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

Showing posts with label Learning from the Bible. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Learning from the Bible. Show all posts

April 22, 2024

How Will You Receive the Bible's Prophecies? Are They Our Warning Signs?

I have always been intrigued with the prophecies the Lord gave to His messengers, the prophets, and what they are to mean to us in the 21st Century. We are all familiar with the Messianic prophecies that have been fulfilled: the Christ child would be born in Bethlehem (Micah 5:2); He would be born of a virgin (Isaiah 7:14, Matthew 2:1); He would be a healer of the blind and downtrodden (Isaiah 35:5-6); He would be despised and rejected by men, and wounded for our transgressions, like a lamb led to the slaughter (Isaiah 53); He would be resurrected from the dead and ascend into heaven (Mark 16); where He sits at the right hand of God, with all angels, authorities, and powers made subservient to Him (1 Peter 3:22). What blessings of hope these bring to us!

So, do we, as modern-day Christians, read all prophecies in the Bible as predictions of future events that will happen? The problem is that we've never learned -- or been taught -- [in the Church] how we are to rightly discern the predictive truth of prophecies? If the Lord gives a prophet a message to share with the people, can we assume that it will happen? And can a prophecy in the Old Testament [which was fulfilled] also apply to us in the present? There seem to be similarities in ancient prophetic world events that coincide with what we're seeing in 2024. Are those prophetic outcomes meant to be warnings to us? How does God want us to perceive our truth in His prophet's messages?

For instance, ancient Babylon has long been considered [by theologians and Biblical commentators] to be a "type" for wicked nations and governments that rebel against God. And I have certainly written about the obvious parallels in Revelation 18 between ancient Babylon and New York City. Since God doesn't specifically tie the two together, are we to recognize the shared sins, yet dismiss the possible judgment? Or has God intended for His Word to be examined and researched by righteous people in the hopes they can receive His warning of judgment? Prophecies -- are they meant to "predict the future", or are they simply warning signs; or both?

Interestingly, as I've contemplated these questions, I have come to realize that all of the above are possible, and a lot of the outcomes depend on people. The prophets shared what the Lord had spoken to them at the time about how things could be in the future (either judgment or blessings), depending on what people decided to do. Predicted punishment could be avoided if the people repented; or a predicted blessing could be withheld if they continued to do evil. Because God is sovereign, He reserves the right [and the possibility] to change direction at any time -- even after the prophet speaks a blessing or a curse!  

Scripture makes that very clear in Jeremiah 18:5-10 ... Then the word of the LORD came to me: Can I not do with you, O house of Israel, just as this potter has done? says the LORD. Just like the clay in the potter's hand, so are you in my hand, O house of Israel. At one moment I may declare concerning a nation or a kingdom, that I will pluck up and break down and destroy it, but if that nation, concerning which I have spoken, turns from its evil, I will change my mind about the disaster that I intended to bring on it. And at another moment I may declare concerning a nation or a kingdom that I will build and plant it, but if it does evil in my sight, not listening to my voice, then I will change my mind about the good that I had intended to do to it.  

I don't know about you, but I can clearly see that we might identify as the nation that God built, but since we've quit listening to His voice, we thereby face the very real possibility that He has changed His mind about continuing to do good to us. This is a very explicit warning to all nations! Prophecies like this one are not predicting an unavoidable future, but hopefully pierce the hearts of people to change their behavior and activate their will to avoid the predictive outcome. 

For those who doubt the accuracy or purposes of Biblical prophecy, how do you explain Daniel's inerrant dream of the four empires from Babylon to Medo-Persia to Greece to Rome? He even predicted that there will be a final, Divine Kingdom that will never be destroyed. The truth that these empires really existed in history, just as Daniel prophesied, gives credence to the importance of learning from Bible prophecy. So what are we to do in the midst of a world that seems to be sliding ever further towards violence, destruction, and moral decay? Is there value in reading what God had to say through His prophets in similar times? Can we get clues as to whether we are headed towards blessings or judgment/curses? And can we discern how to avoid any judgment that are due to mankind's rebellious nature?

Let's consider the Book of Habakkuk. In the first chapter, Habakkuk talks to God about his concerns that God is going to use the Babylonian empire (called the Chaldeans) to bring judgment on Judah because of their sins. Let's listen in on parts of their conversation: 

Habakkuk:  O LORD, how long will I call for help and you will not hear? I cry out to You, "Violence!", yet You do not save. Why do You make me see iniquity, and cause me to look on wickedness? For destruction and violence are before me; strife continues and contention arises. Therefore, the law is ineffective and ignored and justice is never upheld, for the wicked surround the righteous; therefore justice becomes perverted.

[The LORD replied,] "Look among the nations! See! Be astonished! Wonder! For I am doing something in your days -- you would not believe it if you were told. For behold, I am raising up the Chaldeans [who rule in Babylon], that fierce and impetuous nation who march throughout the earth to take possession of dwelling places that do not belong to them... They all come for violence; their horde of faces move [eagerly] forwards, they gather prisoners like sand... They will sweep by like the wind and pass on. But they will be held guilty. They [and all men] whose own power and strength is their god".

Habakkuk: Are you not from everlasting, O LORD, my God, My Holy One? ... Your eyes are too pure to approve evil, and You cannot look favorably on wickedness. Why then do You look favorably on those who act treacherously? Why are you silent when the wicked destroy those more righteous than they? ... I will stand at my guard post and station myself on the tower; And I will keep watch to see what He will say to me, and what answer I will give [as His spokesman] when I am reproved. 

Then the LORD answered me [Habukkuk] and said, "Write the vision and engrave it plainly on tablets so that the one who reads it will run. For the vision is yet for the appointed [future] time. It hurries toward the goal [of fulfillment]; it will not fail. Even though it delays, wait [patiently] for it, because it will certainly come; it will not delay. Look at the proud one, his soul is not right within him. But the righteous will live by his faith [in the true God]. Moreover, wine is treacherous and betrays the arrogant man, so that he does not stay at home. His appetite is large like Sheol, and he is like death, never satisfied. He gathers to himself all nations and collects to himself all peoples [as if he owned them].

Will all these [victims of his greed] not take up a taunting song against him, and in mocking derision against him say, 'Woe [judgment is coming] to him who increases that which is not his -- how long will he possess it? And woe to him who makes himself wealthy with loans. Will your creditors not rise up suddenly, and those who collect from you awaken? Then you will become plunder for them..."   

You get the picture, right? Yes, this is a prophecy against the kingdom of Judah who received judgment because they had fallen into idolatry and forgotten the God who had delivered them from Egypt and blessed them in the Promised Land. 

Now, you can stop there and look at this from a purely historical perspective. Or you can receive it as a warning to our own nation who suffers from the same sins -- we have become proud; the soul of our nation is sick. Our leaders have become drunk on their arrogance and do not take care of those at home. Their hunger for power and wealth is huge; they are never satisfied. We have acted as if we own the world, doing to other people and nations what we please, adding to our wealth. But how long will we possess the blessings we have accumulated? We owe trillions of dollars in debt and we see our creditors chomping at the bit to collect. Was the Lord's warning to Habakkuk meant for us, too? "You will become plunder for them".

How will you receive these prophecies? It is up to you. You can choose to see them as fixed and literal [for another time], and therefore of no significance to us. Or you can do what Habakkuk did... Live by your faith in the One True God, and let them strengthen you and anchor you. Stand at your guard post; become a watchman to see what God will say to you and have you speak to those with ears to hear. 

We must receive the truth that God did not speak to His prophets so that His Word would die in the hearts of the spiritually dead. I believe that He intended -- and expected -- that His prophetic words be shared through all generations; especially those that included warnings to His people about the consequences of choosing the path of wickedness over the path of righteousness. 

It's true that God never changes. He judges righteously and we can receive His blessings or we can receive His judgment and wrath. His prophecies make it plain and simple that it's up to us. Heed the warnings! Pray and Repent for our nation, that we might avoid God's judgment and change His mind about what we deserve! 

Habakkuk 3:2      O LORD, I have heard the report about You and I fear. O LORD, revive Your work in the midst of the years, in the midst of the years make it known; In wrath, remember compassion and love. 






January 7, 2024

The Importance of God's Word in Unsettling Times

There are so many reasons that God's Word is vital in times of trouble. But before I begin my reasons why, we need to examine the exegesis of what we mean by "God's Word". And naturally, we Christians understand the Bible to be God's Word to us; His expressed [or written] message to mankind. "Word" in Greek is Logos and implies the Divine reason/thought that gives the cosmos its form and order. That's what the Bible means when it says in John 1:1-2, In the beginning was the Word. And the Word was with God and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. The "He" in this passage is telling us that Jesus is also "the Word"; He represents and embodies the complete message of God to all men. 

So, here we have the idea that both Jesus and the Bible are God's Word. They are connected because the Bible is literally all about Jesus -- if you diligently read it and study it, you will find Him on every page. Paul gives us the duality of that concept when he says, "I became a minister according to the stewardship from God that was given to me for you, to make the word of God fully known"

In other words, Paul is telling Believers that it is his job to make the word (Jesus) known to them as the message from God to mankind. He can accomplish that through teaching from the collection of writings that scholars most commonly accept as written, [beginning with Genesis], around 1400 B.C. until Malachi was written, approximately 450 B.C. -- what we know as the Old Testament. That is the written word of God.

But Paul also wants them to understand that the Word of God encompasses more than what's written on the page. God had been speaking into mankind for centuries, revealing Himself in various ways -- in His creation; through the prophets He called into service; through Scripture [of course], and now the Person of His Son, Jesus Christ. But by the time that Paul is teaching this truth, Jesus has been crucified and risen. So, Paul wants it clearly understood that God continues to reveal Himself through the Holy Spirit, who will teach us a deeper understanding of what is written on the pages of Scripture. That concept sees the Word of God, as spiritually revealed, or the Rhema Word.

It is an utterance from God to the heart of the receiver via the Holy Spirit, as in John 14:26: But when the Father sends the Spirit of Holiness, the One like Me who sets you free, He will teach you all things in My name. And He will inspire you to remember every word that I’ve told you. In addition, we can see the activity of the Holy Spirit in Hebrews 4:12, For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.  Although the Lord is no longer on the earth, He is still the Word and works through the Holy Spirit, who is living and active in us; separating our soul and flesh from our spirit, and discerning the condition of our heart, that we might clearly hear Jesus and obey His commandments.   

To summarize, Logos is a theological term with a clear reference to Jesus as the Word in the Bible. Rhema is a spiritual encounter with the Word, whereby the principles of the Bible are communicated directly to the heart and spirit of the Believer. The problem is that much of the Church doesn't recognize the Rhema Word or hunger for it. And of course, the Rhema Word must coincide with what is revealed about the Logos in the Bible. I do not believe God or Jesus will speak a word to our hearts or spirits that contradicts His Word in the Bible, but I certainly believe They have a desire to illuminate the Word to those who will receive it.

So why have I taken such pains to elucidate the fullness of this term "Word of God"?  It's so that as we traverse these difficult times in the modern world, we know how to engage and bind ourselves to the Word of God, in all its fullness; to remain grounded and connected to our lifeline [both the Bible and Jesus] when confronted with conflict and dangerous situations. It is important to understand how to do that. 

So, I invite you to consider the following passage in the Bible. I think it expresses much better than I can, what I am talking about ... For we did not receive the spirit of this world system but the Spirit of God, so that we might come to understand and experience all that grace has lavished upon us. And we articulate these realities with the words imparted to us by the Spirit and not with the words taught by human wisdom. We join together Spirit-revealed truths with Spirit-revealed words.  Someone living on an entirely human level rejects the revelations of God’s Spirit, for they make no sense to him. He can’t understand the revelations of the Spirit because they are only discovered by the illumination of the Spirit. Those who live in the Spirit are able to carefully evaluate all things, and they are subject to the scrutiny of no one but God (1 Corinthians 2:12-15, The Passion Translation).  

To us in the 21st Century, this should tell us that there is a valid connection between revelation from God (Spirit-revealed truths) and the Bible (Spirit-revealed words). They are meant to work together to bring us into greater intimacy with the Father and to guide us to not only fulfill our purpose for the Kingdom that Jesus came to establish, but defend it against the spiritual forces that want to obstruct it. And here's an amazing truth that we need to be exceedingly grateful for ... the heroes of the Old Testament had access to the Holy Spirit when God sent Him upon them, but we have been blessed that the Holy Spirit is with us always, living inside us! 

I recently read an interesting article on kingdom citizens.org. Consider that Daniel, in his service to God, did not have the Holy Spirit's presence in him. But he did make obedience to God's Word his fundamental guide. Even when King Darius decreed that no man could pray to any other god but him, Daniel continued to remain obedient to God's command that "You shall have no other gods before Me", by praying towards Jerusalem three times a day. He is an example that no conflict, no law or decree can change the truth of God's Word. Daniel presents a pretty good challenge to the 21st Century believer. If he was willing to stake his life on following God's commands -- no matter what -- and without the Holy Spirit as guide and counselor inside him, how much more should we be able to stand and occupy in times of trouble? 

In the New Testament, the Disciples Peter and John also show us who and what should take priority in our lives. Just like Daniel, they ran up against man-made laws; laws that forbid them to teach about Jesus. They had a decision to make! Would they choose man's law over the truth they knew of the Word -- that He had died for our sins and rose to sit at the right hand of the Father to intercede on our behalf? Or would they continue to witness about the Word, and listen to the Holy Spirit, who teaches us and reveals the power of the Gospel? "We ought to obey God rather than men" was their answer -- not to be rebellious and sow discord and chaos into the society, but to remain obedient to God's law, when man's law went against it.

As our spirits become increasingly aware that conflict is on the rise and may become unavoidable, I know it will not be easy. In our flesh, the Enemy will attack us with fear, doubt, anxiety, and unbelief. But I want to encourage you to make the Word of God your foundation in the midst of the uncertainty, confusion, and disorder. We're already seeing, that in so many areas, wrong is now right; bad is now good. Like Daniel and Peter and John, ask yourself, What does God call me to do in this situation, according to the Bible? What am I hearing from the Holy Spirit?  When you know the Word, both in Scripture form, and in your personal, intimate relationship with Jesus the Word, you will find that you have a foundation to stand on; one that strengthens you, gives you strategies, and provides stability in unsettling times. We will overcome!

#understandingtheword #whatislogosword #whatisrhemaword #kingdomcitizens #obeyGodorobeyman #holyspiritinus #holyspiritinoldtestament #holyspirit  #weoughttoobeyGod #Jesusistheword #revelationofthebible #spiritrevealedtruth #danielsobedienceinthebible

Isaiah 55:11    "So shall My Word be that goes out from My mouth; it shall not return to Me empty, but it shall accomplish that which I purpose, and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it".



July 10, 2023

PETA and Artificial Intelligence Co-Author New Bible Version of Creation!

I hesitate to say that I have "seen it all", but a headline on The Christian Post website titled PETA sells vegan-friendly AI Bible rewrite of the Creation story, certainly pushes the bounds of absurdity. The article by Ian M. Giatti, reports that PETA used ChatGBT to steer an AI developed version of the Book of Genesis to support their animal rights message.

First of all, it must be recognized that ChatGBT is an AI software platform that ... surprise! ... has bias built into it based on the source data that is feeding it, and has the ability to modify itself according to corrective information and algorithms input by its human handlers. So, any logical thinking human should be mindful of the predisposition and prejudice of any person, group, or organization presenting information via AI and/or ChatGBT. 

That being said, just how is PETA using AI to alter the text of Genesis in their 75-page digital download, and what is the revised "word" they are promoting? Mr. Giatti records several instances of changed wording, along with deliberately deleted passages to promote their version of the Creation story. I'll share some of them, point out the truth of the Bible, and an ulterior motive for their false variation of Genesis.

Giatti states, "According to PETA, 'The message in Genesis is that God created every sentient being. He saw that they were good, and He gave them greens for sustenance' ". Ok, let's break this seemingly simple sentence down. The word sentient means "able to perceive or feel things; having a conscience".  By using the words sentient being, PETA is implying that God made humans and animals as equals. God very specifically refers to the animals as "beasts" or "creatures". That is an important distinction that has been obscured in the AI wording of this interpretation. Furthermore, there is the reference that He gave them greens for sustenance. In other words, PETA wants the readers of this new Genesis account to believe that mankind is meant to follow vegetarian practices. There is much to understand about God's instruction in the Bible regarding what is acceptable to eat. Let me try to simplify our understanding by pointing out a few Scriptures...

Yes, in the beginning God revealed that He provided plants as food for both man and animals (Genesis 1:29-30). PETA and AI stop there in their narrative. They do not reveal that after Man's Fall and the Flood, God changes His plan, and tells Noah in Genesis 9:3, Every moving thing that lives shall be food for you. And as I gave you the green plants, I [now] give you everything. GotQuestions.org points out "Throughout the Old Testament, meat eating was the norm, from the Passover lamb (Exodus 12) to the quail that God provided in the wilderness (Exodus 16) to the portions of the animal sacrifices that the priests and Levites ate (Deuteronomy 18). Daniel and his three friends refused to eat the king’s food in Babylon, choosing only vegetables (Daniel 1), but this was probably because there was no guarantee that the meat would have been considered clean according to the Mosaic law. Vegetarianism was not the issue" [my emphasis]. Furthermore, Jesus ate meat when He observed the Passover meal of the sacrificed lamb. 

As Mr. Giatti points out, "Another deviation is the use of plant fibers like hemp and bamboo as clothing rather than animal skins, a significant change from the narrative in Genesis 3 in which God made “garments of [an unidentified animal] skin for Adam and his wife and clothed them” (Genesis 3:21). I believe this is an intentional attempt to disregard the first blood sacrifice in the Bible that foreshadows the inevitable sacrifice of Jesus's blood on the Cross for the forgiveness of our sins. As I noted in my prior blog post, Bible illiteracy in this nation [even, sadly, among Christians] opens the door for deception and delusion [and false belief systems]. Satan would love nothing more than to wipe the truth of the power of the blood of Jesus from the AI-indoctrinated generations to come. 

Perhaps the most grievous misinterpretation centers around the willingness of Abraham to sacrifice his son, Isaac, to show his faith in God. In the PETA/AI version, Abraham's strength of faith is diminished to merely befriending a lamb, rather than any reference to a sacrifice, whether of Isaac or a ram. And among the most absurd additions to the Genesis account is the fabrication that Abraham and Sarah, who are 100 and 90, respectively, decide to add to their family by adopting a dog they name Herbie! If you can pick your jaw up off the floor, here is how the AI passage reads: "As they walked with Herbie, Sarah and Abraham thought of the importance of adopting dogs from shelters and rescue organizations rather than purchasing them from breeders...". How could anyone believe this blasphemous nonsense?!? But believe it they will, because "they refused to love the truth and so be saved".  

When confronted with this false revisionist form of the Bible, PETA President Ingrid Newkirk rationalized it by stating, “The Bible has long been used to justify all forms of oppression, so we’ve used ChatGPT to make it clear that a loving God would never endorse exploitation of or cruelty to animals ... This modern rendering of Genesis is a positive approach to bringing more people to understand God’s message of compassion, a return to the Garden of Eden, if you will,” she said. “This chatbot interpretation of the creation story clarifies and highlights God’s intended message of kindness, gentleness and love for everyone.”

So, now PETA claims to know the mind of our sovereign and God??? It appears to me that they have decided to rewrite God in the image of man! And do they really think they have the right and permission to change God's holy design of Creation that has been believed for thousands of years? It should also be alarming to all Believers that they are soft-pedaling their version to capture the attention of the faith-based public by claiming "Scriptural evidence for what Peta says is God's plans for animals under the stewardship of man". But when they go so far as to proclaim that "a vegan diet is a Kingdom diet", and use the harmony between man and animal in Isaiah 11:6-9 as their justification, the distortion is all too obvious. 

In summary, this is just one more example of how Satan is using technology to put forth AI-scripted theological discourses that will lead the blind and Biblically illiterate down a path of deception. We must educate our youth as to the Truth of the Bible and how to discern the spirit of not only people, but what is being disseminated as coming from God, for many false prophets and teachers are operating in the world today. It is our duty as Kingdom ambassadors, to take a stand; and do not be caught off guard when that results in harassment and tyranny from an increasingly AI-dominant system. But fear not! Jesus will soon come and confront the liars and deceivers, the falsifiers and the fabricators. Stay vigilant! See where technology is taking us, and be ready to stand on solid Biblical ground. We need Believers who see and hear without error! 

Thanks to christianpost.com and got questions.org for the reference material that contributed to this blog post. 

2 Timothy 4:3-5    For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching .... and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander into myths. As for you, always be sober-minded, endure suffering, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry.

July 7, 2023

What Happens When the Bible Is No Longer Publicly Avowed

If you are old enough, you might remember when the school day began with a Bible verse spoken over your school's loud speaker system, and your teacher led the class in a prayer. But the Supreme Court Case Engel v. Vitale (1962) determined that school-sponsored prayer in public schools was unconstitutional. The next year, the case of Abington School District v. Schlemp (1963) limited Bible-reading in public schools, and 17 years later, the Supreme Court ruled in Stone v. Graham (1980) that the presence of the Ten Commandments in schools violated the establishment clause of the First Amendment.

I don't think you have to be particularly wise to understand that Bible literacy began its slow and inevitable decline in our nation. There might be those who say, "So what? It should be a choice of parents whether their children are subjected to religious practices or teachings". But, I think there is a direct correlation between the moral downslide of our nation [and the Western world], and the Bible being celebrated as the historical foundation of our cultural and yes, even political, way of life. As Kurt Hofer, an author for The American Mind website points out, "We have been made to believe that churches and families (and in some cases parochial schools and universities) alone are the only legitimate vessels of Christian expression". That expression does not belong in the public venue. 

And that's where, in Mr. Hofer's opinion, we have been "snookered". In other words, we have been indoctrinated to believe that the principles and teachings of the Bible have no place in the public realm except inside a building. Our laws proclaim that the Bible is not for public consumption, and is no longer for the moral or intellectual instruction and improvement of a nation and its people. But how has that worked for us? The uncoupling of Biblical virtue [understood to be moral excellence] from society and government, and its consignment to personal faith alone, has resulted in a world that has opened the door to the spirits of Chaos and Lawlessness. 

At this important juncture in the history of the United States, we would do well to remember the admonishment of John Adams, a Founding Father and second President of our country: "Our constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other". This sentiment was shared by those who shaped our Constitutional government, with this warning: no matter how well a constitution is constructed, it will not insure freedom and prosperity unless it is supported by a moral, virtuous population. This goes for our nation and all the nations of the world. Remember, without virtue and moral excellence, we get chaos, disruption, lawlessness, and pandemonium.

Just look around the globe today ... rioters are setting fires all over France; the Israeli Defense Force (IDF) just launched the largest military operation in the West Bank in over 20 years; the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant is in the crosshairs of both Russia and Ukraine; the international banking system is on the verge of collapse; the mind-blowing growth of AI threatens the sovereignty of man; a reported 105 million working-age Americans can't find work; the homeless population in our cities is growing and out of control; volcanoes and earthquakes are on the rise; our education system has stolen the ability to critically think from our youth, leading to confusion, anger, and entitlement among many; plus a generation that neither knows or understands our history and the battle for individual freedom that was waged so they could express their views -- even those views that claim to hate all that we stand for. Little do they know that by rejecting a moral Christian foundation, they are subjecting themselves to the chains of tyranny.

But I want to make sure you understand one thing ... Church membership alone will never restore us to a virtuous nation, and God has never asked for that! The purpose of the Bible was to render His instruction on how to live a moral life; lives that were pleasing to Him and could build the foundation of families, societies, nations, and governments that would reflect His standards and principles, making a world that operated like Heaven. But when the Bible is removed from public inspection and influence, the temptation from Evil begins to intrude upon the hearts and minds of men, bringing with it corruption, turmoil, and confusion. These can quickly advance to wickedness, perversion, and depravity when the Bible's standards are absent from a society. And it happens quickly!

In my lifetime, which is just a blink of God's eye, I have seen the innocence of my childhood traded for the grooming of children into a perverse lifestyle. It is incumbent upon those of us who remember the freedom of being an innocent child to stand and fight to return the Bible and its teachings to its honored status in our nation. The future of our children, our culture, and our institution of government will benefit from returning to its guiding principles. We must return to being a virtuous people [and nation] that adhere to the principles of the Bible: to embrace shared morals, and recognize our responsibilities to stand for sacred and timeless decency towards others; protection of the weak; honesty and reliability; and praise for our God who is good and faithful to those who follow His ways. 

Anyone with eyes to see can discern that our nation has drastically changed in the 60 years since the Supreme Court removed the Bible [and its invitation to prayer] from our schools. Do we need any more evidence that we need to reverse the direction we are headed, and return the influence of the Bible to our culture? I applaud and praise the Lord for the signs He is showing us that He is on the move. Through recent Supreme Court rulings; movies like "The Sound of Freedom" and TV shows like "The Chosen"; parents standing up at School Board meetings to protect what their children are being taught -- these are all encroaching [in the spirit] upon the influential mountains of government, entertainment and education. God is fighting with us to take back the dominion we are to hold for the Kingdom of God on earth. Reconcile Your people to You, once again, Father! Establish us as a righteous nation, and guide us into becoming a virtuous land! We repent for being lax and not protecting all that you have given us, and we declare that we are ready to do the hard work to reclaim our destiny! May You smile upon us as a favored nation once again. Amen!

Job 12:23-25   He makes nations great, and he destroys them; He enlarges nations, and leads them away. He takes away understanding from the chiefs of the people of the earth and makes them wander in a trackless waste. They grope in the dark without light, and He makes them stagger like a drunken man.


June 11, 2022

Inflation: A Biblical and Historical Examination

Inflation is a fact. And it sure doesn't look like it is going to disappear very soon. I feel it is important that we try to understand both the historical and the biblical perspective concerning our nation's problem of runaway inflation. If, as ambassadors of the Kingdom of God here on earth, we are to take back territory from the kingdom of darkness, isn't this as good as any area to reclaim? I will begin by telling you that I am not an expert in economics or economic policy. But I'm astute enough to recognize that the financial health of our nation is failing, and our policies are very sick indeed. And I know that this is not how God intends for His people to prosper. So, I wanted to see if history can shed any light on how we got here; and what God's Word has to say about the situation we find ourselves in. So, I hope you will give my layman's analysis some grace, and let's see if we can discover how to pray and take action.

I don't need to tell you that the cost of food and fuel are rising at an alarming rate. These are two of the primary indicators of the stability of a nation's economy. We learned yesterday that the inflation rate, based on the Consumer Price Index (CPI) is 8.6%, the highest in 41 years! But I learned today that this calculation is misleading. I would like to introduce you to Kerby Anderson, president of Probe Ministries, a Biblical ministry that pursues ongoing research to address today's issues through honest and respected Christian scholarship. On his probe.org website, Mr. Anderson explains that "Most Americans are starting to realize that the current inflation rate is different than the Consumer Price Index." What that means is that we are told the inflation rate is 8.6%, when in reality that figure is associated with the CPI. According to Anderson, the reason that this figure is misleading is because it excludes food and fuel costs from its rate of "core inflation", even while the media suggests those very commodities are at the heart of the figure they quote as the inflation rate. (Are you scratching your head like me, about now)? He goes on to say that there are various economic websites that "conclude that the real inflation rate is more than twice the CPI estimate!"

So, what is the projection for the state of our economy (and I would submit, for the existence of our country)? Can history shed any light on our circumstances, and does the Bible offer any clues or advice? First of all, it always seems that the Roman Empire is used as "the gold standard" to measure the success and longevity of nations and societies, as well as their collapse. I went to DailyHistory.org to avail myself of the information included in their article, What Role Did Inflation Play in the Collapse of the Roman Empire. I urge you to read this informative article because the parallels to what we are experiencing will astound you. 

As you will read, Rome's collapse was the result of several factors that combined to create a “perfect storm” of civilizational destruction. Among them is the often over-looked role of inflation. The article asserts that "once the Roman economy was hopelessly ravaged by inflation, the borders of the empire were open for the Huns, Goths, and Vandals to take what they wanted." Sound familiar? 

But at the beginning of the Roman Empire's economy, the value of their currency was literally worth their weight in silver, bronze, or copper. As the Empire grew, so did their economy and they enjoyed the effects of prosperous trade with the world's markets. Sound fiscal policies helped the emperors keep inflation in check. "The money supply increased proportionately with the increase in trade. Taxes were also kept low: each province only paid a one percent wealth tax and a flat tax on all adults. All of this helped keep prices low and the wheels of government moving effectively, but by the end of the second century AD things began to change."

As the article on DailyHistory.org infers, around 200 AD, the Empire suffered a recession, which was compounded by the so-called “Antonine plague,” which was brought back from the eastern provinces by Roman soldiers. Since the plague led to the widespread decimation of the Roman population, wages increased rapidly – much too rapidly. In our current state of affairs, this sounds a lot like "the stimulus packages" that flooded money into our economy. In Rome, the result was a drastic increase on the prices of goods that had never before been witnessed in Rome: inflation was only one percent in the first two centuries AD, but prices doubled after the plague. And to make a long story short, other factors included an influx of people from the countries they conquered, the exponential growth of their military industrial complex, and the devaluation of their currency due to too many coins in circulation. Again, I ask ... sound familiar?

But now, I come to the part of this post that interests me the most. What is the Bible's view on this monetary nightmare that is overwhelming our country? We recognize that our national debt is soaring. Our government is spending more than it is making. It is that simple. We are allowing our southern border to be inundated by unprecedented numbers of people who are being subsidized by the government. Where is that money coming from? It is being printed, not earned through trade. We are swimming in an ocean of debt, both nationally and personally. And what does the Bible tell us is God's opinion on this? I think Proverbs 22:7 sums it up quite nicely: "The rich rules over the poor; and the borrower is servant to the lender." I think "slave to the lender" is more appropriate.

The Bible also warns that both individuals and their government should have honest weights and measures. Proverbs 20:10 tells us "False weights and unequal measures— the Lord detests double standards of every kind." The manipulation of our currency is dishonest and corrupt. It is cheating the American people whose hard-earned money is being confiscated for immoral purposes. But what can we Christians do to minimize the pain of inflation and poor economic policies? We must begin by getting out of debt. The Bible makes it clear that we are to "owe no one anything", "and the wicked borrows but does not pay back". Being free of debt is one of the best ways to avoid the consequences of runaway inflation. We must live within our means, even if our government has not. Sadly, we, like the Roman Empire, have gotten used to our prosperity and instant gratification. Our grandparents saved until they could pay for their needs with cash. If you didn't have the cash, then you learned to live without it. "For which of you, desiring to build a tower, does not first sit down and count the cost, whether he has enough to complete it? (Luke 14:28).

But we have become used to having whatever we want, whenever we want, by swiping a plastic card. When interest rates are low on those credit cards, then paying them off, or at least making the minimum payment, convinces us that it's a good practice. Why should we deny ourselves the pleasures of life? But as we face inflation, recession, and rising interest rates on everything, that pain is about to become palpable. And being a Christian does not forgive us those debts. 

We must also see ourselves in the economic woes of biblical Israel. As Probe.org points out, "God pronounced judgment on the land because the country that once was full of justice had debased the currency and its products. Your silver has become dross, your best wine mixed with water (Isaiah 1:22). People were cheating each other by adding cheaper metals to their silver and by adding water to their wine." Probe.org further explains that "In a statement by someone regarded as one of the most important economists of the twentieth century, British economist John Maynard Keynes noted how inflation affects a nation and its citizens. He said: “By a continuing process of inflation, governments can confiscate, secretly and unobserved, an important part of the wealth of their citizens. He also added, “There is no subtler, no surer means of overturning the existing basis of society than to debauch the currency. The process engages all the hidden forces of economic law that come down on the side of destruction and does so in a manner that not one man in a million is able to diagnose.”

As Americans, we know that there are economic laws that govern the prosperity of our nation. As Christians, we know that God also has moral economic laws, and His laws are higher.  We must not despair nor think that He cannot deliver us from this quagmire in which our greed and corruption have us mired. But we must do our part. We must not live in debt and we must demand that our leaders be moral and upstanding; that they govern with righteousness. As 1 Corinthians 4:2 says, In this case, moreover, it is required [as essential and demanded] of stewards that one be found faithful and trustworthy. We do not need to follow in the footsteps of ancient Israel or the Roman Empire. Do we have the will to make the personal sacrifices needed to set our overspending back on track? Do we have the courage and strength of mind and faith to call our elected officials to account for the trust and responsibility we have consigned to them? I fear we have greatly offended God by the manner with which we have stewarded the blessings He has given us. It's time we repent for our negligence and return this nation to righteousness. Educate yourselves and make the necessary changes that are pleasing in His sight.

Ezekiel 22:12      In you they take bribes to shed blood; you take interest and profit and make gain of your neighbors by extortion; but Me you have forgotten, declares the Lord God.


May 31, 2022

Do You Know You Are Part Of The Tree?

"If you don't know history, then you don't know anything. You are a leaf that doesn't know it is part of a tree". This is a quote from Michael Crichton, famed author of such fabulous novels as Jurassic Park, The Andromeda Strain, and The Great Train Robbery. It's a great quote, and one that relates to my thoughts today.

I want to discuss why I often get frustrated with Christians who don't seem interested in studying the past of our faith in order to understand the significance of God's truth for today or the future. If we're honest with ourselves, we can all see that things aren't right with the world. Some are able to face the dreadful possibilities without fear, while others would rather cling to the knowledge that our destiny is to be in the presence of the Lord at the end of this world. If we don't look too closely at the present, nor make the effort to study the past, then the image of that heavenly future helps us to sleep better at night. But does it benefit our commission from Christ and our responsibilities as citizens of Heaven on earth?

I think we are focused on where we're going instead of where we've come from for a couple of reasons: 1) the Church uses terms like Victory, Hope, We Win, and Glory to describe the environment of the earth at Christ's return because 2) it's too scary to contemplate what the Word of God in the Bible has to say about what will be a harrowing time on earth before His glorious return. And who voluntarily wants to think on the darkness of soul and spirit among earth's inhabitants that will inspire us Believers to adhere to our Hope and Faith? 

So, that brings me to the importance of knowing our history... knowing the history of our families, of our nation, of our Christian faith, of our Bible. True knowledge comes from our experiences; from having gained physical or practical understanding of a subject. If something has not been experienced, how can we say we really know it? Take our faith, for instance. We all agree with the writer of Hebrews who says, "faith is the assurance of things hoped for, and the evidence of things not seen". We may not be able to point to something concrete or tangible and say, there .. that's my faith. But when you share your experiences of trusting God in something you can't explicitly prove, it is the history of those experiences that provide evidence for your ability to have faith and hope.

Which brings me back to Michael Crichton's quote ... If you don't know history, then you don't know anything. You are a leaf that doesn't know it is part of a tree. It is important that we study and understand the history of the Old Testament and the entire Bible. We must not focus only on the end of the story when we are translated into the glorious Presence of our Savior! If we believe that there is purpose and meaning to our lives for the Kingdom of God here on earth, then doesn't it serve us to understand and comprehend how God has evolved His relationship with man from the beginning until this very moment in our lives? And don't we want to learn from the history He shares in His Word about that journey? Doesn't even the leaf on a tree have a connection to the whole system of a tree?

Let us contemplate that whole structure in nature for just a moment. The function of a leaf is to help the plant produce food by converting the energy that comes from sunlight into chemical energy that the tree can eat. But the life of the tree is dependent on so much more! The leaf is supported by a branch, which provides a way for leaves to act as a net for the sunlight. Tree branches will grow to give the leaf the most light, even if that means growing sideways. But branches don't just exist on their own. They grow from the trunk, which provides structure and protection to the delicate network of branches and leaves, and which grows from the root system. The roots support the tree by absorbing water and storing nutrients for the tree. They also anchor the tree to the ground. A healthy root system is essential for the survival of the tree. And then finally, the roots grow from a seed that is planted. The most basic function of a seed is keep the species of the tree in existence. In His extraordinary plan for the world, God designed all the different functionality mechanisms of a tree to work together to keep the tree's embryo inside the seed alive until conditions are optimal for that seed to germinate with some chance of the seedling's survival.

So, can you see that the existence of the tree isn't just dependent on a leaf and it's singular reality and function in space and time? There's a history to its existence... an interdependent synergy between that leaf and all that came before it. It exists because at some point in time a seed was planted that, at just the right time for its survival, it sprouts and forms a root from which the tree springs forth from the earth, forming a trunk that supports the branches and leaves. In a poetic sense, the trunk is the part of the tree that connects the leafy crown to its roots. There is a history of any leaf on a tree that goes all the way back to a seed that was planted. So it is with our existence in God's plan for the earth and His creation of man. And the Bible is that roadmap. How can we possibly think that just focusing on the end game is all that we need to know? 

Just like that leaf on a tree, there is an interdependence in the history of the Bible; the experience of God choosing Abram to be the seed of a faith that would sprout and grow, developing a divine root system that was destined to overcome the obstacles it encountered in the world. And as those roots spread, they grew into a tree and anchored the True Vine that was Christ. And from the foundation of that Vine would grow branches designed to bear much fruit for the Kingdom. But if we don't understand how it all came about, then how can we truly understand that we are part of the whole system and understand what came before us? We cannot simply say we know who we are based on what we look like when we look in the mirror. We are the fruit that was born from all that has happened to that seed of faith that sprouted from Abram! And if we don't understand all the obstacles and battles that came against that faith, then how are we to learn from those struggles and avoid the same pitfalls that the history of the Bible clearly tells us the long line of faithful suffered? 

The Bible and its history are as much a cautionary tale as they are a promise of an eternal life;  they are a guide for those of us who are the descendants of that first seed of faith. Why would we ever think that this history is unimportant to us -- that all we need to know is the ending to the story? We don't need to stay mired in the failures we find in the history, but we should learn from them so we recognize the strategies of the Enemy and can warn others. Yes, our victory is in Christ; and yes, we win in the end. But if we can avoid some of the temptations and circumvent the mistakes God is gracious enough to show us in His Word .... why wouldn't we? And how are we to avoid the traps that those who came before us fell into, if we do not learn from history? "My people perish for lack of knowledge" goes hand in hand with this dynamic. Let's not just be happy to exist as a leaf in the 21st Century, but let us be fed and strengthened in the wisdom and experiences of the whole tree of our faith.

1 Corinthians 10:11   Now these things happened to them as an example and warning [to us]; they were written for our instruction [to admonish and equip us], upon whom the ends of the ages have come.