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

Showing posts sorted by relevance for query cosmic chess match. Sort by date Show all posts
Showing posts sorted by relevance for query cosmic chess match. Sort by date Show all posts

June 27, 2016

Another Move In The Cosmic Chess Match!

     If you are like most Americans, you may be a little confused by all the media coverage of "Brexit", and what, if anything, it has to do with us.  In case, you're not quite sure what that is, let me put it in simple terms... Brexit stands for the British exit from the European Union, and this move comes with lots of implications, both from a current worldview and from a Biblical perspective.  Follow my train of thought ...
     You may remember that, in the past, I have referred to a cosmic chess match between God and satan.  If you can, I want you to picture it like this:  On one side is the Most High God and His army of angels, led by the archangel Michael, "the great Prince".  On the other side is Lucifer, or the devil, and his army of rulers, powers, and spiritual forces of wickedness.  And they battle in the spiritual realm, resulting in consequences in this earthly realm.
     Focusing in on this cosmic chess match a little closer, and we see two armies, if you will; one led by Michael, identified as an angel (messenger), and whose name means "who is like God".  I contend that there is a good argument that the title "Michael the archangel" can be translated as "The greatest messenger who is God", or Jesus.  The other army is led by an angel once known as Lucifer, the anointed cherub who was the guardian of God's throne.  But pride, which caused him to seek to overthrow God, resulted in him being cast away from God and out of Heaven, where he is still seeking to dethrone God by working from the spiritual realm through men on earth.
     So what does this have to do with Brexit, and why should we, as Christians, find any meaning in it?  The most recognizable Scripture that embodies the premise of this cosmic chess match is found in Genesis 11, and the story of the Tower of Babel.  You will remember that at the beginning of this story, the Bible tells us that "the whole earth spoke one language and used the same words".  According to the story, a united humanity of all the generations following the Great Flood, speaking a single language and migrating from the east, came to the land of Shinar.  There, in their arrogance and self-glorification, they agreed to build a city and a tower "tall enough to reach heaven"; seeing this, God confounded their speech so that they could no longer understand each other and scattered them around the world.
      In Hebrew and Christian tradition, Nimrod is considered the leader of those who built the Tower of Babel in the land of Shinar, though the Bible never actually states this.  But Nimrod's kingdom included the city of Babel in Shinar, and it was likely under his direction that the building of Babel and its tower began.  But remember the part of Scripture that relates that Nimrod "began to be mighty in the earth"?  It is my belief that after God cleansed the earth with the Flood (a bold move on the cosmic chess board), satan began to plot his strategy.  The name Nimrod, in Hebrew, means "rebel", and I think satan revived his own spirit of rebellion in Nimrod, and used him to build a tower from which satanically influenced men could assault heaven itself.  God's next move was to scatter the people into separate nations, speaking different languages, so they could not form a unified coalition again.
     Throughout history, satan has attempted to infiltrate this earthly realm and influence, or revive, his rebellious spirit in men who would further his cause to defy God.  Every time satan used an Antiochus Epiphanes or a Hitler to spread his evil on the earth and separate men from God's will to reconcile with them, God would counter his move and put an end to the wickedness.
     And now, through the spiritual eyes of men much smarter than me, I am beginning to see another set of moves on the cosmic chess board.  On his website, shoebat.com, Walid Shoebat contends that the European Union was a move by satan to, once again, build a coalition to establish his earthly authority, from which he could institute a global (or one-world) government to control the earth and destroy God's people.  If he can't have Heaven, then he'll take the earth for his throne.
      By moving towards a common currency and governing body for all of Europe, satan saw his chance to thwart God's long-ago move to scatter the people at the Tower of Babel and create independent nations.  With an encroaching one-world government and global currency system, it would set up satan's future plan that no one can buy or sell without complying with his currency system, the mark of the beast.  And his move was a good one!  The nations of Europe were subject to the governing rules of the EU, and were losing their autonomy and ability to self-rule.  And perhaps satan's greatest evil intentions came through the forced acceptance of Muslim refugees among the EU countries, and the influx of jihadist ideology.
     But does the exit of Britain signal God's next chess move?  Could He be setting the stage for a break-up of the European Union, and the re-establishment of His independent and sovereign nations that He began at the Tower of Babel?  Certainly, Britain's exit has stirred similar thoughts among the governments of Scotland, France, and Spain.
     Walid Shoebat, in his article, takes it a step further, stating:  We are beginning to see the signs of a future split in Europe, even states within states, separating between sheep and goat nations where France, parts of Italy, Spain and Portugal will be destined as sheep nations, while Germany, the Netherlands, Finland and the Baltic states or major parts of these will remain liberal and anti-God; to be destined as goat nations. Austria could go sheep or goat, we do not know.  
     Interesting concept, isn't it?  Please take the time to read his entire article, it is fascinating and not without Scriptural support.  Is it accurate?  Only God knows.  But I am certain that Brexit is an indication of a major shift in the cosmic war in the spiritual realm.  In the coming days, you will hear the media discuss the worldly implications -- effects on the world economy, global trade, immigration, etc. -- but I am more interested in the spiritual ramifications.  How will it affect the spiritual foundations of the nations, and on whose side will they align themselves?  Will there be a renewed interest in seeking God, or will secularism and jihadism continue their march across the globe?  
     A case can be made for Shoebat's assertion that Brexit is the beginning of a move by God.  Consider his statement: "If a one world government is to take place or a European Union is to control the entire continent, how then will God “divide the nations”? How then will “nation war against nation, kingdom against kingdom” and how will God “divide the nations” “sheep from goats”?  Whether this is just an isolated set of circumstances, or we see the entire dismantlement of the EU, and nations sliding toward the end-times prophecies remains to be seen.  But of this, I am certain:  the cosmic chess match will continue; with God countering every move that satan makes until His complete plan for His reconciliation with man is accomplished.  Then it will be checkmate with the return of Jesus!  For now, all I need to know is that there is a battle plan in the spiritual realm to rule the earth, and I know which side I'm on.

1 John 3:8        "He who sins is of the devil, for the devil has sinned from the beginning.  For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that He might destroy the works of the devil."

September 28, 2015

Pieces Are Being Moved On The Cosmic Chess Board

     Having trouble making sense of the players in the Middle East and how it all might align with End Times prophecy?  Don't worry ... I am, too.  To be honest, I have never felt that I needed to position everything I was seeing with the puzzling timeline offered by Scripture.  It's not that I think I will be raptured and it will be of no consequence to me -- (I happen to think that we Christians will be needed on earth, for a time, to offer words of hope, encouragement, and endurance during the battles leading up to God's wrath against the wicked) --- it's just that I have always figured that God will clearly reveal those times and His instructions for His people, when it is necessary.
     That being said, it's hard to ignore some of the major world events we are seeing before our eyes.  And it's really hard to look at them through Western eyes.  We, in America, tend to forget that the Bible's inspired writers and prophets were Middle Eastern, and we try to translate and understand their epistles and letters through the lens of today's Western experience.  So, I'm not here to say that I have any unique insight into what's happening around the globe; and I probably have more questions than answers.  But I thought we should at least look at what's in the news and be aware of how events can impact us in the present, as well as their End Times implications.
      For me, right now, it's all about Russia and what is really going on between the world's superpowers in the Middle East.  It's all over the news that Russia has deployed a small, but consequential military force into Syria, which may have the potential of changing the dynamic in that war-torn country.  It has been four years since the start of the Syrian civil war, with U.S.-backed rebel forces fighting against Syrian President Bashar Assad and his faithful Syrian army.  The sectarian war has created a breakdown in authority, providing the opportunity for ISIS to get a foothold and begin building their caliphate.  Russia has said that they want to assist Syria in fighting ISIS, and that is their primary objective in coming to Syria's aid.
     But, as always, when global powers begin making military moves, there is more to the story.  From what I can gather, there is a history of a Russia/Syrian alliance, back to the 1970s when Assad's father, Hafez al-Assad, aligned with Moscow.  In fact, Syria is among the last proxies, or representatives, of the Russian political influence in the Middle East.  Interestingly enough, that puts Russia on the same side as Iran, who also provides military aid and guidance to Assad through their proxy, Hezbollah.  Apparently, Vladimir Putin was getting a little concerned that Iran was having too much influence in Syria, hence the show of military force.
     There are also those who surmise that Russia's escalating presence in the Middle East might forecast a threat to Western interests; or on the other hand, provide valuable intelligence and military aid in fighting Islamic jihad.  Either way, Russia gives themselves a way to bargain for Western and European concessions in regards to Ukraine and economic sanctions.
     But what I find even more interesting than the Russia/Assad vs. US/Syrian rebels chess match, is that Russia appears to be partnering with China in forming a coalition to take the fight to ISIS in the Middle East.  One news source reported, "according to a senior officer in the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) that is stationed inside the Syrian coastal city of Latakia, Chinese military personnel and aerial assets are scheduled to arrive in the coming weeks (6 weeks) to the port-city of Tartous."
     Add to this news the suggestion that Turkey was waiting in the wings to take advantage of Syria's civil war, (before Russia and China showed up), and you have the makings of the major players in both the Ezekiel 38 war and "the army of the Kings of the East" mentioned in Revelation, Chapters 9 and 16.
     Can I make all the puzzle pieces fit nicely to form a clear picture of End Times events?  No.  But there is enough going on that my spiritual radar is up.  And it just seems as if the world is careening towards, if not an apocalyptic alignment of a one-world government, economic, and religious system, then at least an Armageddon-style conflict that will result in the fulfillment of Biblical prophecies of an emerging New World Order and Anti-Christ kingdom.
     Of course no one, least of all me, has any proof that any of this will happen, or that it is Biblical.  But, as we are called to watch and stay awake, I think it is incumbent upon us to pay attention to these events that are quickening our spirits.  So, listen carefully to the words of Vladimir Putin, as he appears before the UN General Assembly today.  See if you can hear the prophetic words of Scripture in his speech.  And then remember --- all these world powers are jockeying for position; for winner-take-all in the sweepstakes that is the Middle East.  But we know that there are really only two players in the game ... the devil and God.  We are living out a cosmic chess match that has already been won in the spiritual realm.  All that remains is for our KING to be crowned!

Luke 21:36    "But stay awake at all times, praying that you may have strength to escape all these things that are going to take place, and to stand before the Son of Man."


May 14, 2020

Are You Ready to Be Promoted?

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

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

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

January 8, 2014

Hold On To Your Hats For This One: Satan Wants To Come To Oklahoma!

     When I first contemplated writing this post, PLW told me, "Don't get too fringe-y; you don't want to scare 'em".  But when I see something as blatant and in-your-face as I'm about to show you, my response has to be, "But they need to know."  So hang on to your hats (tin foil and otherwise)!
     As preposterous as it sounds, what I'm about to tell you is surely a sign of the times ... the End Times, that is.  Even if you're not a Christian, you must confess the existence of Good vs Evil, right? And in case your local MSM affiliate isn't reporting this story, I think you should know that a New York-based Satanic Temple formally submitted its application to erect a 7-foot-tall statue of Satan that it wants to put at the Oklahoma state Capitol, in response to a Ten Commandments monument which was placed there in 2012.
     You might be asking why the New York Satanists don't just mind their own business and keep their occult monuments on the East Coast.  Why inflict their evil designs upon the good folks of Oklahoma?  But, as a Christian, I already know the answer to that question:  Satan is in a cosmic chess match with God, and he just made his next move.
     This artist's rendering depicts the statue, which features Baphomet, a goat-headed figure with horns, wings and a long beard; said to be used as a symbol of the occult.  That's putting it mildly -- the Baphomet has been adopted as the official symbol of the Church of Satan; in other words, Satan himself.  In the rendering, Satan is sitting in a pentagram-adorned throne with smiling children next to him.
     It's important that you know the true significance of the pentagram.  Now, there are those easily deceived folks who will tell you that the pentagram is a symbol of a star encased in a circle, always with 5 points (one pointing upward), each having its own meaning. The upward point of the star is representative of the spirit. The other four points all represent an element; earth, air, fire, and water. All these things contibutite to life and are a part of each of us.  They will then naively (or not!) inform you that to wear a pentagram necklace or other form of jewelry, is to say you feel the connection with the elements and respect the earth.  Like I said ... they are easily deceived.
     As Wikipedia reveals, the pentagram has been the object of various symbolisms:  In medieval Christian tradition, the pentagram could represent the five wounds of Jesus. In the Renaissance it came to be associated with magic and occultism, and is also found as a magic symbol in the folklore of early modern Germany (Drudenfuss). In modern use, it is sometimes used as representing the Seal of Solomon, and it has religious significance in various new religious movements (including certain forms of Neopaganism) as well as in occultism.
     My understanding is that each of the five points of the star represents the five "I Will's" of Satan that are listed in Isaiah 14:  1)  I will ascend into heaven, 2) I will exalt my throne above the stars of God;  3) I will also sit on the mount of the congregation on the farthest sides of the north;  4) I will ascend above the heights of the clouds, and 5) I will be like the Most High.  Kind of makes sense why the Church of Satan would adopt this symbol right?
     But to add to the absurdity (not to mention the blasphemy) of their plan to build this monument, the Satanic Temple group released a statement which said, in part, that the statue "will have a functional purpose as a chair where people of all ages may sit on the lap of Satan for inspiration and contemplation."  Furthermore, on its website, the Satanic Temple claims "Satan stands as the ultimate icon for the selfless revolt against tyranny, free & rational inquiry, and the responsible pursuit of happiness."
     Lest you think that this whole premise is so ridiculous as to be dismissed, I wrote this post as a warning that Satanic belief systems are becoming more socially tolerated in this country.  In fact, The Truth Wins website recently reported that while Islam is the fastest growing major religion in the U.S., Wicca is growing at an even faster pace.  In fact, according to Wikipedia, Wicca experienced an average annual growth rate of 143 percent in the United States between 1990 and 2001.  I have personally heard from chaplains during my Wounded Warrior service that they are alarmed at the popularity of Wicca in the military.
     So, while this whole idea of such an offensive statue being erected at a State Capitol might seem laughable, I think it would serve us to take it seriously ... very seriously.  While Oklahoma lawmakers have rejected the notion thus far, saying Satanists should not be given the same treatment as Christians,
only time will tell how this move on the cosmic chess board plays out.  I do not think it absurd to think that Christianity will continue to decline, nor that monuments like this actually do begin to be erected across the land.  When a nation removes God from its foundation -- from the classroom, the government, the military, and the family -- then what do we expect to be left with?
     Our God made it pretty plain how He feels about us replacing Him ... "“You shall not make for yourself a carved image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth. You shall not bow down to them or serve them, for I the Lord your God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and the fourth generation of those who hate me...".  There's your air, earth and water; He will soon show us His fire!

1 Corinthians 10:20-21     "No, I imply that what pagans sacrifice they offer to demons and not to God. I do not want you to be participants with demons. You cannot drink the cup of the Lord and the cup of demons. You cannot partake of the table of the Lord and the table of demons."

February 16, 2015

The Jews: Targeted Again

     When will the world admit that European Jews are the object of extermination?  Again, within a month, Islamic terrorism has claimed the lives of innocent Jews; this time in Denmark at a cafe and outside a synagogue in Copenhagen.  And it's beginning to sound like a lame excuse to lay the blame on "lone wolf" jihadists.  What is Europe's fear in being honest about the widespread ideology that has targeted those of Jewish descent across the continent?  By ignoring the blatant hatred of the Jewish people, do heads of state think they can mollify the terrorists and diminish the number of attacks?  And how long is the world going to tolerate such an inaccurate theory?  The fact is, anti-semitism is on the rise and it is no longer limited to just words against the Jews.
     Would it surprise you to know that rather than face terrorism charges, Danish jihadis who return to the European country from Syria are offered rehabilitation?  And would you find it astonishing to know that more Danes travelled to Syria last year, per head of population, than any other European country except from Belgium?
Flowers line the street outside the Copenhagen synagogue.
     Do you agree that these are random attacks, and it is merely coincidental that Jews are the victims?  Or do you agree with the Prime Minister of Israel, Benjamin Netanyahu, who says, "Again, Jews were murdered on European soil just because they were Jews?"
     So, let's say we agree with the less offensive first assumption -- that it's all just a sad coincidence; that Jews are dead due to the "random" and irrational attacks of a few lone gunmen.  What is Europe doing to make sure another Jew does not become another arbitrary statistic?
     I will admit that Europe has a checkered past in regards to their estimation of the Jews over the last 100-plus years.  For instance, from the beginning of the Twentieth Century, Europe has been suspicious of the dominance in the world economic (or banking) system of Jews like the Rothschild family.  There have long been implications of the control of worldwide financial activity, fanning the flames of World Wars, and an agenda to destroy the power and influence of the Christian Church -- all for the sake of world dominance.  These theories are not without substantial merit.  But is this reason enough to warrant a century of suspicion and hatred of ALL Jews?  Satan has been successful in infiltrating the Jewish line, but as the Bible tells us, God always retains a faithful remnant unto Himself.
     Thus, the 20th Century saw the deaths of millions of innocent Jews in the pogroms (massacres) of Russia and the Holocaust in Nazi Germany.  Now, in the 21st Century, instead of being embraced as part of the European trend towards multi-ethnic and multi-faith communities, the Jews are isolated and segregated, just as they were prior to WWII.
     The truth is, the establishment of their own nation in their historic homeland -- to which millions of Jews have returned since the Holocaust -- did nothing to assuage the hatred or the hostility towards the Jewish people.  If anything, it intensified the enmity.  The creation of the nation of Israel somehow gave cause to label all European Jews as "Zionist Imperialists".  The continued economic crises in 21st Century Europe have given rise to the old associations of Jews and financial control/exploitation; the same bias that ignited Nazi Germany.  Together, with the rise of the Muslim population in Europe, who view the Jews from the 21st Century perspective of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, you have a two-pronged attack against European Jews.  It becomes apparent that both anti-semitism and anti-Zionism fuel the perception of Jews in modern Europe.
     So will Europe be able to stem the tide of Jewish murders and persecution?  Or is this just a precursor to Isaiah's 2700-year-old prophecy that God would draw His people back to their homeland from the north, south, east and west.  Jesus, Himself, in speaking to the Jews, promises wars and rumors of wars; and that "you will be hated (despised) by everyone because [you bear] My name and for its sake."  Remember, that Jesus was a descendant of the tribe of Judah by his lineage, and He very clearly states in this passage that Jews will be persecuted and despised.  But Jesus also gives a quick little prophecy about a fig tree that "puts forth its buds and comes out in leaf".  Is He prophesying the re-emergence of the nation of Israel?  Is this a reconstitution of ancient Israel, growing and putting out shoots after a period of dormancy?
      And what does the Lord's statement mean in the following verse, when He says that when you see this happening, know that the Kingdom of God is at hand?  Could it be that this is just a Cosmic Chess Match, as submitted by author L.A. Marzulli, and the persecution of the Jews today is just an ongoing effort by Satan to try to stay one move ahead of God's plan to redeem the world through His Son, the Jewish Messiah?  If so, the words of Prime Minister Netanyahu would seem prophetic in themselves:  "This wave of attacks is expected to continue, as well as murderous anti-Semitic attacks. Jews deserve security in every country, but we say to our Jewish brothers and sisters, Israel is your home."
     At this time, Denmark and Europe seem to want to categorize the latest murders as an attack on the freedom of expression and free speech.  Satan has been clever in deceiving the world into falling for a false narrative.  But those of us who see clearly know that we are edging closer to the precipice.  The chess match is coming to a close, and neither player is willing to resign from the game or allow it to conclude with a draw.  But here's the deal:  we know Who the winner is; we know which King will run out of plays and be captured and thrown into the abyss.  You see, a Kingdom is the place where the King resides, and the Prince of this world will soon abdicate his position of power and the Kingdom of God will truly reign on the earth!  And the world will despair of how they treated the House of Judah.  Europe and the world ... take notice!

Click here for a report on the Copenhagen, Denmark shootings as reported by the U.K.'s Daily Mail.

Luke 21:28-32     "Now when these things begin to occur, look up and lift up your heads, because your redemption (deliverance) is drawing near. And He told them a parable: Look at the fig tree and all the trees; When they put forth their buds and come out in leaf, you see for yourselves and perceive and know that summer is already near.  Even so, when you see these things taking place, understand and know that the kingdom of God is at hand.  Truly I tell you, this generation those living at that definite period of time) will not perish and pass away until all has taken place."

September 21, 2016

The Never-Changing Game Plan of Satan

     I love studying history.  I am fascinated how we have arrived at this point in time; and that includes us, as Americans and citizens of the world, as well as us, as followers of Jesus Christ.  What are the means that contributed to our success, and what have been the forces that have opposed us?  Has anything changed in the last two thousand years, and do the actions against the Church differ than those against the world?  In other words, does the Enemy have two different plans of attack to accomplish his goal of supremacy of this planet and its inhabitants?  These are the kinds of questions that swirl around in my head.
     And while preparing for our home church's continuing study on the Book of Acts, an answer began to form in the back of my mind ... see what you think.  By the time we get to the eighth chapter in this important epistle from the pen of Luke, we're starting to get a picture of the schemes of the devil, and the counter moves from our God -- just a little more of that cosmic chess match I've referenced before.
     At the birth of the Church, we see the religious and civil opposition of the Sanhedrin against those of "The Way".  The Jewish Counsel didn't approve of the focus on Jesus and his teachings, and at the same time, they were concerned that His followers were going to upset the nice little relationship they had with the ruling Roman government.  "Compromise" was the motto of the day.  Don't upset the status quo, and for heaven's sake, don't try to make this Jesus the only way to eternal life.
     Is it any different today?  And does it matter whether you are in the Church or out of it?  Certainly, the Church began to suffer religious persecution in the First Century, and the True Church today is being harassed if they hold to true Biblical principles -- even by others who claim they represent God's real purpose for establishing the Church.
Satan is always on the field,
ready to make his next play
    The civil opposition against faith is apparent -- prayer is no longer allowed in schools; it is coming under fire at your local city council meeting; and the world doesn't want to hear that Jesus is the only way.  "Compromise" is not only the slogan among some elements of the Body of Christ, but among our civil and political institutions, too.  The 501(c)3 has become an idol with which the federal government tempts the Church to become part of the Beast System.
     But just as the Holy Spirit inspired the small group of Apostles and new disciples of Christ to stand for His Truth, there is a remnant today who are standing steadfast, and refusing to weaken or accept anything less than what He commanded.  Compromise with unrighteous religious leaders or a corrupt and wicked civil government will not deter the mission and purpose of our calling.
     Back to that First Century Church ... Satan then introduced the sin of Pride into the Church by sowing thoughts of good standing and reputation in the hearts of Ananias and his wife, Sapphira.  In an effort to corrupt the motivations of Believers through self-promotion and aggrandizement, satan sought to diminish the true goal of the Body of Christ: to spread the good news of salvation and eternal life through faith in Jesus Christ.  He is certainly working that same game plan, as evidenced by all the mega-churches and the increase in power, status, and wealth among some of the Church's leaders.The Gospel Message has become lost in the gospels of prosperity, inclusion, and universalism.
     But the sin of Pride is not the exclusive property of the Church.  Our Enemy uses it in the secular world, too.  Pride corrupts even the best intentions of worldly men.  Just look at our political scene, and the world of business, and the entertainment industry.  Pride is a favorite tool of the devil to draw the world away from their Savior.  But we know how God feels about Pride, don't we?  And, in case you're unsure, just look how quickly He countered satan's move to instill it in the hearts of Ananias and Sapphira... they were dead in seconds!  So, whether one is part of the Body of Christ, or the world, Pride as a motivator for your own reward is a sure-fire sign that the devil is working on you.
     Next, satan tried to use disputes and conflicts among different groups to disrupt God's plan for reconciliation with mankind.  There arose a quarrel and controversy between the Greek-speaking Jews and the native Hebrew Jews, as to the social justice issue of taking care of the widows among the new and growing Church.  If the devil could cause strife between different groups of people, then the message of Grace, Love, and Mercy could not flow from the Church.  God solved that evil plan by inspiring the appointment of a group, headed by the disciple Stephen, to share the administration of the duties in order to serve the interests of all.  The first deacons of the Church were ordained, and the Church survived.
     But we still see similar disagreements and quarrels among the different denominations within today's Church; and between the traditionalists and the New Agers; and how many church splits has the Body of Christ endured in the last century alone?  But we also see our Enemy using this same ploy outside the Church, don't we?  The racial tension between the black community and the white community is a result of satan's influence, pitting one group against another.  Foreign refugees and native inhabitants of countries are victims of the devil's subversion.  Muslim versus Christian; Gay versus Straight; Republican versus Democrat... it's all the same game plan ... divide and conquer; I guess the devil believes that to the victor belongs the spoils.
     Finally, when all else failed in those first important years of the establishment of the Church, satan employed jealousy, rivalry, false accusations and distortion of the message to try to defeat God's plan.  He might have thought he had won that chess match when he whispered to corruptible men to spread lies about Stephen, who was becoming a bold and effective disciple, willing to stand against the Establishment (which was the Sanhedrin). Satan's move resulted in the stoning death of Stephen, but the Enemy was not the victor.  Stephen became the first martyr of the infant Church, and his blood was the impetus for the Gospel Message to begin spreading across the land.
     All we have to do today is look no further than the next 60-second political ad to see the same jealousy, rivalry, false accusations and distortion of a message.  Then there are the recent terror attacks, where the lies and distortions are so apparent as to be laughable... only it is the devil who is laughing.  Although this form of corruption centers around secular and earthly affairs, it results in the same confusion and chaos that it does in the Church.  Satan is able to distract us from our real purpose and path, and keep us fighting amongst ourselves.  And rather than going to battle with the Lord against the Enemy, all this controversy keeps us in the devil's tangled web of deceit.
     My intention for pointing out the similarities of satan's game plan is to help us see that he tries to influence all aspects of our lives.  He is not only working in the world, as the prince of this world, but he has never stopped working in the Church.  From the beginning, we have seen him bring strife, conflict, pride, lies, jealousy, and even the power of the Church, itself, to bear against God's creation. Now. it is more apparent than ever that we must be aware, and watch for his schemes and plots to undermine humanity and wreak devastation and destruction.  I truly feel he is putting his final battle plan into motion, and bringing his devastation to fruition.
     At the point I am in the Book of Acts, the Bible says that the Church began to be "ravaged by persecution".  That is such an ominous word and one that I am afraid will soon apply to us.  But it is not only the followers of Christ who will be shattered, but the very foundations of civilization.  Thank God, that the Righteousness and Judgment of our Lord will prevail and the game plan of our Adversary will be destroyed.  The victory has already been won, and the spoils are our inheritance in heaven.  Come, Lord, Jesus, Come!

Job 1:7     The Lord said to Satan, “From where have you come?” Satan answered the Lord and said, “From going to and fro on the earth, and from walking up and down on it.”


January 9, 2017

The Mysteries of The Kingdom of God

     How many of you have given any thought to the difference between the "Gospel of Jesus" and the "Gospel of the Kingdom"?  I would surmise that many of you are like me; I never gave it much thought, or at the very least, I combined them into one concept, under the heading of "The Good News".
     I would submit to you that the Gospel of Jesus Christ is a message of eternal life in the Kingdom of God through His work on the cross, while the Gospel of the Kingdom of God is a call to interface with God in His Kingdom ... the earthly realm and the Heavenly realm. In more precise terms, the Kingdom of God is the realm in which God is King (with the understanding that He resides in all realms and all dimensions).  We also know that a kingdom is a government.  Every kingdom needs a founding document, and God’s Kingdom is founded on the Bible.
     Here's another concept to consider: Every kingdom has an expansion agenda for its growth. The agenda is to expand and take territory for the King so that He might gain more influence in the world. So, from this perspective, God owns Heaven, so to speak, and His goal is to expand His Kingdom in the earth and take territory from Satan. Now, let's take it a step further ... God’s Spiritual Kingdom seeks to invade and expand into our physical realm (“On earth as it is in Heaven”). In this battle to gain new territory for our King, we aren’t trying to hold or maintain ground. We need to war in the Spirit to capture and control new ground. In this way, God’s Kingdom government works by executing His authority over a territory in the same way a 13th Century English King executed his authority over the captured land of other nations.
     God’s Kingdom is made to occupy the territory of your heart, which allows God’s influence to be released from Believers into the world.  But there is a Cosmic Chess Match going on between God and Satan, and it is being fought on the battlefield of men’s hearts.  If God isn’t allowed to occupy the territory of your heart to establish His Kingdom there, Satan will seek to fill this spiritual void, and he can do it through his low level demons of unforgiveness, anger, hate, fear, shame, porn, pharmakeia, occultism (like Freemasonry), and any means necessary.
     As a counter move to Satan, God seeks to program your heart with His belief system.  At this point, it is important to understand the ways in which our hearts can be programmed:
1) REVELATION (Ephesians 1:17): I pray that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, would give you a spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him.  
2)  REPETITION  OF POSITIVE CONFESSIONS:   The repeated positive confessions break down the barrier between the conscious and the unconscious.  (“Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God”).  That’s why we encourage people after our deliverance sessions to learn affirmative and positive Scriptures to speak out loud when you start hearing Satan whisper his lies in your mind.
3) TRAUMA (Fear/Lies/Repeated Bullying/Torture by demons):  They all create false belief systems that are contrary to God.  (This is called mind control).  It shatters the heart’s belief system into fragments.
     So, you can see that the heart is the battleground where we either let God's Kingdom be established, or we give Satan permission to occupy us as his territory.  And it is absolutely essential that we understand our heart connects directly to our Spirit!  2 Corinthians 1:21-22 says, And it is God who has also put his seal on us and given us his Spirit in our hearts as a guarantee. In essence our heart is a portal (a doorway, an opening, a gateway, an entry way) to our Spirit.
     So because there is a direct link from our heart to our spirit (which is the essence of our eternal being; the physical body being temporary), it is important that we guard our heart.  When you understand this concept, then Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me takes on great significance.  And it becomes necessary that we close any portals that might offer an opening to our heart which gives the Enemy the opportunity to take more ground from God's Kingdom.
     How do we close those portals to our hearts?  First, we need to understand that God, the Father, has cosmic laws that required His Son’s blood in exchange for our eternal life.  Jesus's blood has real power in spiritual warfare, and is capable of defeating demonic beings.  In fact, the blood of Jesus smashes demons, defeats any of Satan’s hierarchy, and seals portals that aren’t from God.
     On the other hand, Satan wants to guard and protect any heart he has been allowed access to; and will assign a controlling demon to this portal entry point.  Satan will assign a strongman or gatekeepers, who will monitor and try to control our hearts. And they will fight back with extreme motivation to maintain the portal in the person.
     Sometimes the authority for the demon's residence in our hearts has been personally granted via sin(s) committed through our own free will.  But in many cases the strongman’s legal authority is veiled or deliberately hidden.  Furthermore, legal authority may extend all the way back to different centuries. Generational curses, Freemasonry, dedications, rituals, or any satanic legal issue that gives Satan authority will yield territory from God's Kingdom.  Through spiritual warfare, the legal authority can be cancelled and the strongman removed.  And once we win that battle, we can seal the portal inside the person with the blood of Jesus.  And that's a way territory can be reclaimed for God's Kingdom.
     And if you are willing, we can go a little further into the mysteries of the Kingdom of God.  We need to consider that Spirits are both persons and realms.  We are spirits; Satan's emissaries are spirits; and the Holy Spirit resides in us when we accept Jesus as our Savior.  But also consider that we, as Believers, are called to live out of the realm called Jesus and we are to submit our realm to Him, so that He might live IN us. This is to say that our bodies and our hearts are the realms in which Jesus and the Holy Spirit reside.  But as Revelation 6:8 shows us, Death and Hell are both physical realms and beings.  The beings of Death and Hades are actual spiritual beings, bodies, or entities AS WELL AS a realm that exists. And I looked, and behold, a pale horse! And its rider's name was Death, and Hades followed him. And they were given authority over a fourth of the earth, to kill with sword and with famine and with pestilence and by wild beasts of the earth. Can you see both the [spiritual] person and the [spiritual] realm in this verse?
     I believe it is important for us to understand, at this critical time in history, that as spirit beings, we can engage in battle in the spiritual realm.  Through the power and authority that Jesus has given us, we can protect God's Kingdom and take back territory.  We need to understand that we are operating in two realms -- both heaven and earth! Finding that hard to believe?  Just consider these verses ... Ephesians 2:6:  And He raised us up together with Him [when we believed], and seated us with Him in the heavenly places, [because we are] in Christ Jesus.  When we first believed, our spirit is seated with Jesus in Heaven, while our physical body remains here on earth.  Our spirit is able to operate in both realms.  Colossians 1:13:  He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son.  Again, this is telling us our spirits are no longer prisoners here on earth, but have access to the Son of God in His Kingdom, which is in the realm of Heaven. Philippians 3:20: But [we are different, because] our citizenship is in heaven. And from there we eagerly await [the coming of] the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ. Makes it clear that earth is our temporary home.  As Believers, our spirits are residing in our eternal home, the realm of Heaven.
     So Scripture shows us that we occupy two realms right now (Earth & the Third Heaven) – and with Jesus’s Power and Authority, we can engage in the Second Heaven also, where the demons and spiritual forces that oppress us reside.  But here's the thing I want you to comprehend:  We shouldn’t be afraid of these supernatural aspects God has given to us. To adopt this mindset, requires spiritual maturity in the Church.  Sadly, we haven't grasped these levels of understanding, and the Church is in danger of being locked into rote rituals and doctrine.
     It is imperative we recognize that we were created and designed and empowered to rule with Him right now ... not when we die, not when we become glorified, and not having to wait to be called up as a co-ruler or co-reigner in the Millennial Kingdom.  The Kingdom of God is on earth right now, in our hearts, and we are commissioned to take territory for Him this very day!  And I believe that if we desire to seek a position of authority in the Kingdom, we must come of age spiritually, and begin discipling Believers for the work to be done.
     We are heirs with Christ of the Kingdom of God. And heirs to the King are royalty to God.  Everyone believing in Christ and reading this blog is an heir and considered royalty in the Kingdom.  That is why we are often referred to as “ambassadors for Christ”. We can even consider ourselves "viceroy kings" in His kingdom, which means we are rulers exercising Authority in a colony (the realm of earth) on behalf of a sovereign.
     We have been given appointed spheres of Authority to mete out justice to the dark side under Jesus’s Power and Authority.  It is important that we understand that He directs and grants heavenly resources including messengers, ministering and warring angels, and a full set of spiritual armor.  God has armed us with the Sword of the Spirit (which is the Word of God, which is Jesus) and He wants us to be a point of agreement in the earth so He can act. By doing so, we tear down Satan’s plans and deliver people from his clutches.
     I want to finish by saying that perhaps this sounds like more than you can take into consideration for now.  But I want to give you a word of encouragement.  I believe God is rejoicing to see the work beginning among a remnant of His Body.  It’s a small beginning, but we are maturing and embracing our positions in the Kingdom of God.  May we continue to grow and expand and take territory for the King!

Matthew 6:10    "Your kingdom come, Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven."

March 9, 2016

Freemasonry Part 2: Blending Christianity and Freemasonry

     If you are reading my blog today, then at least I know you have kept an open mind to what I have to say.  And I pray that you will take what I present and continue in your own diligent research... because I think it is that important!  So, today, I want to present the opinions of Freemasons, in their own words, as to the origin of Freemasonry and how it correlates to Christianity.
     First, a little history .... I would venture that few subjects are as enveloped in mystery and misunderstanding as Freemasonry.  For sure, no one can explain with certainty how or when the Masonic Fraternity was formed. A widely accepted theory among Masonic scholars is that it arose from the stonemasons' guilds during the Middle Ages. The language and symbols used in the fraternity's rituals come from this era.  Known under a variety of names (the Craft, the Brotherhood, the Order, the Fraternal Order, the Lodge, etc.), Masonry has been aligned with both the Christian church and the occult.  It can't be both, so which is it?
     If you go to the website for the Masonic Service Association of North America's website, you will note that the emphasis is put on "service to the community", and because of all the controversy, they even post a statement on Freemasonry and Religion.  And they actually do a pretty good job of explaining away all the criticisms and condemnations that have been lodged against the secret society.  If, as a Christian, one is willing to water down God's commandments as to how He wishes to be worshipped, I suppose you could rationalize becoming a Mason.
     That being said, there was a period in time in America where the Christian influence in Masonic lodges held sway.  In his book titled, The History of Freemasonry; It's Legendary Origins, Albert Mackey writes that in the 18th and 19th centuries, such leaders as Rev. James Anderson, William J. Hughan, William Hutchinson, Rev. George Oliver, and others had a Christian view of their Craft. Hutchinson, in particular, noted that Jesus Christ was the example for the Master Mason. He stated, "The Master Mason represents a man under the Christian doctrine saved from the grave of iniquity and raised to the faith of salvation. As the great testimonial that we are risen from the state of corruption, we bear the emblem of the Holy Trinity as the insignia of our vows and of the origin of the Master's order."
      But in the early 19th century, there were a series of incidents that cast a negative light on "the Brotherhood", most notably what would become known as "the Morgan affair".  This resulted in a mass exodus of Christians from Masonic lodges across the nation.  And is it really surprising that when Christian influence vacates a situation, that Satan is waiting in the wings to fill that void?  That's exactly what happened.  During this time Albert Pike seized the opportunity to spread and entrench his pagan interpretation of the Craft, and along with others, Pike began to reinterpret the symbols of the Craft.
     What I find interesting is that while Pike is paganizing Freemasonry in the mid-19th century, there is simultaneously a new influx of Christians into the Fraternal Order.  Can you see the cosmic chess match between YHWH and the devil?  However, the Christian influence wasn't enough to fight off the pagan domination.  Manly P. Hall, a 33rd degree Mason, was one of the early authors who claimed a pagan origin for Freemasonry. In his book entitled The Lost Keys of Freemasonry, he says that Freemasonry is not a material thing: it is a universal expression of the Divine Wisdom. "The Masonic order is not a mere social organization, but is composed of all those who have banded themselves together to learn and apply the principles of mysticism and the occult rites."  With book titles such as The Secret Teachings of all Ages, The Secret Destiny of America, and Freemasonry of the Ancient Egyptians, you should be getting a clearer picture of the occultic mysticism that surrounds this organization.
     The religious cornerstone for the Brotherhood became "universalism".  The primary standard for membership was, and continues to be, that the candidate believe in "God." This god could be Krishna, Buddha, Allah, or any other god, but Jesus Christ is not to be considered anything more than their equal.  This universalist, or inclusive, idea about God has opened the door for every false deity to have a place within the Lodge. Hall makes his universalist orientation unmistakable by stating, "The true disciple of Masonry has given up forever the worship of personalities. With his greater insight, he realizes that all forms . . . are of no importance to him compared to the life which is evolving within." (My emphasis).
     That statement alone tells me that the worship of the One True God and the reverence for His character (or "personality" to put it in Masonic lingo) is replaced by the worship of self, or becoming your own god.  Sounds like the same message that was delivered in the Garden, doesn't it?
     Hall adds to his belief in universalism by stating that "the true Mason is not creed-bound. He realizes with the divine illumination of his lodge that as a Mason his religion must be universal: Christ, Buddha, or Mohammed, the name means little, for he recognizes only the light and not the bearer." So, for the Mason, God is not a personal being, but an impersonal force, an energy that has no substance.  And if one only recognizes the light, and not the bearer, that bearer could be any false god or demonic spirit posing as the light.  So, I simply must ask the question that should be on everyone's mind .... how can a Christian remain a Mason?
     But believe me, the tradition and the subterfuge within Freemasonry is strong enough to delude many a Christian.  Here are a couple of testimonies from a website called Ex-Masons for Jesus.  I urge you to visit the site and read poignant declarations of men and women who came out of the darkness and into the real light, Jesus Christ.  Here are some snippets from their testimonies:
•  "The Grand Master informed me that one of my duties as a Worshipful Master of my Lodge was not to offend any brethren who were not Christians, even if this meant I had to refrain from using the name of Jesus Christ in my prayers. He advised me that as Grand Master he had the authority to disband my Lodge and remove its Charter as a Lodge, if I persisted in using the name of Jesus with members present who objected ... In the center of every Blue Lodge is an altar. Resting on top of the altar is what many Masons refer to as the Great Light of Masonry, the Bible. I later discovered that Freemasonry declares the sacred book of any and all religions in the world equivalent to the Bible. Any "sacred book" may rest on the altar in a Masonic Lodge, to oblige a Mason who does not accept the Bible as God's word ... After reading and studying various Masonic authors, I realized that Freemasonry considers Jesus Christ as no greater than Moses, Elijah, Mohammed, or Buddha"  (Jack Harris).
•  "I didn’t know anything about the Masons at that time. I knew I had been intrigued at one time, in younger years, by things of the supernatural and New Age, and had renounced that. I didn’t really know anything about the Masons except what I was hearing from my husband, which was very little. He took his oaths to the Lodge very seriously, and didn’t disclose any secrets. To him, that oath, I believe, was more sacred than the vows we had made.  He wanted me to join the Eastern Star. I still didn’t know anything about it; I didn’t feel right about it. I felt a check in my spirit. But, he felt that this would help us as a family, and help in our relationship, so I agreed to go ... As I entered that place, there was such a feeling of oppression. I felt that I could hardly breathe. The spirit of fear came over me so strongly, it was such a place of darkness, and I just prayed, “God, if You get me out of here, I promise You I’ll never be back.” After we left, I told Tom that I could not go back there." (Kay Hilton).
•  "I started each of the three degrees of Masonry with my eyes blindfolded. I discovered some time later that I had been spiritually blindfolded as well ... Every prayer offered in lodge, and even in open funeral services, is closed with the invocation, “So Mote It Be.”. I had never heard any such thing when prayers were offered in any other organization or setting. With the advantage now of Internet searches, it is easy to learn that beyond Masonic references, one can find the phrase in common usage in witchcraft and other similar secret bodies."  (Now you know the origin of that phrase that I used in yesterday's post) ... "A new Mason has to acknowledge before entering the lodge room – that he is “in darkness” and is seeking true light in Masonry."  What was that again?  "The true light" in Masonry?  Seems to me if you are a Christian, the True Light is Jesus!  So, once again, I ask... how can a true Christian remain a Mason? 
     I could continue with testimonies and evidence, but I hope by now I have provided enough to encourage you to become knowledgeable about Freemasonry; to pray about it and seek guidance and counsel from the Holy Spirit.  Sadly, it is not enough to seek counsel from your Church leaders, many of whom have not done their own due diligence.  Take for example this 1993 Report on Freemasonry, from the Southern Baptist Convention:
"In light of the fact that many tenets and teachings of Freemasonry are not compatible with Christianity and Southern Baptist doctrine, while others are compatible with Christianity and Southern Baptist doctrine, we therefore recommend that consistent with our denomination's deep convictions regarding the priesthood of the believer and the autonomy of the local church, membership in a Masonic Order be a matter of personal conscience. Therefore, we exhort Southern Baptists to prayerfully and carefully evaluate Freemasonry in the light of the Lordship of Christ, the teachings of the Scripture, and the findings of this report, as led by the Holy Spirit of God." 
     Think that fits the description of the "lukewarm" Church of Laodicea?  I do!  If any tenants and teachings are incompatible with Christ, why would you not denounce Freemasonry for Christians?  Once again compromise wins out, and Jesus is devalued.  But that's the way the devil works, isn't it?  He weasels his way into being accepted as "almost" like God and offers us the tempting titles of leadership and good standing in our community.  So, prideful Christians look the other way, and remain loyal to the Lodge.  In the next post, I will show you how Freemasonry has left the Lodge and entered the Church.  Stay tuned!

2 Corinthians 6:14   "Do not be unequally yoked with unbelievers [do not make mismated alliances with them or come under a different yoke with them, inconsistent with your faith]. For what partnership have right living and right standing with God with iniquity and lawlessness? Or how can light have fellowship with darkness?"

July 18, 2016

Connecting More Dots

     Chaotic events in the world are beginning to happen at breakneck speed; like contractions during a birth.  Dallas ... Nice, France ... Turkey ... Baton Rouge ... all in less than two weeks.  And we are facing the Republican National Convention in Cleveland this week; God help us!  I fear that the New Living Translation of Matthew 24:8 is playing out: "But all this is only the first of the birth pains, with more to come."  
     Saturday evening into Sunday morning I wrote the following post and think it is important enough to still run it this morning.  But I wanted all to know that I am not impervious to the tragedy that happened in Baton Rouge yesterday.  Sadly, it is a continuation of the rage that I believe is being orchestrated against all of us in the country, regardless of our race.  It is spiritual in nature, and regrettably, there are far too many people with hearts of stone who are only willing to listen to the devil's lies, and those of his collaborators.  If you know nothing else to do, just get on your knees and pray.  (Click here for my suggestion, if you're not sure how to pray). Ask the Creator of all men to change the hearts of wicked men.   Recognize Him as Jehovah Nissi, our banner or battle standard.  He is our forward Guard and our rear Guard.  As long as we are under his banner, our victory is always assured.  If we ever depart from it, our defeat is a certainty.  
     We need to face it --- this Christian life is a picture of warfare.  Just as in ancient battles, we are to obey every command of our King, and run to His banner, which is the Cross, when the fight becomes too much for our flesh.  But we also need to realize that the battle is won in the spiritual realm, and we are to put on our full armor of God and get to the battlefront!  No matter what the news says today, or tomorrow, next week, or next year ... trust in our Lord and Savior!  These birth pangs will soon give way to His justice and righteousness.  We are in the heat of the battle at the moment, and we need to keep drinking the Living Water that is Christ!

     Over the weekend, as I followed the events in Turkey, I couldn't help but discern that God gave me a huge download of knowledge that connected more dots in the evolution of His cosmic chess match with the devil.  I'm still trying to fit all the pieces together, so I hope you'll be patient with me, as I try to write this down as fast as I'm receiving it.  Hopefully, it will make some sense to you, or one of you can expand on what I'm presenting.
     My journey over the last few days began with receiving a book that my Spiritual Warfare mentor suggested I read, called Rulers of Evil, by F. Tupper Saussy.  At the expense of offending faithful Catholics, I must recommend this book as a fascinating book of the history of the Catholic Church and its influence on the world empires, as well as the founding of America.  Moreover, the author gives an intriguing account of the history of Biblical knowledge and how it interacts with the Roman Catholic papacy.  PLEASE, I am not recommending this book under the pretense of Catholic-bashing!  I am a lover of history and the author is able take a vast amount of historical information and present it in a chronological and coherent manner.  I had barely begun reading (page 24 to be exact) when I saw a link between what happened in history to what is unfolding in Turkey and here in the United States.  Let me start with the historical impetus for my "aha" moment....
     As a student of history, I have been aware that the reading of the Bible was largely limited to Kings and Church leaders until the invention of the Guttenberg Press made it accessible to the masses.  The control and domination by these rulers could be undermined if the general population ever learned that they had direct access to the Bible and God's Word.  (That's an over-simplification of all the intrigue that surrounds the maintaining of power among history's ruling class, but it gives you a general view of how things work).
     As I was reading this fascinating book, it was inevitable that the conflict between Martin Luther and the Catholic Church would surface.  In case you're unfamiliar with the background of this story, Luther was a Catholic monk who defied the edict of the Archbishop of Mainz against unauthorized Bible reading, and began reading the first edition of the Greek New Testament, printed by Renaissance theologian Desiderius Erasmus.  That led to Luther's explosive document, Ninety-five Theses Upon Indulgences, which he promptly nailed to the door of the castle church of Wittenburg. (The historic idea of Indulgences was centered upon a grant by the pope of the remission of punishment in purgatory that was still due for sins, even after absolution. The unrestricted sale of indulgences by pardoners was a widespread abuse during the later Middle Ages ... as an example, for the payment of four ducats, one could be forgiven for murdering one's father; or Sorcery was pardoned for six ducats --- you get the picture).  You can see how the ability for the common man to begin reading and understanding the Truth within the pages of the Bible could seriously erode the authority of those who claimed divine power.
     But it was more than these familiar historical facts that I was seeing; I suddenly saw the collusion between Pope Clement VII, Niccolo Machiavelli, the inventor of modern political science, and Cardinal Thomas Wolsey, Chancellor of England. These men determined that the printing press could now be used to their advantage --- they, themselves, could produce literature that would ultimately confuse, diminish, and marginalize the influence of the Bible. Cardinal Wolsey characterized this project as putting "learning against learning".  (Remember that phrase, because it is going to come back into focus as I connect the dots to what happened this weekend).  The result of this vast amount of printed material was the famed Medici Library-- which opposed the Bible's teaching that man could have eternal life simply by believing in Christ's death and resurrection on our behalf, in favor of Gnostic teachings that man could achieve eternal life by doing good works (Christ-centered learning versus man-centered learning).  So extensive was this Library's philosophical influence, that many scholars today consider it the cradle of Western civilization.
     Martin Luther, discerning that this learning against learning philosophy was the future of Christianity, prophetically wrote in 1520, "Though our children live in the midst of a Christian world, they faint and perish in misery because they lack the Gospel in which we should be training and exercising them all the time.  I advise no one to place his child where the Scriptures do not reign paramount [my emphasis].  Schools will become wide-open gates of hell if they do not diligently engrave the Holy Scriptures on young hearts.  Every institution where men are not increasingly occupied with the Word of God must become corrupt".  (While I also have huge problems with Luther's later opinions regarding the Jewish people, he hit a home run with this school of thought).
     So, now let me make a huge leap, by connecting this dot with one from this weekend.  As I awoke Saturday morning, I was curious to see what had happened in Turkey overnight.  As I often do, I took a look at what foreign news outlets were reporting; often finding them less restrained in their communication of facts.  The UK's Daily Mail was showing astonishing pictures of the citizens who backed President Erdogan confronting and attacking the members of the Turkish military who had dared to try to overthrow the President.  One particular sentence jumped out at me:  "Erdogan has blamed his old scapegoat, Fethullah Gulen for orchestrating the uprising. Muslim cleric Gulen, the president's rival who lives in self-imposed exile in Pennsylvania, as the head of a billion dollar religious movement, has often been blamed for political unrest in Turkey."
     If you have been reading my blog for awhile, you might recognize the name of Fethullah Gulen.  I wrote posts here (2013) and here (earlier in 2016), regarding this imam's influence in our American educational system.  Yes, you read that correctly ... Trained as an imam, Fethullah Gulen gained notice in Turkey some 50 years ago, promoting a philosophy that blended a mystical form of Islam with staunch advocacy of democracy, education, science and interfaith dialogue.  Erdogan has long accused Gulen of plotting to overthrow the "officially secular government" from a gated 26-acre compound in Pennsylvania's Pocono Mountains, which has a population of about 1,100. The President of Turkey is now asking for Gulen's extradition, but Secretary of State John Kerry says our government is unlikely to comply.
     Why should the internal politics and history of political rivalry in Turkey be of particular interest to us here in the United States?  Because, as I have made mention in past blog posts, Fethullah Gulen and his Gulen Movement (his liberal Islamic transnational religious and social movement) runs the largest charter school network in our nation - the list is at 146 to be exact, with sad to say, 45 schools in my state of Texas!  How could this be, you ask?  Well, he is very clever ... the name of these influential schools go by different names in each of the states.  In Texas, they are the Harmony Science Academy; in Ohio, the Horizon Science Academy; in California, the Magnolia Science Academy ... you see what he's doing, right?  Appealing to the ever-competitive nature of the American psyche, he promotes his schools as academies of higher learning to help Americans excel in math and science; so that students will get a higher level of education than they do at public schools.  And it is a multi-billion dollar business!
     And students get a higher "level" of learning alright!  While the schools are not overtly teaching Islamic philosophy and religion, I contend that Fethullah Gulen's influence is predicated on eliminating and destroying Christianity's influence among our nation's youth.  That's where the dots are connected!  Remember Luther's concern over learning against learning?  Well, we are seeing it in action before our very eyes, and we are blinded.  I say that because Gulen's influence has not only infiltrated our education system, but his tentacles reach into banks, newspapers, universities, charities, research institutes, and the halls of Congress, where according to an article by Ariel Cohen, and a USA TODAY investigation, over 200 trips for congressmen and congressional staff have been sponsored by G├╝lenist entities.
     All this being said, I have to admit that I sometimes feel like I'm shouting in the wilderness.  I have written several posts now on this man, and pointed to others who have done extensive research on him, and now the name of Fethullah Gulen pops up once again in the attempted coup in Turkey.  If you're tired of me harping on this subject, I apologize, but the chance that I would receive this fascinating book, and read of the anti-Bible reference to learning against learning, at the exact moment that an influential Islamic businessman (deeply ensconced in our educational system) is suggested as influencing the attempted downfall of a sovereign nation ... well, I could not ignore it.
     I will leave you by repeating the words of Martin Luther ...  I advise no one to place his child where the Scriptures do not reign paramount.  Schools will become wide-open gates of hell if they do not diligently engrave the Holy Scriptures on young hearts.  Do you think that the mega-success of the Gulen Schools shows us that man-centered learning is surpassing Christ-centered learning in our culture?  And what happens when the Word of God is eliminated entirely, in favor of Islamic-flavored curriculum?  The fingerprints of satan have been on the knowledge of man from the beginning, and this is just another of his strategies.  We must be diligent in our discernment, and continue to connect the dots!

Colossians 2:8    "See to it that no one takes you captive by philosophy and empty deceit, according to human tradition, according to the elemental spirits of the world, and not according to Christ."

August 31, 2016

"Be As Wise As Serpents, and Innocent As Doves"

     In our Home Church's study of the Book of Acts this past weekend, we made note of the ways that satan attempted to disrupt the growth and influence of the newly-formed First Century Church.  He tried to discourage the Apostles from delivering their supernaturally-charged message of "Jesus as Messiah" by inciting the civil and religious ire of the powerful Sanhedrin.  When Peter, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, shows them he is unafraid of their threats, the devil then whispers the sin of Pride into the hearts of Ananais and Sapphira and they lie to the Holy Spirit about their false generosity to meet the needs of the multitude assembled in Jerusalem.  God thwarts that plan by striking them dead on the spot.
     The next move in the cosmic chess match was to try to instigate division among different groups within the new Church, but Stephen, a man of remarkable faith, steps up and leads the congregation to reconciliation.  In retaliation, satan whispers lies and false accusations against Stephen, which results in a trial before the Sanhedrin and a death sentence for blasphemy -- ironically the same sentence brought against Jesus, whom Stephen proclaimed.  Again, the Adversary thinks he's poured cold water on the fire of Christianity, but God defeats his move by raising up the first martyr who is willing to die for his witness of Christ.  And all of this has happened in just the first seven chapters!
     But Jesus had warned the Apostles that this would be their lot; in fact, anyone who is willing to witness to the world of eternal salvation through Jesus, the Son of God, can expect that there will be a hard road before them.  In Matthew, chapter ten, after commissioning His twelve disciples and instructing them to continue the work He was doing, he then warns them that He is "sending them out as sheep in the midst of wolves", and then comes that turn of phrase that I wish to explore further ... "So, be as wise as serpents, and innocent as doves".  Just what did He mean by that?   
     The first half of that admonition is easy enough to discern.  Sheep are vulnerable in the midst of wolves, and are targets for attack.  As Matthew Henry explains it, "Wicked men are like wolves, in whose nature it is to devour and destroy."  This is the very definition of the goal of satan.  So, then what are we to make of the advice, first, to be "wise as serpents"?  
      I have seen some explanations from sources that I admire; John Piper and David Guzik both adhere to opinions that witnesses for Jesus should follow the example of serpents, or snakes, and "get out of the way; go under rock", or that "serpents are attacked by everyone, and must use creativity and wisdom to survive; so, avoid unnecessary trouble".  While both viewpoints accurately describe the action of snakes, I would like to offer another possible interpretation; one from a spiritual warfare point of view.
     Do you think it is plausible that Jesus could have meant for them to be wise from this standpoint ... to be wise and to have sharp and perceptive discernment and understanding of people and situations, and to be alert and aware so that you can maintain sound judgment in dealing with different  circumstances. 
     I suggest that both Mr. Piper and Mr. Guzik might put forth the argument that a snake's most common form of self-protection is avoidance.  Therefore, when confronted with persecution, we should seek practical and artful ways to avoid trouble with the Enemy, and seek a path of escape.  And I agree that this might sometimes be the best option and approach we should take.  
     But remember, it is the objective of wolves to "devour and destroy", and this is the task that satan desires to accomplish through any manner possible.  And what is Jesus's admonition in the face of satan's attacks?  Be wise as a serpent.  So, as we attempt to fulfill our commission from Jesus, we must discern how we are going to counter these attacks, and listen to the counsel of the Holy Spirit.  I contend that currently, the Church's only modus operandi is to follow a plan of "avoid and escape".  But is that the only approach that Jesus means for us in His advice to be wise as serpents?  Are we always supposed to run and hide?  What if He really meant something else?  
     What if being as wise as a serpent means to know and understand the Enemy's tactics?  It seems to me that by being aware of how our enemy thinks and acts, that we could be more effective in defeating him.  I'm not saying that we should go looking for the fight at all!  But I am suggesting that avoiding the fight at all costs  -- with no understanding that we have the power and authority of Jesus behind us -- we are giving up valuable ground to the forces of wickedness and evil.  Sometimes understanding our enemy -- instead of avoiding him -- might give us the opportunity to better protect ourselves.  Instead of defenseless sheep facing an onslaught of wolves, we can mount a supernatural defense, being wise as to how our enemy operates.
     Now for the second half of Jesus's instruction,  Be as innocent as doves.  John Piper says this means, as you go forth spreading the Gospel Message, "don’t give them any legitimate reason to accuse you of injustice or immorality. Keep your reputation as clean as you can."  David Guzik prefers the version which says to be harmless as doves, and implies that "remaining harmless would keep them from giving in to the temptation of retaliation."  He also quotes theologian Charles Spurgeon, who said the Christian "must be of a guileless [innocent, genuine] mind (without deception), that he do no harm."  
     I agree with all these learned men, and I would like to suggest one caveat to their discerning viewpoints.  In the realm of spiritual warfare, we really fight on two fronts, don't we?  One front is the spiritual realm, in which we battle the powers and forces of spiritual wickedness and evil.  The other is the physical world in which we counter the attacks of satan and his demons with the powerful message of Jesus's love and sacrifice.  So while we should be wise in knowing the enemy's tactics and how to defeat them in the spiritual realm, we also need to be wise about how we present His message to those who are lost in this world.  Remember the context in which Jesus is speaking: He is sending His representatives out into the world to spread the Good News.  That is a powerful counter-attack to satan's plans to "devour and destroy".
     We cannot approach the world as if we are going to war against them.  We must be a safe haven for them to hear the Word; we must not use His Message to cause harm; and we must be blameless in our approach and our testimony.  There should be a sense of peace about our delivery; after all doves are a symbol of peace.  And what better way to counter the devil's destructive attacks in a person's life than to battle back with a message that brings peace to a man's soul and spirit?  Being innocent as doves is a significant and powerful part of our spiritual warfare arsenal.
     Now that I've explained another way to look at this passage, I'm sure there are readers wondering, "So, what exactly, does being wise as a serpent look like?  What should we be knowing in order to understand the Enemy? I'd like to suggest just a few things that come to my mind:
1)  Studying exactly how God feels about oaths and curses, and what effects they have upon our lives.
2)  Studying secret societies like the Freemasons, Opus Dei, Skull and Bones and knowing the oaths and curses they take and what they mean to these groups.  And, as a believer, if these associations are connected to your family, you need to know that they can be renounced in the Name of Jesus, and you can be freed of their destructive consequences in your life, and the lives of your family members.
3)  Understanding what "legal authority" means from a spiritual perspective, and what it allows Satan to do.
4)  Understanding what a "stronghold" is and how satan uses them to oppress us; unforgiveness being one of the strongest and most oppressive.
5)  Researching and understanding that there is a very real satanic calendar; days on which sacrifices and evil practices are carried out.  These dates are not contrived on my part -- they have been followed for thousands of years; ancient, pagan rites passed down through the centuries and honored by modern followers of satan.  Don't believe me?  Check out the list here.  Christians don't even know they exist, so the enemies of mankind are allowed to carry out their diabolical rites without one prayer against them!
     What I am not saying is this:  that we should make this knowledge our priority, or that it should have equal standing with knowing and understanding God.  But I do not believe that He wants us to simply be sitting idly by, waiting for Him to come to our rescue.  He wants us in the battle and participating with Him, and that means getting out of our comfort zones, and our comfortable seats in the pew, and becoming more than robots.
     These are just a few of the ways that we can be "wise as serpents" -- by studying and understanding what the serpents do and how they operate!  In Luke 10:19, Jesus says, I have given you authority to trample on snakes and scorpions and to overcome all the power of the enemy" ... but, up until very recently, I had no idea what that meant or how to go about it.  I suspect it is the same for many Christians.
     The Church and the Body of Christ have done a good job about understanding and being "innocent/harmless" as a dove.  But I can't help thinking there is some significance to our Lord telling us to be "wise as a serpent" first ... and then to be "innocent as a dove".  If we are restricted in our witness and the bearing of fruit, due to the deep spiritual wounds that go unhealed, just how effective will we be in representing the power of Jesus's love?  If we at least consider getting free of our bondage to sin first, then I believe the sharing of our testimony and the Gospel of Jesus will be so sweet on our lips that it will be irresistible!
     To summarize ... Shouldn't we first understand how our Enemy operates, then listen to the Holy Spirit as to whether it is most prudent to avoid this confrontation, or to call upon our power and authority in Christ to confront it and defeat it?  And finally, I want to leave you with this interesting analogy from my pure Texas husband ... God wants us to use the brains He gave us; we'd better start understanding the schemes and tactics of the devil [and how to deal with them through the Lord], or when the evil that is prophesied to come upon the world occurs, it is going to look like Opening Day of dove season in South Texas! What a sobering thought....

2 Timothy 1:7    "For God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control."