Wednesday, December 23, 2015

CHRISTMAS REFLECTIONS - MOHAWKS, SINGING ANGELS?, AND MY SAVIOR JESUS CHRIST


                                            Merry Christmas, Christmas Card       


   Christmas is upon us once more and we will be very busy with church events, singing Christmas trees, shopping, baking cookies and mailing cards, all Christmas staples in America.  We will have sung Hark the Herald Angels Sing so often that it will seem like gibberish, much like when you repeat a word over and over until it stops making sense. We will run out to stores, "one more time" to get "one more thing" numerous times and still feel like we left someone out.  Anyone with more than one child knows how hard it can be to balance gifts evenly, our family has 5+1 this year as we have the welcome edition of a new son(in law).

      I remember back when I was in high school, it was popular to shave the sides of your head, just "a little bit."  I asked my sister to shave my sides...just "a little bit"(it was the 80's), and as she worked at keeping both sides even, "a little bit" became more and more until I ended up with an unintended Mohawk!  Evening out gifts for 5 kids can be just like that.  Every year, my wife and I agree to keep Christmas simple. Everybody gets just "a little bit."   We have a set amount of money to spend each year and every year we second guess the amount of gifts we have for each child and every year we attempt to even it up until... well it's the equivalent that  Mohawk my sister gave me, by the time we are done.  We always seem to end up going much further than we ever planned.

   In the midst of all the hustle and bustle(what exactly is bustle, anyway?), we strive to keep the true meaning of Christmas at the fore front.  So easily, Christ, the namesake of Christmas, gets lost in the shuffle of events, get togethers, and gift giving.   Our family makes a birthday cake for Jesus, even though we are fully aware that He was definitely not born on December 25, and we have a time of prayer and Bible reading.  This seems like the least we can do amidst all the tearing of wrapping paper and consuming of foods in quantities we would never even consider, any other time of year.

    Christmas Eve service, with at least one more rousing sing-a-long of Hark The Herald Angels Sing, is also an important part of our observance.  Oddly enough, though there is not one instance of a singing angel in the scripture, we sing a veritable stocking full of songs about singing angels every Christmas.  There is, however, something special and sacred about going to church on Christmas Eve.  Even people who only go to church once or twice a year find it important to attend church on the night before Christmas. This is also a great opportunity for the local church to love on visitors and encourage them to come back on Sundays.  In my self righteousness and pride, I once felt resentful toward the Christmas and Easter crowd, now, I am glad they come out and worship, and hope to give them a reason to come back and especially hope they make a lasting connection to Christ.

    To all my regular readers, I would like say THANK YOU! from the bottom of my heart, for taking the time to read my rants and rambles all year long.  I would also like to wish you all a very Merry Christmas and a Blessed New Year!  Thank you to those who comment and feedback on what I write.  Jesus loves you and I do what I do because He has given me so much and I know He has much to bless anyone who believes.  Looking forward to 2016 and seeing God's plan for His people!

Thursday, December 17, 2015

STAR WARS: THE FORCE AWAKENS - REVIEW AND COMMENTARY -- WARNING **SPOILERS**

         THE PERFECT MIX OF OLD AND NEW CHARACTERS                BRINGS BALANCE TO THE FORCE AWAKENS
                                     
                                               Robot, R2D2, Model, Toys, Planet, Pave

 went to see The Force Awakens with my boys.  5 stars, two thumbs up, and any other A+ rating a movie can earn.  If you are hesitant to see the new Star Wars Episode VII, do not hesitate, GO SEE IT!  J.J. Abrams has recreated every thing you ever loved about the Star Wars universe and seems to have gotten it right on every level.  I liked Episode VII as much as, if not more, than Episodes V and VI. This is a very worthy sequel  to A New Hope.

      The Force Awakens feels like Star Wars and captures the magic of the original trilogy.  The opening scroll and large ship of the first minutes of the film made me feel as if I was visiting a place of nostalgia and gave me a warm feeling, immediately going into the film. The new characters are likable and well developed, while the presence of many of original cast "brings balance" to The Force Awakens.  J.J. Abrams has done for Star Wars what Peter Jackson did for Lord of the Rings.  While Lucas defecated on his own source material, Abrams stayed true to the original formula and gave the new Trilogy relevance where Episodes I-III are nearly complete throw aways.

     Story line wise, the plot if Episode VII has many similarities to the original Episode IV but the main plot of finding Luke Skywalker is fresh and keeps with the original plot of Episodes IV-VI, which were really the story of Luke Skywalker.  The humor is not overlplayed nor annoying but is a welcome break in the tension created by the new villain, Kylo Ren, grandson of Darth Vader.  The most shocking moment in the film is not discovering that Kylo Ren is Han Solo's son Ben, but that Ren so easily murders Han Solo.  Harrison Ford had campaigned to kill off Han Solo back in Episode V but Lucas did not want to harm merchandising opportunities. Ford finally got his wish in a very spectacular scene, here in Episode VII.

   
     TFA picks up a number of years in the future from ROTJ.  Solo and Leia have married and produce a child, Luke became a Jedi Master, training a new generation of Jedi until the evil empire re-emerges as the First Order and Ben Solo is recruited by the dark side of the force and kills all the young Jedi.  At this point, Luke does as his previous masters did before him, he flees to another planet to live in seclusion.  A young orphan and a renegade Storm Trooper team up and join the search for Skywalker.  Han Solo, Chewbacca, R2D2, C3PO, Luke, and even the voice of Obi Wan make a comeback and none disappoint.  Coming in at just over 2 hours and 15 minutes, TFA holds your attention throughout, even during my second viewing, right up to the last scene where we finally see Luke Skywalker in his seclusion.  Though the scene was completely predictable, it still riveted the viewers and garnered cheers from the sell out theater crowd.


      The Force Awakens brought old characters you know and love, while introducing new characters that do not annoy.  No Jar Jars in this film!  After the first viewing, I went 2 days later with my wife. Yeah, it was that good.

     When I first saw Peter Jackson's LOTR, I left the theater and went to the book store.  I could not wait 3 years to find out how LOTR ended.  I do not have that luxury with the new Star Wars films.  I have no choice but to wait as Abrams and Disney craft the rest of the films.  I am anxiously awaiting the next installment.  Abrams has restored balance to the Star Wars universe and revived a beloved franchise that was almost destroyed by it's own creator.  My wife said, after viewing TFA, that she is more of a Star Wars fan than ever before!

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

ISIS TESTS AMERICAN THREAT RESPONSE AS L.A. TAKES THE BAIT

   Today, ISIS sent an e-mail to American cities threatening schools. Los Angeles County took the threat seriously and gave ISIS a peek at America's response and readiness.  In response to a threat involving machine gun fire and explosions, sent from an IP address in Frankfurt Germany, L.A. County shut down all schools.  Other cities received the same threatening e-mail, yet chose to ignore the threat as a hoax,  New York City, being the most notable.  L.A. County erred on the side of caution and cannot be faulted for protecting school children.  Officials in L.A. acted in the interest of public safety and I would feel much more secure in Southern California tonight than if I were living in the Big Apple.

     Unfortunately, ISIS gained a victory in L.A. as they were able to ascertain the response to a credible threat in a major city.  Undoubtedly, ISIS operatives were prepared, across the country, to study the response and precautions taken by law enforcement and Homeland Security in each city targeted.  Now they know.  Thank God no attack took place, and thank God the officials of L.A. County took measures to protect public safety, but now the enemy has valuable intel for a real attack.

     ISIS now knows how broad an attack has to be, at least in L.A., and other cities of similar size, to foment the most terror.  The attack in San Bernardino was much smaller, in scale, than the attacks in Paris.  The spineless attackers in San Bernardino fully expected to get away with their crime, yet were quickly tracked and gunned down by well prepared first responders.  Investigation into the shooting revealed that other attacks were planned .  Knowing that the Paris attacks were well coordinated and executed in multiple locations, simultaneously, one can only expect that ISIS has similar plans, on a much larger scale, for American cities.  All Americans need to be on alert for suspicious activities.  Presidential candidate Chris Christie said, "every place is a target," referring to potential attacks from Islamic terrorists.

     There is no surprise that the threatening e-mails came from Germany, as hundreds of thousands Syrian refugees have flooded that county in recent weeks, undoubtedly, ISIS operatives are among that number.  There can be no doubt that ISIS is planning a major attack in the United States. I believe today's false threat was an attempt by these terrorists to gather intelligence that they may attack on a scale sufficient to cripple an effective response from local and federal law enforcement.  Our country needs prayer, more than ever before, and we need to pray for our leaders and our men and women who are committed to protecting the safety of America at home and abroad.

Friday, December 11, 2015

ARE GLOBALISTS IN OUR GOVERNMENT USING ISLAM TO DISRUPT AMERICA?

   I fear that I may be guilty of playing into the Globalist's agenda.  I have been very critical of all who identify with Islam, writing posts condemning anyone who calls them self a Muslim.  Being part of a faith that has a massively large spectrum of adherents with, seemingly, polar extremes of belief and commitment, I should have realized that within Islam, the same exists.  On the far right of what calls itself Christianity, there are those who advocate eugenics and genocide, groups like Christian Identity, who are white supremacists.  On the other extreme of those who identify as Christian are cultural church goers who are born into a church lifestyle but couldn't find the Gospel of John with the table of contents.  I would daresay, an incredibly small percentage of the 80% of Americans who identify as Christian are truly born again.  The shape of our country attests to that.

     Within any faith system, there are spectrums of extremes, like the one noted above.  Islam is no different.  I have only known two Muslims in my life, neither of them were devout, one of them married a Jew, celebrates Christmas and has never read the Koran.  These guys are certainly not a threat to anyone.  Devout Muslims would certainly disavow both of them.  Unlike Christianity, where those who truly follow the teachings of Jesus try to love others and put others first, those who are truly devout, Koran following Muslims are commanded to overcome infidels and are only guaranteed heaven through martyrdom.  The question is, how many of those who identify themselves as Muslim are culturally Muslim and pose no threat and how many are devout enough to support Sharia Law and take up arms in holy Jihad?  We cannot know.  That is the dilemma.

WTF-➠-The-Dallas-Morning-News-➠-Is-Sharia-Law-In-Texas-Such-A-Bad-Thing1
groups like CAIR only fuel the fires of distrust
    By my experience, I would guess that the majority of people, in America, who identify as Muslim are not devout Koran abiding individuals.  Just as in Christendom, so to in Islam, most people are American's first, pursuing the American dream, and faithful to their religious creed as it is convenient.  This describes Americans.  The balance of power in the American Muslim community is shifting. As devout, Koran following Middle Eastern Muslims enter America at unprecedented levels, the risk for violence and terrorist behavior rises exponentially.  Cultural Muslims will be victimized along with everyone else, and sadly, as devout Islam raises the risk to Americans, cultural Muslims will become targets of hate crimes from non-Muslim extremists as well.

      A recent article in the Washington Post has caught my attention on this matter and changed my thinking, to some extent.  read article here  The article featured Muslims in the military and their concern with blatant anti-Islamic rhetoric from fellow soldiers, especially on social media.  My fear is that if we begin to marginalize all Muslims, and the citizenry begins to openly persecute, harass or attack Muslim neighbors, America will erupt into civil unrest, the likes of which has not been seen since the Kent State incident.  Civil violence in the streets will play right into the hands of the Globalist agenda, one world order, one world government.  Right now, the U.S. Constitution is a major obstacle to the Globalist agenda, but a civil uprising may be just the catalyst needed to give  the Globalists in power a chance to override U.S. Law and institute Martial Law.  An armed society is a society safe from tyranny. An irresponsibly armed society is in grave danger of losing the right to bear arms.  A civil uprising pitting the Islamic community against American Patriots would allow, even force, the government to move in and take away privately owned guns.

    Anti-Islamic sentiment is at an all time high in America, far greater than after 9/11.  Events like the ones in Paris and San Bernardino only serve to raise suspicion against the Muslim community.  Of particular note, is the fact that Muslim leaders who speak out against Islamic violence or who agree that measures need to be taken to protect American citizens against Islamic fueled terrorism are being forced to resign.   read about Imam in TX forced out for speaking out     Eventually, there will be no voice of reason in the Muslim community and will escalate, all due to the efforts of those in positions of power who have a nefarious one world agenda.

   This is a time for all Americans to remain calm.  This is an unprecedented opportunity for the Christian community to reach out to Muslim neighbors, in love, to share the Gospel and demonstrate the love of Christ.  Even as Islam is increasing across the globe at unprecedented levels, many Muslims are turning to Christ.  I have read numerous, first hand accounts, of former Muslims who had visions or dreams of Christ and then became Christians.  There are Christian missionaries risking their lives in Muslim countries, trying rescue the followers of Allah from the clutches of Satan.  Here in America, we are free to love, free to share and free to demonstrate the grace of God to the Muslim community, without fear of persecution or death.  The Lord wills that none should perish(2 Peter 3:9) and if we serve Him, we should will that none should perish as well.

     As Followers of Christ, it is imperative that we rise above knee jerk reactions and hate filled rhetoric.  Evil forces are attempting to bring about a desired outcome, but we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against powers and principalities.  Jesus commanded us to love out enemies.  Regardless of the designs of Globalists to create dissension in America, regardless of their attempts to allow terrorists into America, and regardless of the fact that Allah is Satan,   Christians are Christians first and Americans second.  If called upon by our nation to take up arms to defend America, we should, but aside from that, we are not called to foment or commit violence against fellow Americans. We have a right to defend ourselves, but we do not have a right, nor can we justify, initiating any kind of violent civil unrest.  In getting caught up in harassment, bullying or violent acts against our Islamic neighbors, we not only play into the hands of the One World Government crowd, but, more importantly, we become enemies of the Gospel, for it was Jesus who said, "You are with Me or against Me, he who is not gathering, scatters."  Let's gather for the cause of Christ and help lead our Muslim neighbors to the truth of the Gospel, let's not scatter and marginalize those who need salvation.  

Thursday, December 10, 2015

ASA KING OF JUDAH - HOW OBEDIENCE LEADS TO BLESSING AND SIN LEADS TO HARDSHIP

KING ASA'S REIGN DEMONSTRATES OUR, OFTEN, ROLLER COASTER FAITH

   I have previously written on the connection between obedience and blessing, CLICK HERE to read, and most recently, on the need for believers to tear down the high places of sin in our hearts.  CLICK HERE to read   Often, we find ourselves rollercoastering in our faith and walk with God.  We go through periods of great devotion and faith to periods of complacency and sometimes, even seasons of sin. The poignant account of King Asa of Judah demonstrates these points amazingly. 

Why should our spiritual life resemble this?

    Asa was the great great grandson of King David and ruled the kingdom of Judah for 41 years. King Asa's reign is a microcosm of the life of Israel, the church and individual believers, as we roller coaster through faith and experience God's blessing and His rod, alternately, as is warranted through our obedience and devotion.   Asa became king after his father, Abijah, who only reigned for 3 years. Asa's grandfather, Rehoboam, son of Solomon, lost the northern kingdom of Israel due to sin and mismanagement, while Abijah started reforms which reestablished the power of Judah, but it was Asa who completed the reforms and brought peace to the land... for 10 years.

    In the book of Kings, we read a quick account of King Asa's reign, and it tells us that Asa's heart was towards's the LORD all the days of his life.  While his heart may have remained true, he was not always careful to enforce God's law over the land in which he ruled.  The book of Chronicles gives us greater detail and insight into the reign of Asa.  When Asa began to reign, he made reforms in his country, removing all the detestable idols and pagan practices from the land, even deposing his own mother because of her idolatry.  As Asa sought the favor of God, and obeyed His commands, his kingdom prospered and Asa won great victories over his enemies.  The land was at rest for 10 years and the people began to lapse into bad habits, as their prosperity led them to a false sense of self reliance.  For 5 years, the nation reverted to paganism as Asa enjoyed peace and prosperity.  Asa's heart did not turn from God, he simply grew complacent in his faith.  Soon, conditions began to become such that war and pestilence ravaged the land.  

     As conditions in the kingdom worsened, a prophet came to Asa and reminded him of God's law and holiness.  Immediately, Asa repented of his spiritual complacency and sought the face of God, once again making much needed reforms in the land.  Soon, God restored peace to the land and all was well for bout 20 years.  After 20 years of peace, Asa, sought help from evil Syria, rather than God and Asa and his people paid dearly for it.  

As believers, we go through periods of crisis and periods of blessings.  In the crisis, we tend to cry out to God and repent of sin and seek His favor.  In times of blessing, we are in danger of becoming complacent in our faith, feeling self sufficient and thus, becoming less careful in our behavior.  The key to avoiding the trap King Asa fell into is keeping our faith at the center of our hearts and minds, regardless of our circumstances.  It is essential for the believer to hold firm to the promises of our faith.  It becomes so tempting for us to let down our guard against sin when things are going good.  It is in the good times that we are most vulnerable to attack and failure.

Discipleship and accountability are key in avoiding this pitfall.  Serving in our gift is also essential to our remaining grounded in faith.  Discipleship should be ongoing in the life of all believers, we should be discipling newer believers and being discipled by more mature saints.  We should have an accountability set up, where we actually answer to someone and have a confidant with whom we can share our struggles and victories.  Finding your gift and serving in it is also a vital part of a Christ centered life.

When we are busy serving in our God given capacity, we will purposely avoid obstacles to our success.  We will view sin as poison to our soul and recognize it's destructive power in our ability to serve God effectively.  When we become complacent in our faith, as Asa did, we will find ourselves excusing sin and indulging our flesh.  God's desire is for us to walk in spiritual victory, and this can only be done when we "seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness."  




Sunday, December 6, 2015

ON THE SHIELD OF FAITH AND BEING WORTHY OF THE GOSPEL OF CHRIST

   Often,(not nearly often enough!) as I read through the Bible, my heart becomes convicted and I have one of those "oh wow" moments that cause me to re-evaluate my walk with the Lord.  Back in my early days of Christian service, we called these "heavy revies", a short form way of saying we received a heavy revelation from God.  I have, lately, been thinking about the Shield of Faith which the Apostle Paul charges us to utilize as part of the whole armor of God.  Reading through 1 Thessalonians chapter 1 today, I received a heavy revy on faith and my being worthy of the Gospel of Christ.

      The passage that struck me is 1 Thessalonians 1:6-7 - And you became imitators of us and of the Lord, for your received the Word in much affliction, with the joy of the Holy Spirit, so that you became examples to all the believers in Macedonia and in Achaia.  

Here is a group of people to whom the message of salvation came in the midst of hardship and persecution, yet the Thessalonians embraced the truth without second thoughts or doubt.  I have received the truth of the Gospel in the midst of the ease and comfort of the American dream, and as soon as things do not go the way I expect or perceive they ought to, I begin to doubt and worry, to my great shame.

      Everyone has doubts at one time or another, and I am sure that one of the most heard prayers is "God, are you there?"  2015 has been a difficult year for me, spiritually.  I have been clinging to the Shield of Faith, and holding tight to the promises of God, even in the midst of doubt and worry.    One good thing I can say happened this year is the addition of my new Son in Law, who is more of a son in my heart than an In Law.  In the midst of this year I have had some true prayers of angst with God over certain passages of scripture that seem to promise certain things, of which I have not seen the manifestation, according to my expectations.  What I have to keep reminding myself is that I do not see the Big Picture and God is not my personal Genie in a bottle, my wish is not His command!  One of the biggest enemies of man is unrealistically made, unmet expectations.

      For all my knowledge that Christ called me to pick up my cross and follow Him, for all the passages that promise me hardship and opposition in this carnal world, for all my studies on the spirit world, in which I am reminded again and again that this is Satan's realm and my home is in heaven, some part of me still expects everything to go my way.  I am selfish and petulant.

Then I read a passage like the one above and God cuts my heart with the Sword of the Spirit and I realize just how good I really have it.  In the Middle East, right now, Christians are watching their children being brutalized and murdered by ISIS.  I shudder to think how my faith would hold up to any real persecution or crisis.  Thankfully, we are told in scripture that we are not given more than we can bear, and we will be given the right words to say when brought before opposing authorities!

   The real question I have to ask, at this point, is, am I worthy of the Gospel of Christ. Obviously, I do not deserve salvation as, by definition, salvation is unmerited grace bestowed upon me by God through the sacrifice of Christ, I understand that. Now, having attained this unmerited grace, I am called to live a life worthy of the sacrifice of Christ.  We are called, in numerous passages to walk in a manner worthy of the Gospel:

Ephesians_4:1  I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, 

Philippians_1:27  Only let your manner of life be worthy of the gospel of Christ, so that whether I come and see you or am absent, I may hear of you that you are standing firm in one spirit, with one mind striving side by side for the faith of the gospel, 

Colossians 1:10  so as to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God. 

1Thessalonians_2:12  we exhorted each one of you and encouraged you and charged you to walk in a manner worthy of God, who calls you into his own kingdom and glory. 

2Thessalonians_1:5  This is evidence of the righteous judgment of God, that you may be considered worthy of the kingdom of God, for which you are also suffering—

2Thessalonians_1:11  To this end we always pray for you, that our God may make you worthy of his calling and may fulfill every resolve for good and every work of faith by his power, 

    A major tool we have in this battle is the Shield of Faith:  Ephesians_6:16  In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one;

   Once we become believers, we are lost to Satan.  Satan then wants to neutralize us and not only keep us from serving Christ and making disciples, but to cause us to harm the cause of Christ by tempting us to exhibit unworthy behavior.  Being worthy of the Gospel is a multi-layered thing, like peeling an onion, except this onion is infinite with infinite layers, meaning, there is no point of arrival or attainment.  There will always be areas of my life that need work and sins, once conquered, may resurface unexpectedly.  Sanctification is a lifetime pursuit, outside the deluded Holiness movement, which teaches believers they can attain and sustain a sin free life through the Spirit.  This opens the door to all kinds of disappointment and self righteousness.  

By maintaining the Shield of Faith, I am able to withstand the attacks form the enemy that are designed to cause doubt, fear and worry.  I maintain my Shield of Faith by staying in the Word, fellowshipping with other believers and keeping a healthy prayer life.  When doubt arises, I am able to look at the things in scripture that I know for sure.  I am positive that the Genesis account is literal and true, for example.  I also recall answered prayer in my own life, miracles of healing that I have witnessed in my wife, for instance.  By holding firmly to the Shield of Faith, I am able to protect myself from the fiery darts of the enemy.

God is good, and He never fails.  God promises to never leave, nor forsake me.  I stand firmly on that promise and know that my Lord will sustain me and protect me and provide for me...always.

Psalm 28:7 The LORD is my strength and my shield; in him my heart trusts, and I am helped; my heart exults, and with my song I give thanks to him.

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

THE 3 JESHUAS - MORE EVIDENCE OF JESUS IN THE OLD TESTAMENT

   The Western mind is programmed to believe in co-incidences.  This would dictate that we are subject to chance, which, if you think on it, requires luck.  If luck comes into play, then it stands to reason that we need help from good luck charms... and so we go down a path that leads us away from God and His sovereignty, and toward a place where we give credit to a coin, a rabbit's foot or a even a special pair of underwear!  The Bible calls us to give God thanks in all things and I do not see how we can do that if we are accrediting luck to a pair of special boxer shorts.   James 1:17  Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change. I cannot imagine how it is possible for a believer who claims to accept the Word of God as the Word of God to accredit anything to, or even invoke the name of, luck or chance.

     Having a mind that sees co-incidents and credits luck and chance, we often miss some very important subtleties of scripture. God calls us, from the very first chapters of the Bible, to look for signs and symbols.  We are even given a huge clue as to the symbolic nature of this world in the passage of Colossians 2:17  These are a shadow of the things to come, but the substance belongs to Christ.  What is a shadow, but a representation of something else.  I am not my shadow, my shadow represents my form, depending on the exposure of light.  In less direct light, my shadow is larger and more prominent than I, but in more direct light, I overtake my shadow and my true form is seen without shadow.  The same goes for Biblical truth. 

Throughout scripture, and in the created order, we see symbolism of Christ and His sacrifice. The sacrificial lamb of Passover symbolized the sacrifice of Christ for the sins of the world. 
John 1:28-29  These things took place in Bethany across the Jordan, where John was baptizing. 
  The next day he saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, "Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!         
Rev 5:6  And between the throne and the four living creatures and among the elders I saw a Lamb standing, as though it had been slain, with seven horns and with seven eyes, which are the seven spirits of God sent out into all the earth. 
Here, we see that Christ is symbolized by a lamb, but we do not worship a lamb, nor do we worship the image of a lamb, because the direct light of the Holy Spirit shines on Christ and we see Him plainly and His image overtakes the symbology to the point which we are able to see only Him!  

Jesus said that not one Jot or Tittle will fall and Paul instructed us in his letter to Timothy that            2 Timothy 3:16  All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, 
We can understand that no word is wasted in scripture and we have the Bible God has intended us to have.  There is no coincidences in scripture.

Having established this foundation, I would like to look a a very obscure passage in the book of Ezra that, under normal circumstances, would not gain much attention, but looking at scripture with a more Eastern eye, as it was written by an Eastern hand for an Eastern audience, we can see a rare gem of truth, seemingly hidden in a mundane list of names.  

Ezra 2:2-40  They came with Zerubbabel, Jeshua, Nehemiah, Seraiah, Reelaiah, Mordecai, Bilshan, Mispar, Bigvai, Rehum, and Baanah. The number of the men of the people of Israel: 
Ezr 2:3  the sons of Parosh, 2,172. 
Ezr 2:4  The sons of Shephatiah, 372. 
Ezr 2:5  The sons of Arah, 775. 
Ezr 2:6  The sons of Pahath-moab, namely the sons of Jeshua and Joab, 2,812. 
Ezr 2:7  The sons of Elam, 1,254. 
Ezr 2:8  The sons of Zattu, 945. 
Ezr 2:9  The sons of Zaccai, 760. 
Ezr 2:10  The sons of Bani, 642. 
Ezr 2:11  The sons of Bebai, 623. 
Ezr 2:12  The sons of Azgad, 1,222. 
Ezr 2:13  The sons of Adonikam, 666. 
Ezr 2:14  The sons of Bigvai, 2,056. 
Ezr 2:15  The sons of Adin, 454. 
Ezr 2:16  The sons of Ater, namely of Hezekiah, 98. 
Ezr 2:17  The sons of Bezai, 323. 
Ezr 2:18  The sons of Jorah, 112. 
Ezr 2:19  The sons of Hashum, 223. 
Ezr 2:20  The sons of Gibbar, 95. 
Ezr 2:21  The sons of Bethlehem, 123. 
Ezr 2:22  The men of Netophah, 56. 
Ezr 2:23  The men of Anathoth, 128. 
Ezr 2:24  The sons of Azmaveth, 42. 
Ezr 2:25  The sons of Kiriath-arim, Chephirah, and Beeroth, 743. 
Ezr 2:26  The sons of Ramah and Geba, 621. 
Ezr 2:27  The men of Michmas, 122. 
Ezr 2:28  The men of Bethel and Ai, 223. 
Ezr 2:29  The sons of Nebo, 52. 
Ezr 2:30  The sons of Magbish, 156. 
Ezr 2:31  The sons of the other Elam, 1,254. 
Ezr 2:32  The sons of Harim, 320. 
Ezr 2:33  The sons of Lod, Hadid, and Ono, 725. 
Ezr 2:34  The sons of Jericho, 345. 
Ezr 2:35  The sons of Senaah, 3,630. 
Ezr 2:36  The priests: the sons of Jedaiah, of the house of Jeshua, 973. 
Ezr 2:37  The sons of Immer, 1,052. 
Ezr 2:38  The sons of Pashhur, 1,247. 
Ezr 2:39  The sons of Harim, 1,017. 
Ezr 2:40  The Levites: the sons of Jeshua and Kadmiel, of the sons of Hodaviah, 74

This list is a seemingly random list of people who accompanied the High Priest Jeshua and the royal governor Zerubabel back to Jerusalem from Babylon to rebuild the Temple.  What is amazing about this passage, if you can accept that everything in the Bible is written with design and purpose, is the placement of the name Jeshua in this list.  Each Jeshua, a real person in his own right,  but also relates to a literal Jeshua of note in the History of Israel.  We see the same pattern here as that charged to John, Revelation1:19  Write therefore the things that you have seen, those that are and those that are to take place after this.  John is told to write what was, what is and what will be, and this list gives us a picture of a Jeshua that was, a Jeshua that is and a Jeshua yet to come, in relation to the time that this passage was written. 

JESHUA THAT WAS:

When Moses died, God told him to entrust the leadership of the people to a man named Jeshua. Jeshua led the people into the promised land as Moses, representing the Law, could not.  We know the first Jeshua by the anglicized name of Joshua,  Joshua's name was Hosea but was changed to Jehoshua (God saves) by Moses, when Moses sent the spies into the promised land.  The man who led Israel into the promised land was a man named God Saves.

JESHUA THAT IS:

When Israel was released from captivity in Babylon, and allowed to rebuild the Temple, the High Priest Jeshua, helped led the people into the land, along with the man who would be king, had Israel not sinned, Zerubabel.  Jeshua is a variation of the name of Jehoshua, meaning God Will Save. In fact, in the book of Zechariah, Jeshua's name is rendered Jehoshua, basically the same meaning.  After the people were removed from the land, they returned under the leadership of a man named God Will Save.  

THE JESHUA THAT WILL BE:

The next prominent Jeshua we find in scripture is Jeshua of Nazareth.  Known to the Western world as Jesus Christ.  Jesus was Hebrew, His mother was Hebrew and His given name was Hebrew.  His name was not Jesus, it was Yeshua, meaning God Saves.  Just as Joshua's name was anglicized, so was Jesus' name rendered in Greek, the common language of the world at the time.  At the time of the writing of Ezra, Jesus was still over 400 years in the future. We attribute our salvation to God, incarnated as a man named God Saves.

NAME PLACEMENT ON THE LIST:

Also of note is the placement of the names on the list.  There was no natural order to this list, meaning it was not a genealogy, nor was it an alphabetical list.  This list has no discernible order, other than it was dictated by God to be written as we see it to represent time.  Notice the first Jeshua on the list comes in right towards the top, placing the name in proximity to the beginning of the forming of the nation of Israel, just like the first Jeshua. We do not see the second Jeshua on the list until about 29 lines later, indicating a long period of time period of time passing before the next Jeshua shows up to lead the people to the land.  Interestingly, this Jeshua actually represents himself, as this is the literal High Priest Jeshua who led the people out of captivity.  Next, after a relatively short period of time, we see the third and final Jeshua appear on the list.  This Jeshua represents Jesus, who came on the scene about 400 years after the writing of this passage, a relatively short period time, receiving very little historical coverage in scripture, in comparison to the about 1000 years of Jewish history that most of the Old Testament seems to cover.

The final Jeshua is not a representation of anything, but the genuine Messiah, who leads His people to the Father and ultimately, Heaven, the true promised land.

This passage of scripture took place concurrently with the ministry of the prophet Zechariah, who revealed the name of the coming Messiah to be Jeshua click here to read my blog on this topic 

God, our Father, is not a God who leaves things to chance and luck. He is a God of order and design.  The plan for the redemption of man through God's becoming a man named Jeshua, was planned from the foundations of the earth and is encoded in scripture for us to find.  Ezra shows it symbolically and Zechariah states it emphatically, yet almost all of Israel missed it and the majority of the Gentile world misses it as well.  The truth of God's plan is hidden in plain sight and we are told to "seek and ye shall find" so go seek out these truths and be enriched in your faith.

Please feel free to comment below - Blessings!







Sunday, November 29, 2015

HOW I PREDICTED A TRUMP VICTORY - AND WHY

Below is a post I wrote in November of 2015.  I got a couple of things wrong, but overall, I was right when I wrote about a big victory for Donald Trump in the general election.  I stand by my prediction and the reason I predicted this outcome.  I pray for the success of Donald Trump as POTUS and I pray the church does not squander the opportunity to operate without resistance for the next 4 years.  What follows is what I wrote in November 2015:



A few weeks ago, I would have predicted (and did) a cake walk presidential election for Hilary Clinton.  I no longer believe this possible.  Hilary is far too damaged, at this point, to win a general election, and a no holds barred candidate, such as Donald Trump will eviscerate her in a debate.  If the Trump Juggernaut does not falter, he will become the nominee for the Grand Old Party and he will carry New York and Florida on election day, ensuring him a White House victory.  Hilary's problem is she is simply unlikable.  Most politicians would not tear at that wound, for fear of tarnishing future political aspirations, but not Trump, he has nothing to lose and everything to gain, and the more he speaks his mind, unfiltered,the more popular he becomes.  

Image result for trump victory                              Official 113th Congressional photo of Tulsi Gabbard                                                                         Image result for angry hillary  
     As fractured as the GOP may be, the DNC is at war within.  Only after Hilary is trounced in the General election, will the DNC be able to regroup, jettison Wasserman-Shultz, who is really not ready for Prime Time, and cut lose many of the old guard Dems in congress for younger, less partisan, and more liberal members.  One such member of Congress, who also happens to be the Vice Chair of the DNC and a political rival of Wasserman-Shultz, is Tulsi Gabbard of Hawaii.  Gabbard has everything the DNC needs to convey in order to remain relevant in the future: she is young, attractive, very intelligent and understands domestic and foreign policy, she is also very liberal and non-christian.  Currently, the DNC strains to remain relevant amidst it's electorate, it is currently, as Time magazine stated, "The party of old white guys."  The DNC has become the GOP of the 1970's and cannot relate to a young electorate. 
    Trump, if nominated, will win the general election and serve one term, that is my prediction.  Trump will do a  bang up job of fixing the economy, but he will probably have difficulty on social issues and foreign policy.  On foreign policy, Trump will look more like Putin than Reagan, or Obama for that matter, and socially, he will probably struggle like George H.W. Bush, as his true ideology is somewhat left of that on which he is running.   I do not believe Trump will seek a second term and my best guess is Cruz, who should be Vice President at the time, will be too conservative for the country, which has shifted irretrievably left under Obama. 
Enter Tulsi Gabbard.  I believe America is ready for a woman president, just not Hilary Clinton.  Gabbard is the Anti-Hilary.  Gabbard is not shrill and patronizing, she comes with true feminist credentials, not riding the coattails of a man, as Hilary can only attribute her political success to her husband, Bill Clinton.  Gabbard has served as a combat war veteran and is currently a National Guardsman, on the Senate Armed Forces Committee, and Senate Foreign Policy Committee.  Gabbard is extremely liberal on domestic policies, but seems to be a fical conservative and is willing to work with both sides of the aisle.  Gabbard and Wasserman-Shultz, the DNC Chair, have been less than friendly and Gabbard, at least privately, seems to not support Hilary Clinton for Democratic Nominee.  Gabbard was most likely in the Joe Biden camp.  Religiously, Gabbard is less traditional, as she practices Hinduism.  She was raised by a Catholic father and Hindu mother, but chose to embrace Hinduism.  As Hinduism is a polytheistic religion, embracing Yoga and Karma, this will play well with a younger generation that already embraces Spirituality over Christianity.  
Gabbard carries herself extremely well, she has poise, speaks well, with a lower timber than most female politicians, she does not  come off as shrill, such as Hilary, and has an intelligent beauty that will garner trust.  Gabbard is the youngest woman ever elected to political office in her home state of Hawaii, and will most likely hold that distinction in the White House, beating out a 42 year old Teddy Roosevelt. Gabbard will run, as Trump is, as the real deal candidate of 2020.  Unlike Obama, who is shrouded in mystery, half truths and outright lies, Gabbard has lived her entire adult life in the public eye, having been elected to public office at the age of 21.  At 39 years of age(her age in 2020) Gabbard will have just as much public service experience as anyone else running.  
Another reason I believe Ms. Gabbard will be running(and winning) in 2020 is that public relations campaign that is slowly ramping up, placing her in the public eye. The New York Times has run an article on her, signaling a big warning to Hilary Clinton. The same media tactic that brought us a President Obama will slowly and steadily introduce America to Tulsi Gabbard.  As some very high profile female heads of state continue to be in the news, America will be less reticent to elect a woman to it's highest office.  At the end of the day, Hilary Clinton is not presidential, she is untrustworthy, she has been tarnished by one scandal after another, and she represents everything that is wrong with politics. Gabbard has none of these liabilities and will most likely not be subject to ridicule for off the cuff remarks like Sarah Palin.  Tulsi Gabbard will be taken seriously, as she has gone through her paces, both personally, and politically. Most of her most liberal positions are already law and her fiscal and foreign policy conservatism will overshadow her social policies, making her very attractive to moderate and independent voters.  Gabbard and Trump are probably more similar, politically, than anyone even realizes.  
I am a Christian, a conservative and a nationalist, I do not endorse Ms. Gabbard.  Though the above may seem like an endorsement, it is simply my reasons as to why I am officially predicting a Trump presidency, for one term and a blessed fading away of Mrs. Clinton, once and for all.  As presidents go, I would not support a liberal such as Gabbard, but compared to Hilary, Gabbard is Kennedyesque while Clinton is simply an unindicted criminal and thug.  America has shifted away from God and traditional values, we are no longer a Christian nation, Obama has accomplished his mission to "fundamentally change the United States of America" and has played the perfect Illuminati puppet.  Obama's damage done, it is time for a real, adult to take office and clean up his mess, ala Donald Trump.  Once Trump fixes thing, someone like Gabbard will be ideal for the purposes of leading America further from God and leading the world closer to the conditions necessary for Satan to establish his rule through the Anti-Christ. God help America and God help the American Church!

Monday, November 16, 2015

TEARING DOWN THE HIGH PLACES OF THE HEART




 In ancient Judah, during the times of the kings, the people wavered back and forth from obeying God and sinning greatly.  The nation's behavior was largely dependent upon the disposition of the King.  If the King loved and served God, the Law was enforced, and the people's hearts were toward God, if the king disregarded God and His Law, the people did so as well.  If, after the reign of an evil king, a righteous king began to reign, the righteous king would cleanse the land of sin and purge evil from the midst of the people.  Cleansing of the land meant destroying and removing all vestiges of paganism, idolatry and immorality.  Altars to foreign gods were torn down, idols were cast out and burned, priests dedicated to foreign gods were often put to death and shrine prostitutes were driven out of the land.  As the land was cleansed from outward symbols and devices of sin, spiritual revival manifested in the hearts of the people.  A nation, created to glorify God, would once again fulfill it's role on the earth. 

     God gave Israel, upon it's inception, very specific instructions about how, when, and where to worship.  Among the rules given to Israel, God commanded that the people sacrifice to Him only and only at the Tabernacle, which would be located at a place He designated(later the Temple in Jerusalem).  During times of national apostasy, Israel would participate in the worship of foreign gods, practice immoral behavior, sacrifice their children and build altars to God in high places all over the land.  When God split the nation of Israel into two kingdoms, Judah, the southern kingdom, went through periods of apostasy and revival, depending on who ruled as king at the time.  Sadly, the northern kingdom, Samaria, never experienced national revival. 

     Studying through the book of II Kings, you will see each king of Judah described as to whether of not they followed after God.  The Kings that followed after God cleansed the land, and the degree of their commitment to God determined how far their reforms went.  The one reform that often went unmade was the removal of the high places of worship.  The Hebrew people constantly struggled with the idolatry and the pagan practices of the people and nations around them.  The Hebrews also had a penchant for erecting altars to YHWH on high hills in order to offer sacrifices closer to home, rather than travel to Jerusalem to sacrifice.  God specifically forbade this practice, and even though it was done in worship to Him, it was not worship that God prescribed or wanted.  A king that was truly committed to God would remove the high places and order the people to sacrifice and worship at the Temple.  

    As believers, we come to the Lord with many sins and practices that are displeasing to Him.  Some are outward, blatant, and open, while others are inward, secret and hidden.  Our outward sins can be compared to the open idolatry and immoral worship practiced by apostate Judah.  In our process of sanctification, we, through the work of the Holy Spirit, begin to purge our lives of behaviors and practices that displease and dishonor God.  Though we may not have idols, altars or shrine prostitutes in our lives, the process of sanctification can be considered the same as Judah's removal of idols, the cessation of immoral or self destructive behavior, and the tearing down of altars to foreign gods.   We, hopefully, get to a point where we look pretty good on the outside and do not exhibit any blatantly immoral behavior, but what about our hearts, our attitudes, our secret indulgences that we do not let anyone else know about. These secret, hidden and inward sins can be compared to the High Places of worship that should have been removed by a reformed minded king. 

    As believers, we are sometimes quick to point out the hypocritical outward sin of others, while harboring inner sins, and feeling superior to those who are still struggling(or not struggling, but indulging)outwardly. This may very well be more hypocritical and displeasing to God.  God said, "I Am that I Am" and that is a description that would serve the believer well. If I unrepentantly harbor hidden sin, am I truly being honest with my brothers and sisters, to whom I am presenting myself as sin-free?  Does being critical of others not lead to self righteousness?  Self righteousness is one of the worst traps in which a believer can be ensnared, especially since it is a trap of ones own design.  

    "I don't drink, smoke cuss or chew, nor do I go with girls who do," may be a nifty little catch phrase, but it sounds more like a prideful pronouncement of self righteousness, when one considers what message is really being conveyed.  This phrase is reminiscent of the Pharisee that Jesus spoke of in the Temple who was thanking God that he was not like the tax collector who was also in the Temple praying. The tax collector recognized his sin and was repentant, while the Pharisee was guilty of, at the very least, the sin of pride.  The Pharisee's prayer reflected his acknowledgment that outwardly he had mastery over sin and looked pretty good to others, but neglected to acknowledge his inner and secret sin.  Self righteousness led to self delusion.  The tax collector came to God as he was and acknowledged, "I am that I am, a sinner, please forgive me." Jesus said the tax collector, an outward sinner seeking forgiveness was accepted by God while the "good" Pharisee was rejected because of his self righteousness.  Jesus, on another occasion, accused the Pharisees of being "white washed tombs" looking good on the outside, but inwardly full of death.

    The Pharisee in the Temple suffered from the same self delusion many in the church suffer from today, the "At Least I'm Not Like That Guy" Syndrome. We forget that Jesus is the standard so we compare ourselves to others and ignore the sin that is eating us up from within and, ultimately, hindering our relationship with God.  The Psalmist said, "search me oh YHWH, see if there is any hidden way in me that displeases you."  David opened himself up to the ultimate inspection, knowing that he may not be pleased by what was about to be revealed.  Am I willing to open myself up to such an inspection?  Are you?  We must be willing to do this in order to avoid the trap of self righteousness.  When an ancient king in Jerusalem made reforms, he was commended by God for removing the high places, the final and most difficult of reforms.  

   I always feel a sense of disappointment when I read, "however, he did not remove the high places," when reading the histories in the book of 2 Kings.  This should not evoke disappointment towards these kings, but towards myself for not dealing with sin that I harbor.  I acknowledge that I will never be perfect, I will continue to commit sins, inward and outward, as long as I live. I cannot be satisfied with this, however, my goal should be a life that pleases God. My motivation for demolishing my heart's high places should be the reality that Christ has provided for me that which I could never achieve for myself, righteousness in the eyes of God.

 For a believer, dealing with sin should be done as a matter of devotion, not out of fear of discipline or retribution, nor should it be a matter of how we look to others.  The believer's relationship with God is a personal matter that should be between each individual and God.  Failure to obey should create a sense of remorse that leads to repentance, not fear of being caught or found out by others.  Destroying high places of the heart should be out of love and devotion toward our savior who loves us.  

    I challenge you to examine your heart and allow God to reveal to you the high places that you have been harboring.  What few people realize is that dealing with sin is liberating, not restrictive.  When a person overcomes sin, there is freedom from bondage and a sense of relief that leads to peace with God and ultimately, joy.  King Hezekiah and King Josiah tore down the high places in Judah, following their example, believers in Christ must tear down the high places that represent hidden sin in order to fully enjoy fellowship with our creator and redeemer.

     


Saturday, October 24, 2015

ALLAH DISGUISED AS AN ANGEL OF LIGHT

   As I was reading through II Kings chapter 1 today, something in the account of Ahaziah, King of Israel spoke to me about the origins of Allah, the god of Islam, and how he is really Satan.  Long after the Northern kingdom of Israel was separated from Judah, because of the sins of Solomon, we see King Ahaziah, the son of Ahab, (who was the most evil king in Israel's history. I Kings 21:9 There was none who sold himself to do what was evil in he sight of the YHWH like Ahab...)  taking a great fall and becoming bedridden.  Rather than inquiring of God as to whether or not he would survive his injury, Ahaziah sends his servants to Ekron, a Philistine city, to inquire of the god Baal-zebub.  In the course of this series of events, the prophet Elijah, intercepts Ahaziah's servants and condemns Ahaziah for seeking the counsel of Baal-zebub. Ahaziah dies sonless and his brother Jehoram replaces him as king.

     The part of the account of Ahaziah's death I found so intriguing was that he was willing to consult with a god named Baal-zebub, and that the this Ekronian god was so unveiled.  Baal-zebub, or in the New Testament, Beelzebub, is a well known pseudonym of Satan.  The shortened form of Baal-zebub is Baal, unmasking the default god of the Canaanites as Satan.  The god of the enemies of Israel was Satan in Bible times, and is Satan today as well.  I find it fascinating that the regional god of the people surrounding Israel was Satan, represented by the false god Baal or Baal-zebub and today, the god worshiped by the nations surrounding Israel is Satan, known by his new and improved name of Allah.

     When Mohammed, the false prophet, determined his new religion, he went into polytheistic tribal areas and convinced anyone who would listen that there was only one god.  Most polytheistic groups, at the time, held the moon god, often called Allah, to be the chief god, thus, Mohammed declared Allah to be the one and only god, introducing a new, monotheistic religion, based on his "visions."  My post Islam Is Satanism (CLICK HERE TO READ) demonstrates, clearly, that Islam is Satanic at it's core.  Who else but Satan would promise his followers a drunken orgy for all eternity?

    How the above passage of scripture ties in to today's Islamic culture of death is the fact that nothing has changed in the Middle East, after thousands of years, the enemies of Israel are still, essentially, worshiping Satan and do not even realize it.  The moon god, Allah, is no god at all, but the spiritual power behind the false religion that worships him is very real and very evil.  The moon has no light of it's own, but to the uninformed, the moon appears to give light.  Undoubtedly, in the time of Mohammed, common thought was that the moon generated it's own light, in fact, when Greek philosopher Anaxagoras postulated that the moon reflected the light of the sun, he was jailed.  It was not until the time of Galileo, that man accepted the fact of the moon's reflected light.  Satan, also generates no light but counterfeits light, in order to draw people into his snare.

    The moon is a barren wasteland, incapable of sustaining life, but appears to be a body of light.  Allah the moon god is also devoid of any life giving ability and is responsible for death and destruction every where it goes.  Not only does Islam destroy human life, but lush areas under Islamic control often become barren wastelands unable to support plant life.  A society goes form light to darkness, once Islam takes over.  

    Satan is darkness personified and when a life is taken over by his control, that life is in bondage, it is in darkness and it foments death.  Satan hates human life and wants to destroy mankind. Satan hates Israel and wants to destroy all Jews.  Allah commands his followers to kill and commit suicide in the name of Jihad and the main goal of all Israels Islamic neighbors is to push Israel into the sea, wiping it from the map completely.  As the moon generates no light or life, Allah generates no life or light.  Scripture tells us that Satan's light is counterfeit: 2 Corinthians 11:14  And no wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light. Allah unmasked is Satan, the deceiver, tempting his followers with the reward of base desires of fleshly pleasure, all for the low low price of murder and suicide.

   

   

Sunday, October 11, 2015

WHY DO SO MANY CHRISTIANS LIVE BY THE WITCH'S CREED?

                              
                                              WHAT CREED DO YOU LIVE BY?

             Everyone lives by a creed, consciously, or otherwise.  A creed is a set of beliefs that govern behavior.  As believers in Christ, our creed should be the Golden Rule: Do unto others as we would have done to us.  A better way of expressing this would be Christ's command to us: “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind, and love your neighbor as yourself.”  If the Body of Christ could get this one thing right, evangelism would practically take care of itself.  Who wouldn't want to be part of a community that lived by such creed?  Instead, we have a great conflict between what we say and what we actually do.  Theologian Brennan Manning described this conflict wonderfully:  “The greatest single cause of atheism in the world today is Christians who acknowledge Jesus with their lips, walk out the door, and deny Him by their lifestyle. That is what an unbelieving world simply finds unbelievable.”  Is our confessed creed our actual creed by practice?

THREE BASIC CREEDS

  There are three basic creeds that people live by, whether it be inadvertent or by intent.   

1. Love thy neighbor as thyself
2. Do as thou wilt is the whole of the law
3. Do as thou wilt and harm none. 

Surely as you read this list, at least one creed resonates with you, two creeds may actually seem reasonable.  In reality, only one creed number 1 is acceptable for a believer.

DO AS THOU WILT IS THE WHOLE OF THE LAW

     This creed was coined by the infamously wicked magician, Aleister Crowley, who named himself "The Beast 666."  Crowley, though dead for almost 70 years, continues to influence popular culture, especially through pop music.  Numerous musicians, from the Beatles to Lady GaGa, have paid homage to Crowley and his evil teachings.  A more user friendly version of this creed became very popular with the Hippie culture and continues to influence society: "If it feels good, do it."  This is a very egocentric, self centered way of life that appeals to the basest of human desire.  It is no wonder that marketing firms exploit this philosophy while attempting to sell things we don't need but can't seem to live without, after all, you deserve it, don't you?  

    To subscribe to this creed is to disregard the needs and feelings of others, while "looking out for number one." This is a philosophy that was expounded upon by Anton LeVay, the founder of the Church of Satan.  As humans, we naturally default to this philosophy of life, that is why we need laws and authority.  The evolutionary idea of survival of the fittest works very well within this worldview, as in that framework, might makes right and only the strong survive.  In practice, society would devolve into a chaotic ball of violence, not unlike the conditions that led to the flood of Noah. 

This philosophy best describes our fallen nature and demonstrates our need for a savior.  One could easily identify this as a creed of Satanism.

DO AS THOU WILT AND HARM NONE

     Do as thou wilt and harm none is a creed which seems reasonable to most people, a Libertarian philosophy, embodying  the very idea of "life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness."  One would be tempted to rationalize this creed by asking the question, "what could be wrong with a philosophy that protects the rights of others?"  In a perfect world, this would be a viable argument, but we do not live in a vacuum and our actions affect others, even if only indirectly.  To think that a person can live to please self while protecting the best interests of others is intellectually dishonest.  Every choice we make, every action we take affects those around us.  Though this creed has an element of virtue, it is still self centered at it's core and has evil origins.

Circa 1950, Wicca, the official religion of witchcraft, adapted Aleister Crowley's Do as thou wilt philosophy with the addition of "and harm none."  Our modern philosophy to "live and let live" is nothing more than a kinder and gentler version of self service that gives the illusion of caring for others.  At it's heart, this creed is meant to allow the adherent to serve self without guilt as no direct harm is done to others.  Most people who ascribe to a "live and let live" philosophy would be very surprised to learn that it evolved from the witch's creed, "Do as thou wilt and harm none."  

    Philippians 2:3 Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves.  If this is what God expects from us, then "Do as thou wilt and harm none" is incompatible with Christian life and practice.  Do as thou wilt and harm none is a liberal philosophy that condones sin and allows for an "I'm not hurting anyone" attitude.  This philosophy defines much of Western culture and has led to nationalized sin such as the legalization of abortion on demand.  The Supreme Court, using the 14th Amendment, concocted an imaginary right to privacy clause which grants a woman the right to abort an unwanted pregnancy. This Judicial overreach is a direct result of the flawed philosophy discussed here.  According to the Court, a woman's right to control her own body is no one else's business.  Basically, the Court asks, "What's it to you," in the case of abortion.  By dehumanizing the unborn child, the Court has determined that women who want to terminate a pregnancy should be able to do so, as it hurts no one.  Unfortunately, this removes the rights of the father and deprives him of a child he helped conceive and it murders a baby who has no voice.  Do as thou wilt and harm none...indeed!

     It is impossible to live a life of self fulfillment without, at least inadvertently, harming others.  As long as I do not intentionally hurt someone else, I'm good, right?  Wrong!  To live according to the verse above, I am to intentionally do good to others, not serve myself, while trying to not hurt others.  It seems rather ironic that so many churchgoers are living life according to a philosophy that is known as The Witches Creed...


LOVE THY NEIGHBOR AS THYSELF

     This creed is the only God honoring, spiritually obedient philosophy of life.  This creed is also the most difficult to master.  We are naturally bent against this idea, yet, this is what Christ, our savior, commands us to do.  To call ourselves Christian and not at least attempt to live according to this creed is blasphemy.  Jesus told us, "If you love me, you will obey my commands."  So, if we love Jesus, we will, by definition, love our neighbor as ourselves, or, at a minimum, make the effort.  This philosophy embodies what Christ modeled for us in His life and death.  The term Christian literally means "little Christ" so in order to live up to the literal meaning of a title that is so flippantly thrown around, it is imperative that we model Christ's behavior and lifestyle. 

    What would the world look like if every born again person lived according to this creed?  What would the Church look like if even half of it's membership put aside the "pursuit of happiness" and pursued holiness and loved others the way Jesus commanded us to?  Especially in our Western culture, we expect ease and comfort.  We expect our cup to run over without submitting to the Shepherd.    So many seem to have the attitude of, "I'll serve if it fits into my schedule" or "I'll help out as long as my needs(ie. wants and desires) are met first."  This is not what we are called to.  

     The biggest secret is that by denying ourselves and loving others, we find true fulfillment.  When we forget our perceived rights and look to the needs of others and find ourselves actually making a difference in someone else's life, our life becomes more meaningful and enriched.  This does not make sense but it is undeniable.  

THE PROBLEM AND THE SOLUTION

    If most people are completely honest, they would admit they can see their favorite person anytime they wanted... by looking in the mirror.  Part of our fallen human nature causes us to seek our own best interests first.  The scourge of no fault divorce and messy custody battles over children attest to this fact more than anything else.  We live in a "what's in it for me" culture. "I just want what's rightfully mine, is that so wrong?"  The Church is filled with broken people beset with sinful natures, that is the bad news.  The good news is, the Church is filled with people who have been made new creations in Christ and are indwelt by the Holy Spirit.  The good news is that we have Christ as our example and the Holy Spirit as our empowerment.  The good news is that we have the Word of God to teach us.  The good news is we have all we need to live according to God's will.  We can claim to be Christ followers, but if we live by a creed that is anything other than "Love thy neighbor as thyself," we are self deluded and not only serving ourselves, but on some level, serving Satan.  Jesus said, "He who does not gather, scatters."  This means our lifestyle will either draw people to Christ or drive them away.  Gathering people to Christ = God's work, scattering people away form God = Satan's work.  This brings us back to the quote of Brennan Manning,  “The greatest single cause of atheism in the world today is Christians who acknowledge Jesus with their lips, walk out the door, and deny Him by their lifestyle. That is what an unbelieving world simply finds unbelievable.”  Dear Christian, love thy neighbor as thyself and gather for Christ.  Give the unbelieving world something they can believe in.

     




Monday, October 5, 2015

CAN AMERICA'S FAILURE TO STAND UP TO RUSSIA IN SYRIA LEAD TO EZEKIEL 38&39?

150,000 Russian troops planned to  hit the ground in Syria.  Iran is also planning a massive ground invasion in Syria, as well.

    After Russian bombing runs have softened targets in Syria, a ground invasion will commence.   Russian troops will arrive on Syrian soil, with Russia claiming to target IS forces.  Fears that Russian attacks are targeting U.S.backed  Rebel forces who have been fighting against the Assad regime, as well as IS positions are not without merit.  On day one of the Russian bombings, a CIA trained Rebel unit was hit.  Along with the massive Russian build up of weapons and machines of war, Iran has been planning a massive ground assault in Syria as well.  The fact Iran has been supporting Assad against the Rebel uprising is indisputable and the fact Iran has not made one move to deter IS takeovers in neighboring Iraq, lead to educated speculation that Iran and Russia will be teaming up to help Syrian government forces squash the civil war that has been ongoing for almost 5 years.  U.S. support of the Rebels makes the Russian/Iranian coalition much more dangerous as both countries see America as weak, under the current administration and is testing American resolve.  How America responds to this threat in Syria may very well determine if Russia and Iran make a move against Israel.

   Iran has been enriched by 150 billion dollars, thanks to a one sided deal made by the U.S. and other countries.  Undoubtedly, some of this money will be used to fund this war effort in Syria and may eventually be used to attack Israel and to fight against American and other allied forces who stand to defend the Syrian Rebels or help defend Israel. Today, Iranian military officials declared that all U.S. bases in the Middle East are within range of Iranian missiles.

     Should America continue to lead from behind in the Middle East, and should the U.S.fail to stand up to Russian and Iranian involvement in Syria, Russia and Iran may see a green light to move troops into Israel as a preemptive move against continued Israeli threats to attack Iran's nuclear program.

Ezekiel 38:1-9  The word of the LORD came to me: 
 "Son of man, set your face toward Gog, of the land of Magog, the chief prince of Meshech and Tubal, and prophesy against him 
  and say, Thus says the Lord GOD: Behold, I am against you, O Gog, chief prince of Meshech and Tubal. 
  And I will turn you about and put hooks into your jaws, and I will bring you out, and all your army, horses and horsemen, all of them clothed in full armor, a great host, all of them with buckler and shield, wielding swords. 
  Persia, Cush, and Put are with them, all of them with shield and helmet; 
  Gomer and all his hordes; Beth-togarmah from the uttermost parts of the north with all his hordes—many peoples are with you.   "Be ready and keep ready, you and all your hosts that are assembled about you, and be a guard for them.   After many days you will be mustered. In the latter years you will go against the land that is restored from war, the land whose people were gathered from many peoples upon the mountains of Israel, which had been a continual waste. Its people were brought out from the peoples and now dwell securely, all of them. 
  You will advance, coming on like a storm. You will be like a cloud covering the land, you and all your hordes, and many peoples with you. 

What we know for sure about the above prophecy is that it has not happened... yet.  We also know that if Russia, referred to as Gog, and Iran, referred to as Persia, were to invade Israel in a ground war, the troops would almost have to come into Israel from Syria.

 Iran does not border Israel, Jordan is currently on friendly terms with Israel, so no troops from Iran would be able to enter Israel.  Iran and Saudi Arabia are currently vying for economic dominance in the area, so no troops could enter through Saudi Arabia. Syria is the only logical place from which a Russian/Persian coalition could mount a ground invasion against Israel.

Should America blink in Syria, Russia and Iran may feel confident enough in America's lack of will for all out war in the Middle East and invade Israel.  We know from scripture that Israel will stand alone during the Ezekiel 38 invasion and that God will supernaturally protect Israel.

Ezekiel 39:1-8  "And you, son of man, prophesy against Gog and say, Thus says the Lord GOD: Behold, I am against you, O Gog, chief prince of Meshech and Tubal. 
  And I will turn you about and drive you forward, and bring you up from the uttermost parts of the north, and lead you against the mountains of Israel. 
  Then I will strike your bow from your left hand, and will make your arrows drop out of your right hand. 
  You shall fall on the mountains of Israel, you and all your hordes and the peoples who are with you. I will give you to birds of prey of every sort and to the beasts of the field to be devoured. 
  You shall fall in the open field, for I have spoken, declares the Lord GOD. 
 I will send fire on Magog and on those who dwell securely in the coastlands, and they shall know that I am the LORD. 
 "And my holy name I will make known in the midst of my people Israel, and I will not let my holy name be profaned anymore. And the nations shall know that I am the LORD, the Holy One in Israel. 
  Behold, it is coming and it will be brought about, declares the Lord GOD. That is the day of which I have spoken.

Clearly, God intervenes on behalf of Israel and defeats those who would come against His holy land. If America fails to be a friend to Israel, this may very well be on the horizon.  As I look at prophecy, I see America taking on the role that Egypt once had with Israel.  Today, the majority of Jews live in either Israel or the United States.  Traditionally, the United States has been the best friend Israel has had, but under the current administration, America has all but turned it's back on Israel by supporting nations and groups, such as Hamas, that are dedicated to the destruction of Israel. Back in October 2013, I wrote a piece addressing America's relationship with Israel in light of Bible prophecy you can read that by clicking HERE - Is America a Type of Egypt in End Time Prophecy?

My fear is that if America signals weakness in Syria, an Israeli invasion will be imminent.  Other, thus far, unfulfilled prophecies may come into play if an invasion of Israel comes through Syria.  The prophet Isaiah spoke judgment against the city of Damascus - Isaiah 17:1  An oracle concerning Damascus. Behold, Damascus will cease to be a city and will become a heap of ruins. 

Should a ground invasion take place through Syria, and Israel is victorious, as the Bible declares, undoubtedly, Israel will consider Syria's role an act of war and retaliate against Damascus.  Without Russia or Iran to defend Syria, Israel would have no problem destroying Damascus as the Prophet Isaiah decreed.

As the tensions and battles intensify in Syria, it will be interesting to see how Washington responds and what effect that response has on the Middle East balance of power.  Undoubtedly, Russia and Iran are attempting to shift the balance of power in their favor, will the U.S. do what it takes to preserve it's standing in the region?  Will Saudi Arabia assert power against Iran to preserve it;s economic power base?  Will other countries, such as Sudan ans Libya line up with Russia and Iran, as prophesied in Ezekiel 38?  Time will tell, in the mean time, all we can do is continue to pray for the peace of Jerusalem, for the leadership of the United States and for our military, who are putting their lives on the line for the protection of our nation.

These are my thoughts on the current events in Syria.  Please feel free to share your thoughts with me in the comment section below.