for my “aha” moment….

     As a student of history, I have been aware that the reading of the Bible was largely limited to Kings and Church leaders until the invention of the Guttenberg Press made it accessible to the masses.  The control and domination by these rulers could be undermined if the general population ever learned that they had direct access to the Bible and God’s Word.  (That’s an over-simplification of all the intrigue that surrounds the maintaining of power among history’s ruling class, but it gives you a general view of how things work).
     As I was reading this fascinating book, it was inevitable that the conflict between Martin Luther and the Catholic Church would surface.  In case you’re unfamiliar with the background of this story, Luther was a Catholic monk who defied the edict of the Archbishop of Mainz against unauthorized Bible reading, and began reading the first edition of the Greek New Testament, printed by Renaissance theologian Desiderius Erasmus.  That led to Luther’s explosive document, Ninety-five Theses Upon Indulgences, which he promptly nailed to the door of the castle church of Wittenburg. (The historic idea of Indulgences was centered upon a grant by the pope of the remission of punishment in purgatory that was still due for sins, even after absolution. The unrestricted sale of indulgences by pardoners was a widespread abuse during the later Middle Ages … as an example, for the payment of four ducats, one could be forgiven for murdering one’s father; or Sorcery was pardoned for six ducats — you get the picture).  You can see how the ability for the common man to begin reading and understanding the Truth within the pages of the Bible could seriously erode the authority of those who claimed divine power.
     But it was more than these familiar historical facts that I was seeing; I suddenly saw the collusion between Pope Clement VII, Niccolo Machiavelli, the inventor of modern political science, and Cardinal Thomas Wolsey, Chancellor of England. These men determined that the printing press could now be used to their advantage — they, themselves, could produce literature that would ultimately confuse, diminish, and marginalize the influence of the Bible. Cardinal Wolsey characterized this project as putting “learning against learning”.  (Remember that phrase, because it is going to come back into focus as I connect the dots to what happened this weekend).  The result of this vast amount of printed material was the famed Medici Library– which opposed the Bible’s teaching that man could have eternal life simply by believing in Christ’s death and resurrection on our behalf, in favor of Gnostic teachings that man could achieve eternal life by doing good works (Christ-centered learning versus man-centered learning).  So extensive was this Library’s philosophical influence, that many scholars today consider it the cradle of Western civilization.
     Martin Luther, discerning that this learning against learning philosophy was the future of Christianity, prophetically wrote in 1520, “Though our children live in the midst of a Christian world, they faint and perish in misery because they lack the Gospel in which we should be training and exercising them all the time.  I advise no one to place his child where the Scriptures do not reign paramount [my emphasis].  Schools will become wide-open gates of hell if they do not diligently engrave the Holy Scriptures on young hearts.  Every institution where men are not increasingly occupied with the Word of God must become corrupt”.  (While I also have huge problems with Luther’s later opinions regarding the Jewish people, he hit a home run with this school of thought).

     So, now let me make a huge leap, by connecting this dot with one from this weekend.  As I awoke Saturday morning, I was curious to see what had happened in Turkey overnight.  As I often do, I took a look at what foreign news outlets were reporting; often finding them less restrained in their communication of facts.  The UK’s Daily Mail was showing astonishing pictures of the citizens who backed President Erdogan confronting and attacking the members of the Turkish military who had dared to try to overthrow the President.  One particular sentence jumped out at me:  “Erdogan has blamed his old scapegoat, Fethullah Gulen for orchestrating the uprising. Muslim cleric Gulen, the president’s rival who lives in self-imposed exile in Pennsylvania, as the head of a billion dollar religious movement, has often been blamed for political unrest in Turkey.”
     If you have been reading my blog for awhile, you might recognize the name of Fethullah Gulen.  I wrote posts here (2013) and here (earlier in 2016), regarding this imam’s influence in our American educational system.  Yes, you read that correctly … Trained as an imam, Fethullah Gulen gained notice in Turkey some 50 years ago, promoting a philosophy that blended a mystical form of Islam with staunch advocacy of democracy, education, science and interfaith dialogue.  Erdogan has long accused Gulen of plotting to overthrow the “officially secular government” from a gated 26-acre compound in Pennsylvania’s Pocono Mountains, which has a population of about 1,100. The President of Turkey is now asking for Gulen’s extradition, but Secretary of State John Kerry says our government is unlikely to comply.
     Why should the internal politics and history of political rivalry in Turkey be of particular interest to us here in the United States?  Because, as I have made mention in past blog posts, Fethullah Gulen and his Gulen Movement (his liberal Islamic transnational religious and social movement) runs the largest charter school network in our nation – the list is at 146 to be exact, with sad to say, 45 schools in my state of Texas!  How could this be, you ask?  Well, he is very clever … the name of these influential schools go by different names in each of the states.  In Texas, they are the Harmony Science Academy; in Ohio, the Horizon Science Academy; in California, the Magnolia Science Academy … you see what he’s doing, right?  Appealing to the ever-competitive nature of the American psyche, he promotes his schools as academies of higher learning to help Americans excel in math and science; so that students will get a higher level of education than they do at public schools.  And it is a multi-billion dollar business!
     And students get a higher “level” of learning alright!  While the schools are not overtly teaching Islamic philosophy and religion, I contend that Fethullah Gulen’s influence is predicated on eliminating and destroying Christianity’s influence among our nation’s youth.  That’s where the dots are connected!  Remember Luther’s concern over learning against learning?  Well, we are seeing it in action before our very eyes, and we are blinded.  I say that because Gulen’s influence has not only infiltrated our education system, but his tentacles reach into banks, newspapers, universities, charities, research institutes, and the halls of Congress, where according to an article by Ariel Cohen, and a USA TODAY investigation, over 200 trips for congressmen and congressional staff have been sponsored by Gülenist entities.
     All this being said, I have to admit that I sometimes feel like I’m shouting in the wilderness.  I have written several posts now on this man, and pointed to others who have done extensive research on him, and now the name of Fethullah Gulen pops up once again in the attempted coup in Turkey.  If you’re tired of me harping on this subject, I apologize, but the chance that I would receive this fascinating book, and read of the anti-Bible reference to learning against learning, at the exact moment that an influential Islamic businessman (deeply ensconced in our educational system) is suggested as influencing the attempted downfall of a sovereign nation … well, I could not ignore it.
     I will leave you by reporting the words of Martin Luther …  I advise no one to place his child where the Scriptures do not reign paramount.  Schools will become wide-open gates of hell if they do not diligently engrave the Holy Scriptures on young hearts.  Do you think that the mega-success of the Gulen Schools shows us that man-centered learning is surpassing Christ-centered learning in our culture?  And what happens when the Word of God is eliminated entirely, in favor of Islamic-flavored curriculum?  The fingerprints of satan have been on the knowledge of man from the beginning, and this is just another of his strategies.  We must be diligent in our discernment, and continue to connect the dots!

Colossians 2:8    “See to it that no one takes you captive by philosophy and empty deceit, according to human tradition, according to the elemental spirits of the world, and not according to Christ.”

Psalm 11:5

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The LORD tests the righteous, 
but His soul hates the wicked and the one who loves violence.

     I decided to break my regular pattern of blog posts and run a Scripture reference for the entire weekend, rather than just on Sunday … because I think we desperately need this one.  I cannot imagine any human being (with a heart) who is not grieved over what the people of this nation are experiencing.  I am going to address my emotions and my perceptions honestly — no political correctness and no preconceived opinions or judgments; just trying to come to terms with what I’m seeing and what my faith is telling me.
     Last week we witnessed two horrific shootings of black men by white police officers.  Yes, we do not have all the facts yet, but at this point, I’m willing to say that the deaths of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile were unprovoked and unwarranted.  And, I am also willing to say this: the actions of those police officers who were involved in those deaths directly contributed to the anger and violence in Dallas on Thursday, which resulted in the assassination of five law enforcement officers, the injury to at least seven more, and the panic, fear, and anxiety of not only those in the vicinity of the shootings, but of the entire nation.  To say we are a people on edge, is to put it mildly.
     And the hate and violence between the races saddens me deeply.  Not only because the color of one’s skin is such a stupid reason to hate, but because Jesus, Himself, tells us, Then many will take offense, betray one another and hate one another (Matthew 24:10).  I’m afraid that the “then” He is talking about is now.  We must all admit that racism exists; by all races. Is the frustration within the black community warranted?  I can understand it.  Do the police have a difficult job in gang and drug-infested neighborhoods?  I don’t think it can be denied.  But how does this escalating hatred and violence solve any of those problems?
     In the coming days and weeks, we will hear the media (both corporate and social), our government leaders, and every form of public analysis and commentary give us their theory on why we are at this point in our race relations, and who is at fault.  But it is as clear as day to me, at least, that this hatred is being fomented, and I mean that in all the various connotations of that word — instigated, incited, provoked, agitated, excited, stirred up, whipped up, encouraged, and urged — all for the purpose of having the flames of hatred fanned.
     Most people will see this only from a racial slant and will be unable to see beyond the black and white of it … literally.  Then there will be those who will be called conspiracy theorists, but who are able to see this from the perspective of the physical realm.  They will declare that the Puppet Masters of the Global Elite are pushing us towards a race war in order to achieve their goal of world domination.  And, finally, there will be a few like me who see the Biblical prophecy of our Lord coming true.  We discern that this is all about the Enemy spreading his hate, in defiance of God’s love.  And hate breeds the violence that we are seeing coming at us from all sides.
     And it is so unnecessary!  When you get right down to it, the only difference between people of different colors is the amount of melanin in their skin.  Jesus created us all in His image, and truth be known, our Savior was born a Jew, born in the Middle East, and He far more resembles the various skin tones of the black race than He does my skin color.  But the enemy of mankind has taken that one element of difference among men and used it to foment violence in our midst.   And guess what?  The ranks of the wicked come in all colors!  But this Scripture clearly says that God hates those who love violence; therefore, when violence is committed against anyone, regardless of their color, it is violence against a human being who is made in God’s image.  
     That’s why it is incumbent upon us, at this time, to concentrate on a very important aspect of God’s character:  He hates violence!  That’s what Psalm 11:5 clearly states.  But note what it also says:  He tests the righteous!  It is at times like this, when hatred and violence are stirred up, that we must not give in to the temptation to hate.  And none of us are perfect, so our Adversary will use the wicked to commit heinous crimes to stir up our emotions and feelings of hatred.  The devil wants us to retaliate; to repay insult, injury, and death in kind.  That is what most people expect and it is their natural reaction.  That’s the response of worldly people.  
     But we are called by Jesus to practice non-retaliation — as difficult as that might be when violence is perpetrated upon you personally.  I will admit; refusing to respond to such hatred as we’ve witnessed in the last few days is not easy.  Love is not the natural answer to hate … but it’s the only one that neutralizes satan’s intended goal.  And that’s what Jesus did.  When He was crucified, He did not retaliate by calling down Heaven’s army to destroy those who committed such deadly violence against Himself.  Instead, He asked His Father to forgive them, and established a way for mankind to escape the wrath they deserved … satan’s plan to defeat God’s love and institute violence, hostility and bloodshed among men was forever conquered. 
      I have to tell you that all this is very personal for me.  I have older nephews who are white police officers, and my youngest nephew is biracial and rightfully proud of his black heritage.  I am equally proud of them all; they are all moral and beautiful young men, inside and out.  For me, there is no difference between any of them; my love for each of them is unbiased and impartial.  But I can see how satan wants to show them that there are differences between them.  He would like nothing better than to put a mirror before them and have them see their reflections through the eyes of the world.  I want them to see themselves — and each other — as God sees them.   I want them (and our society) to view each other through the supernatural lens of the Holy Spirit and, as difficult as it is, to not fall prey to the violence and hatred that is corrupting the earth.  I look at each of my nephews and see my flesh and blood; they are each a blessing from God, and I pray He protects and guards them from the ugliness of man’s sinful ways.
     At the end of the day, there’s not much I can say that will end the chaos and violence that is erupting across our land.  I know it sounds simplistic and naive to say that the Peace of Jesus and the Love of the Father is the answer, but …. it is!  We must trust in the Holiness and Righteousness of God, and let Him be Judge of the wicked, having faith that He will do it.  Putting our trust and faith in the justice of man will only disappoint us.  But I pray for the violence to end, and for mankind to reflect the love of our Creator.  In these difficult times He must be our hope; we must let Him wipe our tears and console our souls; and He must be our security.  Only in Him will all people be able to come together and love each other as we are meant to do.    

How Do We Love Our Enemies?

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     Today I need to get a little personal … in the sense that I need to discuss an issue that I know is troubling many of my fellow Christians.  I know this because I have received a heartfelt email from a reader whom I know is sincere in her faith.  And I know that I need to try to write about this because it is something each of us needs to come to terms with in our own spirits and hearts — and that includes me!

     I believe I can write about this without betraying her confidence because it was an email that millions of Christians across America could have written.  In short, this reader wrote to ask me for suggestions on how she can walk out her faith and learn to love the unsaved Muslims in our country.  Now, I want each of you to be honest … haven’t you at one time or another struggled with what you know are unChrist-like emotions?  We wouldn’t be human if we didn’t battle feelings of anger towards the radical Muslims who are filled with so much hate for our nation and way of life that their goal is to take innocent lives in some perverted sense of obedience to what we know is a false god and evil ideology.
     And I believe we would be unwise if we didn’t acknowledge the Islamic doctrine of Taqiyya (taqiya, taqiyah, taqiyyah), which is a form of Islamic deception. The Quran (16:106 and 3:28) allows Muslims to lie in order to protect themselves or to protect the Muslim community.   And I think we would be foolish to not feel disappointment in our government’s lackluster efforts to defend us, and their denial that there is anything to worry about.  Furthermore, I suspect that many of us are confused over how — as law-abiding citizens concerned about our rights — we have become a threat (in our own country) to the liberty of refugees and foreigners!  Finally, if you are like me, you are perhaps worried over how easily our youth are tempted to adopt the false religions of the world.  My husband and I encountered a young employee at Home Depot, and as he often does, my husband asked the young man about his tattoos (he is always interested to know why they have chosen the symbols they have).  This young man had a tattoo which he said “symbolizes the moon god because that culture interests me”.  All I could think was, “Father, forgive him for he knows not what he does”.
     So all that addresses our human emotions and thoughts.  But what about our spiritual struggle with these issues?  If we are to be honest and faithful Christians, then we know that we are to “love our enemies and pray for those who persecute us”.  Jesus made that very clear in Matthew 5:44.  I will be the first one to admit that this seems like an impossible commandment … and one that our ultimate Enemy, satan, will use against us in order to convict us of a powerless and faithless life.  Loving an enemy that hates my faith and wants to kill and destroy me and my family is a difficult thing to do, but anything less does not follow in the footsteps of Jesus.  Remember that He willingly laid down his life and asked His Father to forgive those who killed Him.  And He did not hate them.
     I can hear the disagreements now … Jesus would not want us to bow to political correctness, or not defend our families or faith.  The Bible tells us that we “must hold firm to the trustworthy Word as taught, so that we may be able to give instruction in sound doctrine and also to rebuke those who contradict it.”  But loving our enemies?  What does that look like in the wake of events like Orlando?
     Perhaps we can start by determining what it does not look like.  Yes, Jesus tells us to love them unconditionally — no matter what they do to us — but it doesn’t mean that we agree with what they do, or make excuses for it.  My reader commented on how difficult it was becoming to see Muslims begin to dominate in our culture, and to see unvetted refugees streaming into the country in the wake of atrocities that have been committed in their home nations.  She knows it is God’s desire that none should perish, but in the face of what appears to be unreconcilable differences, and blatant and obvious hatred towards us, she is finding it difficult to imitate Christ.
     I’m afraid that I have no quick fix or easy solution.  For myself, I have decided to try to discern what God has told us throughout the Bible when it comes to living among people who are enemies.  God never changes, and what He commanded His people to do in the Old and New Testaments, remains the standard by which we should live our lives.
     First of all, as I told the reader, God did not ask His people to accommodate new religions or politically correct viewpoints.  In fact, He commanded them to resist compromising with corrupt nations; to never adopt false religions or gods; and to keep His statues forever.  Of course, one of those statues is to pray for, and to love our enemies.  As evidenced by the growing number of jihadist murders in our country, the enemy is no longer at the gate, but firmly embedded within our culture, with more likely inserted among the thousands of refugees admitted to our shores.  So how do we live our faith and be imitators of Jesus?
     I can tell you that I can’t do it through my human will.  I have to pray in my spirit, bowing down before the throne of God in heaven, and asking Him to protect our nation from this enemy — that the scales be removed from their eyes, and that they meet Jesus.  That is what I do in the spiritual realm.  In this physical realm, we do everything we can to stop the invasion against our laws and our culture. And when given the opportunity, you meet their hate with the love of Jesus.  Like Jesus, we do not return their hate with malice.  Jesus held no grudges; He never added insult or injury to those who injured Him; He was kind in the face of vitriol, criticism and anger; He was forgiving of those who hated Him; and He never counseled revenge.

     I know that this attitude and these reactions seem contrary to everything our minds and emotions tell us.  But remember, we are not to act according to our flesh, but in agreement with our spirit, which is seated in the heavenly realm with Christ.  Hence, through our gift of salvation, we are to show the unsaved what it is like to be in relationship with Jesus Christ … as difficult as that might be in the face of murderous hatred.  And each time we show love to our enemies, it is one more strike of the Sword of the Spirit in the spiritual realm.
     I am in no way intending for this to sound as if it is simple and everyone should be able to do it easily.  We are no longer viewing a long-distance enemy, but one who is literally in our backyard.  But we need to see this as the spiritual battle it is.  Fighting the enemy with human effort will never completely banish him.  The physical battle we see today is an extension of centuries of the same physical war.  In order to defeat the enemy, we must do it spiritually, and with Divine help.
     Jesus never asks us to do something He did not do as a man, Himself.  As simple as it appears, He gave us a good example of how to follow Him.  It is expressed in Luke 6:27:  Do good to those who hate you.  Doing good to those who hate us displays [to them] the love of God. And maybe, maybe, if we show them the love of God, they will experience something they have never experienced before, and will want more of it. That is what I am hearing from a young friend who is part of a missionary team of college-aged Americans who are on a summer trip to the heart of Europe and the refugee camps to share the good news of Jesus Christ and His love.
     She has shared such amazing testimonies among the people she has met; people from Germany, Romania, Italy, Morocco, Turkey, Syria, India, UK, France, Algeria, Bulgaria, Kenya, Nigeria, Pakistan, Cameroon, Rwanda, New Zealand, Netherlands, Russia, Spain, Indonesia, Tunisia, Afghanistan, and the Congo.  She believes that God is touching the lives of Muslim refugees, the rest of Europe, and in turn the rest of the world.
     Keep in mind that Europe has suffered horrific jihadist attacks in the last year.  Yet she tells of one of her teammates who was sharing the gospel with a Muslim refugee, and the man kept saying “don’t stop, please keep going, I need to hear this.”  And there are many more stories like this one among the Muslim populations of the world.  And to quote a sermon I read on the website, Redeeming God, “[In order to stop] the cycle of hate and the cycle of revenge, the cycle of retaliation [must] stop with us. You can be angry at a person for what they do, and yet still love them. Jesus was upset at the people of Jerusalem for how they abused and murdered the prophets, and yet He still shed loving tears over the city. Jesus, as always, is our best example for how to live out such principles.”
     If you still find yourself unable to do this, and the devil has gripped your heart in a vise of bitterness, hostile thoughts, and hateful emotions, then speak into the spiritual realm and declare the Word of God.  Find all the verses in Scripture where Jesus tells us that love conquers hate and proclaim to spirits [who actually hear you] that you belong to Him and you will not give in to satan’s temptation to hate.
     There will be those who will be unable to go beyond their human capabilities.  And working in the spiritual realm with the Holy Spirit is a learned skill.  But you have to try in order to be able to do it; and you have to do it to become confident in your power and authority [in Jesus and the Holy Spirit] in order to conquer the spirit of hate that comes from the Evil One.  As I’ve said repeatedly … it’s not easy.  That is evident by the history of war through the ages.  But it should also be evident that humans cannot replace hate with love by their own volition.  We must appeal to Jesus and fight this battle in the spiritual realm as well as the physical.  After all, that is exactly how Jesus did it!

Luke 6:27-28       “But I say to you who hear [Me and pay attention to My words]: Love [that is, unselfishly seek the best or higher good for] your enemies, [make it a practice to] do good to those who hate you, bless and show kindness to those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you.”

The Devil’s Game Plan: Conflicting and Contradictory Messages

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     No wonder the Church is so ineffective today, and Christians cannot seem to “unite with one mind”.  We no longer seem to be “of one heart and soul”.  Those terms are how the Early Church was described in Acts, Chapter Four.  And when I say “early” Church, that’s exactly what I mean.  These terms were used to describe the body of believers shortly after the Day of Pentecost when the Church was born.  In the midst of their tumultuous beginning, the new believers were unified in their faith and commitment to the teachings and deity of Christ.
     The Sanhedrin were agitated and frustrated at the preaching of Peter and John about this man Jesus, whom they had recently crucified.  They thought they had quelled His grassroots movement and silenced His influence, and here were these men continuing to spread His seditious message.  So the Book of Acts tells us that the ruling class delivers their own message to the followers of Christ:  “We have the power. If you are allowed to preach, as you have been preaching, it is because we have permitted you to do it.  Anytime we want, we can arrest you and carry you off to jail.  We demand that you be silent about your disruptive faith”!

      Kind of feels like we’re headed towards that same scenario ourselves, doesn’t it?  When we cast a discerning eye upon our culture it is easy to see the discrimination and growing persecution of our faith.  And it is not always blatant. The Enemy is very crafty and subtle … it begins with the suggestion that we should become more tolerant towards the sins that the Bible renounces and condemns, while slowly and gradually, we end up with the month of June being declared as Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Pride Month — by Presidential proclamation, no less.
     But that doesn’t sow near enough confusion among the faithful.  We also have an Episcopal priest writing articles for a liberal-leaning website in which she argues for the power of “queer virtue” to combat “heteronormativity” and revitalize a Christianity that is too wedded to traditional ideas of human sexuality and marriage.  In her article, the Reverend Elizabeth M. Edman asserts that “Pride” is central to the LGBT movement and integral to an authentically Christian life. 
     Excuse me, I’m no theologian and have never been trained by a certified School of Divinity.  In fact, my only instruction has come strictly from the Bible and the Holy Spirit, but if I recall correctly, Pride in the Bible always seems to be about self-worship.  God abhors pride because it hinders an individual from seeking Him.  In fact, it seems to be that those who hang their hat on Pride are so consumed with themselves that their thoughts are far from God and they think they have no need of Him or, worse, that God should accept them as they are because they deserve His acceptance. After all, it was pride that captivated Lucifer, who is the picture of self-worship, seeking to become like God.  And can you see the confusion and contradictory message he is spreading in this denomination of the Church?
     Edman goes on to extol Pride as a virtue, claiming that it should be redeemed and embraced (regardless of what the Bible says) and that “Christians must become aware of and resist the impulse, conscious or subconscious, to deny the existence of LGBTQ people”.  I don’t believe that there is anyone I know in the Christian Church who wishes to deny the existence of LGBTQ people.  We just wish to stand by the commandments of God on how a Christian is to live their life.  Everyone must make their own life choices, and certainly has the free will to do so.  But, as a Christian, I cannot abandon the dictates of my Savior.  Edman makes it clear that her objective is “to proclaim a more authentic gospel” and to dismantle (within Church doctrine) what she calls “heteronormative impulses”, and what I call disobedience and rebellion against God.  She wants to “strip the Bible of its “heteronormativity” and remake Christianity in the image of a society that glorifies gender fluidity and pansexualism.”  With that philosophical doctrine, I would say she has successfully embraced Pride.  And I’m going to be bold enough to declare it a lie from the devil.  Pride is not a Biblical virtue, nor will God exalt it.
     But that is not the only misguided notion and deception being perpetrated by the Enemy upon the Church.  The leading mega-Pastor in the country, Joel Osteen, is also spreading a misleading message.  In one of his latest sermons, he is quoted as saying, “God will fight your battles if you’ll stay at rest. If you’ll quit worrying about the medical report, if you’ll quit being upset over the contract you didn’t get, if you’ll quit being stressed by those people who are talking about you. If you’ll remain at rest, God will fight your battles.”  This is akin to what Osteen and fellow evangelist Joyce Meyers say is the key to peace in our lives … keeping a positive attitude.  But I do not believe that is enough to ward off the attacks of our Adversary.
     And that philosophy goes against the Bible telling us to put on the full armor of God.  If He is going to fight all our battles for us, why do we need any armor?  We must get in the fight and we can do that in a number of ways: by sending our prayers directly to the throne room of God; and declaring our testimonies to the spiritual realm; by binding and rebuking, in the Holy Name of Jesus, those demons and spirits that come against us; and participating in the healing powers of the Holy Spirit to set people free — that is the way you defeat the spirits of worry, anger, stress and depression.  Because that is what Pastor Osteen fails to tell you; those are very real spirits that are attacking you and causing all those emotional reactions.  Your real rest comes when you stand steadfast, confident in your authority and the power of Christ to work with you in victory.  That’s when you find real rest and peace in your spirit.
     But the devil is doing a darn good job of tossing grenades behind our lines…. deceiving us with messages [from within the Church] that Pride is a virtue; and that we just have to stay positive and wait for God to deliver us from our troubles.  And there is a false message that is becoming increasingly louder, in both the Church and our culture:  we must reduce or diminish the Gospel of Jesus Christ because it might offend others.  The whisper has grown into a shout: that we must become more inclusive and less intolerant; that there is more than one way to Heaven and we can get there through faith in more than one god.
     I say that it is imperative that we recognize this message as heresy and unacceptable.  We have already allowed God’s enemy to infiltrate His Church and gain too much ground.  Just reading back over these various viewpoints produces so many emotions:  sadness, anger, exasperation, and a heavy spirit.  How have we fallen so far, so fast?  Where are the warriors for the faith; those who are willing to stand and declare God’s Truth against this apostasy?  Where will the Church be in another decade?  And will those of us who declare the truth of God’s Word even be allowed to speak in defense of our faith?  Yes, the devil has done a good job; Christianity is under clear and organized assault.  It’s time to fight back for ourselves and the generations to come.  It’s time to glorify God, His Word, His Character, and His Church.

2 Corinthians 10:5    “We are destroying sophisticated arguments and every exalted and proud thing that sets itself up against the [true] knowledge of God, and we are taking every thought and purpose captive to the obedience of Christ,”    

One Is Not Like The Other

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     I have been wanting to comment on this topic for the last few days, but honestly, did not feel that I could speak on behalf of Black Americans because I felt it would be presumptuous of me to say that I could identify with their objections.  So, I was happy to hear that the president of the Coalition of African-American Pastors (CAAP) say that it is “a gross insult” to suggest that “gender-confused” individuals are being discriminated against in much the same way that Black Americans have been discriminated against in the United States.  In fact,  The Reverend Bill Owens suggested that the homosexual and transgender community is attempting to co-opt the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King and all those who “faced fire hoses and hatred”  in their very real struggle for equal and civil rights.

     Now, that Rev. Owens has spoken out, I can take a position of whole-heartedly agreeing with him. To compare a difference in skin color (and the suffering and injustice that was perpetuated against Black Americans) to a difference in sexual behavior and anatomy (that has resulted in which bathroom transgenders can use) is obviously dissimilar and ill-matched.
     It is simply untrue that a person who is confused about their sexual identity has suffered the same injustices or lack of rights that Black Americans have.  As far as I know, transgender Americans have never been horribly enslaved, endured forced separation of families, or been denied the ability to drink out of a water fountain, eat at a lunch counter, or attend the school of their choice.  Sadly, it took this nation until the 1950s and 60s to begin to right these wrongs.  To give a quick summary, the Civil Rights Act of 1964 banned segregation in schools, at work, and in public places. The Voting Rights Act of 1965 guaranteed citizens of all races and ethnic backgrounds the right to vote.
     And now, the LGBT community wishes to equate their struggle with the Black community and suggests the idea that “Transgender is the new Black.”  The current Administration is backing that idea by supporting HR 3185, which is legislation that would amend the Civil Rights Act to prohibit discrimination on the basis of sex, sexual orientation, or gender identity.  In fact, Attorney General Loretta Lynch argues that “gender identity is innate,” in the same way that skin color is innate.
     How is it, then, that the American Psychological Association (which generally supports transgenderism) says, “Sex is assigned at birth, [and] refers to one’s biological status as either male or female, and is associated primarily with physical attributes such as chromosomes, hormone prevalence, and external and internal anatomy. Gender refers to the socially constructed roles, behaviors, activities, and attributes that a given society considers appropriate for boys and men or girls and women. These influence the ways that people act, interact, and feel about themselves. While aspects of biological sex are similar across different cultures, aspects of gender may differ.”
     In other words, “sex” and “race” appear to be equivalent, since both are assigned at birth; while “sex” and “gender” are not the same, since aspects of gender can be different, depending on roles that are “constructed” or developed.  Therefore, for the government to tell us that the amendment to the Civil Rights Act insinuates that gender identity is equal to a person’s sex (or the color of their skin) is flawed logic.
     Now let’s carry the erroneous legal argument one step further.  The Civil Rights Act was intended to stop separation of the races on a moral and rational level.  Likewise, separate bathrooms for men and women is a moral and rational idea, but separate bathrooms for blacks and whites is not. … A black man’s nature and physiology is not different from that of a white man, an Asian man, or an Hispanic man. The same is not true of sex differences.  Males and females are inherently different from one another. Their physiology is different and their body parts function differently.  For thousands of years, those differences have been respected in performing the most private of bodily tasks.
     Now, to try to equate bathroom privileges to blatant discrimination against the Black race is not only demeaning and dishonoring the struggle of Black Americans, but an obvious attempt to hijack Black history in order to give a false interpretation of the transgender issue.  As Reverend Owens stated, “Transgendered persons are not asking for equal rights—they are asking for special rights that violate the privacy of women and simple common sense.”  I agree!  Let’s not exaggerate and make their agenda something it’s not.   And you need to know that this amendment to the Civil Rights Act is not the only legislation being expropriated.  Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 is also being upheld as legislation that applies to the transgender issue.  It is a comprehensive federal law that prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex in any federally funded education program or activity.
     As the National Review reported on Friday, “This morning the Department of Justice and Department of Education released a joint statement of extraordinary breadth and scope. Under the guise of offering “guidance,” the Obama administration put every single public and private educational institution receiving federal funds on notice that it intends to interpret and enforce Title IX — a statute, written in 1972, that by its explicit terms only prohibits sex discrimination — as also prohibiting discrimination on the basis of “gender identity, including discrimination based on a student’s transgender status.” If a boy claims he is a girl, then, according to the Obama administration, he is a girl and must be treated as such by the educational institution.”  In other words, if an individual wishes to embrace a different sexual identity, then the federal government is going to try to coerce everyone else to embrace their choice, too, and our daughter”s school locker rooms, showers, and bathrooms will no longer be “for women only”.
     You can see where all this is leading. Any attempt to maintain traditional distinctions between the sexes is being declared illegitimate, bigoted, and illegal by our culture, our society, and now our government.  And this radical opinion is being sold by hijacking the injustices done to Black citizens.  Bigotry was a huge aspect of the Civil Rights movement and it was right to declare it illegal, based on race.  But to equate the transgender bathroom debate on par with the struggle for racial equality is contrived, unconvincing, and insulting to every Black American.
     I have sympathy for those who are confused about their sexual identity, I really do.  I can’t imagine what it must be like to not know how God sees you, or how He made you, and to be led by false messages meant to confuse you, confound you, and lead you astray.  But to equate the fraudulent transgender argument with the immoral practice of slavery and discrimination is both disgraceful and offensive.  It’s just another sign of how far the Enemy will go to spread his lies and deception.

Luke 16:15    And He said to them, “You are those who justify yourselves before men, but God knows your hearts. For what is exalted among men is an abomination in the sight of God.”


Even Mother’s Day Has Become Politicized!

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     Have you ever wondered why every important (and sometimes trivial or insignificant) topic in our national discourse becomes a matter for political debate?  How is it that our society has suddenly become obsessed with politicizing everything?  For the sake of our discussion, can we agree that by “politicizing” something we mean that we either attack or cast doubt on inappropriate facts … or assign invalid evidence … in order to achieve the targeted outcome for a specific agenda?
     A little less complicated way of saying it is that instead of discussing an issue independent of political opinions, or based on its own merit, we tend to tie that issue’s significance to an ideological viewpoint.  And in order to win people to our side of the issue, it has become a kind of game of total warfare in which the other side must be obliterated.  Take something as benign as Mother’s Day, for instance.
     You might be interested to know that reports that celebrations of mothers and motherhood can be traced all the way back to the ancient Greeks and Romans, who held festivals in honor of the mother goddesses Rhea and Cybele.  But the clearest modern precedent for Mother’s Day is the early Christian festival known as “Mothering Sunday.” Once a major tradition in the United Kingdom and parts of Europe, this celebration fell on the fourth Sunday in Lent and was originally seen as a time when the faithful would return to their “mother church”—the main church in the vicinity of their home—for a special service.
     As you can see, that tradition has evolved into a more secular observance here in America where children present their mothers with flowers and other tokens of appreciation for the sacrifices they made to care for those children.  Mother’s Day became an official national holiday in America in 1914.  So how could this seemingly harmless holiday become politicized, you might ask.  After all, we all have mother’s, right?  And how can we disagree over a day set aside to celebrate someone as identifiable as, well … mothers?!
     Over 100 years ago,  Congress, by a joint resolution approved May 8, 1914 (38 Stat. 770), and designated the second Sunday in May each year as “Mother’s Day”.  Congress also requested the President to call for its appropriate observance.  Every year since then, each President has made an official “declaration” of the day.  If you want to see politicization in action, simply note the gradual change of tone and substance in the last few Presidential proclamations on Mother’s Day, as noted in a World Net Daily article: 

     2014:  “For over a century, Americans have come together to celebrate our first friends and mentors, our inspirations and constant sources of strength. Our mothers are breadwinners, community leaders, and pillars of family. They pioneer scientific discoveries, serve with valor in our Armed Forces, and represent our Nation in the loftiest halls of Government. Whether biological, adoptive, or foster, they play a singular role in our lives. Because they so often put everything above themselves, on Mother’s Day, we put our moms first…”.
     2015:  “Each May, Americans dedicate a day to honor the remarkable women who strive and sacrifice all year to ensure ours is a Nation where all things are possible. Whether married or single, LGBT or straight, biological, adoptive, or foster, mothers are the bedrocks of our lives and the foundation of our society…”.
     2016:  “On Mother’s Day, we celebrate those who are first to welcome us into the world.  Performing the most important work there is, mothers – biological, foster, or adoptive – are our first role models and earliest motivators. They balance enormous responsibilities and shape who we become as adults, their lessons guiding us through life… Regardless of sexual orientation, gender identity, or marital status, mothers have always moved our nation forward and remained steadfast in their pursuit of a better and brighter future for their children…”.
     Whoa, wait a minute!  I can definitely see the move towards our cultural acceptance of LGBT families in 2015, but did you catch the reference to gender identity in 2016?  Rather, did you catch the implication that regardless of gender identity, anyone can be identified as a mother?  Even the liberal-leaning dictionary app on my Mac computer identifies “mother” as “a woman in relation to a child or children to whom she has given birth.”  And I even have to disagree with that definition.  I do not believe that you have to give birth to a child to be that child’s mother.  To be a mother is a function of the God-given character traits of a woman; a genetically-determined characteristic to nurture and train a child.  I’m sorry, but because a man wishes to “identify” as a woman, does not make him a mother.  I know that may sound like a ridiculous proposition to you, but I promise you that it is a very real consideration to those who subscribe to the transgender movement.  And if you re-read the politicized Presidential proclamation you will find that as outlandish as my statement might sound, that is exactly what is being asserted … that a man may self-identify as a mother.
     As you can see, those who have cultural or political agendas they wish to force on the populace will take every opportunity to make an argument personal, and present the opposite side as cold-hearted and unbending.  “By any means necessary” is the motto of those who wish to push everything from alternative sexual lifestyles to climate change to redistribution of wealth.  All’s fair in love and war, after all — and politics isn’t about love.  Politics is a game, and you must play to win, and not give a damn how you achieve the victory.  Attack your opponent, and make it personal; cast doubt on the opposition’s belief system; and connect the dots to your agenda and the desired outcome.  That’s politicization in a nutshell, and Mother’s Day just became the latest victim.

Titus 1:7-9   “For an overseer, as God’s administrator, must be blameless, not arrogant, not hot-tempered, not addicted to wine, not a bully, not greedy for money, but hospitable, loving what is good, sensible, righteous, holy, self-controlled, holding to the faithful message as taught, so that he will be able both to encourage with sound teaching and to refute those who contradict it.” 


Satan and Politics: A New Revolution?

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     If you are like me, this whole political cycle is becoming tedious.  I do not happen to believe that we can change the direction of this country — or the world, for that matter — with a political solution. I believe our problems are much bigger than the contested Republican convention that is predicted; or the scandal over Hillary’s emails, Benghazi, and the threats to national security.  I have huge doubts about the ability of any newly-elected President to turn around our failing economy, our immigrant/border problem, or the encroachment upon our national sovereignty by any foreign powers or global institution.  I think our problems are the result of our spiritual deterioration; our rebellion and rejection of God; and the doors we have opened to Satanic influence in our homes, our culture, and our churches.  In short, watching Fox News or CNN to get the latest political update seems like I’m watching a carefully scripted mockery of the delusion that we have any say in the future of this nation.
     That bit of pessimism aside, my always alert husband discovered an article he thought worthy of our discussion.  I read it, at first, with a sense of sad amusement — that people could be so deceived as to actually be a follower of such nonsense — but that was soon replaced with the very real sense that there are people who are hopelessly lost, and convenient tools of the dark side of this world.  Let me explain….
     This all may seem laughable, and unrealistic, but keep in mind that Satan seeks to enter all facets of our lives, and politics is a very impressionable and powerful subculture of our society.  And we have a generation of dissatisfied, alienated, and discontented youth who, like every generation before them, think that they have the solution for the “perfect revolution” to change the world.  It’s just that in this time of history, the Enemy has done away with subtle and muted messages, and is openly identifying himself as an alternative choice — even in politics.

The Satanic Temple performs a satanic ritual at
the Michigan State Capitol in December 2015

     So, you may be familiar with the organization known as The Satanic Temple.  They have made their presence known by demanding the same religious rights and privileges afforded to Christianity.  You may recall their campaigns to create satanic coloring books for distribution in schools in Florida and Colorado; bids to erect satanic “nativity scenes” on government property in Florida, Michigan and Indiana; offering prayers to Satan at a high school football game in Seattle; and demanding that a monument to the Ten Commandments at the Oklahoma State Capitol be accompanied by a monument to Baphomet (a goat-headed idol associated with witches’ sabbaths).
     I’ve always assumed that they saw themselves as an alternative “religion”.  But you should know that the foundation of their “movement” is political, and they have stated as such on their website:  “The Satanic Temple (TST) facilitates the communication and mobilization of politically aware Satanists, secularists, and advocates for individual liberty.”  It is obvious they aim to make their presence known in politics!
     Their latest attempt to influence the political culture in this country came at South by Southwest (SXSW), an annual set of film, interactive media, and music festivals and conferences that take place in mid-March in Austin, Texas.  This event started out as a forum for talented, new, and independent artists, and as far as I’m concerned, has attracted far too many of the “fringe” and “bizarre” types.  But they open the venue to anyone, so what better place for The Satanic Temple to present a unique political message to the masses.
     First, you need to know that the TST political campaign involves the 2016 movie, “The Witch”, a tale of a Puritan family turning on each other as they attempt to root out the supernatural evil plaguing their farm.  The film won the award for best director at the Sundance Film Festival – and even frightened horror master Stephen King, which is quite a feat, and enough to keep me from ever seeing it.  But the important fact, here, is that The Satanic Temple combined forces with A24 Studios, to promote a four-city tour called The Sabbat Cycle, which consisted of screenings of the film followed by politically driven satanic rituals.  I kid you not!  The stated goal of The Sabbat Cycle was to inspire a “satanic revolution.”  That got your attention, didn’t it?
     Revolutions have always been about rebelling against the status quo, and who better than Satan, the first leader of an organized rebellion, to represent a burgeoning political movement?  But I think you should know exactly what The Sabbat Cycle is all about.  Obviously, it is meant to denigrate the Sabbath, a holy day as designated by God.  But in satanism it is also a supposed annual midnight meeting of witches with the Devil.  If you dare, you can click on this link to the website, but if you would rather skip the disgusting photos, then I can clue you in on their purpose and plan.  Here is the official mission statement:  “Inspired by the film The Witch, The Satanic Temple crossed the nation February 2016 to present a four-part cycle of interactive performances to reify the witch (to make something abstract more concrete or real) – and herald a new Satanic American era. A study of the pathology of religious hysteria, The Witch provides a glimpse into a dark period of our collective history, a  puritanical worldview turned parasitic.  Despite the mythology, supernatural forces do not inspire an attraction to the left hand path, rather it is the unnatural pressures of theocracy that ultimately produce a Satanic breakthrough. This is a timely film.  Nearly four-hundred years after the first execution of an American “witch,” many in our nation still call for the establishment of an American theocracy and a return to the puritanical delusions of old.   In the face of relentless persecution, of unjust authority treading on our private, intellectual and sexual lives, we, the outsiders, the freethinking, and the godless have found ourselves strengthened.  We act now to righteously assert our American freedoms, for the edification of our communities and the future of the private citizen.  The Sabbat Cycle mirrors phases of “becoming” in the personal road to Satanism and is an invitation to join us in the Satanic Revolution.”
     And to become part of this satanic political revolution, they apparently feel it is necessary to perform a satanic ritual.  You can read the full description, as provided by a reporter who decided to witness it for himself.  But here’s the shortened version:  After viewing the film, the participants adjourned to a nearby bar where the entire area was adorned in black-and-white American flags, just like the ones that everybody in the room received as they entered. As all of this went down, a sermon played over loudspeakers, as a Christian minister described what Satan wanted from his followers—”Satan wants you to do what you want to do,” a point that apparently both sides of the Jesus/Satan divide can agree on—while what the reporter described as “a punishing ambient soundscape provided by British electronic music weirdos Consumer Electronics” droned in the background.

     Then the head priestess or witch, whose name, believe it or not, is Jex Blackmore, came out from behind her black shroud and gave her own sermon.   “Who taught you to be ashamed?” and declaring that “satanism is the rational assertion of aggressive individualism.” A naked couple, who were part of the show, got hoods draped over their heads, then removed them to chug down containers full of wine (supposed to represent blood). People in the crowd rushed to the front of the stage.  The priestess culminated her sermon by declaring, “We do not seek followers, we are seeking collaborators—individuals for a satanic alliance!” Then she instructed those collaborators to place their black-and-white flags outside of crisis pregnancy centers and the Texas governor’s mansion. She ended the sermon by shouting “Hail Satan!” and raising her fist into the devil-horn sign, which the majority of the crowd of a hundred or so fired back, chanting “Hail Satan!” along with her, over and over again.
     Now, this might seem like an absurd exhibition, but we must never assume that it was nonproductive.  Anytime anyone praises Satan, or glorifies him, or honors him with worship, you can bet that our Enemy will take advantage of it and push his agenda.  He will use these willing dupes to present himself as a legitimate alternative to the religion of Christianity, as well as a genuine and different choice in the political arena.  But we must not forget that it is always a counterfeit option.  It is a false promise.
     Ms. Blackmore embraces her position as witch/political activist with relish. She sees the collaboration with the film, The Witch, as an opportunity to get more people involved and hasten their political revolution. She, along with the organization she represents (The Satanic Temple) want to challenge the popular belief that America is a “Christian nation.”  Seems like there are a lot of people in politics that hold that same belief system.  Can groups like TST and their occultic entourage change the landscape of our political consciousness?
     Are you willing to bet that they can’t?  We have to face the fact that our culture and the nation’s underlying foundation of the Christian Church has certainly changed in the last decade.  And Millennials now outnumber us Baby Boomers.  They don’t see the big picture the way we do.  And if their picture doesn’t include the reflection of God in their lives, their homes, our society, or our government, then they are inevitably ripe for deception and a counterculture that TST offers them.  We saw it happen in the 60s, when the youth of this nation forged new ideas of free sex, while protesting against the government, affluence, war, and any and all authority.
     Authority … isn’t that what Satan rebelled against, too?  God’s Authority?  And now the youth of this nation openly hail God’s Adversary by name.  But now that rebellion is moving from the religious sphere into the political arena, where the Bible tells us that Satan is ruler of this world.  Up to now, he has been able to work in relative obscurity — most people are unaware that he is actually called the Prince of this world.  But now it appears as though he is coming out of the shadows and into full view amidst the corrupt, criminal, and immoral political landscape.  He should feel right at home.  And  now,  he’s ready to get in the race.  Most of our spiritually protective walls have been torn down, and we already see the evidence of him winning court battles in Florida, Oklahoma, Colorado, Michigan, and Indiana.  When satanic rituals are allowed to be held in public, and are directed toward members of our government, then I fear that we have sealed our doom.  We are witnessing an unholy pact, and God help us!

Romans 1:32    “Though they know God’s righteous decree that those who practice such things deserve to die, they not only do them but give approval to those who practice them.”


Why Religious Freedom Protection Laws Are Under Attack

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     Frankly, I’m getting tired of Big Business and the Entertainment Industry distorting the attempt by state legislatures to apply some common sense to the culture war over same-sex marriage, transgenderism, and other LGBT issues.  I know we now live in a world where God’s commandments are no longer seen as the guide by which we should live our lives.  And I realize that there is no way to put this genie back in the bottle.  The Supreme Court (man’s law) has supplanted God’s laws…. at least in the public square.
     It is hard to ignore the battle that is creeping across our land, as states enact individual laws that some Americans argue protect our religious beliefs and rights, while others argue that these pieces of legislation are discriminatory against the LGBT community.

     Mississippi and North Carolina are in the public crosshairs for their recently passed legislation that proposes to protect the religious beliefs of their citizens; but the truth is that nearly 200 bills have been proposed in various state legislatures in 2016.  I can’t help but feel it is in response to the citizenry’s alarm over businesses, such as bakeries and florists, who have not been allowed to run their companies according to their consciences, along with the disconcerting transgender bathroom movement.
     But perhaps just as unsettling is the distortion and downright lies being engendered by corporations and entertainers, who misrepresent what the laws are designed to accomplish.  Gina Miller, has written a sharp and incisive article on, pointing out the inconsistencies and the misrepresentations of the Mississippi law.  In her article, she writes, “It’s certainly distressing to see the large corporations and senseless celebrities and politicians babbling their nonsense about a law that only reiterates our fundamental, God-given rights of conscience that are already protected by the First Amendment to the United States Constitution… This is not about a homosexual being denied generic products or services, nor is this about denying “single mothers baby shower services,” because none of that is happening.”
     She continues:  “Another of the big lies pushed by opponents of Mississippi’s law is that it’s no different than “Jim Crow” laws, that this is a “civil rights” issue.  That is a grotesquely sinister affront to the genuine civil rights struggle that black people engaged in.”  I must agree!  Black people, white people, yellow people, brown people, and all people are equivalent in God’s eyes.  He created us all!  But when we are rebellious to His natural order; when we do not recognize His sovereignty in determining marriage, the sex of a person, or how we are to respect Him and each other, then by what “right” can we demand that all must conform?
     In essence, what the opponents of both the Mississippi and North Carolina legislation are trying to do is to “rebrand” religious liberty (upon which this nation was founded) as nothing less than bigotry, intolerance, and hatred.  Not so!  What the new laws are attempting to do is to prevent discrimination by ensuring the government will not force people to violate their conscience in very specific contexts spelled out by the law.
     As Jennifer Marshall at Religious News Service points out, “For starters, Mississippi’s new law ensures that churches and other religious groups aren’t punished for declining to host or solemnize weddings that would violate their conscience. Remember the controversy over Kim Davis, the county clerk in Kentucky? Mississippi won’t have that kind of a showdown because the new law ensures everyone eligible for a marriage license gets one without delay while also accommodating individual clerks who want to opt out of issuing marriage licenses altogether.”  (While I’m pretty sure that this is still too accommodating for our Lord, how can anyone declare this is a hate law?)
     Ms. Marshall also points to the fact that “the law also ensures religious schools and ministries, [who are] serving those in need, can continue to set their personnel and housing policies in accord with their beliefs. (This provision covers only religious organizations, not businesses. The law has nothing to do with business hiring or landlord policies.) Faith-based adoption agencies will be free to continue placing every child they serve with a married mom and dad… While bakers, a photographer, and a florist in other states have faced massive fines, creative professionals in wedding-related businesses in Mississippi cannot be coerced to use their talents to celebrate same-sex weddings.”
     Isn’t it time that these business owners be protected, based on their faith?  And why should people of faith be forced to give in to the pressure for transgender bathrooms?  I applaud Mississippi’s new law, which allows private businesses and schools to set their own policies for the use of bathrooms, showers, and locker rooms. But would it surprise you to know that PayPal announced plans to cancel an office expansion in North Carolina after that state passed a similar privacy protection measure?  Even though the law leaves them and other businesses free to make these policies however they see fit?
     Am I reading this wrong, but does it look as if Big Business and the Elite Corporations have no desire in compromising — although I hate that word?  Doesn’t it seem as if they want Christians and Christian businesses to bow down to the morally corrupt culture, and admit our defeat?  But here is the truth that they will never admit, and don’t want the general public to know:  Most of the new law is about protecting religious groups and individuals who have a different perspective on marriage. It guarantees their religious freedom while not taking anything away from anyone else. What the new law is trying to express is that everyone deserves to be treated with dignity and respect regardless of differences.  Big Business and the Entertainment Industry believe in that precept, too — unless you are Christian, and wish to live your life (which includes how you conduct business) according to your moral conscience and faith.
     I just want you to be cognizant of this media and marketing blitz that is going to come against the religious community.  We are already seeing it on nearly every TV commercial and prime time show. They are targeting our children in school, and portraying the faithful as bigoted, hate-filled, insensitive and intolerant.  “Transgenderism” is the new cause célebré; children are encouraged to seek their “true” gender, which could be the opposite of that in which they were born, or any number of variations, according to their desires and what they would “like” to be.  Experimentation and imagination are invited and cultivated.
     The Bible tells us that immorality will increase in The Last Days, and even tells us what an immoral society looks like:  People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God.   I think men wanting to dress as women and using the womens’ bathrooms pretty much hits the target of immorality, wouldn’t you say?
     So, while we watch our society and culture grow further away from our Christian morals and values, we can expect the backlash and the distance between us to grow.  The discord between the faithful and the faithless will become rampant; and sadly, those weak in their faith will walk away from the hope that is Jesus, and distance themselves from us, too.  But I’m not telling you anything you didn’t know.  It’s just hard to watch it coming so fast, and almost without a fight.  At the same time, it is our privilege to stand for God in this battle, and to seek His Spirit for courage and endurance.  We know it’s coming … and we know what we must do!

Matthew 24:11-12    “Many false prophets will appear and mislead many.  Because lawlessness is increased, the love of most people will grow cold.”

Beware A Boastful Tongue!

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     Have you seriously considered why in the world all the young girls across this nation seem to be enthralled with sharing photos of themselves sticking out their tongues?  Is your spirit pricked with an uneasiness that tells you there is more to this than just frivolity?  Well, I’m here to tell you there is.
     I, like adults of every generation, have looked upon the entertainment industry as a possible instrument of the devil; a tool of temptation that will lead our youth astray.  When I was young, I laughed at my own parents’ concerns, considering them to be out-of-touch and too old-fashioned.  Yet I can see where those suggestive lyrics and the loosening of sexual standards only served to encourage much of the debauchery in evidence today.  And I’m pretty sure that this generation feels the same way about our warnings as we did our parents.
     But what they don’t know is this … they didn’t invent this viral social media rage of sticking out your tongue in every photo you post online.  Actually, it can be traced to the Hindu goddess, Kali.  Furthermore, they don’t know that her identity can be traced back to the Queen of Heaven/Mother Goddess worship.  One of the foremost promoters of this worship, which honored Baal’s consort, was the wicked Phoenician princess, Jezebel, who married the evil king of Israel, Ahab.
     As I wrote in an earlier post, Jezebel influenced Ahab to fully establish Baal worship in his realm. In Phoenicia, Baalism included the worship of Molech with fiery sacrifices of children and the worship of Astarte, the Phoenician Ishtar, Queen of Heaven.  Jezebel caused altars to be erected to this idol in every part of Israel; and at one time four hundred priests attended the worship of Ishtar/Ashteroth.  She had such a powerful control over Ahab, that he built a temple to Baal, and the Bible records that he sinned against God more than any other king.  But here’s the result of that idolatrous relationship:  The nation of Israel became so entangled with the Queen of Heaven/Mother Goddess worship that YHWH judged them by sending them into captivity by the hand of the Assyrians, and the nation of Israel was scattered to the ends of the earth.
      And how did this Queen of Heaven/Mother Goddess express her immorality and debauchery?  By sticking out her tongue!  And today, our young girls and women mimic her, without even knowing what they are doing!  It seems that everywhere you look now on television and the Internet, the craze of sticking out the tongue is rampant.  And the media stars of this generation are leading the way.
     It seems that with every performance, Beyoncé, Miley Cyrus, Katy Perry, and their peers can be seen posing for the camera with their tongues sticking out.  How in the world did this become something worthy of imitating?  Well, I don’t have to tell you that there is a war on for the hearts and minds of our children, and we are losing this battle with each passing day. As a 2013 article in Before Its News reported, the Devil is so sure of victory that he no longer feels the need to hide what he is doing. He knows that we – even born again Christians – have gotten so cold, so lazy, we don’t pray, we don’t read our Bibles – that we offer little to no resistance.
     The essence of the tongue pose is sexual perversion, indecency, lewdness and promiscuity; and it has great spiritual value to the dark side.  Entertainment moguls such as Jay-Z boldly sport famed occultist Alistair Crowley’s immoral motto, “Do What Thou Wilt” emblazoned on his clothing line.  And he parades his stable of willing young female entertainers (who seem to have sold their souls for fame and stardom), showcasing them flashing Illuminati signs and occult symbolism.  And our youth blindly follow, not even knowing that they are paying homage to wickedness in the spiritual realm.
     Furthermore, the erection of a replica of the Temple of Baal in New York City this next weekend, is openly inviting the spirit of that false god into our heartland.  What you might not know is this … worship at the Temple of Baal involved public orgies and displays of unrestricted sex among all participants.  If, unfortunately, a pregnancy occurred, then the unwanted offspring of those liaisons were offered in fiery sacrifices to the god Molech.  Jezebel would be proud to know that once again the Temple of Baal will be bringing its ungodly influence to the world. Will God judge us as He did ancient Israel for our idolatry?  Will He hand us over to captivity and the fruits of our rebellion?  It remains to be seen, but I cannot imagine that He will delay His anger much longer.
     But, here is what saddens me, and to be honest, frightens me, as well.  I decided to ask a question of several young women whom I admire and respect; moral young ladies whom I know love the Lord — yet, they too, have succumbed to the popularity of this viral pose.  I asked them, “What is the meaning of this pose?  Does it have a particular significance to your generation?”  Here are their answers:
     “That’s a great question, actually!  Some think it looks cute and they probably do it to attract guys. They usually do it when they think they’re hot stuff and think it makes them out to look even hotter, and more out there; like they want something from a guy.  And then there are some people who do it just because that’s what everyone else is doing in pics.  So it kind of seems to become the norm for girls to do it in pictures they post, whether a girl is meaning for it to have a message behind it, or it is just an innocent pose to fit in [with the crowd.]”
      Another young friend said, ” I wish I had a better answer, but as far as I know, it doesn’t really mean anything more than just being a silly thing to do.  It’s like when you’re a kid, it’s kind of a mocking thing to do, and as an adult, it seems almost self-mocking.  That’s how I feel about it, but I could be wrong.”
     And my third young friend told me, “I don’t think it means anything specific.  I think it’s more of trying to look cute or maybe just an “I don’t care what you think” pose.  Occasionally, when it’s done it means something sexual (when fingers are involved with the pose).”
     As you can see, all three have no clear meaning of what the tongue pose tells the viewer; although they all instinctively know there is something negative about it, even sexually suggestive.  But it was the last comment that made me do a little more research.  Obviously, there is an intentioned meaning when fingers are involved.  If young girls are imitating this pose — and some innocently — I wanted to know what message they were sending.
     I apologize if what I found out is offensive, but we cannot and should not ignore what is being perpetrated among our youth.  Let’s just say that the Urban Dictionary’s definition was too graphic, and let it suffice to mean the simulation of oral sex.
     Once again, I feel I’m screaming from the rafters, but technology and phones have become the tool of the devil!  I know that sounds like I am an uptight, straight-laced prude — and believe me, I am morally incensed because I know how easy it was for me to be misled and misguided in my youth!  I am not pointing fingers, without having looked in the mirror of my own past.
     It just grieves me to see the beauty and innocence of our young women being distorted into something that is perverse, immodest, and defiling.  They are unwittingly paying homage to false gods and diminishing their own self-worth in the eyes of the True God.  And I cannot ignore the warning of Isaiah 57:3-5:  “But come here, you sons of a sorceress [raised in deception and superstition], Offspring of an adulterer and a loose woman [prostitute].  Of whom do you mock [make fun]? Against whom do you open wide your mouth and stick out your tongue? Are you not children of rebellion (sin), Offspring of deceit, Who inflame yourselves [with lust in pagan rites] among the oaks, Under every green and leafy tree, Who slaughter the children [in sacrifice] in the ravines under the clefts of the rocks?”
     After reading back over this, I realize that I will look and sound like a religious fanatic.  I do not consider myself either “religious” or filled with single-minded zeal over this topic.  Rather, I feel I am able to look beyond this world’s interpretation of such actions, and see the consequences in the spiritual realm.  And whether they know it or not, our young girls and young women are in rebellion against the God that many profess to love.  They are being led astray by a culture that enshrines the immoral and the occult.  Pray for our youth!  Pray that they will be unblinded and detach themselves from the temptation that technology offers them.  And pray that it happens before they are completely enslaved to its alluring and enticing whispers of deception and debauchery.

Psalm 12:3-4     “May the Lord cut off all flattering lips, the tongue that makes great boasts, those who say, ‘With our tongue we will prevail, our lips are with us; who is master over us?’ “

A Reason To Weep

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     Around the world yesterday, millions of Christians celebrated the resurrection of Jesus Christ.  That is the point of this blog post … not to engage in a conversation whether “Easter” is named after a pagan goddess; or the relevance of Passover to the death, burial, and resurrection of our Lord — although both are topics I am passionate about.  No, today I am reminded that if not for the hope that lies in Jesus’s Resurrection, I would feel despair and defeat.
     Once again, the Adversary of Christ influenced a suicide bomber in Pakistan.  At least 65 people were killed, and over 300 were wounded.  Most of the victims were Christian women and children who had gone to a park to celebrate Easter weekend.  And that was the point … they were deliberately targeted because they were Christian … and because it was Easter.
     You see, there is a very real antichrist spirit that is preparing the way for the Man of Lawlessness, which will make it easier for him to control the entire world in that short 7-year period called the Tribulation.  And the Enemy knows how it all turns out.  So it is in his best interest to engender hate among as many of the world’s population as he can before his time runs out.  Those whom he can capture in his web of deception and lies will not inherit the eternal salvation that lies in faith in Jesus. So he celebrates victories like those in Pakistan; when he can convince a man that killing innocent children is justified and commanded by his god.  Each person he can convince to hate is one more that he can keep from running to Jesus.

     But he doesn’t win them all!  Asad Shah was a 40-year-old Muslim shopkeeper in Glasgow Scotland.  Known for his compassionate nature and hope for tolerance among the world’s religions, Shah was killed by a fellow Muslim for wishing Christians a “Happy Easter” on his Facebook page.  Last Thursday evening, he posted “Upcoming Special Event:  GOOD FRIDAY AND VERY HAPPY EASTER; ESPECIALLY TO MY BELOVED CHRISTIAN NATION (in the name of Allah) … Let’s follow the real footstep of Beloved Holy JESUS CHRIST (Peace Be Upon Him) and get the real success in both worlds.”  Hours later he was stabbed in the head, and he was stomped to death.  While it might be easy to view this as a win for the bad guys, the spiritual realm cannot deny that Hate was jealous of the Love that Shah showed his fellow man.
     Yes, Asad Shah was a Muslim and he does not worship the One True God.  But it is unmistakable that his life has glorified Jesus and the Love that sacrificed Himself for the world’s sins.  While the officials are willing to call his death a “religiously prejudiced” attack, we know it is more than that.  It is part of the cosmic battle for the souls and spirits of men.  The battle is coming into sharper focus, and the sides are being clearly drawn.  What better day than Easter to strike a blow against the Hope of mankind?
     But the attacks and strikes against Jesus aren’t always so blatantly violent and savage.  Sometimes they are subtle and involve distraction and diversion; minimizing and diminishing God’s Truth.  That was apparent when, as The Blaze wrote, a Fox News reporter took to the streets of New York to ask pedestrians about the holiday on Sunday, and its significance.   Answers ranged from Memorial Day to Passover to Father’s Day.  One woman said Easter celebrated when Jesus Christ was born. Another said she’s “honestly not really sure.” And yet another responded with “the beginning of a new mom opening the womb.” Not really sure what that last comment was all about.
     Sadly, many people did not know that Easter celebrated Jesus’s resurrection, nor where that event took place.  And the report did not elaborate, but I would not be surprised if many did not know the significance or implications of His death on the cross.  And that is reason to weep.  It is tragic that people are dying in the streets because they want to celebrate the resurrection of the risen Lord.  But I think it is even more devastating when the world is dying from a lack of knowledge of Him.  And that is becoming as effective a tool for the Enemy as a suicide bomber.
     When the world no longer knows that there is a God who loved them so much that He sacrificed His Son, or that a Savior came to sanctify and justify them before the God of the Universe, then all Hope will be lost and Death will rule the day.   There is far too much evidence that the Enemy is making his final moves.  While I weep for his temporary victories, I know my tears will soon be dried and there will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain; for the the devil’s order of things will have passed away.  And that’s reason to celebrate, indeed!

Romans 5:8    “But God proves His own love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us!” 

Coming Soon To NYC: The Temple of Baal!

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Ancient god, Baal

     In July of last year, I wrote a blog post about an ISIS video showing the horrific executions taking place in the ancient city of Palmyra in the Syrian desert.  I wrote that the choice of this site by the barbarians was no accident.  Palmyra was an ancient Roman city cited as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and noted for its prolific Baal worship throughout ancient history.
    The website has done a terrific job of telling us who Baal was… Baal was the name of the supreme god worshipped in ancient Canaan and Phoenicia. The word baal means “lord”; the plural is baalim. In general, Baal was a fertility god who was believed to enable the earth to produce crops and people to produce children. Different regions worshiped Baal in different ways, and Baal proved to be a highly adaptable god.
     According to Canaan mythology, Baal was the son of El, the chief god, and Asherah (also known as Astarte and Ashtaroth), the goddess of the sea, and Baal was considered the most powerful of all gods.  We Christians are familiar with the land of Canaan as being “the promised land”; where YHWH had promised the Israelites under Moses that they would live in peace in a “land flowing with milk and honey.”  Today, the land of Canaan corresponds roughly to present-day Lebanon, Syria, Jordan and Israel.
     But, if you are familiar with the Bible, you will recall that even before the Hebrews entered the Promised Land, the Lord God warned against worshiping Canaan’s gods, but Israel turned to idolatry anyway.  The Books of Kings, Chronicles and Judges are full of stories of Baal worship in Israel; at the Temples of Baal and around Asherah poles; involving child sacrifice, rooted in sensuality, and involving ritualistic prostitution in the temples.
     About now, you might be thinking that this is all ancient history.  What does it have to do with today, and why should we be concerned about the worship of false gods in ancient temples?  Well, next month has been deemed World Heritage Month by The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).  And because of the bombings of the ancient temple ruins by ISIS in Palmyra, reproductions of the nearly 50-foot arch that stood at the Temple of Baal in Palmyra, Syria will be erected in New York City and London next month.  And they are just the first of many to be erected around the world!  

     You will hear the deceptive rationale that these monuments are intended “as a gesture of defiance“ towards ISIS (rebuilding what has been destroyed), but ultimately the plan is to share this “cultural treasure” with as many cities around the planet as possible.  In fact, the Institute for Digital Archaeology ultimately hopes to put 1,000 of these arches in cities all over the globe.
      Why is this so disturbing to me?  I’ll let Scott Brown of the National Center for Family-Integrated Churches (NCFIC — an organization that proclaims the sufficiency of scripture for church and family life) explain it:

We know that there were usually lots of people gathered, often on a high hill (like a theatre or stadium) to observe public sex, just like we see in movies and television and on the internet. We think that our watching these things is different than the idolatry of old, but this is not so.

The whole community came out and all of the best pagan ideas for success in crops and fertility were promoted, just like a business seminar that promotes unbiblical ideas that justify the worldliness of its origin.

The wicked personalities (promoters and performers) were respected and given the platform (like rock stars and Hollywood’s “People’.) Some of them were great dancers (like Brittany Spears and Madonna) while others were great musicians (like Mick Jagger and Paul McCartney). In our day, people who go to our churches celebrate celebrities when they should be doing the opposite. Psalm 101:1, 3 says “I will walk in my house… I will set no wicked thing before my eyes…”

People danced around the Asherah pole, which was nothing more than a phallic symbol. It is quite possible that these poles functioned somewhat like the poles in what are called, “gentlemen’s clubs.” The people also acted out lustful, licentious, bawdy scenes for the enjoyment of all who came.  They had all the different kinds of sexual experiences on display including men with women, men with men and all of the combinations that are popular today in sit-coms, movies and news reports. On top of that, they invited the crowd to participate.

     And sadly, we are no different than the ancient Baal worshippers.  We have become a society that is addicted to watching other people have sex.  In fact, it has been estimated that 68 percent of all Christian men watch pornography on a regular basis.  How are we any different than the ancient kings of Israel and Judah who forsake God to follow after the flesh in Baal worship?  And now we want to bring a giant production of Baal’s Temple into Times Square.

     I’m sure you have heard America called the modern day Babylon.  I have to admit that it is difficult to deny that charge when we are putting up a monument of worship to the false god Baal.  Soon, in the heart of one of our most important cities, there will sit a temple, that in ancient times, gave witness to child sacrifices and bisexual orgies at the altar of Baal.
     We can deny that’s what we’re doing all we want.  But our modern day practices of child sacrifice  (abortion) and sexual immorality (everything from pornography to transgenderism, and everything in-between) give testimony to the fact that our core actions and social philosophies remain eerily similar to ancient Babylon and the worship of Baal. The question now becomes this … are we able to be restored to a righteous nation, and reject this idol worship, and destroy all the altars we’ve erected to selfishness and sexuality?  Ancient Israel had moments of clarity and humbleness, but most of the time they only partially destroyed their idols; preferring to think they could appease God with a half-hearted act of humility and submissiveness.   But make no mistake — just as He warned over 33 centuries ago, when the Israelites were tempted by Baal worship, He will not accept our feeble and cursory offers of obedience.  He wants us all in … or we will pay the consequences.
     So, when you see the life-size model of the original 2,000-year-old structure, known as the Arch of the Temple of Bel, which will stand approximately 48 feet high and 23 feet wide, know that this nation may very well have committed our greatest offense to the Sovereign Lord.  And if you want to know what to expect from this profane act, just read a few chapters in 2 Kings … you’ll get the idea of what’s in our future.

Judges 2:13-15     “They abandoned the Lord and served the Baals and the Ashtaroth.  So the anger of the Lord was kindled against Israel, and he gave them over to plunderers, who plundered them. And he sold them into the hand of their surrounding enemies, so that they could no longer withstand their enemies.  Whenever they marched out, the hand of the Lord was against them for harm, as the Lord had warned, and as the Lord had sworn to them. And they were in terrible distress.”

Rules For Radicals Still In Play

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     If you have taken any amount of time to stay informed about American politics, then you are most likely familiar with Saul Alinksy and his Rules for Radicals.  The book is a primer for “the have-nots” in order to empower them to gain social, political, legal and economic equality by challenging the current agencies that promoted their inequality. In short, Alinsky was a believer in the classic Marxist theory which states that Communism is the final stage of the evolution of human socioeconomic relations. In the Marxist model, the feudal state is overthrown by the rise of the bourgeoisie, ushering in the capitalist epoch. Capitalism is then overthrown by the rise of the proletariat, which ushers in not communism, but the Socialist state. Each previous step is the necessary precondition for the next.  And we now have a Presidential candidate, in Bernie Sanders, who is a professed Socialist, and the younger generation is eating it up!
     So, can you see Alinsky’s theory being set in motion in our recent history?  Think back to the 1960s and specifically, the 1968 Democratic Convention for President.  Also, it has been effectively argued that the political statesmen of this era have, throughout their careers, drawn inspiration from Alinsky and his call for “fundamental change”.  John Fund of the National Review presents an informed argument that both President Obama and Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton were avid students of Alinsky and his methods.
     His siren call, so to speak, to idealistic and impressionable students was “social justice”.  And his approach to obtaining that goal, in the words of the Washington Post, would come to rely on   “generating conflict to mobilize the dispossessed.”  All you have to do is convince any useful group of followers that they are somehow dispossessed or deprived or cheated.  That’s where outside agitators and community organizers become valuable tools of the Alinsky method of disruption.
     Alinsky also argued for moral relativism in fighting the establishment: “In war the end justifies almost any means. . . . The practical revolutionary will understand [that] in action, one does not always enjoy the luxury of a decision that is consistent both with one’s individual conscience and the good of mankind.” You can see that the absence of any universal moral truths will lead to whatever action is necessary to gain a personally desired outcome.
     Alinsky liked to boast that those who have the knowledge of his tactics can often achieve preemptive surrender of local officials, businesses, and political power bases.  He also touted the success of his tactics of intimidation.  His most oft-quoted rule is “Pick the target, freeze it, personalize it, and polarize it. . . . One acts decisively only in the conviction that all the angels are on one side and all the devils on the other.”
      We have seen that tactic used most effectively by this Administrative, in creating racial and social division; and in the ongoing political and legal battles that former Secretary of State Clinton is now undergoing. has been a model student of Alinsky tactics, and we have seen them administered in the recent riots and protests in Ferguson, Cleveland, St. Louis and Chicago.

     And now the rules for radicals are evident in the protests beginning to surround the current political season.  Just this past weekend, a rally for Donald Trump was cancelled, due to the threat of violent protestors.  But the sad fact of the matter is that I’m not sure how many of the protestors actually know the specifics of why they are protesting.  This generation of Facebook and SnapChat aficionados have become useful tools of agitators who will feed into this generation’s desire to participate in drama of any sort.  So when the status quo, or their entitlement, is threatened in any way by a Donald Trump, they are easily convinced they are being deprived of what is rightfully theirs.  That’s where the “pick the target, freeze it, personalize it, and polarize it” tactic becomes most beneficial.   And when a young person doesn’t really know what they stand for, or can’t articulate it, they become manageable tools for suggestion and manipulation.
     Nothing has changed in the Alinsky methods in the 45 years since he wrote his influential Rules and dedicated it to “Lucifer”.  His followers have stuck to his proven tactics … to incite constant struggle and agitation so that the oppressive “system” would eventually be brought to its knees.  The sad fact, as D.L. Adams articulates in his excellent article, Saul Alinsky and the Rise of Amorality in American Politics, is that Alinsky was a nihilist.  That characteristic is defined as “the rejection of all religious and moral principles, often in the belief that life is meaningless; there is found nothing to approve of in the established social order”, therefore it is best to destroy it.  No wonder he dedicated his book to Lucifer; he’s the perfect model of “the Destroyer”.
     But perhaps the saddest element of all this chaos is that in the midst of the promises “to take back”, to “fundamentally change”, and the “virtue of the struggle”, there are no real solutions proffered.  It’s all about the perceived righteousness of the struggle.  In fact, as Adams suggests,  “Struggle” itself is the purpose and goal of the Alinsky way.

“All life is warfare, and it’s the continuing fight against the status quo that revitalizes society, stimulates new values and gives man renewed hope of eventual progress. The struggle itself is the victory.” (Alinsky interview)

     And what is left lying in the ashes of that victory?  Society is further divided; there are severe cracks in our moral foundation; and Alinskyites have to keep coming up with a new “struggle” to keep themselves relevant and maintain their power.  Saul Alinsky promised his followers Utopia, and all we’ve reaped is continued disillusionment and disparagement.  But isn’t that exactly what Lucifer has been offering us since the Garden?  It’s time we quit listening to the promises of a long-dead radical and turn to the hope that individual responsibility and accountability offer.  Morality and ethics may have no value for the “radical” who wants to overturn the institutions of society and save the world, but they are gifts to us from a God who truly desires the best for us.  Isn’t it time we start following His rules?  
Galatians 5:10    “I am confident in the Lord that you will take no other view. The one who is throwing you into confusion, whoever that may be, will have to pay the penalty.”

The Loss Of Critical Thinking and What It Is Costing Us

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     I recently read an excellent article by Daniel Juster, an author and Jewish religious leader.  His topic explored the state of our higher education and this generation’s loss of real critical thinking skills.  Like him, I have often heard that college students of today are among the most educated in history.  But what are they educated in?  If it is how to navigate the latest in electronic devices, or complex technologies, then I would have to agree.  But are those the skills that will make them good citizens of the world, or productive and moral leaders of tomorrow?
     It seems to me that there has been a “dumbing down” of our cultural history.  The cultural knowledge has suffered from a lack of teaching on how, as a nation, we have arrived at who we are.  And the history part of that knowledge is appallingly deficient.  Juster points out that students cannot even find China on a globe. They cannot grasp many important aspects of World War II, and know barely anything about literature. One young graduate was asked if she knew about Martin Luther. She responded by asking, “You mean the civil rights leader?” He opines that the cultural deposit of the West is simply being squandered. Why?
     To begin with, educators like to discuss the differences between Objectivism and Relativism, and throw words like egocentric and sociocentric tendencies around — highfalutin words that, to me, just mask the failure of our education system to teach old-fashioned critical thinking.

     And what exactly is Critical Thinking, and why would the lack of it harm our kids and the future of our nation?  The definition of critical thinking is as follows … the objective analysis and evaluation of an issue in order to form a judgment.  There’s that word objective, which is often disparaged in the halls of our universities.   To be objective is to believe that certain things (such as moral truths), exist independently of human knowledge or perception of them.  In other words, there are truths and values that are definite, unconditional, and unquestionable.
     But in this age of relativism, educators are more likely to teach a doctrine or philosophy that knowledge, truth, and morality exist in relation to culture, society, or historical context, and are not absolute.  What that means is that our kids are convinced that they should not judge any religion, culture, art or philosophy as superior to another.  They are taught a whole new set of values that have a sliding scale of relevance, depending on an individual’s experience.  And depending on the religious, political, and social experience of a university professor, students may be taught a personally biased view of everything from the Founding Fathers as white male oppressors, to the nation of Israel as a colonial power who is oppressing Palestinians.  What is so hypocritical about these positions is that they will be defended as absolute truths, all in the name of relativism.  That reasoning is so contradictory as to be laughable! Do you see the lack of critical thinking?  The lack of any strict analysis or evaluation?
     As an example, feminist leaders of American universities will vote to boycott Israel, when Israel is the only country in the Middle East with full women’s rights! Why? Their anti-colonialism simply blinds them to the women who are so oppressed in the Muslim world.  Furthermore, Christianity is despised as judgmental and restrictive, but Islam is to be embraced and respected!
     There is no effort made to study our cultural history and to discover that, yes, the Founding Fathers were slave owners.  But their writings disclose their desire to eliminate the abusive system.  Further study would reveal that they transcended the limits of their time and moved history toward greater human rights and freedom. It was a long historical process, and one that established this nation and its moral foundation.  Yes, at times it was rocky and ugly, but when carefully analyzed and studied, the bigger picture emerges and one sees a more balanced perspective.  But without the practice of critical thinking, and an established and accepted set of moral values, where does one find the real truth?  Isn’t it then subject to one person’s self-directed and self-monitored thinking?  Do you see that society could soon descend into a morass of confusing standards?
     But perhaps the saddest aspect of it all is that our kids are in danger of being unable to think for themselves and determine a distinction between good and evil.  They are being taught to submit to the herd; that they should not have an opinion that might offend someone else.  What is evil to one person, may be accepted by another, simply because he chooses to see it that way. After all, it’s whatever is relevant to each individual, correct?  But here’s the thing … there IS a definite right and wrong in the world!  Not everything can be relegated to someone’s self-determined set of moral codes (or lack thereof).  We must regain the ability to think for ourselves and to examine and compare our own decisions, and those of our leaders, to a high and uncompromising standard of righteous living.  I know just the place to start ….

Proverbs 1:7           “ The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and instruction. ”

Confusion, Compromise, and Chaos

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     We are in the midst of an aggressive and strife-filled political season.  I think we all agree that there are many issues that will effect the future of not only this nation, but the world.  And the varying views by candidates of both parties deserve careful consideration.
     We have received an earful on the subjects of immigration, the Supreme Court, our economy, national security, etc.  An underlying, yet no less significant topic is the conflict between Christianity and the Islamic faith, as evidenced in the angry and bitter disagreement over fundamental issues of faith.  Whether we realize it or not, these differences foretell a national struggle that is becoming increasingly inevitable.
     It is also starting to become an issue between leading candidates Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton, and could very well become a focal point of this Presidential election.  At the heart of this issue is the question, Can a faithful Muslim be expected to be a good American citizen?  

      There are those who will point out that this question has been asked of every new ethnic group who gained a foothold in the American experience … from the Irish, to the freed slaves, to the Japanese, to Mexicans; the Muslims are just the latest minority to be assimilated into the melting pot that is America.  But is it really that simple?  Because I don’t recall a radicalized faith among those other diverse groups that called for the annihilation of Christians, or “infidels”.
     I guess you could argue that it depends on how fundamental any particular citizen is in his Islamic faith.  I know that there are many Muslims who will say, “I believe in Jesus (Isa). The Koran says he was a true teacher, a great prophet, and a good man.”  In fact, there are many non-Christians who would say the same thing.  But I would like to ask them all (both Muslim and secularists), “How can you say He was a true teacher, yet deny what He taught when He said, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”  And how can you believe that He was a great prophet, yet deny the prophecy He gave about His own death and resurrection?  And I imagine that it might be a tad difficult to believe that He was a good man, and the Son of God, both at the same time.  So, how would a faithful Muslim be able to follow the laws of a nation that are based on the principles taught by Jesus — a teacher, prophet, and man with whom you disagree on His identity as the One True God; on his resurrection; and on His Deity.  Isn’t their a fundamental conflict according to the tenets of your faith?
     In that vein, I would sincerely like someone of the Islamic faith to explain how they reconcile the principles and directives of their faith with compliance to the laws and culture of this nation.  Because I know that the First Pillar of Islam is to sincerely recite the Muslim profession of faith … “There is no god but God (Allah), and Muhammad is his prophet.” This is the basis for a Muslim’s allegiance to Islam, which has social, political, intellectual, philosophical, and spiritual ramifications — just as it does for Christians.
     Can you be a faithful Muslim and a good American if the mullah at your mosque preaches against allegiance to this country; or calls for destruction and devastation against this nation?  Can you be a faithful Muslim and a good American if you believe the Bible is corrupt, and the Constitution is based on its principles?  Can you be a faithful Muslim and a good American if spiritually, you bow down to a different god?  Can you be a faithful Muslim and a good American if you follow the Hadith, a collection of traditions containing sayings of the prophet Muhammad that, with accounts of his daily practice (the Sunna), constitute the major source of guidance for Muslims apart from the Koran?  What do you do when the Hadith is in conflict with American laws?  Which takes priority in your life, and is there really room for compromise?
     Ah, that word compromise …. It seems that the Enemy has found a way to work that into something as incompatible as Islam and Christianity.  And I will let the Rev. Ann Holmes Redding, who graduated from Brown University, earned master’s degrees from two seminaries, and received her Ph.D. in New Testament from Union Theological Seminary in New York City, tell you how she believes you can have it all.
     “In the fall of 2005, a Muslim leader gave a talk at St. Mark’s Cathedral where I worked. I was moved by his prayer. During the spring of 2006, another Muslim leader taught a chanted prayer to God at a cathedral’s inter-faith class.”  She began reciting the prayer daily. She began to study Islam intensely and in March of 2006, she became a Muslim by reciting the shahada — “There is no god but God (Allah), and Muhammad is his prophet.” [The First Pillar of Islam].

     She said, “Coming to Islam was like coming into a family with whom I’d been estranged. We have not only the same God, but the same ancestor with Abraham… I am both Muslim and Christian, just like I’m both an American of African descent and a woman. I’m 100 percent both.”
     And here we encounter another of the Enemy’s lies …. inclusion.  But why should we be surprised by this tactic?  Even the Vatican’s Catechism states, “The plan of salvation also includes those who acknowledge the Creator, in the first place amongst whom are the Muslims; these profess to hold the faith of Abraham, and together with us they adore the one, merciful God, mankind’s judge on the last day.”  If you have picked yourself up off the floor, then consider how the Vatican justifies this position.  They write, “…  Basing itself on Scripture and Tradition, the Council teaches that the Church, a pilgrim now on earth, is necessary for salvation: the one Christ is the mediator and the way of salvation; he is present to us in his body which is the Church… This affirmation is not aimed at those who, through no fault of their own, do not know Christ and his Church [my emphasis]: Those who, through no fault of their own, do not know the Gospel of Christ or his Church, but who nevertheless seek God with a sincere heart, and, moved by grace, try in their actions to do his will as they know it through the dictates of their conscience – those too may achieve eternal salvation.”
     Do you see inclusion here?  According to the Catholic Catechism, Muslims, Jews, Buddhists, etc. will be saved despite their rejection of Jesus Christ as the Savior!  Is it any wonder that there is so much confusion and compromise?  Sadly, there are a number of theologians who find no error in the Rev. Redding’s position.  They say it is all “a matter of interpretation” … she just has a somewhat different definition of what it means to be a Christian.  Really?!?  So, the natural conclusion to that supposition is that a home-grown radical Islamist just has a different interpretation of what it means to be an American, right?
     Other theologians see Rev. Redding as “a bridge” between the faiths, something they say is desperately needed.  But I would ask you to recall the fate of the Old Testament nation of Israel every time it tried to build a bridge with nations who followed after other gods.  One of the most pronounced examples in the Bible is the reign of King Jehoshaphat.  He was certainly a godly man. He sought the Lord and walked in His commandments. He took great pride in the ways of the Lord and removed idols from the land. He sent out teachers to instruct the people in God’s law. When a prophet rebuked him for his wrongful alliance with Ahab, unlike his father, Jehoshaphat accepted it and went on to institute further religious reforms. In chapter 20 we see his heart as the nation is threatened by a vast army, and he calls the people to prayer and fasting. Jehoshaphat’s prayer before the assembly reveals his humble trust in the Lord.
     But King Jehoshaphat was not exempt from the temptation to compromise with the world.  As points out, during his alliance with Ahab, he allowed Ahab to finagle getting his daughter married to Jehoshaphat’s son. The next thing we hear is Jehoshaphat promising the godless Ahab, “I am as you are, and my people as your people, and we will be with you in the battle”! Incredible! It’s as if a boxer has trained for the big fight and his opponent invites him out for dinner and slips poison into his coffee.
     As Christians, we must be on guard against becoming entangled in wrong relationships — wrong political relationships, wrong social/cultural relationships, and wrong spiritual relationships.  Yes, we are to love our fellow man, but “love” that compromises Biblical truth will lead to unhealthy alliances.  We can have mutual respect and treat others with humility and kindness, but never abandon God’s Truth, as we know it and practice it.  And seeking “politically correctness” in a spirit of compromise will only result in concessions to our Biblical principles and a lowering of God’s standards of obedience.
     I began this blog post talking about the divisive issues that face this nation on the eve of a very important election, and what I discern is a growing conflict between faiths that is prophesied in the Bible.  We are living in a time of great confusion, compromise, and chaos.  I believe it is important, now more than ever, to fix our attention on God; to come into submission to Him — in our personal lives, in our public lives, and in the ways we relate to this godless culture, without being conformed to it, or transformed by it.  God wants unity among the peoples of the world, but that unity must be centered on faith in Christ.  If unity comes at the sake of His Truth, then destruction will be inescapable.

Ephesians 2:2   “In which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience—”


Our Youth, The Socialist Message, and The Bible

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     I have wanted to write about this topic for some time now, but I wanted to make sure that I would be Biblically sound in my assertions.  If you are paying attention to the platforms of the political candidates for President, then you are aware that Democratic candidate Bernie Sanders is an unlikely favorite of the young voters, especially those who will be voting for the first time in 2016.
     I say “unlikely”, because unlike the last couple of elections in which “young” and “hip” were the enticements to vote, Mr. Sanders is 74 years old, and doesn’t appear to be technologically savvy, fashionable, possess exciting energy, or any of the other things that would draw young voters like moths to a flame.  Yet, he appears to have become the Millennial Generation’s new champion.  Why?
     I would assert that these young, emerging voters are in love with an idea they think is tailor-made for their generation … Socialism.  Sadly, they do not know the historical significance of what that system has done in the world, nor do they realize how it will actually impact them.  They only know that it promises to unburden them from an alarming financial future.
     It is actually a good thing that college students and young voters are getting engaged in the political process.  We need the next generation to care about how our country is governed.  I know that there are many of my fellow Christians who believe that the political process will not save us from the rightful judgment that is coming upon this nation — and I totally agree with that premise — but until the moment that I see Jesus coming on the clouds, we have to continue to live within this world system, and to abandon all efforts to try and make it as pleasing to God as we can, goes against what I believe God wants from us.
     But all that aside, what is it that Bernie offers the Millennials that has them so excited?  First, of course, there is his promise of a free public college education.  But there other issues that has them flocking to his side:  promises of a $15 minimum wage; equal pay for equal work; health care as a right; promises that he will fix America’s roads and bridges; reverse climate change; expand social security; and eliminate the “too big to fail” boondoggles that have affected the American economy.  All these issues are important to the future of these young voters.  And they all lead to Socialism, which is a word that has no relevance to these Millennials.
     They equate Socialism with compassion and fairness and equality.  As Robert Knight on writes, “For the past several decades, government public schools and nearly all colleges have touted socialism’s principles of redistribution, racialism and class envy, while declining to connect the dots between socialism and tyranny, examples of which abound.”  Bernie Sanders presents a sort of “moral prestige” to Socialism that appeals to the emotions of young voters, who just want to correct the injustices of the generation before them.  We can all identify with that, if we are honest with ourselves.
     But what Bernie does not disclose to these voters is the symbiosis between Socialism and Communism, and the historical facts that cannot be denied … that there has been the extermination of tens of millions of people under socialist regimes such as Stalin in Russia, Mao Zedong in China, and the Khmer Rouge in Cambodia.  It always starts the same way … a promise of redistribution of wealth and resources from the “haves” to the “have nots”, and quickly spirals into loss of personal property, massive taxation, and ultimately coercion, tyranny, and death to millions to support “the State”.  Because, we all know, that there is no way that the State can afford to provide for all those people, and so they must be eliminated.
     Sadly, Socialism even perverts the Biblical notion of charity.  It takes the Scripture presented in Acts, Chapters 2-5, and turns it into a twisted rationale for empowering the State.   It distorts the teaching of Acts to suggest that early Believers sold all their property and possessions and shared it with everyone, especially those in need.  There are those Socialists who will insist that this is a clear indication that the Bible advocates for redistribution of wealth.  It does not!
     A more careful examination of Scripture (and in context of the entire passage) notes that the believers continued to live and meet in their own homes, while engaging in periodic acts of charity as the needs arose.  So they clearly did not sell all their property or possessions.   In fact, Acts 4:34-35 says, From time to time, those who owned land or houses sold them, brought the money from the sales and put it at the apostles’ feet, which implies to me that the charity was voluntary, and they were generous with what they owned, donating when they could, out of the largesse of their households.
     I found an interesting article on a website called Institute For Faith Works & Economics, which pointed out that ” this early sharing was voluntary, without state coercion, and did not necessitate that believers give up their rights to private property … While this type of generous giving is a permanent norm, the particular situation in Acts 2-4 seems to have been a temporary response to a particular need [or situation].”
     I can understand the temptation that Socialism presents to this younger generation.  They are facing a dismal economic future.  Let’s face it, the world is facing a dismal economic future.  And the danger is that Socialism is an old idea being touted as a new solution.  These young voters will not look to the distant past to see how Socialism leads to Communism, nor will they see the implications that are outlined by Robert Knight in his excellent article:  “In recent years, soft totalitarianism (confiscatory taxation and effective seizure of the media and private companies) has characterized socialist-led regimes in South America such as Venezuela, Argentina and Brazil, where once-vibrant economies are floundering. In Europe, “democratic socialism” has weakened many nations, leaving them open to an invasion by millions of Muslim immigrants, some of whom openly advocate turning the former center of Christendom into a trophy of the Caliphate.”
     Our youth is blinded by a natural, and very real, fear for their future.  And they are attracted to the empty promises of hope, financial aid, and a fair and equitable “system”.  But it is the same old temptation of the Enemy, and I’m afraid that this time it will usher in the Biblical End Times “Beast System”.  We must pray for the wisdom to impart to our children and grandchildren; to speak God’s Truth into their lives.  It is the only thing that will overcome the world’s lies and deception.

2 Corinthians 8:13-14    “For I do not mean that others should be eased and you burdened, but that as a matter of fairness your abundance at the present time should supply their need, so that their abundance may supply your need, that there may be fairness.”


Our Complicity With Evil

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     I often work alongside my husband in his studio, taking care of our business needs and tying up loose ends that come with being self-employed.  He has the luxury of being able to listen to podcasts while he works, and I am amazed at the God-fearing men and women who commit their time and talent to bringing new revelations from our Lord to “those who have ears to hear”.
     Just the other day I heard Russ Dizdar of SHATTER THE referring to a popular radio host and author of a few years back, Stan Monteith.  A retired orthopedic surgeon, Dr. Monteith was kind of a precursor to those of us who speak out against the popular consensus of the day.  Many of the issues that Monteith addressed had to do with globalization and the New World Order.  He was also highly active in warning people about the dangers of fluoride.
     But the significance of Dizdar’s mention of Monteith had to do with a statement that the late radio host quoted from an unknown author … “We become accomplices to those evils we fail to expose.”  Now, normally, I am usually in my own little world as I work in the studio, and the podcasts that my husband listens to are often background noise; I drift in and out of awareness of what is being said.  But I heard that quote loud and clear, and it was like the Holy Spirit used a loud speaker to shout it into my brain …  “We become accomplices to those evils we fail to expose.”
     My spirit was struck as if I had been physically knocked down.  It was all so clear.  We have been accomplices in all the sins of our culture and society!  How many of us inherently know that human trafficking is rampant in our country?  How many times have we watched the nightly news (especially here in Texas and the other border states) and viewed reports of the young women and children who are smuggled into this country to be unwilling participants in the sex trade?  We drive along our freeways and see the neon signs for sleazy strip clubs, but we look away, or we avoid thinking about who is forced to work there, and who is supporting such immoral behavior.

     We watch the suggestive advertising on TV which uses young girls and boys to sell merchandise, and we ignore the fact that there is an ugly underbelly that sells them to the highest bidder, or that there are tens of thousands (or more) of children who are exploited by child pornography rings.
     We turn our heads whenever our leaders are involved in sex scandals, unscrupulous business dealings, or cover-ups of illegal activities.  Our Christian brethren are forced out of business because they stand for Biblical principals.  Our military veterans are refused benefits or care because of misappropriation of funds or downright neglect.  We see the bruises and silent screams of the abused, yet we turn a blind eye and don’t want to get involved.  Votes come before our legislatures to stop the funding of abortion factories, and we sit quietly on the sidelines, hoping they will do the right thing.  We remain tight-lipped when we know that our neighbors are cheating on their spouses … that is their business.  We send our kids off to college with permission to take birth control, and we hope for the best.  And when they come home spouting anti-God rhetoric, we have no answers for them.  It just all seems so overwhelming … and need I say more?
     But why do we stay quiet?  Most likely because we feel that nothing we do will change anything.  Or it will just end up in an argument, and that gets you nowhere.  But can we see that by doing nothing … by saying nothing … and by taking no action, that we are actually accomplices in allowing these sins to continue?  If we fail to expose them; if we fail to shine His Light into the Darkness, then whose side are we on?  Who are we allied with?  I guess we really do need to ask the question, “Will it make any difference”?  At the stage that the world is in now, and with the power that the Prince of this world now enjoys, the answer is “Maybe not.”
      But I recognize this … I do not want to stand before my Lord and tell Him I was aware of all this and I never asked, in His Name, for His power to come against this evil; or that I never spoke up for someone, in His Name; or I never stood in defiance against the darkness of this world.  If we refuse to condemn Evil, then by our very silence, we are accepting and allowing sinful behavior to continue.  And one day we will be held accountable for our complicity.  No more excuses ….

Habakkuk 1:13   “You who are of purer eyes than to see evil and cannot look at wrong, why do you idly look at traitors and remain silent when the wicked swallows up the man more righteous than he?”

Where Is Our Common Sense?

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     First of all, what is common sense?  We hear it talked about from the political stage quite often … “common sense gun control”, for instance.  How do those two terms even exist in the same sentence?
     And where is the common sense in the claim that Dalia Mogahed, formerly Barack Obama’s adviser on Muslim affairs, made on The Daily Show, that wearing the hijab represented nothing more or less than the “privatization of women’s sexuality”.  She insinuated that anyone who objected to this external symbolism of the Islamic faith are “those who want to objectify women as sexual commodities”.
     And where is the common sense in Planned Parenthood’s lawsuit against the Center for Medical Progress’s (CMP) videos exposing their selling aborted baby body parts for profit?  If the allegations are false, why not sue for slander or libel?  Why is the lawsuit based on claiming that the recordings were obtained in violation of applicable State and Federal privacy laws?  Does that sound like common sense to you?

     But, again, I need to define what “common sense” means to me.  On a simple basis, I suppose I would define it as “a good or obvious cause to do something”; a logical, or practical reason to believe something or to act on something.  But perhaps the best definition comes from Harriett Beecher Stowe, the American abolitionist and author:  “Common sense is seeing things as they are; and doing things as they ought to be.”  Easier said than done in this society, where there appears to be no absolute truth — we just manipulate and control matters to fit our own personal prejudices, and that’s “our truth”.
     Take for instance, the gun control issue.  Does it make sense to call for more background checks or a ban on large magazines and the politically counterfeit term “assault” weapons … when none of those laws have, or ever will, keep the bad guys from committing crimes or acts of terror?  And there is no sense in the argument that “How can you say you’re pro-life and then own guns or join the NRA?” As Timothy Buchanan, wrote on, “It’s quite simple. Because Christians realize that God makes a clear distinction between the spilling of innocent blood and killing in defense of one’s own life. Therefore, it is precisely because we value life that we are willing to take lawful and responsible steps to defend it.”
     And here is where Buchanan, a former member of the U.S. Navy, applied his common sense … While working for the Virginia State Police, he saw that campus police and troopers were powerless to stop the Virginia Tech murders because the shooter had chained and locked the doors to the building he was in from the inside. Even if they could have gotten the doors open a few inches, most police officers do not carry bolt-cutters with them, and the hinges of the doors are also on the inside. But what shocked him was that when the shooter was reloading one of his guns, the students simply cowered in a corner waiting to die. Unlike the heroic men on the plane that was heading toward Washington on September 11, 2001, no one stood up and said, “Let’s roll,” and tried to rush the shooter.  They just cowered in a corner and waited to be killed.  
     So, I ask, is there any good, or logical, or practical reason to limit the ability for any one of those victims to defend themselves in that scenario?  Does more gun control make common sense now?  And the same scrutiny can be applied to the common sense arguments for the wearing of the hijab and the Planned Parenthood lawsuit.  There can be no basis to the argument that Westerners are insensitive to the Islamic tradition of the hijab because of their overt sexualization of women, while there is a refusal to shine a light on the persecution and death to women in the Middle East who refuse to wear the headscarf.  Jihad Watch reports that as far back as 2007, jihadists killed 40 women in Iraq for “un-Islamic behavior” (translation: they were not wearing the hijab).  And there are more cases of such murder and mistreatment of women that are never talked about.  And yet we are expected to agree that it makes sense that Westerners just want to “objectify” women?
     And it’s supposed to seem logical and make sense to us that Planned Parenthood should sue CMP not because they deny that they sold (and continue to sell) baby parts, but because PP just objects to how CMP went about proving that fact.  So, therefore, they have a right to sue for damages.  Never mind the fact that they are scared to death they will be defunded by Congress, and their donations are drying up, and they need to win this lawsuit to refill their coffers.  Never mind all that — this is just the logical next step and makes perfect sense.
     Bottom line… I’m afraid that we might have lost our ability to reason and see through the false arguments and the subterfuge and the distractions in order to clearly see the truth of any matter.  Do we really spend time doing our own critical thinking?  Or do we simply embrace whatever persuasive argument that appeals to our emotions, or is represented by a cultural icon or celebrity?  Whose standard do we apply to determine our position on any given topic?  Are there incontrovertible principles by which we judge another’s argument or reasoning?   Have you developed your own standards; or do you follow whatever is popular in the culture that day?
     Let’s face it.  As we have abandoned God’s principles to listen to the lies of Satan, we have suffered a decline in every aspect of our lives.  Our moral base has disintegrated; and we have lost our common sense.  Our ability to reason according to God’s guidelines has been replaced with whatever furthers our personal agenda… whether it be gun control, sharia law, or abortion.  So what is your common sense telling you right now?  Mine says there is no safe haven but God.  He is the only standard by which I want to live my life, and I must abide in Him to stand against the threats headed my way.  Anything else is false and destructive.

1 John 5:20    “And we know that the Son of God has come and has given us understanding, so that we may know Him who is true; and we are in Him who is true, in his Son Jesus Christ. He is the true God and eternal life.”

“Freedom From The Dark Side”

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     There are times we have great reason to celebrate that Freedom still resonates within the crumbling facade of America; that people can still champion righteous causes in the Name of God and Freedom.  Today, I want to introduce you to some of those champions.   
     But first, let me give you a little background … There has been a faithful remnant within our nation that recognizes that our culture has changed, and not for the better.
     We recognize that over the past several decades, that our foundational Constitutional roots and freedoms have been unraveling and disappearing.  We recognize that there needs to be a new dawning of those rights; a re-establishment of God at the center of this nation and its government.  

     When the Constitutional Convention came to an impasse in Philadelphia in June of 1787, Benjamin Franklin proclaimed, “We have been assured, Sir, in the sacred writings that ‘except the Lord build the house, they labor in vain that build it’”. The impasse was broken by prayer, and the Constitution was completed.
     On that basis, a group of faithful women met in Washington, D.C., in 2012, to strategize a way to change the culture, which resulted in the American Prayer Initiative, designed to help draw “we the people” of this nation back to the One upon whom she was founded ~ asking for His aid in the re-building of our land on the Biblically-based principles established by our Founders.  
     The first of our champions is the organization that resulted from those strategy sessions, The American Prayer Initiative, a call for this nation to join together to pray, specifically, each day for the needs of this nation.  The second of our champions, is the publication, The Washington Times, for printing a special feature in their newspaper on the power of prayer.  The following article was  written by David Kupelian, managing editor of World Net Daily, and it appeared in that Washington Times section, and I would like to share it with you, in its entirety:

     There’s no greater or more famous prayer than the Lord’s Prayer. Ironically, theaters throughout Britain recently banned an “advert” featuring the Lord’s Prayer, intended to run just before the new “Star Wars” movie. Apparently it’s politically correct for a fantasy “force” to be “with us” – but not the Real One.
     In any event, even though most readers have probably recited it thousands of times, let’s look at the “Lord’s Prayer” with fresh eyes.
     Jesus, when he taught this prayer 2,000 years ago, first laid down a couple of ground rules: “Use not vain repetitions, as the heathen do, for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking.” Besides, he added, “your Father knoweth what things ye have need of, before ye ask him.” That said, Jesus gifted to mankind this short (only 66 words) — but perfect — way to commune with the Creator of the universe:
Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name.
Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.
And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever. Amen. (Matthew 6:9-13 KJV)
     So let’s look at it: First, Jesus exhorts us to honor God and humble our will before His, and to seek His continued sustenance. (No problem, we think.)
     Later we’re told to ask for God’s protection as we acknowledge His supremacy in all things. (Great, that makes perfect sense too, we think.)
     But in between those two parts comes one line that delivers an essential, life-changing commandment, the beating heart of the Lord’s Prayer, and the fulcrum of change in our lives, the place where miraculous things happen to us – or don’t, if we don’t heed it:  And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.
     So crucial is this line that, immediately following the prayer, Jesus reinforces the forgiveness requirement in the starkest terms imaginable, to make sure nobody misses it:  For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you; But if ye forgive not men their tres- passes, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses. (Matthew 6:14-15 KJV).  Now that gets my attention.
     Forgiveness requires that we let go of resentment and bitterness at injustices, disappointments and betrayals, and even, as Christ said, that we love our enemies and pray for those who persecute us. The big problem we have with this is that anger – whether subtle irritation or full-blown, out-of-control rage – is what sustains our prideful, sinful nature, which literally feeds on resentment and hostility while providing us an illusion of righteousness. Thus, fasting from the “meal” of resentment and truly forgiving those who have “trespassed against us” requires repentance on our part.
     And where is repentance to be found? I love this short but transcendently meaningful explanation by John the Apostle: “Here is the message we heard from him [Jesus] and pass on to you: that God is light, and in Him there is no darkness at all. If we claim to be sharing in His life while we walk in the dark, our words and our lives are a lie; but if we walk in the light as He Himself is in the light, then we share together a common life, and we are being cleansed from every sin by the blood of Jesus his Son.” (1 John 1:5-7 NEB)
     John mentions here no complicated dogma, no required religious observances, rituals, pilgrimages, or special diet. Just a sincere appreciation of God’s forgiveness and this glistening instruction: If we “walk in the light, as He Himself is in the light” – that is, if we calmly and humbly welcome God’s light of understanding to shine in our minds and souls, by which light we will observe our dark, angry, sinful nature – He will grace us with repentance. And “then,” assures John, “we share together a common life, and we are being cleansed from every sin by the blood of Jesus, His Son.”
     Again, living “in the light” – not losing ourselves in worry over the past, or anxiety and fear over the future, but staying faithful in the present moment, in the presence of God – involves facing our own vexing imperfections and faults, without condemning ourselves, or covering up the sin, or struggling with it to fix it, but just patiently waiting on God for help. When we do that, we are, in that very moment, being transformed, redeemed, graced to “share together a common life” with God.
     As you can see, Freedom comes in more than one package… there is the freedom guaranteed by our Constitution, and the freedom we receive from forgiveness.  The legal and moral freedoms of this nation just happen to be intertwined with the freedoms provided by our God.  If we would live out the Lord’s Prayer, we could change the culture in this country; we could truly live “in the land of the free”, and enjoy the nation that God built.  Until then we “labor in vain”.  

Acts 17:30    “The times of ignorance God overlooked, but now he commands all people everywhere to repent,”

Our Nation Is In Danger

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     It seems that most of the people I know sense that 2016 is going to be a watershed year; a turning point towards massive change.  The question is… will it be a change that will better our lives, or changes that finally drive us over the cliff?

Graham on his “Decision America 2016” tour

     I must say that I have to agree with the sentiments that I am hearing from Franklin Graham, the 63-year-old son of Billy Graham, the most renowned Christian evangelical preacher of the last seven decades.  As Graham says, we all instinctively know that our country is “in big-time trouble”.  He says, “We’re in trouble spiritually. We’re in trouble economically. We’re in trouble racially.”  Who can deny that?  Even if you are an American who agrees with our cultural swing towards abortion, same-sex marriage, and transgenderism, you cannot deny that the racial divide in this country is snowballing and the job prospects for the next generation(s) are not looking good.  As a nation, we are becoming fractured and are in danger of splitting beyond repair.
     Unfortunately, the answer to our troubles will not be found in politics, and specifically in neither major political party.  We have a spiritual problem, whether anyone wants to admit it or not.  In fact, just as Graham expressed at a recent rally, “The moral and political walls of our country are crumbling… Our educators and our politicians and our churches seem, many times, to be more concerned about political correctness than God’s Truth and Righteousness.”
     Graham points to Godlessness as the culprit.  He points out that our nation was built on Biblical principles, and we have strayed from them — and he especially identifies the time period after WW II and the successful battle to defeat the threat of Communism.  But I believe the spirit of Godlessness began far earlier than that.  And if you ask my husband, he will tell you that he believes that from the beginning, the Founders didn’t do enough to establish this as a God-fearing nation; allowing Freemasonry to co-exist alongside Christian values in shaping the foundation and direction of our country.
     This is a different topic for a different day — actually tomorrow, I will attempt to examine this paradox further.  But let me just wrap up this point by saying my personal view is that God intended for this nation to be dedicated to Him; and those who first settled here believed that they were doing so as part of a covenantal relationship with God, and with clear intentions to glorify Him in the advancement of the Christian faith.  The fact that it quickly got off track does not negate the original plan.  But more on that tomorrow… back to the appropriateness of Franklin Graham’s call to action.
     He asserts that it is time Christians get in the game; to run for office, to vote, to pray for our country, and to get involved in our education system, and every avenue of society.  “Our job as Christians is to make the impact of Christ felt in every phase of life—religious, social, economic, and political,” Graham continued.  I agree!  Where are the Christians who are willing to declare and live their faith as mayors, city council members, county commissioners, judges, school board presidents?
     In fact, in an attempt to overcome the growing secular mindset of this nation, Graham has gone so far as to prevail upon all Americans to take a pledge honoring God at home (by living biblical principles through marriage), in public (by standing for biblical principles and serving those in need), and with their vote (by supporting candidates who uphold biblical principles).  He also asks Christian Americans to pray fervently and faithfully for America, agreeing to register to vote and to prayerfully consider running for office.
     While I agree that if every Christian in America was faithful to fulfill all the aspects of this pledge, we would begin to see a difference in the cultural and political spheres of our nation, I believe that our commission from the Lord goes beyond these measures.
     At a recent discussion in the awesome Ladies Bible Study that I attend, the subject came up of discipling Christians; that, as the Church, we Christians don’t do enough to guide and counsel new members of the faith in the way of Godly living — which, I think we would all agree, would greatly strengthen the Church.  But I would to add to that my fervent belief that we need to not only educate, encourage, and strengthen the Church; but we need to introduce those outside the Church  — those “of the world” — about Godly living and their need for a Savior.  THAT is how we change and revive our nation!  I contend that it is precisely because we Christians have tended to concentrate our efforts inside the four walls of the Church that our nation and the world has gotten into such a big mess.
     My husband and I have been meeting and talking with several people in our home who are like-minded about the state of the world, and have expressed their innate sense that they need to get right with God in the midst of this chaos.  But they would never have been comfortable in approaching a church; nor would the church have had any viable way of coming into contact with them… the two groups were on isolated and parallel paths, and were never going to intersect.
     If we are going to truly avert the dangerous course this nation is set upon, we Christians must engage with the world.  We must leave our comfort zones and “church bubbles”, as a good friend of mine describes it, and be bold in sharing our faith in every circumstance and to every person, in order to attract those who “sitting the fence” and who are capable of making a decision for God.  We all know that there are those who have committed their lives to evil or whose spirit is just dead within them; they have no desire for God.
     But I promise you there are millions who long for Him, but just don’t know how to go about it, or who feel they might be embarrassed in a “formal” Church setting, so they never pursue it on their own.  It is up to us to pursue them!  We are all spirit beings, and as we grow closer in our spirits to the Lord, we will be able to discern those whose spirits are in need of Him, and we will be drawn to them.  Just think … if every Christian made it his pledge to God to seek after one lost sheep to bring them into the fold … can you envision how that would begin to change this nation?
     So, I applaud Franklin Graham for his efforts to wake up America to our shared plight.  Our fall cannot be fixed politically or by political correctness.  BUT, we can begin to turn towards God and blaze a new trail of American commitment to our Creator.  It’s time we take that path … we MUST take that path… before it is too late!  C’mon, Christians … get in the fight, because we are in a battle for our nation and the eternal lives of millions!

Isaiah 6:8      And I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?” Then I said, “Here am I! Send me.”


The “War on Christmas”: The Truth, The Reality, & The Confusion

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     It certainly seems to me that with each passing year, the “war on Christmas” gains steam and the religious and spiritual sense of Christmas diminishes a little more.  Actually, in our early history as a nation, Christmas was celebrated in a far less extravagant manner than it is today… some people might choose to go to a church service, but more often than not, it was an understated family affair, and the idea of piles of gifts under a Christmas tree was more the result of some smart marketing, than any Biblical significance.

      It was actually the upper classes who had the money and time to create specific holiday traditions that caught the idea of entrepreneurs and canny businessmen.  Clement Clarke Moore’s poem, “A Visit from St. Nicholas,” written for his family’s entertainment in 1823, was soon endlessly reprinted each season in newspapers. In the years after the Civil War, Thomas Nast created a full narrative (and image) of the life of Santa Clause through his vivid engravings for Harper’s Weekly magazine.  In 1870, when Godey’s Lady’s Book, the most widely read magazine in the nation at the time, published an image of a family gathered around a small tree set atop a table, the idea of a Christmas tree soared in popularity, and a new industry was born.
     It wasn’t long before F.W. Woolworth — who had already pioneered a successful business model based on fixed prices and 10 cent inventory — quickly saw the commercial possibilities in importing Christmas ornaments from Germany where, he reported, they were “made by the very poorest class.” It’s not hard to see that this romantic sentimentalism, combined with the advent of Christmas lights, Christmas cards, and an unlimited supply of creative Christmas decorations, contributed to many vibrant commercial opportunities.
     Today we have seen the huge success of these opportunities in our new tradition of Black Friday, one of the busiest shopping days of the entire retail industry.  In fact, in recent years, it has contributed greatly to the success or failure of our domestic economy.  Sadly, it is this very Christmas “market” and the consumer economy it sustains that has come to embody “the spirit of Christmas.”  So much so, in fact, that political movements like Black Lives Matter think that by disrupting Christmas shopping at the Mall of America in Minnesota, they can gain more traction for their social crusade.  (Little do they know, that they are just pawns of the behind-the-scenes players whose goal is to cause disorder and havoc for their own benefit — but, I digress).

     I actually found it interesting to peruse an atheist website to get their take on the growing friction over the Christmas holiday.  Consider this comment by one such unbeliever when posed with the question, Why has Christmas become less “secular” in the last decade or two?  Here is his answer:  “Of course all of us atheists are fully aware that Christmas is a secularized holiday, but it seems that the culture at large has now resorted to this idea that it’s specifically “Christian” and therefore inappropriate in public contexts, even when it’s just the secular elements being involved. You have stories like this councilwoman, who resigns because tree lighting is renamed to add the word “Christmas”, and the university diversity office condemns holding Christmas parties because they are non-inclusive, and so on.
   This has the effect of turning any mention of “Christmas” into a religious or political statement… I love Christmas, and I don’t want to be associated with Christianity or the right-wing just because I happen to refer to the holiday itself.  Europe doesn’t seem to have this problem… why do we?  Is it because of PC attitudes, or because of the right-wing?”
     Don’t you find it hilarious, that atheists actually hate the non-religious people in the public arena complaining about possible religious ties to Christmas, because they think it actually calls more attention to the religious connotations of the holiday?  What they are really saying is, “when you make an issue of Christmas displays and greetings being too religious, then you are ruining it for me, because I actually like Christmas, and now I’m somehow politically aligned with right-wing Christian nuts!”
     Another atheist commentator felt he needed to make sure everyone was aware that, in the past, Christmas was this thing everyone celebrated, but it was always a Christian holiday.  But, now that we have become more … ahem, enlightened … we realize that it’s not OK to ignore all the other religions in our diverse population, and it’s time the Christians get over claiming the holiday for themselves.  He, of course, is in favor of the all-inclusive “Happy Holidays” because it incorporates all the minority religious holidays.
     He goes on to say, “In all this, of course, the true meaning of Christmas has been lost. The reason for the season is obviously commercialism. Christmas is your cue to go out and buy! You used to get big corporate-sponsored Christmas decorations and pageants and such. Originally, this was inoffensive because non-Christians just shut up about it and enjoyed the Christian holiday, but now the Christmas (or Christian) stuff is done at the risk of alienating a significant part of the consumer base… Is there a War on Christmas from the left? Not really. It’s just general social progress, resisted by the Culture Warriors.”  For the life of me, I’m not sure how or why we Christians are now referred to as the “Culture Warriors”.  Doesn’t make sense to me … but then again, very little in this world makes sense to me anymore.
     So, there you have it.  We Christians, who are being marginalized in what the rest of society likes to call “social progress”, are just supposed to accept that we no longer have proprietary or exclusive rights to Christmas.  Granted, I see very little of the Bible in our commercialization of Christmas; but any attempt to remove Christ from the public forum offends me — even if I do have some issues with what we Christians celebrate as the “true meaning of Christmas.”  But, you’ll have to wait until tomorrow to see my perspective on that loaded statement.  Until then, let us agree on the cause for celebration on any day of the year … that God so loved us that He sent His only begotten Son to die for us.

Thanks to the websites, Bloomberg View and Reddit, for their contributions to the history of the commercialization of Christmas and the atheist viewpoint of this religious holiday.

John 1:9    “There it was—the true Light [the genuine, perfect, steadfast Light] which, coming into the world, enlightens everyone.”


The President of Hollywood

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     Sometimes there is an advantage to being connected to social media, because I think we all know that if you are paying attention, the Enemy is giving us plenty of clues as to how he operates.  So, that’s why I am grateful to a young friend of mine who pointed me to a short YouTube video that she came across in her daily examination of the online culture.
     It’s a quick little cartoon featuring the long-time cartoon characters Tom and Jerry.  In this little snippet, we see the cartoon cat and his mouse buddy auditioning for a TV show.  But the short, one minute video reveals a forbidding, though not surprising, truth… our title characters are allowed to see who the President of Hollywood is, and it is none other than Satan.  What is interesting is that the TV executives interviewing Tom and Jerry receive a phone call from the Hollywood President … not from a regular phone on their desk, but from a pyramid-shaped instrument with the all-seeing eye that summons the demonic overlord of Hollywood.
     When he is summoned, he swirls around in a serpent-like pattern until he manifests into a simpler cartoon version of Chernabog, the Satanic Disney character from Fantasia that I referred to in this blog post.  There is also a longer version of the video (nearly 4 minutes), in which we are allowed to see just how the President of Hollywood uses his Illuminati underlings to maintain control of the entertainment industry.  When Tom and Jerry beat up the TV exec after realizing the contract they have signed is unethical and immoral, the stunned exec announces that maybe it’s time to start developing moral, family-style entertainment — at which point the Illuminati administrators destroy him and offer the prestige of the position, and the perks of beautiful women, to a more easily manipulated schmuck.
      I know this won’t surprise you; anyone with any kind of discernment can see that the entertainment industry is serving the prince of this world.  And if you are disinclined to receive the hints of a cartoon, then it should be plain to you in the recent vitriolic display coming from Hollywood director Quentin Tarantino.  In his poisonous anti-cop rants, I wonder if Tarantino is not doing the bidding of his Illuminati handlers.  Because you see, it is not just that Satan’s servants wish to control the entertainment industry; I believe they see it as a vehicle to bring about the complete destruction of our culture, society, and yes, even our country.

     Do you not find it interesting that Tarantino’s sudden appearance on the culture stage, is aligned with the Black Lives Matter movement and its subordinate element, RiseUpOctober?  Would it surprise you to know that one event at which Tarantino was invited to voice his angry criticism of police was one organized by Carl Dix, one of the founding members of the Revolutionary Communist Party, a group that has held anti-police events in October for nearly two decades, and that openly advocates for an armed overthrow of the United States of America?  Do you think it is coincidental that these two have suddenly teamed up (seemingly out of nowhere) to promote an agenda caused to wreak havoc in our society?
     So what does all this mean?  Can we believe the not-so-subtle message of a cartoon video?  Should we take seriously the active participation of Hollywood in the conjuring of social discord and conflict?  Is Communism still a major threat to this country, and are we still suffering from an “anti-McCarthyism” backlash from the 1950’s?  Is that why the media and politicians are hesitant to point out the connections between Mr. Dix and Revolutionary Communist Party chairman, Bob Avakian?
     It’s all right there for the discerning and wise to see…  From the clever cartoon, to the schemes and conspiracies of duped filmmakers and revolutionaries.  They are all convenient tools for the devil to accomplish his goal of world domination.  But he is missing one little subplot from Tom and Jerry… that pyramid with the all-seeing eye that summoned the President of Hollywood is a false idol.  There is only One Being that is All-Knowing and All-Seeing, and the machinations of the Evil one cannot destroy God’s Sovereignty or His Will.  Let them think that they are carrying out their sneaky little plan.  We already know the outcome, and the Day of the Lord is at hand.

Hebrews 4:13    “And no creature is hidden from His sight, but all are naked and exposed to the eyes of Him to whom we must give account.”

Sexual Liberty vs Religious Liberty

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      Today is a momentous day in Houston, Texas.  It looks as if the fourth largest city in the country is going to be “Ground Zero” in the non-discrimination wars between the religious faithful and the cultural liberals.  Today, the good citizens of Houston go to the polls to vote.  And a diverse coalition of pastors in the Houston area have joined forces to try to defeat an ordinance proposed by Houston’s lesbian mayor, who seeks to protect people from discrimination based on characteristics such as sex, race, age, marital status, sexual orientation and gender identity.  

     All that sounds good; no one should endorse discrimination — especially Christians, right?  But you have to look beyond the surface language to discern the deeper implications of such a law.  True, the proposed law would make it illegal to be biased or prejudiced against anyone based on those characteristics.  It is a law designed to protect gay and transgender people.  But what about protecting the religious beliefs of Christians?    

     On the surface, many people see it as the “bathroom issue”… business owners oppose the ordinance because of its language on gender identity. It would permit men and women to use whatever public bathroom they choose.  As one business owner explained, “[The law] imposes criminal fines and penalties on me, the business owner, if I don’t allow a person of one gender to go into the other person’s bathroom.”  Would you want your adolescent daughter to be forced to share a public bathroom with a man who “identifies” as a woman?  
     The proposed ordinance is already affecting the practices of many businesses in the Houston area. Photographers and bakers know they are at risk of violating the law, and suffering the legal consequences, should they not want to bake a wedding cake or take wedding photos, based on their religious beliefs.  So, many are altering their business model and vacating the wedding market.  
     It’s important to remember that in May 2014, the Houston City Council originally approved the ordinance.  A coalition of evangelical pastors then organized a signature drive to place the measure on the ballot. After the mayor rejected their signatures, the pastors sued the city, prompting the mayor to subpoena five pastors’ sermons.  We know the underlying threat there… the loss of their 501(c)3 status.  The Texas Supreme Court eventually sided with the pastors and agreed to put the issue before the voters.  I’m sure you would not be surprised to know that national and local LGBT activists have raised close to $3 million to persuade voters to approve the ordinance.  And they say there is no political agenda….
     But, for once, the Faithful who still adhere to Biblical primacy are standing their ground.  And it is not just white, protestant evangelicals that oppose the ordinance.  Pastor Hernan Castaño is the director of Hispanic church development for the Houston Area Pastors Council. He is also the Houston director of the Rivers of Oil Bible Institute, and the founding pastor of the Iglesias Rios De Aceite located in Houston.  Castaño was born in Columbia and migrated with his parents to America when he was five months old.  He feels that history is repeating itself for him and his congregation, many of whom immigrated from countries known for oppressive regimes.  “The dream of coming to America, of being an American citizen and having a business and the freedom to make your choices, of religious freedom — it’s truly in danger,” he said.  “And people see this as a repetition of what happened in their countries, when it all started, and they are concerned and they’re praying.”
     The baker and the photographer have the same concerns.  Baker Jesus Guerrero manages a Houston bakery and said the proposed ordinance would collide with his Christian beliefs.  “If we don’t feel comfortable doing something, we shouldn’t be forced to make a wedding cake … I want to have my freedom of choice to do what is Biblical and that is eroding away.”
     Historically, Houston’s registered voters don’t turn out to vote on local issues, but the stakes surrounding this one may just change their minds.  So it will be interesting to see what happens at the polls today, and if Houston will remain the last major city in the country without a non-discrimination law.  The LGBT agenda has been successful in passing over 200 such ordinances across the country — providing protection for sexual minorities, while quietly stripping away protections for people of faith.  One thing is for certain; Houston is a battleground and “Ground Zero” for the fight between sexual liberty and religious liberty.  May God’s Will be done!
Galatians 5:1   “For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery.”

The Righteousness of Hunting

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     OK, the subject matter of today’s blog may seem a little off-topic for me, but hang in there, because I have something I want to say.  Last night, I overhead a conversation between my husband and our good friend, Chris, who lives in Montana.  For years, these two renaissance men have shared many conversations about their love of traditional bow-hunting and their respect for the animals they have hunted.  Neither are “trophy hunters”, and enjoy the rich heritage that hunting with a bow affords them.
     But their latest discussion centered around their distaste for what the “sport” of hunting has become.  In years past, Chris and his wife, Darcy, have enjoyed hunting deer and elk during the Montana winters, and are bringing up my Godson, Hunter, in the traditional ways to harvest meat.  But just as our culture has abandoned established and time-honored traditions, we are seeing the same thing in hunting, too.

     It seems that the bane of traditional hunters has been the move by social media and “star quality” hunting shows to brand themselves as superstar hunting experts.  The drive to sell products, develop a product line, and create a following is ruining the art of hunting.  Just like social media and the internet has contributed to the downfall of our culture and our kids, it has also taken its toll on the intimacy and spiritual side of hunting.  What was once a sacred and solo endeavor in the woods, has now become a product-driven, success-driven, and trophy-driven business.
     Both my husband and Chris lament how difficult it is to hunt these days; especially for Chris who has much more access to big game in Montana, than we do here in Texas.  Not only do we have the ridiculous chatter of PETA degrading the practice of hunting, but this has led to an onslaught of “photo” hunters tromping through the woods and spoiling the natural environment that is necessary for a successful hunt.  Add to that film crews for the latest “hunting show”, and the original purpose for hunting is out the window.  GoPros and selfies don’t belong in the woods!  The use of them to announce to the Facebook crowd that you’re a “big-time hunter” is not only undignified, but demeans the legitimate killing of an animal.
     I say “legitimate” because God actually condones hunting animals in the Bible.  First of all, in Genesis, the very first book of the Bible, God gives man dominion over animals, birds, and fish.  All live in harmony on the earth, until Adam and Eve are disobedient and cast out of the Garden.  But guess what God did?  Applying His grace to their naked state, He sacrificed an animal for its hide and clothed them.  Until you get to Chapter 9 in Genesis, both man and animals were vegetarians, with God providing plants to feed them both.  Then after the Flood, God gives Noah and his family permission to eat of the animals that survived on the ark.  And who doesn’t recall the Patriarch Isaac requesting that his son Esau “go out to the field and hunt game for me, and prepare for me delicious food, such as I love, and bring it to me so that I may eat”.
     So, it is very clear to me that hunting is a righteous and honorable tradition among men.  But, I am also aware that man can corrupt anything he lays his hands on.  I have read far too many articles, and heard too many stories, of unprincipled and immoral men “hunting” animals in despicable ways.  There is the story of a Guide and Outfitter in Maine who ran across a group of men “bragging about how they had chased a moose with their truck. There to hunt deer or bear, they had just happened onto the bull. They laughed, describing how close they had gotten to the animal and how wildly he had run.”
     There are always the stories of men who just want the glory of a mount to hang on their wall, and disrespect the animals that gave their lives to provide bragging rights for that hunter.  God even has something to say about those hunters who waste the meat:  The lazy man does not roast what he took in hunting, but diligence [effort, persistence, dedication] is man’s precious possession.   And, of course, I don’t need to tell you that far too many of these kinds of “hunters” are reckless with their weapons, and gun safety is low on their priority list.  These men do a disservice to all the hunters who, like Chris and my husband, respect and honor not only their heritage of hunting, but the animals, themselves.
     I don’t know what it is about our culture, but it seems that everything that was once good for the harmony of the land, which includes man’s role and responsibilities regarding his place in creation, has become corrupted.  It’s as if his legal authority is being diminished and traditional values are perishing.  The dominion we were given by God over the earth is being usurped by Satan and technology, and is ruining God’s intentions for man as hunter.  We also see it in the family unit; in the sanctity of life; in our disrespect towards our fellow man; and now in the ways that even hunting is changing.
     For those lucky enough to experience it, hunting has been a time-honored custom in which fathers can spend time with their sons (and daughters), and teach them to honor and respect all animals, which are under our dominion.  True, it is not necessary to hunt for food at this moment in time… meat is still readily available in your local grocery store.  But there is nothing like taking the responsibility for harvesting your own food to teach you not to take it for granted.
     It is a sad thing for me to hear both my husband and our friend say that it is getting more difficult for them to enjoy hunting.  And it is a sad day when the callousness and selfishness of our culture invades the art of hunting…. one more good and decent tradition goes by the wayside.

Genesis 21:20    “And God was with the boy, and he grew up. He lived in the wilderness and became an expert with the bow.”


When Will We Face The Truth?

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     First of all, let me say, that I grieve over the deaths of the students who were tragically killed on that college campus in Oregon.  No loss of life is ever justified in this manner, and we are just at the beginning of all the theories, conjectures, speculations and accusations.  The internet is abuzz with “information” on the shooter.  What is the real truth, and will we ever know all the facts surrounding the perpetrator, or why he did what he did.  Was it his seeming isolation coupled with his alleged involvement with magick and the occult?  Was it his purported interest in paramilitary groups like the IRA or ISIS?  Was he really a Christian-hater and/or a proponent of the Black Lives Matter group?  Or just like all the latest murderers who use a gun as their weapon, are we simply willing to lay his actions at the feet of “mental illness”?  I’m sorry, but all of these questions and suppositions just aren’t lining up to give us a clear picture of who this killer was.
     Yet instead of trying to solve the mystery of how all these similar shootings committed by disgruntled, alienated malcontents are connected, we get another lecture chastising the American people and Congress for not pursuing stricter gun control laws.  Frankly, I am tired of this argument, and exhausted by the political posturing.  Guns, in this case (and the other mass shootings), are the choice of weapon that evil uses to create mayhem, chaos, and death.  In fact, the definition of a weapon is “a thing designed or used for inflicting bodily harm or physical damage; [and in this instance] a means of gaining an advantage in a conflict.”  Why can’t we ever get beyond the instrument of violence to focus on the slayer?
     And I’m not talking about the particular shooter or gunmen; I’m talking about the murderer who “has been since the beginning” (John 8:44), and who is behind every deluded person who picks up a gun thinking it will settle a score, give him notoriety, eliminate his enemies, or just because he hears “the voices in his head.”  This murderer is the devil, and he is actually a thief … the one who robs the shooter of the truth — which is that the devil/murderer has only one objective: to steal, kill, and destroy humans.  And the shooter is simply his instrument.  The truth is that the shooter’s murderous rampage will not silence his demons nor fill the emptiness inside.  It only serves to feed the devil’s lust for power and his insatiable appetite to devour.
      As I have pointed out time and again, we must decide to quit looking at surface issues as a way of explaining away the growing evil that is coming upon the earth.  None of the things that the media or pop psychologists wish to suggest as the reasons why mass shootings are occurring is the root of this epidemic.  Yes, being a loner; social media; anger; feeling marginalized — these are all elements that feed into a profile of a mass shooter.  But these men have listened to the lies of the Tempter; lies that suggest the world will appreciate their violent deeds and their names will be celebrated.
    The very fact that this shooter asked his victims to state whether they identified as Christians or not leaves no doubt in my mind that the devil is ramping up his agenda.  He is no longer being subtle or hiding his motives.  The shooter — the devil’s instrument of murder — targeted, as his victims, those who believe in Jesus Christ.  They were shot point-blank in the head.  Those who didn’t answer or said, “No” were shot in the leg.  What could be more apparent?  God’s enemy destroys those who are loyal to Him.  Yet, that narrative is already beginning to fade from the media reports — if it has been mentioned at all!  We can’t have that piece of the puzzle out there front and center, now can we?  But a note left behind by the shooter clearly states his purpose: he would be “welcomed in Hell and embraced by the devil.”  I hope he is enjoying his eternal damnation.
    In the meantime the news media and politicians will spend the next days, weeks, and months discussing how and why [or why not] stricter gun laws, or more regulations regarding the mentally ill will eliminate the next mass shooter.  But this should be a big warning flag for those of us who recognize Jesus as our Savior; we should be spiritually discerning that the devil is getting bolder and more confident in his attacks.  We should be spiritually preparing to resist the coming attacks, and above all else, be ready to declare our allegiance to God — even unto death.  What courage it took for that second, third, fourth … ninth student to identify themselves as belonging to Christ; to stand for Him in what was a certain and unavoidable death at the hands of the devil’s proxy.  If there is any comfort at all in this tragedy, it is the steadfastness of faith displayed by these saints.  When my time comes, may I be as bold and unflinching as they.

1 John 3:8    “He who sins is of the devil, for the devil has sinned from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that He might destroy the works of the devil.”

The Millennial Generation: Is Their Narcissism Good For the Workplace?

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Today’s blog post was generated after watching “CBS Sunday Morning” this week, and a segment on the Millennial generation.  I guess I’m no different than my parents before me, or their parents before them … but I find myself asking “What’s going on with this generation of kids”? 

     Every generation must face the fears about their future.  A common concern is the question, “What is the state of the U.S. economy, and will I be able to establish a firm foundation for the rest of my life?”  None have been more apprehensive than what we call “The Millennial Generation”.  Of course, the natural tendency for us older Americans is to compare this generation with our own.
     My parent’s generation was “The Greatest Generation”, which gave birth to my generation, “The Baby-Boomers”.  The offspring of my generation is called “The Millennials,” because they will come of age during the new millennium.  
     Born between the years of 1981 and 2000, they now constitute 75,000,000 in numbers, and one out of every three workers in the U.S.  So how is this generation affecting the American workplace?  I think you will get a clear picture when I give you this quote from Jean Twenge, a professor of psychology at San Diego State University:  “We know from looking at narcissism scores among college students from the 1980s to recent surveys, this generation does score higher on narcissism… from 1 out of 8, [it has grown] to 1 out of 3.”

     That should concern us because the definition of narcissism is self-love, self-admiration, self-absorption, self-obsession, conceit, self-centeredness, self-regard, egotism, egoism.  Let’s just say modesty is not a part of their vocabulary.  In fact, after decades of studying self-assessments by millions of the Millennialists in which they reported how accomplished, how motivated, and how special they consider themselves, Professor Twenge wrote a book on them entitled, Generation Me.
     That seems to say it all, doesn’t it?  Furthermore, one of her research papers reveals that “Millennials in the workplace are defined by… the combination of not wanting to work hard, but still wanting more money and status…”.  As Twenge explains, this latest generation is seeing and facing a more competitive and challenging job market than previous generations.  The problem is they haven’t been prepared, perhaps because they received so much praise growing up and they got a trophy just for showing up at sporting events.  As Twenge accurately comments, “Unfortunately, the workplace doesn’t work that way.  You have to do so much more than just show up.”
     The scary thing is that the question now becomes, “Are they going to adapt to the workforce, or is the workforce going to adapt to them?”  Professor Twenge says the answer to that question will shape the future of the U.S. economy.  And sadly, I’m afraid that the forecast for our future may not be as bright as it should be.
     Mind you, I am not seeking to condemn all Millennials, but from what I have seen, far too many of them have an “entitlement” attitude.  If the work gets a little too hard, or they get bored, or it just isn’t something they “want” to do … they quit.  Or I have also seen that they will do the job assigned to them, but no more or no less — and then they want a raise and a promotion.  One member of the Millennial generation was at least honest in her assessment of her peer group:  “The need for praise is absolute.  That is a big issue in our generation.  We don’t particularly respond well to criticism, and we absolutely want praise immediately.”  Do the words spoiled, overindulged, and bratty come to mind?
     Yet her honesty was also right on target when she said that the explosion of internet technology had done her generation no favors.  “The internet culture is part of the problem… you put a picture up on Facebook, you want to be in double, triple “Likes” within the hour.  If you put a picture up on Facebook, and no one likes it, you feel as though you failed.  This instant-gratification cycle that we’ve gotten into has developed into a bit of a problem in the workforce.”  But she also credits a certain amount of “delusional narcissism” as necessary if you want to be a successful and creative entrepreneur.
     While I will admit that confidence in yourself is a great trait in the workplace, what happened to those workers who are willing to be the first one on the job, and the last one to go home?  Those who do more than is asked of them? Or those who are grateful to have a job, instead of always expecting more to be handed to them, or to be accommodated and catered to?
     I especially find it interesting that of those Millennial workers that seemed super-motivated during the CBS program, they all seemed to be children of immigrants.  The workers of Asian or Middle Eastern ethnicity had a different attitude about them; as though they thrived on the competition and challenges of proving themselves — instead of workers who are multi-generational Americans and are the products of easier, more comfortable, and less demanding life-styles.   
     In the end, what does this mean for the American workplace and the future of the U.S. economy?  Does our DNA still contain the elements of motivation, single-handed determination, and the drive to succeed?  Or have we spawned a generation of pampered, spoon-fed kids with their hand out and no will to go beyond the minimal effort?  If so, I’m afraid that we will continue to see our economy surpassed by those countries who are willing to put their nose to the grindstone and give more than expected of them, and who are willing to be patient for their gratification and rewards.  Unless they can find it within themselves to put their employer first, in hopes that their hard work will pay off in the future, I’m afraid Millennials will find themselves living in their parents’ basements, dreaming of the next job and their instant reward.  I know I’m going to sound old-fashioned, but narcissism is no replacement for a good work ethic.  I can hear my father now….

Proverbs 27:18    “Whoever tends a fig tree will eat its fruit, and he who guards his master will be honored.”