There Is A Cultural War Raging, but not what you think: it’s the The War On…

It’s present in every media source, and every political dialogue. It’s being promoted or opposed in every legislature and in every country. It’s a war that is claimed more lives than any World War or civil war.

It’s raging in our universities, and right down to our preschools. It’s raging in our corporate boardrooms, of which the majority are creating whole infrastructures to support this war. It’s even raging in many of our churches, who have followed the lead of the societal influencers.

It is the war on Motherhood.

My Bible reading today took me to Genesis 30, and the inception of the nation of Israel. It’s a dramatic story of two sisters and what would arguably become at one point the most powerful nation on Earth, ruled by their offspring.

In that day and culture (and pretty much every one up until today) child bearing was desired and exalted. Some tribes and ethnic groups, like the Mayans, sacrificed their children and their culture out of existence, but it wasn’t the norm.

“So Rachel said, ‘With mighty wrestlings I have wrestled with my sister, and I have indeed prevailed.’ And she named him Naphtali. When Leah saw that she had stopped bearing, she took her maid Zilpah and gave her to Jacob as a wife. Leah’s maid Zilpah bore Jacob a son. Then Leah said, ‘How fortunate!’ So she named him Gad. Leah’s maid Zilpah bore Jacob a second son. Then Leah said, ‘Happy am I! For women will call me happy.’ So she named him Asher…”

“Then God remembered Rachel, and God gave heed to her and opened her womb. So she conceived and bore a son and said, “God has taken away my reproach.” She named him Joseph, saying, “May the LORD give me another son.”

“Be fruitful and multiply,” the first commandment, was always a part of Godly human culture. The nation of Israel followed that commandment, and western society with its Judeo-Christian roots and ethic followed it also. It’s also part of the Natural order of things. If there ever was a species with the “gender confusion” akin to the “progressive” part of the humans species today, they will have gendered themselves out of existence.

The chemical castration that the medical community is doing on children masked as puberty blocking is likely irreversible, but they’ll surely make billions of dollars on attempting therapies, just like the infertility procedures they make the big bucks on (and that are probably necessary) because of the damage hormones and abortions have wreaked on young women. And record numbers of young men are becoming infertile.

My Bible reading also included Romans 1, which tells us the core sickness that fuels this war on normalcy and motherhood.

“For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse. For even though they knew God, they did not honor Him as God or give thanks, but they became futile in their speculations, and their foolish heart was darkened. Professing to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the incorruptible God for an image in the form of corruptible man and of birds and four-footed animals and crawling creatures. Therefore God gave them over in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, so that their bodies would be dishonored among them. For they exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen. For this reason God gave them over to degrading passions; for their women exchanged the natural function for that which is unnatural, and in the same way also the men abandoned the natural function of the woman and burned in their desire toward one another, men with men committing indecent acts and receiving in their own persons the due penalty of their error.”

“And just as they did not see fit to acknowledge God any longer, God gave them over to a depraved mind, to do those things which are not proper,”

“Degrading passions.” “Indecent acts.” Paul portrays people who have rejected God, and God allowed them to descend in all sorts of things that would dishonor their bodies. But at the levels of influence in our world, where denying God is encouraged and all these levels of perversity are taught as acceptable? Those people and institutions are the generals and armies of this war. Make no mistake, they have their own supreme leader, who leads them in these doctrines of demons.

“But the Spirit explicitly says that in later times some will fall away from the faith, paying attention to deceitful spirits and doctrines of demons, by means of the hypocrisy of liars seared in their own conscience as with a branding iron,” 1 Timothy 4:1-2

Men and women of faith need to be confronting this evil at every turn, in every way, in casual conversation or in contentious school board meetings, in a letter to the editor, or a letter to their pastor. Rise to the battle! Encourage motherhood!

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Apocalypse When?

Then Noah built an altar to the LORD, and took of every clean animal and of every clean bird and offered burnt offerings on the altar. The LORD smelled the soothing aroma; and the LORD said to Himself, “I will never again curse the ground on account of man, for the intent of man’s heart is evil from his youth; and I will never again destroy every living thing, as I have done. “While the earth remains, Seedtime and harvest, And cold and heat, And summer and winter, And day and night Shall not cease.” — Genesis 8

The Bible tells us that the heart of man is desperately wicked beyond our understanding. It also tells us that all have sinned and fallen short of God’s glory. We have learned that what we consider righteousness is no better than a bucket of filthy rags.

It is only by the grace of God that we even are kept from the brink of destruction. While we know that God will not destroy the whole Earth in the manner he did, we still forget how fragile our existence is.

Many areas of our country, including California and Nevada, are experiencing drought levels, levels not seen in many years. They are not, however historic levels, and are independent of what the green socialists are calling global warming. These droughts, however, will contribute to likely famines to be spawned by the actions taken by the Green socialists. Refrigeration is vital to the survival of people in the third world, and electricity shortages will increase famine.

One of the side effects of the gradual warming of the Earth is that crops have reached record levels of production, which likely will soon drop off given the reduction of fossil-sourced fertilizer and the impracticality of farm equipment being run on electricity. As these globalists force the price of fossil fuels higher food production will drop. One of the main reason for the skyrocketing prices of food is the escalation of fossil energy costs. This is by plan and has been discussed for decades (notably, by the Obama administration) as a means to force a change to alternative energy, which is in no way as efficient as fossil fuels are. Other than nuclear, no other energy source has the same output to storage ratio. Hydrogen does not even come close, and requires additional energy to store it. (Hydrogen takes four times the storage volume as gasoline.)

Not only is worldwide famine a possibility, it is likely given the push to raise energy costs and the hot and cold wars raging.

I’m not even going to delineate close to another dozen things that could cause an utter breakdown in our society. The declining birth rate, world war, nuclear war, a significant volcanic event, a significant solar event, a significant asteroid collision, a true pandemic, or biological warfare (which may already be happening in the guise of a pandemic) are all factors. Any given one could bring us to an apocalyptic scenario.

This brings me back to what is the most important factor: there is a God, and he is in control. Our destiny is not decided by ourselves, except to the degree by which we give the Creator of the universe our attention and dedication. With a few rare exceptions, the governments of the world are at war with God; the economic systems of the world are at war with God; man has exalted his wisdom over the wisdom of God, but that can change as it did in the Reformation, and the industrial revolution. The discoveries that gave us our technological and efficient food production tools we have today were a gift from God, not the inherent evil that the Green Socialists believe.

Above all else, we need to turn to God and cry out for the mercy of God upon us and upon our country.

The Highway to Hell

Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened. Or what man is there among you who, when his son asks for a loaf, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, he will not give him a snake, will he? If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give what is good to those who ask Him! In everything, therefore, treat people the same way you want them to treat you, for this is the Law and the Prophets. Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is broad that leads to destruction, and there are many who enter through it. For the gate is small and the way is narrow that leads to life, and there are few who find it.” — Matthew 7

Jesus makes the point here that evil people can do good things. John Calvin alluded to this in his concept of Common Grace. God has given grace to all mankind to thwart the tendency towards evil, to create beautiful things, and to do good for fellow men.

Christ encourages doing good and kind things, but there is not only a carrot to encourage people be kind and giving, but there is a stick. It said that the way to hell is paved with good intentions; just think what bad intentions will earn you. The BBC recently reported that TikTok is keeping most of the money that is being raised for refugees in Syria. I suppose it shouldn’t surprise us, given who controls TikTok, but one thing to keep in mind whether it’s reading a story like this, or reacting to someone cutting you off in traffic: and then cursing at you; there is a Judge and there is a Judgment coming. There is a Hell, it is a real place, and it’s not very hard to get there.

Someone posted a meme that said there must be a reason why there’s a Stairway To Heaven but a Highway To Hell.

I don’t want to give the impression at the decision between heaven and hell is based on accrued good and bad deeds. It’s pretty clear that Hell was reserved for those who turn away from the salvation offered them by the Lord Jesus Christ. But Jesus talked a lot about hell, and to discount any retribution for evil actions is to ignore the moral nature of the whole universe.

For those of us who profess faith in Christ, we should not fall into the anger (and even rage) that is so much a part of our culture. Anger is appropriate, even necessary sometimes, but our anger should be founded in righteousness. “Be angry, and yet do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, and do not give the devil an opportunity.”

We’re Going Back to Our Evil Ways

Then the LORD saw that the wickedness of man was great on the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. — Genesis 6

Do not worry then, saying, ‘What will we eat?’ or ‘What will we drink?’ or ‘What will we wear for clothing?’ For the Gentiles eagerly seek all these things; for your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. “So do not worry about tomorrow; for tomorrow will care for itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own. — Matthew 6

It’s pretty wicked on the earth now, but apparently not enough to justify the destruction of nearly the whole population as it was in the days of Noah. Just in the news the last few days was a report of a Texas teen arrested for storming into hospital nursery, strangling two newborns and attacking staff. And it’s not limited to the US: In Thailand many children were among the dead in pre-school attack.

Jesus was clear on how we are to deal with all these concerns; He tells us “each day has enough trouble” and that He’s got it under control, though it seems otherwise sometimes.

If you ask the typical person the question, “Do you believe that people are essentially good,” you’ll usually get an answer in the affirmative. Jesus, however, was working from His infinite base of knowledge of humans, and was well aware that (since the Fall) the nature of man is essentially evil. After all, the first offspring of man was a murderer.

We’ve enjoyed living in a country that has been centered on a moral basis founded in the Judeo-Christian ethic, but the foundations of the that, including the Ten Commandments and the teachings of Jesus have been cut out of our schools by liberal court edicts and out of our culture in general.

The horrific crime levels we see now are a result of the wickedness unleashed when moral restraints are eliminated. You’ve probably heard, “You can’t legislate morality.” In a culture that discounts morality as a virute, that platitude sounds good on its face, but actually all law does is legislate morality. Morality dictates what is a crime, and what is a virtue. Assault is a crime, as is theft, abuse and murder.

When we reject Biblical morality, when we turn our backs on what has been the guide for behavior for many generations, we wind up in the state of anarchy we are in today.

Put Your Hand To The Plow And Your Money Where Your Mouth Is.

Blessed are you when people insult you and persecute you, and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of Me. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward in heaven is great; for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you. Disciples and the World “You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt has become tasteless, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled under foot by men. “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden; nor does anyone light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on the lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven. — Matthew 5

But the high priest rose up, along with all his associates (that is the sect of the Sadducees), and they were filled with jealousy. They laid hands on the apostles and put them in a public jail. But during the night an angel of the Lord opened the gates of the prison, and taking them out he said, “Go, stand and speak to the people in the temple the whole message of this Life.” Upon hearing this, they entered into the temple about daybreak and began to teach…

When they had brought them, they stood them before the Council. The high priest questioned them, saying, “We gave you strict orders not to continue teaching in this name, and yet, you have filled Jerusalem with your teaching and intend to bring this man’s blood upon us.” But Peter and the apostles answered, “We must obey God rather than men. The God of our fathers raised up Jesus, whom you had put to death by hanging Him on a cross. He is the one whom God exalted to His right hand as a Prince and a Savior, to grant repentance to Israel, and forgiveness of sins. And we are witnesses of these things; and so is the Holy Spirit, whom God has given to those who obey Him.” — Acts 5

A lot of people have spent a fair amount of time in jail for doing things they shouldn’t have. A lot of people have spent a lot of time in jail for standing up for their moral place and religious convictions. There are many Christians in Muslim countries who has spent years in jail for just being a Christian or just chatting about their faith in Christ.

As I said yesterday, it’s time that people truly believe in Christ stand up for the principles and the religious convictions they have regarding the evil going on our schools, in our governmental organizations, and even in some of our churches.

It’s time to become informed and put our money where our mouth is. Orphan’s Promise is an excellent ministry that I’ve become involved in and supports Christian education and children’s care in countries where limited to living orphanages after their parents have passed away or been killed by oppressive governments.

CBN’s Operation Blessing will be on the streets of Florida helping people who have been left homeless by the storm recently. They are an excellent service to our world, bringing Mercy in Christ’s name.

The website Charity Navigator is a good place to check to see what the nonprofits that are making great progress in our world spend on overhead and spend on their projects. If you go to church (and you should) your church or denomination may have excellent outreaches to your community, spreading the gospel and the truth of a higher moral principle to people who desperately need it. There is rarely anything like a moral compass in the typical member of our society, and that moral compass comes from learning from Christians and from God’s Word what is expected of the righteous people in this world.

These are perilous times indeed, but we have experienced worse times in our history as a country and a world. When people pray and put their hand to the plow to see things changed miracles can happen in us and around us.

Day 4 Pol Inc Dev

THE LAND OF ZEBULUN AND THE LAND OF NAPHTALI, BY THE WAY OF THE SEA, BEYOND THE JORDAN, GALILEE OF THE GENTILES— “THE PEOPLE WHO WERE SITTING IN DARKNESS SAW A GREAT LIGHT, AND THOSE WHO WERE SITTING IN THE LAND AND SHADOW OF DEATH, UPON THEM A LIGHT DAWNED.” From that time Jesus began to preach and say, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” — Matthew 4

As they were speaking to the people, the priests and the captain of the temple guard and the Sadducees came up to them, being greatly disturbed because they were teaching the people and proclaiming in Jesus the resurrection from the dead. And they laid hands on them and put them in jail until the next day, for it was already evening. But many of those who had heard the message believed; and the number of the men came to be about five thousand.— Acts 4

In another place it says that all who live godly shall suffer persecution. It certainly is that way in our world today. A father in Canada was jailed for not giving permission for his daughter to receive the puberty blockers his ex-wife wanted prescribed to her.

We must become militant in our resistance to the darkness. Paul said to the Ephesians, “Do not participate in the unfruitful deeds of darkness, but instead even expose them; for it is disgraceful even to speak of the things which are done by them in secret. But all things become visible when they are exposed by the light, for everything that becomes visible is light. For this reason it says, “Awake, sleeper, And arise from the dead, And Christ will shine on you.”

Let me tell you a story of what can happen in the government schools that I know first hand. This high school had a teacher’s assistant that would groom the high school girls to “pose” for pictures in his studio. The school had teachers that would promote drug use in the classroom. They would promote “Lifeboat” exercises which force participants to choose which members of society should be eliminated for the common good (except murderers and other criminals were not ever in the lifeboat).

Oh, and that teacher that was going after his female students? He kept his job for years after his actions were revealed because the teacher’s union fought for him.

Schools should reflect values of their community and the higher values of a Christian culture, not the “progressive” ideologies of socialist Ivy League universities.

And all this was going on in my high school, 50 years ago. The nightmare of insanity that passes for education today is truly, “disgraceful even to speak of the things which are done by them in secret.”

Join the resistance! It may land you in jail (real jail, not Facebook censorship jail). But there’s nothing shameful about going to jail for supporting righteousness.

Day 3 Pol Inc Dev

Now the serpent was more crafty than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. And he said to the woman, “Indeed, has God said, ‘You shall not eat from any tree of the garden’?”

The serpent said to the woman, “You surely will not die! For God knows that in the day you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” – Genesis 3

But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees coming for baptism, he said to them, “You brood of vipers, who warned you to flee from the wrath to come? Therefore bear fruit in keeping with repentance;

As for me, I baptize you with water for repentance, but He who is coming after me is mightier than I, and I am not fit to remove His sandals; He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. His winnowing fork is in His hand, and He will thoroughly clear His threshing floor; and He will gather His wheat into the barn, but He will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire.” – Matthew 3

“Conspiracy Theory” is one of my favorite movies, and one of my favorite expressions is “Just because you’re paranoid doesn’t mean they’re not out to get you.”

We have an enemy who conspired to seduce our first relatives with forbidden knowledge. He succeeded. That enemy has a powerful tool at his disposal: Deception. The Pharisees who were conspiring to accomplish Jesus’s death were deceived into believing that was what they needed to do. In both instances they were fully culpable in their actions despite the deception they fell to.

Since I wrote yesterday my wife and I watched Matt Walsh’s documentary “What is a Woman?” He talks to multiple “experts” who are as deep into deception as they possibly could be regarding sexuality. Many have no problem in prescribing untested puberty blockers, and performing hysterectomies and mastectomies on 16-year-olds,

Not one of these “physicians” “therapists” or “scientists” could give an answer to the simple question, “What is a Woman?”

The enemy has conspired to deceive so many people to so great a depth that it challenges comprehension.

We have a much more powerful weapon than our enemy has, however: The Holy Spirit interpreting the Word of God for our protection and our direction. As well, we have the counsel of godly people around us in the church, people who also seek wisdom from the Word of God and the Holy Spirit. We need to seek this guidance daily.

Day 2 Pol Inc Dev

So the LORD God caused a deep sleep to fall upon the man, and he slept; then He took one of his ribs and closed up the flesh at that place. The LORD God fashioned into a woman the rib which He had taken from the man, and brought her to the man. The man said, “This is now bone of my bones, And flesh of my flesh; She shall be called Woman, Because she was taken out of Man.” — Genesis 2

Then when Herod saw that he had been tricked by the magi, he became very enraged, and sent and slew all the male children who were in Bethlehem and all its vicinity, from two years old and under, according to the time which he had determined from the magi. Then what had been spoken through Jeremiah the prophet was fulfilled: “A VOICE WAS HEARD IN RAMAH, WEEPING AND GREAT MOURNING, RACHEL WEEPING FOR HER CHILDREN; AND SHE REFUSED TO BE COMFORTED, BECAUSE THEY WERE NO MORE.” (Matthew 2)

We live in an age where even the concept of the definition of truth is being attacked and declared to be fluid. We live in an age where established science, biology, and history are being challenged and rewritten. Time and time again I’ve heard the statement, “One person’s truth may not be another person’s truth.” I had a very liberal colleague at work one time declare he did not believe in absolute truth. I asked him, “Do you absolutely believe that?”

We apparently can’t define what a man or a woman is anymore, and to even attempt to is a crime of some sort. While I haven’t yet watched Matt Walsh’s documentary “What is a Woman,” I am expecting it to come across as deep irony and very dark humor… but it isn’t funny at all what is going on in our culture. Scientists have been at war with Biblical truth for many decades now. They have exalted Darwin’s theory of evolution over the Law of Biogenesis postulated and proved down to the level of bacteria by Louis Pasteur, the father of Immunology and perhaps the greatest biologist and chemist ever to live. His Law of Biogenesis, which was at the time nearly universally recognized, matches the Genesis description perfectly: “Then God said, ‘Let the earth bring forth living creatures after their kind.'” (Genesis 1:24)

Just as you can determine who to vote for in an election by finding out who the New York Times or Washington Post endorses (and vote for the opposite candidate), you can postulate what the scientific community believes about a moral issue by seeing how they address Biblical truth and morality (they’ll promote the opposite). This was not always true; many great scientists historically verified the Bible using the Scientific Method, whether intentionally or not, like Pasteur.

The Bible says that God created the earth at a point in time, a creation that reflected maturity by design (the chicken came first in the Biblical account), The evolutionists use the “Infinite Monkey Theorem,” which uses probability to “prove” that enough monkeys, given enough time, will result in one monkey “randomly” typing all the works of Shakespeare. That forces them to constantly change the amount of time needed to “evolve” what we see around us today. We’re up to 13 billion years now… Like the comedian Nate Bargatze said somewhere, “The universe used to be 10 billion years old. Now they’re saying it’s 13 billion years old. That’s quite of difference; did someone lose their job over that mistake?”

Scientists postulated that life formed here in earth in Primordial Goo. Said Goo, given enough time, would generate amino acids that would form into “life.” They’ve been trying to replicate Goo’s transition from Goo to life — even a single cell of life — for the best part of a century, and not surprisingly, failed. Perhaps they have some monkeys working on it now. Another lynchpin of evolutionary cosmology is the expanding universe, the result of the “big bang.” Recent advances in telescopes have revealed, however, that the stars and galaxies that are expanding are… accelerating. So galaxies consisting of mass are violating at least a couple of natural laws. So Goo and galaxies aren’t providing any answers. Maybe not Goo, not galaxies, but God holds the answer.

We have to remember that the powers to be don’t like being confounded, however. Just like Herod, when thwarted in his goal of executing the upcoming child-King, then horrifically executed children, the purveyors of this darkness and the opposes of Biblical truth and morality will take no prisoners’ as long as they hold the reigns of power… which are quickly moving towards a reign of terror. They will find, however, that there is a God and King who commands the stars in the sky and the legions of Heaven, and will not fail to bring Truth and Light to the dark world we are living in.

Day 1 Pol Inc Dev

I just completed my one year Bible reading plan, which was originally created by a Scottish minister called Robert Murray M’Cheyne in the 1800s. The Bible reading plan takes you once through the Old Testament and twice through the New Testament and Psalms. I highly recommend it.

I have found through the years of reading the Bible that it speaks on a nearly daily basis to the trends in our contemporary culture and in the church today.

I’ve sometimes commented on that relevance in social media, but I’m going to move the bulk of that to this blog. Hopefully, WordPress is not exerting the kind of repressive control over their platform that Facebook and Twitter are doing.

“God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. God blessed them; and God said to them, ‘Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth, and subdue it; and rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over every living thing that moves on the earth.’” — Genesis 1

“So all the generations from Abraham to David are fourteen generations; from David to the deportation to Babylon, fourteen generations; and from the deportation to Babylon to the Messiah, fourteen generations….”

“…behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife; for the Child who has been conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit. She will bear a Son; and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins.” — Matthew 1

Many people in our culture and some people in the church state that Jesus never addressed the issue of homosexuality and gay marriage, and therefore it must be fine. Jesus did address these issues, which His audience considered to be settled already, when he quoted this passage in Genesis regarding marriage and divorce.

“And He answered and said, ‘Have you not read that He who created them from the beginning MADE THEM MALE AND FEMALE, and said, ‘FOR THIS REASON A MAN SHALL LEAVE HIS FATHER AND MOTHER AND BE JOINED TO HIS WIFE, AND THE TWO SHALL BECOME ONE FLESH?'” — Matthew 19

The gender madness we are experiencing in our culture is a direct result of ignoring historic truth as delineated in Scripture. God knew that atdifferent times throughout history mankind would devolve into the kind of idiocy we see today, and so he laid the groundwork right in the first book of the Bible.

Here in Genesis we find the first commandment to man, which would be repeated multiple times throughout the Old Testament. This commandment runs counter to the Green and Same-Sex movements prevalent worldwide today. God commanded the first man and woman to have children — lots of children — enough children to fill the Earth. For many decades now, the godless secularists have been condemning the growth of population and childbirth. They have created many practices that run counter to biblical understanding, including elective abortion (infanticide was practiced by many of the Nations surrounding Israel), alternative lifestyles, and population control.

I have attended dozens of conferences that deal with social and political issues, and here’s a couple takeaways from some of those:

I was present at a conference with an United Nations population council, and I expected it to be in the standard “overpopulation is our doom” mindset. Doom was indeed at the center of the discussion, but the lack of population growth was pointing towards that doom. The speaker’s expressed clearly how population and fertility was declining in all the nations of the world, including the poorer ones. They pointed out the extreme suffering that would be a result in population declines in these countries.

Most of us remember China’s forced abortion and one child policies. China has done an about face regarding family size, however, because they have recognized that their workforce will not match the needs of their country.

Japan has such low fertility rates that the country will functionally cease to exist in just a few decades. Japan sells more adult diapers to its people than baby diapers.

More recently I was at an economic conference, and the keynote speaker was from a group of economists with a very good track record in predicting recessions. Barring unforeseen circumstances like nuclear war, she gave the prognosis that we would suffer a couple recessions over the next few years, but nothing catastrophic.

She said, however, that we are heading down the road to a depression rivaling or exceeding the Great Depression at right about the hundred year anniversary. She added that the collapse would be pretty much inescapable, because of two chief factors. The first factor, the lesser of the two, was of the debt of the nation weighing down the ability to service that debt, which would become a significant ratio against our gross national product. The second factor? The lack of population growth sufficient to support the workforce needs and tax needs of our country.

When she was asked what investments would be safe, she replied that commodities such as food… And industries servicing the pet population of our country.

All is not lost however, because of those generations of faithful followers of God who obeyed His original commandment to procreate, and who brought us our Messiah.

Despite the wickedness we see in our culture, it’s been there before, and when people turn to Jesus a culture can turn with them. “…for He will save His people from their sins.”

Back When I Was a Bad Little Boy, Pt 3

Some of my children gifted me with a year of StoryWorth, an online aggregator of answers to questions that are compiled into a book at the end of the year. This, while quite a task, has forced me into posting on this blog again, as I originally intended.

Two of the questions were: “How did my parents pick my name,” and “What was my neighborhood like?”

As far as I know, my mother picked my name because she liked the names Kenneth and Dean; no family members or famous people were influencing her and my dad in that choice. As to what my neighborhood was like, I covered some of the Irvine Flats aspect back in “Bad Little Boy Pt 1.” I’ll try to cover the neighborhood I lived in, in this “episode.”

I do want to interject one aspect of storytelling I’m becoming painfully aware of; the fallibility of my memory. I won’t manufacture any stories, but times and places may suffer some. I don’t remember much detail about my maternal grandfather, Oakley Kemp (Pops, as I called him), for instance. He had retired before my memories of him; he had been a postman for years, I believe in Ronan. I think he must have had a stroke along with some other medical issues; I don’t remember him saying much. Both my paternal grandparents (Burton side) died before I was born or soon after, so I have no memories of them.

I’ve talked about the stores in our closest town. Our drive from the ranch to the nearest real town (Polson) took close to an hour. The school bus ride took a circuitous route and was much longer. I walked a half mile to our gate, where I caught a ride with a neighbor with children to the bus stop which was a couple miles away. I rode the bus for many years…

Some memories from the ranch include: I had a nephew and niece that weren’t much older than I and they would often visit. One time I convinced them to explore the springs not far from the ranchhouse. They appeared much like a swamp, but my dad warned me that they were akin to quicksand. I wasn’t supposed to venture in there but I convinced my younger relatives to wade through with me. I was in the lead (fortunately) and took a step into a hole at least as deep as I was tall. My nephew grabbed me and we made our way out backtracking safely.

I want to interject some things that might seem alien to people today. My bedroom was on the second floor of a two story house. We had an oil fired heater in the living room, which was right below my bedroom. There was a vent in the floor, but we didn’t run the heater at night. My bedroom would get down around or below freezing during some winter nights. We had a single bathroom downstairs. When we had a new moon, I could look out my window and not see a single light (eventually a rancher across the flats put up a yard light). For me, it was pretty scary going to bed. The Closet Door was right by my bed, and at the back of the closet was the Attic Door…there were Forbidden Things in that room, which connected through my closet..

We had a party line for our phone. You would know the call was for you by the pattern of the rings, and if someone was on the phone party line you couldn’t make a call. You could conceivably snoop on another person’s call if you chose, however.

I had a friend — Charley — who would occasionally come over to play, and my dad had bought me a dog, a German Shepherd. I thought it was hilarious when the dog pinned down Charlie and was lunging at his neck, but, that was the end of that “pet.”

Another time I was visiting Charley, who lived against the hills surrounding the flats. I was getting ready to step out of the car and everyone started yelling at me. There was a rattlesnake right outside my car door.

We had two tractors, and when I got older I helped with mowing (we had a few hundred acres in Alfalfa and Rye), helped with calving season (including pulling calves), We baled and stacked hay, and fed it in the winter.

I do remember my great-grandmother, visiting her in a rest home in Kalispell, and I remember my grandmother (Ruby Kemp) well, and my grandfather (Oakley) vaguely (he suffered from a stroke and cancer). My grandmother was part of the reason my “neighborhood” changed.

After my grandfather passed away my grandmother was having a difficult time living alone, so she sold her house and my parents bought a house in Polson so they could care for her. My dad still had the ranch, and I worked out there with him occasionally, but now I was living in the “city” (though Polson was only a few thousand strong).

I had lived a pretty isolated life living in the country; my mother, who was an educator in a one room schoolhouse (the Green Mountain school in Irvine Flats) before I was born.

There was just a handful of kids my age in Irvine Flats, and the closest were still miles away. As I entered high school, living in Polson, I went through a bit of culture shock,

My mother Louise at the Green Mountain School in Irvine Flats (well before I was born)

The blizzard of ’69, living in town, starting to play drums, and more, to follow….

Back When I Was a Bad Little Boy, Pt 2

Here’s some reminiscing on what life was as a young child in Western Montana in the 60s… however, my memory might fail me on some of these details.

I was asked what my favorite candy was as a child, but the question begs for some background on the times in the middle of the 20th century. I grew up on a ranch that was located 40 minutes from the town of Polson (and the nearest store) on a dirt road.

Before I was in school (and our school didn’t have kindergarten) we would sometimes only travel to town once or twice a month. I don’t recall when the first supermarket opened in Polson (it was a Safeway) but we shopped at one of the two grocery stores on Main Street. Neither of those had as big a selection of candy as a typical 7-11 or Circle K today. A Hershey bar only cost a nickel when I was a child; many young people today don’t really understand inflation. A Hershey bar didn’t change in value from then until now; the value of the currency used to buy it. So the Hershey bar that cost a nickel in 1960 is worth exactly the same as a Hershey bar today that costs $1.20.

But the Hershey bar, while a favorite, wasn’t my most favorite.

I mentioned that we lived far out of town, but we did have a television (black and white). We got exactly one channel; I think it was the CBS channel from Missoula. And that channel went off at midnight. The nearly infinite wealth of entertainment we have today would have been incomprehensible back then. I was jealous of my schoolmates who could get all three channels (ABC, NBC, CBS) living in town.

We did have on-demand movies, however, if you consider a movie theater with one screen and one showing a night, on-demand. Some things have not changed in the movie theaters; popcorn and soda are still the main staples, but they had a candy counter also. And they had some brands of candy never found anywhere but in the movie theater. I never had Milk Duds except in the theater, or a 7-up chocolate bar, or Mike and Ike candy. Like today, however, the theater prices were much higher than the store prices. Candy there cost a dime, twice as much as grocery store candy.

Did I mention that the theater cost sixty-five cents for admission? And that gas to get all the way in town was twenty-five cents a gallon? And that most of the stores were closed on Sunday? Or that my bus ride to school was over an hour long, and crossed a rickety wooden bridge going into town?

Back to the grocery store… think of a dollar store today that sells groceries; the Main Street Market we shopped at had an inventory comparable with the groceries the dollar stores have today. They did have a meat counter, however, and the butcher would weigh and wrap your meat purchase, like a deli does today. My parents had chickens on the ranch and they would sell them at the grocery store for the store to resell.

Soda was only in bottles, and was a rare treat.

The restaurant fare was typical diner food, with one steak house in town. There was an A&W drive up restaurant, and the local “Burgerville” drive thru (which amazingly, is still there) as well as a “Tasty Freeze.” There was no McDonalds anywhere near (on a trip many years later I saw a McDonald’s on the east coast, with “over 100,000 sold” on the sign). I never tasted Mexican food or saw a Mexican restaurant until years later. There was a bowling alley (with 8 lanes, I believe) on main street. And the bowling alley had candy too, but none like the theater had.

By the way, to answer the question that spawned this article, the candy that was my favorite — and was only available at the theater — was Hot Tamales.

Are You Afraid to Speak What You Believe?

A couple thoughts from my Bible reading this morning:

On Athens:

“Now while Paul was waiting for them at Athens, his spirit was being provoked within him as he was observing the city full of idols.”

And we certainly live in cities full of idols, if greed and the worship of philosophy is indeed idolatry as the Bible suggests.

The Athenians, responding to Paul, said, “For you are bringing some strange things to our ears; so we want to know what these things mean.” (Now all the Athenians and the strangers visiting there used to spend their time in nothing other than telling or hearing something new.)”

And we certainly live in a culture that is always looking for something new and tossing out the old and the tried and the true.

On Corinth:

“And the Lord said to Paul in the night by a vision, ‘Do not be afraid any longer, but go on speaking and do not be silent; for I am with you, and no man will attack you in order to harm you, for I have many people in this city.’”

Yes, Paul was fearful, as many of us are when confronted with crazy philosophies and bogus science that is diametrically opposed to truth and to Biblical guidance. We’re told in the Old Testament and out of the mouth of Jesus that “God made them man and woman,” (and this is what science supported for millennia until just the last few decades) but do we remain silent when every possible concept of sexuality is accepted and promulgated by our culture? And every possible form of religion and spirituality is commended and encouraged by our culture except for Biblical Christianity?

We are to “speak the truth in love,” and we know that kindness leads to repentance, but it is in no way kind to tacitly give our approval on behaviors that are clearly self-destructive and sinful.

Our culture pretty much ignores human organ harvesting in China and the abuse of women and children in every Islamic country, all while banning any speech or thought that does not align itself with the philosophy of the Party.

It’s time to first analyze whether our beliefs and actions align themselves with Biblical Christianity, and then speak forth Biblical truth and light to the dying world in which we reside.

A couple of recent studies pointed out that a large segment of our society is afraid of stating what their beliefs are for fear of repercussions.

We must not give in to fear, and we are required to speak truth in love.

A commission is “an instruction, command, or duty given to a person or group of people.” It is “authority entrusted to someone, delegated authority or power.”

Paul recognized his commission and walked in the authority of it, just as we are called to do as Jesus charged us:

“And Jesus came up and spoke to them, saying, ‘All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.’”

Does Your Spending Reflect Your Values?

“The ongoing pornification of Netflix,” is what one commentator declared as the Netflix series “Sex/life” rose to the top of the Netflix most watched programs.

In my predetermined Bible reading in Acts today, another commentator, the apostle Peter, “with many other words… solemnly testified and kept on exhorting them, saying, ‘Be saved from this perverse generation!’”

He also had just reminded his listeners of the words of the prophet Joel that God:

“WILL IN THOSE DAYS POUR FORTH OF MY SPIRIT And they shall prophesy. ‘AND I WILL GRANT WONDERS IN THE SKY ABOVE AND SIGNS ON THE EARTH BELOW, BLOOD, AND FIRE, AND VAPOR OF SMOKE. ‘THE SUN WILL BE TURNED INTO DARKNESS AND THE MOON INTO BLOOD, BEFORE THE GREAT AND GLORIOUS DAY OF THE LORD SHALL COME. ‘AND IT SHALL BE THAT EVERYONE WHO CALLS ON THE NAME OF THE LORD WILL BE SAVED.’”

Are YOU helping to fund Netflix in their mission to pervert the values of a generation? I’m going to write my cellphone provider (which gives subscribers free access) to ask them to give an another option for users. And I’m going to write Samsung and thank them for having much more family friendly content on their TV plus free channels.

If There Ever Was a Time to be Praying…

What do we do in times of such great uncertainty, as many of us have never seen before in our lifetimes? When leaders abandon the practice of Christian principles and promote godlessness in every aspect of our culture?


Pray… “First of all, then, I urge that entreaties and prayers, petitions and thanksgivings, be made on behalf of all men,  for kings and all who are in authority, so that we may lead a tranquil and quiet life in all godliness and dignity. This is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior,  who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.” — 1 Timothy 2


Make a prayer list of those you need to be praying for in your government. You might not even know the name of your sheriff and your police chief, who may be facing the challenge of obeying their superiors in violation of their oaths to God and the State and Federal Constitutions. Find out who your County and City officials are, your state legislators and senators, and those on the federal level, who also will likely be facing challenges to their faith and their oath to the Constitution, and pray for them.

Obey? Yes, we are to obey when our obedience does not violate the higher law of God.  But when the authorities were saying,  “We gave you strict orders not to continue teaching in this name, and yet, you have filled Jerusalem with your teaching and intend to bring this man’s blood upon us.”… Peter and the apostles answered, “We must obey God rather than men.” — Acts 5:28-30


In Romans 13 Paul encourages us to submit to the authorities that have been set over us. Paul also states that authorities that are in place have been set by God, but he also defines what those authorities are: “For rulers are not a cause of fear for good behavior, but for evil.”  Edicts that reward evil behavior and punish Godly behavior are not from legitimate authorities. Just as the apostles were not bound to submit to commands that violated God’s instructions,  we are required to “obey God rather than men.”


God has a well-established history of setting wicked nations up to judge God’s chosen when they betray Him. When Israel and Judah turned against God, He sent wicked Assyria and Babylonia to destroy them. 
It is foolish arrogance to assume our nation can continue in wicked ways without judgment falling upon her.


So, pray… “so that we may lead a tranquil and quiet life in all godliness and dignity.”

The Enneagram: Is There Any Gram of Truth There?

I should preface this with a bit of history; before I became a Christian I spent quite a bit of time researching (and believing in) Eastern mystical thought, primarily Vendanta, which is similar in many ways to Buddhism. Even before becoming a Christian I recognized the stark differences between Eastern religion and Christianity, and felt Vendanta was superior.  

When I encountered the Lord Jesus Christ at the age of 21 in a Oregon jail cell, He began a radical transformation in my worldview and led me to analyze the truth of the beliefs I had held before. I soon found that my New-Age belief system crumbled in the presence of Biblical theology.

When I picked up a copy of “The Wisdom of the Enneagram” at a friend’s house and browsed the pages I found a recasting of the mystic New Age philosophies I once believed, all of which stand in stark contrast to Biblical principles. I have been amiss in not putting my thoughts down (and a warning) about this occultic inroad into many people’s lives.

So, what is the religious and historic basis for the Enneagram?

From, Óscar Ichazo himself in his Letter to the Transpersonal Community (complete document on request):

“The main ‘ideas’ are the existence of an essence and a personality; the essence is our real self with which we are born that Gurdjieff qualifies in a very diffusive manner like our own natural body,  our health, or what is essential and accompanies us through this life and beyond; and the personality is the part that learns from the world by imitation, association, and education, making a protective coat around the essence and in this way supplanting it. From all that I know, this is one of the most ancient ideas and is the basis of the Vedas, where the essence is known as atman and the personality as jiva, which surrounds the essence (atman) and imposes itself (jiva) as the only actual reality. The Katha, Mandukya, and Chandogya Upanishads are based on the same premise. Shamkara’s philosophy is also based on this premise, and it is fundamental in Kashmir Shaivaism, as well as being the basic premise of the work of Ramakrishna, Sri Aurobindo, and Meher Baba.  Without the conception of the Absolute and Relative Minds (essence and personality), there would be no Buddhism, Jainism, Hinduism, Taoism, or any mystical doctrine.”

“I found all the same ideas totally developed in the Pythagorean, Platonic, Stoic, Hermetist, Gnostic, and Kabbalist traditions that continue to develop throughout Western culture for the simple reason that they all are obvious, basic postulates.”

Ichazo refers to Gnosticism numerous times in this discourse, as well as the other “mystical” religions.

There is a vast difference between Gnosticism and Christianity:

“• Gnostics were dualists and worshipped two (or more) gods; Christians were monists and worshipped one God.
• Gnostics focused on eradication of ignorance; Christian concern was the eradication of sin.
• Both had a redeemer. The Gnostic redeemer only appeared human; the Christian Redeemer was human, “the Word made flesh.”
• For Gnostics, salvation came through knowledge of self; for Christians salvation was through faith in the risen Christ.
• In Gnosis, the focus was on the individual and individual experience; in Christianity, focus was on the community of believers.”
from The Influences of Gnosticism on the Development and Growth of Early Christianity by Joe E. Morris

Who Is  Óscar Ichazo, the founder of the Enneagram?

“The earliest mention of the Enneagram is found in the writings of the Russian occultist P. D. Ouspensky, who attributes it to his teacher, the Greek American occultist Georges I. Gurdjieff. Gurdjieff considered the Enneagram a symbol of the cosmos, but made no connection with it to personality types.

“It was left to another occultist, Óscar Ichazo, to connect the Enneagram to personality. Ichazo claimed to have discovered the personality type meaning of the Enneagram when it was taught to him by the Archangel Metraton while he was high on mescaline.

“One of Ichazo’s students, a Chilean-born psychiatrist named Claudio Naranjo (another occultist) was the first to connect the nine points of the Enneagram to nine basic personality types. (Naranjo also appears to be the one to connect the mention of the Enneagram by Gurdjieff and Ouspensky to ancient sources.)”

(From https://www.thegospelcoalition.org/article/the-faqs-what-christians-should-know-about-the-enneagram/)

Doesn’t sound much like Biblical Christianity, does it?

“As things stand at the moment, the Church seems more concerned about praxis than doctrine. Doing, intervening, welcoming, integrating, helping, medicating, and participating, etc. . . . .often have priority over contents: welcome what? Integrate where? Participate for what purpose? What happens from a doctrinal point of view is that the Church comes across as being more “open”: in order to be able to reach out to and encounter all, doctrine is looked upon as a weight. In actual fact, doctrine marks confines that cannot be crossed in any way whatsoever. Now, while doctrine recedes to the background, heresy – its exact contrary – is scaled down. It is no longer considered an error with tragic consequences on the material and spiritual life of the faithful.” – From an interview with Stefano Fontana, author of  “Chiesa gnostica e secolarizzazione”.

Gnosticism has been a heresy the Church has been battling since its formation. God, when speaking to John in His Revelation to the church, made reference to the Gnostics of his day — the Nicolaitans — speaking to the Church in Ephesus: “Yet this you do have, that you hate the deeds of the Nicolaitans, which I also hate.” (Revelation 2:6)

And to the Church in Pergamum He says, “But I have a few things against you, because you have there some who hold the teaching of Balaam, who kept teaching Balak to put a stumbling block before the sons of Israel, to eat things sacrificed to idols and to commit acts of immorality. So you also have some who in the same way hold the teaching of the Nicolaitans. (Revelation 2:14-16)

God will not coexist with idolatry and heresy; any Christian will find themselves in trouble, who thinks he can mix Eastern mysticism and Christianity. “Can a man take fire in his bosom And his clothes not be burned? Or can a man walk on hot coals And his feet not be scorched? (Proverbs 6:27-28) Just as a man cannot serve both God and money, a Christian cannot serve God and a philosophy that puts Man in the center of focus instead of God.

Generational Blessings

There is a phrase in the midst of the Ten Commandments given by God in the Old Testament books of Exodus and Deuteronomy which has received much attention … perhaps even more attention these days than the context in which it resides. The first instance of it came up in my Bible reading today, which included the Ten Commandments given in Exodus chapter 20.
“… for I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children, on the third and the fourth generations of those who hate Me, but showing lovingkindness to thousands, to those who love Me and keep My commandments.”


This phrase, which is repeated nearly verbatim a number of times in the Old Testament, has been the focus of many articles and books in contemporary Christendom. The general thought is that the sins of the fathers are visited upon the children in a form of a curse, which binds those children to a certain lifestyle or negative behaviors or issues in life.


Many solutions are posited in these articles, ranging from certain types of deliverance prayers to breaking soul ties and battling demons.


Two things are usually left out of all these solutions to this problem, and they both are right here in the context of the noted scripture.


The first is the source of the visitation. All of the related scriptures point out that the iniquity of the fathers are visited on the children by God Himself. And God categorizes the group that receive this visitation: “Those who hate Me.”  May God employ demonic spirits to achieve his purpose? Certainly! We see that God sent a spirit to torment Israel’s King Saul in the midst of his disobedience to God. But the originator of the visitation is always God.

The second part —often left out — in all these methods of deliverance, is that God shows “lovingkindness to thousands, to those who love Me and keep My commandments.”


It is no accident that this is embedded in the greatest Old Testament declaration of Truth, the Ten Commandments. Jesus said, “If you love me you will keep my Commandments.”  We know that Jesus said that the greatest commandment is to love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your mind, and all your strength, and, the second  is to to love your neighbor as yourself. He said that all the law of the Old Testament is summed up in that Greatest Commandment.


Let’s just take one of those Ten Commandments and apply it to contemporary culture: “You shall not commit adultery.”  Immorality is condemned so very often in Scripture and is portrayed so often in a positive light in contemporary culture, because it is central to our relationship with God, a relationship which the greater part of our culture hates.


Why is adultery wrong? In one sense, it is theft. We are taking something that does not belong to us, or giving away something that does not belong to us.  The Apostle Paul tells the Corinthians, “Do you not know… you are not your own? For you have been bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body.” Adultery is a clear violation of God’s Old and New Testaments’ Commandments.


The key to not being under the negative generational promise (I refuse to call it a “curse”) that God declares in the midst of the Ten Commandments is to love God and keep His Commandments. That puts us under the blessing that God promises those who love Him and who keep His Commandments.


We may feel that we are are powerless to address the sin in our lives, but two simple steps place us in the hands of our Father, who is well able to preserve us against sin. Repentance and Faith towards the Lord Jesus Christ give us the ability to walk in the Commandments He gave us. Repentance and faith not only happen at a single point in time that starts our walk with Jesus, they are a lifestyle that ensure our success in his Kingdom.


If you are not a follower of Jesus and plagued by sin, take the life-changing step to commit your life to the Lord Jesus Christ. And if you are a follower of Jesus and plagued by sin make  inventory of your life and confess and repent of those areas that you are not in alignment with his commandments.

Psalm 51 is a incredible example of a repentant heart:


“Be gracious to me, O God, according to Your lovingkindness; According to the greatness of Your compassion blot out my transgressions.  Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity And cleanse me from my sin. For I know my transgressions, And my sin is ever before me.  Against You, You only, I have sinned And done what is evil in Your sight, So that You are justified when You speak And blameless when You judge. Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, And in sin my mother conceived me. Behold, You desire truth in the innermost being, And in the hidden part You will make me know wisdom.  Purify me with hyssop, and I shall be clean; Wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.  Make me to hear joy and gladness, Let the bones which You have broken rejoice.  Hide Your face from my sins And blot out all my iniquities.  Create in me a clean heart, O God, And renew a steadfast spirit within me.  Do not cast me away from Your presence And do not take Your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of Your salvation And sustain me with a willing spirit. Then I will teach transgressors Your ways, And sinners will be converted to You. Deliver me from bloodguiltiness, O God, the God of my salvation; Then my tongue will joyfully sing of Your righteousness. O Lord,  open my lips, That my mouth may declare Your praise. For You do not delight in sacrifice, otherwise I would give it; You are not pleased with burnt offering. The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; A broken and a contrite heart, O God, You will not despise.  By Your favor do good to Zion;  Build the walls of Jerusalem. Then You will delight in  righteous sacrifices, In burnt offering and whole burnt offering; Then young bulls will be offered on Your altar.”

Justice Works Through Judgement

My read-through-the-Bible plan doesn’t go from January to January so my reading today, January 12, is actually day 104 in a genre-based reading plan (History, Poetry, Prophets, Gospels, Epistles). It is very rare that my Bible reading doesn’t have some relevance to things currently happening in my life or the world, but it couldn’t have been truer to my feelings and concerns this day. It begins:

Righteous are You, O LORD, that I would plead my case with You; indeed I would discuss matters of justice with You. Why has the way of the wicked prospered? Why are all those who deal in treachery at ease? You have planted them, they have also taken root; They grow, they have even produced fruit. You are near to their lips but far from their mind. But You know me, O LORD; You see me; and You examine my heart’s attitude toward You. Drag them off like sheep for the slaughter and set them apart for a day of carnage! How long is the land to mourn and the vegetation of the countryside to wither? For the wickedness of those who dwell in it, animals and birds have been snatched away, because men have said, “He will not see our latter ending.” “If you have run with footmen and they have tired you out, then how can you compete with horses? If you fall down in a land of peace, how will you do in the thicket of the Jordan? “For even your brothers and the household of your father, even they have dealt treacherously with you, even they have cried aloud after you. Do not believe them, although they may say nice things to you.”  —from Jeremiah 12

God answers the Prophet Jeremiah over the next couple of chapters. He declares that the unjust shall not prosper, and His judgement shall be final.

Thus says the LORD to this people, “Even so they have loved to wander; they have not kept their feet in check. Therefore the LORD does not accept them; now He will remember their iniquity and call their sins to account.” So the LORD said to me, “Do not pray for the welfare of this people. When they fast, I am not going to listen to their cry; and when they offer burnt offering and grain offering, I am not going to accept them. Rather I am going to make an end of them by the sword, famine and pestilence.”

Our country is a country of worship, but it is primarily not the worship of God. We worship wealth (Shark Tank); we worship sex (The Bachelor / Bachelorette); we worship violence and betrayal (Game of Thrones); we worship debauchery and drugs (Breaking Bad).

We condone the shedding of innocent blood (abortion on demand, for any reason, at any time during pregnancy), while we commend immorality of every type.  We revere trees and nature while we ravage in riots homes and businesses. We exclude Christian teaching from public forums but we embrace transsexuals teaching small children in public libraries, dressed in drag.

You can read all the ways and means that God uses to judge a nation that has forgotten Him in those chapters in Jeremiah, but there is a glimmer of hope in the 15th chapter:

Therefore, thus says the LORD, “If you return, then I will restore you— Before Me you will stand; And if you extract the precious from the worthless, You will become My spokesman. They for their part may turn to you, But as for you, you must not turn to them. “Then I will make you to this people A fortified wall of bronze; And though they fight against you, They will not prevail over you; For I am with you to save you And deliver you,” declares the LORD. “So I will deliver you from the hand of the wicked, And I will redeem you from the grasp of the violent.”

Let us be faithful to declare our allegiance to God and to those things that are precious; let us put all our hope in Him and press on to that perfect day when the Lord Jesus Christ rules upon the Earth. 

Prepare for Exodus

A quick of my Bible reading today: Moses is raised up as the deliverer of Israel but Pharaoh increases the workload on and abuse of the Israelites when confronted. The Israelites are depressed, discouraged and overworked under the bondage of that nation.

“Say, therefore, to the sons of Israel, ‘I am the LORD, and I will bring you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians, and I will deliver you from their bondage. I will also redeem you with an outstretched arm and with great judgments. Then I will take you for My people, and I will be your God; and you shall know that I am the LORD your God, who brought you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians. I will bring you to the land which I swore to give to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and I will give it to you for a possession; I am the LORD.’”

” So Moses spoke thus to the sons of Israel, but they did not listen to Moses on account of their despondency and cruel bondage.” Exodus 6

The Bible is clear that we are part of that inheritance that Moses reiterated to the Israelites, since we are grafted to that tree through our relationship with Jesus Christ. We are likely to see odious burdens placed on us by a godless government in months and years to come. God will judge our nation and deliver his people, however, just as he delivered the Israelites. Note that God did not judge the people under bondage despite not listening to Moses, because of their discouragement. We may be discouraged, but we have the judge and deliverer living in US! Take care to listen to him, and take heart!

God did not only deliver the Israelites from Pharaoh and Egypt, he preserved their families and their possessions, and blessed them with the riches of Egypt. How much greater is our inheritance!

Marriage Means Trouble

From my daily reading in 1st Corinthians chapters 7 and 8: “…. if you marry, you have not sinned … . yet such will have trouble in this life, and I am trying to spare you.”

Part of the “Great Reset” (the liberal attempt at world wide socialism) is the dissolution of the traditional family structure, which is encouraged by recent articles in the New York Times and the Atlantic. (I hate to even post links to those publications; if you must, google “Covid divorces.”)

Many are predicting record divorce rates post-covid, if we ever achieve that status (part of the Great Reset is to ensure that we live in fear of infection from now on). One clever lawyer is redefining divorce: “I don’t call myself a divorce lawyer. I say that I work in family restructuring.”

The Apostle Paul in the verses above recognizes that trouble comes hand-in-hand with marriage. But in the same context he strongly discourages divorce. And everything Paul says in these passages points to a focus on ministry. Just as Jesus Christ is the Cornerstone to our Christian faith, he is the Cornerstone to our Christian marriages.

Marriages will crumble just like a building eventually will if the cornerstone is removed. Marriages will thrive if they’re focused and driven by the Holy Spirit to work in the areas of ministry which God has called us all to do. Abiding in Christian fellowship, teaching our children the foundations of our faith, helping the orphans and widows, sharing the Good News: these are not optional, are not just suggestions, and couples that team together in these endeavors — focusing on God’s mission rather than their own agenda — are on a path for a prosperous and eternally rewarding life together.

The ancient cornerstone was the first stone laid in a building, and it determined the direction and alignment of every other stone in the building. The Cornerstone that determines our direction and alignment as Christians is the Lord Jesus Christ, the only foundation that can guarantee us stability and success. Millions of marriages have been saved when people who had no recognition that there even was a Cornerstone fell on “the stone that the builders rejected.” He is also the One who said, “Everyone who falls on that stone will be broken to pieces; but on whomever it falls, it will scatter him like dust.”

Becoming a Christian will surely break your own agenda to pieces, but it will start you on an eternal path of peace and prosperity. But if you reject Him, you will scatter like dust, much like many marriages and families have done. Feel free to message me or avail yourself of the resources of the church I attend: https://rock.gocf.org/connect

Our church has a great prayer team, awaiting your prayer request: https://christfellowship.church/items/request-prayer-930b800af617ca1ac3113a20c70a9ab3

If you are a Christian, a measured and prayerful reading of 1 Corinthians will be valuable, and if you are planning marriage or already married pay careful attention to chapter 7. Placing all your trust and hope on the Cornerstone — the Lord Jesus Christ — in every aspect of your life will be the most significant action you can ever take.

In Times of Famine…

“Remember the widows and orphans.” God certainly does, and commands us to do the same.

And, since in one sense we are spiritually “widows and orphans” we can learn from one. A poor widow, in times of famine, places her hope in her mother-in-law, simply because her mother-in-law belongs to people of faith, the Israelites.


She declares, “Do not urge me to leave you or turn back from following you; for where you go, I will go, and where you lodge, I will lodge. Your people shall be my people, and your God, my God. Where you die, I will die, and there I will be buried. Thus may the Lord do to me, and worse, if anything but death parts you and me.”


Not only did God provide her bountiful food and safety, he proved faithful to provide an incredible inheritance that only a handful of people in history can claim: great-grandmother to the king, and part of the lineage of the King of Kings.


Though Ruth was a stranger to the people of God, she became an icon to Israel and to the Church. In these times of spiritual famine, declare like she did, “Your people shall be my people, and your God, my God.” if you don’t know Jesus as your Savior and King, seek Him out. And when you do, join yourself to His people, the Church, for the duration of your time here, and declare “Where you die, I will die, and there I will be buried. Thus may the Lord do to me, and worse, if anything but death parts you and me.”


And once we are joined to Christ and His body and bride, the Church, we need to make sure that we remember our humble origins as an orphan, and that “Pure and undefiled religion in the sight of our God and Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their distress, and to keep oneself unstained by the world.”

Not forsaking our own assembling together…

The central message of the Bible from the first book of Genesis to the end of Revelation is a message of family and community. The gospel itself is God’s tool for bringing His family back into His fold. 


The law that God gave Moses has specific instructions about family and community, and even ordered festivals and community gatherings multiple times every year for the Jewish nation. And while Jesus and the apostles occasionally presented the gospel in one-on-one situations, it was primarily transmitted in large community groups, in synagogues and in church gatherings and in the city squares. 


Never has “a house divided” been less metaphorical as it has in our nation these past few months. The goal of Godless politicians has been to separate and divide families, churches, synagogues, and other God ordained gatherings. And many of those Godless politicians routinely violate those same rules they place upon their states and cities.


This not only flies in the face of the biblical exhortation to gather in community, it directly contradicts the precepts in our constitution. 
And since this sense of community is vital to the Christian Gospel, the Enemy has chosen to attack it and try to break it down. 


When the State attacks the Church,  we must respond as the Apostle Peter did, declaring “We must obey God rather than men.” 


On this Thanksgiving I am grateful to our Supreme Court, which overturned the oppression of the religious community by reinforcing the Bill of Rights’ Declaration of the ability to assemble. 

The Apostle Paul declares the wisdom of the world to be foolishness:
“For the word of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. For it is written, “I WILL DESTROY THE WISDOM OF THE WISE, AND THE CLEVERNESS OF THE CLEVER I WILL SET ASIDE.”  Where is the wise man? Where is the scribe? Where is the debater of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? For since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not come to know God, God was well-pleased through the foolishness of the message preached to save those who believe.”


“… but God has chosen the foolish things of the world to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to shame the things which are strong, and the base things of the world and the despised God has chosen, the things that are not, so that He may nullify the things that are, so that no man may boast before God.” First Corinthians 1


“Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful; and let us consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds, not forsaking our own assembling together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another; and all the more as you see the day drawing near.” Hebrews 10


There is a balance needed in dealing with this pandemic, and many other scriptural admonitions and instructions are clear as far as dealing with infection through quarantine. And we are exhorted to take care that we don’t injure those who are weaker with our expressions of faith, and so as we gather in community this Thanksgiving we will take care not to put anyone in undue risk of harm. 
We will not subject ourselves, though, to the greater harm of denying the fact that Community is an essential part of our existence. And we need to recognize that these political actions are an attack upon the Community of Faith.

Conspiracy, Not Theory.

Much of the international hate towards the US (especially in Middle Eastern countries) is because of the US support for Israel. I believe much of the hate domestically towards the current administration is because of their support of the Christian community and its beliefs.

As a young adult I had no use for Christians and Christianity. Everything I believed flew in the face of what they believed. I dismissed its teachings because it contradicted with things I wanted to do in my life. My limited experience with church convinced me that nothing about it was fun or profitable. I’ve lived enough years to be able to say I’ve watched as Christianity was expunged from our culture, which would have been fine with me back then. I was in elementary school when prayer was banned from the classroom. I sat through high school science, English, and history classes where the instructors specifically challenged Christianity and its relevance. And that was no problem, because I didn’t want to be challenged in my worldview and my desires for the things I wanted to do in the world. I mocked and dismissed Christians, and delved into studies in Eastern religion. I didn’t realize I was among those “People weighed down with iniquity, offspring of evildoers, sons who act corruptly, [Who] have abandoned the LORD, [who] have despised the Holy One of Israel, [and] have turned away from Him,” as Isaiah says.

Some of those same Christians I had mocked, however, had determined to pray for me.

Elsewhere, on my blog, you can read about the circumstances that brought me to the end of my self and to a recognition of my need for Christ. I became part of the religious system I had despised.

It took a while, however for the worldviews that I’d followed to be supplanted by Biblically based truth. At the same time much of culture was fighting against Biblical values, I was adopting them, as I saw their significance in the Bible.

When I was born, our country followed to a great degree what is called the Judeo-Christian ethic. (That term, incidentally, was coined by George Orwell in 1939.) The centuries-long hatred of the Jewish people came to a head in World War II. Even in the US, Anti-semitism by the US government and its refusal to allow Jewish refugees in our country resulted in the deaths of hundreds of Jews, if not thousands.

Jeffrey Salkin writes that the polytheistic nations of the world hated the Jews because they rejected “The establishment of an inescapable divine conscience, of an uncompromising demand for moral elevation, for unconditional love and for total altruism.”

The Law, which is the heart and soul of the Jewish faith, is centered on absolute truth and unconditional love. And the opposing nations despised that truth.

It seems that the psalmist spoke directly to this when he wrote, “Why are the nations in an uproar And the peoples devising a vain thing? The kings of the earth take their stand and the rulers take counsel together against the LORD and against His Anointed, saying, ‘Let us tear their fetters apart And cast away their cords from us!’”

In my relatively short lifetime, I’ve seen the remnants of a Judeo-Christian ethic nearly disappear and the opposition to Christianity and Biblical morality reach new heights.

Our culture has established pornography as a expression of the freedom of speech, but universities and colleges ban non-acceptable speech (Judeo-Christian) through banning the speakers or inciting violence towards them.

The Orwellian Thoughtpolice of our educational institutions and the media define non-approved thought as a crime. Much of our government does so also, at the state and local levels. Free speech is fine, as long as it’s liberal or leftist free speech. You can promote science, as long as the science is approved by the fact checkers at Facebook and Google.

“Christianity” is fine with the intelligencia as long as it exerts no moral effect in the practice of life. You’re more than welcome to call yourself a Christian as long as you do not believe or do Christian things. We are just a few steps away from being considered criminals if we believe and state that marriage is between a man and a woman, and that the Ten Commandments hold relevance to culture today regarding sexuality or ethics. Few public libraries would allow Christians to teach a preschool class with Christian principles, but dozens are more than willing to allow drag queens to fondle those same preschool children and read them secular books. We are not far from having our churches shut down for not acknowledging and supporting gay marriage, as has already happened to some churches in Europe that stand by Biblical truth in these areas.

The Black Lives Matter movement unconditionally rejects Biblical models of marriage and sexuality, law & order, and property ownership, but has no problem assaulting people who refuse to salute and declare their mottos.

Likewise, Antifa rejects those same Judeo-Christian ethics and is basically unrestrained anarchism, burning down our large cities block by block.

Both of these movements have overwhelming support among much of our country’s population and the Democratic party.

Contemporary Evangelical Christianity is quite tolerant of people with different viewpoints and convictions, but that tolerance doesn’t go both ways.

So in this “Brave New World” you can keep the label “Christian” for now, as long as it’s just a label, and not a Biblical lifestyle.

As Isaiah says, ”Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil; who substitute darkness for light and light for darkness; who substitute bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter!”

So who is the head of this conspiracy against the Judeo-Christian ethic? I could go into how existentialism began to pervade into American thought from European sources, and how formerly Christian universities became secularized and became a hotbed of humanist philosophy. We, however, need to keep in mind who the Enemy is, and his devices.

The Schemes of the Enemy:

He hates children, and he has a track record of trying to abuse them and kill them. Moses and Jesus are two notable examples. Examples of human sacrifice of children promoted by the Enemy abounded in the polytheistic religions of the countries surrounding Israel, and Israel finally adopted their practices, which ended in their dispersion. Today we have abortion on demand, even up to birth; nearly unlimited bloodshed, a delight to our Enemy.

The Enemy hates marriage. He actively worked to destroy the first marital union, and he despises the fact that the offspring of Eve is his downfall. Today we have the promotion of every kind of gender confusion except for traditional marriage.

He hates Israel, and he hates the Church, because both have a covenantal relationship with God, his enemy, who cast him out. Today anti-Semitism and oppression of the Church is increasing daily.

The Enemy hates freedom, both on the personal and governmental level. Whether it’s control through addiction, or control through government edict, he wants his subjects in bondage. We have record levels of addiction, and unprecedented restrictions on personal liberties.

Our struggle in this battle is primarily against our Enemy, who controls and directs all these attacks upon God’s people and his Church. And while prayer is key in our battles, speaking forth boldly is incredibly important also. The second passage below is often quoted for the purpose of encouraging prayer and worship, which is applicable, but the primary emphasis the apostle Paul had was that of speaking boldly the truth and taking prisoners with it.

“Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might.  Put on the full armor of God, so that you will be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil. For our struggle is not against  flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places.”

“For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh, for the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh, but divinely powerful for the destruction of fortresses. We are destroying speculations and every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God, and we are taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ, and we are ready to punish all disobedience, whenever your obedience is complete.”

Again, I believe much of the international hate towards the US (especially in Middle Eastern countries) is because of the US support for Israel. I believe much of the hate towards the current administration is because of their support of the Christian community and its beliefs. The Trump administration has placed people of both faiths in prominent positions, and has the most favorable record in supporting both Israel and the Church in recent history. I believe that is why the Enemy is throwing everything he has at this country, in this time.

We certainly need to pray (and fast) as we never have before for our country and the church, but we also need to say what needs to be said, speaking the truth in the Love of Christ.

Rude and crude. Abrasive and evasive.

How could anyone believe God would chose such a person for a national leader?

Has such a thing ever happened before?

In the Old Testament book of Judges, the story of a very unseemly character is depicted. He violated nearly every directive God had given for Godly living: He chose a foreign wife (twice) and utilized the services of a prostitute; he violated Biblical law regarding food and corpses. He ignored his parent’s advice on nearly everything. “However, his father and mother did not know that it was of the LORD, for He was seeking an occasion against the Philistines. Now at that time the Philistines were ruling over Israel.” — Judges 14:4

Samson’s character flaws in choice of women was seemingly his downfall when it landed him blinded, in chains. But as his dying act he killed more of Israel’s enemies than he had in 20 years in his role as the Judge of Israel. And he is listed in Hebrews 11 as one of the heroes of the faith.

God used Samson — despite his character flaws — to achieve His purposes. Could God be using the decidedly imperfect US president to achieve his purposes?

God has raised up wicked kings to do His purpose before. He used Nebuchadnezzar to execute judgement on Israel. And God arranged it so the godly Israelite Daniel served as Nebuchadnezzar’s “vice president.” And He used Cyrus the Great, and then Darius — other ungodly Kings placing godly men in power — to protect God’s people and restore Israel to Jerusalem.

Is Mike Pence the “Daniel” to our “Nebuchadnezzar?” He certainly has guided public policy in ways more friendly to the Church and Christians than any president in memory.

The downfall of Israel was abandoning their God and following the gods of their idolatrous neighbors. And the final straw for God was the shedding of innocent blood. …thus says the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel, ‘Behold I am about to bring a calamity upon this place, at which the ears of everyone that hears of it will tingle. Because they have forsaken Me and have made this an alien place and have burned sacrifices in it to other gods, that neither they nor their forefathers nor the kings of Judah had ever known, and because they have filled this place with the blood of the innocent and have built the high places of Baal to burn their sons in the fire as burnt offerings to Baal, a thing which I never commanded or spoke of, nor did it ever enter My mind; therefore, behold, days are coming,’ declares the LORD,’ when this place will no longer be called Topheth or the valley of Ben-hinnom, but rather the valley of Slaughter.” — Jeremiah 19:3-6

As I write a candidate for the Supreme Court is meeting with senators in Washington DC. At the heart of the debate over her appointment is the issue of abortion. The Democratic party fully endorses every aspect and procedure of abortion, including late term infanticide (which, called partial-birth abortion by some, is when the infant is killed by forceps or by saline injection while still in the womb, or even left to die after being born alive). Joe Biden used to be a moderate on this issue, but now he supports every aspect of his party’s platform on abortion.

This is human sacrifice for convenience.* This is human sacrifice for career. This is human sacrifice for the sake of politics.

This isn’t sacrifice to “foreign gods:” it is sacrifice to the god of Self.

Speaking of foreign gods and bloodshed: Consider the heinous and well-documented organ harvesting going on in China (which was ignored by the Obama/Biden administration, and which the current administration is calling out) where ethnic minorities are imprisoned in “re-education camps,” blood typed and genotyped, and then are anesthetized on-demand so their organs can be harvested for China’s billion dollar transplant industry. Has God raised up this president to bring judgment on China, possibly the worst abuser of human rights in human history?

The “blood of innocents” was the breaking point of God’s patience for Israel. Will America succumb to the same fate as her most innocent members, dying on streets filled with devastation and destruction?

For your hands are defiled with blood
And your fingers with iniquity;
Your lips have spoken falsehood,
Your tongue mutters wickedness…

“…an act of violence is in their hands.
Their feet run to evil,
And they hasten to shed innocent blood;
Their thoughts are thoughts of iniquity,
Devastation and destruction are in their highways.”
— Isaiah 59

*The decision to have an abortion is between a woman and her…God. Most abortions are encouraged, not only by a culture of death, but by boyfriends, husbands, parents, teachers, doctors, friends, and others who feel it is in the best interest to abort the baby. Unfortunately, it is in often in THEIR perceived best interest, not necessarily the mother’s. I consider many if not most who abort their child as victims of a system and societal pressures that make them feel that abortion is the only option. Two victims walk into a women’s “health” center; one victim walks back out. Don’t give in to depression; take advantage of the many Christian resources available in your community for counseling, and in many local churches.

Is Science your God?

Their cry is, “Listen to the Scientists!”
Our cry is, “Listen to Jesus!”
They cry, “Believe the Science!”
We cry, “Believe the Word!

The Bible does not conflict with the study of science; the “scientists” of the day could have saved millions of lives taken by the Black Plague had they only implemented the Biblical instructions regarding cleanliness and infection laid out in Leviticus and Deuteronomy. Today, the scientific community suffers from another fatal infection begun generations ago, when the plague of Secular Humanism replaced God with Science. Few scientists today profess a faith in God; indeed, many scientists vociferously protest any belief in His existence and mock those who do.

Unfortunately, way too many members of the community of faith have tried to mix this exaltation of science into their religious belief system. We are at a time of crisis unprecedented in our lifetimes, a crisis precipitated by dependence on secular philosophies and on fallible medical science. A “pandemic” that will go down in history as one of the least fatal will have the biggest impact on our world we have ever seen. It’s time we turn our hearts towards Jesus, and look at His Word, repent of our secularism, and pray for His intervention and mercy.

Will we worship science, or will we worship God?

My Bible reading today dropped me in Deuteronomy 11. Below are excerpts from that reading which I believe are crucial for us to observe in this time of crisis.

“You shall therefore love the LORD your God, and always keep His charge, His statutes, His ordinances, and His commandments. Know this day that I am not speaking with your sons who have not known and who have not seen the discipline of the LORD your God—His greatness, His mighty hand and His outstretched arm…but your own eyes have seen all the great work of the LORD which He did.

“You shall therefore keep every commandment which I am commanding you today, so that you may be strong and go in and possess … the land into which you are about to cross to possess it, a land of hills and valleys, drinks water from the rain of heaven, a land for which the LORD your God cares; the eyes of the LORD your God are always on it, from the beginning even to the end of the year.

“It shall come about, if you listen obediently to my commandments which I am commanding you today, to love the LORD your God and to serve Him with all your heart and all your soul, that  He will give the rain for your land in its season, the  early and late rain, that you may gather in your grain and your new wine and your oil.

“Beware that your hearts are not deceived, and that you do not turn away and serve other gods and worship them. Or the anger of the LORD will be kindled against you, and He will shut up the heavens so that there will be no rain and the ground will not yield its fruit; and you will perish quickly from the good land which the LORD is giving you.

“You shall therefore impress these words of mine on your heart and on your soul; so that your days and the days of your sons may be multiplied on the land which the LORD swore to your fathers to give them, as long as the heavens remain above the earth. For if you are careful to keep all this commandment which I am commanding you to do, to love the LORD your God, to walk in all His ways and hold fast to Him … No man will be able to stand before you; the LORD your God will lay the dread of you and the fear of you on all the land on which you set foot, as He has spoken to you.

“See, I am setting before you today a blessing and a curse: the blessing, if you listen to the commandments of the LORD your God, which I am commanding you today; and the curse, if you do not listen to the commandments of the LORD your God, but turn aside from the way which I am commanding you today, by following other gods which you have not known.”

Fat is NOT where it’s at… If you want to avoid Coronavirus!

More evidence is out that shows we are actually experiencing an obesity pandemic, not a Covid pandemic, with the release of an analysis of more than 400,000 cases in 75 studies.

People with obesity and Covid-19 were twice as likely to end up in a hospital and 74% more likely to be admitted to intensive care. They were also more at risk of dying from the disease caused by coronavirus.

“Pooled analysis show individuals with obesity were more at risk for COVID‐19 positive, 46.0% higher; for hospitalization, 113% higher; for ICU admission, 74%; and for mortality, 48% increase in deaths.”

“…it is quite possible that social distancing and stay‐at‐home policies may exacerbate adverse weight and health situations through their effects on dietary and physical activity patterns.”

No, I’m not fat shaming. Obesity is deadly, and even more so in a world with Covid-19. It is exactly as simple as pointing out that people who smoke cigarettes have a much better chance of dying of lung cancer. Or heavy drinkers have with liver and heart disease.

The data on obesity and coronavirus deaths was evident from the first data coming out of China, which I addressed in blogs and on Facebook way back in March.

I don’t have a quick way to do these numbers but I would anticipate that if we take out the patients who die with obesity and/or extreme age as a factor Coronavirus would be a non-issue compared to other sources of death in the world. I do know that over 50% of deaths in the US are 75 years and older (the majority 85 and older), and that demographic accounts for less than 10% of the cases. 

I will repost my blogs from March below; I have some instructive points on avoiding Coronavirus that are still applicable.

“When you sit down to dine…consider carefully what is before you, And put a knife to your throat If you are a man of great appetite. Do not desire … delicacies, for it is deceptive food.” Proverbs 23:2

Here’s the link to the study:

https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1111/obr.13128

I really want to point out that I’m not so much focused on individual decisions regarding food, but cultural and political decisions made by our government and organizations to shut down a world economy over something that is addressable and is relatively limited. As I related in one of my blogs, we could have funded stay-at-home meal delivery and had live music playing in the parking lot for people who had to stay at home for a fraction of the cost that we’ve lost in our world economy already. Heck, we could have given them coronavirus-screened free cruises around the world for a fraction of the cost we’ve spent.

Never Waste A Good Crisis or a Good Conspiracy Theory

Is this covid-19 related destruction of the world economy a conspiracy?

First let’s take two case studies of the effects of covid-19 on relatively similar-sized populations and geography using today’s data.

Sweden has just around 10 million people and New York state has just around 20 million people. Sweden really didn’t do a lockdown of any significance it all, and New York did one of the hardest lockdowns in the country. Both had covid-19 death rates significantly impacted by those in nursing homes.
Since we don’t really know how many people are infected with covid-19, we’ll use the deaths per million of population. New York has had over 1,400 deaths per million population. Sweden had under 400 deaths per million population. So it would seem that a hard lockdown didn’t help New York at all.

Critics will say that Sweden did far worse than all its neighboring Nordic countries, which is true, but it did far better than the UK, Italy, Spain, and Belgium, all of which had much higher numbers than Sweden.

Rahm Emanuel, the former Obama aide and former mayor of Chicago, is somewhat infamous for his saying, “Never let a good crisis go to waste,” in relation to putting forth liberal agendas in the midst of economic crisis.

There are countless commentators saying this is the ideal opportunity to implement things like a Green New Deal, guaranteed healthcare, guaranteed income, and all sorts of other liberal extremist thoughts. (Despite the fact that failed versions of all these ideas have been partially implemented already.)

Sweden isn’t the only indicator; it’s becoming more and more obvious that countries that didn’t implement lockdowns are not significantly more impacted than the regions with a hard lockdown.

Is all of this a grand conspiracy to implement anti-democratic principles and socialism, or is this something orchestrated by a power greater than anyone can appreciate?

I could not have received a clearer answer then I did this morning in my scheduled reading of Isaiah in my plan for reading the Bible over a year.

Isaiah 8:11-18

For thus the LORD spoke to me with mighty power and instructed me not to walk in the way of this people, saying, “You are not to say, ‘It is a conspiracy!’ In regard to all that this people call a conspiracy, And you are not to fear what they fear or be in dread of it. “It is the LORD of hosts whom you should regard as holy. And He shall be your fear, And He shall be your dread. “Then He shall become a sanctuary; But to both the houses of Israel, a stone to strike and a rock to stumble over, And a snare and a trap for the inhabitants of Jerusalem. “Many will stumble over them, Then they will fall and be broken; They will even be snared and caught.”  Bind up the testimony, seal the law among my disciples. And I will wait for the LORD who is hiding His face from the house of Jacob; I will even look eagerly for Him.  Behold, I and the children whom the LORD has given me are for signs and wonders in Israel from the LORD of hosts, who dwells on Mount Zion.

The Israelites would consistently forget to depend on God and turn to everything around them in the world for their source of security and provision, and as a result be overrun by their enemies.

It says in 1 Corinthians 10:11 in the New testament that, “Now these things happened to them as an example, and they were written for our instruction, upon whom the ends of the ages have come.”

Is our current situation a conspiracy against everything that’s right, or is it a result of exalting medical science over God Himself? Did our leaders conspire to shut down the economy to implement socialism, or did they merely trust in the corrupt system of a medical community that for the most part denies the existence of God?

Perhaps God is just showing us the folly of our dependence upon the world around us, just as God constantly showed Israel the folly of depending on the nations around them.

And just as Isaiah said, we can, without fear, trust God to deliver us with signs and wonders if we trust in the Lord, Jesus Christ, whose coming Isaiah prophesied in the adjoining passages to this passage.

Freedom of Speech and Freedom of Religion are Bound Together in the US

There is a documentary teaser circulating called the Plandemic (banned by YouTube). While there’s definitely some unfounded conspiracy theory wound in and around it, there’s definitely also a lot of truth in this.

One thing addressed is the Covid-19 numbers. It’s a documented fact that Medicare pays a bonus for Covid-19 diagnosis and another bonus for ventilator treatment, and the much touted ventilator treatment ended up resulting in an 80% or more death rate in the New York numbers. So, if unnecessary ventilation was mandated for profitability, people died.

One thing is absolutely certain: Covid-19 isn’t nearly as serious as we were told it was going to be. Except for the economics. And someone is profiting from this as tens of millions of Americans are losing work.

I don’t take the whole documentary at face value, but I do think that YouTube’s (Google’s) decision to ban it is horrific given that YouTube/Google has become the defacto data source for most people.  When Google is the arbitrator of what we can find with their search engine (and we depend on it) we are in a dangerous place. Therefore, take this with a grain of salt, but compare it to some of my extensive research on the pages of this blog.  Here’s the link on my OneDrive (until Microsoft takes it down). PLANDEMIC DOCUMENTARY the HIDDEN AGENDA BEHIND COVID 19

Here’s another upload site I used if the one above doesn’t work:  PLANDEMIC DOCUMENTARY the HIDDEN AGENDA BEHIND COVID 19

And here is a must-see documentary on the control Google and Facebook have on information, and the influence they wield:  The Creepy Line

And here’s the USA Today fact check on the bonuses for Covid-19 diagnoses and ventilator usage.

Amendment 1, Bill of Rights: Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

Our Culture And Country Is Due For A Reboot.

A friend of mine posted on Facebook some of the positive sides of the actions taken to control the Coronavirus epidemic.
Some of the pluses:
“TRAFFIC is gone,
GAS is affordable,
BILLS can be extended.
KIDS are at home with their FAMILIES.
PARENTS are home taking care of their CHILDREN,
WORKING FROM HOME finally makes sense for safety reasons,
HOME SCHOOLING is now making more sense,
FAST FOOD replaced by HOME COOKED MEALS.
Hectic SCHEDULES replaced by NAPS, REST, and RELAXATION.
The AIR seems CLEANER.
The WORLD quieter.
BUYING AMERICAN PRODUCTS is making more sense.
PEOPLE are finally conscious about HYGIENE and HEALTH.
MONEY doesn’t seem to make the WORLD GO ROUND anymore.
And WE now have TIME, finally,
to STOP and SMELL the ROSES.

“Enough already… let’s get back to normal??? Maybe we should take a look at our priorities instead and create the new normal.”

One thing is certain: God is in complete control of all the circumstances and situations that surround us and may assail us, and He is well able to preserve and protect us through anything that would come against us. Christ is all-sufficient.

While nearly everything positive he said is true, there is a downside to this:

Tens of millions of people (especially those contractors and “gig” workers) have had their whole income stream stop dead (going on week 7 for me, and that doesn’t include significant amounts of lost income during the ramp down).

Across the nation, millions of people have spent dozens (and some, hundreds) of hours each trying to access the “safety net” of unemployment benefits and small business assistance loans, only to have their computer sessions and phone calls dropped. I’ve spent a large number of hours getting registered, and here in Florida I have been summarily denied twice, although I am a case study in the type of gig based employment the safety net is supposed to protect. While I have a cash emergency fund, many people do not, and at some point nearly everybody’s reserves will run out, whether some bills are deferred or not. My landlords have expenses and mortgages tied to the properties that they rent to me. They don’t owe me anything, and I don’t expect any considerations at this point.

I haven’t had to sit in lines of cars miles long trying to take advantage of food distribution, but thousands upon thousands of people have.

Fully 25% of small businesses are estimated to close their doors permanently. (In Louisiana it’s anticipated to be closer to 50%.) Given the attitude of the government in reopening businesses of my kind (conference support), I give myself about a 50/50 chance of recovering to be a functional business again.

But I’m in good company.

The restaurant business is looking at that kind of 50% failure rate across the board given the steps the government has taken and is planning to take. When at last they are allowed to open but only allowed half the seating, that means half the employees will be terminated, half the profits will be available to provide debt management, and likely half of those businesses will close.

It’s too early to gather the data, but agencies are reporting an increase in drug overdoses and anticipate an increase of domestic violence and child abuse. And the key resources to those at risk, churches and recovery groups, have their doors closed and access severely limited.

While all these numbers are sobering, we are still in the calm before the storm. The most positive estimates have the gross domestic product dropping 4% on a yearly basis, which is almost twice that of the Great Recession in 2009. I remember driving down US-1 then and seeing large and small businesses closing down and empty storefronts for mile after mile. I remember walking through Target trying to shop for a shirt and having only a handful of sizes in each color on nearly bare shelves (but not as bare as the toilet paper shelves in the grocery stores today).

The same irrational panic that triggered the run on toilet paper and like items could easily be triggered again by bad news or even vicious rumors. In the UK over 30 cell towers were burned down or vandalized and numerous telecom workers harassed by people fearing that cell towers were spreading Coronavirus. What would happen in our (or any) country if the communication infrastructure was shut down by irrational acts or by cyber activities from opposing nation-states? Self-isolation all of a sudden becomes real and a whole new level of concern. (That’s the point I might consider an early installation of my hurricane shutters.)

Chief executives of two of the largest meat packing plants in the country are predicting a breakdown in the supply chain for meat processing. Dairy farmers are pouring their milk production on the fields for fertilizer and hog producers are slaughtering thousands of animals.

Some of us are beginning to wonder about the wisdom of the steps having been taken so far, given the high infection and death rates among countries that have adopted an extremely hard lockdown, and the moderate results of the pandemic in countries that really didn’t implement a lockdown at all, such as Sweden.

Some of us are surprised at the willingness for people to give up personal freedom and the protections of the First, the Second, the 4th, the 5th, and the 8th amendments in the Bill of Rights. People have been fined $500 each for parking in a church parking lot in their cars; people have been arrested and taken to jail for allowing their children to touch playground equipment in a park opened for families. Churches and synagogues have been threatened to be closed permanently for allowing people to congregate to worship.

A analogy comes to mind: Whether it is a personal computer or a powerful file server, it’s given that some point the device is going to freeze up. Typically, just a simple reboot will bring everything back into order. In a rare instance, a computer may have to be repaired and/or have a complete refresh, a total wipe of the operating system and a full restore of it (a “bare metal” restore). When that happens, we are totally dependent on that computer’s backup.

There is no simple reboot that will fix the situation that this virus and the actions of the World Health Organization/United Nations (and our nation’s reaction to it) have created. Now we get to see how good of a backup we have. As Christians, when we put our faith and trust in Christ, we know we have the ultimate backup and restore plan. Hopefully, this worldwide crisis will point others to the only unshakable foundation –Jesus Christ — for this “bare metal” situation we find ourselves in. Indeed, when it causes us to focus on those essentials you mentioned, a situation like this can have a positive outcome counter if it’s centered in Christ. Let’s redouble our prayers towards that end.

Exceptionally Good (and Bad) news about the Coronavirus pandemic

Summary (the Good):

  • New studies coming out this week will likely show that Covid-19 has infected between 50-100 times the amount of people currently estimated, with little or no symptoms and with rare or no hospitalization
  • Instead of the estimated three in a hundred dying of Coronavirus, the rate is more likely closer to one in a thousand
  • Results coming out of Sweden, which had a very limited lock down, is still showing deaths far below Italy, Spain and the UK, who had stringent lock downs
  • Data on deaths from Cororavirus are showing that those at-risk for the virus are very easy to identify by contributing factors
  • There are Biblical truths that if implemented in our lives address health issues.

Summary (the Bad):

  • Political correctness may keep the US from addressing the needed steps to end the lock downs and to isolate the members at risk
  • The economic damage created by shutdowns is unprecedented, the worst since the Great Depression, and unemployment perhaps rivaling even the Great Depression
  • Indirect deaths as a result of the virus lock down (from poverty, crime, and other economic/social issues) will skyrocket
  • Supply chains (food, fuel, health care) are suffering breakdowns as a result of the locks downs and the virus
  • Despite data to the contrary, the World Health Organization’s lock down plan will often continue to be promoted and used

Dr. Jay Bhattacharya has the results from his first study (and two more in the works) and in Santa Clara county in California the numbers of cases determined by antibody tests are 50-85 times what was estimated by officials.  If this trend carries to nationally the death rate will be much less than 1% instead of the three to five percent predicted by the World Health Organization. This will support relaxing the lock down in areas that have reduced amount of infection. I feel that this data will eventually show that a global lockdown was completely unnecessary. In addition, Sweden’s government mandated no lockdown and is showing a infection rate less than or comparable to Nations that put a strict lockdown in place. For instance, schools were not closed in Sweden and citizens utilizing restaurants and bars were only asked to take reasonable precautions on an individual basis.

In addition, we have reams of data now that show us the groups most impacted by Coronavirus. As we implement a reduction of the lockdown we also need to implement a more targeted quarantine of those people who will be subject to serious effects from Coronavirus. We knew that the Italian deaths were centered on people over the age of 80 with two or more contributing illnesses. In addition to that, however, we have new data on the real epidemic that is driving the coronavirus deaths. The number one factor in younger victims who succumb to Coronavirus is obesity.

We have known in the United States for quite some time that we have an epidemic of obesity. The numbers of deaths from coronavirus are dwarfed by the numbers of deaths attributed to obesity and its accompanying diseases such as heart disease, hypertension, pulmonary disease, and diabetes.

I pointed this out in a blog nearly a month ago and have reiterated it in posts on social media, but one of my chief responses has been that I am “shaming” people and we shouldn’t be shaming people in the midst of this epidemic. I am not attempting to shame people, but attempting to save their lives. I pointed out in that same blog that even just starting on a weight reduction program reduces inflammation to a significant degree, and inflammation is the explosive element in a coronavirus infection.

I shared in another post about how at one point I was just over the line into the obesity range according to the BMI calculations, and that I had never had a doctor suggest weight loss as an option for better health, but rather discounted my concerns about that same weight. Even the doctor that started prescribing a suite of medications to address what he determined was pre-diabetes, slightly elevated cholesterol, and blood pressure never suggested any other option than medication. It didn’t take long for me to find multiple studies comparing weight loss to medication with identical (or better) results. And taking aggressive steps towards health have accomplished significant results.

It would seem that the medical community (and Big Pharm) prefers a nation of fatties; I guess that shouldn’t be surprising, given the billions of dollars expended on treating the effects from obesity.

Multiple efforts to change the SNAP rules (formerly food stamps) to guide participants into healthier choices have been successfully resisted for years.

Efforts to end the lock downs in the US are facing resistance from the American Medical Association and the mainstream media.  Hopefully, the new antibody data will convince some states  to change to a highly targeted quarantine and allow people at very low risk to return to work.

Behaviors resulting from the lockdown are putting the American population even more at risk for Coronavirus when they come out. “U.S. sales of alcoholic beverages rose 55%in the week ending March 21, according to market research firm Nielsen. Spirits like tequila, gin and pre-mixed cocktails led the way, with sales jumping 75% compared to the same period last year. Wine sales were up 66% while beer sales rose 42%. And online sales far outpaced in-store sales.”

Nielsen said online alcohol sales were up 243%. 

Food consumption has gone up while exercise has gone down. “My clients are calling it the COVID-20,” in reference to fears of gaining that much unwanted weight before this is all over, said registered dietitian Ashley Koff, chief executive of the online resource the Better Nutrition Program, based in Columbus, Ohio. “We’re all in a situation where the gym is shut down, we’re home a lot, we’re stressed, and it’s making it easy to overeat.”

Steps we can take:

  1. Identify urban hotspots, elder care facilities, and others at risk and put a hard quarantine on them (over half of the deaths in the US are located in the NYC metro area)
  2. Educate all at-risk people suffering from obesity and other contributing diseases about the extreme risks presented to them by their condition in combination with Coronavirus, and provide services for them to assist them in quarantine
  3. Recognize that lock downs are not a one-size-fits-all solutions for containing epidemics
  4. Recognize the human capital wasted through lock downs and the resulting economic effects; the “Great Recession” of 2008 resulted in the first reduction of US life spans since World War Two
  5. Remember that the Bible has one consistent recommendation for nations faced with epidemics: Seek God, repent, fast and pray.

“Death has come up into our windows, it has entered our palaces, to cut off the children from the streets and the young men from the squares.” (Jeremiah 9:20)

Does this sound like something current?  The much-quoted 2 Chronicles 7:14 follows verse 13:  “If I shut up the heavens so that there is no rain, or if I command the locust to devour the land, or if I send pestilence among My people, (14) and My people who are called by My name humble themselves and pray and seek My face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, will forgive their sin and will heal their land.”

And if there ever was a time to pray, it is now. The International Monetary Fund is just one among dozens predicting the largest recession in US history.  Crime rates will soon begin to rise as the lock downs lessen and economic pressures increase, supply chains are on the brink of failing, and experts anticipate significant increase of domestic and child abuse.It is very feasible that deaths from poverty induced by the shutdown of the world economy will eclipse the virus deaths. But the die has been cast. It seems we’re guaranteed at least the new Great Recession, and yet people still want to push the shutdown into next year. Yes, every death is tragic, but so are the deaths by despair, the overdoses, and the deaths by starvation that are already documented in India and many other countries.

We are in the economic calm before the storm.  Only God’s intervention can change the long term effects of this unprecedented shut down of industry and nearly all enterprise. Let us call on Him.

As a foot note, some thoughts on food and the Bible:

  • While the original sin was disobedience, it was delivered via food
  • Without God’s intervention through Joseph, Egypt and Israel would have succumbed to a worldwide famine
  • Esau gave up his destiny for food
  • Proper handling of food is extensively addressed in the Bible
  • Proverbs tells us rich food is like a knife in the heart, and speaks to gluttony many times
  • Division in the early church was created over food (and gave us deacons)
  • Eating food offered to idols was considered “participation with demons” according to Paul

Gluttony is one of the few sins you cannot easily hide.

 

 

Where are you putting your hope in the midst of a pandemic?

Doctors and medical personnel treating covid-19 victims face a heartbreaking situation in intensive care when faced with putting a patient on a ventilator.

And it’s not the heartbreaking decision of choosing “who will live and who will die” as so many news articles are talking about now. It’s the heartbreaking knowledge that most of their patients are likely to die anyway, because ventilators only allow Covid-19 victims to survive at best 40% of the time, typically only about 30% of the time, and at little as single digits in some cases. In a UK study two-thirds of patients died.

So, if you go on a ventilator you’re probably going to die anyway.

And if they have post recovery training and experience, as most anesthesiologists do, they’re going to be faced with the heartbreaking knowledge that nearly all of their patients will suffer cognitive damage, with a good percentage of it being severe.

So, if you go on a ventilator and survive, you’re probably going to have brain damage.

I’ve been aware of this from the moment the word ventilator was used in conjunction with covid-19. I try to avoid sharing any information here that I can’t provide extensive documentation on, so I’ve been scouring the medical news to try to see what the implications were specifically for Covid-19 patients. There is plenty in the documentation below.

In my job as an audio-visual tech for conferences, I’ve sat in more medical meetings over the last few years than most doctors do. I’ve seen procedures video-projected and performed live that made some of my fellow technicians turn white and have to leave the room. I’m not particularly queasy, but one left me with lasting impressions that I have not been able to shake for years.

It was an anesthesiologist meeting, and it dealt with intubation and ventilators for a good part of it. That’s when I learned that, at best intubation is a difficult procedure, and at worst it’s brutal. Sometimes the procedure by itself results in death by suffocation, albeit rarely.

Short-term recovery from ventilation is difficult, but there are long-term implications that last till the end of life, such as a significant increase in dementia, a decrease in mobility, and other well-documented medical conditions.

The negative effects of anesthesia after the age of 50 on mental capacity and cognitive ability are so well-documented that no one should opt for any elective surgery that requires general anesthesia and/or intubation. The negative effects increase as age increases.

So in the case of infection by covid-19 resulting in hospitalization, I have created a living will with this specific instruction:

“ADDITIONAL INSTRUCTIONS I direct that no intubation be done for the purpose of ventilation in case of conditions resulting from infection by Covid-19. I understand that I may change the above-listed directives at any time by revoking this declaration and writing a new one.”

If your hope is in medical science, or governments, or anything other than Jesus Christ, your hope is futile.

“There is an appointed time for everything. And there is a time for every event under heaven— A time to give birth and a time to die; A time to plant and a time to uproot what is planted. A time to kill and a time to heal; A time to tear down and a time to build up. A time to weep and a time to laugh; A time to mourn and a time to dance. A time to throw stones and a time to gather stones; A time to embrace and a time to shun embracing. A time to search and a time to give up as lost; A time to keep and a time to throw away. A time to tear apart and a time to sew together; A time to be silent and a time to speak. A time to love and a time to hate; A time for war and a time for peace.” –Ecclesiastes

If you are a Christian you have the knowledge that death has already been defeated.

“He will swallow up death for all time, And the Lord God will wipe tears away from all faces, And He will remove the reproach of His people from all the earth; For the Lord has spoken. And it will be said in that day, ‘Behold, this is our God for whom we have waited that He might save us. This is the Lord for whom we have waited; Let us rejoice and be glad in His salvation.’” –Isaiah

And if you’re not a Christian, I guess you have to hope that your ventilator works.

Some resources (some are linked above):

Are you a fan of the Graceful Dead?

 

Since death seems to be on many people’s minds, and relevant to today’s news, I thought I’d visit it with a few thoughts.

I’ve been thinking about death for a while.  And thinking seriously about it, for 45 years or so.  It seems fitting; after all, we live in a culture obsessed with death (if all the movies and TV shows with “dead” in the title are any indicator).  We are infatuated with death, while at the same time attempting to place it personally at least at arm’s length, or at far away as possible at best.  Our western culture has allowed us (who are non-healthcare providers) to separate from experiencing the death of others quite efficiently. I remember taking a walk through a graveyard on the hill above our town in Montana with some of our children and noting on the tombstones how many families lost members at a very young age. Most dated from the early part of the last century, which is really not that long ago. To at least a significant portion of our great-great grandparents, the term “died in his arms” wasn’t a line in a book or a scene in a movie, it was part of their life experience.

As our life expectancy increased, so did the mechanisms that separate us from the dying.  Just a hundred years ago, nursing homes were created to be utilized for the elderly, who before were typically cared for at home. Now, the vast majority of Americans die in nursing homes or in the hospital. Only recently has hospice and other end-of-life care put some people back into the home.

This is complicated by the billions of dollars spent each year on research on longevity, which has resulted in many new treatments for extending life well past what was common just a generation ago.

While landmarks have been achieved in preserving the body’s health, the care of the mind has not kept pace. The Alzheimer’s Association notes that “between 2017 and 2025 every state across the country is expected to experience an increase of at least 14% in the number of people with Alzheimer’s due to increases in the population age 65 and older.”

Many Americans covet solutions for extending their lifespan while conversely abusing their health through heavy use of alcohol, nicotine, illegal drugs, and through overeating. Forty percent of Americans over age 20 are obese, which brings a whole suite of health problems, the foremost being diabetes. And nearly 8% are morbidly obese. Additionally, over 30% of Americans are overweight.

Whatever efforts you take to extend your life, one thing still looms for those even in perfect health. A one hundred percent mortality rate. No matter what steps we take to preserve our lives, death is inevitable.  The moment we are born we are on a pathway to death.

There is a palatable feeling of fear bordering on terror in our world today. And the ironic aspect to all this, is that even while people are fearing death, and trying to gain longevity, immortality is right within their grasp.

I mentioned that I’ve been pondering death for many decades. When I was quite young, I was terrified of death, and had dreams of horrible creatures lurking about and chasing me. I would worry over everything I might experience or encounter that had some possibility of being deadly to me (and we had poisonous snakes and spiders around in our rural setting). Behavior-wise, I started out as a pretty awful child (I’m told) and developed into a horrible young adult (evil might be a good word). I can think of at least a couple things that I did that would have put me in prison for a good part of my life.

Finally, a relatively minor offense landed me in a county jail in Oregon. Trapped within my overwhelming fear, I anticipated all my foreseeable future to be bleak. I didn’t know that peace without fear, and even immortality, was in my grasp, until an elderly lady named Ida Nelson showed me that death was nothing to be feared, because death had been defeated through a bloody battle for my sake. She told me how Jesus had shed His blood and taken the keys of death back from the enemy.

Jesus looked to be defeated, hanging on the cross. But He was in the battle of OUR lives, and won.

Pondering death leads to pondering on what comes after. It is tragic that so many professing Christians really have no concept of the immortality that is their birthright in Christ. While they might not say it out loud, they are thinking “BORING!” about eternity. They think they’ll be an ethereal being playing a harp sitting on a cloud (in Hallmark heaven, I guess). Or at best, singing in a heavenly choir forever.

But, as Charles Spurgeon said, “Heaven is a vast museum of wonders of grace and mercy.” Think a trip to Yellowstone or Glacier Park is amazing? Wait until you see the spectacular New Earth! Think a trip to the zoo is exciting? How about sitting with a lion on one hand and a lamb on the other? Think a trip to Rome is impressive (in better times)? Wait until you see the New Jerusalem.

Unfortunately, we are too often attached to a bunch of dead, earthly things, and don’t even think about (or study about) what true treasures are.  As Spurgeon said, “You will never have your heart in heaven till you have heaven in your heart.”

“How some believers starve who live without the diligent use of the Word of God and private prayer! If our piety can live without God it is not of divine origin; it is but a dream; for if God had birthed it, it would wait upon him as the flowers wait upon the dew. Without constant restoration we are not ready for the perpetual assaults of hell, … or even for the strife within … If we allow the good to grow weaker, the evil will surely gather strength and struggle desperately for mastery over us; and so, perhaps, a painful desolation, and a regrettable disgrace may follow. Let us draw near to the footstool of divine mercy in humble request, and we shall realize the fulfillment of the promise, ‘They that wait on the Lord shall renew their strength.’” – From Spurgeon’s Morning and Evening

Spurgeon refers to heaven almost 600 times in his Morning and Evening devotional; you can search this blog to find them using the search term “Spurgeon Heaven, since my revision of that work in more contemporary language is here. (And hopefully, soon to be published in book form.)

In one sense, if we are Christians, we are already dead. As Paul said, “For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we will certainly also be united with him in a resurrection like his.  For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body ruled by sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin— because anyone who has died has been set free from sin. Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him.  For we know that since Christ was raised from the dead, he cannot die again; death no longer has mastery over him.  The death he died, he died to sin once for all; but the life he lives, he lives to God. In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus.”

So, want to be one of the Graceful Dead?

Graceful: Full of divine grace; spiritually profitable. (Oxford English Dictionary, meaning #1)

Dead: Belonging to the past. (Oxford English Dictionary, meaning #4)

 

 

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Coronavirus/Covid-19: What about Italy, and “suicide missions” in the United States?

Highlights:

  • Median age of Italy deaths over 80 years old
  • Victims had 2-3 complicating illnesses already
  • Peak mortality 80-89 years old
  • No Italian fatalities under 30 years old
  • US is putting no significant restrictions on at-risk here (Over 70, ill health) 

Italy is really the first country with a major outbreak of this from which we can get somewhat decent data (we can’t trust China or Iran). The news site The Local IT has some data updated last Friday from their original March 11 news story.

“‘The data on mortality are deepening with the medical records of the deceased,’ said president of Italy’s Higher Health Institute (Istituto Superiore di Sanità, or ISS), Silvio Brusaferro, as he presented the new data on Friday.”

“The picture is very similar to that given by previous statistics in Italy: the median age of the deceased is 80, the majority of victims are male, and they had an average of 2.7 pre-existing health conditions.”

“Just three of those who died had no pre-existing health conditions, the data showed. ‘Patients who died with coronavirus have an average age of over 80 years, 80.3. The peak of mortality is in the 80-89 year age range. Lethality, ie the number of deaths among the sick, is higher among those over 80,’ stated Brusaferro.

“The fatality rate among those aged under 30 is currently zero, and for under 40s it’s 0.3 percent … ISS data showed that almost 25 percent of all infected patients in Italy were between the ages of 19 and 50 years old.”  From thelocal.it news website

I’ve been appalled at the number of people I’ve seen in the grocery store who are squarely in this demographic, unable to walk, scooting along, picking up groceries. That’s what I call a suicide mission, given the communicability of this virus and the vulnerability of this demographic.

Instead of shaming young people (and others) for going to the beach, and shutting down nearly the whole economy, there should be a concerted effort to quarantine everyone in this age group with medical complications, and those younger Americans with severe vulnerabilities such as diabetes/obesity, heart disease, and cancer, and to provide for their needs in their homes.

There is nothing in the American press or government edicts mandating this, or even encouraging this, even in the center of the outbreak, New York. The UK has suggested it but is putting it off. It may be no one wants to enrage the older voter demographic, but dead people can’t vote.

Italy is a pretty good case study.  It’s obvious that the lock downs have not abated the death rate, which points to a broad spread of infection throughout the region. Children and the young, which probably get the virus just as much as anyone, but without any symptoms, and the middle aged who thought they just had the sniffles, have spread this just like any other bad cold gets spread in cold season.

I was speaking about this to a middle aged man with health complications, and he was saying, “No, we need to close the schools, we need to close the businesses. I don’t want to be quarantined!” I told him we can have Filet Mignon and Lobster delivered to him twice a day, a band to play songs to him in his condo parking lot, and an 80″ 4k TV installed for him (and everyone else like him) with the money lost in this irrational shutdown.  We spoke for a few minutes, and I thought I’d convinced him, but then he said again, “We’ve got to shut the schools down!”

It may be true, as a friend said, that the lemmings are already running off the cliff. As the increased testing reveals all the cases of Coronavirus out there (which the press will call “new” cases), and panic likely grows even more at the numbers, we will probably continue on this mad path that has already been set.

For the Christian, however, it will always remain true that “All is Well.”

“Ah! Christian, the hot day of weariness does not last forever; the sun is nearing the horizon; it shall rise again with a brighter day than you have ever seen upon a land where they serve God day and night, and yet rest from their labor. Here, rest is but partial, there, it is perfect. Here, the Christian is always unsettled; he feels that he has not yet attained. There, all are at rest; they have attained the summit of the mountain; they have ascended to the embrace of their God. They cannot go higher. Ah, work-worn laborer, only look forward to when you shall rest forever! Can you conceive of it? It is a rest eternal; a rest that “remains.” Here, my best joys display “mortal” on their forehead; my lovely flowers fade; my elegant cups are drained to dregs; my adorable birds fall before Death’s arrows; my most pleasant days are shadowed into nights; and the high tides of my happiness subside into ebbs of sorrow.”
But there, everything is immortal; the harp abides unrusted, the crown uncorroded, the eye undimmed, the voice unfaltering, the heart unwavering, and the immortal being is wholly absorbed in infinite delight. Happy day! Happy, when mortality shall be swallowed up by life, and the Eternal Sabbath shall begin.”

Morning, January 18, edited from Charles H. Spurgeon’s Morning and Evening

 

 

 

You have nothing* to fear** from Coronavirus (Covid-19)

If a billion people believe something (and are terrified) does that make it true? Apparently a billion people (or more) believe that Covid-19 threatens humanity, and by executing upon that belief their leaders have created an unprecedented social financial crisis that reaches nearly everyone in first- and second-world countries, and many in third-world countries.  But are these actions warranted?  Is the “cure” worse than the disease?

Much action has been predicated on the media’s dark portrayal of the risk (remember, most people just read the headline):

  • “Experts Simulated a Coronavirus Pandemic Last Year and It Killed 65 Million.”  New York Magazine, Feb 27
  • AI Predicts Coronavirus Could Infect 2.5 Billion And Kill 53 Million.” Forbes Magazine (If the premise is flawed why that headline?)
  • “WHO Says The Coronavirus Global Death Rate Is 3.4%, Higher Than Earlier Figures.” ScienceAlert
  • “COVID-19’s Death Rate: Why It Can Be as High as 12% or as Low as 0.25%.” Real Clear Science
  • Governor Newsome … projects 56% of Californians Could Get Coronavirus, NBC San Diego.

Constant comparison is made to the Spanish Flu. However, no one really knows what the impact was from the Spanish Flu, apparently; the wrong math has been quoted for decades.  In What 1918 Spanish Flu Death Toll Tells Us About COVID-19 Coronavirus MedicineNet stated prominently 600 million people were infected, 50-100 million died, with CDR (Case to Death Rate) of 2.5% (as do DOZENS of other journals and sources).  Run the math. The numbers would equal an 8-16% CDR.  Thanks to the tech geeks at Wired for pointing this out in “Covid-19 is Not the Spanish Flu.”  (I love the way every scary statistic — global warming, ocean plastics, etc — is a single or double digit followed by a whole string of zeros.)

The sound bites being provided by the major TV networks reinforced the panic that these false numbers created.

At the same time a handful of rational sources were either publishing accurate data or are now beginning to, the main data source, the WHO, has been found to be seriously flawed… “Why we stopped relying on data from the World Health Organization.” Our World in Data, Mar 18.

Here’s some of the facts:

The fatality rate of cases to death is NOT EVEN CLOSE TO 3.4%. The media repeatedly list confirmed cases wrongly as all cases. Nobody knows the actual cases, and it is estimated that there are at least 3-4 times (and up to 10x) the number of asymptomatic and other mild symptom unreported cases. As a example, South Korea has done more per capita testing than any other country, and their fatality rate is much less than 1%. And that is with them testing just a fraction of the population.

We will NEVER have any idea of the total unreported cases. There is no way currently to easily test to see if someone has unknowingly had Covid-19 and recovered. Many agree the infection rate is grossly underestimated.

A Stanford University epidemiologist makes the point that, “One of the bottom lines is that we don’t know how long social distancing measures and lockdowns can be maintained without major consequences to the economy, society, and mental health. Unpredictable evolutions may ensue, including financial crisis, unrest, civil strife, war, and a meltdown of the social fabric. At a minimum, we need unbiased prevalence and incidence data for the evolving infectious load to guide decision-making.” If you only read one article top to bottom, this is the one.

From MedicalNewsToday:

“Though there is disagreement about this, some studies have suggested that it is approximately 10 times too high. This would bring the death rate in line with some strains of influenza.” – Prof. Mark Woolhouse, Professor of infectious disease epidemiology at the University of Edinburgh, U.K.

“Early estimates of fatality rates tend to be higher and then drop as the outbreak progresses,” says biological anthropologist Jennifer Cole, from the Royal Holloway, University of London, U.K. “This is mainly because early figures are based on the more severe cases only — those that seek hospital treatment — and so don’t capture mild cases.”

FiveThirtyEight.com notes that nobody has any idea how many unreported cases are out there. Researchers think there were actually about 29,000 infections in the U.S. as of March 15, more than eight times the known tally. That means a death rate of 4% for confirmed cases is really more like 0.6% for all cases.

Italy is the big scary region spotlighted right now. The virus seems to be out of control. But the key is age, and health complications. Bloomberg reports that 99% of Italians who died had other illnesses.

The median age of the world population is 30. Italy’s median population is one of the highest in the world at 45 years old. THAT’S A BIG DEAL, when this disease targets the elderly. The US median age is 38, and that’s a huge difference from Italy.

But as a point of reference, Italy currently has a little over 4800 deaths from Covid-19 total so far in the space of four weeks. Heart disease alone kills 109,000 Italians each year. That’s 2000 a week. And heart disease only accounts for one-fifth of deaths in Italy in 2017.  I cannot find data on this but I would guesstimate that over half of the deaths attributed to Covid-19 are in patients already bedridden.

At least a significant percentage of those who died “of Covid-19” should have been listed as, “died of heart disease complicated by an infection of Covid-19.” “Died of diabetes complicated by an infection of Covid-19.” It’s like when we have a serious snowstorm in the US and the reports of death come in:  “The first casualty of the storm was a man shoveling snow who died of a heart attack.” The storm was a contributing factor, not the cause.

By the way, the median age in Florida is still well below Italy at 42.

The OVERALL fatality rate of Covid-19 as of this writing is 0.0001675%.
That is 167 millionths of one percent, based on a world population of close to 8 billion. We aren’t going to die out as a species.

But we have shut down our economy over this relatively bad cold. Our world leaders are behaving in exactly the same irrational manner as the people hoarding toilet paper. The Madness of Crowds is not new; the curse of a connected society is that madness spreads at the speed of light. The bad news:

Nothing*:  You have nothing to worry about; You’re gonna die. Everyone does.

I’ve replaced the word “war” with “Coronavirus” in theses thoughts from C.S. Lewis:

“What does Coronavirus do to death? It certainly does not make it more frequent; 100 percent of us die, and the percentage cannot be increased. It can put several deaths earlier, but I hardly suppose that that is what we fear. . . . Yet Coronavirus does do something to death. It forces us to remember it. . . . Coronavirus makes death real to us, and that would have been regarded as one of its blessings by most of the great Christians of the past.” (Learning in War-Time)

“How are we to live in the age of Coronavirus?” I am tempted to reply: “Why, as you would have lived in the sixteenth century when the plague visited London almost every year, or as you would have lived in a Viking age when raiders from Scandinavia might land and cut your throat any night; or indeed, as you are already living in an age of cancer, an age of syphilis, an age of paralysis, an age of air raids, an age of railway accidents, an age of motor accidents.”

“In other words, do not let us begin by exaggerating the novelty of our situation. Believe me, dear sir or madam, you and all whom you love were already sentenced to death before the Coronavirus was discovered: and quite a high percentage of us were going to die in unpleasant ways. We had, indeed, one very great advantage over our ancestors—anaesthetics; but we have that still. It is perfectly ridiculous to go about whimpering and drawing long faces because the scientists have added one more chance of painful and premature death to a world which already bristled with such chances and in which death itself was not a chance at all, but a certainty.

“This is the first point to be made: and the first action to be taken is to pull ourselves together. If we are all going to be destroyed by Coronavirus, let that disease when it comes find us doing sensible and human things—praying, working, teaching, reading, listening to music, bathing the children, playing tennis, chatting to our friends over a pint and a game of darts—not huddled together like frightened sheep and thinking about disease. It may break our bodies (a microbe can do that) but they need not dominate our minds.”

From “Present Concerns,” written in the 60s, published in 1986 after his death.

You have nothing to Fear**:  “Do not fear those who kill the body but are unable to kill the soul; but rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.” (Matthew 10:28) Put your trust in Christ Jesus and maintain due reverence to Him, and you have nothing to fear.

The vast majority of victims will have lived a full life (the average age of victims in Italy is around 80 years old.)  The average victim will have had plenty of time to make his peace with God.

People will continue to die, of coronavirus and other things. 1,300,000 will die this year from traffic deaths alone worldwide. Add another 50,000-100,000 from snakebite worldwide. 650,000 will die from heart disease, in the United States alone.  The difference is that every death from coronavirus will be announced on a daily basis, by a media that profits off fear, and  governments that survive by control.

All these things you can do are important. But the most important thing you can do is, “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:6-7 NASB

 

 

 

 

 

 

You CAN take SIGNIFICANT steps towards protecting against COVID-19 TODAY!

These are all steps you can take that are not being discussed to any significant extent.

Back when the Coronavirus news broke, I began researching the effects in China, not because of concerns for my own health, but for that on others. I was delighted to see that the virus does not seem to touch the most innocent among us:  the youngest of our children.

I haven’t expressed anything about my own situation, other than to note that my line of work places me in the midst of people from all over the country and the world.  I did find it a bit unsettling to be a part of the high-risk group by age, if only on the fringe. But then I researched a bit more and my personal level of concern dropped. More on that in a later blog.

While the CDC and WHO is somewhat silent on the issue, there are things we can do to reduce our vulnerability to this and other viruses.
I’m going to list them in order of the priority I put on them.  And all of these are things you can start today, some with immediate effect!

SUNLIGHT. Go outside! There have been numerous studies regarding the effects of being cloistered in during the lockdown during the Covid-19 crisis. The high numbers of people who actually became infected with Covid-19 while in lockdown points to the lack of vitamin D, which is vital to disease immunity and is generated in the human body by being exposed to sunlight.  https://www.pharmaceutical-technology.com/comment/vitamin-d-covid-19/

SLEEP. Seven to nine hours as recommended. “Studies … revealed a variety of potentially harmful effects of sleep deprivation usually associated with increased stress, such as increased blood pressure, impaired control of blood glucose, and increased inflammation.” Naps can fill the gap. http://healthysleep.med.harvard.edu/healthy/matters/consequences/sleep-and-disease-risk

INTERMITTENT FASTING. The benefits of this on inflammation and overall health have been documented for over 100 years through multiple studies.  A CR (calorie reduction) diet offers similar health benefits. I saw a dramatic reduction in my arthritis pain once I discovered this and put it into practice. And since Covid-19’s worst effects are inflammation related, this is extremely important. “Fasting reduces the numbers of circulating monocytes in healthy humans and mice; fasting also reduces monocyte metabolic and inflammatory activity; fasting improves inflammatory diseases without compromising antimicrobial immunity.” https://www.cell.com/cell/fulltext/S0092-8674(19)30850-5

RAW GARLIC (CRUSHED). Because drug companies (and much of medical science) is profit driven, unprofitable treatments aren’t researched extensively. The few studies done, however, support a significant reduction in the effects of viruses.  The CDC Covid-19 guidelines downplay this based on no testing with Covid-19, but they haven’t had opportunity to do ANY significant testing on Covid-19 with ANYTHING. “These results suggest that supplementation of the diet with aged garlic extract may enhance immune cell function and that this may be responsible, in part, for reduced severity of colds and flu.” Other studies show a reduction in blood pressure of between 5-10 points and garlic is a known blood thinner, which is usually a positive effect. I crush a clove with a garlic press, wait 15 minutes for full potency and wash it down with water nightly. If I feel a cold coming on, I increase it to twice or three times daily. (I also supplement zinc and vitamin C, but the data is much better on garlic.) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22280901

WEIGHT LOSS. If you run the BMI numbers and you are in the range of 30 or more (as I was not that long ago), you are a target for Covid-19 despite age. Intermittent fasting will bring measured but positive effects and get you out of that range. https://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/educational/lose_wt/BMI/bmicalc.htm

DON’T SMOKE.  DON’T VAPE. DON’T DRINK TO EXCESS. These should be obvious. The argument for vaping as the lesser of two evils holds limited merit.
DRUGS. Drugs, drugs, drugs will hurt you.  The illegal ones, obvious again. But doctors will prescribe a raft of drugs instead of recommending lifestyle changes, drugs that all have serious side effects. High blood pressure and type 2 diabetes are often related to excessive weight and poor diet; again, intermittent fasting can help. Find a doctor who supports alternatives to drugs when possible.  https://www.thelancet.com/journals/landia/article/PIIS2213-8587(19)30149-4/fulltext

Here’s a Tedx talk on intermittent fasting.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A6Dkt7zyImk

These are some things you can do to reduce your exposure to Covid-19 today. However, there are lots of things we have no control over; any one of us could pass away any moment.  “Yet you do not know [the least thing] about what may happen in your life tomorrow. [What is secure in your life?] You are merely a vapor [like a puff of smoke or a wisp of steam from a cooking pot] that is visible for a little while and then vanishes [into thin air].” James 4:14 AMP

But we have hope, because “It is by his great mercy that we have been born again, because God raised Jesus Christ from the dead. Now we live with great expectation, and we have a priceless inheritance—an inheritance that is kept in heaven for you, pure and undefiled, beyond the reach of change and decay.” 1 Peter 1:3-5 NAS

All these things you can do are important. But the most important thing you can do is, “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:6-7 NASB

I do not want to have too much of a grip on this life. And I look forward to the next.  With the genetic liabilities and history of my parents before me, anything I can do to extend my longevity is somewhat of a futile exercise.  As I mentioned in one of my Facebook comments on the Covid-19 death rates (which, by the way, are clearly inflated), a multi-year and multi-generational study has shown that the death rate for humans like us is 100%. If. If we put our hope in Jesus Christ, however, our life expectancy is unlimited.

What we consider God’s punishment is really education… Hebrews 12:7

“It is for discipline that you endure; God deals with you as with sons; for what son is there whom his father does not discipline?”

The Message version renders this passage, “God is educating you; that’s why you must never drop out. He’s treating you as dear children. This trouble you’re in isn’t punishment; it’s training, the normal experience of children.”

C.H. Spurgeon preached a message May 24, 1888 entitled “The (Blessed) Discipline of the Lord.”  Here are some excerpts, and the points; the whole message is linked below.

“Blessed is the man whom You chasten, O Lord, and whom You teach out of Your law; that You may grant him relief from the days of adversity, until a pit is dug for the wicked. For the Lord will not abandon His people, nor will He forsake His inheritance. For judgment will again be righteous, and all the upright in heart will follow it. Ps. 94:12-15”

“I. First, I will ask you to notice that GOD’S CHILDREN ARE BEING TRAINED. For instance, we have learned from discipline the evil of sin.

“’Before I was afflicted I went astray, but now I obey your word.’ There are some sorrows that obviously come as the result of our own folly. We have to reap the harvest of the seed that we sow; and by this process we are made to see that it is a very evil and bitter thing to sin against God. This is an important lesson; I wish that more of God’s people had carefully learned it. I wish that some who profess to be Christians had some basic concept of the extreme sinfulness of sin; but I believe that instruction on this point often comes from the disciplining hand of God.

“The discipline we receive from God teaches us the unsatisfactory nature of worldly things. Don’t we also learn by affliction our own frailty, and our own impatience? Don’t we then learn also the value of prayer?

“If you read through the text, dear friends, you will notice that the rod is not without the Word. We look to the Bible for comfort when we are disciplined. The Word of God is not only used at such times for comfort, but also for direction. During times of discipline we have also proved, dear friends, the power of the Word of God.

“That leads me to say next, that, according to our text, God himself is our teacher.

“II. Now let me say a little on our second point, and only a little. We have seen God’s children being trained; now let us look at GOD’S CHILDREN EDUCATED. First, we learn to rest in the will of God. If we struggle against God’s will, we only increase our sorrow. Our self-will usually lies at the root of our greatest griefs. Give way, and you have won; yield to God, and you have obtained the blessing you desire. The bitterness will be removed from your grief when you consent to be grieved if God will have it to be so. We make advances in our spiritual education when we learn to rest after our afflictions.

“III. I must now move on to my third point, which is, that GOD’S CHILDREN ARE STILL DEAR TO HIM. First, then, the Lord will not reject his people. Then, further, the Lord will never forsake his people, for it is added, ‘he will never forsake his inheritance.’ Sometimes you are thrown into the furnace; yes, it may be true, but in the furnace you are not rejected. Metal put into the furnace is not thrown away; had it been worthless, it might have been thrown on the scrap pile; but it is put into the furnace because it is of value. When you are put into the furnace, and into the greatest heat that can be attained, it is that the Lord may take away your impurities, and thus purify you for his service.

“IV. I will now close with this fourth point, GOD’S PEOPLE WILL BE RIGHTED IN THE END: ‘Judgment will again be founded on righteousness, and all the upright in heart will follow it.’ Right now, judgment seems to be held back. Don’t be in a hurry, child of God; the Lord has timed his absence. And what then? Judgment will be welcomed by the godly. I will finish by simply reminding you that he is damned to hell who has never felt the disciplining hand of God, or sat at his feet to learn from him; but he is indeed blessed who yields himself entirely up to be the disciple of the Lord. May it be with every one of you, for our Lord Jesus Christ’s sake! Amen.”

Here is the link to the whole sermon, Blessed Discipline.

A surgeon may have to remove a limb to save our life; our Father may have to remove from our lives what we consider to be irreplaceable things to save our lives.

Love and discipline go hand in hand, Hebrews 12:6

“For those whom the Lord loves He disciplines, and He scourges every son whom He receives.”

Have you heard the phrase, perhaps from a parental figure, “This will hurt me more than it will hurt you” and you thought, “yeah, sure?”  Or, “I’m doing this because I love you.”

It’s unlikely any of us reading this have experienced an actual scourging (The Oxford describes the instrument as “a whip used as an instrument of punishment,” and the act as “whip (someone) as a punishment.” The root is from Latin, “to whip thoroughly.”  Paul is quoting here from Proverbs 3:12:  “For whom the Lord loves He reproves, even as a father corrects the son in whom he delights.”

Setting aside physical discipline by earthly fathers, what is this “scourging” that we are promised to receive from our heavenly Father?

A recruit in the armed forces goes through something called “boot camp.” It’s a planned series of exercises and training routines, designed to make an effective soldier out of someone who is not.  The Navy recently went against the trend in our culture when they increased the level of difficulty in their training base at Great Lakes, Illinois, as noted in the Navy Times.

“The key now is to hike a recruit’s ‘resiliency’ — learning to take a hit and then get back into the fight without shutting down…that’s a lesson that works in battle or in life,” says Capt. Erik Thors, Recruit Training Command’s skipper.

“‘We do not want sailors to buckle,’ he said. ‘When the ship takes a missile and shrapnel flies or maybe their shipmate doesn’t make it and they find themselves in a compartment that’s flooding. Are they clutch enough to make a decision on their own and be the one to close the hatch? And sailors know what that means — the difficult decision to save the ship, to keep fighting the ship.’”

Often new Christians (or those being encouraged to accept Christ) are led to believe that they now will be on a bed of roses, that they will have no more trials or tribulations. We are being disingenuous to present the Christian life as free from troubles. From the eternal perspective, the Christian is immediately a citizen of Heaven with all the vast eternal benefits secured by the sprinkled blood of Christ.  But whether we are a new Christian or seasoned by decades of following Christ, we are all still together in boot camp. Our loving Father will not leave us in a place of immaturity in our faith, and orders our circumstances and situations, however unpleasant, to direct us into lives pleasing to Him and fit for eternity.

Many of us have years of secular thinking and wrong behavior to overcome ­– through discipline. And even for those of us raised in a Christian environment, we are constantly assailed by things that draw us away – the “encumbrances and sins which so easily entangle us.”

The Hebrews being addressed here were experiencing persecution; Charles Swindoll points out, “The message of the superiority of Jesus would have been particularly important to Jewish Christians in Rome, who were struggling under Nero’s persecution and were considering moving back toward the Mosaic Law… [it] showed these Jewish Christian believers that, though they were faced with suffering, they were indeed following a better way . . . and they should persevere.”

God loves us too much to let us stay the way we are… we are called to be warriors in the Faith, and He is training us to fulfill our calling.

Fathers are not necessarily failures… Hebrews 12:10

“For they (our earthly fathers) disciplined us for a short time as seemed best to them, but He disciplines us for our good, so that we may share His holiness.…”

Over decades of Christian living and church-going we’ve listened to and read dozens of messages on Mother’s Day and Father’s Day. For the most part, sermons on Mother’s Day have tended to be flowery and full of praise for those who rise to the extremely challenging task of mothering. There’s usually a couple of shining examples (Susanna Wesley often being one), and some from contemporary times.

The sermons towards fathers have often been a bit (and sometimes extremely) towards the critical side. They’ve been more focused on the methods to become a good father than to praise successful fatherhood.  And that’s generally appropriate and needed, at least to some extent. The Bible does not have a lot of good examples of successful fatherhood.  Samuel and Eli, the last two judges of Israel, both had sons that strayed away from their father’s righteous ways, and the Bible clearly pins blame on Eli for contributing to his sons’ evil actions.

However, fathers in our day and age have more challenges presented by current culture than many fathers have had in the past. Philosophies of parenting and gender roles in the twenty-first century have put enormous pressures on Christian parents; many Biblically derived methods of child raising and discipline are considered by the secular child raising “experts” to be abusive. And some of those methods have indeed been abused in their misapplication, but the Bible, in its intended guidance, balanced in the whole of the Book, is never wrong.

Biblical instruction is more valuable than ever in our humanistic, hedonistic, relativistic culture.  Just a fraction of Christian bible college students have a Biblical worldview; many have not even considered what defines a worldview. (Everyone has a worldview, whether or not they know what it is.)  And God intends that His instruction and discipline will enable us to share His holiness, and His Worldview.

Here in the tenth verse Paul is contrasting our discipline as fathers with the discipline of our heavenly Father.  We earthly fathers disciplined “as seemed best.” Being fallen creatures, steeped in sin, fathers (and mothers) at their best are going to fail in some aspect of parenting. Paul implies that our Father God, however, has the capacity to even take that inadequate parenting and discipline and use it for our good, since he says “all things work together for good” for those called by Christ.

“Our best” of our efforts as parents is only a faint reflection of God’s ability to wisely arrange circumstances in lives to induce holiness. We can guarantee our share of failures, but we can trust that we are “shown mercy because [we] acted ignorantly…”

Spurgeon says it this way, regarding God’s testing: “See, then, the happy fortune of a Christian! He has his best things last, and he therefore in this world receives his worst things first. But even his worst things are afterward, good things, with harsh tilling yielding joyful harvests. Even now he grows rich by his losses, he rises by his falls, he lives by dying, and becomes full by being emptied; if, then, his serious afflictions yield him so much peaceable fruit in this life, what shall be the full vintage of joy afterwards in heaven? If his dark nights are as bright as the world’s days, what shall his days be? If even his starlight is more splendid than the sun, what must his sunlight be? If he can sing in a dungeon, how melodiously will he sing in heaven! If he can praise the Lord in the fires, how much more will he exalt him before the eternal throne!”

 

 

 

The role of discipline in our lives… Hebrews 12:5

“…and you have forgotten the exhortation which is addressed to you as sons, “MY son, do not regard lightly the discipline of the Lord, nor faint when you are reproved by Him;’

There is a concept in our current religious mindset that anything negative that happens to us proceeds from either the devil or a kind of fate independent from God’s intervention.  This passage quotes from Proverbs 3: “My son, do not reject the discipline of the Lord or loathe His reproof, for whom the Lord loves He reproves, even as a father corrects the son in whom he delights.”

We would have little respect for our military forces — and they would not be worthy of respect — if their commanders did not impose incredible amounts of training and discipline in their development. Why do we think that our Father, who desires to train us to reign and rule for all eternity would not utilize circumstances and situations to discipline and train us?

C.H. Spurgeon puts it this way:  ”God’s people will have their trials. It was never designed by God, when he chose his people, that they should be an untested people. They were chosen in the furnace of affliction; they were never chosen to worldly peace and earthly joy. Freedom from sickness and the pains of mortality was never promised them; but when their Lord drew up the charter of privileges, he included discipline and trials among the things to which they should inevitably be heirs. Trials are a part of our lot; they were predestined for us in Christ’s last legacy. So surely as the stars and planets are fashioned by his hands, and their orbits established by him, so surely are our trials allotted to us: he has ordained their season and their place, their intensity and the effect they shall have upon us. Good people must never expect to escape troubles; if they do, they will be disappointed, for none of their predecessors have been without them.”

Some trials are simply the implementation to the Biblical principle of sowing and reaping as stated in Galatians 6: If we plant seed in spiritual endeavors, we will likely be rewarded with spiritual blessing, and if we sow to our own desires, we will experience corruption.  We get what we paid for; we are “reaping what we sowed.”

But some trials — even extreme ones — are purposed for our development. It been said that whatever doesn’t kill us will make us stronger (not exactly true in the natural order of things) but the trials that God puts us through are designed to strengthen us.

This section of Hebrews 12 speaks at length to the subject of discipline, but this introduction to the issue flows from the previous verse, encouraging us not to discount the circumstances and situations testing us, and to remain strong in the face of those wearisome trials.  They may not seem fair; they may not BE fair. No one ever promised us fairness, but we are guaranteed justice.  Our trials are not to be discounted as “fate” or cause us to faint; they have a divine purpose.

What Price Have We Paid?… Hebrews 12:4

“You have not yet resisted to the point of shedding blood in your striving against sin…”

Jesus did not shed blood like we do when we give a small portion at a doctor’s appointment or at a blood drive. He shed nearly every single drop of his blood leading up to and upon the Cross. Isaiah tells us, “So His appearance was marred more than any man and His form more than the sons of men.” The torture He went through was likely unprecedented in human history, with the beatings, the scourging, the crown of thorns, His beard being plucked from His face.

We see in chapter 10 that the Hebrews had endured public humiliation, but they had not even endured even what some of the early martyrs such as Stephen and James had, giving up their very life blood for their Lord.

When we live in a culture where bad traffic is some of the most difficult circumstances we face from day to day, Paul’s rebuke here is sobering. In the best of circumstances, the recipients of this message had nothing like the creature comforts we have today.  We even have a term, “comfort food.” And we would be hard pressed to meet anyone who has been imprisoned for their faith, much less shed blood.

Jesus said (in Matt. 16), “Take up your cross and follow me.” This is imagery that has become disquietingly familiar to us in the Church, but to His listeners they knew first hand that taking up a cross meant not only public humiliation but painful execution.

Paul was addressing in the previous passage “growing weary and losing heart.”  The other part mentioned in the context of “taking up the cross” was denying ourselves. Self-denial for higher causes is unfamiliar to secular society. The self-focused tone of our culture was emphasized in 1979 when the magazine “Self” was started.  Here was “self” deified.  In our culture we have whole institutions focused on ourselves that never existed just a few generations ago. In researching gyms and fitness centers there are over 30 within 5 miles of my home (I quit counting at 30; there are many more.)  We have myriads of drugs and multiple types of therapy and surgery designed to enhance our self, our appearance, and our well-being.

Some commentators look at the “mark of the beast” (666) noted in the book of Revelation as symbolic of man (noted by the number six, the day in creation mankind was created) lifting him/herself to the place of God (three sixes, symbolic of the triune nature of God).  Sadly, there is little in our general culture that expects, much less encourages, self-sacrifice.

We have an example, however, of what true sacrifice is, in what Jesus did in His ultimate sacrifice.  We have a picture of true Love, in paying the ultimate price. And we have a picture of what Jesus calls us to do in following Him.

 

 

Weighing Our Circumstances, Hebrews 12:3

For consider Him who has endured such hostility by sinners against Himself, so that you will not grow weary  and lose heart.

Let’s imagine:  The talk show psychotherapist Phil welcomes a new guest, Jesus.

After a few casual comments, Phil tells Jesus, “So, before we get to what brings you here, let’s explore a bit of your past.  What was your childhood like?”

“Well, my parents were called away to a government audit while my mother was pregnant with me.  All the hotels were full and so my parents had to camp out, and I was born in a campground. Soon after I was born there was a government directive to kill all newborn children, so my parents fled with me to another country where we lived as refugees for years; finally, the government in my home country changed and we could move back.

“I should mention that my biological father was out of the picture, so my stepfather and mother raised me. My stepfather died at an early age leaving me to support my mother by doing carpentry work.”

Phil replied, “That sounds like your early life was quite terrible. What came next?”

“When I turned 30 I began a ministry, which my father had encouraged me to do years earlier. I went from town to town, and often had a good reception to my preaching, but also experienced a lot of opposition from the establishment religion.  They accused me of being a drunkard and immoral for my associations with ‘sinful’ people in ‘sinful’ places, just because I went to talk to them in the bars and the other places they hung out.  These religious people called me a bastard, called my mother a whore, and accused me of being insane.

“They were constantly trying to kill me. One time they incited the crowd to throw me off a cliff; another time they picked us stones to throw at me, but those times I escaped.”

“A good part of this time my followers and I had no place to stay, often sleeping alongside the road.”

“Wow, that’s a lot to start with, a lot of horrible life experiences,” offered Phil.  “I can see why you’re here, with all these awful things happening to you. You must have a broken heart having experienced all this. Where do we start? What brought you on the show?”

“Well,” Jesus replied, “Here’s my problem. Everything that happened to me was part of the plan my Father had to free my followers from sin. And so, I have no regrets or any hard feelings to those who did those things to me. However, of my millions of followers, most of them spend most of their time being concerned with everything but what I taught and showed them. They obsess over the smallest insults, the most minor of inconveniences, and they wear themselves out trying to make their life perfect. I want them to consider what has been done for them, the sacrifices that have been made, and not grow weary and lose heart.”

The recipients of the book of Hebrews had suffered persecution and the loss of their homes and possessions. In this verse to them, Paul refers to the race we run, and begins to show us how we can avoid discouragement. Do you think you have it bad? Consider Him…

Focusing on Jesus, Hebrews 12:2

Hebrews 12:2  Fixing our eyes on Jesus, the  author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.

Our divinely created human senses have amazing abilities to assimilate and process much that is around us. If you have the opportunity, listen and pay attention to a conversation in a noisy crowd, and if you have the opportunity, turn on a recorder while doing so. Even with a dozen voices going on around us, we can discern content that we focus our attention on.   If you listen to that recording later, however, you then hear the racket and clamor of all the other sounds, most of which you did not notice when you were focusing on the conversation.

Our vision works in a similar manner. Have you spotted a bird, or an animal or object in the distance, and tried to point it out to someone who just could not pick it out? They are seeing the same landscape as you are with eyes just as capable, but do not have the object focused in their vision. And have you looked away, and not be able to reacquire your focus? Our spiritual vision operates much the same way.

We live in a culture with more distractions that ever before in history.  And nearly every single distraction is aimed at challenging our focus. A soldier in the field of battle needs to focus on his mission and not on the clamor of war all about him; likewise, we need to maintain our attention on our mission, which is knowing and following Jesus.

While it is good to take a broad view of those who have gone before us, as we do when looking at Hebrews 11, here we see where our eyes need to be constantly focused. It’s a good thing to study people of faith, but how much better it is to fix your attention on the Originator of all faith. And He is the one who will complete the work of faith within you.

We should keep our eyes upon Jesus; He certainly has His eye upon us. Everything He did, everything He endured on the cross, the torture, the humiliation, was with us in His mind’s eye. The “joy set before Him” is that we might be members in His family. “These things I have spoken to you so that My joy may be in you, and that your joy may be made full.” (John 15:11)

This race we run, with Jesus in the lead, has every step set out for us. The Master of the universe has reassumed His place at the right hand of His Father and has accomplished for us everything we need. When we lose focus (and we will) He has not lost his focus on us.  To succeed in the mission He has set before us, we must always fix our eyes on Jesus.

“The eye is the lamp of the body; so then if your eye is clear, your whole body will be full of light.    But if your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light that is in you is darkness, how great is the darkness!” (Matthew 6:22,23)

Preparing for Our Race, Hebrews 12:1

Hebrews 12:1  Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us…

Health agencies came up with a way of determining health by classifying what weight class individuals are in:  Normal, Overweight, and Obese. The index is called the Body Mass Index (BMI), and whether or not it is perfectly accurate, it gives us a guideline for our health.

If you want to get an idea of “encumbrance” as Paul calls it here, calculate your BMI, split the difference between your top normal weight and the top of the overweight scale, and arrange to carry that weight around for a half-day or so. If you’re overweight, and the weight you must carry happens to be close to the amount you’re overweight, you’ll get a good idea of how much of a drag your excess weight is.

Being overweight isn’t always, or even usually, a sin.  But it does hamper us in daily life. And the encumbrances Paul refers to here hamper our spiritual life. We have an overabundance of encumbrances in our culture, amenities which become weights when we overindulge in them.  They can be as simple as … food. There is a tendency to perhaps “live to eat,” rather than eat to live. That encumbrance can affect our spiritual impact in both the social and financial realm. We even have a term for unnecessary food: “Comfort Food.”

We may be encumbered by a desire to shop. Whether or not we buy anything, we may spend hours pursuing items on Amazon or other online shopping services. We may be encumbered by a fascination with social media. We may be encumbered by television, or bingeing on series on one of the seemingly dozens of entertainment outlets.

There is no need to expand this nearly inexhaustible list of things in this world that can encumber us. Remember that even the most innocuous encumbrance divorces us from one of our greatest assets:  Time.  Psalm 90 speaks of the finite amount of years given to us and tells us to ask the Lord to “teach us to number our days, that we may present to You a heart of wisdom.”

Many parts of the country have some sort of bramble, such as the blackberry bushes of the Pacific Northwest. Imagine now, you are backpacking with your pack full, perhaps with a few necessities, but mostly weighed down with items unnecessary to your sustenance or survival. And you stumble off the path into a patch of blackberry bushes.  The thorns entangle with your pack, your clothes, even your hair and skin.

And so, along with these encumbrances, we have the entanglement of sin.   Many of the encumbrances we carry eventually become idols, when they supplant our focus on Jesus. Here, the test of Time comes into play. How much time do we spend on our encumbrances (and sins) compared to the time we focus on our relationship with Jesus?  How much of our spiritual calling do we waste fighting through the brambles of sin, weighed down by the useless attachments to worthless things and habits?

Paul does not want this to be our spiritual experience.  He is encouraging us to run a race with endurance, which is only possible if we shed those things that make it impossible to run.

Considering the Examples of Our Heritage, Hebrews 12:1 (a)

Those who have followed me are familiar with my edited version of Spurgeon’s Morning and Evening, which I finished up mid-year in 2018. After a few months off I decided to again begin writing – this time something I had been thinking about for quite a while (and which I set aside to do the Spurgeon project.)

A couple years ago I began a focus on a single chapter of the Bible – Hebrews 12 – to the point of committing it to memory. I decided to use that text as the basis for a 30-day devotional. I will be quoting the New American Standard except where noted, and assuming the authorship of the Apostle Paul. I am not a Greek scholar; I will be using the Theological Dictionary of the New Testament (the Little Kittel) in the few instances I refer to the Greek texts, as well as various commentaries such as those from Adam Clarke and Calvin.

Following Jesus, Hebrews 12:1 (a)

Hebrews 12:1a Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us…

Before serious consideration of Hebrews 12 let’s consider the context: “Therefore” points back at one of the most famous of New Testament chapters, the “faith” chapter, Hebrews 11.  Paul looks back to the past testimony of the faith-filled, forward-looking Old Testament believers – “so great a cloud of witnesses” – and shows us in the 12th chapter the implementation of such faith in our lives.

At first reading it can be taken that the “witnesses” are witnessing our performance from their place in heaven – a bit of a daunting concept – but the English translation betrays us somewhat here. The Greek word “μάρτυς” transliterated “mártys,” is where we get the English word “martyr.” This carries the sense of giving testimony in a court of law, or before an opposing crowd, even perhaps to the point of the cost of the witnesses’ life – a “testimony written in blood,” so to speak.

A variation of the Greek word is used in Hebrews 11:2 as “gained approval,” “For by [faith] the men of old gained approval.”  Other places in Hebrews it is translated as “testifying,” “witnessed,” and “attested.”

So, while in one sense the faithful in Hebrews 11 are “all these veterans cheering us on,” (the Message version) the greater application is that their lives and deaths are the lexicon by which we interpret the verses to follow in Hebrews 12, those lives “that every one should be prepared to imitate,” as John Calvin says.

There is not the space to address the wealth of truth present in the “Faith Chapter,” but the “testimony,” or “witness,” points to the extent God may call us as believers.

We may be called to abandon our homeland and striking out with directions not yet revealed to us. We may be relegated to giving up homes and living in temporary shelters.

We should be joining the Hebrews 11 witnesses in their attitude “that they were strangers and exiles on the earth.”  We should be ready to defy leaders that demand the killing of children, as Moses’ parents did. We should be “choosing rather to endure ill-treatment with the people of God than to enjoy the passing pleasures of sin,” as Moses did. We will not experience all the trials listed here: mocking, scourging, imprisonment, mistreatment, poverty, and even martyrdom, but all these witnesses “gained approval through their faith,” that same faith that looked forward to the freedom and redemption that Jesus Christ has provided for us.

As we press forward in our Christian walk (and our study of Hebrews 12) let us keep in mind these “Heroes of the Faith” in Hebrews 11.  A close reading of that chapter will bear many benefits. It will also benefit us to remember that around the world, many believers today are experiencing the same trials as the heroes of Hebrews 11.

As Spurgeon says in his January 4 morning devotional, “Grow in that root grace, faith. Believe the promises more firmly than you have done. Let faith increase in fullness, steadfastness, simplicity.”

 

What is Truth?

“What is truth?” — Pontius Pilate

“Once we’ve made sense of our world
We wanna go [screw] up everybody else’s
Because his or her truth doesn’t match mine
But this is the problem
Truth is individual calculation
Which means because we all have different perspectives
There isn’t one singular truth, is there?” — Steven Wilson, spoken introduction to his song To the Bone

“What may be truth to one person might not be truth to another.” — Statement made in a conversation about truth.

“I don’t believe in absolute truth.”
“Well, then do you absolutely believe that?” — Another conversation about truth.

“In accordance with fact or reality.” — Oxford English Dictionary definition.

We live in a news culture in America where it seems the terms “fake news” and “fact-checking” are embedded in every headline or story. Be as it may, there is a vast difference in the understanding of truth.

If we don’t understand that “truth” is self-defining, like “existence” and “being,” we lose grasp of all reality.

As we approach an election, we want to talk about truth. For generations—even centuries, and millennia—truth was defined as something absolute and written into law. Both American and British law drew heavily from a book that was considered to be the epitome of truth. Our classifications for the degrees of murder are drawn directly from that book. Many civil ordinances are drawn from that book.

And a key passage (quoted in part below) from that book was on schoolroom walls and taught — rightly — as truthful:

“Do not murder.
“Do not commit adultery.
“Do not steal.
“Do not give false evidence against your neighbor.
“Do not be envious of your neighbor’s house; do not covet your neighbor’s wife, his male or female slave, his ox, his donkey or anything that belongs to your neighbor.”

In 1962 the Supreme Court begin its process of stripping all references to the Bible and Christianity from our schools and our culture, with the ban of the posting of the Ten Commandments coming in 1980. And the long-promoted philosophy of moral relativism proposed by “progressives” took its place.

Relativism has taken such a hold that ridiculous statements like the ones at the beginning of this article are broadly accepted in our nation. And ridiculous results abound … and deadly ones. Let’s address just one of those deadly areas.

What happens when we abandon absolute moral truth? The largest study of its kind on mass shootings (as of its date of publication —2007) is “Mass Murder in the United States: A History,” by Grant Duwe, director of research and evaluation at the Minnesota Department of Corrections. Here’s a breakdown per decade of Duwe’s data (my notes in italics):

Mass Public Shootings per Decade
1900s: 0
1910s: 2
1920s: 2
1930s: 9
1940s: 8
1950s: 1
1960s: 6       Prayer banned in schools, 1962; Bible reading banned in 1963
1970s: 13
1980s: 32      Posting of the Ten Commandments banned, 1980
1990s: 42
2000s: 28
2010s (three years): 14

See any time correlation between the actions against Biblical morality (and actions promoting moral relativity)? Outside of the spike in the ‘30s and ‘40s (likely, mobster killings) it’s flat until the 60s when the Supreme Court effectively threw the Bible out of schools. This is what has happened in our culture — not because of gun laws — but because of the effects of moral relativism. We can differ in opinion — and we often do — but that does not change what truth is by its very nature.

And all those increases in violence happened with the most restrictive gun control laws in the history of the country going into effect in 1968 (before then you could buy a gun via mail order). Real assault weapons (capable of fully automatic fire) were legal for citizens with no felony conviction until 1986, but none were ever used in a mass murder. There are still reportedly over 120,000 pre-cutoff machine guns in legal ownership nationwide. None have ever been reported having been used in a mass shooting. Legally-owned fully-automatic guns have only been used in three crimes since 1934. One was by a policeman.

Within the recent time frame of the above study, the worst year for public shootings was in 1991, when eight incidents took place, he said. With seven incidents, 2012 ranks second, along with 1999 – when the assault weapon ban was in effect (ban was in effect 1994-2004).

Should we even be surprised that restaurants, churches, schools and synagogues are getting shot up by people with no moral compass, some who actually believe they are doing the right thing, the true thing? After all, “we all have different perspectives; There isn’t one singular truth, is there?”
“Do not murder.” — God

Arguments often used:
“We have too many guns, we need to ban and confiscate guns.”

• We have 400 million civilian firearms in the United States; think we’ll get them all? Think those morally relativistic criminals out there will turn all theirs in?

• If we could snap our fingers and turn every gun into … flowers? … we would all be safe then? We have a culture where people on the street get knocked out as a game for the assailants, with many victims permanently injured or killed. And joggers getting beaten to death or stabbed. And people being run over by cars (as of this writing, FIVE children in 3 days have been killed waiting for school buses). And people being set on fire. Our country, without a spiritual anchor, is drifting farther from truth and closer to anarchy.

“Why does anyone need a gun?”

• Just days ago, an armed man eating with his children in a McDonalds in Birmingham shot and killed a masked gunman who opened fire in the restaurant. He and his son were wounded, but not seriously. Police responding the call were expecting a mass killing, which it likely would have been.

• There’s a reason mass killers don’t target police stations. Or gun shows. Or why robbers avoid homes where it’s likely the homeowner is armed.

• Unfortunately, until people’s hearts change, more and more armed security will be necessary in schools, synagogues, and churches.

It is just at easy to point out other absurd changes in our society post Biblical morality, but time won’t allow to discuss “Gender Fluidity,” “Selective Abortion,” “Toxic Masculinity,” and others…

One final thought: Some reading this are thinking, “this doesn’t seem like Jesus… Where is the grace?” Jesus said he was “the Way, the Truth, and the Life.” He said, “I did not come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them.” It’s only by His grace that we can receive Him, and have a higher law written on our hearts that fulfills the Ten Commandments and more.

Some will say, “But Jesus was a pacifist.”

As He was facing his crucifixion, one of the last things he told His disciples was this: “When I sent you out without money belt and bag and sandals, you did not lack anything, did you?” They said, “No, nothing.” And He said to them, “But now, whoever has a money belt is to take it along, likewise also a bag, and whoever has no sword is to sell his coat and buy one. For I tell you that this which is written must be fulfilled in Me, ‘And He was numbered with transgressors’; for that which refers to Me has its fulfillment.” They said, “Lord, look, here are two swords.” And He said to them, “It is enough.” (Luke 22:35-38)

The swords weren’t for His protection; when He answered the Priests arresting Him with, “It is I,” they drew back and fell to the ground. (John 18:6) And He said he could command a legion of angels if necessary. (Matt. 26:53) The swords weren’t for offense (He rebuked Peter for that use); so why did Jesus tell his disciples to buy swords? Was it to deter the priests from taking them as prisoners also? I don’t know, but He told them to carry swords.

If I lived alone, I would probably not even think about personal defense; I have a family to think of, so I pay attention to it.

Some other random observations (not mine):

The origin of our Constitution:

At the Constitutional Convention of 1787, the father of our Constitution, James Madison, proposed the plan to divide the central government into three branches. He discovered this model of government from the Perfect Governor, as he read Isaiah 33:22:
“For the LORD is our judge, [judicial]
the LORD is our lawgiver, [legislative]
the LORD is our king; [executive]
He will save us.”

The population crisis (too few children born):

“Do we realize what is happening to the western world that used to be called Christendom? What is happening in Europe? The nations of Europe are on a suicide march. The Dutch, the English, the Germans, the Italians, the Russians. Why? Because they are refusing to multiply; and by refusing to multiply, they are disobeying the dominion mandate. Civil governments are failing to carry
out their divine mandate, to protect and foster the family in order for the dominion mandate to be carried out. Instead, repealing laws prohibiting sexual behavior outside of the godly marriage, those governments are contributing to the ultimate destruction of their economies.” — Herbert W. Titus, Liberty University Law Review

A Year With Spurgeon’s Morning and Evening

In 2017, for my personal devotions, I began reading my copy of Spurgeon’s Morning and Evening,  and the referenced verse’s Bible chapter. The old English and grammar was quite a challenge; I  wanted to post some of the devotionals though I hesitated because some phrases and terms just didn’t make sense. I decided to slightly edit one to make it more understandable.  Then I did the next one, and another, and started posting them to my blog.  I would read my print version which was slightly updated (and the Bible chapter referenced in the NASB, the Bible version I read) ; then I would read the public domain version, copy it to my blog with clarifying edits included, and post it. I converted the King James to the NASB whenever possible. Some days I could make a post in as little as 15 minutes; some days I had to spend many, many minutes in my Oxford English Dictionary puzzling out meanings (the edition is over 20,000 pages in 20 volumes. Did you know the word “knit” takes up a full dictionary page, and meant “pollinate” in one usage? Spurgeon: “The proposal is a blossom which has not been knit, and therefore no fruit comes of it.”)

Here’s a comment I made on June 28th of last year:

Notes on my editing:  I have a decent vocabulary but many of the terms Spurgeon used centuries ago have fallen into disuse.  As I read his devotions, challenged oft am I (I mean, I am often challenged) by some of the archaic words and the sentence structure. Some may find my editing a travesty, but hopefully some will find it clarifies the message he brings to us after so many years.

Here is a Google analysis of of some of the words with their frequency since 1800   — “emblem,” “foes,” “carnal,” “perdition,” and “charnel.”  Even if I recognized the word, if usage has fallen to nearly nothing I may have edited it. 

ngram

And here’s a section showing some of the edits I did from Evening, September 24:

“Paradoxes abound in Christian experience, and here is one–the spouse was asleep, and yet she was awake. One only can read the believer’s riddle who has ploughed with the heifer of his experience can only understand this riddle who has labored in the same realm of experience. The two points in this evening’s text are a mournful sleepiness, and a hopeful wakefulness. I sleep. Through sin that dwelleth dwells in us we may become lax negligent in holy duties responsibilities, slothful in religious exercises training, dull in spiritual joys, and altogether generally, supine and careless carelessly flat on our back. This is a shameful state for one in whom the quickening life-giving Spirit dwells; and it is dangerous to the highest degree. Even wise virgins sometimes slumber, but it is high time for all to shake off the bands of sloth slothfulness. It is to be rightly should be feared that many believers may lose their strength as Samson lost his locks, while sleeping on the lap of carnal worldly security. With a perishing world around us, to sleep is cruel heartless; with eternity so near at hand, it is madness. Yet we are none of us so none of us are as much awake as we should be; a few thunderclaps would do us all good, and it may be, unless we soon bestir stir up ourselves, we shall have them in the form of war, or pestilence, or personal bereavements and losses. O, that we may leave forever the couch of fleshly human ease, and go forth with flaming torches to meet the coming Bridegroom! My heart waketh wakes. This is a happy sign. Life is not extinct extinguished, though sadly, smothered. When our renewed heart struggles against our natural heaviness, we should be grateful to sovereign grace for keeping a little vitality within the body of this death. Jesus will hear our hearts, will help our hearts, will visit our hearts; for the voice of the wakeful heart is really the voice of our Beloved, saying, “Open to me.” Holy zeal will surely unbar the door.”

I figure I have a minimum 150 hours of time invested in this project, which is now mostly complete. You can put the date and time of the devotion you wish to read into the search field (ie:, September 24 Evening) to find that day’s entry.

I much prefer a print version when I am reading, whether it is my Bible or another book; I am pondering putting together a crowd funding effort to fund printing paper copies of this version.  I have had over 1000 readers from 22 countries this last year; I’m going to be reposting the devotions to match up with the morning in the far east for the next year.

Feel free to message me if you have an interest in a print version of these devotions…

Evening, June 20

Evening, June 20, edited from Spurgeon’s Morning and Evening

“Immediately they left their nets and followed Him.” — Mark 1:18

When they heard the call of Jesus, Simon and Andrew obeyed at once without protest. If we would always—promptly and with unwavering passion—put in practice what we hear upon the spot or at first possible occasion, our participation in the hearing of the word, other methods of grace, and our reading of good books could not fail to enrich us spiritually. He will not lose his food who has taken care at once to eat it, neither can he be deprived of the benefit of the doctrine when he has already acted upon it. Most readers and hearers become moved so far as to plan to make changes, but, alas, the proposal is a blossom which has not been pollinated, and therefore no fruit comes of it; they wait, they waver, and then they forget and freeze like the ponds in nights of frost; when the sun shines by day, they are only thawed in time to be frozen again. That fatal tomorrow is red with the blood of the murders of good resolutions; it is the slaughterhouse of the innocents. We are very concerned that our little book of “Evening Readings” would not be fruitless, and therefore we pray that readers may not be readers only, but doers of the word. The practice of truth is the most profitable reading of it. Should the reader be impressed with any task while reading carefully these pages, let him hasten to fulfil it before the holy heat has departed from his soul, and let him leave his nets—and all that he has—before he is found rebellious to the Master’s call. Do not give place to the devil by delay! Hasten while opportunity and enlivening are in happy union. Do not be caught in your own nets, but break the meshes of worldliness, and fly away where glory calls you. Happy is the writer who shall meet with readers resolved to carry out his teachings: his harvest shall be a hundredfold, and his Master shall have great honor. I wish to God that such might be our reward upon these brief meditations and hurried hints. Grant it, O Lord, to your servant!

Morning, June 20

Morning, June 20, edited from Spurgeon’s Morning and Evening

“For behold, I am commanding, and I will shake the house of Israel among all nations as grain is shaken in a sieve, but not a kernel will fall to the ground.” — Amos 9:9

Every sifting comes by divine command and permission. Satan must ask permission before he can lay a finger upon Job. Even more, in some sense our sifting is directly the work of heaven, for the text says, “I will sift the house of Israel.” Satan, like a menial worker, may hold the sieve, hoping to destroy the corn; but the overruling hand of the Master is accomplishing the purity of the grain by the very process which the enemy intended to be destructive. So you precious, but greatly sifted corn of the Lord’s floor, be comforted by the fortunate fact that the Lord directs both flail and sieve to his own glory, and to your eternal profit.

The Lord Jesus will surely use the fan which is in his hand, and will divide the precious from the vile. All are not Israel that are of Israel; the heap on the barn floor is not clean feed, and for this reason the winnowing process must be performed. In the sieve true weight alone has power. Husks and chaff, being devoid of substance must fly before the wind, and only solid corn will remain.

Observe the complete safety of the Lord’s wheat; even the least grain has a promise of preservation. God himself sifts, and therefore it is severe and terrible work; he sifts them in all places, “among all nations”; he sifts them in the most effective manner, “like corn is sifted in a sieve;” and yet for all this, not the smallest, lightest, or most shriveled grain is permitted to fall to the ground. Every individual believer is precious in the sight of the Lord: a shepherd would not lose one sheep, nor a jeweler one diamond, nor a mother one child, nor a man one limb of his body, nor will the Lord lose one of his redeemed people. However little we may be, if we are the Lord’s, we may rejoice that we are preserved in Christ Jesus.

Evening, June 19

Evening, June 19, edited from Spurgeon’s Morning and Evening

“My beloved is mine, and I am his; he pastures his flock among the lilies. Until the cool of the day when the shadows flee away, turn, my beloved, and be like a gazelle or a young stag on the mountains of Bether.” — Song of Solomon 2:16-17

Surely if there is a happy verse in the Bible it is this—”My Beloved is mine, and I am his.” It is so peaceful, so full of assurance, so overflowing with happiness and contentment, that it might well have been written by the same hand which penned the twenty-third Psalm. Yet though the prospect is surpassingly fair and lovely—earth cannot show us anything superior—it is not entirely a sunlit landscape. There is a cloud in the sky which casts a shadow over the scene. Listen, “Until the cool of the day when the shadows flee away.”

There is a word, too, about the “mountains of Bether,” or, “the mountains of division,” and to our love, anything akin to division is bitterness. Beloved, this may be your present state of mind; you do not doubt your salvation; you know that Christ is yours, but you are not feasting with him. You understand your vital interest in him, so that you have no shadow of a doubt of your being his, and of his being yours, but still his left hand is not under your head, nor does his right hand embrace you. A shade of sadness is cast over your heart, perhaps by affliction, certainly by the temporary absence of your Lord, so even while exclaiming, “I am his,” you are forced to take to your knees, and to pray, “Until the cool of the day when the shadows flee away, turn, my beloved.”

“Where is he?” asks the soul. And the answer comes, “he pastures his flock among the lilies.” If we would find Christ, we must get into communion with his people, we must come to the observances with his saints. Oh, for an evening glimpse of him! Oh, to dine with him tonight!

 

Morning, June 19

Morning, June 19, edited from Spurgeon’s Morning and Evening

“And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit.” — Acts 2:4

We would be richly blessed this day if all of us were filled with the Holy Spirit. The consequences of this sacred filling of the soul it would be impossible to overestimate. Life, comfort, light, purity, power, peace, and many other precious blessings are inseparable from the Spirit’s benevolent presence. As sacred oil, he anoints the head of the believer, sets him apart to the priesthood of saints, and gives him grace to execute his office perfectly. As the only truly purifying water he cleanses us from the power of sin and sanctifies us to holiness, working in us both to will and to work for His good pleasure. As the light, he manifested to us at first our lost condition, and now he reveals the Lord Jesus to us and in us, and guides us in the way of righteousness. Illuminated by his pure celestial light, we are no longer full of darkness but filled with light in the Lord. As fire, he both purges us from dross, and sets our consecrated nature ablaze. He is the sacrificial flame by which we are enabled to offer our whole souls as a living sacrifice to God. As heavenly dew, he removes our barrenness and fertilizes our lives. O that he would drop from above upon us at this early hour! Such morning dew would be a sweet beginning for the day. Like a dove, with wings of peaceful love he broods over his Church and over the souls of believers, and as a Comforter he dispels the cares and doubts which mar the peace of his beloved. He descends upon the chosen as he did upon the ark of the Lord in Jordan, and bears witness to their sonship by birthing in them a familial spirit by which they cry Abba, Father. As the wind, he brings the breath of life to men; blowing where he wishes he performs the enlivening operations by which the spiritual creation is animated and sustained. Would to God, that we might feel his presence this day and every day.

Evening, June 18, edited from Spurgeon’s Morning and Evening

Evening, June 18, edited from Spurgeon’s Morning and Evening

“I am come into my garden, my sister, my bride.” — Song of Solomon 5:1

The heart of the believer is Christ’s garden. He bought it with his precious blood, and he enters it and claims it as his own. A garden implies separation. It is not an open common; it is not a wilderness; it is walled around, hedged or fenced in. Oh, that we could see the wall of separation between the church and the world made broader and stronger. It makes one sad to hear Christians saying, “Well, there is no harm in this; there is no harm in that,” thus getting as near to the world as possible. Grace is at a low ebb in that soul which can even raise the question of how far it may go in worldly conformity. A garden is a place of beauty, it far surpasses the wild uncultivated lands. The genuine Christian must seek to be more excellent in his life than the best moralist, because Christ’s garden ought to produce the best flowers in all the world. Even the best is poor compared with what Christ is deserving; let us not put him off with withering and dwarf plants. The rarest, richest, choicest lilies and roses ought to bloom in the place which Jesus calls his own. The garden is a place of growth. The saints are not to remain undeveloped, staying mere buds and blossoms. We should grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Growth should be rapid where Jesus is the Gardener, and the Holy Spirit is the dew from above. A garden is a place of retreat. So, the Lord Jesus Christ would have us reserve our souls as a place in which he can manifest himself, a special manifestation as he does not to the world. O that Christians were more withdrawn, that they kept their hearts more closely shut up for Christ! We often worry and trouble ourselves, like Martha, with much serving, so that we have no room for Christ that Mary had, and do not sit at his feet as we should. May the Lord grant the sweet showers of his grace to water his garden this day.