A Modern Woman's Perspective On The Kingdom of God on Earth

May 24, 2020

Now Is The Time For "Abiding"!

     You can feel the tension among some in the Christian community ... these are times of wariness and fear, filled with apprehension and even despair. We, in 2020 America, and the Western world, for the most part, have never experienced such upheaval in our daily lives as this Corona pandemic has brought. We have lived our lives in consistent uniformity and stability. But now the very foundation of our way of life is being shaken. Our freedoms have been curtailed, and we are hearing government leaders, as in the state of Illinois, voicing the possibilities of confiscating personal property during a "state emergency" such as Covid-19.
     People are out of work, unable to worship in Church together, and I have no doubt that faith is being tested. But now, more than ever, we need to come to terms with our relationship with Christ. We are by no means the first Believers to have their world shaken, or their expectations to be challenged. I can only imagine what it must have been like for Jesus's disciples in those days leading up to His trial and crucifixion, and then the discouragement that must have descended upon them after His burial. All their hopes in Him must have been seriously in question! After all, Peter had been told by Jesus, Himself, that he had correctly identified Him as the Son of the Living God. Yet they knew He had been buried in a tomb like an ordinary man!
     I would venture that many Believers are like the disciple, Cleopas and his companion, who the risen Christ encountered as they traveled to Emmaus. They did not recognize Him and commiserated about their feelings of defeat and the questions they had about all that had transpired in the preceding days. They were so overcome by dashed hopes that they were unable to perceive His presence in their midst. They had not clearly received the revelation Jesus shared with them at their Last Supper together -- that He would sacrifice His body and shed His blood for the remission of their sins. They were blinded by their disappointment in dashed dreams and had returned to their old ways of thinking.
     But as Jesus began to reveal all that the Scriptures had spoken and prophesied about Him, they were overtaken by a burning hunger within themselves, and begged this stranger to stay and abide with them. Jesus obliges them, and stays to share a meal with them. As He breaks bread with them, reminiscent of what He did at the Last Supper, their eyes are opened and they knew Him!
     I believe that many of us can identify with Cleopas and the other disciples who had followed Jesus. Remember, there were more than just the Twelve who were closest to Him. He had touched the lives of many people who chose to follow Him and be known as disciples of Jesus, of Nazareth. But like them, as we are faced with these confusing times, we are distracted by what we see in the flesh and how we discern world events affecting our personal lives. We have taken our eyes off the promises of our Lord Jesus.
     We long for a return to those comfortable feelings of stability in Him; and the exhilaration of seeing His undeniable and obvious blessings. And in looking back, we are unable to see His continued presence in our immediate circumstances. But if we seek Him, we can still experience that burning hunger for Him, just like Cleopas, and invite Him to "abide". And it's important that we understand the fullness of that word ... to abide is to stay in a given place, state, relation or expectancy -- no matter what turn of events might cloud our vision.
     It is easy to look at the realms of politics, global transformation, and the growing limitations of our personal freedoms and begin thinking that everything is out of order according to God's plan. And you can imagine how the Enemy can use these states of affairs to whisper seeds of doubt and unbelief into our hearts. But if truly belong to Him in spirit, then we will remain abiding in Him. We will know in the depths of our soul and spirit that God orders everything in the earth and the universe -- everything has an appointed time and purpose. God thinks in terms of Eternity. Man views circumstances in short periods of time.
     Have you considered that your success in persevering through these trying times relies much more on what you believe than what you do? It's what you believe about who you are, and what you think God will do for you, and how you call that into existence that will ensure your survivability.  As I said, everything in the universe is ordered by God, and you have been appointed for this time. Your life has a purpose now! And it's more than your job or your physical comforts. God wants to talk to you personally, face-to-face, about what's in your heart [and that He wants you] to accomplish. Just as Jesus did with Cleopas, He wants to reveal to you all that God has ordered through the Scriptures up to this very day -- so that you clearly see and know that everything He did was the Father's will for your happiness and blessing.
     So, even though the world might look bleak now, we need to abide in Christ -- to stay in that state of expectancy that His timing is perfect for our lives; that ALL of His promises for our life are "Yes" and "Amen"! We must not abide in the limits the world is trying to place on us! We have been given the ministry of Jesus in trying times, and they are no less trying than those disciples experienced in the first century under Roman occupation, fearing for their lives as followers of Jesus Christ. No matter what the world throws at us, it is essential that we stay rooted in the True Vine and that the Vinedresser has destined us to bear fruit for His Kingdom. And if He is pruning you, then know that it is so you will bear more fruit. It is the season for "abiding"; and it is our time to renew our strength in Christ, not growing weary, nor fading in our purpose!

1 John 2:6    Whoever says he abides in Him ought to walk in the same way in which He walked.

May 21, 2020

The Fullness Of God -- Part Two

     In the last post, we considered some familiar names of God. We came to know Him as the God Who Heals and the God Who Provides. We explored His Might as the Commander of Heaven's Armies and the One Who Goes Before Us Into Battle. But we also discovered that He is a Jealous God who demands our loyalty to the covenants we share with Him; and we also discerned that our God is able to bring peace to our lives as we trust Him [with confidence] to help us complete our assignments in this life.
     Today, we will expand our view of God and look at more dimensions of His Nature and Character. What is interesting to me is that while each of these names is unique and distinguishable from the others, there is a coalescence among the names that forms a complete whole who is El Shaddai, Almighty God. No other "little g" god can claim His total magnificence and perfection. So, let's learn some more about our Heavenly Father...

Jehovah Mekkodishkem: The Lord Who Sanctifies You.  My husband, Mark, and I have had a personal encounter with this facet of God. In about 2012, He spoke to Mark in the middle of the night, telling him that He wanted to sanctify us unto Him. He gave specific instructions as to the preparations we were to make, and the actions we were to take. It was unlike anything Mark had experienced before and he questioned God. "If this is really from You, I need You to show me that this is Your will". The next night, Mark had the exact same encounter, with the same words and instructions given to him.
     It was at that point that we entered into a personal covenant with the Lord to serve Him wherever He led us and however that looked. It is the same nature of God we see in Exodus 31:13 when the Lord entered into a covenant with Moses and the Israelites: “You are to speak to the people of Israel and say, ‘Above all you shall keep my Sabbaths, for this is a sign between me and you throughout your generations, that you may know that I, the Lord, sanctify you." I will tell you it is very humbling to encounter Jehovah Mekkodishkem, but equally exhilarating to bow before Him in obedience.

Jehovah Ra'ah: The Lord Is My Shepherd. We are all familiar with the 23rd Psalm, which begins with The Lord is my shepherd. He makes me to lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside the still waters. He restores my soul and leads me on paths of righteousness for His name sake.... It is easy to see Jesus as our Shepherd. We grew up in Sunday School classrooms where pictures of Him were displayed carrying a lamb across His shoulders; or standing serenely with staff in hand. And we are likely to think of the 23rd Psalm as a peaceful reminder that He is our Caretaker, and we are the sheep that follow His voice; meek and quiet, inoffensive. 
     But there is more to this image of our Good Shepherd. We are told that we can walk through the Valley of the Shadow of Death and fear no evil, because Jesus's rod and staff will comfort us. The rod and staff are emblematic of the Lord's comfort and His protection in fending off attacks from our Enemy. In addition, He is seen as setting a table for us in the midst of our enemies -- a table that is a realm unto itself; set with the finest china and the best foods and drink. The Enemy and his hordes are unable to penetrate that realm and we are able to feed upon the Lord and His Goodness undisturbed. 
     Furthermore, our Shepherd exhibits Himself as Defender, Protector, and Keeper by anointing us with oil; setting us apart as holy, and rendering our cup full to overflowing with blessings. All this leaves us declaring Jesus as Jacob did, when he blessed his son Joseph, "[This] is the God before whom my fathers Abraham and Isaac walked, the God who has been my shepherd all my life long to this day" (Genesis 48:15).

Jehovah Tsidkenu: The Lord Our Righteousness. This name of God is employed by the prophet Jeremiah as he warns those leaders who have led the nations of Israel and Judah astray. They have allowed His chosen people to be scattered and have not cared for His flock as good shepherds should. The prophet predicts, "Behold, the days are coming, declares the Lord, when I will raise up for David a righteous Branch, and he shall reign as king and deal wisely, and shall execute justice and righteousness in the land.  In his days Judah will be saved, and Israel will dwell securely. And this is the name by which he will be called: ‘The Lord is our righteousness' " (Jeremiah 23:5-6).
     I see two different aspects of this name of God. The first is that the Lord will come bringing His justice. He will come as Judge, settling accounts, bringing both retribution and compensation. Secondly, He is also God, the Source of righteousness; man having no righteousness of his own. He is the Righteous God who has provided for our acceptance before Himself through our cleansing by the blood of the Lamb. He wraps us in His righteousness through Jesus Christ the Righteous One! We cannot be righteous on our own, so Christ becomes our righteousness [for us] before the Father. What a benevolent and generous God we serve!

Jehovah Gibbor-Milchamah: The Lord Mighty In Battle. This name is eloquently pronounced in Psalm 24:8, which says, Who is this King of glory? The Lord, strong and mighty, the Lord, mighty in battle! Have you ever thought about what it truly means when we declare, "No weapon formed against me shall prosper"? It is because Jehovah Gibbor-Milchamah stands before you, in all of His glory and splendor, and He defends you. He DEFENDS You.
      So to every obstacle that stands in our way, for every demon or cosmic power or stronghold that we haven't been able to tear down or defeat, we can shout that our God is the mighty Jehovah Gibbor-Milchamah, and He fights for us! He stands with His mighty Sword and He fights alongside us in our battles. He is our Shield and Buckler and we declare that there is no war that He has not won! He will not and cannot be defeated! He is the mighty Conqueror and Defender of those He calls His own.

Jehovah Shammah: The Name of the New Jerusalem. The Lord is There. I think this is one of my favorite names of God. When God had reached his limit in regards to the blasphemous idolatry of Israel and His chosen people, He showed the prophet Ezekiel that He removed His glory from the Temple and Jerusalem (Ezekiel 10). Then in a later vision, the Lord showed Ezekiel that He would restore Israel and what the New Temple and the New Jerusalem would look like. Ezekiel 48:35 are the last words in Ezekiel and they describe this scene: "The circumference of the city shall be 18,000 cubits [5.11 miles]. And the name of the city from that time on shall be, The Lord Is There."
     This is such a beautiful picture of God's promises for the future! That prophecy came true when the exiles returned to Jerusalem and rebuilt the walls. And again, God’s presence returned to the temple in the form of a tiny baby brought to the temple to be offered back to God by his parents, Joseph and Mary. And His presence will be established for all time when King Jesus rules and reigns from the temple in the New Jerusalem! 
     We can take so much hope from this powerful name of God -- His promises are never-ending. He is already in our future ... The Lord is There! We can't foresee our futures, but we can trust in the God who is already there, knowing He will be faithful in His promises to us! 

     Together with the names of God from the previous post, these additional names give just a hint of the fullness of God's Character and Nature. He is also El Elyon (Genesis 14:22) The Most High God; El Olam (Isaiah 24:8, Genesis 21:33) The Everlasting God; El Roi (Genesis 16:14) The God Who Sees Me; Jehovah Issuwz (Psalm 24:8) God Who Is Strong; Jehovah Chayil (Psalm 18:1) God is My Strength; Jehovah Hoseenu (Psalm 95:6) My Lord and Maker; Jehovah Nekamoth (Psalm 18:47) The God Who Avenges; Jehovah Keren-Yishi (Psalm 18:2) The Lord the Horn of my Salvation; Jehovah Sali (Psalms 18:2) – The LORD My Rock; Ha-Melech Jehovah (Psalms 98:6) – The LORD the King; Jehovah Machsi (Psalms 91:9) The LORD My Refuge.... and so many more!
     Can you see that most of us have barely scratched the surface of the fullness of who God is? He cannot be contained by one Name! He cannot be contained by one Book! Yet we want to define Him and limit our ideas and beliefs about who He is to chapter and verse! It is only through seeking more of Him through the Word [that we have at our fingertips], that we can hope to receive revelation from the Holy Spirit that will transcend our limited faculties. So I hope that I have given you even a small measure of the immense and powerful God who is our everything. How can we not bow down in awe and reverence?

Thanks to Dan Duval of Bride Ministries for his extensive list of the Names of God found here. 

Matthew 6:9     Pray then like this: "Our Father in Heaven, hallowed be Your name."  

May 17, 2020

Do You Know The Fullness of God? -- Part One

     I want to begin a series of articles that will explore the fullness of God because I have been finding myself increasingly focused on pressing into my Father in Heaven in order to gain the most from our relationship. Mind you, it's not all about me and what He can give me, but more about my desire to honor all that He is. And by honoring Him with a fuller and broader understanding of His identity, I know my life will surely be blessed.
     I would venture that most of us have a pretty limited view of the dimensions of God and His Nature. Most likely, that view is biased, depending on what our relationship with our earthly father has been. Granted, our human fathers can have many dimensions, too: loving, generous, strict, athletic, self-centered, angry, critical, encouraging, good provider .... well, you get the picture. They are usually a mixed bag of strengths and weaknesses that can inhibit our impression of the fullness of God.
     I will tell you that as I have researched how God inspired the writers of the Bible to represent Him, I am blown away at the sheer number of ways He is described. And my spirit has rejoiced at the understanding of these names and their meanings. It has opened up a whole new way to pray! Now I can go right to YHWH's heart and address Him in the particular manner and with the particular name that represents the issue I'm praying about. When I'm conversing with God by using the proper name, I know exactly whom I'm talking with, and am able to receive counsel in the correct context. I believe that knowing His names and their meanings can not only enhance our prayer life and create a deeper intimacy with God, but help us to take direct aim at the Enemy in our spiritual battles.
     So, allow me to introduce you to the depth of the God that we love and serve. Over the next couple of posts or so, I want to share some of the Hebrew names of God that illustrate His innumerable and limitless attributes. And I will share a Scripture that shows the use of each name in the Bible. Doubtless, you will be familiar with some of the names and their meanings, but I hope to expand that knowledge and show you a broader scope of our Sovereign God. And as I reveal more unfamiliar appellations, I doubt that you will be able to read the Bible in the same way again.

Jehovah Rapha: The God Who Heals -- This is a name well-known among Believers who are determined to do the works that Jesus did; to see the power of God demonstrated in His ability to heal through them. Exodus 15:26 finds God making a promise to the Israelites; a promise that is as real to us today as it was then ... “If you will diligently listen to the voice of the Lord your God, and do that which is right in his eyes, and give ear to his commandments and keep all his statutes, I will put none of the diseases on you that I put on the Egyptians, for I am the Lord, your healer.”  
      There is no greater "high" for my spirit than to boldly walk into a hospital room where a man lays dying of cancer, and the spirit of death fills the room, and to be able to call his spirit forward and speak life into it by the power of God that is in him as a Believer. And then to quietly leave and hear reports from the family that he rallied and the doctors are mystified!

Jehovah Jireh: The God Who Provides --  I am concerned that we don't see the depth of this name of the Lord. We may often use this name when asking for financial help, and use it to meet our temporal needs. But looked at within the context of Genesis 22, we find Abraham's use of this sacred name to be life-giving. After being obedient to God's call to sacrifice his precious son, Isaac -- the child of Promise and his old age -- God stops Abraham from sacrificing Isaac and supplies a substitute burnt offering in the form of a ram. In verse 14, the Bible reads, So Abraham called the name of that place, “The Lord will provide”; as it is said to this day, “On the mount of the Lord it shall be provided.”      
     But there is another dimension to God in this story; it is more than His Goodness to spare Isaac. It is that He saw Abraham's obedience and knew how much He loved his son, yet the patriarch was willing to be true to his covenant with God, no matter the personal cost.  And then God acted to have a ram ready to replace Abraham's precious son.... God saw the need and He showed up. He's not an indifferent God.

Jehovah Sabaoth: The Lord of Hosts -- "Hosts" is a word that means a company of angels, and oftentimes is defined in military terms, as an "army"; specifically the heavenly angelic army, of which The Lord is the commander. That is true. The Lord is a mighty warrior who will exhibit His Might upon the unrepentant, as in Psalm 59:5, You, Lord God of hosts, are God of Israel. Rouse Yourself to punish all the nations; spare none of those who treacherously plot evil.  Again, in Isaiah 28:22, we see that same picture of the Lord of Hosts: Now therefore do not scoff, lest your bonds be made strong; for I have heard a decree of destruction from the Lord God of hosts against the whole land.
     But did you know that Hannah, the mother of the prophet Samuel was the first to call God by this name? And it had nothing to do with His identification as a mighty warrior. In her struggle with barrenness, Hannah had turned to the Lord in prayer. 1 Samuel 1:11 records this: And she vowed a vow and said, “O Lord of hosts, if you will indeed look on the affliction of your servant and remember me and not forget your servant, but will give to your servant a son, then I will give him to the Lord all the days of his life, and no razor shall touch his head.  
     I believe that Hannah understood that the Lord could create from nothing. She knew that every atom and molecule, every cell in her body could be commanded to produce a son just by the voice and command of the Lord of Heavenly Armies. If He spoke it, it would be executed and He would sustain it. This was not a battle to conquer lands, but a battle to create something from nothing, and she believed in the name of Jehovah Sabaoth to see it accomplished.

Jehovah Nissi: The Lord is My Banner -- This name is most closely associated with Moses overseeing the battle between the Israelites and the Amalekites as the ragtag army of Israel fought their way to the Promised Land. In Exodus 17:11, Scripture says, Whenever Moses held up his hand [which held the staff of God], Israel prevailed, and whenever he lowered his hand, Amalek prevailed. When the Israelite men saw this, they rallied behind Joshua, and verse 13 says, And Joshua overwhelmed Amalek and his people with the sword.
     It is important that we recognize that as Israel traveled through the lands of their enemies they knew their God was with them; His very presence was evident in the pillar of fire and the cloud of smoke. But on this day, they knew for the first time, that He was with them in battle. They understood that He fought for them, He led them into battle, He protected them, and He conquered their enemy. It was a day to remember! Exodus 17:15 says, And Moses built an altar and called the name of it, The Lord Is My Banner. 
     So, do you recognize that the Lord is your banner? Do you trust Him to fight for you, to lead you into your spiritual battles, to protect you, and to conquer your enemy, the devil and his demons? And do you raise a banner to Him -- letting the world know that He is your God; that you celebrate and praise Him; making a declaration that you belong to Him? He is our banner, and we are the Lord's!

Jehovah Qanna: The God Who Is Jealous -- God made sure we knew how much store He puts in the covenants He makes with those He calls His own. We first see this name mentioned in the Ten Commandments in Exodus 20... You shall not bow down to them [false gods] or serve them, for I the Lord your God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and the fourth generation of those who hate Me, but showing steadfast love to thousands of those who love Me and keep My commandments. 
     Throughout the Old Testament, God depicts His covenant with Israel in the nature of a marriage. He is a devoted husband, caring for and protecting and providing for his beloved wife. In the person of Jesus, He is even willing to die for her! But He warns her that He will not tolerate her adultery with other gods; there will be consequences as stated in the Ten Commandments. Joshua reiterates this in Joshua 24:19 as He admonishes them to choose whom they will serve: But Joshua said to the people, “You are not able to serve the Lord, for he is a holy God. He is a jealous God; he will not forgive your transgressions or your sins.  
     Do we, in the 21st Century, fully understand that He is still a jealous God, demanding our complete allegiance and devotion? Or do we spread our love around among the false gods of this world -- wealth, power, status, addiction, self? We would do well to remember the warning He has given us -- love Him and Him alone and He will be faithful with a steadfast love. Decide to bow down or serve anyone else but Him, and our generations will suffer separation from Him. 

Jehovah Shalom: The Lord Is Our Peace -- I could find evidence of this name of God only once in the Bible. Yet, I find it interesting that "Shalom" and it's meaning of peace is used quite commonly among Believers. But when we read about the circumstances under which this name of God is revealed in the Old Testament, it carries more significance than we give it today.
     In Judges 6, Gideon is called by God to defeat the Midianites, who have been oppressing the Israelites. In fact, the angel of the Lord greets Gideon by saying, The Lord is with you, O mighty man of valor. This is the speech of war, not peace, as we know it. Gideon doubts that this calling is truly from the Lord and asks for proof. God provides the proof by sending fire to produce a burnt offering upon the meat and unleavened cakes Gideon had placed upon a rock. The Bible records in Judges 6:22-24 that Gideon perceived that he was the angel of the Lord. And Gideon said, “Alas, O Lord God! For now I have seen the angel of the Lord face to face.” But the Lord said to him, “Peace be to you. Do not fear; you shall not die.” Then Gideon built an altar there to the Lord and called it, The Lord Is Peace. To this day it still stands at Ophrah, which belongs to the Abiezrites.
     But that's not the end of the story! The word "Shalom" is a derivative of a Hebrew word that means "sound" or "complete", and in its own sense means "absence of strife". The result of Gideon recognizing Jehovah Shalom was that he no longer doubted that the Lord was leading him; he had no fear to complete assignments God gave him to tear down the altar to Baal and the Asherah poles that accompanied it, and to build an altar to the Lord where they had stood. We must understand the fullness of that name, Jehovah Shalom. It gives us confidence that comes from the harmonious state of body, soul and spirit to receive the power from the Lord to be "mighty men and women of valor". We are not to sit idle in our state of peace, but trust [in confidence and wholeness] that we can carry out assignments from the Lord. 
     Finally, Shalom comes from the root word Shalam, which means "to finish, complete, repay, reward". It denotes perfection in the sense that a condition or action is complete. And once we recognize that perfection and completeness are attributed to the power of God, we know we can enter into a relationship with Him that will provide the power and peace our souls and spirits seek.

    These are just a few of the names of God with which we are most familiar. The next post we will explore less common names, but that are nevertheless accurate portrayals of the magnitude of Almighty God. This may not "stir your soul" as some more exciting topics might, but I would ask you to consider that it pleases our Father when we seek to recognize [and then utilize] His unique and distinguished names. He wants us to know more about Him. And as we begin to incorporate these powerful names in our prayers and daily conversations with Him, I believe we will see a growing manifestation of His presence in every aspect of our lives. Be blessed with the magnificence and greatness of our God!

Proverbs 18:10      The name of the Lord is a strong tower; the righteous man runs into it and is safe.

May 14, 2020

Are You Ready to Be Promoted?

     I decided it would be interesting [and I hoped beneficial] to take a look back at the very first blog post I wrote on December 5, 2011. I wanted to see if there was an inkling that I would grow and mature in my faith, and if I recognized that God had a plan in place when He prompted me to begin the blog.
      I wrote then, as I do now, to encourage people to walk in power and not fear; to strengthen their faith in times of dread and panic. At that time, I was focused on the confusion and calamity I saw occurring in my beloved home country, the United States. Now, nearly 9 years later, many of those issues have not only escalated, but the whole world seems to be on a fast track to destruction.
     At the time, I wrote, "[My husband and I] felt heavenly promptings to re-evaluate everything in our lives....to prepare for economic hard times and radical changes in our society. And it scared me! But instead of giving in to the suffocating fear, I made a choice to face it. I would not give up that easily in all I believed in!" I went on to share the new knowledge I was gathering: learning what derivatives were; knowing all about the Federal Reserve and Central European Banks; learning how to bake bread from wheat I ground myself; starting to dehydrate food, and knowing how to properly handle a firearm." As you can see, I was pretty much focused on what I could see happening in the world, and was proud of my identification as an American.
     But, there it was -- one little sentence that would make the difference in the path I would take... "I now read my Bible every day, not just on Sundays." That might seem an innocuous statement, but without taking that step, my life and my purpose would be very different today. You see, even though my line of sight was expanding to see the world from a Biblical perspective, I had no real knowledge of what God's ultimate purpose in all this chaos could be. I was rock solid in knowing that Jesus Christ was my Savior, but where was I to go from there? I certainly knew my church's doctrine, but as I began to read the Bible for myself, that line of sight went from being a straight line to what I was hearing from the pulpit to an ever-expanding vision of what God wanted me to know. And it often conflicted with what I had been taught.
     I began seeing national and world events from a Biblical worldview, and I began to come into the fullness of my being: body, soul and spirit. Through my study, the Lord activated my spirit to receive greater revelation of who He was and why He came to earth. And with that, came the knowledge of who I was created to be! And it wasn't in some safe, respectable, and sizable position in the world.

     It was in 2014 that I wrote a blog based on a conversation that my husband, Mark, and I had about how hard it is for most people to face their fears. We agreed that the times in which we were living were causing everyone to be confronted by their fears, whether they wanted to or not.  [If anything, those fears are even more pronounced today]. And then he gave me this picture that is even more relevant today: "Everyone is being moved on a chess board to where God wants them. He is moving us out of our comfortable, safe systems to where we're an outlier, and we don't have any support system BUT God."
     In 2014, I wrote, "In case you aren't familiar with the term outlier, it means "a person (or thing) situated away, or detached from, the main body or system."  And it is a term that we Americans do not easily embrace.  We are comfortable being a part of the system, where we can hide our insecurities and worries in the midst of the group dynamics.  That is especially true of American Christians."
     My how things have changed since then! We have been isolated from that system of group dynamics, and now are forced to face our fears alone. And it's not just fears surrounding American economics, but we now have a pandemic controlling our lives, along with hints at coming famine and war. The veil is being pulled back to reveal all the machinations of the Enemy to destroy mankind -- from the duplicity in our own government to man-made viruses unleashed to infect the world population.
     But, I'm not writing this post to bring discouragement or more fear. Instead, I want to further enlighten you regarding Mark's chess analogy. I was astounded when I researched the rules and objectives of the game of Chess. There are two parts of the Chess-playing process: 1) setting and achieving long-term positioning advantages during the game, and 2) tactics, which concentrate on immediate maneuvers.  Another way to look at it is Chess strategy is concerned with evaluation of Chess positions and with setting up goals and long-term plans for the future play. That is exactly what God is doing in His "Plan for the Ages."
      His goal in sending Christ, who is represented by the King piece, was to re-establish Heaven's dominion over the earth; first through Jesus as the Son of God, and then to see that authority transferred to us, His children (represented as the Pawns on the chess board). God ultimately evaluates and moves the other pieces on the board in accordance with achieving that goal. His goal has never changed since He made man in His image ... we were to safeguard earth as a colony of the Kingdom of Heaven; to reflect the nature and culture of our true Homeland.
     And, yes, we are the Pawns in this analogous game of chess, the weakest and least mobile of all the pieces on the board.  Throughout the game, it is the Pawns that are most easily captured and removed from the game.  But I found it extremely insightful to find, written within the "Strategy and Tactics" portion of the official Chess instructions, this tidbit of wisdom:  At the end of the game, when most of the pieces are gone, Kings typically take a more active part in the struggle, and Pawn promotion is often decisive in determining the outcome.
     What is "Pawn Promotion"?  In short, it is the advancement or elevation of a Pawn to a prominent position that has an effect on the endgame.  And it usually happens at the point in the Chess match when there are very few pieces left on the board. Now, I don't know how many pieces God has left on the board of this Cosmic Chess Match with the devil, but I guarantee you that He wants to promote you to play a part in the final victory -- that you don't have to be captured by the Enemy's subterfuge or removed from the game. In fact, I believe we are seeing King Jesus taking a more active part in our struggles, and I also believe that you were created to play a decisive role in this endgame between Good and Evil.
     Which brings me to where we find ourselves today. God is moving us where He wants us, as true ambassadors of His Kingdom on earth. And I absolutely believe that He is moving us into positions of spiritual power to effect the results in this spiritual battle for the world. And as we find ourselves removed from our comfortable systems, we may feel as though we are the lone "Pawn" on the board.  Jesus promised us that following Him would be risky and costly; often a lonely journey. But remember that God has placed you there and He is taking a more active part in your life. He is "promoting" you to become a part of His system. 
      Is it scary to find yourself being moved into a new position? You bet it is!  But you have two choices. You can either retreat into the cocoon of your safe system (whether it be your national identity, your church, your family, or the recesses of your mind) and fail to take advantage of the opportunity; OR you can accept your "promotion" and take it one step at a time and let God lead you towards new heights that will glorify Him.
     That's where my journey has taken me .... from someone who [in 2011] was intent on maintaining my security in the world system while I began a pursuit of more of God; to someone [in 2020] who has found so much more in God's Kingdom system, which is restful, secure and trustworthy. I have been moved out of the world system, and I was promoted from a Pawn to a Daughter of the King!
     So, my goal in writing this blog has not changed since its inception -- I am still all about emboldening you to overcome your fears in the world, whatever they may be. But, I can now offer you more than hope and encouragement -- I can assure you that you have a purpose for advancing God's endgame of defeating Satan's kingdom of darkness and re-establishing His Kingdom on earth. And what an honor it is to be examined and found worthy of advancing the game!

Psalm 143:10     I just want to obey all you ask of me. So teach me, Lord, for You are my God. Your gracious Spirit is all I need, so lead me on good paths that are pleasing to You, my one and only God!

May 11, 2020

Will You Want To Go Along "For The Ride"?

     I had the occasion to hear an interview between Joe Rogan, the unorthodox podcast host, and Elon Musk, the equally unconventional scientific and technology entrepreneur; perhaps most famous for his futuristic car, the Tesla.
     But on this particular day, Musk was willing to talk about an advanced and menacing technology that had my spirit screaming warnings. But, this wasn't the first time I had been alarmed by Elon Musk. Back in 2015, I wrote a blog post in which I mentioned that "Musk and his tech giant buddies have pledged $1 billion to save humanity from destruction by artificial intelligence." At the time, Musk seemed to feel it important enough to sound the alarm and hoped "to keep big companies like Google or Facebook — both of which have huge artificial intelligence operations — from getting too much power from "super-intelligence systems"."
     Apparently, he got over that fear in the next couple of years, because just last year he announced a start-up company called Neuralink, that is ready to "begin outfitting human brains with faster input and output by next year". Well, that time is nearly here! Neuralink is working on technology that’s based around “threads,” which it says can be implanted in human brains with much less potential impact to the surrounding brain tissue versus what’s currently used for today’s brain-computer interfaces. “Most people don’t realize it, but we can solve that with a chip,” he said at the time.
     Well, just this week, on Rogan's podcast, Musk announced that his company would be ready to implant a neural link in less than a year, with "low potential for rejection". And he said there's nothing to worry about ... such primitive devices exist now, such as devices that offer deep brain stimulation for Parkinson's disease, for example. He said it looks like this: you take out a chunk of skull, insert the electrode threads into the brain. "You wouldn't know anyone had it, and it can interface with any part of the brain that has anything wrong with it". My first thought was, "Who decides what is wrong with a brain, and what qualifies as wrong?" Will my beliefs in religious freedom, the right to life, or that there is a God one day be considered wrong and need deep brain stimulation to change my way of thinking?
     If you think I'm over-reaching, please think again. In 2013, Ray Kurzweil, former director of engineering at Google [and scary futurist], was quoted as saying this: "We can now see inside a living brain and see individual inter-neural connections being formed and firing in real time. We can see your brain create your thoughts and thoughts create your brain. A lot of this research reveals how the mechanism of the neocortex works, which is where we do our thinking. This provides biologically inspired methods that we can emulate in our computers. We’re already doing that. The deep learning technique that I developed uses multilayered neural nets that are inspired by how the brain works. Using these biologically inspired models, plus all of the research that’s been done over the decades in artificial intelligence, combined with exponentially expanding hardware, we will achieve human levels within two decades... We're going to become increasingly non-biological to the point where the non-biological part dominates and the biological part is not important any more. In fact the non-biological part [the machine part] will be so powerful it can completely model and understand the biological part. So even if that biological part went away it wouldn't make any difference."
     Are you sufficiently alarmed now? And if that's not enough, Elon Musk told Joe Rogan just this week, "Full AI symbiosis is possible". In case you don't know the definition of symbiosis, it is this: interaction between two different organisms living in close physical association, typically to the advantage of both. Rogan's response? "Once we've experienced being a god, who is going to want to go back to being stupid [read that as "human"]?" Musk seemed to be in agreement, stating, "AI's getting better -- it's a benign scenario now [read as "not harmful". We're already a cyborg to some degree. We interact with our phones and electronic devices, put the data rate is too slow. Right now, we download information at about 100 bits/second (approximately 12.5 bytes). Computers can go 1 million times faster. If you can improve the data rate, you can improve symbiosis between man and machine". (And obviously, that is the goal of his invention).
     As if that wasn't enough to send my spirit into orbit, he went on to say, "There will be a better version of the way we interface with reality; we can aspire to be less wrong. Hopefully, we'll gain more than we lose. We can achieve mind viral immunity, a concept that infects people's minds and eliminates wrong-headed ideas". By this time, I'm yelling at the screen, But who decides what's wrong thinking?
     But it was this statement by which he showed his intention with his company Neuralink: "Super sentient [able to perceive and feel], Artificial Intelligence is inevitable. It is a requirement for survival for us to be symbiotic [with computers]". He then claimed that we are already in a state of symbiosis -- we have a connection with our computers, but that connection is weak. Computers have terabytes of information we use. Why wouldn't we want to connect with them? "If you can't beat them, join them" was his mantra.
     What I wrote in my previous posts is just as true today ... These intelligent scientists and inventors deny the plausibility of our spirit and connection to a living God.  So while vehemently denying the existence of God, they are, in effect, trying to play God. Just like Nimrod and the folks at the Tower of Babel, our modern-day technological geniuses want to become famous by displacing the need for God.  Motivated by pride and arrogance, they have made a name for themselves.  But perhaps they should revisit that section of the Bible and learn of the destruction that was the result of such conceit.  God will not allow His Sovereignty to be usurped; and not only did they not achieve the greatness they sought, but they suffered His Divine Judgment.
      It's not hard to see that the Age of Computers is a tool in the hands of the one who would separate us from our Creator.  But only if we let him! In the midst of all the other craziness going on in the world, it is essential that mankind understand that the Enemy's goal is to usurp man's natural state and produce a machine that we were never meant to be.  We would no longer be made in the image of God, but in the likeness of a machine-driven computer. It is incumbent upon each one of us to decide how far down that road we are willing to go. And we will all have to answer Elon Musk's question ... "Do you want to go along for The Ride"?

Isaiah 47:10    You were secure in your wickedness; you said, ‘No one sees me.’ Your wisdom and knowledge led you astray. You said to yourself, ‘I exist, and there is no one else.’


May 8, 2020

Who Will Be The Remnant?

     WARNING: I'm going to take you on a wild ride today; and my words will most likely be difficult for you to accept. But I ask that you read to the end of the post, and it is my hope that you will ultimately be encouraged.
     Popular among our Christian vernacular these days is the word remnant; a concept that there will be a bold group of Christians who will rise up and be obedient to God's call on their lives, defending His Kingdom on earth and carrying out His will in the midst of great opposition and persecution. The remnant will persevere and endure until Christ returns! In effect, we see the remnant in purely Christian terms.
     As a result of much study in the Old Testament, I have been able to see that God's plan to carry out His redemption for mankind has always been fulfilled through a remnant. So, it makes sense that the final fulfillment of that plan would be carried out by a remnant, too. Following me, so far? But where is the Biblical evidence that the final remnant of the Ages will be Christians?
     Let me build my case for asking that question ... The first mention of a remnant in the Bible occurs in Genesis 45 when Joseph, who was sold into slavery by his jealous brothers, has prospered in Egypt to become the "father of the house of Pharaoh, and ruler over all of Egypt". His brothers [not recognizing him] appear before him to buy food for their starving families and Joseph reveals himself to them, telling them, "God sent me before you to preserve for you a remnant on earth, and to keep alive for you many survivors." Here, we get the idea that a remnant is a group of people destined to survive calamity and catastrophes. And the people of Israel were to be a surviving remnant throughout history. They repeatedly suffered major trials and tribulation that brought them to the brink of extinction, but remained the people whom YHWH, in His mercy, spared to be His chosen people.
     Many of the prophets of the Old Testament prayed for the remnant of Israel to survive their circumstances. Isaiah prayed for the remnant which would be left after the Assyrian invasions. Jeremiah prayed about the plight of the remnant of Jews who fled to Egypt after Jerusalem's capture by Nebuchadnezzar. Micah prophesied about a remnant of the Jewish people who would return after the Exile in Babylon. Zephaniah identified the remnant with the poor and humble of Israel. Zechariah prophesied that a remnant would be present at the time of the coming of the Messiah's kingdom; a remnant that would be put into His fire, refined, and tested. "They will call upon my name, and I will answer them. I will say, ‘They are my people’; and they will say, ‘The Lord is my God’” (Zechariah 13:9).
     So, why am I taking the time to point out the history of the Jewish remnant? First of all, I want you to see what Jesus says in Matthew 15. If you will recall, a pagan Canaanite woman approaches Him about healing her daughter of oppression by a demon. But what is Jesus's response? “I was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.” Did you get that? How many of us, in our Christian faith, have believed that Jesus initially came for all men? Yes, ultimately, Salvation and the Kingdom are offered to all men, but only because the Jews rejected Him, and He later appeared to Paul on the road to Damascus and instructed him to take it to all men! But can you accept that God still has plans to use a remnant of the Jews?
     So, if you're thinking, "Well, the Jews rejected Jesus as the Messiah, so how can they still be a remnant used by God? Paul addresses this in Romans 11. We must remember that the Early Church existed of both Jewish and pagan converts to "The Way" [faith in Jesus Christ as the Son of God, who brought Salvation and the Kingdom to earth]. This faith was not yet identified as "Christianity". So as Paul travels to these small home churches, preaching the Good News of the Kingdom [which requires Salvation to enter into it], he identifies himself as a Jew when he lays out God's plan for all mankind.
     Speaking to his fellow Jews in Romans 11, he says, "I ask, then, has God rejected His people? By no means!...  Do you not know what the Scripture says of Elijah, how he appeals to God against Israel? 'Lord, they have killed your prophets, they have demolished your altars, and I alone am left, and they seek my life.' But what is God's reply to him? 'I have kept for myself seven thousand men who have not bowed the knee to Baal.' So too at the present time there is a remnant, chosen by grace.... What then? Israel failed to obtain what it was seeking. The elect obtained it, but the rest were hardened, as it is written, 'God gave them a spirit of stupor, eyes that would not see and ears that would not hear, down to this very day.' So I ask, did they stumble in order that they might fall? By no means! Rather, through their trespass salvation has come to the Gentiles, so as to make Israel jealous.  Now if their trespass means riches for the world, and if their failure means riches for the Gentiles, how much more will their full inclusion mean!"
      Then Paul switches audiences. In Romans 11:13, he says, "Now I am speaking to you Gentiles. Inasmuch then as I am an apostle to the Gentiles, I magnify my ministry in order somehow to make my fellow Jews jealous, and thus save some of them." 
     And in case this all sounds too mysterious, guess what? Paul actually addresses "the mystery of Israel's salvation [or restoration as it is called in the Aramaic translation). Continuing to speak to the Gentiles in 11:25-29,  he says, " Lest you be wise in your own sight, I do not want you to be unaware of this mystery, brothers: a partial hardening has come upon Israel, until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in.... As regards the gospel [of the Kingdom and Salvation], they are enemies for your sake. But as regards election, they are beloved for the sake of their forefathers. For the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable." I want you to understand that when God declared in Genesis 45 that there would be a remnant of Israel on the earth for "many survivors", He is declaring that there would always be a remnant of Israel as His chosen people. They would survive being taken into captivity by the Assyrians, the Babylonians, the Persians, the Greeks, the Romans, and the Nazis. 
     And will Israel truly be restored to their original position and purpose? Will they be the ones to reveal the Most High God to the world as God intended? As Paul reveals, "God is more than ready to graft back in the natural branches [Israel] when they turn from clinging to their unbelief to embracing faith... they are still greatly loved by God because their ancestors were divinely chosen to be His. And when God chooses someone and graciously imparts gifts to him, they are never rescinded."  And the prophecy of Isaiah will be fulfilled! "Coming from Zion will be the Savior, and He will turn Jacob away from evil. For this is My covenant promise with them when I forgive their sins.” God will make sure He has a remnant of Israel to lead the world to knowledge of Him!
     That is made clear in Revelation 7, when Jesus returns to establish the New Heaven and New Earth: "After this I saw four angels standing at the four corners of the earth, holding back the four winds of the earth, that no wind might blow on earth or sea or against any tree. Then I saw another angel ascending from the rising of the sun, with the seal of the living God, and he called with a loud voice to the four angels who had been given power to harm earth and sea, saying, “Do not harm the earth or the sea or the trees, until we have sealed the servants of our God on their foreheads.” And I heard the number of the sealed, 144,000, sealed from every tribe of the sons of Israel". 
     I tell you all this because I want to be sure that we Christians understand that we have not replaced nor surpassed the remnant of Israel as God's chosen mouthpiece to lead a lost world to Him. Yes, we are grafted in, and until the fullness of that remnant comes to fruition, we have been assigned to carry on the Gospel to the world. Can it be said that there is only a remnant of us that see God's plan, or a remnant of us that are carrying the true message of the Gospel of the Kingdom? Of course! In that sense, a Christian remnant exists and is very important to God's plan. 
     But I would love to see us recognize that there is a growing remnant of Israel that exists now, and through them God is growing closer to execution of His ultimate plan. There is a growing number of Messianic Jews in Israel and around the world that have been unblinded and see Jesus as their long-awaited Messiah. However, Orthodox, Conservative, Reform, and Reconstructionist Judaism has rejected them and they are outcasts. Yet this remnant of Jewish believers is the HOPE of Israel and the Jewish race, and God's grace is empowering this modern remnant to fulfill their destiny. Their numbers are growing and the remnant of Christians who see and understand this are standing together with our Jewish brothers. In the midst of the Enemy's latest plans to discourage and dishearten us, we ought to be celebrating that YHWH is once again preserving a divinely chosen remnant of Israel unto Himself. This foretells that the arrival of the Lord and Savior of all mankind. Hallelujah!

Isaiah 27:6    In those to come, Jacob shall take root and Israel shall blossom and put forth shoots and fill the whole world with fruit.


May 5, 2020

Prayer: A Key To The Kingdom

    This Thursday, May 7th is the National Day of Prayer. Our nation began the tradition in 1775, when the Second Continental Congress called for a day of fasting and prayer at the beginning of the Revolutionary War. It certainly was a time of great calamity, disorder, economic turmoil, and fear of the future; much like what we have experienced throughout our history. That war was followed by the Civil War, two World Wars, decades of war in the Middle East, and now a war against a viral epidemic. As in all major crises, the people of this nation have turned to prayer, imploring God to assist us in our times of trouble.
     Prayer is a natural reaction to our human condition. I would venture that even people who do not claim a relationship with the Most High God, have found themselves at one time or another, asking a Higher Power [than themselves] for help in a daunting situation. That solemn request for help is called prayer, by any other name.
      There is no better example of the effect of national prayer than in the Book of Exodus when we read how “the Israelites groaned under their slavery, and cried out. Out of their slavery their cry for help rose up to God…and God remembered His covenant with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.” Exodus 2:25 says, "God saw the sons of Israel, and God took notice of them." That began thousands of years of a relationship between YHWH and the nation of Israel that would result with the offer of Salvation to the world, and the re-establishment of the Kingdom of God on earth.
     The Bible is full of stories of the power of prayer in manifesting God's will on earth. The prayer of King Hezekiah saved the nation of Israel from destruction by the Assyrians. Moses prays for the deliverance of the Israelites from God's wrath when His plan is to smite them all for worshiping the Golden calf. Zechariah, the priest, prays for a son, and his wife, Elizabeth, bears John the Baptist. The Virgin Mary prays a prayer of thanksgiving, joy, and praise for the honor of giving birth to the Son of God. And Jesus Christ gives us the gift of one of the most powerful prayers for all mankind, the Lord's Prayer.

Prayer is one of the keys that unlocks our power and authority
 -- power that Jesus intended for us to release on the earth
 to see the Father's will done, "as it is in Heaven".
     But Prayer is more than just asking God for help in times of trouble, or to ward off His wrath, or even to praise Him for blessings. There is power in Prayer to see the fulfillment of God's plan and purpose in establishing His Kingdom on earth, and to see honor and glory brought to His Name. In that sense, Prayer is an important "key to the Kingdom".
     When Jesus declares that He will build His Ekklesia [as a governing body of Believers to execute Heaven's government on earth] and the gates of Hades [hell's governing power] would not prevail against it, He backs that up by saying, "I will give you the keys of the Kingdom of Heaven, and whatever you bind [prohibit] on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose [permit] on earth shall be loosed in heaven."
     Read that again! The authority of Heaven stands behind us! The keys to the Kingdom are principles given to all who are born again into the Kingdom as citizens; principles to rule and reign until the return of our King. These keys unlock our power and authority, and provide access to the Kingdom of Heaven. And that access is initiated through Scripture. So, if prayer is one of the keys to gaining access to that power to bind and loose, and to rule and reign, then some of the most powerful prayers we can pray should include Scripture! (See below to join my in scriptural prayer).
     There is no doubt that our nation is in desperate need of prayer by her citizens. Even in the midst of a great spiritual and secular awakening among all Americans, we are assailed on all sides by an insidious virus; growing unemployment; a precarious economy; global threats of war; and secret and vindictive machinations by enemies foreign and domestic upon our government and way of life. 
     We need to approach this coming National Day of Prayer with united hearts and in solemn and humble repentance for our personal and national iniquity; asking our Lord and Savior to intervene on behalf of all others who are seeking His Kingdom in obedience and faith. He has given us righteous Prayer, one of the keys to the Kingdom, and in the powerful words of theologian Charles Spurgeon, "The Lord continues to back up the teaching and acts of His servants, and as long as we abide rightly in Him, we have His sanction to make them valid. The words of His servants, spoken in His Name, shall be confirmed by the Lord, and shall not be, either as to promise or threatening, a mere piece of rhetoric." Let us walk in the power of His Word expressed in prayer! Hallelujah, that we possess one of the most powerful keys to the Kingdom of Heaven!

     Will you join me in this prayer for our National Day of Prayer [taken from the Psalms]? Father in Heaven, we come before Your throne asking for compassion and mercy upon each one of us and upon our nation. Forgive the full extent of our rebellious ways. We know our sins, transgressions and iniquities have led us to this bondage. We repent of not believing Your promises and for straying from Your righteous path. Like spoiled children, we have sought our own desires, and refused to trust in Your wisdom, thinking ourselves above Your counsel and guidance. We have not acknowledged Your miracles and powers that have brought us all this far. We have refused to love You with all our hearts, and we have tested Your patience. We are overcome by our sins against You.
     So, Father, we humbly submit and surrender ourselves to You, asking for Your forgiveness and grace. We ask that You cleanse our spirits and turn our hearts back to You. You are our righteous God who helps us like a Father. Here us in our time of distress as we bless Your Holy Name! Arise, Lord! Deliver us, our God! Strike all our enemies on the jaw; break the teeth of the wicked. You sit enthroned over this world and we ask that you site enthroned over this nation once again, Lord! Be enthroned as our King forever! Lord, give strength to endure what is coming against us, Your people,  and bless us with Your peace and Your enduring Love! We thank you that You have given us this mighty Key to Your Kingdom, and we loose all of Heaven's blessings upon this nation and we return her to You! Amen!

If you desire to know more about the Keys to the Kingdom, please order my newly released book, "Through A Kingdom Lens: Rediscovering What The Church Lost".


May 2, 2020

A Page From Satan's Playbook

     I feel like it's déja vu all over again. Yet, I shouldn't be surprised because Satan just uses the same old playbook over and over, because it works! Let me explain ... I am blessed to have friendships with people of all generations. And lately, the thirty-somethings are beginning to awaken to what's going on behind the curtain with this virus pandemic. They are sending me links to papers by the Global Business Network, subsidized by the Rockefeller Foundation, and with chapter titles like this: LOCK STEP: A World of tighter top-down government control and more authoritarian leadership, with limited innovation and growing citizen pushback. 
     As Americans are beginning to protest government control of their lives it's hard to ignore the reality that this plague has affected millions. We are now being warned of food shortages, and the drums of war are being hinted at. Let me see.... in just the last few months we have experienced a global plague. Famine is becoming a very real threat [and not just to third-world countries] -- meat is being rationed in our country, even as I write, and dairy cows have been slaughtered, along with millions of pigs and chickens. And wars and rumors of war are whispered among "those in the know". Where have I  heard that before? Oh, yeah, they are the beginnings of birth pangs that Jesus talks about in Matthew 24. These world events pretty much resemble the four horsemen of the apocalypse in Revelation 6, too -- the red horse symbolizing war and bloodshed; the black horse is famine; and the pale horse is pestilence and death.
     But, I'm not writing to say that we should get ready for the Tribulation, or that the End of the World is here. To be honest, I'm not interested in predicting when that time will come -- no one knows except our Father, not even Jesus, Himself. So, I'm more focused on being alert to what the Enemy's agenda and playbook are, so that I can endure to the end [whenever it is] and be an overcomer. And that means I want to help others be able to see what is happening in the world from a non-political standpoint. We must be able to see in the spirit, and see what is going on behind the dirty veil that the devil is so good at presenting to the general population.
     At the beginning of this post, I mentioned that it feels like déja vu. I say that because beginning in 2014, I was writing about the undermining of our nation's Constitution, our republic, and our basic civil rights; that we were seriously eroding the truth that "all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, — That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness." I remember having to memorize this paragraph from the Declaration of Independence in my elementary Social Studies classes, but now I see that "new Government" as being the Kingdom of God, with the faithful acting as the Ekklesia [governing body of Believers acting as representatives of the Heavenly government of the Father]. But there is a spiritual force that doesn't want to see that happen.
     Back in 2014, I made mention of a political activist and theorist named Saul Alinsky. He wrote a book in 1971 titled Rules for Radicals in which he subscribed to 12 rules about how to successfully run a movement for change. That little book has greatly influenced our social and political climate for the last 50 years. And I find it most notable for the dedication of the book, in which Alinsky writes, "Lest we forget at least an over-the-shoulder acknowledgment to the very first radical ... the first radical known to man who rebelled against the establishment and did it so effectively that he at least won his own kingdom -- Lucifer".
     There you have it .... the allusion of the kingdom of darkness versus the Kingdom of God. And the rules which Alinsky promoted certainly mimic Satan's agenda and methodology. To begin with, there is rule #3, which states "Whenever possible, go outside the expertise of your Enemy. Look for ways to increase insecurity, anxiety, and uncertainty". The way in which the so-called "experts" have disseminated [dis]information about this virus has resulted in the loss of freedoms that we have taken for granted. This falls right in line with Satan as the Father of Lies whose modus operandi is Deception and false accusations. 
    Another rule of the social and political radicals, as well as the first radical, Lucifer, is "The threat is usually more terrifying than the thing itself". That's certainly true of the Covid-19 scare. The original estimation of deaths in America was 2.2 million or more. As of this date, the number is just shy of 64,000. Please understand that I am not making light of that number. Any death is significant, but you can see how this strategy parallels Satan's strategy of getting us to worry about things that haven't even happened yet, or that are far less devastating than he has given us to imagine. Satan's goal is to demoralize Christians into a state of passivity, resulting in his kingdom continuing to dominate the earth. 
     Rule #12 of Rules for Radicals is "Pick the target, freeze it, personalize it, and polarize it". That's pretty much what Satan did to Job, isn't it? He cut off Job's support network, and isolated him from sympathy. He attempted to get Job to turn against the very One who believed in him and had blessed him, and would be there to restore him. 
     These are just a few of Alinsky's rules for instituting social change, and it's not hard to see them at work in our current situation, and see them as similar to Satan's tactics. But let's not forget another diabolical tactic known as the Hegelian Dialect. In short, here's how it works .... Step number one looks like this: Our Enemy knows that, instinctively, people won't go for restricted freedoms, so they cause a problem [that didn't naturally occur] which is step number two, which causes panic and conflict. Then they come up with step number three: a solution to solve the manufactured problem, which turns out to be their original goal [i.e., restricted freedoms]. The people will embrace it because they just want the panic and conflict to go away. 
     For example, we can see this scenario in the world ... a man-made virus being unleashed on the world, causing death, panic, destroyed economies, and loss of jobs. With the threat of an on-going pandemic, the masses will clamor for a solution and agree to mandatory vaccines. In the Spirit, we see that Satan desires men to doubt God in the midst of this pandemic; sending spirits of fear and abandonment to invade our isolation, and causing us to seek solutions in our own power instead of pressing into the power of God in us to help us endure. He wants us to trust ourselves, or human leaders, more than we trust our Father and Savior. It's all about perpetuating Satan's kingdom of darkness and stopping the advance of God's Kingdom on the earth.
     But, we must cling to the truth that we exist in Christ, who is a safe realm that we can step into and be protected during this storm. And we need to walk in our identity in the Kingdom. Our authentic citizenship is in Heaven, seated next to Christ, the King of all Creation -- we are temporary [and secondarily] citizens of this world. We must not get distracted from anything that Satan aligns with in order to divert us from our purpose in this life. We have a destiny that surpasses whatever we may experience during our short lifetime in this realm called earth. 
     We were made for eternity, but we have a job to do while we're here in our temporary home. So, Satan and his minions can develop all the rules and radical ideas they can imagine. But they will never defeat God's sovereign plan for His people or this planet. He will rule and reign as King, and Satan's radicals will pay the price for their rebellion unless they choose to be redeemed. So, don't get discouraged! It may seem like dark days are ahead of us, and we wonder when this nightmare will end. But this is our opportunity to persevere for the Kingdom of God; spreading the Good News that the Light of Heaven has brought a promise of our deliverance into the realm of the Kingdom of God. Let us be about our Father's business until our Lord returns!

Isaiah 9:2      The people who walked in darkness have seen a great Light; those who dwelt in a land of deep darkness, on them has Light shone.