Category Archives: Essays and Thoughts

some final thoughts as I depart youth ministry

My mother dropped out of school to marry her first husband when she was 16. She proceeded to have three husbands and numerous other partners over the next 15 years or so. She had nine children that I know of, and I was number eight, from a partner between husband two and three. There would be one child after me, on the record.

She had trouble parenting the three children she had not lost yet, between her sex, alcohol and drug addictions. Just before the age of two, my sister and I were taken by the state child welfare system because she failed to return from her night out, and the high school baby sitter had to go home. After a few months of attempts of the state trying to rehabilitate my mother, she dropped out of the picture and my sister and I were placed in foster care. I would not find out until I was eighteen that a couple years later (when I was four, and she was 34), she was murdered. Her case was never solved.

My sister and I spent a couple years in a foster home, and the memories are spotted. We were adopted by a farming husband and wife with a young son at home when I was four years old, the day after Christmas.

At first glance, it seemed a dream come true. We had found a family, and the home was Norman Rockwell-ish. Our new dad was an agriculture and cattle farmer, and our new mom stayed at home to care for the farm and the children.

I honestly don’t remember how long it took for me to acclimate to the environment there. It seemed I could do nothing right, our brother could do no wrong, and there were a lot of spoken and unspoken rules and expectations I was having trouble getting right. I probably did plenty wrong, though I can’t recall just what all of my offenses were. My mother had decided early on that I was a liar, so it didn’t matter what I said, in my mother’s mind it was a lie. My actions, motives and words were questioned nonstop, and there was never a benefit of the doubt for me.

The details are too much to get into right here, but a few key memories will give you an idea of the environment. When I was seven or eight I awoke to my parents waking me up. It was dark, but I had no concept of the time. I shared a room with my sister, and my parents motioned for me to be quiet and get my house robe on and go downstairs. When I got to the kitchen, I had to squint because the lights were on and my eyes were adjusting. There was a large box in the center of the floor and I was told to put my favorite toys in it. After filling it, I was told to put my shoes on. I walked with my parents outside as my dad carried the box. We walked past the clothesline to the burn barrel, where they put the box and lit it on fire. I don’t remember what I did to warrant this punishment. They may have told me, but I don’t recall. When I awoke the next morning I tried to remember if it was a dream or real. I went to the toy box and looked for the items I remembered putting in the box, but they weren’t there.

If that was an isolated memory, I would be inclined to shrug it off as a false memory. But there were several times I wet my pants and my mom clothes-pinned my soiled underwear to my nose and I was made to carry on my day like that. There was the time my mom stood my sister and me up in the kitchen and with an angry face and wagging finger told us, “Don’t ever tell me you love me. Don’t write it in a card or on a paper, and don’t speak it in words.   You don’t love me and you cannot tell me you do.” I was six; my sister was seven.

There was the night I was made to stand in a corner all night with my nose pressed to the corner, under threat of more severe punishment if I moved. I fell asleep sometime in the wee hours of the morning and fell over. I hopped up back into the corner and my entire body trembled with fear for what felt like hours at the thought that maybe my mom heard me move and would be coming. I was “released” from the corner the next day sometime mid-morning. I was nine. I don’t remember what I did wrong there either.

I was constantly threatened with being shipped to an all-girls boarding school, a military school, back to the state, and later a mental hospital. The details of my childhood could fill a book (and I have written it), but what I learned was emotions were not to be expressed, truth was subjective, and authority was absolute. I had no voice, no identity, and no one I could trust. The rules constantly changed, the expectations were altered by the mood of my mother, and I became very, very good at reading body language, tone, and circumstances.   I was not allowed to talk on the phone, have friends over or go to friends’ homes, or socialize apart from parental supervision. School and nature were my only escapes. I dared not tell anyone of my life at home. As far as they knew, we had a perfectly normal family. Until I started running away in high school…

My parents were swift to hospitalize me in a mental institution, where my anger hit boiling. By this time, some concerned adults in my life had started to work to help me, but it would take years for help to manifest. In the meantime, some unique circumstances led to me being locked out of my home when I was sixteen. I had only the clothes on my back, no car, no money, no job, not even a driver’s license. This continued for a few months until my parents took me to court to terminate their parental rights, which was granted and I became a ward of the state one more time.

This is an abbreviated nutshell of my formative years. Before I was a legal adult, I had come to the conclusion love was conditional, (if it was real at all); people cannot be trusted; my merit had to be earned and even then could be stripped away; and a host of other “lesser” things.

I had found God in the Midwestern landscape. I saw Him in the sky, in the fields, and especially in the thunderstorms. I talked with Him constantly through high school, and though I never heard Him, still knew He was there. I don’t remember ever thinking it was His fault suffering was in my life. As I grew older the charades at home grew more and more difficult to navigate. I wanted something true, something real. I was tired, and tired of being afraid. I pulled out a Bible and began reading it. My mom made fun of me if I read it, so I began reading it at night by the outdoor light at my window, when everyone else had gone to sleep. I asked a friend at school that I knew to be a Christian how to get right with God. I was looking for a list of rules, as that is all I knew. She explained to me Christ’s sacrifice and I was in utter disbelief that I had to do nothing to receive pardon from God! I finally made the decision to put my faith in this Man who died for me. Shortly thereafter my whole world hit the crescendo and the end of life as I knew it, and I was left alone, without a family, and no idea what to do.

Though I would stumble and fail miserably over the next few years, including a failed marriage, I started ministering to high school youth from a sincere desire to in some way help someone else through what had been tumultuous years for me. In the meantime, I was building my own faith.

You’ve heard me tell some of my favorite stories. You know about the time I drove to Denver and fell asleep while the sun was still up, but woke up sixteen miles out of Denver, in the dark, with the car driving on the road and my lights on. I had been asleep for almost two hours. Or the time I had to move to Texas but had only $60 to my name, and no credit card. I was moving in a U-Haul that got 10mpg AND a personal car, and was driving 583 miles with BOTH cars. I reckoned that if God could multiply loaves and fish, He could multiply gas as well, and He did. At my final destination I had exactly ¼ tank of gas in each tank and no money.

Or how He challenged my trust 23 years ago and asked me, “Who made your body?” When I replied that He did, He asked me, “Don’t you think if I can make your body I can wake it?” The challenge was to trust Him at a time I didn’t have an alarm clock to wake me. I trusted Him and He was faithful, and then I threw my alarm clocks away and have not used one once in 23 years. He has never failed to wake me, whether I needed to be up at 4 am, 8 am or anything in between.

I told you how He has been faithful to physically heal our family of various illnesses over the last 22 years, without prescriptions. How He even healed our St. Bernard of West Nile Virus when we anointed her with oil and declared her healing. You know He has healed ear infections, throat infections, skin infections, and sprained ankles, because I’ve told you.

I’ve told you how He has healed my heart, how He was faithful to bring me freedom and healing from childhood loss, pain, abuse and traumas.

I told you how He brought me my husband and then gave me a clear sign with His own voice that this is who I was supposed to be with. I’ve let you know how He delivered me from perpetuating abuse to my daughter, and healed our relationship from the damage of my own sins.

I have not hidden His miracles in my life from you, nor have I shielded you from my disappointments, struggles finding God, and my failures. I have been forthright with you that Jesus Christ of Nazareth is the Son of God, that He died on the Cross for humanity to procure salvation and be reconciled to God, and that He rose from the dead in victory over death so we can too. I’ve challenged each of you to consider that Good News and respond. But I didn’t stop there. Why?

Because I know that the Israelites forgot God after He parted the Red Sea and sent supernatural plagues upon Egypt but saved Israel out of it. I know that the Israelites forgot God after He brought water from a rock and bread from Heaven. I know that the Israelites forgot God after He gave them an abundant land full of provision and blessing. I know that the Israelites forgot God after Elijah called fire down from Heaven in the midst of hundreds of witnesses. I know that Judas betrayed the Son of God after he saw Him heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse the lepers, and feed the multitudes.

The human heart is short-sighted and shallow. We forget the good our friend has done for years when our friend hurts us today. We are fixated on how we feel right now, and we are woefully short on gratitude. We’re inclined to forget a God our human eyes can’t see, especially when there’s so much in front of our eyes to bedazzle us constantly. We choose the golden calf that can’t think, feel or speak, when our God has been too long getting back to us. I know that God is worthy of our worship if He NEVER does a thing for us because He is God and there is no one higher than He. We should want to worship our Creator simply because He is God, even if He never does a thing for us. Even if I died in the dysfunction of my childhood home, He would be worthy of my worship. Even if He never healed one thing I asked, or saved me from an accident, or never supernaturally provided a thing for me.

But I know that we don’t do that well or easily. I know that God being God is simply not enough for our humanity left to itself to reconcile. And so I have shown you that He is not only God, but He became my Father. And if that weren’t enough, I showed you that He is not only my God and my Father, but He has become my Friend. So that you would know that God loves us. God loves you. He is perfect and faithful and true, and He is worthy of your love, your admiration, your worship, your life. It is enough that He created us, but He also saved us when we needed saving. And it’s enough that He saved us, but He has called us who have received Him His sons and daughters. And if all that wasn’t enough, He also can be our Friend.

So I urge you to know this amazing God yourself.   Love God for who He is, not what He does, and realize He still does good, good things for us. Be faithful in a faithless world. Live your life in such a way that Heaven knows your name when you get there.

I hang up my “youth leader” hat with Acts 20:24-35:

But my life is worth nothing to me unless I use it for finishing the work assigned me by the Lord Jesus—the work of telling others the Good News about the wonderful grace of God.

And now I know that none of you to whom I have preached the Kingdom will ever see me again. I declare today that I have been faithful. If anyone suffers eternal death, it’s not my fault, for I didn’t shrink from declaring all that God wants you to know.

So guard yourselves and God’s people. Feed and shepherd God’s flock—his church, purchased with his own blood—over which the Holy Spirit has appointed you as elders. I know that false teachers, like vicious wolves, will come in among you after I leave, not sparing the flock. Even some men from your own group will rise up and distort the truth in order to draw a following. Watch out! Remember the three years I was with you—my constant watch and care over you night and day, and my many tears for you.

And now I entrust you to God and the message of his grace that is able to build you up and give you an inheritance with all those he has set apart for himself.

I have never coveted anyone’s silver or gold or fine clothes. You know that these hands of mine have worked to supply my own needs and even the needs of those who were with me. And I have been a constant example of how you can help those in need by working hard. You should remember the words of the Lord Jesus: ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’

[Holy Bible, New Living Translation ®, copyright © 1996, 2004 by Tyndale Charitable Trust. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers. All rights reserved.]

If you’ve made the decision to follow God, and have placed your faith and trust in Christ who died for your salvation, “work out your salvation with fear and trembling.” Heed the words of Paul to guard yourself and your faith. Recognize that there is treachery within the church and without. Follow God, not man.

Release and forgive your parents for their failures, most of them did the best they could with what they had and meant well. If they didn’t, forgive them anyway. Look to God for your healing, your deliverance, your salvation. When you’ve trusted Him as Savior, trust God as Father, and learn to know them both as Friend. Your life won’t be easier or simpler, and you won’t have abundant wealth just because you walk in faith. You may face increased tribulation, suffering or trials. Trust your Maker and let Him teach you and grow you into maturity. Care more about what God thinks than anyone else, (even yourself). Love God and keep the faith.

I leave you with more of Paul’s words and pray you heed them. Do not live for yourself and refuse to obey the truth. Keep on doing good. Seek after the glory, honor and immortality God offers us.

Romans 2:4-11 (emphasis my own)

Don’t you see how wonderfully kind, tolerant, and patient God is with you? Does this mean nothing to you? Can’t you see that his kindness is intended to turn you from your sin?

But because you are stubborn and refuse to turn from your sin, you are storing up terrible punishment for yourself. For a day of anger is coming, when God’s righteous judgment will be revealed. He will judge everyone according to what they have done. He will give eternal life to those who keep on doing good, seeking after the glory and honor and immortality that God offers. But he will pour out his anger and wrath on those who live for themselves, who refuse to obey the truth and instead live lives of wickedness. There will be trouble and calamity for everyone who keeps on doing what is evil—for the Jew first and also for the Gentile. But there will be glory and honor and peace from God for all who do good—for the Jew first and also for the Gentile. For God does not show favoritism.

[Holy Bible, New Living Translation ®, copyright © 1996, 2004 by Tyndale Charitable Trust. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers. All rights reserved.]

 

What shall we liken this generation unto?

But whereunto shall I liken this generation? It is like unto children sitting in the markets, and calling unto their fellows,

And saying, We have piped unto you, and ye have not danced; we have mourned unto you, and ye have not lamented.

For John came neither eating nor drinking, and they say, He hath a devil.

The Son of man came eating and drinking, and they say, Behold a man gluttonous, and a winebibber, a friend of publicans and sinners. But wisdom is justified of her children.

Matt 11:16-19 KJV

 

It has been twenty-five years or so that I first started working with high school youth. I was barely an “adult” when I started, and now I’m marrying off my first born and have graduated my last born. I think my season of a high school youth leader is wrapping up. I have books to write and other mandates to fulfill, and I sense it’s the closing of this chapter.

I was on the phone earlier today with one of my first students I ministered to. I was her cabin counselor at a week long summer camp in 1992, in the heat of the Midwest in cabins along a lake. She attended a school with a graduating class of thirty in a small farming community about twenty minutes from my town, and thirty minutes from the school I ministered at. Somehow we maintained our relationship that morphed from student/mentor eventually into adult friendship. She’s lived and worked along the Gulf for almost a decade now, and we are still very good friends. She is my son’s godmother.

After twenty-five years of watching teenagers struggle with their identity, search for meaning and purpose, and roll with the inevitable tides of maturing, it is a bittersweet closing. Teens are quite possibly my favorite age group. They have the ability to communicate, but with the uncertainty of knowing their real thoughts and feelings. It’s a constant joy and occasional challenge to exchange ideas and introduce concepts.   I find them fresh and real and relevant, unassuming and still able to take in new or different ideas without being defensive. If they trust you. And that is the key. If they don’t trust you, they don’t listen; they don’t learn; they don’t receive.

And teens have lots of reasons to not trust. Not trust adults, not trust new ideas, not trust peers, not trust themselves…

In the past two and a half decades of working with emerging adults, I have a few observations:

America is a post-Christian culture now. It has been a swift descent into this arena of popular opinion, defiant selfishness, and general unbelief. Twenty-five years ago there was a consciousness in the youth of what God thinks, who God is, what He may want from humanity. That does not exist today in the status quo. The morality of the Bible is ridiculed and rejected. Christianity, by and large, is not respected, adhered to, or sought out.

American teens are tired of American school. They’re tired of the charades and hypocrisy. They are unstimulated, uninterested, and uninvolved in their own education. They find most of school irrelevant to life, and the politics of the school system suffocating. They are burned out on tests and testing, rules and agendas, a form of police state and prison mentality. Very few of them know what they want to do when they leave school or how they’re going to get there.

They cannot tell me where Syria is on a map, what’s going on in the Middle East, or the first Ten Amendments of the US Constitution. They don’t know and they don’t care. If they know, it’s incidental – not because they have an interest. They cannot articulate world events or local concerns. School is a place of survival for some, escape for others, and a necessary evil for others. Very few teens find school preparatory for their future.

Very, very, precious few teens today can think an original thought or critically. Deductive reasoning and common sense are all but absent. There is a herd mentality, but it’s unrecognized within because they think they’re thinking independently. Logical presentation of facts and data points are often lost, as basic deductive reasoning is almost nonexistent. A + B has ten different answers, and none of them are “wrong”.

If they happen to be of the minority that embraces education, they embrace it hook, line and sinker. Every theory that is presented to them they absorb as veritable fact. The system rewards those who don’t question it and punishes those who do, which weeds out the trouble makers in the process. Those who question do not receive the accolades or reward as those who don’t. Bright and subservient students are elevated to leadership roles and pushed up the ladder to the next level, so that by the time they arrive at their “higher education”, they are a virtual classroom of obedient minions, ready to further the cause of whatever field they’ve selected or been selected for.

Teens raised in the church most (or all) of their lives have a basic grid for morality, but question it frequently because of the social pressure to conform. A majority of them reject the Bible’s morality to conform with the status quo. A shocking majority of church-raised teens have limited Bible knowledge and understanding. Their foundations are shaky at best. They could not tell me who Abraham, Moses or David were. They had a sketchy understanding of Noah. (This is generally speaking.)

The greatest hindrance to believing teenagers’ faith walk is distraction. Their day is so full of activity and pleasure seeking that there is little to no time or energy left to pursue weightier matters of the spirit, or to develop a personal relationship with God. Technology has taught this generation instant gratification on a level prior generations knew nothing of. Waiting on God is laborious for those who can instantly stream the latest movie. Straining to hear His still small voice is too much work for those who communicate via InstaGram and SnapChat. They quite simply don’t have a grid for how to listen, wait, watch, or learn. They struggle to see the relevance in reading an ancient manuscript because they’ve not been taught the value in seeking knowledge.

And they are dying. Dying to be heard. Dying to be understood. They spend eight or more hours a day being told what to do, what to think, what to believe. Their social interactions are a competitive field of jockeying for acceptance and position. Their home lives are often chaotically out of control or controlling to the point of suffocation. Very few people have taken the time to hear their hearts, help them with their thoughts, substantiate their worth, quell their fears, or explore their talents. They don’t know who they are or what to do. Our most powerful meetings are small groups, when they have to soul search and share their hearts. They need help articulating their thoughts and sorting through their emotions. They are consistently confused or discouraged or both.

They care about a lot of things and they want to care, but they’re woefully misinformed by society. An hour or even a two hour youth meeting once a week is not enough to change the tidal wave that covers them almost every other waking hour of every day.

Over the last 25 years, unequivocally the most profound moments I’ve witnessed youth having are a couple things:

When they unplug from society for more than 48 hours, they are able to witness God first hand. They can sense Him; they can feel Him; they can hear Him. They encounter Him when they unplug. I honestly know of no exceptions. Every single teen I’ve ministered to over the last two and half decades, when they remove themselves from social media, phones, computers, TVS, and daily routine and have an atmosphere of nature and the Word of God, encounter God. Unbelief is silenced in that atmosphere. Doubts are stilled. The world fades and God becomes real.

And they know it. They want to get back to it. It becomes an altar in their memory of the time or the place they encountered God.

We have to teach this. We have to demonstrate this. We have to give opportunities for this.

The other profound moments are when they get a glimpse of their worth. When they finally grasp the enormity of their deliberate place in life, when they feel like someone has heard them, understood them, and loved them anyway, they are changed. The very act of listening to them without judging them begins to dismantle the hardness of all the years of striving. They need to explore ideas in a way that helps them learn about themselves, rather than dictates to them.

If you’re on the outside (i.e. they are not your teen), you can help them by asking them what they think about things. Give them time to think about it before they answer, and then acknowledge and validate their answer. If their thinking is off (and it often is), ask gentle questions that will help them see things differently without criticizing where they are right now. Help them articulate their feelings by giving them permission to feel authentically, and not how they think they’re supposed to feel. Don’t tell them what to think and don’t invalidate their feelings. Ever. Don’t do it. Don’t give them answers to questions they aren’t asking, and don’t give them answers to the questions you may have asked. Let them formulate their own answers and only give your opinion when they seek it. They need to be heard by adults more than hear them, at least for awhile. Help them find their voice, and as they learn how to articulate, their thinking will clear up along the way. After awhile (varies by teen and their life circumstances), they will begin to trust you. When they begin to trust you, they will want to know your thoughts, and that is when you can make the most impact in their life. Don’t rush this process.

If you’re on the inside, if the teen is your own, evaluate their trust in you. If it is low or nonexistent, follow the advice in the above paragraph, but with hypersensitivity. Accompany this process with humility and acknowledge any failure or mistakes of your own as they come up. Genuinely seek forgiveness. Seek to understand more than to be understood. Listen to their thoughts without criticism, validate their feelings, and let them be who they need to be. You do not have to agree with them to love them. You do not need to make a stand on every issue you think they’re off on. If you can prove yourself trustworthy, if you can demonstrate you care about their feelings more than being “right”, if you can listen more than talk, you have a chance at building their trust. They will test you. They will say outlandish things that may not even be what they really think or feel, just to see if they can trust you to not overreact or come down hard on them. Let them sort out their thoughts and feelings without prejudice on your part. Believe in them. If you are consistent and patient, they will begin to value their exchanges with you, and you will gain opportunities to speak into their lives.

If you can get to this point, you are at a great place. You will find they may change your life more than you change theirs. You may find your ways of thinking change as well.   You may find they challenge you in ways to make you more real, and you may be the better person for it. You may find God in new and different ways you have not known Him before.

Generally speaking, this generation does not trust anyone. They have been betrayed by their peers, their parents, their authority figures, even themselves. If you can teach them how to trust God, the years and years of deception will begin to unravel. That formerly angry or rebellious or indifferent teenager may very well become the truth seeking radical that does not settle for the status quo any longer. They may be the confident adult that questions the trite answers of a corrupt system and causes the ripples of change this world desperately needs.

The Days of Lot – part two

The popular emphasis of the days of Noah and the days of Lot is the wickedness of the day. However, Christ’s words indicate it is the worldliness of the day that catches people asleep. It is the day in and day out of living, of having a life, of making a life, of enjoying life. Culture and society are seemingly oblivious and uncaring of matters of the sacred. Driving forces of day to day living are consuming society and little to no thought is given to the accounting of deeds, the desires of a Creator, the temporariness of life on earth. This life is the mainstream of thought.

Unfortunately, this is characteristic to too many of the western churches I have been a witness of. Programs and activities are centered around the consumption of daily needs: eating, drinking, family affairs, building relationships and careers, etc.

Paul spends considerable effort in 1 Corinthians 15 reiterating what the Gospel really is, and he says this in verse 19 [KJV]:

If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable.

The original language is best caught in the New American Standard that translates it more accurately: that if it’s in this life only that we have hope in Christ, we are to be pitied more than any other.   Our hope, which should catapult us to our passion, is in the Resurrection. Our activities on this earth should point us and those around us to eternity! This is not the final chapter.   This is not the end. Have we lost sight of this? Has the Church lost sight of this?

If we are being consumed with the activities of this life, we are in grave danger of being unaware as time is being wrapped up. Christ has clear things to say about servants that were not ready for their Master’s return.

Matt 24:42-51 (NAS)

“Therefore be on the alert, for you do not know which day your Lord is coming. But be sure of this, that if the head of the house had known at what time of the night the thief was coming, he would have been on the alert and would not have allowed his house to be broken into. For this reason you also must be ready; for the Son of Man is coming at an hour when you do not think He will.

“Who then is the faithful and sensible slave whom his master put in charge of his household to give them their food at the proper time? Blessed is that slave whom his master finds so doing when he comes. Truly I say to you that he will put him in charge of all his possessions. But if that evil slave says in his heart, ‘My master is not coming for a long time,’ and begins to beat his fellow slaves and eat and drink with drunkards;   the master of that slave will come on a day when he does not expect him and at an hour which he does not know,   and will cut him in pieces and assign him a place with the hypocrites; in that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”

Surely this depicts life in Sodom and Gomorrah when Lot was removed from these cities! Surely the citizens of Sodom were unconcerned about any judgment or destruction hovering over them! Surely they had been busy living their lives, making their money, raising their families, etc. and had paid little to no heed about an accounting for their deeds or the thoughts of their Creator! In fact, it says Lot’s future son-in-laws thought he was joking when he told them they needed to flee the city with them. They flippantly disregarded the warning and went about their routine, to their demise.

Catch some of the key phrases of Christ’s warning:

“…that if [he] had known at what time of the night the thief was coming, he would have been on the alert and not allowed [the destruction to himself]…” Clearly if we know danger is coming our way, we prepare. Christ directly correlates this, “For this reason you also must be ready…” A change of circumstances is coming, and Christ in His great love for us told us in advance.

“Who then is the faithful and sensible…?” Who is the Christian who has taken his responsibilities seriously and is found doing them upon Christ’s return? Is it the western church? Is it me? Do I recognize there are specific tasks we’re given and are to be found doing when our Master returns? Are we doing what He said to do: healing the sick, cleansing, raising from the dead, making disciples? Or…

Do we think to ourselves, “My master is not coming for a long time”…? Oh we probably don’t actually think it in those words. We probably just have a vague notion of His return as some far off future date. Maybe we’ve hung around the cynics of Peter’s day, “There shall come in the last days scoffers…saying, ‘Where is the promise of His coming?’” Regardless, we get dull. And while we may not physically abuse our fellow believers, do we slander our brothers and sisters, manipulate or control them, disregard them, afflict them? And maybe we don’t get rip-roaring drunk, but do we carelessly entertain ourselves?

Because this is the circumstance that will be abounding when Christ returns.

And if our hope as Christians who profess to follow Christ is merely in some good living while we build ourselves a life here, we should indeed be pitied. We will be like the citizens of Sodom and Gomorrah when the angels visited. Oh we may not be like the wicked men who circled Lot’s house demanding to have sex with his male visitors. But we may be like the neighbor just minding his own business, getting ready for work in the morning, tending to the needs of his household.

Christ warned us of life on earth at His return. He warned us people who called themselves as belonging to Him would not be ready for His return. He warned us His return would be a surprise and would catch people unaware. He said people would be caught up in daily living and unprepared for an accounting.

And Peter reminds us,

2 Peter 3:3-5. 10-14 [NAS, emphasis mine]

Know this first of all, that in the last days mockers will come with their mocking, following after their own lusts, and saying, “Where is the promise of His coming? For ever since the fathers fell asleep, all continues just as it was from the beginning of creation.”

But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, in which the heavens will pass away with a roar and the elements will be destroyed with intense heat, and the earth and its works will be burned up.

Since all these things are to be destroyed in this way, what sort of people ought you to be in holy conduct and godliness, looking for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be destroyed by burning, and the elements will melt with intense heat! But according to His promise we are looking for new heavens and a new earth, in which righteousness dwells.

Therefore, beloved, since you look for these things, be diligent to be found by Him in peace, spotless and blameless…

 

And honestly, if we’re looking for a new heaven and new earth in which righteousness dwells, the temporary matters of life on this earth should not be consuming us. If we’re looking for and hastening the coming of the day of God, we should recognize the times we’re living in and be prepared.

 

of Jews, Khazars, Zionists, and Christians

emotions don’t replace responsibility

Years ago my family attended church with a Jew from the east coast.  He was raised in an orthodox home and in the tenets of Judaism.  I hung an Israeli flag on the wall with a framed picture of the signing of Israel’s independence from 1948 in a hallway of the church.  He was not just angry; he was livid.  He wanted to shred the flag and he struggled to even get out the words of what a blasphemous sign that was to him and to real Jews.  I had no understanding.  I did not know why this incurred such passionate hatred.

I read my Bible regularly and love God with all of my heart, soul and strength.  I’ve read countless passages like Psalm 99:2 “The Lord is great in Zion, and He is exalted above all the peoples.” And Psalm 87:2, “The Lord loves the gates of Zion more than all the other dwelling places of Jacob.”  I knew Zion as the mountain of the Lord and the place exalted throughout Scripture.  So when I heard “Zionists”, I thought they were believers and it was a Christian thing.  However….

Zionism is just a clever name for the Khazars, of the ancient kingdom Khazaria.  Khazaria was a kingdom that became settled by an ancient people called Khazars from the third century or so.  The Khazars consisted of Turks, Fins and Mongols.  Historians explain that they were in constant warfare with Persia and Armenia as early as the third century, and fought in partnership with Attila the Hun in the 5th century.  Somewhere around 550 A.D. the Khazars began settling between the Black Sea and the Caspian Sea in the region commonly known as Caucasus.  They established a capital called Itil at the mouth of the Volga River where it dumps into the Caspian Sea.

The Khazars were a brutal people, thirsty for dominion.  After establishing Itil, they assumed control over the Volga River by exacting a 10% toll on all cargo passing through.  They attacked and killed anyone who refused to pay the toll.  As they gained power, they attacked the more peaceful Slavonic tribes in neighboring regions and made them subjects of Khazaria, requiring a tribute under the threat of attack.  Their empire expanded to the north and into southeastern Europe.

To the south and west of Khazaria was the Byzantine Empire of Eastern Orthodox Christian leadership, and to the southeast was the Moslem Empire of the Arab Caliphs.  They had been pressuring Khazaria to adopt Christianity or Islam.

In 740 A.D. a curious thing happened.  The Kagan (Khazaria ruler) announced an adoption of Judaism as their national religion, probably for political reasons of independence and to relieve the pressure from Byzantine and the Moslem Empire.  The succeeding Khazar rulers took Jewish names and they began to be referenced as the “kingdom of Jews”.  By the 9th century Khazaria became a haven for Jews from other lands, and the Khazaria were intermarrying with Jews while Khazaria continued oppressing peoples and subjugating them to pay tribute.

This history matters, so stay with it.  In the 8th century an eastern branch of Vikings known as the Varangians, (or as Rus), navigated the Dnieper, Don and Volga rivers and found themselves in the unpleasant position of having to pay tribute to the Khazars.  The Rus Vikings settled among Slavonic tribes under Khazar domination and began struggling against Khazaria for independence from them.  In 862 the Rus leader, Rurik, founded the city of Novgorod and birthed the Russian nation.  However, they were in constant contention with the Khazars.

In 989 the Russian leader Prince Vladimir of Kiev accepted baptism into Christianity.  He then began promoting Christianity among the Russian people, and Russia was considered a Christian nation around this time.  (Prince Vladimir is called Saint Vladimir in Russia.)  Because of obvious commonalities, Byzantine and Russia formed a natural alliance.  In 1016, Russian and Byzantine forces attacked Khazaria and defeated Georgius Tzul, the Khazar warloard, which led to the demise of Khazria.  The Khazars dispersed and migrated to eastern Europe and other places and intermarried with Jews.

“As they moved and lived among the Jewish people, the Khazar Jews passed on a distinct heritage from generation to generation.  One element of the Khazar Jew heritage is a militant form of ZIONISM.  In the view of Khazar Jews, the land occupied by ancient Israel is to be retaken – not by miracle but by armed force.  This is what is meant by Zionism today, and this is the force that created the nation which calls itself Israel today.  The other major ingredient of the Khazar Jew heritage is hatred for Christianity, and for the Russian people as the champions of the Christian faith.  Christianity is viewed as the force which caused the ancient so-called kingdom of the Jews, the Khazar kingdom, to collapse.  Having once dominated much of what is present-day Russia, the Khazar Jews  still want to reestablish that domination – and for a millennium they have been trying to continually do just that.”1

If you’ll follow the history of the Khazers, known as Zionists and Jews in various parts of the world, you’ll find connections to multitudes of nefarious schemes and partnerships with elitist bankers and governments.  Serious students of Zionists have credibly linked them to the Bolshevik revolution in Russia that overthrew the Christian government of the Czars and replaced it with the atheist Communist government.

In fact, in a January 1918 dispatch to Washington, David R. Francis, United States ambassador in Russia, warned: “The Bolshevik leaders here, most of whom are Jews and 90 percent of whom are returned exiles, care little for Russia or any other country but are internationalists and they are trying to start a worldwide social revolution.”2

It was common knowledge of the Bolsheviks and their obvious link as Jews.  What was less common was that most of them were actually Khazars, or mixed Khazer/Jew descent and this had been their plan since being ousted from their kingdom nine centuries earlier.  Those who speak out against Zionism are speaking out against this.  They are not anti-Semitic.  They do not hate true Jews.

A small orthodox sect of Russian Christians spent sixty years quietly growing its resistance to the Bolshevik government in Russia until they were able to wrest control of the Kremlin away from them in the mid to late 70s.  This gave them the momentum and ability to posture the downfall of the USSR in 1991, restoring Russia to its original name and expelling most of the Bolsheviks from Russia.  [I realize I’m skipping over a lot of history here, but that can all be researched if the interest is there.]

“…on August 19, 1979, Rabbi Joel Teitelbaum died in New York.  He died in the morning, and was buried the same afternoon.  Very short notice, and yet some 100,000 Jewish men arrived in time for the funeral.  It is hard to imagine how many more hundreds of thousands could not arrive on such short notice.  A month later, on September 18, his followers placed a memorial tribute by way of a paid advertisement in the New York Times, and clearly it spoke for many Jews.  Among other things it said, quote:  ‘He was the undisputed leader of all Jews everywhere who had not been infected by Zionism’; and also, quote:  ‘With a courage all too rare in our time, he called the Zionist state ‘a work of Satan, a sacrilege, and a blasphemy.’  The shedding of blood for the sake of the Zionist state was abhorrent to him.’

“These words, my friends, were spoken by Orthodox Jews mourning for their fallen leader.  And the new Christian rulers of Russia would agree for they, too, regard the Zionist state of Israel as a counterfeit, a cruel and dangerous hoax for Christian and Jew alike.  The Khazar state called the ‘Kingdom of the Jews’ a thousand years ago was a parasite, living on the tribute from survival on a never-ending flow of support from outside.  Left unchecked, the Russians believe that the Khazar Jews will destroy Christianity by means of Zionism, and Russia through Bolshevism; so Russia’s Christian rulers are on the offensive against their enemies of a thousand years, the Khazars.”3

This was written in September 1979 during Soviet upheavals in their government.  What we need to understand is the Zion of the Bible is not the same as the Zionists spoken of and referred in our culture.  We cannot connect the two as being the same thing just because they use familiar terms to us that are precious as Christians.  History proves otherwise.

Zionism has nothing to do with ancient Israel, but unfortunately can be linked to modern Israel and its formation in 1948.  It can also be directly linked with Rothschild and elitist bankers’ ambitions for world dominion.  Zionists are Khazars.  Khazars are Zionists.  And neither has anything to do with the Zion of the Bible.  Zionism has simply hijacked some very Biblical names, assumed some façade of religion, and our ignorance has done the rest.

Coupled with my understanding of the present situation on News with Views, we have things we need to learn.  Presently:  Chuck Baldwin has written some pretty controversial pieces regarding Israel and/or Zionism.   Mr. Baldwin wrote an article against Netanyahu.  Many readers have labeled him anti-Semitic.  The publisher of the news site News With Views, Mr. Walter, has received numerous concerned calls, emails, and communications about the perceived “error” of Mr. Baldwin’s ways.  Mr. Baldwin’s views don’t necessarily represent Mr. Walter’s views, so he has taken the corrective measure to state a disclaimer.  When the pressure increased, Mr. Walter emailed Mr. Baldwin’s office to explain that he would not be publishing anti-Israel pieces in the future.  Mr. Baldwin was out of the office and the secretary took the message.  If this isn’t a classic case of “telephone”, (aka the rumor game), I don’t know what is.  Somehow this got turned into Mr. Walter selling his soul for $1000 in Zion money.

If we’d all take a step back and realize we’re at different levels in our education, we’re at different levels of maturity, and we’re at different levels of understanding, we’d have more grace and humility for situations like this.  To date, this has only served to discredit Christians and dishonor the God we claim to serve.  Again.  So now hundreds of Chuck’s followers have jumped on the bandwagon to condemn News With Views.  And News With Views has seemingly sided with restricting freedom of speech, the press, and I hope not freedom of thought.

I wish that Chuck Baldwin could continue to write his dissenting opinions on Zionism and Israel’s link to world dominionists.  As a writer, I’d like to know we can still exercise our freedoms of opinion and expose what we know of darkness and truth, even if it makes others uncomfortable or challenges their paradigms — even if we’re wrong or there are other opinions.  Truth has a way of making its way to the open.  Can we let the process work?

If we’re all truth seekers, and if we’re Christians as well, our standard is pretty explicit.  We must represent our Lord and Savior in all manner.  Our speech must be true and honest.  Our actions must have love and grace.  Our hearts must be humble and pliable in our Master’s hands.

Some of us see Israel as the land of Abraham under covenant, and thus should be defended.  Other see a deception that should be exposed (Rev 2:9 “I know your tribulation and your poverty (but you are rich), and the blasphemy by those who say they are Jews and are not, but are a synagogue of Satan.”).  Is there enough room and grace to state our own perspectives without calling out the lynching mobs?  Can a conservative website post controversial opinions that come from different perspectives?  If you’re opposed to my point of view can you just not read it or listen to it?  Or must you petition to silence me?  Can you bring me your concerns and your perspectives without denying my right to work my own out?

When dealing with the world, we are shrewd.  When dealing with our brethren we are accountable to the standard of the Kingdom of God.

Therefore do not let what is for you a good thing be spoken of as evil; for the kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.  For he who in this way serves Christ is acceptable to God and approved by men.  So then we pursue the things which make for peace and the building up of one another.

Romans 14:16-20

 

 

 

 

1Dr. Peter Beter, Audio Letter #50, September 30, 1979

2 David R. Francis, Russia from the American Embassy (New York: 1921), p. 214.

3 Dr. Peter Beter, Audio Letter #50, September 30, 1979

For more information on the Khazars, read The Thirteenth Tribe; the Khazar Empire and its Heritage by Arthur Koestler, 1976.

The Problem with Truth

Being raised in the world creates some difficult obstacles for understanding and wisdom outside of the paradigm of convention.  I had a conversation recently with someone about what I find troubling implications of pizzagate/pedogate and the rumor that if brought to light it allegedly would implicate a third of the Congress/Senate.  He dismissed the entire charge for investigation because it sounded “crazy” to him that a third of Congress could really be involved in child trafficking.

He later dismissed a pretty good presentation of evidence gathered from another individual because that same individual believed the WTC towers were brought down by explosives, not airplanes.  Mind you, the evidence on child and/or sex trafficking was what was being presented.

“…I am a king. For this I have been born, and for this I have come into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth hears My voice.” – Jesus to Pilate when brought in for questioning.  [John 18:37 NASU]

We have an interesting concept here:  truth.  Pilate is trying to get to the bottom of the charges against Jesus.  To Pilate it should be a simple matter:  did Jesus break some law?  The simplicity is absent, however, because the desired outcome (death to Jesus) does not match any of the alleged “crimes”.  Pilate jumped ahead of the perfunctory Q & A in an attempt to get to the meaningful crux of the matter in how it would pertain to himself (Pilate):  “Are you the King of the Jews?”

You have to understand context.  Pilate is the “governor” of sorts for Rome in Judea, headquartered in Jerusalem.  He’s charged with keeping the peace between Rome and those being governed against their will:  the Jews.  It is treason to have any king but Caesar.  Pilate is trying to discern whether Jesus is a threat to Caesar.  He cares very little about any Jewish laws Jesus has broken; he only cares that there will not be an insurrection against Rome’s rule.

Jesus knows that calling Himself King of the Jews would be a threat to Rome.  Jesus responded to Pilate’s questions by acknowledging that He is indeed a King, but not of the Jews.  This is a mystery to Pilate.  Jesus knows Pilate does not have a grid for understanding the real issue at hand, and his response is akin to His knowledge of Pilate.  Jesus acknowledged what Pilate was looking for (“Are you a King?”), and Jesus’ reply is not a threat to Pilate.  Jesus then gives Pilate insight, (“My Kingdom is not of this world…”).

As Pilate grapples with this idea and tries to put it into context, he reasserts his question, “So you are a king?”  That’s when Jesus replies, “…I am a king. For this I have been born, and for this I have come into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth hears My voice.”

This is the moment of revelation for truth seekers.  We’re seeking truth, correct?  (But not everyone is seeking truth.  Some people are just seeking answers to confirm their beliefs and corroborate their biases.)   And when we get a response or data that answers the question differently than what we’re asking we have a moment of decision:  do we pursue this truth or disregard it?

If we pursue the new truth that has been presented, (e.g. So Jesus is a King, but not King of the Jews…), a whole new set of questions is presented.  And who has time for that??  Just answer my question and let me go on, is our typical thought.  Unless we care more about truth than answers.

“Pilate said to Him, ‘What is truth?’”  (John 18:38 NASU)  He then dismissed the charges and tried to release Christ.  Why?  Because Pilate caught the greater truth, but was unwilling to pursue it.  The lazy man’s response is always exchanging truth for an answer.  Pilate got the truth (who Jesus really is), but exchanged it for the answer (He’s not a threat to Caesar).  He then dismissed the revelation in a manipulative brush off that was more for the sake of his conscience than a genuine question, “What is truth?”  [Now Pilate doesn’t have to actually do anything with the revelation, because he in essence discounted it.]

Now apply that to life.  It is a waste of time to expound on truth to people who just want answers.  Answers are easily found.  Truth rarely is.  Truth requires discipline and demands accountability.  If I possess truth, I cannot exchange it for something less without losing something myself.  I am accountable for the truth I possess.  And for those who seek and find truth, answers are simply not enough.

When we consider current events, national events, and even world events, the pursuit of truth becomes practically a full-time job.  Answers abound, but truth must be sought out.  And because people are at a myriad of different places in their lives, their understanding of truth varies considerably.  We have to understand this.  Truth is simple and complex at the same time, and truth can be duplex.  Sometimes this is hard to come to terms with.

Christ’s declarations of Himself and truth are weighty.  There are a lot of “Pilates” in this world that get a cursory glance of His truth and dismiss it with the “what is truth?” brush off.  No one is the better for this.  Christ said He came into the world to testify to the truth.  Testify means to bear witness.  [It comes from the Greek word “martureo” from where we also get the word “martyr”.  Martyrs are witnesses of Christ who are killed for their witness (or testimony).]

In the gospel of John where it records the night Jesus was betrayed, John recounts Christ’s words to His disciples.  It’s a lengthy discourse of instructions, declarations, explanations and warnings – of which many of these things the disciples clearly had no grid for understanding.  He seems to begin to wrap it up and He says this interesting thing, which we would do well to take notice of:

“I have many more things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now.” – John 16:12 NASU

What this should help us understand is that we can’t always grasp truths given to us.  It has to do with our present level of understanding and experience.  At the time Jesus was giving this discourse, His disciples seemed unable to comprehend that He was mere hours from His betrayal and death.  They were unable to grasp not only that He was going to die, but also that it was purposeful and part of the plan.  They could not grasp that.  They had nothing in their realm of experiences, nothing in their understanding of God and even current events that prepared them for this truth.  In fact, they did not even grasp it when He had resurrected.  [See John 20:9.]

And so it is with truth and the human heart and mind.  Our experiences coupled with our level of understanding are what either prevents truth from being understood and received, or grants it.  To put it on a current events level:

If my friend has only really listened to mainstream media, believes CNN to be factual and honest, and has an exemplar of patriotism that prevents contradictions or doubts from surfacing and being honestly evaluated, my assertions that circumstantial evidence exists of child trafficking rings implicating the political elite will be scorned.  There is no other way for that heart or mind to process my assertions.

It’s a waste of time for a truth seeker to do anything more than present information to someone looking for answers.  If the answers don’t come in the format they’re expecting or looking for, they reject the data.  Move on.  Don’t waste your time with answer gatherers.  There are people seeking truth that will evaluate your information on a deeper level.  You’re not responsible for others’ processing.  You’re responsible and accountable to your knowledge of the truth.

If my friend is merely an answer gatherer, if his real interest is in collecting data to reinforce his current way of thinking, I merely drop the information and go.  Anything more is fruitless.  But if my friend is a truth seeker, the information I drop becomes seeds.  If he doesn’t have a grid for understanding yet, the seeds will lie dormant until he does.  When he does, the seeds will sprout.  Either way, I drop truths as the occasions call.  Truth seekers seek out truth.  Answer gatherers build dossiers.

The principles of society and culture are adversaries of truth.  Our society is structured to present paradigms and status quos in a methodical procedure that necessitates adherence.  To look outside the prototype is discouraged and can actually be dangerous if it rocks the boat too much.

How did the disciples finally become enlightened enough to receive the truth?  (This is our key, because like it or not, if we’ve been raised in this world and its systems, our revelation of truth is skewed at best, nonexistent at worst.)   Christ Himself answered this right after He told them He couldn’t tell them anything else because they couldn’t handle it.

“But when He, the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into all the truth; for He will not speak on His own initiative, but whatever He hears, He will speak; and He will disclose to you what is to come.  He will glorify Me, for He will take of Mine and will disclose it to you.   All things that the Father has are Mine; therefore I said that He takes of Mine and will disclose it to you.”       [John 16:13-15 NASU]

Truth is heavy.  It requires responsibility, and sometimes a lot of responsibility.  But it is liberating.  There are truths I was given when I didn’t have a grid for understanding.  My mind rejected those truths, but my spirit tucked them away.  As I grew in wisdom and understanding, I was able to take those truths back out and begin to process them, or they confirmed things I was learning.  I take in a lot of data.  I read and research quite a bit.  I don’t understand or agree with everything I read and research.  I don’t know how some of it fits or if it even does.  So I table those things.  If they matter and I need to understand them, they come out eventually.

Truth comes in levels and layers.  We start with basic truths and as we’re faithful and responsible with those, we’re able to receive deeper levels of truth.  We operate on the levels of truth we’re walking in.  The place we decide to stop, stagnate, or plant ourselves in our learned truths, is the place we’ll stay.  It will define us and it will be the parameter for our learning.

Deeper levels of truth can seem to contradict more basic levels of truth.  The best way I can explain this is encourage one to read Romans 14.  Or consider the answers of Christ to His accusers in Luke 6:1-5.  The truth to the Pharisees was the showbread is only lawful for the priests to eat.  And that is truth.  But the truth Christ revealed was deeper.  The Pharisees had stopped on their basic truths of law and therefore were unable to receive the deeper truth of the spirit.  The deeper truth seemed to conflict the more basic truth, but both were truths.

Romans 14 explains how holding your brothers to your level of truth can be a stumbling block or hindrance.  The “weaker brother” who adheres to the law for his diet is still walking in truth, while the one who has deeper truth and is obeying it is simply walking in deeper truth.  God is able to make both stand. (vs. 4)  I would suggest that the level of truth one walks in has a direct impact on the level of liberty and responsibility one has.  This is why my expectations of behavior from my five year old vary differently than those of my fifteen year old.  Each’s understanding of truth is contingent on their ability to understand and their experiences for frame of reference.  If we’re maturing, our ability to comprehend and receive deeper truths should grow.  As believers, we need only ask the Spirit to disclose truths for us.  As He does, we should be prepared to receive them and respond accordingly.

The same disciples that could not comprehend Christ’s teachings before His death would go on to change their minds about a lot of things.  They would go on to see their world differently and to respond differently to it.  They would go on to “turn the world upside down”, change nations, people’s lives, and ultimately, the entire world.  Why?  Because Christ came to testify to the truth and people have responded to that truth for two millennia.

Super Bowls and symbolism…

Perhaps to understand the implications of Super Bowl 51, it helps to understand symbolism and how God chooses to employ it on occasion.  Symbolism is rarely a tit for tat (i.e. this one thing is this other thing), instead it is usually a generality.  For instance, God told Hosea to marry a harlot, (a prostitute), and to have children with her.  This, God said, represented Israel forsaking God for idols.  Hosea was to marry Gomer, a prostitute, which is strangely parallel to Israel (the nation) forsaking its monotheism of worshiping God, and replacing it with idolatry, (i.e. worshiping the gods of other nations).

There are other clues in this picture.  For instance, Hosea’s name actually means “to be open, wide or free” (Strong’s).  This, in a general sense, could depict Israel’s freedom as a nation up to this point.  Gomer’s name actually means “to end, as in the sense of completion or failure” (ibid).  Strangely, this too in a general sense could depict Israel’s freedom as a nation was coming to an end after a great failure of marrying foreign gods.  (By marrying, I mean joining in intimate relationship.  Israel was considered “married” to God, which is why God later “divorces” her, which is another message.  But realize when you’re married, you’re known by your husband’s name.  Israel was married to God originally, and was known to belong to God.  When Israel started fornicating with other gods by worshiping the other nations’ gods, Israel was found by God to be unfaithful.)

But the point is, God used a prophet to depict a symbol or analogy of what was going on in the nation at the time.  To further His point, God required Hosea to name his children from Gomer specific names to depict the state or upcoming state of the nation of Israel.  Hosea was to name the first child “Jezreel” to deal with a sin of Jehu against Jezreel. He also foretold He would be ending Israel’s kingdom soon.  Then Hosea and Gomer had “Lo-ruhamah”, which was to symbolize God’s determination to no longer show compassion and forgiveness toward Israel.  And then they had “Lo-ammi” because God was no longer considering Israel His people.

[This is far from the only time God used symbolism and allegories.  Think of how Ezekiel was to lie on his side to represent the iniquity of Israel (Ezek. 4); his wife was taken from him as a sign (Ezek. 24); he was to put on traveling clothes and dig a hole in the wall as a sign(Ezek. 12).  Recall that Christ spoke in parables to depict scenarios.  The parables were not literal, but they served as symbols for things He was illustrating.]

Considering God has spoken to His people with signs throughout recorded history, and Christ is “the same yesterday, today and forever” (Hebrews 13:8), God very well may still speak to His people with signs, allegories and parables.  What does this have to do with the Super Bowl?

I had not given signs and Super Bowls any thought before 2009.  I’m a pretty avid NFL fan, and Sundays in our household found the TV (which was rarely on any other time) on all day.  I was doing chores as I wandered past the TV and paused to see who was playing.  The Saints were playing and it was the first half of the season.  I don’t follow New Orleans so this didn’t matter much to me, except God spoke to me just then.  And He said, “Watch the Saints.  Watch what I’m going to do with the Church this year.  I’m going to demonstrate it through the Saints.  They will win the Super Bowl as a sign that the Church is at a turning point in this nation.”

It’s important to understand the New Orleans Saints were a losing team, generally speaking.  Since their inception in 1967, they didn’t find their first winning season for two more decades.  Overall, they have twenty-five losing seasons to their eight winning seasons.  (seven seasons of an even win/loss record)  It was an unlikely scenario that unfolded with the season.  They went on to have their best season of their history and to win the Super Bowl.  (I, in fact, made a public statement two weeks before the Super Bowl to say that the Saints were going to win, based on what God had shown me.)

From that point on, I began to listen for God’s heart during the NFL season and other national events.  He seemed to use national “entertainment” or sporting events to demonstrate what He was doing in areas that were not sports or entertainment.  I knew that the Ravens and 49ers were going to go to the Super Bowl in 2013 because God told me about half-way through the season.  He said they would represent brother against brother, and the inference was that it was a time of choice for God’s people.  Christians were going to face increased conflicts with their own family members based on their allegiance to Christ.  I did not know who was going to win for awhile, until the Lord showed me the difference between the brothers.  John means “God is gracious” while James (Jim) means “supplanter” (“to take the place of something else by force or plotting” – Webster’s).

I haven’t known or understood all the Super Bowls since 2009.  Sometimes I don’t get anything.  Sometimes I don’t get it until after, (like when the Seahawks won in 2014, God simply told me:  “look who gives Me the glory”).  Sometimes He shows me stuff before or during.  Which leads to the current Super Bowl…

There is a lot of outcry about the Patriots dominating the playoffs and Super Bowls, but what I kept getting was they were symbolizing the true patriots of America.  By that I mean those who adhere to the Constitution and the spirit in which America was originally founded.

Since 9/11/01, the Patriots have been to the Super Bowl seven times.  I picked that date because it was the time of the misnomer: the Patriot Act.  (a grossly unconstitutional act)  It took me awhile to start catching on to the battle raging for control of the United States through the various entities, but once I started learning, I discovered there was way more going on than meets the eye.

So in the last fifteen years, the Patriots have gone to the Super Bowl seven times.  Let that sink in.  Is it possible the Lord could be speaking through this?  In comparison during that span, there are eleven individual teams that have gone ONE time, four teams that have gone TWO times, and two teams that have gone THREE times.  I’m not a mathematician, but out of 32 total teams, for one team to dominate in the last 15 years, the odds are, well, I’m not a mathematician…

Now look at the teams they beat in the Super Bowl:  Rams, Panthers, Eagles, Seahawks and Falcons.  And look at the team they lost against, twice:  Giants.

A “giant” to a Christian would represent the enemy of God.  (Think David and Goliath, the Israelites and Rephaim, etc.)  Giants usually represent the works of darkness contending with the purposes of God.  Now, look at what years the Patriots lost to the Giants:  2008 and 2012.  (That would be election years, and those elections would be when Obama won.)  I’m not saying this is a “thus sayeth the Lord”; I’m just saying the parallels are a little startling.

God didn’t tell me who was going to the Super Bowl this year.  I asked, but He didn’t tell me.  He just told me to pay attention to what happens.  I speculated the Cowboys would go, as “America’s team”, considering Trump’s election.  When they got knocked out, I sat back and watched.  Pay attention to the words that were used to describe this game and one recurring word I heard was “historical”.  Remember that it was the game that broke a number of records:  first team to overcome a deficit larger than ten points, first game to go into overtime, first coach to win five Super Bowls, first quarterback to win five Super Bowls.

And then I looked at some small details, like this:

  • Twelve is the number of divine government. (Brady’s #)
  • Patriots represent the citizens of a nation that uphold and pledge allegiance to the nation’s identity.  (think Constitution, original founding, spirit of intent, etc.)
  • Two is the number of division or separation*. (Ryan’s #)                                                              *(It also means witness or testimony.)
  • A falcon is a hawk that is trained to sport, and “falcon” is given to the female alone. The male hawk trained to sport is considered smaller, weaker, and less courageous and is called a tircelet or tarsel.  (from the 1828 first edition Webster dictionary)  So a falcon is a stalker or predator of female origin.

Again, this isn’t a “word from God” and I’m not saying God has told me this.  I am saying I have learned to watch and see how things unfold as God orders them.  Is it coincidental that the Patriots played the Falcons at a time our nation is divided (#2)?  Is it a coincidence that a falcon is a female hawk trained to sport and operating as a stalker or predator at the same time Hillary lost an election to a man who wants to give the people the power back (another Constitutional principle)?

Could we simplify it to say our nation is engaged in a battle between patriots in support of the Constitution and upholding the Constitutional Law of the land which preserves freedom, and predators seeking to destroy our freedoms, finances, and security?  That it is God’s government in battle against a divisive spirit?  (#12 vs. #2)

If God could possibly be speaking through any of this, what might we be able to learn?  If we base it loosely and look at it generally speaking, maybe we could observe that God has given the upper hand to the true Patriots for this season, and that the adversity is a predator (consider 1 Peter 5:8).  The first part of the battle had a stalemate, but the second quarter brought the predator ahead significantly (21-3).  The third quarter saw a modest attempt by the Patriots to regain ground while the predator gained some as well 28-9, while the last quarter saw a surge in Patriot ground gained, leveling the battle ground (28-28), and catapulting further battle in overtime.  The Patriots gained the victory in a historical relentless drive and historical conclusion.

Translation:  We should be encouraged.  We, the People, the patriots of the Constitution and the nation it serves, should be relentless and never give up in our advancement of righteousness in our nation.  The battle will look like we’re losing for awhile, but if we are relentless, we will come back.  Then the battle will be extended for a brief time and if we remain relentless and focused, we will get the victory.

At least that’s my take on Super Bowl LI.

 

 

Trump, Globalism & National Sovereignty…

Surely we are living in the immediate days before Christ’s return.  The signs are everywhere, and just as Christ and the prophets foretold, the mass of the people are ignorant of it.   The subject in this paper is globalism vs. national sovereignty, and the ongoing battle for control of the United States of America.

America seems about as divided as it could be, perhaps equaling the days leading up to and involving the Civil War.  The battle lines are not as clear, and the battle ground is muddy from propaganda, lies and half-truths.  I’m going to tell it like I see it and it will be difficult for some people to receive and/or even understand.  Regardless, this is my current viewpoint and understanding of what we’re facing, as 2017 kicks off with Trump at the helm and a fury of antagonists raging across our land.

Simply put, there are people who want to control the world as they see fit.  Money and power go hand in hand.  Money buys and corrupts power, and power takes money.  It’s an epic game of rock, paper, scissors, with two of the powers trying to eliminate the third.  If the third can be eliminated, really only one will remain.  For the sake of this allegory we’ll call it money, power and freedom.  If money and power can eliminate freedom, the battle is over because the money and power merge and there’s nothing left to overcome.  If freedom can manage the money and/or power, freedom will keep things better balanced, or at least keep money and/or power at bay.

Today, January 25, 2017 in America, we have a five-day old President who at his inauguration declared war on the establishment of political power in Washington D.C.  He said, and I quote,

“…today we are not merely transferring power from one Administration to another, or from one party to another – but we are transferring power from Washington, D.C. and giving it back to you, the American People.”

Why, oh why, did a huge percentage of Americans NOT rejoice at those words??  This is the closest thing to the American spirit that I have heard in my lifetime, and in my studies of history, I can’t recall a time so epic.  (And there are some epic times in America’s history!)

This President has basically waged war on the establishment.  To understand the ramifications of this, you have to have some understanding of what the “establishment” is.  The establishment is not the Democratic Party and it’s not the Republican Party.  It’s a small group of people who may identify with one of those parties or the other, but their agenda is the same.  Their agenda is to own the wealth of the world and control its population.  And they have a massive game plan to accomplish this.  They don’t care which political party is in the White House.  It’s irrelevant to them.  They use their wealth and their power to control, intimidate, bribe, blackmail, or kill to meet their objectives.  From my own studies, there hasn’t been an American President since Woodrow Wilson that was not controlled and/or run by them.

IF Trump cannot be controlled by them, America is in the best place it has been since the early 1900s.  Their tentacles are far-reaching and they have agents in almost every possible sphere they can (CIA, FBI, NASA, military, House, Senate, DHS, etc.)  Some of Trump’s appointments seem weak (comparatively) or controversial, but at a nominal glance I’m encouraged because they seem to be outside the establishment circle.

In a perfect world, globalism would make sense:  “the belief or advocacy that political policies should take worldwide issues into account before focusing on national or state concerns”.  [Encarta]  If all nations and all areas of the world had the same objectives of honoring life, personal liberty, and the overall well-being of humanity, this would be somewhat simpler to do.  However, this is not the case.  Realistically, personal responsibility MUST take place before a corporate vision can be successful.

Our family decided to adopt a child out of the state system.  We brought the child into our home.  The child refused to follow our rules.  The child was violent and destructive, deceptive and two-faced.  The child began very damaging behaviors to our children already in the home.  It was with excruciating emotional angst that we had to discuss the possibility that maybe we should NOT take this child in.  We wanted to give the child a home.  Our family was willing to love and support this child, but this child was unwilling to alter behavior or thoughts to be healthy in our home.  We made the extremely difficult and painful choice to NOT adopt this child after all.  The health of our family was at stake.  The lives of other children would be so altered (was already happening) as to change their course.  We simply could not do it.  Globalism would have done it.  That’s the difference between globalism and national sovereignty.

Had we gone ahead with the adoption, the dynamics of our family would have changed drastically and dramatically in the coming months and years, altered actually for the rest of our time on earth.  Abuse was a part of this scenario, and abuse carries afflicters and victims with their varying circumstances.  Our family identity would not be the same.  Ever.  As the head of our home, we had to decide to take care of the needs in our family first, and not damn the needs of our family for the sake of the destruction that would come simply from embracing things counter to our convictions.

Nations are nations because of cultural needs and identities.  A people group that associate with one another form a nation, set up a boundary and governing laws, and then protect those boundaries in an effort to protect its citizens.  That’s healthy.  Boundaries are enforced and protected from those with harmful or destructive intentions.  That’s healthy.  The needs of my family may not be the same as the needs for yours.  Am I supposed to alter my family’s needs to accommodate yours?  I happen to follow the God of ancient Israel, the Creator of earth.  If you follow the gods of Egypt, should I have to embrace your gods in my family?  It would change the construction and fabric of our identity.  Liberty tells me I should be able to worship my God and not have to worship yours.  Globalism tells me I have to incorporate your beliefs into my own.  And whoever is in power can then tell everyone what beliefs are to be adhered to.

Now if I decide I don’t like my current beliefs but like yours, then I can change my mind and I might want to move to become your close family friend to appease my new beliefs.  That’s called changing citizenship.  With personal autonomy and national sovereignty, we can do that.  We have that choice.  I just move to the country, state or neighborhood that aligns better with my new convictions.  With globalism, that change is unnecessary and not possible because we’re put under one umbrella and must placate and acquiesce to whatever the standing rule is.  There’s no protection for personal liberty in globalism.  There’s no room for personal growth.  The rule of thumb becomes what’s best for the community, and what’s best for the community is dictated by the ones with the power (which usually equates to those with the money).

America was the great experiment in personal liberty.  And that experiment has afforded generations of Americans to exercise their rights in ways other parts of the world had never had the opportunity to do.  It grew a nation of inventors and creators and scientists and authors (and the list goes on and on), and a nation that quickly rose to the top of affordable living, affluence, accessibility to needs and wants, and was dubbed the “land of opportunity” because it was founded on personal liberty.  [And yes, many of those liberties were fought for, i.e. race and gender issues, etc., and yes there is much blight on our record, but our record still stands above every other nation of the world.]

Freedom is the enemy of absolute power.  Period.  And there is a growing group of people who want absolute power.  They have diligently passed this baton on down several generations in the ultimate desire to have ultimate control for personal gain, at the expense of those they are attempting to control or govern.

As a Christian this is so easily identified in God.  God is the ultimate power.  He created all things and has power over all things.  Yet He has given His creation freedom and chooses to not intervene with His power just to be “in control”.  We are not His puppets.  We are not killed or waylaid if we do not act in accordance with His character.  My belief or unbelief in Him does not change His purposes or His plans.  As Christ said, “He sends the rain on the just and the unjust.”

The spirit behind those who would want ultimate power and control is completely contradictory to God, who has ultimate power and control yet chooses to yield it in favor of personal liberty.  (This is why Christianity is so offensive to Islam.  We do not require your beliefs and we do not demand your allegiance.  We give you the information we have and let you choose.)  The spirit of globalism is the antithesis of freedom.  It destroys individuality and creativity.  Its agenda is power and control over people, but it masquerades as a “community” idea.

Globalism is the spirit of Babylon.  This is Genesis 11 and Revelation 17-18.  It is a people who do not want the rule of God.  They want to call the shots, and they don’t want anyone to tell them their shots are in conflict with God.  So they silence, contain, and/or eliminate the opposition.  The American spirit and the Constitution of the U.S. give its citizens the freedom to believe as they believe and do as they are convicted, as long as their beliefs and convictions don’t harm another.  The globalist spirit will dictate beliefs by dictating laws aimed at behaviors, and this works well if you’re of the same convictions as the globalists’ laws.  If not, you have no liberty to do or believe differently.

Trump’s first actions were to secure national sovereignty.  He removed the U.S. from TPP, which gives America sovereignty back in its trade policies, and not under the rule of a non-American entity.  He is renegotiating (with the threat of removing America altogether) NAFTA to restore America’s sovereignty to dictate its own trade arrangements.  He instated a temporary ban on Middle East refugees in order to vet the immigration process more diligently for the security of America.  These are areas the prior POTUS and the establishment set out to strip America of its power and wealth.  If America can be stripped of its power and wealth (remember the rock, paper, scissors analogy?), it can be stripped of its ability to ensure freedom and can be removed as a hindrance to the globalist agenda to rule the world.

Unfortunately, the screaming tantrum voices of an ignorant population of Americans are insistent on making this election about personal pet issues.  Obamacare was designed to ultimately fail, but not until it had stripped Americans of their wealth and the federal budget of its wealth.  Trump wants to repeal Obamacare and replace it with healthcare that is not contingent solely on the federal government.  He wants to enable states to meet the need of its citizens’ healthcare.  We’ve mastered the art of being offended in America this past decade.  We’re so busy being offended we’re unable to see what’s really going on.  Obamacare was never about providing healthcare to American citizens.  It was about removing autonomy from doctors, removing wealth from citizens and private sectors, and dictating mandates while stripping its citizens of their voice.

The media is owned and run by the establishment.  They direct our attention where they want it to be and deliberately misinform areas they can’t completely hide or control.  There is a deliberate effort to divide Americans, and depicting scenarios that trigger emotional responses to people’s pet issues (that have really just become idols) seems the easiest way to fool the people.  People jump on these bandwagons with personal offenses and neglect to see they’ve played right into the establishment’s hands, like puppets on a string.

As Christians, we need to seize this opportunity before us as the Israelites did when Cyrus proclaimed Jerusalem was to rebuild the house of the Lord.  The Scripture plainly says “the Lord stirred up the spirit of Cyrus” and the people were called to respond.  Not everyone responded, just those who understood the significance of the moment.  While the details are different, the essence is the same.  God has moved to stay the hand of the globalist agenda in America; we must respond.  The spirit of globalism will prevail until our Lord’s return, but He plainly says He will bring this spirit down.  (Revelation 18)  We do not need to declare America a “Christian nation”.  That is unnecessary and will stir up the opposition faster than anything.  We simply need to BE a nation of Christians.  We need to live according to the mandates of our faith.  We are to be the city on a hill, the light of the world, the salt of the earth.  Then those who are lost will go to the hill, those who are blind will go to the light, and those who are tired of the drudgery of the world will go get salt.

The Scriptures are pretty clear about how this is going to go down.  We’re going to be co-laboring for Christ at the same time the world is partnering with darkness.  It’s all going to be going on at the same time when He returns.  (Matthew 24:36-51) Christians are ambassadors of Christ.  (Ephesians 6:20)  We represent Him, His interests, and His Kingdom in the nation we’re a foreigner to.  We don’t really have the same customs as the world we’re posited in, but we exist there anyway until Christ brings our Kingdom.  God ordained the nations and gave them their boundaries (Deut 32:8, Acts 17:26), and America is ours.  We are to “occupy until He [Jesus] comes” (Luke 19:13) – and “occupy” there means “to busy oneself with, i.e. to trade” (Strong’s).  So we’re to be busy with our trades, our gifts and abilities, being light and salt, declaring the Kingdom of God as we know it, and representing Christ here in America.

Time is short.  Let’s be about our King’s business.

 

 

 

 

 

From Experiencing the Depths of Jesus Christ by Jeanne Guyon.  This is actually an epilogue from the publisher (The Seed Sowers) that I am quoting from, and the personal author’s name is withheld.  I quote from pages 147-151, 153-158 – I left out the sections referring to the book, for simplicity here.  (yes, a lengthy quote, but necessary for gaining context and perspective):

THE PRESENT STATUS OF SPIRITUAL EXPERIENCE IN THE CHURCH

Since the end of the first century, no century has excelled in spiritual depth.  In fact, most centuries since then have been very, very shallow indeed with only a handful of gloriously shining lights — usually no more than a few dozen men and women — to illumine the darkness.

This era — the one you and I live in — has proven to be, unquestionably, the most Bible-centered age since the days of the Pharisees; it also rivals their age for being one of the least in emphasizing spiritual depth!  (And men today get just as disturbed as men of that former age did, when someone points out that fact!)

Nor is that the only record our age has set.  We are setting a whole raft of records.  For instance, until today the 1500s have generally held the trophy for being the most financially corrupt age in church history.  That was the day you could — for cash — have your sins erased right out of God’s ledgers.  We don’t do that, but with our mass mailing, business reply envelopes, four color brochures, foundations, tax exempt status, and sermons on stewardship, by the time he is 35 years old, many ministers of the gospel have become some of the best promoters and fund raisers around.

The same can be said for intellectualism.  The 1700s have usually been considered the high water mark of intellectualism in the Christian faith, but today more men walk the earth with doctorates in theology than in any other age.  Unsatisfied with the spiritual depth this intellectual climate has produced, these men cry out that the solution is more, better, and higher Christian education.  This is an endless age of endless reams of books and papers on endless varieties of subjects, an age that produces men who deliver mind-boggling lectures on the doctrine of prayer and yet know little of its deeper experience.  This age has, generally, never known Christ in a deep way.  Sophisticated, disdainful, sterile and passionless, we have wrenched from the hand of the 1700s the trophy for the most intellectual age in church history.

The era between 1100 and 1400 has generally been considered the darkest and most corrupt in church history, an age when the papacy went to the highest bidder and the church was the most powerful political and financial force on the earth.

But we live in a day when churches look like storybook castles.  Servants of God today, looking back upon the first century worker’s idea of owning nothing throughout his whole life, might view such an ideology as cultish.  They are quite unlike their fathers, the early Christians, who were the natural enemies of their community, who fought for the privilege of living their whole lives owning nothing but the clothes on their backs, and who gloried in dying as might a pauper.

Those of us who are serving the Lord “full time” in this age should prepare ourselves for being remembered, as a whole, as being the wealthiest, most commercial, sophisticated, worldy-minded materialistic and comfortable men in the whole history of religion.

There is one more trophy which this age — above any other — will win (that is, unless a radical change takes place very soon).  In every era of church history there have been recorded names of a few devout men and women whose hallmark was awesome spiritual depth and utter devotional abandonment.  There were such men even during the bleakest days the dark ages ever witnessed.  In every age there have always been at least a few men who knew Him in the depths.  Will our age slip by with no such testimony?  From a purely historical viewpoint, we must be categorized as the most universally shallow believers ever to cross the pages of history.

It is my studied judgment that some future generation will deem this to be the darkest century, in spiritual depth and spiritual experience, in church history — that is, unless something very radical happens along …. soon.

More corrupt than the dark days before Luther; more impotently intellectual than during the heyday of Calvinism; more financially perverted than the days that caused John the Baptist to explode; more intoxicated with the drive for spiritual power than any age, yet exercising that outward power with less internal transformation than anyone since King Saul; enamored with the gifts, yet hardly knowing the Giver, our age has produced the most commercial, materialistic, fad-oriented people ever to claim His name.

Is this assessment a little too harsh?  I would respond to you by pointing to one last trophy this age may win:  We seem to be more totally blind to the deprivation of our spiritual depth than all other centuries lumped together.

It is true we have built more buildings and founded more religious organizations than all the past eras combined.  It is true that today’s Christianity has won more men to Christ than all other ages combined, but it is also just as true that those converts have set new records for the short length of time they have followed the Lord with abandoned devotion.

If past church history is any guide, we can optimistically look for some sort of a turnaround.  Spiritual depth is due for a return!  ……

THE ISSUE OF THIS AGE

Jeanne Guyon once made the observation that in every era God raises a spiritual issue.  During Paul’s life it was “works and faith”.  Every age since then has also had its controversy; and in every age since Constantine, our God has set about restoring those precious experiences of the early church that had been lost.  In her own age God used Jeanne Guyon to raise the issue of the indwelling Christ.  That is, that the Lord is within you — working from the inside out — that you can know Him and experience Him by living in that inner chamber where He makes His home.  (It would still make a good issue today!)  She raised the issue of the interior Christ.

But God did not stop raising issues with the 17th Century.  He raises yet other issues; He is a restoring God.

Is there a spiritual issue in our age?

Well, if there is not, there should be!  If men and women today, by the thousands, began experiencing the depths of Jesus Christ in a real and transforming way, there would be simply no place for their experience to fit in the present-day rites of Christianity, be they Protestant or Catholic forms.  Neither movement is presently structured to contain a mass of devoted people who walk in spiritual depths.  Or, to put it another way, both movements are structured toward other emphases; it is, by nature, a structure that hinders the torrents of unleashed love meant to be poured out on God.  The very element, the very soul, the very composition and structure of present day Protestantism and Catholicism frustrate a deep encounter with the living God!

When you visualize a people who love Christ with a passion, who are utterly abandoned to Him, a people who know Him well and know nothing else on earth but Him, does a Sunday morning church service come to your mind?  A people such as I have just described simply cannot fit — not for long anyway — into the structured mold of mainstream Christianity.

A revival of an experience of Christ in the depths will naturally issue into a longing for this indefinable thing sometimes called “church life”.

What is “church life”?  I do not know how to give a definition, but it is the church glorious, stunning and all-consuming; the church jealous, devouring your whole life; the church magnetic, claiming every moment of your being; the church living and free; the church winged in flight.  Not a place, but a people — living in the heavenlies, constantly consumed with Him and blind to all else.  The church as she once was, ought to be, can be, will be!  A bride — passionate, wooing and madly in love with her Lord and her Love.  A people who know and experience Him!

Consider this dear reader:  Jesus Christ loves you.  He saved you.  You love Him.  That is one reason you are reading this book:  to know Him better.  You, an individual, wish to know Him.  But God never intended for you to pursue Him solely as an individual.

Please remember that half the New Testament is written to churches not individuals!  (Laying aside the four biographies of the Lord, nearly all the New Testament is addressed to churches.  Churches:  vibrant, free, loose.  Churches that met in homes, whose people shared each other’s lives and loved one another — and their Lord — indescribably.)  Those churches were incredible — not so much in being free of problems, or in being morally perfect, but in their corporate, daily pursuit and experience of Jesus Christ, in the sheer joy of knowing Him together, daily, constantly.

May this become the issue of someone’s age!  Yes, the issue of the restoration of the experience of that beautiful thing called the church.

You and I have no alternative if we plumb the infinite depths of Jesus Christ; eventually we will be driven to the issue of the life of the church.  God’s ultimate desire is not that you be rich and happy, or that you have a nice devotional life, or a thousand other things you might think.  Reread the record.  The passion, the centrality of the Scripture is Christ and the church.  You and I cannot know Christ as we should without also knowing the living experience of the church.

You cannot have salvation without a living Christ.  You cannot have the full ends of the deeper Christian life without a living experience of Christ and a living walk inside the experience of church life.

God simply set up His grand design with Christ and the church as the center.  He made it the very nature of things.  You can fight it if you choose but you cannot beat it; God made Christ and the church central.  That fact is in the very bloodstream of the universe.  You can try some other approach, but it won’t work.  You are moving against God’s designs.  Christ and the church are the sum total of God’s schemes.  The universe flows in that direction; any other way is upstream.

You need Christ — not in your mind, but in a consuming encounter.  You need the church — not as a stone building, but the very outliving of your whole day, your whole life.

So, dear reader, this book goes forth for all of God’s people, but this time it goes forth mostly for those who wish to experience the depths this book speaks of in the context of the life of the church.  It will be only the Christian who places himself in the atmosphere of church life who will know the full depths of Christ.  It seems the Lord made things so that His fullness is known only there.

The Old Testament told all about Christ, but when men of old read the Old Testament, they did not see Him there.  God is like that.  He keeps His highest revelation slightly veiled.  Why?  So men will not trample it underfoot.

But then one day Christ came!  All at once God lifted the veil.  Men could turn to the Old Testament and so easily see Christ all through it!  But at the same time God lifted the veil on the old, He did something else!  He placed a veil over the new.  While Christ lived on the earth, men who heard Him could not quite get the full meaning of His words.  Christ was veiled to all except His handful of disciples (and even His disciples did not fully understand Him until their Lord came into them).

Since the days of Constantine (325 A.D.), a great deal of God’s original purpose has been lost.  Since the Reformation, since Luther, God has been restoring those things, but He continues the principles of veiling His present work on the earth.  While He lifts the veil on the last thing He restored, He turns and veils His newest activity.  He does this to keep the things dear to Him from being cheapened.

We are told, for instance, that 80 percent of all evangelical and fundamental teachings today came from the Plymouth Brethren movement of the early 1800s.  That seems to be an established historical fact.  But you could never have convinced theologians in the early 1800s that!

It was not until the mid-1800s that the mainstream of Christianity began to read the writings of the Brethren and, finally, realized the wealth that was there.  Forthwith ministers began preparing sermons based on what they read of Brethren writings.  The Sunday morning congregations were very impressed.  But structure could not handle everything the Brethren had said.  What they taught had to be watered down a bit to fit.

The problem was easily solved; men simply left out the main point.  (Now you know why God veiled His work among the Brethren for a whole congregation.)

But why did the Lord ever allow the work of the Brethren to come into public view anyway?  Why did He ever allow their wonderful insight and experience to become common and diluted?  It seems that when the Brethren’s message became good sermon material for Sunday morning sermons, their major contribution to church history began to end.

Why?  Because He had moved on.  God had moved on, leaving brethren as one of His past works.  He had moved on to do a work of recovery somewhere else, a deeper work, and a work hidden from full view.

The Lord has moved on through several Christian movements since then.  What is hidden in one generation is preached as Sunday sermons during the next generation.  The Lord then moves on, giving to a new work the original insight of the first and adding to that revelation…giving them whole new realms to discover, to experience, and to restore.

Today ministers all over the earth are proclaiming things revealed to obscure little groups of the last generation.

(Today’s ministers are also bringing breathtaking messages on things they know absolutely nothing about and have never experienced.  Essentially, they are repeating what they have read in books.  And the people sitting in the pews listening are very impressed.  The cutting edge, of course, has been left out.)

Do not mourn or weep.  It is all right.  Somewhere on the earth today our God is moving onto higher revelation and to new plateaus of restoration!

[End of Quote] This book can be purchased at

http://www.seedsowers.com/products/experiencing-the-depths-of-jesus-christ.html

National disasters and their relation to Israel…

There’s a biblically based theory that America’s dealings with Israel have direct consequences to America.  Various passages of Scripture are cited, like Obadiah 1:15 that reads, “For the day of the Lord is near upon all the heathen:  as thou has done [to Israel], it shall be done unto thee; thy reward shall return upon thine own head.”

It’s the premise that Israel is the apple of God’s eye and whoever touches Israel must deal with God.  (See Zechariah 2:8)  It’s the promise to Abraham of his seed (offspring):  “And I will bless them that bless you, and curse those who curse you.” (Genesis 12:3)

Jerusalem in particular seems to be a flash point.  God said through Zechariah, “In that day will I make Jerusalem a burdensome stone for all people:  all that burden themselves with it shall be cut to pieces, though all the people of the earth be gathered together against it.” (Zech. 12:3)

It’s unfortunate that the world pays little attention to the Word of God.  Nations and people could save themselves much pain and suffering if they only heeded His Word, corporately and individually.  The Bible is the world’s best-selling book of all time, and the most circulated and translated book of all time.  There are an estimated six billion copies of the Bible in circulation in the world today.  There are nations that people sacrifice everything to get a copy, and imprudent nations that have Bibles readily available yet do nothing with them.

That being said, within its pages are God’s plan and purposes for the nation of Israel.  Israel was God’s idea.  He took one man, Abraham, and blessed him for his faithfulness and belief in God.  From this one man he produced nations of people.  Israel is the namesake nation for Abraham, named after Israel’s grandson Jacob, who the Lord renamed “Israel”.  Jacob’s twelve sons made up the twelve tribes of the nation of Israel.  The actual history of Israel is fascinating, but too long to attempt even an overview of here.  Suffice to say, when the nation of Israel was dispersed (because of God’s judgment for their unfaithfulness to God), these nations spread out over the scope of the earth and became other nations with other names.  The modern day nation of Israel is actually Judah, from the people from the tribe of Judah, commonly referred to as “Jews”.  That means there are eleven other tribes scattered across the earth that have actually become their own nations.  (Yes, America is one of them.)

The land of Israel, however, is under a perpetual covenant with God.  Its boundaries were given to it when God authorized its formation.  Its boundaries are actually much larger than its modern-day boundaries.  That peoples existed on the land before the nation of Israel was founded is obvious, and that other peoples existed and dwelled on the land after Israel’s dispersion is also obvious.  However, if one would heed the Word of God, one would learn that God has specific boundaries for the nation of Israel and those boundaries matter to Him.  Point in case is the re-formation of Israel after thousands of years of exile.  All of the matters of the land of Israel and the people of Israel were prophesied in the Bible centuries before they came to pass, and they came to pass as it was written.  Therefore the peoples that claim the land God authorized and covenanted to Abraham’s offspring, have no authority for being there and are quite literally trespassing.  Now they can be there at invitation, but they have no authority to claim the land as their own.

Whoever fights against these things is quite literally fighting against God.

In Sunday School, May 22, 2011, I said to the group, “Watch the news.  Some sort of disaster should be hitting America soon.”  About seven hours later the Joplin tornado hit and 116 people were killed, making it the deadliest tornado in American history.  How did I know something was going to happen?  Because on Friday, May 20, 2011, Obama called on Israel to divide its land and put their borders back to their 1967 borders.  When we interfere with Israel’s land, we face judgment on ours.  It was not me being super-spiritual, it was just me observing the patterns and predicting the next one based on past ones.

Another example?  In 2005, at America’s prompting and political pressure, Israel removed ten thousand Jews from twenty-five settlements in Gaza.  It’s not what they wanted to do, but because of the pressure from America to do so to be “politically correct”, they acquiesced.  The evacuation and removal of these Jewish settlements took seven days and were completed on August 22, 2005.  On September 21 twenty-one Gaza settlements were handed over to the Palestinians, making it the largest evacuation in modern history of Jews in their own land.  When the Palestinians took the settlements over, they looted and burned it all to the ground, starting with the churches.

On August 23, when the last of the Jews were removed from their land, a tropical storm over the Bahamas was upgraded to a level one hurricane called Katrina.  By August 29, Katrina was a level five hurricane with a diameter of 375 miles.  The damage from this storm was unprecedented in America’s hurricane history.  It destroyed entire neighborhoods, leveled 120,000 buildings and 70% of the city’s structures.  Similarities between the Israeli evacuations of their settlements and New Orleans’ evacuation of its citizens are startling.

Coincidence?  Maybe one time is a coincidence.  Maybe even two.  But when you look at the history of disasters to America within days of devastating interference in Israel’s land and protection, the coincidences become obvious patterns.  The Word of God is true and man is the liar.  Many of these “coincidences” are documented in John P. McTernan’s book As America has Done to Israel.  It’s worth the read.  The evidence is damning.  The movie “The Perfect Storm” was another true example of disaster hitting America after its meddling in Israel’s affairs.  Read chapter nine of McTernan’s book to see historic example after example of America’s interference and the consequential disasters that follow.  [pages 147-207]

Not convinced?  Really research Japan’s stance against Israel’s developments, and their support of Palestinian developments and the devastating consequence for their nation that came from a historic earthquake/tsunami in the spring of 2011.  An excellent research of it can be found at https://janmeador.wordpress.com/2011/03/13/japans-earthquake-tsunami-the-hand-of-god/.

Natural disasters are not normally manipulated or caused by human hands.  They’re still the way the Creator of the earth can demonstrate His thoughts, if you will.  It’s not to say that every disaster that hits our soil is because of affairs with Israel, but when it becomes devastating in the areas of lives lost, damages to civilizations, and dollars in damages, it’s a good idea to see where maybe we have displeased or angered God.  It’s a great idea to actually read His Word to see if we’re conducting our lives in manners that bring His blessings or curses.

The Days of Lot – part one

It was the same as happened in the days of Lot: they were eating, they were drinking, they were buying, they were selling, they were planting, they were building; but on the day that Lot went out from Sodom it rained fire and brimstone from heaven and destroyed them all.  It will be just the same on the day that the Son of Man is revealed.

Luke 17:28-31  NASU

It will be as the days of Noah, the days of Lot, when the Lord of lords, King of kings, Messiah and Son of God is revealed on the earth.  Lot, the man who picked the more fertile land to settle in when given the choice by Abraham.  Lot, the man whose wife was turned into a pillar of salt for looking at what the angel said not to.  Lot, the man whose daughters got him drunk so they could have sex with him and propagate the family line.  Lot, who Peter called righteous…  (not what I was thinking of calling him).

Lot…an example our Lord gave of what earth would look like at His return.  Why is this the analogy the Lord uses at the most pivotal time the earth will see since the Cross was raised?  Lot…the days of Lot.  Our Lord depicts a normal life going on, look:  commerce, trade, futures, building and planting!  Normal life going on when the Son of Man is revealed.  NORMAL activities.  Not the cataclysmic Armageddon the Left Behind series depicts.  And why did God select two times on earth to equate the setting for His return:  the days of Noah, and the days of Lot?

I was disturbed when I read about God rescuing “righteous Lot”.  What did He mean “righteous”??  He settled in Sodom – the hot seat for sin in the territory.  He offered his daughters to the men of the city who wanted to rape the angels!  What is righteous about that?!?

Oh the mysteries of God!  Oh the deep counsel of His heart!  If only we would learn to pursue His heart for His understanding, to cry out for His wisdom, wouldn’t our lives be radically changed?  Peter had insight into this, look:

For if God did not spare angels when they sinned, but cast them into hell and committed them to pits of darkness, reserved for judgment;  and did not spare the ancient world, but preserved Noah, a preacher of righteousness, with seven others, when He brought a flood upon the world of the ungodly;  and if He condemned the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah to destruction by reducing them to ashes, having made them an example to those who would live ungodly lives thereafter;  and if He rescued righteous Lot, oppressed by the sensual conduct of unprincipled men (for by what he saw and heard that  righteous man, while living among them, felt his righteous soul tormented day after day by their lawless deeds), then the Lord knows how to rescue the godly from temptation, and to keep the unrighteous under punishment for the day of judgment,  and especially those who indulge the flesh in its corrupt desires and despise authority.

2 Peter 2:4-10a  NASU

And this is where we gain insight and counsel:  Lot saw and heard lawless deeds all about him, and it tormented his soul.    The activities that were going on in his city, in his society, his environment, were oppressive and disturbing to someone who was trying to live righteously.  He was “vexed with the filthy conversations of the wicked” according to the King James.  The original Greek would indicate vexed as worn down with toil, labored, filthy as licentiousness, and conversations as behavior [see Strong’s Concordance].  The New American Standard translated this as “oppressed by the sensual conduct of unprincipled men”, but the richness of the original language is slightly obscured by this translation.

Now, what does it look like, what does it feel like, to be worn down by continual talk and behaviors that are filthy, sexually immoral?  Apparently this behavior was so vexing to Lot, who was posited in the midst of this culture, that he would do the unthinkable:  offer his virgin daughters to wicked men!  Apparently his soul was so tormented by this culture that his only solution was to try to straighten what was crooked, i.e. put the right and natural thing in their midst to offset the perverted wickedness.  And Peter, through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, called this man righteous.  (in right standing with God)  Surely this is just a little mind-numbing to ponder!

But these days of Lot, these days of perversion and wickedness and no barometer for righteousness, these are the days that will be on the earth at the return of Christ.  But wait!  Sodom and Gomorrah were destroyed “as an example for those who would live ungodly lives thereafter”!  Basically the Word of God is telling us:  you’ve been warned!

Now the emphasis I’m intending isn’t really the sexual deviances of our culture, as that’s a given and obvious.  It’s the other part Christ refers to:  “they were eating, they were drinking, they were buying, they were selling, they were planting, they were building…”  In the midst of a corrupt society!  The righteous are settled in the midst of these societies!  The righteous are vexed by the corruption!  Society is carrying on in its normal activities, doing the work thing, the home thing, the family thing, the friend thing, the growing thing, and simultaneously the society has vexing sexual deviances in its midst that is hostile to right living.  Perversions are abounding in the midst of a “normal” society; all this is co-existing with the righteous in its midst.

Be careful.  We are living in the days of Noah and in the days of Lot.  Yes, it can get worse.  Yes, it can get plainer (for those with eyes to see), but it is still here right now, in this place and at this time.  Sexual deviances abound, we’re still buying and selling, building and planting, marrying, eating and drinking, and the righteous are vexed, worn down toiling against the corrupt systems of the earth.  As Daniel [12:10 NASU] said, “…but the wicked will act wickedly; and none of the wicked will understand, but those who have insight will understand.”   The wicked will continue being wicked, and only those with insight or wisdom will understand.  The time is nearly ripe for the return of our King.