Archive for January, 2015

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Because No One Remembers the Names of the Trampled Flowers

January 24, 2015

Genesis 6:11-12 “The earth also was corrupt before God, and the earth was filled with violence.
12 And God looked upon the earth, and, behold, it was corrupt; for all flesh had corrupted his way upon the earth.”

Luke 17:26-27 “And as it was in the days of Noe, so shall it be also in the days of the Son of man.
27 They did eat, they drank, they married wives, they were given in marriage, until the day that Noe entered into the ark, and the flood came, and destroyed them all.” 

There is a quote that is commonly attributed to Joseph Stalin. “A single death is a tragedy. A million deaths is a statistic.” Even if he did not offer this verbal observation, the infamous dictator certainly believed it as, during his time in power, an estimated twenty to forty million souls went into eternity prematurely. Like all who are given to unbridled evil, the value of an eternal soul meant nothing. Such a one would never be moved by the story of a widow who must provide for 3 young children on her own, because her husband was executed by the enforcers of state sponsored wickedness. In their worldview, the state was considered the supreme entity and had to be vigorously maintained…..regardless of how many had to die in order to maintain it. A textbook example of this transpired in 1932 and 1933. During those two years, over seven million Ukrainians died as Stalin implemented a policy of forced starvation in order to crush separatist ambitions.

Although a few news reports were published and a few photographs of the tragedy circulated, the vast majority of those seven million Ukrainians vanished from the realm of the breathing unseen and unheard. Six years after the manufactured famine was concluded, their horrific story was further overshadowed by the outbreak of the second world war, and the atrocities of another tyrant off to the west. That manufactured famine, known as “the holomidor,” was a single event, in a specific country, during a brief span of time. Untold thousands of equally diabolical events have taken place since the fall; beginning with the slaying of Abel, and continuing on through the most recent round of beheadings at the hands of Islamic fighters.  A few of the campaigns were recorded in history; with many of the latter ones having photographic evidence that verifies the narrative. But it’s very likely that the majority of atrocities transpired well beyond the range of those who possessed the wherewithal to produce lasting documentation.

Today, we are witnessing such a multi-faceted onslaught of evil, that trying to identify the perimeters is impossible. Not only is wickedness on the rise as the end of the age is fast approaching, the continuously advancing state of technology is fueling the darkness…….and aiding in the dulling of senses. Here’s an example of the “fueling the darkness” aspect. A man in northern Nigeria can capture on video, how their fighters moved into a village at night, quickly neutralized anyone who could resist them, and then executed everyone in a village for not being Muslim. He can place that video on youtube, and/or other social media. Moments later, like-minded jihadists across the globe can study that video and begin incorporating the tactics into their own strategies. The availability of lightening fast communication enables this brotherhood of evil to share tactical information, and plan coordinated attacks by small groups in diverse places which will have a maximum impact.

The other aspect of this; the dulling of senses, equally troubling. A continual exposure to something will cause one to become desensitized to whatever it is that they are being exposed to. Even the most diabolical content will eventually lose its power to shock the observer. We are being bombarded with images that are horrific beyond description.  The high-resolution images display acts of evil that most of us have never been exposed to. They force the observer to realize that there is no limit to the amount of evil that men, who are fully given to darkness, will inflict upon their contemporaries. Satan is being captured on video and he enjoys the limelight as he displays his hatred of all who are made in the image of God. Ones initial response to unspeakable atrocity is shock beyond measure. Over time, however, as such reports turn into a daily thing that’s happening “over there,” we become desensitized. On our social media feed, the reports that we once stopped to read, we now slow down for briefly, read the headline, and quickly scroll down to the next thing. It’s not that we view the acts as being any less diabolical; it’s simply a matter of becoming conditioned to the horrific reality.

Matthew 24:12 “And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold.”

The defense of such complacency comes in many forms; each having an element of accuracy, but still reflective of a heart that’s growing cold. One of the biggest battles that we face is that of keeping our hearts from becoming desensitized to the plight of others. To remember those that are in bonds as bound with them. Here are some of the common defenses:

1 – “There has always been atrocities like this. It’s nothing new, and certainly not an indicator of the end time.” As  mentioned before, the very first murder transpired when there were only four people on the planet. A single injustice resulted in a 25% reduction in the population. Today, many of the major news stories involve the continual stream of diabolical acts being carried out by Muslims, whose single goal is to bring the entire world under sharia law and eliminate anyone who refuses to become Muslim. This has been going on since the sixth century and, what they are doing today in places like Syria, Nigeria, and throughout Europe, is what they have always done. Satan was a murderer from the beginning, and subsequently, untold billions have suffered wrongful and agonizing deaths at the hands of those who do his bidding. Today, the danger of ones becoming desensitized is greater than in it was in any previous generation, because of the saturation factor. If a beheading takes place in Syria, we learn of it within hours. (if not minutes; depending on how closely we monitor such things.)

2 – “There’s nothing that I can do. I’m just one person.” From a practical standpoint, this is accurate. Most of us are not in a position to head off to Somalia and fight Al Shabaab terrorists; nor would it be at all practical. We can, however, be in prayer over regions and intercede for the souls who are under assault; both the saints who are there and those who know not Jesus and are not prepared to leave this world. The greatest tragedy in regards to those who once walked the earth is that most of them did not know the Lord Jesus. We can pray, we can fast, we can intercede for those who feel completely abandoned and without hope. Not only does the effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man avail much, doing so keeps our heart from growing cold. Because if we begin to grow cold in one area, we can be certain that we will become desensitized to other things, such as the apostasy, sin, the plight of those around us who are not saved, and what have you. 

3 – “I have so much going on; stress at work, stress at home, I can’t even think about things like that.” This is one of Satan’s favorite tactics; to get a person so consumed with surviving; with maintaining their situation in this life and following after their favorite interests, that they give little thought to issues of eternal significance. SATAN WILL GO “ALL OUT” TO KEEP OUR THOUGHTS ON THE TEMPORAL! And while we may not be in a position to aid those in the path of ISIS, we can visit the physical and spiritual prisoners in our neighborhood. Again, coldness of heart will not stay within a single compartment. It will grow and devour…..until it is either repented of and turned from…..or it destroys us. Time doesn’t permit its writing here, however, a visit to Matthew 25:31-46 is advisable. 

II Timothy 3:1-3 “This know also, that in the last days, perilous times shall come.2 For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy,3 Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers,incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good.”

In listing the conditions that would exist in the last days, one stands out above the rest. “without natural affection” We tend to think of this as a problem that affects unsaved people, however, Christians can suffer from this also. A loss of natural affection will leave  unprepared to be a city set on a hill for those around us, but it has an even darker aspect. When the bottom falls out of the world as we have always known it, a person who lacks natural affection will resort to tactics of self-preservation; even if it means harming others. Such a one may have attended church every time the doors were opened and did all of the things that a “good Christian” is supposed to do. But once the real trials began, their true nature became manifest. Such a one may commit atrocities every bit as horrific as those referenced earlier in this posting. This post is not simply a revisiting of history and the atrocities of the past. It is an admonishment for us all,  to keep our hearts with all diligence.

I need to be going, however, I recently learned of a situation that blew my mind…even though there are numerous reports of things like this. There is a lady in this town who is soon to be my daughters mother in law. She regularly attends a bible church in town and she would bend over backwards to help another. This person also contributes large sums of money to planned parenthood. I don’t know why…..or how…..or what led her to become dedicated to such a thing……but it reveals just how twisted things are getting in our world today. Upon learning of this, it literally caused my stomach to become upset. It seems like somewhat of a side issue in comparison to this posting, however, abortion is one of the most horrific atrocities of our day. An estimated fifty to sixty million in the United States since the Roe vs Wade decision.  Add to that number all of the aborted children from across the globe, and one realizes that “a lot of innocent blood is crying out from the ground.”  

II Timothy 3:12-15 “Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution.
13 But evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving and being deceived.
14 But continue thou in the things which thou hast learned and hast been assured of, knowing of whom thou hast learned them;
15 And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Jesus Christ.”

Blessings in Jesus name.

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“Stair”way to Their Way

January 18, 2015

Initially, this post was going to address the dangers of following men to the point that one begins to ignore the gentle warnings of the Hold Spirit and brush aside anomalies that do not seem to add up, instead of searching the scriptures their own and sincerely taking the matter to the Lord Jesus in prayer. But after embarking on this, I began to recall the details of an instance where, for a season, I was lured into following a way that, had it come to complete fruition, the fallout would have been devastating.  In 2004, I seriously contemplated a move, unknown to me at the time, would have placed my family directly into an environment of spiritual abuse. I’m sharing this, because, I was blindsided by the deception and it serves as a reminder that we cannot follow men to the point that we neglect to “prove all things.”

I Thessalonians 5:21 “Prove all things; hold fast to that which is good.”

Ephesians 4:14-15 “That we henceforth no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive;
15 But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ:”

In the spring of 2004, something miraculous happened. After nearly fourteen years of being backslidden, The Lord Jesus miraculously brought me to a place of repentance and turning away from that desolate state. The peace of God returned, I began getting back into the word, and my prayer life was restored. My wife, who had only known me in a backslidden state, was completely perplexed by this. (She has since grown phenomenally as the Lord is doing a good work.) The only scriptural comparison that I can find in regards to the season of rebellion is the time when King Nebudchadnezzar was driven from power and lived like a wild animal…..until his understanding returned unto him and he was restored to power. My restoration transpired on Millers Mill road as I was driving to work. I believe that I had been near a point of no return…..however, the Lord Jesus reached down and restored me.

Along with prayer and a return to searching the scriptures, I began listening to a few preachers through their respective radio broadcasts. I found some good ones who preached solid messages. One particular preacher, however, became a favorite…..and this is where the trouble began. His name was R.G. Stair and he lived in South Carolina. He talked a lot about the end times, used a KJV bible, preached separation from the world, and believed in a post-tribulation rapture.  He seemed to touch on everything that was of interest to me. One time, he even dedicated airtime to a thorough, (and accurate) discussion of I Corinthians chapter 14; maintaining the position that the baptism of the Holy Spirit and prophecy are for every generation, however, everything must be done within the confines of scripture. This is important, because there is much going on these days that’s not within the confines of scripture.

I began to listen to R.G, Stair with “sitting-on-the-edge-of-my-seat” enthusiasm. He would talk about the course of events in the geo-political realm and how they related to bible prophecy. He talked much about “the farm” in Walterboro, South Carolina and the many remnant saints who had gathered there. As spring turned to summer, I began to seriously contemplate…..moving to the farm and began praying about how to get my wife on board……unless the unbelieving should depart. This is worth noting. Ever since the restoration, the enemy has sought to dissolve this family and I haven’t always been aware of his tactics. Praise God that, not only are we still together, our marriage is stronger than ever. Back in 2004, however, I was wanting to abandon everything here, and move to the farm……even if it meant going alone. Going alone would have been very hurtful and irresponsible. Taking my wife, my two daughters (then ages 13 and 10) our autistic son (then age 9) and our youngest son (then age 6) into that environment would have been equally irresponsible.

I Timothy 5:8 “”But if any provide not for his own, and specially for those of his own house, he hath denied the faith, and is worse than an infidel.”

It goes without saying that I was not thinking clearly during that time, nor was I seriously inquiring of the Lord about this manner. Once we begin following a man, our discernment becomes the first casualty. Following Mr Stair nearly wrecked my life, along with those of my household……right after the Lord Jesus had done a complete restoration. Writing about this is nearly overwhelming. The Lord Jesus prevented a calamity that would have destroyed many lives. He truly saves to the uttermost. 

We had the financial resources to easily make such a move. But as I was praying….and seeking……and wanting to be with like-minded saints……certain things began to trouble me; even as I was solidifying the bond with these folks. I began communicating; both by e-mail and snail-mail, with Mr Stair. A few times, he read my letters on the air. I began to make financial donations to the ministry.  But then, I began to notice the red flags. First, Mr Stair referred to himself as “the last day prophet of God.” I overlooked it at first as I wanted to hear the message and was not about to be troubled by a seemingly insignificant thing. (It was not insignificant, as will become apparent shortly) Then there were reports about inappropriate sexual behavior, families being torn apart while living on the farm…..and the death of an infant on the farm. still, I was so entranced by the preaching that, instead of investigating on my own, I simply categorized these reports as “unfounded rumors from those who are in opposition to the work.”

But the insistence on being identified as “the lat day prophet of God” continued to trouble me. At one point I actually began to fall for this. An internal battle was raging…..and then……I turned on the broadcast. Mr Stair was again discussing this “last day prophet of God” title. Suddenly, he stated words to the effect of “a lot of people wrestle deeply with this title. This is a natural part of the process; don’t be troubled by it.” Well that didn’t really help as something still bothered me. By this time, it was October.  Finally, out of curiosity, I then began visiting websites where some of the allegations against the ministry were detailed. I read them, but didn’t consider them to be credible. There was, however, one incident that, not only caused me to abandon any plans of moving to the farm, it caused me to stop listening to the broadcast long enough for discernment to return…..and then stop listening completely. 

I cannot remember the exact nature of the inquiry, however, I sent a letter containing in great detail, some particular aspect of the end time scenario, and was eagerly awaiting Mr. Stairs commentary on the issue. When a response came, there was absolutely no mention of the inquiry. Instead, the letter contained words to the effect of “do you fully recognize the last day prophet of God? Your eternal salvation hinges on this.” In that moment, my eyes were thrust open. “This isn’t about the Lord Jesus or the time of the end…..this is about total control……and I had been wanting to move my family there.” Many families have been completely destroyed on that farm. Strong, long term marriages have often unraveled shortly after the couple moved there out of a sincere desire to fellowship with other remnant saints. The farm is a totalitarian system where what the prophet says……and now, what Pastor Dowell says…..is to be accepted without question. A strong marriage threatens their power and, therefore must be dissolved. 

They intentionally break apart families……Oh…..and if a person decides to leave the farm, their salvation stays behind.

After this ordeal concluded, I made contact with a man who had lived there with his wife and we eventually talked over the phone a few times. (Their marriage survived) He told about an atmosphere of fear and total control by the prophet. Any discretion was exposed to the whole community. He told about sexual misconduct and, when learning that I had considered moving my family there, he was horrified. The marriage would have most likely been torn apart…..and my daughters……well……PRAISE GOD FOR NOT ALLOWING SUCH A THING! I began to learn about the plight of others who completely fell for the deception and had been subjected to the abuses of those in control.

One may wonder how someone could fall for something like this. For me, the answer is simple. They were playing my song. This cult will not appeal to a lukewarm, your-best-life-now, name-it-and-claim-it, touchy-feely type of professing Christian. This kind of group will appeal to those who are awake and understand the times in which we live. It appeals to those who desperately want to be in fellowship with serious-minded saints, but cannot find any where they live. It appeals to those who are looking unto Jesus and love not their lives in this world. It appeals to those who are preparing spiritually for the moment when the testimony of Jesus will be a death sentence in this world. Many of these folks have searched frantically for a new testament church that is not conformed to this worlds system, to no avail. They are hungry for fellowship, because when we love Jesus, our hearts are in heavenly places and we love to fellowship with folks whose hearts are likewise in heavenly places. This search can cause us to (at least in my case) not thoroughly, and prayerfully examine a situation that appears to provide everything that we’re looking for.

I Corinthians 4:6 I Thessalonians 2:11-12 “And these things, brethren, I have in a figure transferred to myself and to Apollos for your sakes; that ye might learn in us not to think of men above that which is written, that no one of you be puffed up for one against another.

The R.G. Stair season was confusing and this is the first time that I’ve written about it.  Had it not been for the added logistical complications involved with moving a family (in other words, if I had been single) I probably would have moved to the farm; thinking it was the will of God and even believing myself to have properly “prayed about it.” Well, it’s time to be going. I don’t know if this is profitable to anyone, however, revisiting this season reminded me of how close I came to entering a dangerous situation and how imperative it is to ensure that we do not allow the words of men to entice us into something contrary to the will of God.

John 10:10 “The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life , and that they might have it more abundantly.”  

Blessings in Jesus name.

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The Fallen Entity Resistance Society

January 14, 2015

Of all the passages in scripture that address the issue of spiritual warfare, these are two of the most well known:

II Corinthians 2:11 “Lest Satan should get an advantage of us: for we are not ignorant of his devices.”

I Peter 5:8-9 “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour.
9 Whom ye resist steadfast in the faith, knowing that the same afflictions are accomplished in your brethren that are in the world.”

The issues touched on in these passages are paramount. Satan utilizes a lack of understanding and discernment to his advantage. Like a particular public figure who once stated “let no crisis go to waste,” Satan utilizes opportunities that would not exist in the life of one who was knowledgeable in how he functions.  Once a beachhead has been established, he launches out in all directions; working to neutralize, and eventually destroy the one who unwittingly opened a door. Sometimes the assault will result in endless turmoil and drama. Other times, it may be a lulling to sleep of the victim by keeping the agents of chaos away from them. Each case is catered to the primary leanings of the individuals old nature, but the endgame is the same. It carries the person away from the Lord Jesus by causing them to focus their attention toward things that do not carry over into the realm of the everlasting.

The list of ways that people open themselves up to such assaults from the enemy includes, but is not limited to, the following: 

1. Focusing on carnal issues: prophetic – There seems to be a lot of saints who are consumed by things coming upon the earth, to the point that the eternal perspective becomes…….almost an afterthought. This camp consists of patriots, survivalists, news junkies, those looking for a political solution, and the like. (survival skills are a good asset to have and being informed is important, however, they should not be allowed to eclipse eternal matters.) The trend of their dialogue, the links that they share on social media, and what have you, all focus on earthly events. And while many of these reports are prophetically significant, neglecting to place them into a proper perspective, can cause folks to become overwhelmed. When people are overwhelmed, they make bad decisions…….and this plays into the hands of an enemy who knows how to make the most of everything that we give him. (Matthew 14:30 comes to mind…..look to Jesus)  

2. Focusing on carnal issues: worldly – The list stretches beyond the horizon. Careers, sports, endless remodeling projects, material acquisition, continual studying things which have neither eternal significance or practical application, endless pursuit of the next big thrill, runaway foolishness (note to self) slothfulness-just “hanging out” while ones moment of departure draws increasingly closer, diverse idolatries……Satan literally has “something for everyone” as he skillfully employs the three lusts to keep his captives from considering eternal matters…..and what their current situation truly is. Those who know not the Lord Jesus are consumed by these things, just as we all were, prior to having a supernatural encounter with Jesus. But when a professing Christian is overcome by these, it is a shipwreck in the making. (Matthew 13:22 comes to mind. When a person is in a patch of thorns, they become paralyzed. All of their energy is consumed by trying to navigate through the contrary vegetation.

3. Not recognizing the perimeters of the battle – A few days ago, I became aware of a cult that calls itself a christian church, however, the leaders are subjecting those beneath them to classic mind control methods to keep them in line. This group is headed up by three guys who refer to themselves as “elders” and have control over every aspect of life within the sect. The more that I learned, the more maddening it became…..until once again, the Lord had to remind me of where the real battle lies. These elders are not the enemy, but the enemy was using them to gain bonus miles….by getting into my spiritual backfield and drawing my attention away from where it should be. Without a doubt, they are engaging in wickedness, however, the real enemy is Satan, who is seeking to destroy all who are in this group. The focus must be on the souls who are in peril.

Lord willing, there may be more about the aforementioned group in an upcoming post. They provide a textbook example of a cult that can appeal to “the elect.” Many of their members are younger adults who came out of bible believing families. 

4. Compromising truth in exchange for anything that one would think themselves to be accomplishing by doing so – This takes on a myriad of forms, from the faulty notion of “being like the world in order to win the world” to condoning an ever-widening circle of unscriptural beliefs that are being embraced in order to “just get along.” Compromising the primary doctrines of biblical Christianity is the primary identifier of the great falling away. Whenever a person embraces a redefinition of truth that’s contrary to scripture, they are embracing a lie that was birthed in hell. Embracing a lie always leads to promoting a lie, and such a one will seek to draw others into agreement with the lie. Embracing error, will carry a person away from God on a rail. If not identified and repented of, it will eventually compel a person to disregard the authority of scripture, as they work frantically to support the lie. Most of the souls who become partakers of the great falling away, began down that direction with the noblest of intentions.

Hmm. Noblest of intentions……like Perry “Noble?”…….I’m sorry……I should delete this……and yet, he is attempting to redefine scripture……he has a huge following of people with itching ears…….so I’ll leave it.

Acts 17:11 “These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so.

5. Lack of a love for the truth. This is the gateway to the problems outlined in number 4.  When a person begins to slip and waver in their faith; whether it be the result of other priorities taking the lead position in their lives, a falling for the clever words of one who believes a lie and makes it look desirable, or simply vintage laziness, when one begins to no longer hold truth in high esteem, they are embarking on a slippery slope toward the pit. It should be noted, that, once a person reaches the point of fully embracing a lie, they may become twofold more the child of hell than the one who led them into the lie. The pride associated with this “new revelation that few are privy to” oftentimes solidifies the deal as such a one can no longer discern between truth and error, or make serious independent inquiry as to whether or not these things are true.

Matthew 23:15 “Woe unto you scribes and Pharissees, hypocrites! for ye compass sea and land to make one proselyte, and when he is made, ye make him twofold more the child of hell than yourselves.”

I Timothy 4:1-2 “Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils;
2 Speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron;” 

6. Peer pressure – not wanting to go against the flow – This has been, and will be in the future, the downfall of multitudes. It begins with a quiet neglect to speak truth when the current company is condoning a lie. It concludes when those embracing a lie will not longer be content with one simply sitting out the conversation, but will demand an embracing of their evil. We see this in the purest form of Islam, where a non-muslim must either embrace their religion or die. We see it in the sodomite community where, it’s not enough for us to “let them be.” They must parade their evil in public, demand that the church embrace it, and seek to have laws enacted that prohibit any action or speech that supports the biblical view on the issue. Like all such groups, they preach tolerance and “just getting along,” however, they are the most intolerant of people when someone disagrees with their situation.

I recently saw a quote that read “speak the truth; even if your voice shakes.” In other words, make sure that every syllable coming out of our mouth is truth…..even if our speech is not eloquent…..even if we struggle…..even if our discomfort in doing so is obvious. Speak truth. The enemy will attempt to chip away at our resolve; not with big things, but with little diversions from truth. Diversions that we may even be lured into believing are necessary in order to make progress. (such as “being like the world in order to win the world”…… it’s blatantly erroneous!)

7. Opening doors to the occult – A loss of a love for truth may eventually cause a person to engage in activity which is strictly forbidden in scripture. King Saul is a textbook example of this. He started out well and even prophesied among the prophets. God made him king over Israel, but trouble soon developed. He began doing things his way instead of following the exact instructions from the LORD. Self-will (rebellion as the sin of witchcraft) envy of David, and other associated problems of the heart, carried Saul far away from “what could have been.” He ended up consulting with the witch of Endor for direction, who, after fulfilling Saul’s request prepared his final meal. She provided comfort for Saul and his company, before they headed into the night.

When a person gives space to seducing spirits, their actions will become increasingly contrary to scripture; even to the point that they begin practicing what is strictly forbidden in scripture. There are churches today….huge churches…..that engage in occultic practices unaware. Emptying ones mind, channeling, seeking experience without trying the spirits, engaging in pagan practices such as yoga; many today have opened themselves up to seducing spirits and doctrines of devils. The fruit will always be carnal. I came across the testimony of a man who had been present at the “Toronto blessing” event. He talked about how wonderful it was and the warm fuzzy feelings that came with soaking prayer. After a few weeks, however, he began to notice something. The attitude of everyone around him was…….very carnal – very fleshy and unspiritual. A corrupt tree cannot produce good fruit; no matter how many lofty speeches, upbeat songs, and strobe lights one tosses into the mixture. 

I wanted to get into the more direct elements of spiritual warfare, but it will have to be in a later post down the road. Nonetheless, each of us have a bible, and a person who is born again has the Holy Spirit abiding within. Scott Johnson recently passed along a question that he was asked when he was new in the faith and was being drawn to an erroneous teaching. A pastor asked him words to the effect of “If you were alone, and had nothing but a bible, would you have reached this conclusion?” Scott told how this question caused him to really begin investigating issues based on scripture and not based on somebody’s book…..or a particular groups doctrine. And likewise must we do…….search the scriptures and allow the Holy Spirit to lead us into all truth. 

Romans 13:14 “But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfil the lusts thereof.”

James 4:7 “Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you.”

Blessings in Jesus name.

 

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Oji ga miryoku-teki (Prince Charming)

January 8, 2015

Hebrews 3:12-13 “Take heed, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief, in departing from the living God.
13 But exhort one another daily, while it is called to day; lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin.”

There is a danger to which none of us are immune; even though we may consistently warn others while striving to be prepared for it ourselves. We know all of the scriptures that tell of this danger and we know what indicators to look for in regards to it’s manifesting. And yet, only when the son of perdition actually steps from the shadows; seeking to change times and seasons, it will become apparent as to whether or not we are spiritually prepared. One would think that most professing Christians will recognize this man as being the embodiment of evil.. Yet consider at how far off course many are already straying. An increasing number of churches are condoning sodomy, while chrislam continues to make inroads. The nature of both is obvious. Sodomy is called an abomination in scripture, while Islam denies the deity of Jesus and produces nothing but evil fruit. Yet both are gaining acceptance by an increasing number of churches – even bible believing evangelical churches.

 With the falling away continuing to gain territory in areas that would have been unthinkable twenty years ago, we begin to understand how very real the potential for deception is. The son of perdition isn’t going to have, what many would consider to be, an evil looking veneer. He’s going to appear as a likable character who has “the answer to all of this worlds problems.” If we are walking close to Jesus, while remaining little in our own sight (I Samuel 15:17) we will indeed recognize this person for what he truly is and be prepared to maintain the testimony of Jesus. However, if we are following Jesus from afar, we have allowed pride to enter into our heart, we harbor a love for this present world, or we are not nearly as strong in the faith as we think ourselves to be, we will be ill-prepared to face an entity who causes craft to prosper, destroys wonderfully, and has secured the following of nearly the entire population of the earth…..including many who were, at one time, solid ambassadors for Christ. 

Just a side note. It is probably obvious that this is being written from a post-tribulation rapture prophetic position. Yet the danger of being led astray is real; regardless of when we are to meet the Lord Jesus in the air. Many of those who embrace chrislam once maintained and defended, a worldview based on scripture. Keeping our hearts with all diligence is a must in every generation and in every frame of time. I am convinced that, regardless of what ones view is pertaining to the rapture, if they are born of the Spirit and truly love Jesus, he will prepare them to stand…..even if they are present for events that they didn’t expect to behold. This is where remaining little in our own sight is so important. We must be in a place where, should our preferred timeline unravel, we are close to Jesus and ready to face what looms before us. We should also be prepared to meet the Lord Jesus in an instant, because, none of us are promised a tomorrow in this world.

This next passage reveals how easily we can be mesmerized by a show, if discernment is lacking:

I Peter 2″1-3 “But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction.
2 And many shall follow their pernicious ways; by reason of whom the way of truth shall be evil spoken of.
3 And through covetousness shall they with feigned words make merchandise of you: whose judgment now of a long time lingereth not, and their damnation slumbereth not.”

We see this taking place every day. Mega churches across the land where another gospel is preached and merchandising is king. That well-known church in the Houston area has nearly 40,000 members, but there is no gospel preached. A certain man in Oklahoma has his own airport and jets……all of it paid for by people sending in donations. “THAT’S A LOT OF MONEY” and it’s accumulated by employing feigned words that pander to itching ears……which generates revenue……and is used to build an empire in this world.

If men are able to lure in so many with a show, we cannot even begin to comprehend the enticing performance that antichrist will put on. Those who have itching ears that enjoy hearing smooth things will fall for a lie. But those who are close to Jesus will have clarity. Because no matter how well spoken the deceiver may be; no matter how lovingly compassionate he may sound, no matter how many of the worlds ills he seems to remedy…….and no matter how unanimous the approval rating may appear to be…….embedded throughout his speeches will be blasphemous words aimed at the Lord Jesus and all who follow him without wavering. We must not become paralyzed with apprehension over this danger, however, we must be aware that deception on the level described here is a pitfall that will consume many.

This supernaturally inspired campaign from hell, will embody all of the lies that Satan has had success with over the millenium…..sprinkled with just enough religious sounding terminology to cause the maximum amount of deception. In other words, this performance is going to be aimed at the very elect. Satan will already have the unsaved, those locked into a false religion, the apostate, and the lukewarm – he will be aiming for that which will be the most difficult to carry away. He will open his mouth, and out will come a pseudo doctrine that initially may sound noble; even altruistic in its scope of compassion for those who walked in darkness for so long. But contained within the wording will be a blatant denial of, and assaulting of the holy nature of Lord Jesus Christ, who is before all things and by whom all things consist. This familiar passage identifies the problem. The Lord Jesus spoke these words when specifically talking about the time of the end. 

Matthew 24:24 “For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders: insomuch that, if it werte possible, they shall deceive the very elect.”

That moment; that brief span of time when antichrist steps onto the stage with the full knowledge of one thing. His time is short” This is his last shot at changing times and seasons as he frantically seeks to forge an alternate end to bible prophecy and give the creation a makeover that’s more to his liking…….meaning the ultimate destruction of those who are made in Gods image, he is going to pull out everything at his disposal. With Satan fully controlling his every move and forming every word that comes out of his mouth, this deceiver will lure nearly all of the remaining population into embracing his program and receiving his mark. We know the scriptures well…..

Daniel 8:23-25 “And in the latter time of their kingdom, when the transgressors are come to the full. a king of fierce countenance, and understanding dark sentences, shall stand up.
24 And his power shall be mighty, but not by his own power: and he shall destroy wonderfully, and shall prosper, and practise, and shall destroy the mighty and the holy people.
25 And through his policy also he shall cause craft to prosper in his hand; and he shall magnify himself in his heart, and by peace shall destroy many: he shall also stand up against the Prince of princes; but he shall be broken without hand.”

II Thessalonians 2:8-12 “And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming:
9 Even him, whose coming is after Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders,
10 And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved.
11 And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie:
12 That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness.”

He will attempt to topple the very elect, while making quick work of those who received not a love of the truth. The window for embracing the truth of salvation through the Jesus of scripture is limited. There comes a cutoff point for each person, after which, the Holy Spirit will no longer draw them. For those outside of Jesus, the implication is self explanatory. There are, however, many who believe themselves to be Christians who are not. Whether they are in a Christianesque cult system, such as Mormonism, Roman Catholicism, etc. or they were brought up in a bible believing church and never came to Jesus in true repentance, these run the risk of going into eternity thinking that they are right with God, only to hear the words “I never knew you.” If these do not have a love for the truth, fervent enough to compel them to diligently inquire as to the real nature of what they are embracing, they will fall for a strong delusion, once all of the streams of error flow into a common thrust.

II Corinthians 11:14-15 “And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light.
15 Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed into the ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works.”

Daniel 11:32 “And such as do wickedly against the covenant shall he corrupt by flatteries; but the people that do know their God shall be strong and do exploits.”

Despite the dangers associated with the time of the end, it is not a time to be fearful. If fear is problematic, it is imperative that we prayerfully inquire as to the why, and remedy the situation. Fear will lead to really bad decisions in the critical moment. It is a time to be sober and vigilant as we recognize the pitfalls and strive to maintain the testimony of Jesus in an increasingly hostile environment. Moreover, it’s imperative to recognize that, for those around us, and those whom we love dearly but are not saved, their window will eventually close. We must be diligent in doing what we can to bring them to the truth. We must be that city set upon a hill in a time when light is quickly diminishing. 

Blessings always in Jesus name.

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Transition from Tradition

January 4, 2015

 Ecclesiastes 1:18 “For in much wisdom is much grief: and he that increaseth knowledge increaseth sorrow.”

True wisdom comes from above, according to James 1:5 and James 3:17.  Unfiltered by the teachings and opinions of our contemporaries, is a priceless thing; “first pure, then peaceable, and easy to be entreated.” But oftentimes, this wisdom contains an element of sadness, because we then survey the landscape with greater clarity and realize that it’s actually much darker than we had previously thought. We see the souls around us who are bound by the same things that we were once bound by, until the Lord Jesus delivered us. And just as we were in that un-regenerated state, those around us do not realize that they are walking in darkness. They hold in high esteem, the chains of their captivity; even calling them fun and equating them to “really living.” All the while, they view those who have been delivered from such vanities as being weird, legalistic, haters, and, as I was recently called by someone very close to me, “a real killjoy.”

Satan has a vast array of tactics which he utilizes in keeping his captives in a state of blindness.  Some are physically destructive, such as alcohol/drug abuse, promiscuity, homosexuality, uncontrollable anger, and what have you. Others have a seemingly benign nature; unless one considers that they cause one to not prepare for their moment of departing.  This category includes the pursuit of endless acquisition, being consumed by a career to the point that it becomes ones god, a relentless seeking of entertainment or pastime, or any interest that an average person employs to occupy their proverbial spare time instead of considering issues of eternal significance. I know of people who are so consumed by the following of sports that it seems to dictate every facet of their lives.

Still others become deeply involved in divers causes, organized dead religion, cults-including those with a Christian veneer, or something which appears to have aspirations beyond this temporal world but does not lead one to real faith in Jesus. These are oftentimes the most dedicated kinds of people that one will find; especially since many of them operate from the idea of “working their way to heaven” or a perceived better situation after they leave this world. Jehovahs Witnesses will pound the pavement relentlessly; seeking to lure the non-discerning into following another Jesus because they are working for a place on the new earth. Many people who fall into these sects joined them after becoming adults. Others were born into a religious system which is void of life. These souls who are born into a false system are, not only following a lie, but are cemented into that system because of tradition.

And this brings us to the topic at hand – traditions. They come in a variety of flavors, however, they all have a single commonality. It keeps a person captive to a format that demands specific actions to be carried out at certain times. For one who knows not the Lord Jesus, traditions often stand in the way whenever they are presented with truth. For example, one who has been brought up in Roman Catholicism will equate the traditions that they have always known with godliness. Even if they cannot reference a single passage of scripture, they will oftentimes cling to what they have always known, as opposed to listening to the words of a stranger who lovingly tells them that “ye must be born again.” This is further complicated when they are “very nice people;” displaying all of the natural affections and courtesies that are standard amongst most of our contemporaries. (Matthew 7:11) 

Colossians 2:8-9 “Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ.
9 For in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily.

This passage reveals three important points. First, traditions are earthly in their origin. They are implemented by men and not God. They are flesh-based at best, and demonically inspired at their worst, as the enemy continuously seeks to lead people away from Jesus. Second, they will spoil a person who allows themselves to be governed by them. Whether a person practices them out of a sense of religious obligation, cultural expectation, or they simply serve as a nostalgic reference point, (this takes me back to when I was a child…and I would visit my Grandma…..and she would do such and such….) they keep a person beholden to a continuous loop of unprofitable motions. And thirdly, they deviate away from the Lordship of the Lord Jesus. Even when they are believed to be done in honor of the Lord Jesus, they will keep one from “following him wheresoever he leadeth” because such a one is being governed, not by the gentle promptings of the Holy Spirit (if they are saved) but by the earthly system that everyone else is doing to honor Jesus. Thus the tradition is in control and not the Lord Jesus.

This will stir up some controversy, so it’s important to state that I am neither for, nor against a person partaking in the festivities associated with Christmas. I refer to Romans 14:5 and Colossians 2:16 in regards to this issue. (although I am an every day the samer) Around that time of year, people spend incredible amounts of time on financial reserves on observing the day. Decor, presents, consumable items, and what have you. If asked “why are you doing this?” the standard answer is “we’re celebrating Jesus coming into the world.” Well, if we really want to honor Jesus coming into the world, we should do what he would have us to do with these resources. (there are some who do this) Instead of spending all of this time and money on ourselves and those closest to us, take that same amount and allocate it to a homeless shelter; where souls are at their wits end and in danger of perishing before the sun comes up tomorrow.

And if it’s good to do such around the 25th of December, it’s good to do it all year long…..and thereby truly honoring Jesus with what we have been blessed with. I know that the debate over Christmas is provocative (just look at the facebook debates) however, Christmas is a textbook case of tradition having power over a persons life. When asked about my thoughts in regards to the issue, I have a compound response. First – my family is unsaved and does not understand my position on this. They need to be saved first before getting into the particulars of this issue. Second, I don’t hold holidays in high esteem simply because they are earthly in nature. Decorating and gift exchanges take my eyes off the eternal – not the other way around. They focus on the “down here” and not the eternal. As we draw closer to Jesus, our appetite for anything that focuses on the “here” will diminish. Every December is a struggle to keep my focus on issues of eternal significance, while everyone around me wants to watch Christmas movies and drink hot chocolate……”because its what we have always done; it reminds us of when we were kids.”

This is the power that tradition holds over a person. I know that some do indeed, utilize this day to focus on Jesus…..however, much of what is done has nothing to do with the Lord Jesus. This is further demonstrated by the way that so many of our contemporaries are stressed out because of holiday obligations. Stress is not a fruit of the spirit and when it is the result of our need to fulfill obligations that have no eternal significance, something is amiss. The folks around me, whom I love dearly…..from about the third week of November, until the beginning of January, they are in a continuous state of stress. The peaceful moments that line up with the currier and ives imagery, are paper thin and the smallest snafu brings them crashing down……because the program has been interrupted.

This post is once again getting long, however, two more aspects are in need of bringing up a they specifically affect one who is born of the Spirit.

Matthew 9:62 “And Jesus said unto him No man, having put his hand to the plough, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God.”

I miss the ability to use more than one color in a sentence…..unless I’m doing something wrong….it used to work.

Traditions make us look back and rehearse what has been. We are called to be looking forward – looking toward an eternity where all of this worlds concerns are no longer a factor – where all that we have done in the name of the Lord Jesus will be memorialized in the form of reward. Holding to the traditions of this world, the agendas that most of our contemporaries are consumed by, a religious form of godliness, and what have you, keep us from fulfilling the work which the Lord has called us to. One of the most fascinating aspects of walking with Jesus, is the changing of seasons. This is when the Lord carries us out of a situation that we have become comfortable with, and into a new situation where we have no idea what to expect. It can be scary, if we try to figure it out. But when we just trust the Lord and know that he has gone before us, it’s like an adventure. One more (troubling) passage, and I’ll wrap this up.

Luke 9:59-60 “And he said to another, Follow me. But he said, Lord, suffer me first to go and bury my father.
60 Jesus said unto him, Let the dead bury their dead: but go thou and preach the kingdom of God.”

This is astonishing and runs contrary to how we operate in the flesh. I was present at the funerals of both of my parents and, most of us will do likewise whenever such a time arrives. And yet Jesus was revealing the importance of eternal issues as opposed to temporal issues….even those temporal issues done out of honor and respect for one who was very important to us. “Let the dead bury their dead.” Saved or lost; the eternal situation of that man’s earthly father was now determined. It was imperative for this man to look toward the future, where souls were still hanging in the balance, as opposed to holding on to what everyone expected, and what he really wanted to do. There may well be souls in heaven at this very moment, who would have never come to faith in Jesus; had this man gone back to bury his father and delayed setting out on the path that the Lord Jesus had assigned to him.

Well, it’s about time to go. I was not expecting this post to touch on certain areas of controversy, however, it is imperative that our focus is on the eternal and not on the temporary. There is a profound liberty to separating from this worlds agenda, and setting aside our own wants, as we seek to be about our Fathers business. We must be ready to let go of anything that the Lord tells us to let go of, and be willing to go wherever he would have us go – when he would have us go. Even if it seems totally impossible in the flesh and even if all of our contemporaries tell us “that’s a stupid thing to do.” If he says “go here, and when  you arrive, I will tell you what to do next” we must go; knowing that he has promised to be with us always. With this, I will close with a well known scripture:

II Timothy 2:4 “No man that warreth entangleth himself with the affairs of this life; that he may please him who hath chosen him to be a soldier.”

Blessings in Jesus name.

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Pictures From You

January 2, 2015

Psalm 19:1 “The heavens declare the glory of God, and the firmament sheweth his handiwork.”

Psalm 97:6 “The heavens declare his righteousness, and all the people see his glory.”

This is an attempt to place into words, an embodiment of thought which seems nearly impossible to describe. It considers the myriad of ways by which the physical world, not only declares, the existence of God, but showcases the fact that his creative nature is incredible beyond words. As a youth, I was fascinated by the stars and studied everything available (in that pre-internet age) in regards to astronomy. Oftentimes, I would go outside during the overnight hours, gaze into the stars, and become nearly hypnotized by the display. We lived far away from the nearest city, and on a cloudless night, the view was breathtaking.  My then un-regenerated mind contemplated the incalculable vastness of it all, the array of forces that had brought it to its present state, and entertained thoughts regarding the other civilizations that I was certain existed in other star systems. 

Sometimes I would single out a single star; usually one that was very faint, (although that isn’t necessarily an indicator of distance) and wonder….is there life in that system? What kind of culture do they have? How do they communicate? Do they fall in love? Does their world have brilliantly blue oceans, lush rain forests, and snow capped mountains?  Have they harnessed electricity and mastered advanced forms of propulsion? Do they fly into the firmament? (I didn’t use the word “firmament” back then) Do they look into the vastness and ponder the stars that fill the night sky…..one of them being our sun? Even as an unsaved teenager, my head was oftentimes in the clouds; making this present world seem mundane, and pointless. My thoughts were never 100% here, and, in a moment, my imagination could head off into the stratosphere.  

Had it not been for a supernatural life-changing encounter with Jesus in September of 1983, I may well have ended up in a cult. That seemingly harmless admiration of the cosmos, coupled with an overactive imagination was a form of worshiping the creation without giving thought to the God who spoke it into existence. I subscribed to a very new age/occult world view at the time, which resulted in the embracing a lot of ideas which are contrary to scripture. And because the extraterrestrial components of the creation (the visible ones and the imagined ones) had such a mesmerizing influence, the following passage accurately identifies my pre-saved condition.

Deuteronomy 4:19 “And lest thou lift up thine eyes unto heaven, and when thou seest the sun, and the moon, and the stars, even all the host of heaven, shouldest be driven to worship them, and serve them, which the LORD thy God hath divided unto all nations under the whole heaven.”

Considering the creation without giving thought to the Creator, leads to idolatry; a condition spoken of throughout scripture, where people would consider the various aspects the world around them and make them an object of worship.  To deify, and then pay homage to, the sun, moon, mountains, creatures upon the earth, and what have you, was the direct result of people not wanting to retain God in their knowledge. Worship was redirected toward things that could be seen, and ultimately malicious fallen entities. This in turn, fostered rituals and traditions which were passed down to subsequent generations until they became firmly entrenched in the culture. Traditions form, as it were, a seemingly impenetrable barrier which, in turn, deflects anything that threatens their continuance. 

II Kings 17:16-17 “And they left all the commandments of the LORD their God, and made them molten images, even two calves, and made a grove, and worshipped all the host of heaven, and served Baal.
17And they caused their sons and their daughters to pass through the fire, and used divination and enchantments, and sold themselves to do evil in the sight of the LORD, to provoke him to anger.

Jeremiah 7:18-19 “The children gather wood, and the fathers kindle the fire, and the women knead their dough, to make cakes to the queen of heaven, and to pour out drink offerings unto other gods, that they may provoke me to anger.
19 Do they provoke me to anger? saith the LORD: do they not provoke themselves to the confusion of their own faces?”

Satan continuously seeks to direct worship away from God and onto something else. Throughout history, he has skillfully manipulated entire cultures by causing them to worship a creation which was intended to bear witness that there is a God. And this (finally) brings us to the thrust of this post. The creation declares loudly that God is. He is Creator, and is handiwork is incredible beyond description. Three passages from the new testament come to mind:

Matthew 6:28-29 “And why take ye thought for rainment? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin:
29 And yet I say unto you, That even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.”

Romans 1:20-21 “For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse:
21 Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened.”

Hebrews 11:3 “Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that things which are seen were not made by things which do appear.”

After I was saved, my treks outside late in the evening took on a significance that they never had before. I would look up at the same sky…..and be fascinated by the God who had positioned everything according to his will, and then set it in motion. He established the sun to give light during the day, and the moon to give light during the night. He placed the stars according to his will and set them in motion as well. And looking into the firmament; not as an object of worship, but as a product of Gods creative nature, changed everything. To this day, my favorite times in prayer are under the stars. it’s just so endlessly huge….and our God fills the heavens and the earth. He formed the most complex galaxies and he assembled the tiniest sub-atomic particles. He created majestic mountain ranges, lush valleys, the sunset that takes ones breath away……and the starry sky which causes us to realize just how big our God is in comparison to whatever we are facing in this world.

Something else to think about. This is a fallen world. It’s present state is a far cry from what it was when the Lord first spoke it into existence…..and it still bears witness to a most amazing Creator…….who inhabits eternity, along with the entirety of the creation……and loved us so much that he sent his only begotten Son, Jesus, into the world, to pay for our sins with his innocent blood……so that through faith in him, we could inherit everlasting life. This passage is often quoted, however, it’s needful to quote it once again.

John 14:1-3 “Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me.
2 In my Fathers house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.
3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there may ye be also.”

Your best life now? Only if you’re not saved. Because when we know Jesus, the reality that awaits us when we are forever in his presence is so incredible that nothing in this world can even come close. Well, I have to be going. My prayer is that our focus will be on eternal things and not temporal things; even though much of this post takes into consideration our current temporal setting. A setting which is going to melt with a fervent heat; along with all of the trophies, treasures, and kingdoms of men. 

Nehemiah 9:6 “Thou, even thou, art LORD alone; thou hast made heaven, the heaven of heavens, with all their host, the earth and all things that are therein, and thou preservest them all; and the host of heaven worshippeth thee.”

 Blessings in Jesus name.