Category Archives: Contemporary Issues

THE FUTURE

Future

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It is known!

It was told!

It is certain!

The recent decisions of the Supreme Court of the United States have unleashed a flurry of speculation and fear among the religious community.  No one can deny that change is accelerating and our country as well as the world is moving at break-neck speed to a conclusion, one which is debated with much earnest in the social media.

Underneath all of this speculation is a towering fear that things are spinning out of control and the powers that once gave us a complacent life are now in jeopardy. The “monuments of security” such as the presidency, military supremacy, economic stability and moral stability are eroding and it is causing a national angst.

It is a justified fear, if you are standing on your own!

But if you are His, if you have, as Jesus told Nicodemus been “Born Again” the future is not a mystery.

Jesus took his “students” to His favorite classroom, the Mount of Olives and taught them some alarming things. This was not a class that any one had expected.  It was a class on THE FUTURE.

In the middle of His discourse he makes an astounding statement.  “Be on guard; I have told you all things before hand.”  In other words all the things that would challenge us as His children of a different Kingdom in the difficult times ahead, he gave on that lonely hillside.

But what were these things he was talking about?

Their ears stood at attention as he told them of their future, and ours as well! “There will be imposters who come saying they are the Christ and will lead many astray.  Wars of incredible violence and even news reports of such will fill the news media and alarm the population.  Those who are not killed in these wars will be paralyzed by the fear that they are approaching their own borders.  Earthquakes of unprecedented strength will occur even in the most unlikely places causing worldwide famine with millions starving, even in developed countries.  Persecution will arise by unjust laws aimed at Christians, regulations and edicts that will attack their foundational beliefs and force them to choose my law or their king’s. My sons and daughters will be hated by all men, even those in their own family for the stand they take. Teenagers will call 911 to arrest their folks because they refuse to allow their daughters to have an abortion. Tribulation will come that will shake the very soul of man and in that storm of fear one will come forward and declare he is the Christ. “

Jesus continued, “ But when they bring you before the courts let the Holy Spirit form your response. The stage I will put you on is too big for you to take the credit and say anything you want. Use the opportunity wisely and let my Spirit tell you what to say.”

continues with other signs of what is ahead but let it be said,

OUR FUTURE IS KNOWN

OUR FUTURE WAS TOLD

OUR FUTURE IS CERTAIN

The disciples’ heads must have been swimming as they listened.  This was not what they imagined his future kingdom to be like. Most of us do not either.

But two things seem to stand out in his discourse.  One, we have alluded to but will expand on here, namely, our response before our accusers.

Facebook is an excellent platform to communicate with others far beyond your locale but the responses I have seen to the present abrupt changes seem to be mostly responses that have come from emotion more than from The Spirit.

Perhaps we should regard our counterclaims as those that reflect the Risen Lord rather than our rage.

Then coming to the end of we see Jesus’ exhortation to the 12, “STAY AWAKE!”

It is vital for those in power to numb the populace for their agenda to progress.  This numbness comes in a wide variety of ways but regardless how it inflicts its stupor, we are called to remain awake and vigilant.  We are the children of light and see with eyes that can penetrate the darkness.  This ability to see is what will propel many of us into conflict with the current regime.

So, our future was designed for us! You are here in this time at this place for this moment!  He knew you would be here when it all breaks lose and He has invested a heavy price to insure your success.

So fear not!

Be wise!

Stay full!

Live light!

And never retreat!

Even so Lord Jesus… COME!

 

 

 

 

 


13:1 And as he came out of the temple, one of his disciples said to him, “Look, Teacher, what wonderful stones and what wonderful buildings!” And Jesus said to him, “Do you see these great buildings? There will not be left here one stone upon another that will not be thrown down.”

And as he sat on the Mount of Olives opposite the temple, Peter and James and John and Andrew asked him privately, “Tell us, when will these things be, and what will be the sign when all these things are about to be accomplished?” And Jesus began to say to them, “See that no one leads you astray. Many will come in my name, saying, ‘I am he!’ and they will lead many astray. And when you hear of wars and rumors of wars, do not be alarmed. This must take place, but the end is not yet. For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be earthquakes in various places; there will be famines. These are but the beginning of the birth pains.

“But be on your guard. For they will deliver you over to councils, and you will be beaten in synagogues, and you will stand before governors and kings for my sake, to bear witness before them. 10 And the gospel must first be proclaimed to all nations. 11 And when they bring you to trial and deliver you over, do not be anxious beforehand what you are to say, but say whatever is given you in that hour, for it is not you who speak, but the Holy Spirit. 12 And brother will deliver brother over to death, and the father his child, and children will rise against parents and have them put to death. 13 And you will be hated by all for my name’s sake. But the one who endures to the end will be saved.

14 “But when you see the abomination of desolation standing where he ought not to be (let the reader understand), then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains. 15 Let the one who is on the housetop not go down, nor enter his house, to take anything out, 16 and let the one who is in the field not turn back to take his cloak. 17 And alas for women who are pregnant and for those who are nursing infants in those days! 18 Pray that it may not happen in winter. 19 For in those days there will be such tribulation as has not been from the beginning of the creation that God created until now, and never will be. 20 And if the Lord had not cut short the days, no human being would be saved. But for the sake of the elect, whom he chose, he shortened the days. 21 And then if anyone says to you, ‘Look, here is the Christ!’ or ‘Look, there he is!’ do not believe it. 22 For false christs and false prophets will arise and perform signs and wonders, to lead astray, if possible, the elect. 23 But be on guard; I have told you all things beforehand.

24 “But in those days, after that tribulation, the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light, 25 and the stars will be falling from heaven, and the powers in the heavens will be shaken. 26 And then they will see the Son of Man coming in clouds with great power and glory. 27 And then he will send out the angels and gather his elect from the four winds, from the ends of the earth to the ends of heaven.

28 “From the fig tree learn its lesson: as soon as its branch becomes tender and puts out its leaves, you know that summer is near. 29 So also, when you see these things taking place, you know that he is near, at the very gates. 30 Truly, I say to you, this generation will not pass away until all these things take place. 31 Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away.

32 “But concerning that day or that hour, no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. 33 Be on guard, keep awake. For you do not know when the time will come. 34 It is like a man going on a journey, when he leaves home and puts his servants in charge, each with his work, and commands the doorkeeper to stay awake. 35 Therefore stay awake—for you do not know when the master of the house will come, in the evening, or at midnight, or when the rooster crows, or in the morning— 36 lest he come suddenly and find you asleep. 37 And what I say to you I say to all: Stay awake.” (ESV)


13:1 And as he came out of the temple, one of his disciples said to him, “Look, Teacher, what wonderful stones and what wonderful buildings!” And Jesus said to him, “Do you see these great buildings? There will not be left here one stone upon another that will not be thrown down.”

And as he sat on the Mount of Olives opposite the temple, Peter and James and John and Andrew asked him privately, “Tell us, when will these things be, and what will be the sign when all these things are about to be accomplished?” And Jesus began to say to them, “See that no one leads you astray. Many will come in my name, saying, ‘I am he!’ and they will lead many astray. And when you hear of wars and rumors of wars, do not be alarmed. This must take place, but the end is not yet. For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be earthquakes in various places; there will be famines. These are but the beginning of the birth pains.

“But be on your guard. For they will deliver you over to councils, and you will be beaten in synagogues, and you will stand before governors and kings for my sake, to bear witness before them. 10 And the gospel must first be proclaimed to all nations. 11 And when they bring you to trial and deliver you over, do not be anxious beforehand what you are to say, but say whatever is given you in that hour, for it is not you who speak, but the Holy Spirit. 12 And brother will deliver brother over to death, and the father his child, and children will rise against parents and have them put to death. 13 And you will be hated by all for my name’s sake. But the one who endures to the end will be saved.

14 “But when you see the abomination of desolation standing where he ought not to be (let the reader understand), then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains. 15 Let the one who is on the housetop not go down, nor enter his house, to take anything out, 16 and let the one who is in the field not turn back to take his cloak. 17 And alas for women who are pregnant and for those who are nursing infants in those days! 18 Pray that it may not happen in winter. 19 For in those days there will be such tribulation as has not been from the beginning of the creation that God created until now, and never will be. 20 And if the Lord had not cut short the days, no human being would be saved. But for the sake of the elect, whom he chose, he shortened the days. 21 And then if anyone says to you, ‘Look, here is the Christ!’ or ‘Look, there he is!’ do not believe it. 22 For false christs and false prophets will arise and perform signs and wonders, to lead astray, if possible, the elect. 23 But be on guard; I have told you all things beforehand.

24 “But in those days, after that tribulation, the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light, 25 and the stars will be falling from heaven, and the powers in the heavens will be shaken. 26 And then they will see the Son of Man coming in clouds with great power and glory. 27 And then he will send out the angels and gather his elect from the four winds, from the ends of the earth to the ends of heaven.

28 “From the fig tree learn its lesson: as soon as its branch becomes tender and puts out its leaves, you know that summer is near. 29 So also, when you see these things taking place, you know that he is near, at the very gates. 30 Truly, I say to you, this generation will not pass away until all these things take place. 31 Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away.

32 “But concerning that day or that hour, no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. 33 Be on guard, keep awake. For you do not know when the time will come. 34 It is like a man going on a journey, when he leaves home and puts his servants in charge, each with his work, and commands the doorkeeper to stay awake. 35 Therefore stay awake—for you do not know when the master of the house will come, in the evening, or at midnight, or when the rooster crows, or in the morning— 36 lest he come suddenly and find you asleep. 37 And what I say to you I say to all: Stay awake.” (ESV)

From Zapatista to Christian

 

 

Chiapas Church

Something has been happening “close to home” for a number of years. Christians in Chiapas, Mexico are making a stand that is leaving their persecutors bewildered and is presenting a valid reason to turn from their sin and render their lives to Christ. Recently Aaron Kolb, Isaac Solis, Jeff Robison, Jerry Lynch and myself conducted a retreat for many of the pastors of these persecuted people. It was life changing to say the least for both them and us.  (Note: The picture above is a picture of the church in San Cristobal where peace between the Zapatista guerrillas and the Mexican government was bartered in 1995.)  

Have you ever had your homed burned down because you went to church Sunday?  Have you ever been denied the chance to sell your crops because you are a Christian?  Have you ever had to flee from your land because they were coming to kill you?   I know some who have experienced this and more.  Family members killed, churches burned to the ground, mobs attacking the innocent and whole families thrown into prison because they will not participate in pagan worship rituals dominated by traditional religionist.  All of this is still seen in Chiapas, Mexico.

Recently five of us hosted a Pastors Retreat in San Cristobal de las Casas, Chiapas Mexico.  Thirty-five pastors from distant villages high in the mountains made the trek to the town to engage in Bible study, heavenly contact and genuine fellowship with one another.  These men pastor a large sector of the Body of Christ that is marginalized from most of Western Christianity.  They have no resources, live in shacks and make the boldest stand for Christ that I have ever seen personally.  Many who have been driven from their homes and land are now living in “Cities of Refuge” dotted through the jungles of Chiapas. There those who are expelled for being Christians find a community that takes them in and gives them refuge.  To me it sounds a lot like what the early church was all about and I would surmise that we would see this sort of thing become more prevalent even in our own country.

But this bold stand is making an impact.  In the retreat were two men who were former Zapatista Rebels who fought against the government but are now pastoring communities of Christians. The change that has taken place in their hearts is nothing less than astonishing!

Jesus would do nothing less!

I sincerely hope the Lord will allow us to duplicate this retreat in other areas of Chiapas and Oaxaca.  The “Hills are Alive with Music” sung from the hearts of men and women whom the world has forgotten.

 

 

 

Solitude Doesn’t Exist

is a song of secret.  It shatters the idea that life is lived in a vacuum because it isn’t.  For the saint or the wicked, solitude is an illusion because there is God.

The words of this Psalm read like a catalog of the wicked and is met with a plea of deliverance from them. When considering these images one would think the Psalmist is not describing the wicked but rather a successful broker on Wall Street, a prosperous CEO or even the President of the United States.

In verse one a pointed question is asked, “Why do you hide yourself in times of trouble?”  He recants the deep feelings many experience in times of grief and personal crisis.  There are times when He seems distant from the experience and the question is “Why?”  The answer perhaps is found in and 18. He concludes by saying that God does see and He will respond and control not only the wicked but the nations as well.  In the pain of the present, the Psalmist looks beyond the emergency and sees that God is not unconnected with the moment.

Following this question the lyrics of the song changes tempo and describe the cruelty and indifference of the wicked toward the poor and his scorn of God.  Now things are declared in disturbing honesty,  for as the righteous is not alone neither is the wicked.

The delusional “independent ” seems like he is unbridled in his narcissism because of his mistaken view of God. (10:4).  “All his thoughts are, ‘There is no God.’”  This might lead one to think that all wicked men are atheist who do not believe in God but something more sinister lurks here. I would take this to mean that there is no God who rules , takes in to account or sees. His danger is that he knows there is a God but this god is impotent, uncaring and distant. So, the wicked feels free, unchained to pursue his  quest free of consequence.   Why do I say that the wicked says there is no god but at the same time propose that he does believe there is a god that is impotent and distant? I suggest this because of and 13.  First the wicked says in “God has forgotten… .”  Then in the Psalmist asked “Why does the wicked renounce God?”  How does a non existent god forget?  How does one renounce something that does not exist?  It appears that we see here one who says he is above accountability to anyone, even YHWH.  He really does believe in God but sees him as a non-factor in his daily affairs.

This view removes all sense of morality and decency in the pursuit of obtaining more power and wealth.  This drive is seen by how he tramples down the poor for his benefit.

He runs hard after accumulated wealth  by taking advantage of the poor. (10:2). He stalks and sets in ambush to rob the unsuspecting in board rooms, banks or congress. (10:8).  His actions crush the poor and helpless, (10:10).  He has all the business and legal savvy to draw his net around the belongings of the marginalized and disadvantaged and with each gain he becomes more and more arrogant thinking he is “hot.”  He prides himself as Hollywood makes a reality show about his conquests.

He further advances in his delusion, thinking that his wealth sets him far from pain.  He hides behind the “bottom line” thinking he is untouchable, (10:6). His tongue speaks sweeping things and feels it is his privilege to speak his mind  and considers that his fortune has procured him this freedom to say whatever he wants, (10:7).

His prosperity increases yet he is blind to the final outcome.  He hammers onward thinking his foes are no competition.  He responds to them with disdain, (10:5).

To put it plainly his wealth has caused him to live in a fairy tail, thinking that all is well and out of reach  of the consequences of retribution and accountability.

But God does see!  He sees it all that He might take it into His hands.  No one nor any thing abides alone beyond the gazing eye of YHWH.  Solitude does not exist in His creation.  God is not blind or asleep or distant.  He is vigilant, observant, and responsive.  To the Psalmist the Lord is “Forever and ever.”  That is, He occupies all space and time.  Nothing is hidden from His sight.

Consequently those without a paycheck can trust because they are not alone. Those that steal are caught by His anger.  He is the Helper to the fatherless and latch-key child. He hears the desire of the afflicted and oppressed in Mali, Haiti, Iran and our inner cities in America, while those who oppress them find no escape from His reach.  His justice will prevail so that the evil man can strike terror no more.

Actions have consequences and God guarantees the connection between them, because He sees all. That is a sobering statement that should awaken us to responsibility.

Another shocking statement, “Solitude simple does not exist!”

 

JW III


10:1 Why, O Lord, do you stand far away?
Why do you hide yourself in times of trouble?

In arrogance the wicked hotly pursue the poor;
let them be caught in the schemes that they have devised.
For the wicked boasts of the desires of his soul,
and the one greedy for gain curses and renounces the Lord.
In the pride of his face the wicked does not seek him;
all his thoughts are, “There is no God.”
His ways prosper at all times;
your judgments are on high, out of his sight;
as for all his foes, he puffs at them.
He says in his heart, “I shall not be moved;
throughout all generations I shall not meet adversity.”
His mouth is filled with cursing and deceit and oppression;
under his tongue are mischief and iniquity.
He sits in ambush in the villages;
in hiding places he murders the innocent.
His eyes stealthily watch for the helpless;
he lurks in ambush like a lion in his thicket;
he lurks that he may seize the poor;
he seizes the poor when he draws him into his net.
10 The helpless are crushed, sink down,
and fall by his might.
11 He says in his heart, “God has forgotten,
he has hidden his face, he will never see it.”

12 Arise, O Lord; O God, lift up your hand;
forget not the afflicted.
13 Why does the wicked renounce God
and say in his heart, “You will not call to account”?
14 But you do see, for you note mischief and vexation,
that you may take it into your hands;
to you the helpless commits himself;
you have been the helper of the fatherless.
15 Break the arm of the wicked and evildoer;
call his wickedness to account till you find none.

16 The Lord is king forever and ever;
the nations perish from his land.
17 O Lord, you hear the desire of the afflicted;
you will strengthen their heart; you will incline your ear
18 to do justice to the fatherless and the oppressed,
so that man who is of the earth may strike terror no more. (ESV)


17 O Lord, you hear the desire of the afflicted;
you will strengthen their heart; you will incline your ear (ESV)


11 He says in his heart, “God has forgotten,
he has hidden his face, he will never see it.” (ESV)


11 He says in his heart, “God has forgotten,
he has hidden his face, he will never see it.” (ESV)


13 Why does the wicked renounce God
and say in his heart, “You will not call to account”? (ESV)

Entitlements, Unemployment and Faith in God.

Recently a friend of ours was visiting us in Mexico and she told us of a small town in Georgia where some of her family lives.  In this town 80% of its population receives disability pay checks from the government and the majority of those are receiving it for mental disabilities and yet, the majority of those are drug addicts. So you have practically an entire town of drug addicts who demand the government pay them for their disabilities even though caused by drugs.  We have become addicted to something far more than drugs We have become addicted to ENTITLEMENTS!

The national “Psych” demands government entitlements as though it has become our “unalienable right.”  Unemployment insurance is not enough. We demand more and longer payments.  Why has this attitude taken such a deep root in our nation? Why are we being transformed into a country that finds its support and welfare issued by the ‘State?” I would propose two reasons.  One is that there is no better way for power to be purchased than with the promise that the government will take care of you. So, politicians play with the national budget like it’s a board game of monopoly and the object is to get to the finish line with more votes and a strong consolidated seat of power built on the societies’ need for the government.  Simply put we have taken the politician’s mantra as truth and have staked our individual and national welfare on it.  We have traded the wealth and security that comes from individual responsibility and morality for an instant and temporal fix that excuses us from all blame and obligation.  We have made the government obligatory for the very thing we as individuals refuse and we love it so. Government becomes our employer. Government becomes our baby sitter. Government has become our Doctor. Government becomes our conscience and finally Government will become our religion. The impotent mantras of Washington give aid to the constant dripping faucet of unemployment and job loss.  Why work if I can get paid to take drugs?    But there is another reason for why we have become so focused on entitlements. The basic reason we have relied on the government to hold us up as a nation is because we have abandoned the God who held us up for centuries. We have traded in our trust and confidence as a nation in God and placed it squarely on a capital called Washington D.C.

Recently I was in my Quite Time when I came across . 1-3 the lyrics to this song (and Psalms are the words to music) declares praise for the benefits of clinging to God.  David puts it like this. “If it had not been the Lord who was on our side, let Israel now say – If it had not been the Lord who was on our side  when people rose up against us, then they would have swallowed  us up alive, when their anger was kindled against us…”   Then he concludes the Psalm with , “Our help is in the name of the Lord, who made heaven and earth.”

Reading this I was impacted with the utter faith David had in God. He is declaring here that had it not been for the Lord the enemies of Israel would have swallowed them up. David makes clear to the reader that the protection of Israel was due to their faith and obedience to God.  Does this apply to us? Could this help explain our unquenchable thirst for entitlements and the high unemployment that is debilitating our country?

In the sixties we choose as a country to move the political agenda down a road of disrespect and ultimately abandonment from God.  We declared it unlawful to pray in schools, we moved towards a more secularization in society, tolerance became the “buzz word” that is tolerance for everything except Christianity. We essentially stub our nose at God until now we have reached a time in which our fore fathers could have never envisioned. We have a president who embraces Islam more than Christianity. We are a nation that is afraid to offend the most aggressive and violent religion on the earth. We have stripped God of His authority by casting Him into the “line up” with other gods to be paraded in the earth and then we seek the applause of men for our sophisticated tolerance.  But the words of David haunt me, “If it had not been the Lord who was on our side when people rose up against us, then they would have swallowed us up alive, when their anger was kindled against us…” This implies that when He is abandoned the anger of our enemies will swallow us up. “O but John we just got Bin Laden,” You say. My response is, meanwhile, their anger is increasing, plots are being laid against our security, floods swell the banks of the Mississippi, and tornados have devastated entire towns. Murder is off the charts in our high schools, drugs in every neighborhood, marriage among homosexuals, and unemployment is at or above 9%. Besides this China owns us. Our laziness as a nation has put us at the back of the bus and our social agenda as has been pointed out will bankrupt our beloved country.   No production of goods while supporting society with entitlements is a sure formula for destruction. But is there a solution? Can we make a change that will put our country back on course? I think so.

It seems to me that we are wired to trust in something outside of our selves. The saved the lost, all of us have this inner realization that tells us to look beyond ourselves to another. That drive was put there by God to cause men to seek after Him. But, tell the world he is nothing, undermine His authority and you will have a people who will not lose that drive but rather redirect it to something else. That other thing is government. Those who would find their safety and provision from the hand of God must now direct that need towards government, and ladies and gentlemen, that redirection will bankrupt our country. The need for another will not leave us even if we ignore God and present him as a mere idol, no, it will simply be rerouted to our government and trust me the government does not have the capability to provide what only God can provide through His son.  So I will herald loud and long, I will climb on the mountain and shout with all my strength for America to return to God. Abandon your ways and return to your God.  Don’t let the gods of our times deceive you into thinking you are owed something! Run to the One who give life, who is filled with forgiveness and demands repentance. Run to the only One who can heal, provide for you needs and heal your wounds. He can heal better than Government health care, He will provide more than Government welfare, He will protect better than Homeland Security and there are no forms to fill out! Just a heart to render to Him! America COME HOME! Let it once again be said in our court rooms, in our government offices, in our schools, “Our help is in the name of the Lord, who made heaven and earth.”

I cry for you, I weep for you.  You have become like the church in Ephesus, “Remember therefore from where you have fallen and repent…” You have become like Sardis, “You have the reputation of being alive but you are dead. Wake up and strengthen what remains and is about to die…”

No doubt few will read this article and many who do, will cast it off as the ranting of a religious zealot or even those of a mad man but I will finish with this one solemn admonition…

America, abandon God at your own peril.


124:1 If it had not been the Lord who was on our side—
let Israel now say—
if it had not been the Lord who was on our side
when people rose up against us,
then they would have swallowed us up alive,
when their anger was kindled against us;
then the flood would have swept us away,
the torrent would have gone over us;
then over us would have gone
the raging waters.

Blessed be the Lord,
who has not given us
as prey to their teeth!
We have escaped like a bird
from the snare of the fowlers;
the snare is broken,
and we have escaped!

Our help is in the name of the Lord,
who made heaven and earth. (ESV)


Our help is in the name of the Lord,
who made heaven and earth. (ESV)

A Day Forgotten

News print, land telephones and postage stamps are becoming historical emblems, memories of a time gone by.  Gasoline driven cars will surely be replaced with electric ones, and the citadel of marriage may become a thing of the past.  Changes happen and they happen rapidly, some for good and some for the worse. But there is one change that is having a very real and negative impact on our culture and country. That is the loss of the Sabbath.

D.L Moody once said, “You show me a nation that has given up the Sabbath and I will show you a nation that has got the seeds of decay.” Something tells me he saw the small beginnings of this “decay” back in his time.

I remember when I was a young man (I don’t mean in the time of Moody,) there was what was called the  “Blue Law.” This law required that all the stores be closed on Sunday. Nothing was open, only gas stations, small zippy marts and Hospitals. The big shopping strips were empty. Malls didn’t exist then. It was a civil law to regard the Sabbath and to allow people not to have to work on Sundays so they could go to church.  In those times not everyone went to church on Sundays but the government by declaration of such laws recognized and honored that one special day.  But I am afraid that the Sabbath is headed in the same direction as the postage stamp here in America.

Today Sunday is play day!  The “Blue Laws” have long been abolished. Now it is a time to cruise the malls, watch sports, and wash the cars, hunt, fish or visit friends.   We have our freedoms with no archaic laws restricting them and…. are no better for it. Our liberty has birthed disrespect for the day of the Lord, not just among the lost but among many Christians. It seems we as Christians have so over-spiritualized this issue that in our attempts to make every day the day of the Lord, we have in reality made no day as the day of the Lord. They are all alike. But this clearly is not the intention in . Great promises are given to those who honor, observe and respect the Sabbath. Promises like encountering inexplicable joy in the presence of the Lord, riding the heights of the earth over the obstacles that await you at lower altitudes, and the enjoyment of a heritage that exceeds the here and now.  Thomas Watson said of the Sabbath, “The Sabbath is the market-day of the soul, the cream of time!”  I like that, THE CREAM OF TIME. But for many it is a day to recover from the night before, a day to get ready for work on Monday, a day that forgets God.

I would think that I am not alone in this matter. One could despair at the sight of the multitude and His children along beside them playing and disregarding this most special time. However I do have hope. The great Puritan Richard Baxter 1651-1691 recalls his childhood experience in an English village when,

“We could not on the Lord’s Day either read a chapter. Pray, or sing a psalm, or catechize or instruct a servant, for the noise of the piper and taber, and shouting in the streets, continually in our ears and we were the common scorn of all the rabble in the streets, and we were called Puritans, precisionists, hypocrites because we rather chose on the Lord’s Day to read Scriptures rather than what they did.”

His times were similar to ours but in the greatest darkness a change came.

The story of the change can be traced to Richard Greenham who influenced his son-in-law to preach on the subject in 1586.  He later wrote a book on the fourth commandment that was published in 1595 and made a strong impact on society at large.  According to historian Daniel Neal through this book,  “A mighty reformation was wrought.”

I don’t propose that somebody write a book. I think it is already written and makes the fourth commandment very clear, a commandment that is just a valid today as it was it when it was written, and a commandment that we should return to.

Voltaire that great enemy to Christianity once said, “If you want to kill Christianity, you must abolish Sunday.”

Isaiah said if you want to ride on the heights, then observe it!

Voltaire is dead and in Hell and the Sabbath is still with us. Will we observe it and stand blessed as a peculiar people or justify Voltaire’s comment?

Saddle up friend, enjoy Sunday as it is meant to be and I will see you in the heights of victory!


58:1 “Cry aloud; do not hold back;
lift up your voice like a trumpet;
declare to my people their transgression,
to the house of Jacob their sins.
Yet they seek me daily
and delight to know my ways,
as if they were a nation that did righteousness
and did not forsake the judgment of their God;
they ask of me righteous judgments;
they delight to draw near to God.
‘Why have we fasted, and you see it not?
Why have we humbled ourselves, and you take no knowledge of it?’
Behold, in the day of your fast you seek your own pleasure,
and oppress all your workers.
Behold, you fast only to quarrel and to fight
and to hit with a wicked fist.
Fasting like yours this day
will not make your voice to be heard on high.
Is such the fast that I choose,
a day for a person to humble himself?
Is it to bow down his head like a reed,
and to spread sackcloth and ashes under him?
Will you call this a fast,
and a day acceptable to the Lord?

“Is not this the fast that I choose:
to loose the bonds of wickedness,
to undo the straps of the yoke,
to let the oppressed go free,
and to break every yoke?
Is it not to share your bread with the hungry
and bring the homeless poor into your house;
when you see the naked, to cover him,
and not to hide yourself from your own flesh?
Then shall your light break forth like the dawn,
and your healing shall spring up speedily;
your righteousness shall go before you;
the glory of the Lord shall be your rear guard.
Then you shall call, and the Lord will answer;
you shall cry, and he will say, ‘Here I am.’
If you take away the yoke from your midst,
the pointing of the finger, and speaking wickedness,
10 if you pour yourself out for the hungry
and satisfy the desire of the afflicted,
then shall your light rise in the darkness
and your gloom be as the noonday.
11 And the Lord will guide you continually
and satisfy your desire in scorched places
and make your bones strong;
and you shall be like a watered garden,
like a spring of water,
whose waters do not fail.
12 And your ancient ruins shall be rebuilt;
you shall raise up the foundations of many generations;
you shall be called the repairer of the breach,
the restorer of streets to dwell in.

13 “If you turn back your foot from the Sabbath,
from doing your pleasure on my holy day,
and call the Sabbath a delight
and the holy day of the Lord honorable;
if you honor it, not going your own ways,
or seeking your own pleasure, or talking idly;
14 then you shall take delight in the Lord,
and I will make you ride on the heights of the earth;
I will feed you with the heritage of Jacob your father,
for the mouth of the Lord has spoken.” (ESV)


20:1 And God spoke all these words, saying,

“I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery.

“You shall have no other gods before me.

“You shall not make for yourself a carved image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth. You shall not bow down to them or serve them, for I the Lord your God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and the fourth generation of those who hate me, but showing steadfast love to thousands of those who love me and keep my commandments.

“You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain, for the Lord will not hold him guiltless who takes his name in vain.

“Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days you shall labor, and do all your work, 10 but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the Lord your God. On it you shall not do any work, you, or your son, or your daughter, your male servant, or your female servant, or your livestock, or the sojourner who is within your gates. 11 For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested on the seventh day. Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy.

12 “Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be long in the land that the Lord your God is giving you.

13 “You shall not murder.

14 “You shall not commit adultery.

15 “You shall not steal.

16 “You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.

17 “You shall not covet your neighbor’s house; you shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, or his male servant, or his female servant, or his ox, or his donkey, or anything that is your neighbor’s.”

18 Now when all the people saw the thunder and the flashes of lightning and the sound of the trumpet and the mountain smoking, the people were afraid and trembled, and they stood far off 19 and said to Moses, “You speak to us, and we will listen; but do not let God speak to us, lest we die.” 20 Moses said to the people, “Do not fear, for God has come to test you, that the fear of him may be before you, that you may not sin.” 21 The people stood far off, while Moses drew near to the thick darkness where God was.

22 And the Lord said to Moses, “Thus you shall say to the people of Israel: ‘You have seen for yourselves that I have talked with you from heaven. 23 You shall not make gods of silver to be with me, nor shall you make for yourselves gods of gold. 24 An altar of earth you shall make for me and sacrifice on it your burnt offerings and your peace offerings, your sheep and your oxen. In every place where I cause my name to be remembered I will come to you and bless you. 25 If you make me an altar of stone, you shall not build it of hewn stones, for if you wield your tool on it you profane it. 26 And you shall not go up by steps to my altar, that your nakedness be not exposed on it.’ (ESV)

Ifo-Comercials and Jesus

I have noticed a trend that disturbs me greatly. It seems that the contemporary church is more drawn towards supernatural manifestations of the Holy Spirit while at the same time she is abandoning and even mocking serious Bible study and Theology. These two things thrust us into very dangerous waters.  Both are important and valid. God is a God of the supernatural and contrary to what some think He still does miracles, however, we are more inclined to run after the supernatural than we are to sink our roots deep into his Word. This view is even endorsed and espoused by well know public ministers who give the impression that if you are just filled with the Holy Spirit you do not need to embrace the Word. They don’t say it like that but rather in their comments they mock any serious study of doctrine or theology, comparing it to what seems to be a superior experience found in the fullness of the Holy Spirit. Frankly, I am tired of hearing men demean and mock the quest to know the Bible, and furthermore, such action, to me, displays just the opposite, an emptiness of His presence, not a fullness.

The reason for this disturbing trend is numerable. Those who follow hard after knowledge find the Word most appealing but in time tend develop a disdain for genuine miracles and those who experience them. This will often produce a “modern Pharisee,” knowledgeable of the Word but dry in his heart.   Meanwhile on the other side of the coin, there are those who seek after the supernatural phenomena but cast aside the security afforded by scripture. These become like those whose anchor is severed and are carried about by every wind of doctrine.

As I view where the Lord has put me I seem to be more among those who pursue the supernatural at the cost of serious Bible study.  I am not saying that everyone who wants to experience the supernatural touch of God is devoid of Bible knowledge, it’s good to want to see the demonstration of His power in the earth, but what I am saying is that we find it much easier to go to a meeting and sense His wonder and majesty and then ignore the daily discipline of serious surrender to the Word. We want an instant “text message” straight from the mouth of the prophet, a short cut bypassing rigorous study. Our culture has come to the point where we have become lazy. We want a fifteen minute “info-commercial” not too heavy, quick, soothing, and jazzy.  It use to be the exception but today we have so become accustomed to  face book, iphones, and video clips on my space that we approach the greatest object of all with the same shallowness. Our attention span when it comes to approaching the Lord of the universe is no longer than it is for a commercial during the half time in the super bowl. Simply put, we prefer comics over literature. So, we want a powerful touch more than intrigue, a demonstration of raw strength more than to be left in awe by mystery.  We want the super conducted, micro waved jolt from heaven more than the substantial change brought about by the intense pursuit of Truth!  At least this has been my observation through the last several years.

I cannot change the trend but I can conqueror myself and fight the tendency to be lazy. I can strive to keep my heart open and hungry for those genuine moments when the Holy Spirit announces His presence with miracles and awesome power and at the same time embrace with all diligence the eager pursuit of His Word.

I think that somewhere between the two I will fine what I long for, Him!

The Princes of Zoan

Part 2

Egypt was about to fall. Her wise men were fools and Pharaohs counselors were confused, perverse, and deceived. The impotency of natural mans intelligence was coming to the forefront for all to see. Yet, God would do something that no one would ever suspect. He would leave himself a place, no not just one but five cities in Egypt where he would find a people who swear allegiance to the Lord of Hosts!

Isaiah put it like this in Isa.19:18-21 (and again I am using the Amplified Bible)

“In that day there will be five cities in the land of Egypt that speak the language of [the Hebrews of] Canaan and swear allegiance to the Lord of hosts. One of them will be called the City of the Sun or Destruction. In that day there will be an altar to the Lord in the midst of the land of Egypt, and a pillar to the Lord at its border. And it will be a sign and a witness to the Lord of hosts in the land of Egypt; for they will cry to the Lord because of oppressors, and He will send them a savior, even a mighty one, and he will deliver them. [.] And the Lord will make Himself known to Egypt,”

I told you in part one how this chapter arrested me while I was spending some time with Dr. Owen, but when I got to these verses I just could not leave them. For days they stood before me like the painting Mona Lisa beautiful yet filled with mystery and wonder.

I noticed two distinct things here, five cities and an altar. Does that mean that in these times we will see five American cities become known as havens of refuge, places where His name will be exalted and recognized? And the altar, what does that mean? Well, the five cities could literally mean five cities but I would tend to think that it signifies towns or communities where the church is vibrant, the testimony pure, the worship deep and the obedience unchallengeable. To me it clearly shows that regardless where Egypt heads, there will be a host of people who will not take their eyes off the Lord or bend their knees to Egypt’s idols. The “Altar of the Lord in the midst of the land” could very well mean a special outpouring, a very notable move of God some where in the mid west.

The oppressors will rant and rave, but “He will send them a Savoir, even a Mighty One and He will deliver them.” These pronouns are not capitalized which means they could be any one but I would think that the One we shall see lifted up and recognized in the days to come will be our Savoir! O and by the way His address is not 1600 Pennsylvania Ave.!

How ever this all plays out there is one thing for certain, “…The Lord will make Himself known to Egypt!” Some will know Him as the Savoir they mocked and rejected while others will see Him as the King of kings and Lord of lords. Some will tremble and others will rejoice in awe. Regardless of their response they will know Him!

When the final curtain is opened we will all stand amazed! The brilliance of His presence will make the “princes of Zoan” shrink before Him.

The strong arm of man will be seen for what it is, a shriveled stub with no strength.

The tongues that wagged nonsense will be silent.

All flesh will see and shudder!

THEY WILL KNOW HIM!


18 Whenever the Lord raised up judges for them, the Lord was with the judge, and he saved them from the hand of their enemies all the days of the judge. For the Lord was moved to pity by their groaning because of those who afflicted and oppressed them.

Judges 3:9

But when the people of Israel cried out to the Lord, the Lord raised up a deliverer for the people of Israel, who saved them, Othniel the son of Kenaz, Caleb’s younger brother.

Judges 3:15

18 Whenever the Lord raised up judges for them, the Lord was with the judge, and he saved them from the hand of their enemies all the days of the judge. For the Lord was moved to pity by their groaning because of those who afflicted and oppressed them.

Judges 3:9

But when the people of Israel cried out to the Lord, the Lord raised up a deliverer for the people of Israel, who saved them, Othniel the son of Kenaz, Caleb’s younger brother.

Judges 3:15

15 Then the people of Israel cried out to the Lord, and the Lord raised up for them a deliverer, Ehud, the son of Gera, the Benjaminite, a left-handed man. The people of Israel sent tribute by him to Eglon the king of Moab. (ESV)

The Princes of Zoan

Advice that will cause a nation to stagger

Judy was in Alaska and I was in my chair on a quiet night enjoying my time with a guy named John Owen. Dr. Owen and I have been meeting for about two years now and he has taught me to see things that others miss. He has that kind of ability and not only is he able to see he also has that knack for being able to express it in a very impacting way. Of course Dr. Owen has been dead for about 340 years but through his books he still speaks, at least he does to me.

In his book on “Communion with God” he makes some interesting observations about the natural intelligence of man and its inability to bridge the gap between mans soul and God. He states that “Learning is the product of the soul’s struggling with the curse of sin.” He makes the argument that all the intelligence that man has as a result of the fall is aimed at trying to reconcile this great abyss that separates us from all the joy and fulfillment we can only find in God through Jesus Christ. Latter on the same page he writes, “The whole design of learning is but to disentangle the soul from the issues of sin.” To me this says that natural man applies his efforts to resolve the result of sin. Isn’t that what our greatest minds attempt? Doctors seek to rid the earth of sickness and plague, scientist attempt to invent things to make our lives better, politicians try to govern to reduce conflict, enhance peace and strive to synchronize the human effort towards a beneficial goal. But despite the brightest minds, the most acute intelligences mankind continues to walk the path of self destruction. The fact is man’s intelligence will never bridge the gap of sin that only the blood of Jesus can accomplish. Sin has a devastating influence on the intelligence of men and now as never before we are beginning to see the effects of it.

capitol-building-washington-dc

One may observe that the minds that are trying to resolve the enormous conflicts we face today are the same ones that created the problem yesterday. This whole issue of the impotence of natural wisdom was brought to a focus while reading . Let me put it here from the Amplified Bible.

“The princes of Zoan [ancient capital of the Pharaohs] are utterly foolish; the counsel of the wisest counselors of Pharaoh has become witless (stupid). How can you say to Pharaoh, I am a son of the wise, a son of

ancient kings? Where then are your wise men? Let them tell you now [if they are so wise], and let them make known what the Lord of hosts has purposed against Egypt [if they can]. The princes of Zoan have become fools, and the princes of Memphis are confused and deceived; those who are the cornerstones of her tribes have led Egypt astray. The Lord has mingled a spirit of perverseness, error, and confusion within her; [her leaders] have caused Egypt to stagger in all her doings, as a drunken man staggers in his vomit.”

When I saw this passage I noticed many similarities with our country much of which I will leave the interpretation to you the reader. It is clear that our “Princes of Zoan” have become witless! Decisions made by seemingly intelligent men will cause the nation to stagger as a drunken man staggers in his vomit. The list would be too long to support this claim. But one can pick up the newspaper or scan the web and see that “intelligent” men are grossly limited in their wisdom and the results will be seen swiftly.

As Dr. Owen says “The whole design of learning is but to disentangle the soul from the issues of sin,” I would surmise that our greatest attempts are to do just that, remove the horrible consequences of sin. But the Bible clearly shows us that all attempts without Christ are futile and vain. The only solution that can resolve the issue of sin and its fruit is the blood of Jesus Christ!

So how should we respond in the days that lay before us? How should the one who stands as a son of the Most High engage in this struggle? Two things, pray for the princes of Zoan, and proclaim with all your might the Gospel of Jesus Christ!

Saints, freedoms are being eroded at warp speed but there is one freedom that no government and no devil can take from you, the freedom of being who you are, a child of the King!


11 The princes of Zoan are utterly foolish;
the wisest counselors of Pharaoh give stupid counsel.
How can you say to Pharaoh,
“I am a son of the wise,
a son of ancient kings”?
12 Where then are your wise men?
Let them tell you
that they might know what the Lord of hosts has purposed against Egypt.
13 The princes of Zoan have become fools,
and the princes of Memphis are deluded;
those who are the cornerstones of her tribes
have made Egypt stagger.
14 The Lord has mingled within her a spirit of confusion,
and they will make Egypt stagger in all its deeds,
as a drunken man staggers in his vomit. (ESV)

H1N1 and the Saints

It was just over a week ago when the news hit. A viral strand of flu had lakemetamorphosed and had begun to spread. Mexico closed down everything, governments nervously responded, vaccines were produced and today I can’t even find a mention of it on the Drudge Report. My, how time seems to heal everything, at least in the minds of the media. But the absence of such in the news in no way declares we are safe. Plagues will continue as we rush towards the final chapter of mankind, but in that chapter there is revealed a people who will stand and declare “A thousand may fall at my side, ten thousand at my right hand but it will not come near me!” ()

The history of the church is replete with examples of saints responding in times such as this. One of theses saints was an ex-millionaire who left all to go to Africa. John G. Lake took with him only the strong confidence that God is supremely powerful but little did he know how that would be tested shortly after reaching Africa.

As the team landed on African soil in January 1910, a plague was raging over portions of the nation. In less than a month, one quarter of the entire population had died. In fact, the plague was so contagious that the government was offering $1000.00 to any nurse who would car for the sick. Lake and his assistants went to help free of charge. He and one assistant would go into the houses, bring out the dead, and bury them. But no symptom of the plague ever touched him.

At the height of this horrible plague, a doctor sent for Lake and asked him: “What have you been doing to protect yourself? What is your secret?” To this Lake responded:

“Brother , it is the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus. I believe that just as long as I keep my soul in contact with the living God so that His Spirit is flowing into my soul and body, that no germ will ever attach itself to me, for the Spirit of God will kill it!”

Lake then invited the doctor to experiment with him. He asked the doctor to take the foam from the lungs of a dead plague victim and put it under a microscope. The doctor did so, and found masses of living germs. Then Lake astounded the people in the room and as he told the doctor to spread the deadly foam on his hands, announcing that they would die. The doctor did so and found that the germs died instantly in Lake’s hand. Those who witnessed the experiment stood in amazement as Lake continued to give glory to God, explaining the phenomenon like this:

“You can fill my hand with them and I will keep it under the microscope and instead of these germs remaining alive the will die instantly.”

God’s Generals, Roberts Liardon, p.182-183

Lake stayed many years in Africa and his exploits are legendary and time and time again he demonstrated that the power of God is certain and mighty to overcome any work of the devil.

I think the issue here is found in . “He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will abide in the shadow of the Almighty!” The whole matter is the one of residence. Where do you reside? Some visit this refuge in times of crisis or perhaps every Sunday but here he is talking about making his prescience your permanent address. We cannot afford to visit the “stronghold” on a weekend outing! The terror of the night, the pestilence that stalks in darkness and the destruction that awaits the day alerts us to the fact that we must abide in Him!

So my friends, keep your heart clean, eyes fixed on the Savoir and your residence under His shadow and when the terrors come there you will find refuge and peace. Don’t play at the border of his shadow! The consequences may be devastating!


A thousand may fall at your side,
ten thousand at your right hand,
but it will not come near you. (ESV)


91:1 He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High
will abide in the shadow of the Almighty.
I will say to the Lord, “My refuge and my fortress,
my God, in whom I trust.”

For he will deliver you from the snare of the fowler
and from the deadly pestilence.
He will cover you with his pinions,
and under his wings you will find refuge;
his faithfulness is a shield and buckler.
You will not fear the terror of the night,
nor the arrow that flies by day,
nor the pestilence that stalks in darkness,
nor the destruction that wastes at noonday.

A thousand may fall at your side,
ten thousand at your right hand,
but it will not come near you.
You will only look with your eyes
and see the recompense of the wicked.

Because you have made the Lord your dwelling place—
the Most High, who is my refuge—
10 no evil shall be allowed to befall you,
no plague come near your tent.

11 For he will command his angels concerning you
to guard you in all your ways.
12 On their hands they will bear you up,
lest you strike your foot against a stone.
13 You will tread on the lion and the adder;
the young lion and the serpent you will trample underfoot.

14 “Because he holds fast to me in love, I will deliver him;
I will protect him, because he knows my name.
15 When he calls to me, I will answer him;
I will be with him in trouble;
I will rescue him and honor him.
16 With long life I will satisfy him
and show him my salvation.” (ESV)

Tea Parties and beyond

Today thousands are gathering to express their frustration and even anger to our politicians in Washington who think that our money is theirs to do with as they please. I cannot but think that today’s actions will start a series of actions that will most certainly grow as time advances.  Where are we headed with all of this?

Yet I get another glimpse of something behind the veil. I don’t think things are unraveling, instead I think we are rushing towards the the results of a well designed and lovingly planned conclusion.

The author of Hebrews tell us in that although we cannot see it now, all things have been put under subjection to the One who sits on the Throne!  To me that would mean that He really is in control!  I cannot express what comfort that gives me in the maddening pace of our demise.

We live in a country that affords us the right to speak. We have a rare privilege to let our voice be made known to those in Washington, something that very few nations have.  But just as we have the freedom to hold our tea parties and express our concern to the government let’s lift our voice up to the One who has all things in control, the One who numbers the hairs on your head, the One who sees every sparrow fall to the earth, the One who know your tomorrow.

Joseph was in stocks, BUT GOD HAD A PLAN

Israel suffered slavery, BUT GOD HAD A PLAN

Jesus was crucified, BUT GOD HAD A PLAN

The clock is ticking… AND GOD HAS A PLAN!!!!

Lift your voices saints!  Your redemption draws nigh!


putting everything in subjection under his feet.”

Now in putting everything in subjection to him, he left nothing outside his control. At present, we do not yet see everything in subjection to him. (ESV)