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

Showing posts with label Mindset. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Mindset. Show all posts

August 9, 2019

Why We Americans Have A Hard Time Understanding The Kingdom of God

      I am guilty, as I'm sure many of you are, of reading my Bible for years and never grasping or perceiving what Jesus meant when He talked about the Kingdom of God. To be honest, it's almost as if, when reading the Word, I was incapable of recognizing that concept, and therefore just ignored it.  I had been taught throughout my Church experience that the primary message of Jesus was the one of Salvation, yet I only find that word used or referenced six times in the four Gospels, and only once by Jesus (He spoke of being "born again in John 3:1-5). Yet, the Kingdom of God is mentioned at least 62 times, and nearly every time by Jesus, Himself. So why haven't I asked the appropriate questions about the Kingdom, or sought more understanding of why my Lord and Savior spoke so much about it? Why haven't I heard the Gospel of the Kingdom of God taught from the pulpits of the churches I have attended? As simple and absurd as it may sound, I believe those answers lie in the fact that we in the Western world, and especially here in America, have no concept of what it means to live in a kingdom or under a King.
     Think about it. Our nation is both a republic and a representative democracy. And that makes a huge difference in our ability to understand the importance of Jesus's declaration that the Kingdom of God has arrived! A republic is ruled by representatives of the citizen body. Modern republics are founded on the idea that sovereignty rests with the people. As a representative democracy, we have a Government by the people, exercised either directly or through elected representatives. And, as a nation, we have adopted Abraham Lincoln's quotation from his Gettysburg Address: "we must ensure that government of the people, by the people, [and] for the people, shall not perish from the earth."
     Can you see that the focus is on "the people" as the arbiter of government? Yet, Jesus clearly said that we should desire to seek and enter the Kingdom of God. And where does the sovereignty and government derive from in a kingdom? Not from the citizens -- but from the King! But most Westerners, and specifically the citizens of the United States, have never lived in a kingdom nor under a king, so we have little idea of what that looks like or how a kingdom is ruled. In fact, our national DNA is founded on rebellion against a kingdom and king! We even wrote a Declaration of Independence from that king, declaring that Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness were inherent rights, endowed by our Creator. And then in that same paragraph, we set the tone for generations of Americans to miss the knowledge that the Bible has tried to impart to us ... there is a Kingdom that we are to enter that will secure all those rights, privileges, benefits, liberty, security, abundance, health, and welfare that we seek as citizens today. But it is a kingdom of heavenly origin, not earthly, and the Ruler of this Kingdom in Heaven determined to establish a colony of His Kingdom here on earth, ruled by men made in His image, serving as Vice-Regents [assistants with power to act when their superior is absent]. 
     To further understand how this "kingdom concept" pertains to the Bible and helps us to comprehend our purpose on this earth, we need to agree that the foundation and qualification of kingship is rightful ownership of land. In a kingdom, the land is the personal property of the king, and it is this ownership right that designates him as Lord [Master]. In a kingdom, all the land within the kingdom belongs to the king. Psalm 24:1-2 tells us, The world and all that is in it belong to the Lord; the earth and all who live on it are His. He built it on the deep waters beneath the earth and laid its foundations in the ocean depths.
     True, Psalm 115:16 says, The heavens belong to our God; they are his alone, but He has given us the earth and put us in charge. Now, to us Greek-minded Americans, we must be reminded that this verse is not saying God gave us ownership of the land called earth. At any time, He could take it back; that would be His exclusive right. When God "gave" us the earth, He did not relinquish His ownership. We possess the earth as a trust, or stewardship. He gave us dominion [authority, jurisdiction, right to govern in His stead] over the earth in order to extend the government of Heaven to this earthly realm. He gave us rulership, but not ownership. It is a privilege to rule this earth, and we must not take it for granted; we will be held accountable to the King for how we manage His kingdom here on planet earth.
     I'm sure some of you can see how the Enemy has perverted that concept in our modern era. We have segments of our population who sound the alarm that we are not good stewards of our planet and demand that the health of the planet be our top priority. There are also church denominations who preach a "green gospel" about caring for the planet. I agree that we are to be good stewards of the earth and environmental issues should not be ignored. But I'm left wondering if these people understand that the earth is not their land; that it actually belongs to [and is owned by] the King of Heaven? 
     But back to my original premise -- there is a struggle for us in the Western world and America to truly understand the Gospel of the Kingdom; the Good News that Jesus came to reinstitute the government of Heaven on earth through the rulership of Saved men. The Cross and faith in the risen Christ is the doorway [entry] back into the Kingdom of God on earth that was first established in Genesis and which was relinquished in the Garden of Eden. Jesus went to the Cross to restore the Kingdom of God on earth and to restore our rightful role as ambassadors of Heaven's kingdom. In essence, He came to earth to declare that He was King; that a King had come, a Kingdom had arrived, and this Kingdom was available to anyone who wanted to enter.
     At this point, it is very important that we understand our identity within this Kingdom. In John 1:12, the Bible says, But those who embraced Him and believed in His name were given authority to become the children of God! In other words, Jesus came so that we could receive the full rights of sons and daughters of the King. Even though the earthly kingdoms we have known throughout history do not meet the righteousness of the Heavenly Kingdom, they still represent the kingdom model. Therefore, a son of a king will be a king. That is why Jesus is called "King of kings". We are destined to be kings; to rule and reign as sons and daughters of the King! 
     Just as a king is never voted into power, nor can be voted out of power, our authority comes from our birthright as sons and daughters of the King. And just as a king's word is law, we should be the determiners of the laws of our land, according to our King's decrees and statutes. An earthly king who was after God's own heart wrote, The ordinances of the Lord are sure and altogether righteous (Psalm 19:9). 
     When a king is present, his authority resides in his very presence -- not in a document or a place. Because our King Jesus is always present with us, His authority is present -- the same authority He has conferred upon us. We need to start walking in that authority because we are Kingdom citizens [having entered the Kingdom through our salvation experience] and sons and daughters of the King. We represent His glory, His righteousness, His justice, and His compassion; reflecting His Nature and Character. 
     We are not to confuse our citizenship in the Kingdom with our American citizenship. I found it interesting that the five top traits of being an American are listed as Independence, Opportunity, Innovation, Diversity, and Generosity. But in the Kingdom of God, it is His traits that matter because in a kingdom concept, citizens are to be obedient followers, not self-governing and independent. America is known as the Land of Opportunity, where the wealth of self-made men is revered. But in a kingdom, the king owns everything in his kingdom, and a righteous and benevolent king amasses his wealth for the welfare of his citizens. That is why Jesus tells us not to worry about what we are going to eat, or drink, or wear; because our Heavenly Father knows what we need. But we are to seek His kingdom and righteousness and all these things will be given to us. At the same time, the Bible tells us that we have a Father who has a Kingdom in Heaven, and wants to give us good gifts. Our welfare is the responsibility of our King and He will take care of us. 
     Then there is Innovation, which is highly prized in our American DNA. It is said that we lead the world in creativity and originality. But our Father's Kingdom is perfect; there is no need for us to alter or transform His original design; His Kingdom is the model. Again, in America we take pride in our Diversity; it has made us the melting pot of the world. But in a kingdom, the king is the ultimate and only source of authority. Our King is sovereign and His sovereignty is absolute; there is no room for diversification or multiple standards. Finally, there is the subject of Generosity. One of the rights we have as Kingdom citizens, and heirs of the Kingdom, is that we belong to the King of Heaven, who is a righteous and benevolent Lord who graciously allows us to use and fully appropriate and distribute His riches and resources and all good things -- as long as we remember who owns them. If we begin to give to others from a frame of mind that we own it and it is ours to give, then we make ourselves a lord. In the Kingdom of God on earth there can be only one Lord. 
     I know this is only a cursory examination of why we Americans have trouble understanding the Good News that the Kingdom of God has come and is now operating in the earth. But I wanted to give you something to think about, and a concept that might be new to you. In summary, let me ask you a few questions ... Can you renew your mind to accept and apply the understanding that we are not to be independent-minded followers of Christ, but rather citizens in a Kingdom governed by a benevolent, righteous, and just King who is Lord of our lives? Has Religion redefined your original role and purpose in the Kingdom? Are you willing to see yourself from God's perspective and step into your Kingdom assignment?  The answers to these questions can change your identity and transform your life. Spend some time with the Father and hear what He has to say on the subject. Blessings!

I am indebted to the late Dr. Myles Munroe and his teachings on the Kingdom of God. I have grown in my understanding and spiritual insight, thanks to his faithful preaching of the Gospel of the Kingdom!

Matthew 25:34    Then the King will turn to those on His right and say, 'You have a special place in My Father’s heart. Come and experience the full inheritance of the kingdom realm that has been destined for you from before the foundation of the world!' 

July 27, 2019

Is Your Biblical Worldview Hebrew or Greek? It Makes A Difference!

      I absolutely love the study of history! I love to investigate why and how the modern world arrived at a certain philosophy or state of being; studying the origins and transformations that have occurred down through the years. And nothing excites me more than studying our faith in relation to the Bible and history.
     You see, it is critical for us who follow Christ to develop a Biblical worldview. That is, we must rightly view the world through the lens of God's Word. But if you study history, it is easy to see that the manner in which the Body of Christ/the Church has viewed God's Word has changed through the centuries. And I remember waking up to the reality that just because we believe certain things "according to the Bible" today, it may not necessarily be consistent with the original writings and intent of God's inspired Word. Will that sound blasphemous to some Christians? Probably so. But, I assure you that I am not casual nor arbitrary when it comes to determining my belief system. The Bible is always the foundation, and I rely on the Holy Spirit to guide me, counsel me, and reveal God's Truth. But I will also admit that I have had my theology rocked through such divine instruction and I have learned that He is always willing to grow me in my understanding, which sometimes involves changing what I've believed.
     I say all this to come to the point of this blog ... from the beginning of the Bible's existence there has been a tension between the Hebrew mindset and the Greek mindset when it comes to interpreting it and understanding it. After listening to a fascinating podcast on Dan Duval's show with Todd Weatherly, it confirmed what I had already discerned about most of the Western Church: first, they do not read their Bible; and second, they do not understand that the Bible is a Hebrew book, written from a Hebrew perspective. Too many Christians have wrongly subscribed [whether intentionally or not] to the belief system of Replacement Theology [ a Christian doctrine which asserts that the New Covenant through Jesus Christ supersedes the Old Covenant, which was made exclusively with the Jewish people]. In other words, adherents of Replacement Theology believe that the Church has now replaced the Jews as God's Chosen People to lead the world to a knowledge of Him.
   Nothing could be further from the truth. Just read Romans, Chapter 11. But getting back to my original premise, we must view the Bible from the perspective of who it was written to (the Hebrews) and how they would have understood its teachings and wisdom. That translates into how we view the world through the eyes of Scripture and the One who inspired it. In doing so, we hope to develop the mind and character and heart of our God. So, it's important to know which mindset God has, don't you think?
     Todd Weatherly summed up the differences between a Hebrew mindset and a Greek mindset in this simple way: The Hebrew mindset says, "I will do it [through obedience], and then I'll understand it." He says the Greek mindset thinks like this: "I need to understand it first, and then I'll do it".
     Here's another way to look at the differences .... the Hebrew mindset allows for layers upon layers of meaning. In fact, the Hebraic rabbinic schools taught four different ways of interpreting the writings of the prophets and the Law: 1) the literal, straightforward meaning of the text on which all else depends.  No further levels of interpretation can contradict the literal sense, but they can build upon it;  2) the implied meaning of Scripture, where you build on the implications that Scripture leaves believers to figure out for themselves, but provides the clues for it;  3) using analogies or moral lessons to explain the meaning of the Bible, and  4) the hidden level of interpretation.  The hidden nature of Scripture is how something that seems simple and straightforward and pointless (for example, obscure laws and stories and genealogies) applies to us personally.
     In addition, the Hebrew mindset can be taken too far. There is a mystical side of Hebrew religious philosophy that becomes so entangled in hidden and secret meanings, that it threatens to idolize human ability to gain spiritual knowledge, instead of recognizing that all giftings and knowledge comes from God. That's why the Bible warns us to Trust the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding. To sum it all up, the Hebrew mindset allows for varied interpretations, and a passage can have multiple meanings [both in the physical and the spiritual realms] -- all to be revealed to the reader from God's perspective.
      On the other hand, Greek thinking is very black and white; laden with precise exegesis rather than being rich in possibilities. Greek thought nails the meaning down; it can mean one thing, and one thing only. When we consider that Socrates lived 400 years before the crucifixion of Christ, and is considered the father of Western philosophy, we can understand why the Greek mindset would have been in direct conflict with the Hebrew mindset at the time the Bible was written and translated. The Socratic method of learning can be summed up, thusly: learning through the use of critical thinking, reasoning, and logic. From there, one questions, analyzes, and simplifies to get the one correct answer. The physical world contains the answer; the spiritual influence isn't considered.
     We can see the tension between these two mindsets exposed in the Bible.  Remember, Greek philosophy was not discontinued just because the Roman empire defeated the Greek empire. The Romans did not destroy the vast collections of Greek literature or the Greek philosophical schools and traditions of thought. The Romans were smart enough to preserve the Greek language, culture, and philosophies; even adopting much of the Greek religion, renaming the Greek gods and making them their own. Therefore, we see, in the New Testament, how the "Hellenizers" [Greek-influenced Jews] come into conflict with Hebrew Jews. The Hebrews were Jewish Christians who spoke almost exclusively Aramaic, and the Hellenists were also Jewish Christians whose mother tongue was Greek. They were Greek-speaking Jews of the Diaspora [taken into captivity during previous attacks upon Israel's homeland], who had returned to settle in Jerusalem. Acts 6:1 portrays this reality: Now about this time, when the number of disciples was increasing, a complaint was made by the Hellenists (Greek-speaking Jews) against the [native] Hebrews (speaking Aramaic), because their widows were being overlooked in the daily serving of food. 
     Why should all this matter? It matters because the way you think about God determines your ability to perceive His nature. If you read the Bible from a Hebrew mindset, then a Virgin Birth is possible; the parting of the Red Sea is seen as a miracle of God; Joshua's Long Day is unquestioned; turning water into wine really happened; the feeding of 5000 men and their families was a reality; the resurrection of Christ really happened; and we have been given authority and power to heal the sick, cast out demons, and raise the dead.
     A Greek mindset would read the Bible and say the Virgin Birth was based on pagan myths, or that the word "virgin" was a Greek mistranslation of a Hebrew word which actually meant "young woman". The Greek mindset explains the parting of the Red Sea as the phenomenon of "wind setdown" - where strong winds can push water away from one place to pile up elsewhere. Joshua's Long Day is explained away as a repetition of a Greek myth of Apollo’s son, Phaethon, who disrupted the sun’s course for a day. A Greek mindset will say Jesus didn’t really feed [the 5000] or anybody with actual food, did he? He fed them with information – food for the soul. The fish and the loaves are metaphors with symbolic meanings. Those with a Greek mindset will explain the Resurrection this way: Dionysus was the Greek god of wine, who became the Roman god Bacchus. There is a Greek myth which says that Dionysus was raised from the dead. Therefore, some early Greek Christians might well have been former worshipers of Dionysus, and since there was 40 years since the death of Jesus and the first written gospels, there is plenty of time to mold "the Jesus story" to replicate the Greek myth. And finally, the Greek mindset will have no trouble in believing in the doctrine of Cessationism, which states that the supernatural does not exist in this age, and the spiritual gifts such as speaking in tongues, prophecy and healing ceased with the apostolic age.
     Can you see how the events of history have influenced the way people interpret the Bible today -- even Christians!? There have been many intellectual and philosophical movements throughout history that have affected man's interpretation of Scripture, even to the point that we now have versions of the Bible that contradict each other! The translation from Hebrew [or Aramaic] to Greek to English hasn't helped, either. But perhaps the one that has had the most lasting effect upon our culture is the Enlightenment, also called The Age of Reason. The Greek mindset was at the heart of this philosphy, which scholars describe as "an epistemology (a method of thinking and knowledge) based on the presumption that the natural [physical] world is best understood through the use of close observation by the human mind, coupled with a reliance on reason." Doesn't leave much room for God's supernatural and divine will, does it? Perhaps this conflict explains Paul's statement in 2 Corinthians 10:5, We are destroying sophisticated arguments and every exalted and proud thing that sets itself up against the [true] knowledge of God, and we are taking every thought and purpose captive to the obedience of Christ...  
     As God is awakening His people to the re-discovery of the Gospel of the Kingdom, it is important that we know which mindset our Biblical worldview is based on. The Greek mindset has been reinforced since the Age of Reason and the Enlightenment. But the Kingdom of God is not reasonable! It demands our life, even to the point of martyrdom. There is no amount of critical thinking or analyzing that can make laying down your life for Christ seem logical. It is the power of faith alone that leads us to that conclusion. One only need to read 1 Corinthians 4:20 to understand this correlation: For the kingdom of God is not based on talk but on power.  
     There it is! The Hebrew mindset will allow you to see the power of the Bible. The Greek mindset will attempt to logically debate its promises. That results in the ability of the Enemy to build structures in your mind that are barriers to the supernatural knowledge of God and the counsel of the Holy Spirit. When an attack comes, it is then far too easy for us to revert from what we know in our heart [the spiritual knowledge of Jesus] to a Greek mindset of trying to overcome in our own power, using logical thinking. So, take the time to answer these questions ... Do you read the Bible to know the Most High God? And if you are reading the Bible, what is the mindset of God? Is He revealing Himself from a Hebrew mindset, or a Greek? And finally, What is your Biblical worldview? Your ability to walk in the fullness of God's purpose for your life depends on those answers. They are important. Take them seriously!

1 Corinthians 1:22-25     For Jews demand signs (attesting miracles), and Greeks pursue [worldly] wisdom and philosophy, but we preach Christ crucified, [a message which is] to Jews a stumbling block [that provokes their opposition], and to Gentiles foolishness [just utter nonsense], but to those who are the called, both Jews and Greeks (Gentiles), Christ is the power of God and the wisdom of God. [This is] because the foolishness of God [is not foolishness at all and] is wiser than men [far beyond human comprehension], and the weakness of God is stronger than men [far beyond the limits of human effort].

September 21, 2018

Beware Of A Spiritual "Normalcy Bias"

     Way back in 2012, I wrote an article titled Our Nation's Achilles Heel, and at the time I was focused on how I viewed this world and what I could see going on "behind the curtain", so to speak. At the time, I was concerned about a particular mindset of Americans called "normalcy bias", and I identified it as this: a tendency (or preference) to view the world around you in its usual, customary state. And like I said, in 2012 I was focused on the geo-political state of the world, so someone's normalcy bias might manifest in a mindset that said, "America will always be a Super Power.  No one is going to take us down"; "I still have a job. Everything's going to be alright"; "I don't need to prepare.  If I just believe in God, He will take care of me." "Nothing's really changed in my life; I still do all the things I've always done. What's the big deal?"
     Perhaps God revealed that carnal aspect of man's make-up so that as He grew me in the path He had designed for me, I would be able to see the correlation of this concept to the spiritual world. By that, I mean that I see a tendency among Christians to retain a "status quo" when it comes to how they view the spiritual side of their lives. Just like the carnal world, when you decide to step outside of your spiritual comfort zone, it's less comfortable, for sure. But a spiritual normalcy bias also means you choose to look upon the spiritual realm(s) as you always have; you convince yourself that nothing's changed in how the Enemy operates, so you see what you want to see -- or ignore the things that don't coincide with your theology or doctrine.
     Let's take a look at these examples: from the time you've been a child, you were taught (and believe) that God is in control of everything ... All you have to do is pray and hope He will answer your prayers ... Suffering is often necessary for a Believer to come closer to God ... Once we're saved, we live out our lives as "good Christians" until the day we die, and then we go to heaven. Do any of these ideas sound familiar to you? I am not condemning anyone who believes these concepts. But I will say that I pray they receive greater revelation from God on these matters. Here's why...
     If the aforementioned concepts define one's belief system, then I wonder how one reconciles the Scripture that tells us to put on the armor of God to stand against the schemes of the devil; or to be sober-minded and watchful because the devil is looking for someone to devour. And then there is the Word that says whatever you bind on earth will be bound in Heaven, and whatever is loosed on earth will be loosed in Heaven. Have you ever asked yourself, "What would need to be bound? Or what would I loose?" I'm pretty sure there are Christians who think that Jesus accomplished the work [while here on earth] to defeat the devil, so what does that have to do with us? After all, they might say, weren't His last words "It is finished"?
     But if I am looking at this spiritual normalcy bias objectively, I would have to say that at the center of this belief system is Christian eschatology, which is concerned with death and the afterlife, Heaven and Hell, the Second Coming of Jesus, the resurrection of the dead, the Rapture, the Tribulation, Millennialism, the end of the world, the Last Judgment, and the New Heaven and New Earth in the world to come. --- in other words what happens to the Believer in the future.
      Here's the thing.... since most Christians see all this as in the future, they are hard-pressed to tell you what they know about any of those Biblical tenets. So they continue to walk in their normalcy bias -- none of this effects me, and I know I'm saved and going to Heaven. I just have to be good until I die. And if you happen to believe in the Pre-Tribulation Rapture, then you're even more convinced that none of these Biblical tenets apply to you.
     But I believe there's a danger in that kind of mindset. Just as those who thought life during Hurricane Florence would be normal, I fear there are Christians who view their spiritual surroundings from a "nothing's going to change" bias. In other words, the study of eschatology has moved the Church's focus to our final destiny, instead of educating and preparing us for what's happening in the spiritual realm(s) in the here and now.
     We must begin to sharpen our spiritual senses and see beyond the veil of this carnal world. Yes, we are co-heirs with Christ in the world to come, but we still have a lot of living to do in this world! And while we're waiting for Jesus to come back so we can go to Heaven, there is a war being waged against our culture, our bodies, our minds, and our spirits. Not only have we become lethargic about protecting our Godly institution of marriage, our gender identity, and family values -- but most of the Church is unfamiliar with just what "As it was in the days of Noah" implies for this generation or the next.
     Our normalcy bias causes us to not even consider that Fallen Angels could actually affect our current existence; whether it be through technology, DNA manipulation [as it was in the days of Noah], or setting up false religious, political and economic systems that will ultimately lead to the "Beast System" at the end of this Age. Our normalcy bias would tell us that we will escape any such destruction or deceit. But will we? What does the Bible say?
     I am not advocating that we see the devil or demons around every corner. But it would be wise to to let go of our normalcy bias and see with spiritual eyes.  The battle for mankind doesn't just come at Armageddon. There is a battle going on right now! We might not see it with carnal eyes, but that doesn't mean it isn't being waged in the spirit. Just remember this ... the people in Noah's time were living their lives as if nothing would change, oblivious to the coming Flood. We have been warned by Jesus in the Bible. Can we afford to ignore His warning?
     And let us not forget that the Bible tells us the Restrainer is keeping the lawlessness [that will mark the End Times] at bay. What does that look like? And are you spiritually prepared to endure it, should you be on the earth at that time? It is my prayer that all Christians walk in Spirit and Truth; that they rise above cultural religion and conformist attitudes about the spiritual reality in which we live. Just as a normalcy bias will render you a victim in this carnal world, so will it cause greater suffering in the spiritual. Let us not succumb to a spiritual life that is routine or "business as usual". Let us walk in spiritual awareness and insight, just as our Lord and Savior. Then we will walk as victors and not as victims.

Luke 21:34    Be careful that you never allow your hearts to grow cold. Remain passionate and free from anxiety and the worries of this life. Then you will not be caught off guard by what happens. Don’t let me come and find you drunk or careless in living like everyone else.

September 23, 2016

Taking Another Look At "The Veils" Of Our Existence

     Nearly three-and-a-half years ago, I wrote a post titled The Veils Of Our Existence.  It was based on a theory proposed by the late Don Harkin, former Editor of The Idaho Observer.  Mr. Harkin suggested the existence of a world system of Power-Elites that the masses don't comprehend because these Power-Elites have cleverly developed a virtual pasture so green that few people seldom, if ever, bother to look up from where they are grazing to notice that they are being led over the cliff.
     Three-and-a-half years ago, my level of understanding of these "veils" did not include the spiritual battle that was being waged at each stage.  I still think each of these stages exists and is valid, and in order to progress to a higher understanding of just how we are to maneuver through this existence called life, we must be able to pierce each successive veil and move to the next level.  It is part of our human journey on this earth... only now, I see this journey with the added benefit of spiritual eyes. So I would like to revisit this interesting speculation, and add a new spiritual perspective to Mr. Harkins' conjecture.  I'm interested to know how many of you have grown in your understanding, as well.
       The First Veil = Politics. There are over 7 billion+ people on the planet.  Most of them will live and die without seriously thinking about anything other than what it takes to live and breathe for one more day.  That means that 90% of all humanity will live behind this first veil and never pierce it.  That leaves 10% of us who will vote, be active in our societies and have an opinion.  Our opinions are often shaped by government officials, MSM or other "experts" who claim to be voices of authority.  But of those with an opinion, 90% will never really think for themselves and will adopt the opinion of others, while 10% will pierce the second veil and move forward in their thinking.
     My New Perspective:  All this remains true, but now I see that there are spiritual forces behind those involved in the government, Mainstream Media, and "experts", or voices of authority.  Of those of us within the 10% who form their own opinion, how many understand that politics is not the answer -- that our power will not come from our affiliation with whomever wins elections, but from Jesus Christ?  And what small percentage of that 10% realizes that our time on this earth should not be spent supporting man-made power structures, but using our power from Christ to "do the things He has done, only greater"? (John 14:12).
     The Second Veil = History.  There will be 10% of us who will explore the world of history, the relationship between man and government, which will lead to the meaning of self-government through constitutional and common law.  Ninety percent of this group will live and die without going on to pierce the third veil.
     My New Perspective:  The Constitution is no longer my route to real freedom.  Man's laws and self-government will only get me so far.  My true freedom lies in letting Jesus heal my spiritual wounds, and recognizing that I don't have to suffer the "fiery darts" of the Enemy.  The history that consumes me now are the experiences of those -- both from the ancient world, and the modern -- who have learned what it means to transcend the tyranny and oppression from the spiritual realm to walk in the footsteps of Jesus.  That is true freedom.
     The Third Veil = Resources of the World.  Of the group that pierces this veil, 10% of us will come to realize that the masses are controlled by extremely wealthy and powerful families whose old world assets have been manipulated to become the foundation upon which the world's economy is currently indebted.  (Think Rothschilds, Rockefellers, Vanderbilts, the Royal Monarchs).  But sadly, 90% of this group will never pierce the fourth veil.
     My New Perspective:  Yes, the masses are controlled by these extremely wealthy and powerful families; and behind them are the spiritual forces of wickedness and evil.  I believe that they have sold their souls for earthly wealth and power that will prove false when the Day of Judgment comes.
 The Fourth Veil = The Illuminati, Freemasonry and other secret societies.  There are 10% of us that recognize these societies use symbols and perform ceremonies that transfer mysterious knowledge that is used to keep us ordinary people in political, economic and spiritual bondage to the oldest bloodlines on earth.  This has been seen frequently at Super Bowl halftime shows (Beyonce flashing "the Rockefeller" sign; Madonna sporting symbols of the occult) and during the Grammy's (Nikki Minaj's ode to "Roman", the demon whom she says possesses her).  Just check out the Youtube videos for each of these demonstrations!  But once again, 90% of those who have reached this level of understanding will never pierce the fifth veil.
     My New Perspective:  Boy, has my understanding of this grown in the last few years!  The Lord has shown me just how much devastation has been sown on families steeped in these secret societies.  The oaths and curses taken during secret ritual ceremonies have resulted in great oppression among many Christians, who don't even know these secret societies have permeated their families or their Churches!  And the evidence that these societies have infiltrated our entertainment industry is overwhelming.  I am literally seeing the signs and symbols everywhere I look throughout our culture.  Sadly, I believe that our country is steeped in the occult mysticism associated with these groups, and they are influencing every area of our lives.
     The Fifth Veil = Technological advances by these Secret Societies. I may lose some of you at this point, but I urge you to do your own research and study the Bible in depth.  There are hints of the knowledge behind this fifth veil, but you have to be willing to connect the dots.  There are 10% who make it this far in their understanding who learn that the secret societies are so far advanced technologically that they are able to do things that were considered science fiction just decades ago.  The inventions of Ray Kurzweil and his prediction of "man's singularity with computers" is an example of such advanced technology.  But what's interesting is that this technology is actually ancient, and compares to what Nimrod was trying to accomplish at the Tower of Babel; namely to become like God.    Are we getting dangerously close to that concept again?  Nearly 90% will never get beyond this understanding to the sixth veil.
     My New Perspective:  To say that technology has surpassed science fiction is putting it mildly.  Human-animal hybrids are being created in Great Britain, and a surgeon plans to reanimate human corpses.  Books are being written that tell us immortality is accessible to everyone, outside of any religious worldview.  Inventors and artists openly admit that they are "channeling" spiritual sources of knowledge.  All this is being downloaded from entities in the spiritual realm to control and deceive the human race.  We better understand who we're dealing with.
       The Sixth Veil = Aliens and Monsters may be real.  It is going to take a huge leap for the 10% who get to this level of understanding.  But if you study your Bible closely, you will see mention of fallen angels mating with earthly women to give birth to Nephalim (Giants) (Genesis 6:4 and 2 Samuel 21:20, for example).  There are many modern-day Biblical scholars who are prepared to say that the minotaurs of old and the UFO and alien sightings of today are evidence of these fallen angels.
     My New Perspective:  My how far we've come in these last three-and-a-half years!  The growth of the remnant of the Church who understands the truth of Genesis 6 has been astounding!  I know that there are "spiritual monsters" and they are called demons.  I have encountered them in deliverance sessions, and seen them stare out of the eyes of people who had no idea they were being oppressed by them.  Savage and brutal and bizarre attacks upon people are increasing and are evidence that the Enemy is bringing the spiritual battle to our physical world.  Although, yes, these demons are real, we should have no fear because He who is in us is greater than he who is in the world.
     If you have made it this far and can conceive of the concepts behind the sixth veil, then perhaps you can see that what waits for us behind The Seventh Veil = Peace of the Lord.  It's hard to imagine, but I can foresee a small group of people whose soul is so evolved that they can exist on this earth, yet be unafraid of the evil that abounds in this realm.  The only way I can describe it is to have such peace from God that you are unafraid of death.
     My New Perspective:  Actually, my perspective has moved in a new direction on this veil.  It's not such a small group that sees the evil ascending on the earth from the second heaven, or spiritual realm.  These last few years has seen an amazing growth in this knowledge within the Body of Christ.  It's as if the Holy Spirit has done a massive data dump upon Christians!  We not only know that and discern this spiritual warfare, but we also have been given the knowledge that we have the Authority of Jesus to fight [in this war] through the Power of the Holy Spirit.  And that's where our Peace comes from... knowing that we can rebuke the devil and he will flee; knowing that the Lord is our banner in this fight and goes before us; and we know that Jesus will not only never leave us nor forsake us, but He who began a good work in us will complete it.  That is called Peace!
     That brings us to Harkins' Eighth veil, which can only be the pure energy, authority and life force that is God.  We can only hope to tap into that Power, and I think the closest we can come to that is to seek a personal, intimate relationship with the One True God, the Ruler of the Universe and abide in Him.
     My New Perspective:  Yes, a personal, intimate relationship is necessary to tap into that Power, but it is incumbent upon each of us to know that it is available to us.  We are not to be mindless robots, sitting idly by waiting for God to win this war all by Himself.  We are created in His image, exhorted to imitate Christ, and called to an inheritance in Christ.  He dwells in us!  That energy, authority and life force are not to be squandered, but used to gain ground in defeating the Enemy in our lives!
     So, as you can see, with each veil of understanding that is pierced, the number of people "who see" gets exponentially smaller.  When I first wrote this blog post over three years ago, I saw mainly through "worldly" eyes.  I was focused on "the low information voter", and the gullible citizens who I saw as useful idiots and tools of the state.  I actually thought my vote really mattered and changing the politics of the nation would solve the world's problems.  I didn't see the spiritual component.
     I can honestly say that I believe I am at that Eighth veil, and I so grateful to my Lord and the Holy Spirit for helping me to see through the murkiness of the veils and how they obscured my vision of God's Truth.  I see that my existence here on earth is more than just this physical realm, and my victory in this life depends on my readiness to work with Jesus and the Holy Spirit to do battle with the spiritual realm.  I now truly know that I do not battle against flesh and blood, but have the Authority and Power of Jesus and the Holy Spirit to free myself of spiritual bondage.
     I will admit that it's a long road to progress through these veils, and if you are just beginning to awaken to their reality, then I hope you can see that living, breathing and thinking are just the beginning to greater understanding.  And there is nothing to fear... we know that victory is ours in the next life.  Until then, it an honor to stand for our Lord and represent Him to all we come in contact with, and to help others to push through the veils.  As we teach them the meaning of each obstruction, and show them how to move to the next stage, it will be one less obstacle between them and God.  That is a goal worthy of effort by every Christian.

2 Corinthians 3:16-17      "Nevertheless when one turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away.  Now the Lord is the Spirit; and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty."

December 9, 2015

A New Reality and A New Kind of Doctor: Urban Battlefield Medic

     Amid the human and personal stories being revealed in the aftermath of the San Bernardino terrorist attack comes a rather intriguing one.  It is the story of Dr. Michael Neeki, a trauma physician and emergency room doctor at Arrowhead Regional Medical Center (ARMC) in Colton, California, where many of the victims of that tragedy were transported.
Dr. Neeki at a press conference for the
victims of the San Bernardino terrorist attack.
     But Dr. Neeki wears many hats.  He is the chief medical officer of San Bernardino County's probation department and also volunteers as a member of the Inland Valley SWAT team.  He is the only physician/medic on the team, and he trains alongside his fellow SWAT team members for just such a scenario as San Bernardino.  And he is uniquely qualified.
     He was born in Iran and drafted into the Iran/Iraq war at age 18.  He served his native country in war and believes this gives him valuable experience in treating victims of gun violence, or as he puts it, "[I am] mentally and tactically a little more experienced than the other physicians here."  But in 1988, he was forced to leave his homeland after suffering as a political prisoner because of his opposition to the increasingly radical and religious Iranian regime.  Twenty-seven years later, in his adopted homeland of America, he put those skills and mindset to work as he labored, not only to mend and heal, the victims of San Bernardino, but to protect them from the rampage.
     When the first calls went out, he grabbed his rifle and tactical equipment and headed for the "hot zone", where he could put his tactical training to good use, as well as utilizing the medical pack that he carries.  "You have to be ready to put in a tourniquet to avoid the bleeding, or quickly staple a wound in the field. Or use an Israeli bandage, which is a compression dressing. I also have a clotting factor you could put in a lesion."
     So now, as a member of the Rialto SWAT team, he is working to upgrade the medical assistance that his team members can deliver in the field.  He's certified to carry a gun and participates in the team's tactical drills.  His experience on the battlefield is increasingly valuable today because injuries such as those seen in the San Bernardino shootings have become more common. "So, we saw this rifle injury-type pattern, which rips and shreds apart organs in your body, tissues in the body, and vessels as they're going through."
     Sadly, this is becoming the reality that our emergency medicine doctors must face.  I fear that the attacks in California last week will not be the last.  Western civilization's enemy has made it clear that they wish to inflict as much carnage as they are able to, and that they are not limiting their attacks to Europe.  Therefore, because of his unique background and experience, Dr. Neeki now wants to expand the emergency medicine residency at ARMC to give young doctors the exposure they need to such mass casualties, and at the same time, elevate the skill levels of [SWAT] paramedic team members.
     Dr. Neeki envisions ARMC residents (and doctors throughout the country) playing roles in the developing field of tactical medicine by connecting with area SWAT teams.  He said it is important for SWAT team paramedics to have advanced training in wound care, airway management techniques, and procedures for spinal injuries.  Since these first responders are obviously the first on the scene, they are invaluable in providing immediate front-line medical care to the victims of such attacks.  Precious life-saving moments will not be lost waiting for ambulances to arrive to transport the wounded and injured.
     As much as we don't want to admit it, we must change the dynamic of how we will treat these urban mass casualty events.  It is likely that doctors will become part healer and part soldier; prepared to imitate battlefield medicine that their counterparts do in the war zones of Afghanistan and Iraq.  If like, Dr. Neeki, they actually have military experience, they can be trained to both defend the public and save lives.
     Training medical professionals to become soldiers will not sit well with every American.  But for Americans like Dr. Michael Neeki, who is now a U.S. citizen, being on-scene to treat the trauma from gunshot wounds in those first crucial seconds is one of the reasons he thinks doctors should be members of first-reponder units.  "I am here because I came for democracy," said Dr. Neeki.  "It's sad to see that you come miles from across the world, and to see something like that here... [But I want] to show ISIS what we are made of."
     We must face it -- Tactical medicine is the new reality, whether we like it or not.  And I believe it is a good thing that Iranian-Americans like Dr. Michael Neeki are willing to show us how to better save lives.  Yes, the worst of the Middle East was seen in that conference room in San Bernardino last week, but we also saw the best of those who have come to this country, seeking the freedom we have to offer, and with a desire to pay back this society and nation who have given them such great opportunities.   You see, blind hatred does not belong to just one ethnic group or nationality.  It is the hallmark of the Evil One, and can permeate any soul.  But our God can take someone out of that same cesspool of hatred and shape a heart committed to defending and healing his fellow man.
     The world is seeing a new reality -- one that has us all on edge.  But never dismiss the goodness and mercy of the Lord that shines through one man's actions.  That is showing what our God is made of!

Proverbs 24:11    Rescue those being taken off to death, and save those stumbling toward slaughter.

April 2, 2015

How Do You Understand World Events?

     We all feel it.  There are going to be some big events in the near future that affect the lives of every human on earth.  Will they be cataclysmic or just the first in a buildup to the Final Days?  None of us can say for sure.  We all have our eyes on the news items that are in the "spotlight" ... Iran and the nukes; Russia and Ukraine; the bubbling Middle East civil wars; the coming storm that is ISIS.  All are good candidates for being "the one" to start the ball rolling.
    But there are other underlying influences that may have escaped our notice; events and circumstances that could well contribute to our demise.  Whether you believe in Biblical prophecy or not, one cannot deny that this world is in decline.  Consider the rapid population growth that has occurred in the last 50 years.  One cannot ignore that our food and water supply has been threatened by this population explosion: from 1.6 billion in 1900, to 7 billion in 2012, to a projected 9.5 billion by 2050.  Shanghai, alone, has a population of 18 million!  I can understand Globalists like Bill Gates concerned about our ability to feed all these people -- I just don't agree with how he would like to control these numbers.
     We also cannot ignore the subtle workings of the New World Order through the United Nations, and such confederations of nations as the European Union, the Asian Union, or the North American Union.  It is far too easy for authority to be vested in a single entity, with power to control our lives through global laws, surveillance, data mining through technology, national identity cards, or media manipulation.
     And speaking of surveillance, almost everything is controlled electronically now -- from our banking transactions, to our communications.  And we need to be protected from global terrorism, right?  That automatically leads to more surveillance, intrusion in our lives, and increased government control over us.
     Our declining morality is so entrenched that we barely recognize the slide; and it's all happened in my lifetime!  How did we get from the Norman Rockwell vision of America to transhumanism, transgenderism, same-sex marriage, rampant pornography, abortion, child sex slaves, human trafficking, entitlement, identity theft, and the lapse of moral attributes in our leaders?
     We also cannot ignore the role that the worldwide apostate Church has played.  The Church should be our Fortress in the storm, but instead, it has become a false and political church,  It has forsaken the Truth of the Bible to bow down to the Culture and World Government; abandoning the message of the Gospels to embrace the theology of multiple faiths.  For years, the transformation was subtle and understated -- until the time and the culture was right to attack and splinter the old paradigms.  It is now a confused and impotent standard-bearer for the Great Commission.
     There are other signs that this world is coming to a moment of climax and decision.  We cannot dismiss the prominence of Israel in the Middle East, or the rising drums of war in the region; both of which draw our attention to ancient Biblical prophecies.  And the wild weather that has been unprecedented also points to warnings of the Last Days.
     These events, taken by themselves, are easy to overlook as just steps in the march of time.  But when considered together, we would be wise to look beyond our limited gaze and discern the possible eternal significance.  We need to see and understand world events as they pertain to God's plan.  They may seem scary in view of our human perception, but, as Believers, we should not fear what they foreshadow.  In the meantime, keep your spirits focused on the throne room of God, and strengthen your faith.  Our Deliverer is close!

John 14:27    "Peace I leave with you; My [own] peace I now give and bequeath to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Do not let your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid. [Stop allowing yourselves to be agitated and disturbed; and do not permit yourselves to be fearful and intimidated and cowardly and unsettled.]"

November 18, 2014

We Can Overcome!

     Feeling unnerved and disheartened?  Who wouldn't be, when every news report and headline foretells chaos and disorder.  For instance, everyone is on pins and needles, waiting for the verdict to come out of Ferguson.  The protestors have released a long list of St. Louis area locations they wish to target, should the verdict not be to their liking.  And they have received coaching from the Community Organizer-in-Chief, to "stay on course".  (I would like an explanation of exactly what that means, please.)  But it's not only Ferguson and surrounding areas that are in a state of suspense.  This event could potentially affect every town in America, as this case has become about race, not justice.
     And speaking of lawlessness, are we soon to be engulfed with up to 5 million immigrants whose illegal status will be made valid by a stroke of the President's pen? Executive Amnesty is a bold political move, and the tactic is obvious -- appear to be the Party of Hispanic inclusion, and paint the Opposition as anti-immigrant, thereby playing ahead to the 2016 Presidential elections.  But, in reality, this move is against the immigration laws already on the books, and appears to threaten Constitutional Order.  And I dare to suggest that this is not really about providing citizenship to hard-working immigrants, or securing Democratic power for generations to come, so much as it is designed to bring down our economic system and force us into Socialism.
     Then there is the report that the Islamic militants engaged with ISIS number around 200,000; at least three times higher (and some sources say seven times higher) than previous CIA estimates.  There is also the fact that their latest beheading video is situated in Dabiq, Syria, which has great significance.  According to Front Page Mag, "Dabiq is a highly symbolic location which has historical and religious significance for Islam. The Islamic State has designated this place for the “Final Hour” where Armageddon will begin in an Islamic apocalyptic tradition that designates the West as modern-day Romans."  It is this murderous Islamic army's goal to bring about the "Final Hour" of this final Crusade.  We, in the West, disregard their bloodlust at our own expense.
     These are only a few of the top headlines that assail us each day; Russia's aggressive stance, the unorthodox weather, another Ebola death in our homeland, and the growing gap between our citizenry and those who rule us, all combine to create an unsettling environment in which to live our lives.  Could it seem any worse?
     How are we to react?  Granted, we cannot ignore it; the potential to impact our daily lives is obvious.  But, unfortunately, it doesn't appear that we have much control over any of it.  Those who are observant will take the necessary steps to protect their families, and be prepared to confront any immediate danger or enemy that presents itself.  But there is so much that is out of our hands.  I must admit that there are times I cannot see past this world, and it threatens to overwhelm me.  The spirit of this realm tells me that I am simply a pawn, that I have no power, and I am expendable.  It tells us all that we don't matter in the big scheme of things.  So, when we choose to listen to those lies, it keeps us in check, and we dutifully submit.  But it's all lies!!!
     I am here to tell you that the powers of this world have no claim on us, if we will just recognize our purpose.  If you belong to God, then He resides in you, and we have His power to overcome the negative spirits of this world.  And I don't want to mislead you -- being an "overcomer" implies that there is going to be a battle; and the battle lines are being drawn.
     But we aren't left defenseless, and we must hold our position, even in these, the greatest trials of our lifetime.  I know it sounds like some "religious nonsense", but we must stop listening to who the world says we are!  We have been given a Promise that outlasts this world; that is far more glorious than all the power and riches and security that this earthly system can provide.  Oh, sure, the world will ridicule us and marginalize us, but we don't have to listen!
     It is our purpose to show the world that we depend on Christ for our victory, no matter the cost.  Let them rely on deception, and their own power, to reap the rewards of this world.  I know that the headlines are only going to get worse, and that my comfortable life in the most blessed nation on earth, is going to drastically change.  But I can also rest in the conviction that my endurance through all the forthcoming trials, my complete dependence on Christ, and my witness of His Saving Grace will bear fruit for His Kingdom.  So, let the negative headlines continue, and let the rulers of this world proceed with their chest thumping.  I know who I am, and what my purpose is; I will triumph over all obstacles, and I will move toward my ultimate reward.  I will not be defeated!

1 John 5:4     "For everyone who has been born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith."

October 25, 2014

Are You Suffering From "Prepper Fatigue"?

    I sense it in myself, and I'm beginning to see it in others.  If you're like me, you've been "in prepper mode" for the last six years.  That's a long time; 2,190 days to be exact.  We began this journey with the threat of an economic collapse, and the fear and implications of that possibility ... we started stocking up on food and essentials, in case our money became useless and inflation skyrocketed.
     We fortified ourselves for a life that lacked the luxuries of 21st century living, and taught ourselves long-forgotten skills, and worked at adopting a new attitude towards "roughing it" without all the modern conveniences.  That involved time and money; both of which were not in abundant supply at our household.  But we took on the burden with an eye towards survival in difficult times.
     Within a year or so, we all started hearing the whisperings of "Electro-Magnetic Pulse" and "Coronal Mass Ejection".  Whether these events were to be caused by a foreign enemy setting off a nuclear missile in our atmosphere, or God sending a massive burst of solar wind and magnetic fields into space, it didn't matter.  We began to prepare for a world without electricity and all the chaos that it would cause.  More time and money were spent figuring out how to cook our food, run generators, deal with the heat of summer and the freezing temps of winter; how it would affect people with health conditions and how we would deal with the inevitable lawlessness as society degenerated into anarchy -- it was another worry added to our already heavy load.
     And with the possibility of lawlessness, came a responsibility to ourselves and our families to be able to defend our homes and territory.  The firearms industry saw a colossal increase, as Americans traded their shotguns and deer rifles for semi-auto rifles and pistols; and signed up in droves for tactical defense training.  This became a whole new industry in itself.  People realized that if you were going to carry a firearm, you owed it to society to be effectively trained in how to manage that weapon ... but once again, this duty required massive resources and time.  And we all still had to live our "normal" lives, which included 40+ hour work weeks, after-school activities with the kids, and often-times, within the scope of spouses and family members that didn't approve of our "extracurricular activities."
     New concerns about government over-regulation; anxiety over lax border security, and a slow and stealthy erosion of the Constitution has kept us on our toes over the last couple of years, but we have maintained our readiness and commitment to surviving whatever this world throws at us.  And I'm proud of how well we've endured the weight of the extra pressure.
     We shifted our priorities, settled into our new mindsets and lifestyles, and figured out a way to shoulder all the new obligations.  Yes, it has taken a toll on us, but we have managed to keep it all under control, while staying alert and vigilant.  We stayed as ready as we could be, and determined not to let our guard down.
    Then this last year, the weight of it all has increased dramatically.  We have the double threats of pestilence and terrorism in the homeland, and must figure out how to prepare for both these perils.  Added to our burden is the difficulty in seeing them coming; which necessitates a state of constant vigilance and alertness.  We are just about stretched to our limits.  Both our mental and physical faculties are taxed, and we suffer further stress from family and friends who refuse to see the danger we face.
     To be brutally honest, we're tired of carrying the load; we struggle against hostility towards others who will selfishly expect to benefit from our years of spending time, money, and hours of training and educating ourselves.  We're weary of being ridiculed, while knowing full well that we will be expected to share what we have so painstakingly collected against that very day of trouble.
    And I will boldly declare that I believe Christians carry a heavier load and level of fatigue.  We are worn out from trying to apply Romans 13 to our Christian walk, and we feel a greater responsibility and duty to care for those who were not as farsighted as we.  Unlike unbelieving Preppers, it will be difficult for us to turn away a starving child, or to refuse someone shelter or protection if lawlessness is ruling the day.  We know that we are under the scrutiny of God, and we must obey His command to love others as He has loved us.
     So, I wrote this blog post today, because I know if this journey is wearing on me, then there are millions who are sharing my state of mind.  If you are mentally overwhelmed, financially tapped, and physically exhausted ... you're not alone.  But we must not, and cannot give up; defeat is not an option.  We were chosen for this time because our Maker knew He could count on us; He knew our steps would be sturdy and our pace would be constant.  He knows we will be unmovable and unchanged in our purpose, posture, or position.  We can handle the load and tackle the task.  We will survive and overcome because our strength and perseverance lies in the Lord.  And the best part?  He's right beside us, sharing the load.  Yes, we've been given a lot to cope with these last six years ... but too tired to go on?  Not a chance!  We've just been toughened and tempered for what lies ahead ... and we're ready, willing, and able!

Hebrews 12:3    "Just think of Him Who endured from sinners such grievous opposition and bitter hostility against Himself [consider it all in comparison with your trials], so that you may not grow weary or exhausted, losing heart and relaxing and fainting in your minds."

October 15, 2014

Ebola On Our Minds

     To say that we Texans are keeping a sharp eye on Ebola is to trivialize the seriousness of this killer virus.  With the news that a second nurse in Dallas, who cared for expired patient Thomas Duncan, has now tested positive for the disease, the Lone Star State is on high alert.  Because both nurses followed all the prescribed protocols, were wearing protective hazmat suits -- and still contracted the illness -- it is only natural that we are left wondering just how safe we are.
     In fact, according to an article by Bryan Preston, even though both the nurses and the Dallas hospital claim that official CDC protocol was followed, "the Centers for Disease Control, though, claims that there was some breach of protocol, only, it doesn’t know what that breach may have been or when it may have happened. The CDC appears to be falling back on bureaucrat-speak to explain something that, so far, it cannot."  That's reassuring, isn't it?
    So, you can understand that it is not at all uncommon for me to be involved in casual conversations that turn to speculation over how long it will be until we begin wearing N95 face masks in public.  I have dear friends who will be flying to Washington D.C. this week, and who are understandably concerned; not only about flying in a closed-air-system plane, but of the report that Ebola had been "ruled out" in a recent D.C. patient.  Can that report be trusted, given the mistakes made in Dallas with Mr. Duncan, and the CDC's inability to explain the latest case?
     Then there is the fact that these friends will be meeting with a group of us for a Bible study just a few short days after their return.  If they are somehow exposed, what is the possibility that others in the group could become infected?  After all, I am still not convinced of the CDC's announcement that Ebola is not airborne, nor am I exactly sure of the incubation period of the disease... it all seems so "vague".  And, I'm not entirely convinced that it is not deliberate.  But one thing is becoming clear to us here in Texas  -- just how quickly this could become unmanageable.
     And did you know that there are only four hospitals in the U.S. that are designated to handle Ebola cases?  They are Montana, Nebraska, Georgia and Maryland; obviously not Texas.  Yet, we now have the potential for an outbreak here.  So, what is the plan?  Is there one?
     I have to admit that I do not understand why we are not limiting flights from West Africa.  Furthermore, the screening procedures put into place at 5 major airports don't give me a lot of confidence.  Having a high fever and flight plans originating in West Africa will get you pulled out of line and subjected to further screening --- but neither of these tests would have called attention to Mr.  Duncan.  He was not exhibiting fever, and he lied about which country he had entered from.  And what would keep a potential Ebola victim from deliberately flying into a different airport, now that we have announced where they would be screened?  With over 150 passengers per day from Ebola-stricken countries, it is only a matter of time before someone sneaks through the cracks again.
     At this point, you might be thinking that I have given in to my fears; and it would be easy to do so.  But we Texans are not made that way.  True, it is evident to me that we are not prepared to prevent more cases of Ebola.  There are simply too many possible failure points, and too little known about the transmission and control of the disease.  But we Texans are not known to panic, and do not want to do so irresponsibly.  At the same time, it is foolish to act as though there is no danger.  For me, it is a matter of trusting God to deliver me from this pestilence.  There is nothing that He cannot conquer.  If this disease should touch me or someone I love, it is because it is His will.  In the meantime, I and my fellow Texans, will remain cautious and suspicious of "official" claims, and do what Texans have always done ... stepped up and boldly faced our obstacles.  I have faith that, together with God, we will defeat this plague.  Our health ... and yours ... depends on it!

2 Timothy 1:7   "For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind."

October 9, 2014

He Is So Good!

     I will tell you, with Ebola and ISIS foremost on people's minds these days, it is not often that you get to have an unexpected conversation about the miserable state of the world and wind up feeling positive and energized.  But that is exactly what happened to my husband and I yesterday.
     It seems that Peace-Loving Warrior just doesn't recover from physical injuries like he used to when he was younger.  Granted, it's not easy to be doing repair work on a steep tin roof when the overcast sky suddenly decides to turn sunny; especially when you're barefoot (which affords better traction on the slippery surface).  That roof can go from zero to 100 degrees in a matter of seconds... hence, his jump from one elevation to another, and his unfortunate landing on one of the seams of the tin roof.  The result has been ongoing pain in the ball of his foot.  And that led us to a visit to a local Podiatrist, and a most interesting morning.
     After some idle chitchat, the conversation turned to the realization that we all shared certain concerns for the country, our communities, and our families.  But how many conversations have you had with a virtual stranger that began with "The fact that this country exists is due to a series of miracles; God had a purpose for this nation"?  The good doctor then went on to expound upon his theory ... he truly believes that this nation came into being to propel the spread of the Bible around the globe.
     With a series of questions, he began to explain his premise.  "Who is primarily responsible for the explosion of technology in this age?"  Although computer scientists from Belgium and England are credited with inventing the World Wide Web, it was Americans (like Robert E. Kahn) who invented the Transmission Control Protocol and the Internet Protocol, the fundamental communication protocols at the heart of the Internet, and who were the real internet pioneers.  Microsoft, Apple, Google and Facebook soon followed, and the United States has virtually exported the internet to the world.
     His next question was, "So, isn't it now possible for someone like Billy Graham to preach a sermon that can be translated, via the internet, into any language in the world, and be heard by millions at the same time?"  We had to agree.  It could certainly be hypothesized that America had served a purpose in spreading the Gospel.  But the intelligent Foot Doctor was quick to point out that this did not mean that America was exempt from God's judgment.  He then pointed out that sinful nations such as Egypt and the Babylonian Empire had been used by God to serve His purposes, and we should not look upon our "favored status" over the last 200 years as a sign that God will be pleased with us in these Last Days.
     Our conversation then progressed to a more personal, introspective nature.  So, what is to be our response to what we see coming upon this nation and the world?  We all agreed it is to be prepared as best as we can, not counting on being "raptured" out of the unpleasantness that we are sure to experience.  If God did not spare His Chosen People, the Jews, during their seasons of disobedience, then what makes us arrogant American Christians think that we will escape His judgment?  It could be quick and immediate ... events like Ebola, or ISIS attacks in the Homeland, could certainly become agents of His "terrible, swift sword", couldn't they?
    So, all the beans and rice, and prepper supplies we've accumulated; all the new skills and new knowledge we've acquired... what has it been for?  Has it really been to save us, or will they become tools with which we can reach one more person for His Kingdom?  Personally, I have an opinion about every written note in my Bible; every notebook filled with lesson plans for the Books of Revelation, Daniel and Romans that I've shared in the past 3-4 years; copies of my book, and my notes on the Lord's Feasts --- I think that no matter what happens to me, they will be left behind, hopefully to be found by someone who needs to hear the message about what Jesus has done for them.  In fact, PLW has been painstakingly copying his newfound and extensive knowledge into a journaling Bible that will be sure to bless anyone who finds it.
    At the end of our visit -- which would have gone on for much longer, if the nurse hadn't stuck her head in to remind the doctor that he had other patients to see -- we felt as if this meeting was ordained.  We left the outpatient clinic feeling renewed and confident that we are serving a purpose; both for our God and our fellow man.  In these days, months and years of anticipated pessimism, we must not lose sight of a Plan that is greater than any single one of us.  Let chaos reign all around us; we know why we are here and whose path we are to follow.  Thank you, God, for your blessings and encouragement today!

Psalm 118:23    This is the LORD'S doing; It is marvelous in our eyes.

September 29, 2014

Jihad From the Inside

     The recent beheading of an innocent woman in Oklahoma has us all unnerved.  The threat is no longer that someone waving the black flag of ISIS will travel to America and overtly commit this barbaric act.  It is becoming more apparent that the influence of this radical terrorism is being stealthily encouraged and incited right under our noses.
     News reports are now surfacing that the killer in Oklahoma attended a mosque which was led by an Imam with ties to known Al Qaeda mastermind Anwar al-Awlaki.  This same Imam has ties to the mosque attended by the Boston Marathon Bombers, the Tsarnaev brothers, and to Nidal Hassan, the murderer at Fort Hood in Texas.
     In case you're thinking that my thoughts are just an over-reaction to random relationships, I'd like to introduce you to Dr. Mark Christian, an Egyptian Muslim by birth, and now a practicing obstetrician/gynocologist, who has stepped forward to sound the alarm about the Muslim Brotherhood's plan to infiltrate America through immigration and cultural reform.  Dr. Christian is the founder of the Global Faith Institute, which according to their website, is "a Christian platform dedicated to the proclamation and pursuit of truth as it relates Middle Eastern history and current happenings to the rapidly unfolding events in the US and around the world."  As the banner on the website proclaims, "Islam Isn't an "Over There" Problem... It's a Right Here, Right Now Problem."
     Dr. Christian is well-qualified to speak about "this problem".  His bio speaks for itself:  Groomed from boyhood to become an influential leader of the Muslim faith, Mark was afforded unparalleled exposure to the ideology and objectives of radical Islam, and the stringent creed of Sharia law.  This exposure was gained through his remarkable experiences as the constant companion and confidante of his father, a wealthy doctor, devout Imam, and persuasive advisor for the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt – and through his uncle, who, during the massive imprisonment of the Muslim Brotherhood members in Egypt in 1965, shared a cell with Sayyid Qutb, the revered and infamous ideologue for the Brotherhood’s movement.  
      However, in 2003, Dr. Christian broke with his Islamic faith, converted to Christianity, moved to America and changed his name.  Now, in a very pointed article on FrontPageMag, Dr. Christian is warning his new country that "stealth jihad" is a very real and present danger.  He explains that “The Muslim Brotherhood is so big right now and so influential and so wealthy that they can do things on their own.  The only thing that is missing is the power of the U.S. military to be on their side.”  That is a very frightening scenario!
     Their plan is aligned with that of ISIS; to start a new Islamic empire, from which they can control the world.  As it relates to America, they are working through immigration and reforming our culture.   Dr. Christian shares statistics from the Pew Research Center, which state that prior to 1990, less than 5% of our nation's immigrants came from Muslim countries.  But the latest numbers show that "more than 1.7 million Muslim immigrants have come to the United States between 1992 and 2010."
     Temporary student visas and a return to their home countries used to be the procedure; but now permanent status can be gained "through an array of programs, including the U.N. refugee program, the annual diversity visa lottery and special programs for foreign religious leaders."  And here is where the threat to America becomes obvious:  according to Dr. Christian, these refugees and immigrants don't assimilate well to American culture, and often don't respect our values.  They can't identify with the American mindset that embraces individual liberty and personal responsibility.  They become easily disillusioned, suffer low-paying jobs, and "supplement their paychecks with food stamps, Medicaid and government-subsidized housing."  They are ripe for exploitation.
      Dr. Christian further warns that Europe's experience with their immigrant Muslim populations could soon become America's nightmare.  One just needs to look at the riots and problems that countries like Britain, France and Germany are experiencing, to see how quickly a nation's culture and laws can be impacted by a push for Sharia Law.
     And Dr. Christian points out that Islam is not just another religion.  It has a very deliberate political component.  And organizations like the Muslim Brotherhood are not afraid to take advantage of America's never-ending pursuit of Political Correctness, tolerance and diversity.  Because of his own family experience with the Muslim Brotherhood, Dr. Christian is trying to sound the alarm, pronouncing what he calls stealth or cultural jihad:  "The Brotherhood’s strategy is three-pronged. It uses its front group CAIR (Council on American Islamic Relations) to influence the government and military life, while ISNA (Islamic Society of North America) works to foster “interfaith” dialogue with major Christian denominations and Jewish organizations. A third front group, the Muslim Student Association, or MSA, focuses on influencing K-12 and university education."
    What he says makes sense:  "They want to influence the whole United States,” Christian said. “They see the U.S. as three things – it’s a government, it’s a religious institution and it is colleges and education; so we have three organizations and all are designated to each one of those things."
     And what makes me sad, as well as disturbs me, is his accurate portrayal of this furtive influence in the churches of America.  “They say, ‘Oh we all worship the same God and we need to find common ground,’” Christian said. “It’s all about ‘respecting women, Islam is great,’ and it’s all a bunch of lies. Whenever you find those kinds of movements within the church, you always find a watered down, very liberal theology that is anti-Semitic and anti-Zionist. But there is money involved and influence involved.”  I experienced this at a mega-church I used to attend.  When an imam was invited to speak, red flags went off in my soul, and I began to see a steady decline in true Biblical principles.
     Ultimately, Dr. Christian's warnings seem frighteningly accurate.  If you are paying attention, you can see the influence within our government, our educational institutions, and our churches.  While the radical "overt" jihad is readily apparent through attacks like we witnessed at Fort Hood, and more recently, in Oklahoma, it is the "covert" jihad through political influence and money that we need to control.  We all know that such influence and money equals power.  This particular power is merging and inserting itself into the very foundations of our nation and culture.  If you are sufficiently alarmed, then perhaps these final words of Dr. Christian will wake you up:  "It is coming together even better, I think, than they planned."

1 Thessalonians 5:6     "So then, let us not be like others, who are asleep, but let us be awake and sober."