A Woman's Perspective On The Times We Live In


May 3, 2015

Isaiah 1:6-7 Our Detestable Disobedience

From the sole of the foot even to the head 
there is no soundness or health in [the nation’s body]—
but wounds and bruises and fresh and bleeding stripes; 
they have not been pressed out and closed up or bound up 
or softened with oil. [No one has troubled to seek a remedy.]
 [Because of your detestable disobedience] 
your country lies desolate, your cities are burned with fire; 
your land—strangers devour it in your very presence, 
and it is desolate, as overthrown by aliens.


    Isaiah, the prophet, whose name means "Salvation of the Lord" is prophesying to the ancient nation of Judah.  Their generational sins have caught up with them and God's Judgment is upon them.  As Jehovah's spokesman, Isaiah has consistently warned the people that the nation was immersed in sin.  He begged them to repent, and when they refused, he foretold coming destruction.  
     Isaiah prophesied during a time of great political turmoil for Judah; a time when they became embroiled in the conflicts between Assyria and the nations of Israel and Syria.  Isaiah counseled the nation to make no alliances, but to trust only in the Lord.  Isaiah portrays the sovereign rule of the Lord -- not only against His favored people, but of heathen nations, as well. The prophet points out that the Lord uses whom He chooses to execute His purposes; and afterward judges each nation, bringing them to desolation because of their sins. 
     In these verses, Isaiah compares the nation's sins with a sick and diseased body. Their disobedience threatens to be mortal.  From the sole of their foot to the top of their head; from the peasant to the king, there is no soundness, no moral principle, no religion, and that represents the health of the soul. There is nothing but guilt and corruption; the sad effects of man's fall. This passage declares the total depravity of human nature and the decay of a nation. While sin remains unrepented, nothing is done toward healing these wounds, and preventing the fatal effects. 
     This is an apt description of the state of the nation of Judah at the time of Isaiah.  But it could easily be describing the state of the soul of America.  How quickly -- and easily -- we have forgotten that we, as a nation, owe our existence to His providence and protection during our founding.  How careless we have been in safeguarding our God-given freedom and the prosperity that He rained down on us!  How inattentive has the American Church been in teaching repentance, which is at the center of God's terms for reconciliation.  
     While our national sins remains unrepented for, nothing is done toward healing the gaping wounds, and preventing further fatal effects.  No one has troubled to seek a remedy for the sins, or to turn back from them.  Instead we move from abortion in the first trimester to late-term abortions; from approving civil unions between same-sex couples to same-sex marriage.  Our sins mount up, and as the Scripture says, our country lies desolate (the devastating California drought); our cities are burned with fire (Ferguson and Baltimore); strangers devour our land, and we are overthrown by aliens (the amnesty offered to millions of illegal immigrants).
     In the year that Isaiah prophesied, Jerusalem was left exposed and unprotected.  The same can be said of our nation in this time.  Isaiah warns that if Judah would be willing to repent and be obedient, they would eat the good of the land; if they refused and rebelled, they would be devoured by the sword.  We would do well to consider the same warning.
     But the good news --- and there is always good news when the Lord is your rock and your deliverer -- God always saves a remnant to serve Him.  His Mercy will see that those who love and obey Him are not consumed.  We are all guilty of sin and diseased flesh.  But if we repent and accept the sanctifying Spirit of God, our health can be restored.  The same is true of the individual, as well as a nation.  Oh, how I pray for the healing of our blessed nation!

May 2, 2015

I Grow Weary ... But My Spirit Is Strong!

   
     Like many of you, I look around and there is not much to lift my spirits.  I hardly recognize my country, or the world, for that matter.  I often feel as if I am the only sane person left.  I'm on the outside, looking in at the insane asylum!
     Where I once felt a part of a community of people with common social values and responsibilities, I now find myself marginalized, along with those who reason as I do.  I haven't changed ... the world has!  So how am I (we) to cope?  What are our options?  Do we give in to the cultural war against moral conservatism?  Or do we continue to stand for our beliefs, strengthening those concepts against the rising tide of public opposition and antagonism?
     Let's face it.  It appears as if we are on the losing side in the world's march towards libertine tendencies.  Everything from our politics, to the way we are educating our children, to how we entertain ourselves  -- the world is promoting sex without moral principles and responsibilities, while roundly rejecting accepted religious opinions.  What can I -- one person who expresses herself daily to a small readership -- possibly do to counter the trend towards normalizing immorality?  I don't really think that I am going to be able to change the steamroller that is crushing the foundations of righteous conduct, do I?
     And I will admit that there are days that I feel the weight of trying to fight "the system" and the culture.  I want to retreat and shelter in the shadow of my God and ask Him to just cover me and my loved ones until this all rights itself, or until His Son comes to dispense His Judgment on the wicked ... either one will be fine; I am just tired of being confronted with all the negative headlines and seeing no way out.
     Yet I know that I could never do that.  I am not the only person in the history of the world who was demoralized by what they saw happening around them.  All ancient civilizations have ended up at this point; they lost their moral compass and fractured internally, leaving them vulnerable to dangerous and lethal influences.  It's just my time and my turn.
     So, back to the fundamental question ... what is our strategy to keep from being defeated?  I think we have to come to terms with the fact that we are facing an uphill battle.  Popular sentiment is against us; the courts are certainly against us; and our Churches are not providing much leadership or guidance.  It is up to each and every one of us to strengthen ourselves through the promises that we have been given by our Savior.  We must realize that this life is temporary and our future in this world is compromised at best.
     And if you count yourself as a follower of Jesus, as I do, then why are we surprised, and what do we actually hope to accomplish?  In my mind, it is futile to think we can change things.  Our Holy Book, the Bible, tells us how this is going to play out, and that we are not the winners -- at least as far as this life defines winning.  But Victory is still ours!  And, as the Apostle Paul said, [we are to] "press on toward the goal to win the [supreme and heavenly] prize to which God in Christ Jesus is calling us upward."  You see, it really is "onward and upward" ... and we must stay in the fight, if for no other reason than to encourage fellow Christians who are fearful; or to point the way to the Savior for the blind, the sick of heart, and the lost.  If I can play a part in snatching one soul out of the clutches of Satan, then whatever the future in this world has in store for me will be time and energy well-spent.  I may be weary, but I'm not defeated!

Isaiah 40:29    "He gives power to the faint and weary, and to him who has no might He increases strength [causing it to multiply and making it to abound]."

   
   

May 1, 2015

Unholy Alliance?

   
     Have you asked yourself why the Pope is so eager to combine his considerable influence with the United Nation's efforts to sell the concept of climate change to the world?  Does it make you a little nervous to hear that the Secretary-General of the UN, Ban Ki-Moon, spoke at the Vatican Climate Conference? (Sorry, but those words just don't go together.)  When asked about those in the Catholic community who have reservations about the Pope's position on climate change, Ban replied, "I don’t think faith leaders should be scientists.  I’m not a scientist. What I want is their moral authority. Business leaders and all civil society are on board [with the mission to combat climate change]. Now we want faith leaders. Then we can make it happen."  My first thought is, Make what happen?
     First of all, what is Pope Francis's position on climate change?  From what I can glean from other sources, he has preached about the need to protect the earth and all of creation as part of a broad message on the environment.  He has also made statements on environmental degradation and the effects of human-caused climate change on the poor.  And let's face it, it's pretty smart of the UN to use the authority of the Pope to convince the 1,200,000,000 (that's 1.2 billion) Catholics in the world that their fears about global warming coincide with Church doctrine to help the poor, be good stewards of the earth, etc.  See how easily the climate change doctrine could become an actual article of the Catholic faith?
     Now, I must admit that my views on climate change are rather simplistic ... there is most likely a greenhouse effect on the earth that carbon dioxide contributes to, and results in a measure of warming.  But I also submit to the idea that perhaps this is how God designed this planet; He is Sovereign and All-Knowing and I have a pretty good idea the ups and downs of climate change through the centuries are no surprise to Him.  Furthermore, I believe that the NWO Elites saw a "cause" in which they could appeal to the fears and altruistic tendencies of the common man in return for great political and economic gain.  They took an idea with a grain of truth to it and expanded it into a billion dollar enterprise that affords them a great opportunity to control the masses.
     But here is the deal ... Is it really the business of the Pope to stray from the field of faith and morals and wander into the playground that is science; especially when so many of the theories and "scientific data" have been refuted?
     Now consider the words of Connie Hedegaard, Europe's Climate Commissioner:  "Regardless of whether or not scientists are wrong on global warming, the European Union is pursuing the correct energy policies even if they lead to higher prices.  Let’s say that science, some decades from now, said ‘we were wrong, it was not about climate’, would it not in any case have been good to do many of the things you have to do in order to combat climate change?"  So, do you see that it is really all about energy policies?  See if you can follow the crumbs ....
     The Pope declares that climate change affects the poverty-stricken of the world, right?  But one of the greatest friends of poor people around the world – an estimated 1.3 billion people who lack running water and electricity — is carbon based fuels.  The Vatican and the Pope should be arguing that fossil fuels are the ‘moral choice’ for the developing world for people who don’t have these amenities.  Instead, he is aligning himself with the NWO and Environmentalists to promote energy policies that aren't really in the best interest of the poor.
     I also find it interesting that this Pope is much different than his predecessor.  Pope Benedict suggested that fears over man-made emissions melting the ice caps and causing a wave of unprecedented disasters were nothing more than scare-mongering.  He said that while some concerns may be valid it was vital that the international community based its policies on science rather than the dogma of the environmentalist movement.  Could that be why we saw his abrupt and somewhat surprising resignation?
     I'm sorry, but I can't help but feel that Pope Francis is entering an unholy alliance.  Climate change policies will not help the poor of the world, or developing nations.  There is a hidden agenda and I can't quite see what the final outcome will be.  Is the Pope being used?  Or is he a willing accomplice?  Whichever it is, I am uneasy about a highly influential religious leader combining forces with the UN, which represents "a system" whose soul purpose seems to be to control the lives of all mankind.  Wait a minute ... haven't I heard that somewhere else?

Daniel 4:30   "And the king answered and said, “Is not this great Babylon, which I have built by my mighty power as a royal residence and for the glory of my majesty?"



April 30, 2015

"There Is No 'S' In Freedom"

     A few days ago, a friend of mine, Scott, commented that he had enjoyed reading my book, but he disagreed with me on one point.  I said, "That's alright ... I'm open to constructive criticism.  What did I say that you disagree with?"
     He told me that he couldn't help but notice that I consistently wrote about defending my "freedoms", and he just needed to inform me that, in the true sense, "Freedom" had no "s" on the end of it.  He went on to explain that this nation once had a wise President who said, "Freedom is indivisible - there is no 's' on the end of it. You can erode freedom, diminish it, but you cannot divide it and choose to keep 'some freedoms' while giving up others."  I'm sure it comes as no surprise to many of you, that this sage advice came from our 40th President, Ronald Reagan.
     It didn't take me long to come to the conclusion that both Scott and President Reagan were correct.  If we see Freedom as a collection of "rights" or "privileges", then a duplicitous or oppressive government could convince the populace that by merely altering, or even abolishing, a single aspect of our liberty, we are still left with the concept of having Freedom.   It shouldn't take one long to realize that over a period of time, or generations, much damage could be done by chipping away at our freedom.  What was once our stronghold of personal independence and liberties could easily be whittled down to a house of straw; easily demolished by any despot or tyrant.
     Freedom cannot be divided into sub-compartments because that gives one the illusion that there are separate facets to freedom; some perhaps less significant or consequential than others, and thereby less necessary.  Yes, the first Amendment of our Bill of Rights enumerates a number of "Freedoms", including that of speech, of the press, the right of the people to peaceably assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.  But although the object of the Freedom may change, the "state of Freedom" remains the same.  It is a state of not being imprisoned or enslaved; and it imparts the power of self-determination.
     Freedom is the state in which a person has control over his or her life; the ability to self-determine his destiny.  "Civil liberties" are often touted as the hallmark of American citizenship.  But how much freedom and control do we really have over our individual lives when 22 U.S. agencies are combined [under the banner of "Homeland Security"] in order to achieve "total information awareness" about every American citizen?  When every public record that pertains to you is accessible by someone you don't know, then that is a threat to your freedom.  The sad thing is, we have surrendered our autonomy and freedom from external control without even a sincere challenge.  It is disappearing before our very eyes, and with our unwitting compliance.
     Finally, and regrettably, the once lofty ideal of freedom that this country represented, and its leaders embodied, has been replaced by a belief system that champions money and power.  America once recognized that their state of freedom was bestowed by God; but His Dominion and Sovereignty have been replaced by the Supremacy and Restraint of the State.  So, the question becomes, "Does Freedom still reside in America?"  I fear that it is taking its last breath, and unless God chooses to intervene, "the Land of the Free" will no longer exist.

2 Corinthians 3:17   "Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom."

April 29, 2015

These Are The Days of Destruction


     I don't believe that anyone can watch the bedlam that is Baltimore and not grieve our human condition.  To demolish and shatter property and lives for the pure "joy" of destroying them is a picture of a society without a moral code.  While the gangs and hoodlums who roamed the streets of Baltimore, burning and looting, may know the difference between right and wrong, it is abundantly clear that they weren't concerned about choosing wisely, or displaying good or bad behavior; nor did they hold any high principles for proper conduct.
     I am not willing to cut them any slack due to the death of Freddie Gray.  Those who were drawn to the impulse to destroy did not even know Mr. Gray.  They didn't attend his funeral, nor seek to engage in constructive protest of police actions.  Instead they responded to social media provocations to riot and rampage.  Let's be clear ... they were determined to destroy, and complete devastation and ruination was the goal.  The lack of authoritative control on the part of government officials, law enforcement, or parents shows the degree to which we are sliding into corruption, abomination, and wickedness.  The Enemy of God and mankind chortles with glee and satisfaction.

     The figures are devastating:  More than 4,600 people dead. Over 9,000 injured. Eight million affected across Nepal. One million children urgently in need of help.  (Statistics from CNN).  And those numbers are nowhere near the final toll.  Landslides, avalanches, and torrential rain have added to the grief we feel for the humanity of man after the 7.8 magnitude earthquake struck the Himalayan country.
     The capital city of Kathmandu is also known as the City of Temples.  An ancient poet once said, "there are as many temples as head of people can be seen".  Wikipedia lists nearly 200 temples in an area equal in size to two counties in Texas!  While I disparage the anguish of the millions of people affected by the destructive earthquake, my biblical worldview and spirit cannot help but wonder if the price of worshipping foreign gods has not come due on the people of Nepal.  The First Book of Corinthians, Chapter 10, contains a strong warning about the price to be paid for idolizing false gods and provoking God to jealousy.  Is the God of Creation announcing that His final judgment upon this earth is about to occur?
     The Bible also tells us that there will be "distress of nations" on the earth due to signs in the sun, moon and stars.  The blood red moons and the solar disturbances give credence to that prophecy.  Our own nation sits on edge with prognostications of major earthquakes in California and along the New Madrid Fault in the Midwest.  And volcanoes along the Pacific Ocean Ring of Fire are making themselves known ... it sure seems as if the earth and the works that are done on it are being exposed [with the result being our own destruction].  The Ruler of this world and of Darkness waits in anticipation to make his final moves.
   
     And we cannot discuss the destruction of these days without considering the effects of the Supreme Court decision on gay marriage.  My opinion will come as no surprise to anyone,  I believe that if the definition of marriage is redefined, it will mean the destruction of the family as God intended it.  In fact, even the term "family" is being redefined as any two people who live together, regardless of their sex.
     But this is what I find interesting ... For the last 50 years or more, Sociologists have pointed to the lack of fathers in the black community as a vital reason for the destruction of the Black Family.  So why is that correlation not continued across the spectrum of all families?  If it is essential for a healthy family to consist of a father and mother, then doesn't it make sense that the union of the two people who create that family be defined as a man and woman?  Doesn't it seem that simple?
     Yet our very churches no longer seek to encourage the family unit.  They increasingly model themselves to the whims of society, with no regard as to the morality or sinfulness of societal self-indulgence.  Humanism has become the new religion of this Age; the human perspective has become more important than the Divine.  Human beings know what they want and what is good for them; there is no need to subject the desires of the flesh to the standards of a diminished God.
     And this summer the highest court in the land will determine the standard by which future marriages and families in the entire country will be defined.  Sadly, I do not have great hope that their decision will be pleasing to the God I serve.  Compromise has become the byword, and unfortunately, that concession will seal our destruction, both as a nation, and as Christ's Church.  Score one more for Satan in his cosmic battle to control this realm.

     The definition of Destruction is as follows:  a)  the action or process of causing so much damage to something that it no longer exists or cannot be repaired;  b)  the action or process of killing or being killed;  c) a cause of someone's ruin.  Look carefully at each of these three meanings ... you will find Baltimore described in the first; Nepal in the second; and our nation in the third.  Is it as apparent to you, as it is to me, that these are the Days of Destruction?  Pray for God's mercy to keep us from destroying ourselves!  Lord knows we are due His Destructive Hand!

Matthew 10:28    "And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather fear Him who can destroy both soul and body in hell."


April 28, 2015

New Terminology: What Is The Meaning Of "Space To Destroy"?

     Let me be clear ... I am merely a simple woman who relies on my spiritual discernment to instruct my thoughts and opinions.  I do not claim to be perfect, but when I hear something more than once on the same day, I tend to see it as an affirmation of something that is, at the least, reasonable to consider.
     Yesterday, on the front page of the Drudge Report was an article titled, "The Odd Tactic of Giving Baltimore Protestors 'Space' to Destroy".  Also, yesterday, I heard a recording from Bastrop, TX, in which a spokesperson at a meeting between the public and officials with the Jade Helm military exercises announced that "space would be given to both protestors and those who wish to destroy".  That just seems so counter-intuitive to the nature of peaceful protest, does it not?  So why would this particular terminology be used?
     I understand the anger and confusion over the mysterious death of Baltimore resident Freddie Gray.  There seem to be no concrete explanations as to how his fatal back injury occurred.  It is natural for citizens to demand answers and to express their outrage publicly.
     Similarly, there is much confusion and suspicion over the explanations given for the military exercises known as Jade Helm, especially in Texas.  So, what might the two events have in common, and why would comparable language be used in describing what law enforcement and city/county governments will allow?
     Could it be that once it is established by local law that protestors have been given "space to destroy", any attempt by property owners to defend their possessions or premises will be against the law?  The mayor of Baltimore was quoted as saying, "We work very hard to keep that balance [between free speech and destructive elements], and to put ourselves in the best position to de-escalate."  Are we to interpret that to mean that some destruction of personal property is permissible in order to guarantee free speech?  How much is too much destruction?  What rights do property owners have to protect their property against public -- but government-condoned -- destruction?
     It would appear that we are once again blurring the line of the original intent of our Founding Fathers and what the new "intellectual" concept of government is becoming.  According to the Foundation for Economic Education, "The Founding Fathers upheld the economic view of property. They believed that private property ownership, as defined under common law, pre-existed government. The state and federal governments were the mere contractual agents of the people, not sovereign lords over them. All rights, not specifically delegated to the government, remained with the people–including the common-law provisions of private property. Consequently, the constitutional rights regarding free speech, freedom of religion, the right of assembly, and private property rights are all claims that individuals may hold and exercise against the government itself. In brief, private property refers to the rights of owners to use their possessions which are enforceable against all nonowners–even the government."
     Then there is the specific terminology in the Fifth Amendment, which states, "No person shall be ... deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation."  I know that in the use of private property for the Jade Helm exercises, it is being promoted that land owners approached the government offering the use of their property.  I know that at least in one instance, this is not true.  The property owner was approached by representatives of the government.  So, by declaring that use of the land was consensual, is this a way to avoid reparations in case the "space to destroy" gets out of hand?  In effect, does it do away with the rights of property owners to defend themselves?
     And what of the store owners and shopkeepers and homeowners in Baltimore?  If protestors are given a license and "space" to destroy, how will they be compensated for damages to their property?  What rights do they have to protect their personal property, if the City of Baltimore has established a right and space to destroy?
     In fairness and honesty, I will tell you that the Mayor of Baltimore has attempted to clarify her statement by saying that there was never any intent to suggest that those seeking to incite violence also had the space to operate.  I certainly should hope not!  But we all know that once that impression has been conveyed to the public, there is no taking it back.  You must decide for yourself if it was intentional, or not.
     The bottom line is this:  All Americans should have the opportunity to voice their opinions peaceably, while respecting the laws of the nation and the private property of individuals.  That being said, I suggest that officials carefully consider how their terminology will be interpreted.  I cannot imagine any manner in which "peaceful protest" and "space to destroy" belong in the same sentence!

Isaiah 64:6    "We have all become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous deeds are like a polluted garment. We all fade like a leaf, and our iniquities, like the wind, take us away."

   

April 27, 2015

Will We Be Judged As Bystanders?

     Just a short 10 days ago, a coalition of speakers lobbied the United Nations to honor its Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the World Summit Outcome Document of September 2005, paragraph 139.  In that document, the United Nations declared that the international community has the responsibility to protect populations from genocide, ethnic cleansing, and crimes against humanity.
     With that directive in mind, the group argued that the UN has largely ignored the plight of persecuted Christians and minorities in the Middle East and Africa.  As Pastor Jonathan Cahn proposed, "So the question must be asked, 'Where are all the resolutions?' 'Where are all the troops?' 'Where are all the actions taken to protect the most persecuted people on earth?' 'And where's the universal outcry?' It's a strange and immoral silence."
    Indeed!  Where are the voices of all the Christian leaders throughout the world, and why have they not intervened?  Are we all too comfortable and safe in our faith to think that this is just a blip on the radar screen?  I assure you, it is not!  While the rest of the world is eagerly anticipating the release of the Apple watch, Iraqi children are choosing between converting to Islam or giving up this life for Jesus.  While Christians are slaughtered in African villages, millions of Americans are voting for their favorite dance team on Dancing With the Stars.  
     ISIS is not the only enemy to Christianity throughout the world -- Apathy and Indifference are equally formidable.  Sympathizing is not enough; it won't stop the genocide.  For genocide is what is being perpetrated on Christians around the world.  Every trace of their existence is being wiped clean whenever possible.  Villages in the Middle East that still speak the Aramaic language spoken by Jesus, and which predate Islam by 700 years, are being decimated and erased from their existence. In India, 70,000 Christians have fled their homes; 80,000 Syrian Christians have been cleansed from their communities; and 10,000 Indonesian Christians have been killed in recent atrocities.
     As modern-day Christians we have all imagined what it must have been like to be seated in the Roman Coliseum and watch Christians being led into an arena full of lions.  How did those bystanders in the arena justify their apathy?  How did the German Christians who lived near the Nazi death camps rationalize the smoke from the crematoriums, or the cries for help from the boxcars that passed near their towns?  How are we able to defend this generation's lack of action as we watch fellow Christians being devoured by this century's Satanic hatred and sadistic cruelty against the followers of Jesus?  Are we even aware that more Christians have died [due to oppression and violence] in the modern era that in all of history combined?  Do we care enough to do anything about it -- or are we somehow able to separate ourselves from our fellow Believers?
     We are all familiar with the verses in Matthew, Chapter 25, in which Jesus advises us that He will gather us before Him one day, and separate us into sheep and goats.  Keep in mind, these are all Christians gathered before Him! To the sheep on His right hand, He will pronounce their inheritance of His Father's Kingdom because they fed Him, gave Him water to drink, a place to sleep, and clothes.  To the goats at His left hand, He will refuse to recognize them, will curse them, and send them into the eternal fire prepared for the Devil and his angels.  When asked by each group why they received their lot, it was based on how they treated the "least of His Brethren".  Whatever they did for them, they were doing to Jesus.  Did you get that?  However they responded to a need of one of Jesus's brothers or sisters, would determine their sentence.
     So how does that translate for us modern Christians?  When we see a fellow Christian in Iraq being beheaded, and stand by and do nothing, we are beheading Jesus.  When we see a Christian brother being crucified in Syria, and stand by and do nothing, we are crucifying Jesus.  When we see Christian families being tortured, burned alive, and forced from their homes -- and stand by and do nothing, we are committing these horrendous acts against Jesus.
     As Pastor Cahn so eloquently stated, "We are no longer a good or Christian nation, if we sit idly by.  We will be judged guilty." Are we comfortable in our silent complicity?  Do we only take our own self-interest to heart?  Where is the outrage from Christ's Church, and what is each one of us willing to risk our lives for, and fight for -- yes, even die for --- if not for fellow Christians?
     Whether the Western Church as a whole, or each of us individually, is willing to admit it or not, we will either be upheld or condemned, based on how we respond to today's persecution of Christians around the world.  It is not enough to pray ... I didn't see Jesus mentioning "whenever you prayed for one of the least of my brethren".  Everything involved some form of action.  We must demand that the leaders of our nation and the world, take action to stop the genocide and persecution of our fellow Christians.
     It is time to recognize that the number of those crying out underneath God's altar is increasing at a rapid rate, and may be near the final number.  They are the souls of those who have been slain because of the word of God, and because of their unwavering testimony of faith in Jesus.  God will soon answer them as they continue to call in loud voices, "How long, Sovereign Lord, holy and true, until you judge the inhabitants of the earth and avenge our blood?"  We must not be silent any longer!

Psalm 94:16    "Who will rise up for me against the evildoers? Who will stand up for me against the workers of iniquity?"
   
     

   

April 26, 2015

Galatians 5:17

For the flesh lusts against the Spirit, 
and the Spirit against the flesh; 
and these are contrary to one another, 
so that you do not do the things that you wish.


     As I began to write this blog post, the words of the Battle Hymn of the Republic popped into my head ... He is trampling out the vintage where the grapes of wrath are stored.  I fear that this world is in mortal danger of seeing His "terrible swift sword."  
     Why do I say this? Because the societies of the world and the popular culture are telling us that we should just be ourselves; be true to the "real" you; don't listen to what others say, and become whatever satisfies you and makes you happy.  But that is not what the Bible tells us, and if you are a Christian, then you must adhere to the warning that Galatians 5:17 presents.
     I am completely astonished at the speed with which our society has adopted this "be whoever you are" mentality.  Our youth are overwhelmed with advice from celebrities to "embrace the inner you" -- no matter who that might be!  The problem is that who you, me -- all of us are-- is sinners!  We are not called to be who we think we are, or who we want to be.  We are called to a higher standard and to resist what we want and become like Jesus.
     But because many in society have denied Jesus and the Holy Spirit a place in their lives, they don't know who they are in God's eyes.  This has given the Enemy the perfect opportunity to introduce a variety of options as to who they can be.  And it has resulted in confusion that will lead many to miss out on the transformative power of faith in Jesus Christ.
     I can't help but relate this to the interview that Diane Sawyer did with Bruce Jenner.  I hadn't made any conscious decision to watch the program or to avoid it.  It really wasn't on my radar.  But after a long, tiring week, we wanted to catch up on the news in the world and when we turned on the TV, the Jenner interview had begun.  
     What I saw was a tortured human being.  I have no doubt that his feelings, his emotions, and his struggle to know who he really is are genuine.  He professed to be a Christian, and although I didn't see the entire program, what I did see gave me no evidence that he understands that the battle within himself has eternal consequences.  He is seeking to transform himself into another identity as a human being.  I wish he understood that the transformation that will truly put his soul at rest is to deny the flesh and be transformed by the power of Jesus.  A physical transformation will not quell his demons ... only through a spiritual transformation will he find the being he is supposed to be.
     The philosophies of being "born this way" or "God made me to be who I truly feel I am" are convenient lies to cover the sins of the flesh.  We are not just flesh and blood, we are spirit beings.  God knit us in the womb just as He designed us to be.  Being "born this way" cannot be a fitting excuse for those who embrace their inner bisexuality, homosexuality or transgenderism if, as a society, we do not allow it be used by those who will say they have inner desires to molest children, or to cheat on their spouse.  We are all sinners and none of us should be the real us!
     I want to make it clear that I am not without sympathy for Bruce Jenner and other fellow human beings who suffer the effects of such confusion.  I saw an intelligent, loving, kind man who has struggled his whole life, and fought the desires of his flesh.  But it saddens me that he does not appear to have considered denying the flesh in order to please the Spirit.  Jesus said that if anyone would declare himself a follower [of Him], that person must deny himself and take up his own cross.  I have no doubt that Bruce Jenner's cross was a difficult one to bear, and it just got too much to carry the burden.  I wish he realized that he will never be perfect in the flesh, but he can be made perfect in the Spirit.  
     We all have the freedom to choose either the flesh or the Holy Spirit; and it is so much easier and natural to choose our fleshly desires.  It is a battle that must be waged and won every single day of this life.  But it can be won -- with the strength and power of Jesus who abides in us.  Instead of striving to be true to ourselves, we should strive to remain true to Him!

April 25, 2015

What The Armenian Genocide Tells Us

     Yesterday marked the 100th anniversary of nearly one-and-a-half million people killed during the genocide campaign against Armenian and Christian minorities by the Turkish Islamic Ottoman empire -- I would note, this was history's last caliphate prior to ISIS.
     Now, the current leader of Turkey can deny that a genocide took place; and the current White House can refuse (for the seventh straight year) to use the word “genocide” when referring to this atrocity, but they can't make the truth disappear.  Historical scholars stand beside groups like the Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA), who report the following:  "More than one million Armenians perished as the result of execution, starvation, disease, the harsh environment, and physical abuse.  A people who lived in eastern Turkey for nearly 3,000 years [that is, 2,500 years before the Islamic Turks invaded and occupied Anatolia, now known as “Turkey”] lost its homeland and was profoundly decimated in the first large-scale genocide of the twentieth century.  At the beginning of 1915 there were some two million Armenians within Turkey; today there are fewer than 60,000."
     Furthermore, there is actual correspondence from a member of the Turkish regime at the time.  One of the documents authenticated by Turkish authorities in 1919 is a telegram sent in June 1915 by Dr. Sakir, one of the leaders of the secret organization that carried out the planning and implementation of the Genocide.  He asks the provincial party official who is responsible for carrying out the deportations and massacres of Armenians within his district: "Are the Armenians, who are being dispatched from there, being liquidated? Are those harmful persons whom you inform us you are exiling and banishing, being exterminated, or are they being merely dispatched and exiled? Answer explicitly....".  It sounds pretty systematic, premeditated and highly coordinated to me!
     The historical deniers of genocide will try to get you to believe that the indigenous Armenians died through the process of resettlement, or because they were caught in war zones.  But the numbers don't lie ... 1,500,000 deaths over a two-year period aren't "accidental", or because they were in the wrong place, at the wrong time.
     You cannot deny such historical accounts as these:  Torture squads would apply red-hot irons, tear off flesh with hot pincers, then pour boiled butter into the wounds. The soles of the feet would be beaten, slashed, and laced with salt. Dr. Mehmed Reshid tortured Armenians by nailing horseshoes to their feet and marching them through the streets. He also crucified them on makeshift crosses... The Muslims hacked Armenians to pieces and dashed infants on the rocks before their mothers. They burned bodies not for sanitary reasons but in search of gold coins they believed the Armenians had swallowed. The Muslims also tore apart the victims’ feces in the search for gold. U.S. consul Leslie Davis, a former attorney and journalist, documented the Islamic zeal...  “We could all hear them piously calling upon Allah to bless them in their efforts to kill the hated Christians,” Davis wrote. “Night after night this same chant went up to heaven and day after day these Turks carried on their bloody work.” Around Lake Goeljik, Davis wrote, “thousands and thousands of Armenians, mostly innocent and helpless women and children, were butchered on its shores and barbarously mutilated.”
     So the question remains -- Why the denials?  And why hasn't the U.S. government officially confirmed the Armenian Genocide ... especially since the U.S. House of Representatives has a long and proud tradition of reaffirming America’s moral stand against all genocides – past and present?  Here is a list of those they have acknowledged in the past, by either commemorating them or condemning them:  the Holocaust, the Cambodian genocide, the Darfur genocide, the Ukrainian genocide, and the Bosnian genocide.  Furthermore, 44 individual states have acknowledged it!
     Perhaps some of the reasons for denying the past atrocity find their equal in the attempts to deny what the current caliphate is attempting to accomplish. In the period immediately after World War I the tactic was to find scapegoats to blame for what was said to be only a security measure that had gone awry due to unscrupulous officials, Kurds, and common criminals.  This was followed by an attempt to avoid the whole issue, with silence, diplomatic efforts, and political pressure used where possible.  In the 1930s, for example, Turkey pressured the U.S. State Department into preventing MGM Studios from producing a film based on Franz Werfel's The Forty Days of Musa Dagh, a book that depicted aspects of the Genocide in a district located west of Antioch on the Mediterranean Sea, far from the Russian front.
     Today, we hear the White House press corps downplaying the atrocities of ISIS against Christian minorities in the Middle East; after all, they are only like a "J.V. team", right?  Furthermore, the ANCA reports that the Turkish government has hired former U.S. Congressman to lobby on their behalf in attempts to keep the U.S. from officially recognizing the Genocide.
     In the 1960s, prompted by the worldwide commemoration of the fiftieth anniversary of the Genocide, efforts were made to influence journalists, teachers, and public officials by telling "the other side of the story."  Foreign scholars were encouraged to revise the record of genocide, presenting an account largely blaming the Armenians or, in another version, wartime conditions which claimed the lives of more Turks than Armenians.  Thereafter, Turkey tried to prohibit any mention of the Genocide in a United Nations report and was successful in its pressure on the Reagan and Bush administrations in defeating Congressional resolutions that would have designated April 24 as a national day of remembrance of the Armenian Genocide.  The Turkish government has also attempted to exclude any mention of the Genocide from American textbooks.  Stronger efforts still have been made to prevent any discussion of the 1915 genocide being formally included in the social studies curriculum as part of Holocaust and genocide studies.
     Does that ring a bell?  Do we not see that the current Caliphate is influencing the media, and using them, to tell their side of the story?  Are not some journalists and public officials complicit in playing down the danger of Islamic radicalism?  Isn't Common Core attempting to rewrite history, as well as present a sanitized version of Islam, while decrying the barbarism of Christianity?
      So, it is up to the world to tell the truth and to warn of the familiar images of genocide that are flooding out of the Middle East.  And in case you still doubt the veracity of the Armenian Genocide, I invite you to read the miraculous story of a 100-year-old Armenian woman, who is one of the last people alive to give a first-person account of the annihilation of her people.  Read her story so that you will know the horrors of genocide, and so her memories will never die.
     
Psalm 116:115    "Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of his saints."

   

April 24, 2015

The Sustainability Movement: Coming To A Campus Near You!

     A good friend of mine forwarded this report to me, and I found it worthy of passing on to you.  To be honest, I was surprised to find the extent to which this topic has been promoted in our centers of higher education.  But I was equally surprised, and interested, to find that the report was written by The National Association of Scholars.  Their mission statement reads:  "The National Association of Scholars is an independent membership association of academics and others working to sustain the tradition of reasoned scholarship and civil debate in America’s colleges and universities. We uphold the standards of a liberal arts education that fosters intellectual freedom, searches for the truth, and promotes virtuous citizenship."  That's refreshing, isn't it?  
     They publish studies of current higher education policy and practice with the aim of drawing attention to weaknesses and stimulating improvements, as well as engage in public advocacy to pass legislation to advance the cause of higher education reform.  
     The NAS has taken the whole "climate change" and "sustainability" movements to task, and examined how our systems of higher education have co-opted them.  The following are excerpts from this important document, titled Sustainability: Higher Education's New Fundamentalism.

     The Executive Summary of the report states that “Sustainability” is a key idea on college campuses in the United States and the rest of the Western world. To the unsuspecting, sustainability is just a new name for environmentalism. But the word really marks out a new and larger ideological territory in which curtailing economic, political, and intellectual liberty is the price that must be paid now to ensure the welfare of future generations.  It further states that the sustainability movement has distorted higher education.
     While remaining neutral on the "global warming" debate, NAS nevertheless stands by the principle that all important ideas ought to be open to reasoned debate and careful examination of the evidence. But there are those in the sustainability movement whose declared position is that the time for debate is over and that those who persist in raising basic questions are “climate deniers.” The NAS report contends that the “debate-is-over” position is itself at odds with intellectual freedom and is why the campus sustainability movement should be examined skeptically.
     Sustainability is fast becoming the dominant ideology at colleges and universities in the United States, Britain, and many other parts of the Western world, and is often confused with the term environmentalism.   But the goals of the sustainability movement are different. They go far beyond ensuring clean air and water and protecting vulnerable plants and animals.
     As an ideology, sustainability takes aim at economic and political liberty. Sustainability pictures economic liberty as a combination of strip mining, industrial waste, and rampant pollution. It pictures political liberty as people voting to enjoy the present, heedless of what it will cost future generations. Sustainability’s alternative to economic liberty is a regime of far-reaching regulation that controls virtually every aspect of energy, industry, personal consumption, waste, food, and transportation. Sustainability’s alternative to political liberty is control vested in agencies and panels run by experts insulated from elections or other expressions of popular will.  (Can you see why this is a dangerous movement on college campuses?)
     In less than a decade, the campus sustainability movement has gone from a minor thread of campus activism to becoming the master narrrative of what “liberal education” should seek to accomplish for students and for society as a whole.
     Here's how it could affect us:  The movement is much more than a call for environmental responsibility. It is a summons for fundamental changes in human life—changes that include the imposition of vast new social, political, and economic controls. Sustainability advocates vary among themselves in how far they think these fundamental changes need to go, but a great many of them view “capitalism” as the primary enemy. They see as the root problem the economic and social system that brought modern industrial technology into the world and freed much of humanity from the drudgery of subsistence labor.
     Some of the most ardent advocates of the Sustainability Movement declare that the environmental crises of today call for no less than the abolition of capitalism!   And here's the real danger:  The sustainability movement presents itself as benign concern for the natural environment, but its deeper aim is radical economic transformation.  (Do you think the average college student could be swayed by this narrative?)
     But the roots of the Sustainability movement go even deeper.  Sustainability combines an environmental theme with an economic call to arms and a recipe for harsh and often non-democratic forms of political control. To understand the sustainability movement correctly, however, we need to add one more ingredient: its embrace of identity politics under the rubric of “social sustainability.” The basic idea is that a sustainable society must not only rid itself of the penchant for exploiting nature but also of exploitation of oppressed groups of people.  (See how it works?)
     We need to be aware that Sustainability reaches into cultural and social institutions, and it demands strict regulation to keep everything in line. Sustainability thus calls for the overthrow of patriarchal systems, misogynist bias, racist prejudice, and traditional marriage norms. It ties social and economic grievances to environmental degradation: women are disproportionately harmed by wars over resource shortages; minorities are more likely to live near landfills and polluting factories; previously colonized and oppressed nations are more likely to be flooded and scorched by global warming; the poor are least responsible for causing climate change but also least able to protect themselves from its effects; traditional marriage (without abortion and strict birth control) overpopulates the globe and mires communities in poverty. Rising global warming and the threat of runaway consumption augment these dangers.

     I think you are beginning to get the picture, right?  Sustainability is an ideology that attempts to unite environmental activism, anti-capitalism, and a progressive vision of social justice ... and it does it all with a utopian/totalitarian intent.   If left unchecked, it will exact enormous costs by diverting resources from better ends, co-opting higher education, and instilling in students a profound distaste for political and economic freedom.
     Can we afford to turn a blind eye to this phenomenon?  Are we looking at a new policy shift in government, away from capitalism and towards strict regulations?  What we need to realize is that  the college campus has become the center of this sustainability authoritarianism.  If we don't examine it carefully, it could very well take over our college campuses and convince the next generation of American decision-makers that freedom -- whether economic, political, social, or otherwise -- is unnecessary in a tightly regulated and totalitarian state.  It's time we educated ourselves on this popular movement.

For a thorough reading of the entire National Association of Scholars report on Sustainability, please click here.

Isaiah 40:8    "The grass withers, the flower fades, but the word of our God will stand forever."