Posted in america, christianity, discernment, heresy

The biggest heresy in America

Listening to John MacArthur’s second sermon this morning, on “Why The World Hates Christians, part 2” he mentioned an 11-month-old survey done by Ligonier and LifeWay Research. The research involved identifying the biggest heresy in America. Before MacArthur revealed what it was, I’d thought it might be Prosperity Gospel, or Charismatic errors. Nope.

Here is what Ligonier/LifeWay found: The biggest heresy in America was a denial of human depravity. Human depravity is the concept that after Adam and Eve sinned in the Garden, all humans from that point on are completely unable to see the things of God, to do any righteous deeds pleasing to God, or to respond in any way to God. We are completely unable. Our inability renders us dead in our sins, and being dead in our sins renders us unable. We need God to draw us to Him, to make us see Him, and to be able to respond to Him. This doctrine means, we as humans prior to repentance and justification, cannot “choose God.” As John MacArthur explains complete inability:

This doctrine has been called “Total Depravity,” but I feel that the “total depravity” is a misleading term.  If you look up “depravity” in the dictionary, it’s a synonym for viciousness.  It’s a synonym for being vile.  In fact, to be depraved, according to the dictionary, is to be degraded, debased, immoral to a dangerous degree like rapists and serial killers.  The word “depraved” sort of connotes a level of evil that’s just not applicable to everybody.  To say someone is totally depraved, you know, you think of Jeffrey Dahmers, or Charles Manson, or somebody who has not a vestige of human goodness, and void of all normal affection and restraint.  To call someone “totally depraved” would set them outside normal people as vicious perverts.  

That is not what is meant when theologians refer to total depravity because not everybody is as bad as they could be, and not everybody is as bad as everybody else.  What we’re talking about here is what I’ve chosen to call “absolute inability.”  What is true of everybody is we have no ability to respond to the gospel.  We are completely unable to raise ourselves out of a state of death.  We are completely unable to give our blind hearts sight.  We are completely unable to free ourselves from slavery to sin.  We are completely unable to turn from ignorance to truth.  We are completely unable to stop rebelling against God, stop being hostile to His Word.  

We are not only unable but we are unwilling to do that, unwilling to repent, unwilling to believe.  And if we are to repent and to believe, then it must be like it was for Lazarus, where God who commands the dead to rise has to also give them the power.

The church I used to attend is just such a church, participating in promoting the biggest heresy in America. From the pulpit and in Sunday School the Calvinist-hating pastor used to promote the notion of “free will” and our ability to choose Jesus as Savior. He would talk about our minds having just a ”flawed rationale’ and ‘clouded thinking’, not the fact that the Bible states we are completely blind (2 Corinthians 4:3-4) and totally unable to do anything for God. (Romans 3:10). Five minutes into one Sunday School lesson he explained free will and on that same Sunday in a 20 minute sermon he mentioned it again 5 more times. Talk about indoctrination. And this was just a dinky little Southern Baptist Church in a rural county.

Here is a web page listing all the verses which explain man’s incapability to choose God.

With such indoctrination about the false concept from churches from east to west, and on television and in books and in movies that we have freedom to choose Jesus, it’s no wonder that this heresy has grown so monstrously pervasive. I’m glad Ligonier/LifeWay named it a heresy.

Here is an excerpt from their research conclusions-

Thanks to a recent survey by Ligonier Ministries and Lifeway Research we now know the biggest heresy in America. Pushing errors regarding the trinity and the church into second and third place is the denial of the Bible’s teaching about the doctrine of sin, especially in the related areas of human depravity and human inability. I say “related” because what we believe about human depravity impacts what we believe about human ability; what we are determines what we can or cannot do.

Regarding human depravity, the research showed: 

  • 67% agree “Everyone sins at least a little, but most people are by nature good.”
  • 40% agree “God loves me because of the good I do or have done.” 

Regarding human inability, the statistics were: 

  • Only 16% agree with the doctrine that says “people do not have the ability to turn to God on their own initiative.
  • 71% of Americans agree that “an individual must contribute his/her own effort for personal salvation.”
  • 64% of Americans agree “a person obtains peace with God by first taking the initiative to seek God and then God responds with grace.” 

In summary, the vast majority believe that: 

  • Though we sin a little, by nature we are good.
  • We can do good and God rewards our good deeds by loving us.
  • We have the ability to turn to God on our own initiative.
  • Salvation involves us taking the initiative that God then responds to.

Go to the link above for more information and Ligonier’s infographic. Their conclusion was this:

“The future belongs to Christians with conviction.”

Is that you? Do you stand by what you believe? Are you strong on biblical knowledge and exhibiting a practical holiness? Because now is the time to know what you believe, why you believe it, and be ready to defend it- at all costs. Luke 14:28.

Posted in america, end time, jesus, martyr, spirit

Martyrdom in America and the ‘indomitable human spirit’

On October 1, 2015 a mass shooting took place at an Oregon Community College. The lone gunman shot and killed 9 people and injured 9 others before turning his weapon on himself as police arrived and a battle ensued.

The shooting at Umpqua CC was one of the deadliest in recent memory. The list of school shootings just in recent years is depressingly long. In addition to the UCC shooting this week in Oregon, are the 2015 shootings at Emmanuel African Methodist Church in which 9 were killed during a worship service, the 2012 Aurora CO movie theater shooting, and several recent shootings at military installations such as Ft. Hood and US Navy Yard.

In 2015, The Washington Post reported 204 mass shootings occurring in the U.S. in that year alone, according to ShootingTracker.com. In August 2015, the Washington Post reported that the United States was averaging one mass shooting per day. As of October 2015, U.S. President Barack Obama had given eleven speeches on eleven different mass shootings. (source).

One difference with this particular shooting in Oregon is that the shooter targeted Christians. In Charleston, though it was a church shooting, the motivation was racial. In other shootings, the gunman was a disgruntled employee targeting the workplace or simply an angry young madman locating a place where great numbers of people gather. The Umpqua Community College shooting is unique and represents a deepening of the exposure of our human spirit’s depravity. But before I delve into that biblical discussion, here are the facts surrounding this latest incident.

As the gunman entered the classroom at the Community College, he told all the students, adults, and teachers in the room to lay on the floor. Then he demanded that each one rise in turn and state their religion. If they said nothing, or ‘other’, they were maimed. If they said they were a Christian, the gunman reportedly replied,

“‘Good, because you’re a Christian, you’re going to see God in just about one second,” Stacy Boylan said in a televised report. “And then he shot and killed them.”

The United States has been relatively shielded from direct assault on Christians solely due to their religion. This shielding is obviously over.

Back in June, the Supreme Court of the United States made a moral declaration in their judicial capacity, rendering an opinion that stated that homosexual people across the land had the right to marry. Wikipedia’s synopsis states,

In the United States, same-sex marriage has been legal nationwide since June 26, 2015, when the United States Supreme Court ruled in Obergefell v. Hodges that state-level bans on same-sex marriage are unconstitutional. The court ruled that the denial of marriage licenses to same-sex couples and the refusal to recognize those marriages performed in other jurisdictions violates the Due Process and the Equal Protection clauses of the Fourteenth Amendment of the United States Constitution. The ruling overturned a precedent, Baker v. Nelson.

Most Christians recognized this as a spiritual watershed moment in our society. God sets up nations and establishes their boundaries. (Acts 17:26). Though only one nation has been specifically established to glorify Him as His special elect (Israel, Isaiah 45:4), the LORD does expect Godly behavior as the Gospel spreads. Moreover, He is always angry at sin. (Psalm 7:11).

The reverse of His setting up nations and working within them is that He also releases nations to their sin when they consistently fail to repent or when they consistently defy Him. This process is described in Romans 1:18-32. It applies to individuals but also applies en masse to nations when enough of the people consistently choose sin over God. That great nations and empires come and go is testament to His work within them. Babylon, Assyria, Egypt, the British Empire … all consigned to the dustbin of history as once great but no more. This isn’t an accident of history but a purposeful work of God.

When the SCOTUS decision came down in June 2015, many American Christians remarked that it seemed that God had turned the US over to its sin and allowed a hardening to take place. At that time, Dr John MacArthur had some wise and encouraging words. He preached that the decision to encourage sch a particularly depraved sin, having reached the highest levels, was a marker that God had indeed turned America over. This hardening and release will have consequences, MacArthur said.

Practical atheism, rejection of the truth, moral relativism has always prevailed in Satan’s kingdom. But here in America we’ve been protected from that in its full fierceness. No more. And by the way, religious liberty isn’t promised to Christians, is it? Freedom isn’t promised to Christians. Persecution is. Persecution is. I think we’re going to feel it. 

There will be a barrage of persecution. These are going to be very challenging days. We will not bow. We will be gracious and we will be loving, but we will render to God what is God’s. (Source: Sermon We Will Not Bow.)

He was right. A mere three months later, Christians were murdered on US soil for the first time solely due to their stated religion. As a nation founded by religious separatists on the concepts of freedom, religious liberty, and one nation UNDER GOD, it has always seemed absurd and farcical that the kind of religious persecution written about in the first century or the Middle Ages could ever happen in the US. Then ISIS formed and many people in the 10/40 Window were martyred, persecuted, hunted and killed for their religious beliefs.

But still, it seemed far-fetched that it would happen here any time soon, despite what the Bible promised about Christians having trouble in this world. (John 16:33).

But Dr MacArthur was right, or more correctly, the Bible was right about what happens to nations that reject Him. Trouble and persecution always follows. America is certainly no exception. For some people, that fact just took a while to sink in. Then Umpqua happened and Christians were killed.

Jordan Standridge wrote at The Cripplegate yesterday about the martyrdom. Here is a short excerpt, and I recommend the entire piece-

When the Devil Points a Gun at You

The world will hate Christians 

I have to begin with this as we heard that the gunman singled out Christians in the shooting. He hated organized religion and made it a point to shoot the Christians in a fatal way. Jesus was clear that Christians will be persecuted (2 Timothy 5:12). He also tells his disciples that the world will treat them just like He was treated (John 15:20-21). When the devil points a gun at you, he desperately wants to kill Christ but he can’t get to him. But we know Christ will ultimately crush his head.

The world can’t stop the Gospel

On the day of their executions, Hugh Latimer and Nicholas Ridley knew that their burning would only enflame the light of the Gospel even more. Though John Bunyan’s tongue was silenced, the Gospel spread through his writing at a higher rate than ever before. Time and time again the world has tried to silence Christians and yet you cut a head off and two grow back. You can’t stop the Gospel. Though the devil seems to win battles, he will not win the war. When the Devil points a gun at you he desperately wants to stop the Gospel, but he can’t and it always spreads further.

Here is Adam Ford with One Simple Question

So all this was not to simply recount the news. It was to get us to this point and then remark on a comment made by CNN and former US Representative Gabrielle Giffords. In the immediate aftermath of the shooting, CNN reported this comment made by Gabby Giffords. Mrs Giffords was also a victim of a shooting when a politically motivated gunman shot her in the head. She knows the emotions of being a victim of violent crime, and she has experienced the aftermath. In addition to being shot with the physical effects, her wounding ended her political career. Giffords said of the Oregon shooting,

As far as I know, Mrs Giffords is not a Christian. Her Wikipedia page lists her religion as Reformed Judaism.

The human spirit is not indomitable, unless you say it is indomitably depraved. Indomitable means “impossible to subdue or defeat.” The sin-nature that’s in all of us IS impossible to subdue or defeat, without Christ. Our indomitable human nature is exactly why we need Christ! The same community comprised of individuals who mourned the victims’ deaths and injuries at Umpqua and who will attempt to rebound from their heartbreak, is the same community comprised of individuals any of whom may turn around some day and do the exact same thing.

In my early Christian walk, as I began to grapple with the difficult concepts of
total depravity & sin, (Ecc 7:20), I worked through these concepts by
 making collages. If we could see our spirit as God sees it, it might
look like this, as I collaged my representation of the sin-nature.

I’d said that the list of US mass shootings is depressingly long. Mass shootings are not isolated incidents, happening only rarely. Serial murders are not rare. Infanticide is not rare. Abortion infanticide is not rare. They are regular, normal acts from regular, depraved people whose sin nature has not been subdued and resisted with the aid of the indwelling Holy Spirit.

You might think my attitude is excessively dark.  And indeed, things do look dark. Jesus promised that before His Second Coming the earth’s people would be like they were in the days of Noah. (Luke 17:26). Immediately prior to the Flood, the Lord withdrew His Spirit, because He will not strive with Man forever. (Genesis 6:3). The world was released to wallow in its depravity, which had descended to this:

The LORD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intention of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. (Genesis 6:5).

The reality is, man’s ‘indomitable’ spirit is dark. It’s evil. Left to our own devices, we only think evil all the time. It will be that way again prior to the second judgment, when His wrath is released onto an unbelieving world during the Tribulation after the rapture when the restraining Holy Spirit is removed along with the people He dwells in. Except, Jesus promised, it will be worse. (Matthew 24:21-22).

And here is where the Light breaks.

Our God is so majestic, loving, and kind, He did not leave us to eternally deal with our indomitably evil human spirit. He begot a Son, who is Jesus. He sent His Son to incarnate into human flesh. Emptying Himself, He lived a perfectly holy and sinless life on earth. He dwelled among men and in all man’s depravity, yet in Him there was no darkness for one moment in all His days on earth. Falsely accused, Jesus allowed Himself to be beaten, scourged, spit on, maimed, stripped, and placed on a humiliating and painful cross, to die. Before His death, He took on God’s wrath for His elect’s sin.

We speak of the dark spirit of man, but think of this darkness. The moment when Jesus took on God’s wrath and absorbed the sin of the world, He was separated from God for the first time in eternity. All the world was literally dark. (Matthew 27:45)

This was so that Jesus could become the perfect sacrifice needed to please God and exhaust God’s wrath. God raised Jesus in the flesh the third day, and He ascended to the Father, where He reigns until He comes again.

Now what sinners must do is believe this Gospel. Believe your spirit is not pure and white and able to conquer anger, sin, and death. But believe that Jesus conquered sin and death and became the Door through which we may enter Holy heaven, pure and undefiled, because Jesus is pure and undefiled. The Light has come! Read this, slowly, even though it is so familiar to you-

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. 17For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. 18Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God.

19And this is the judgment: the light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their works were evil. 20For everyone who does wicked things hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his works should be exposed. 21But whoever does what is true comes to the light, so that it may be clearly seen that his works have been carried out in God.” (John 3:16:21)

As Dr MacArthur preached, we will not bow. In addition, not only will we not to bow, but we will stand.

Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm. (Ephesians 6:13)

Just as the martyred Christians did on October 1. Stand and declare … for Jesus. Be ready to die answering that one simple question. Are you a Christian? The new martyrs’ light has not been extinguished, but only burns brighter as this world’s spirit of the age darkens. For the Light has come.

For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will save it. (Luke 9:24)
Posted in america, christian persecution, decline, state of the church

Jesus Vomits: State of the Church 2015, part 1

State of the Church 2015, part 2
State of the Church 2015, part 3

Four years ago I assessed the State of the American Church in a multi-part series, writing from my own perspective in my own opinion based on Bible prophesies and warnings. (The links are on the right sidebar, scroll down.) The major themes and issues I wrote about in 2011 were–

  • Love among believers growing cold, something we’re prophetically warned about,
  • Failure to tend our anchor and look at the lighthouse, this translates to too many Christians not believing in the sufficiency of the word, something Hebrews imperatively warns us about,
  • Not having a biblical worldview, something the entire Bible repeatedly warns us about,
  • Believers, including pastors, who filled the vacuum of their non-biblical world view with a sinful attractional model, capturing goats instead of sheep, making church a carnal carnival, something Spurgeon predicted,
  • Carnality allowing the rise of spiritual abuse, something Jesus condemned in the Pharisees
  • The American church is increasingly not a safe place spiritually, something Peter prophesied.

How is the American church doing now, four years later?

The Great Wave Off Kanagawa, 1830, Wikipedia

So, because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I am going to vomit you out of My mouth.  (Revelation 3:16 HCSB)

Four years are not a long time in an adult’s life. But in the church’s life, these past four years have been like dog years. According to this canine aging scale, a large scale dog’s age compared to a 4 year old human would be 34 years old now since I wrote the last State of the Church essay.

It has been a whirlwind of satanic activity and visible decline since the last time I’ve had an opportunity to prayerfully discern the State of the Church.

A few days ago I’d written two essays, here, and here, about the importance of memorizing scripture because persecution was coming to America and access to religious materials will be restricted. There will be suffering. I am not making a prophetic proclamation derived from direct revelation, I am stating what the scriptures say. (John 16:33, 1 Peter 1:6, 1 Peter 4:7, 1 Peter 4:12, & etc.)

We must memorize scripture and take the word seriously because the day is coming where oppression and persecution in America against Christians will play itself out in real ways. But the memorizing scripture is only the tip of the iceberg of the message I’m burdened to convey. Here is the rest. I’m saying it all at once because it is the time. It’s long I’ll break it up into several essays as I did the original State of the Church essay.

My heart’s desire is to equip the saints in the word and spark them to Godly action and holy living. I know that is yours too. We all come at it from different angles because we have different gifts. But every Christian has a mandate to boldly proclaim. And teachers are held to even higher standards.

THE BATTLE HAS NOW COME TO US

One of the things that I have observed in spiritual warfare is that events mount up, and there comes a tipping point. After the tipping point is reached, the events toward a particular path accelerate exponentially with rapidly reaching its inevitable outcome. This is of course usually the case in secular events. In spiritual events, especially prophecy, it seems that the set-up takes a long time but then it is fulfilled rapidly. The tipping point dramatically tips.
A time will come when instead of shepherds feeding the sheep, the church will have clowns entertaining the goats. CH Spurgeon

The particular path we’re on that’s accelerating so dramatically ends in the Tribulation with the saints overcome. June 26 and the Supreme Court’s decision about Homosexual Marriage was a major touchstone in the earthly battle for the soul of the church. Most mature Christians understand this.

Also it was allowed to make war on the saints and to conquer them. And authority was given it over every tribe and people and language and nation, (Rev 13:7).

That’s where it’s all headed. The church won’t be overcome, the Revelation verse is another proof why the rapture will happen prior to the Tribulation because Jesus promised not to have the gates of hell prevail against His church. (Matthew 16:18) If the church hadn’t been raptured out prior to the Tribulation then the Matthew verse would be a lie. And God cannot lie. But suffice to say, the prophetic path that is laid out for us is near-obliteration of all saints from the earth.

Now, June 26 was a watershed moment in the church in America. This is easily seen and understood. What is not so well known or understood are the following things:

SATAN’S RELENTLESS HATRED

The relentless aggression and hatred satan and his minions have for Christ’s people and His church is something 99.9% of the American saints have no REAL clue as to the depth and evilness of. Oh, people intellectually acknowledge satan’s hatred, saying, “Sure, Jesus said trouble will come…” but they don’t believe it deep down. This is partly because satan’s hatred of us has been masked and suppressed all these decades and centuries since the first hard persecutions of antiquity, seen bubbling up for a while in the Catholic Church persecution of the true saints in the Middle Ages and once again briefly in the Holocaust, and today in ISIS for example, doing what they are doing to people now in the Middle East.

Meanwhile America had been enjoying a First Great Awakening, a Second Great Awakening, a Third Great Awakening, and according to the false prophets, another one is just on the horizon. Less discerning Christians have bought into that lie. In addition, each ‘awakening’ was less biblical than the last. Some consider that the “Jesus Movement” of the 1960-1980 era was a Fourth Awakening. These movements have lulled us. Why would we need to be awakened if we were consistently and properly zealous for the House of God in the first place?

Satan’s hatred for the church in America certainly has not been seen in visible ways as it has elsewhere. It’s mostly been hidden and underground, seen in the increase in false teachers, in accepted heresies, in tolerating sin. In America, we have not had physical persecution or limited-to-no access to Christian materials, and we have always had a voice in the public forum thanks to the Constitutional right of religious liberty. A Joel Osteen doesn’t seem like judgment to us as much as putting Christians in a cage and drowning them. Therefore we have mistakenly tended to believe either satan’s hatred of Jesus’ church isn’t as bad as we think or it won’t happen here.

The biggest problem facing the church is lack of discernment. If you can’t discern the truth you can die of a thousand heresies. – John MacArthur.
Paul saw this hatred in Galatians. He was astounded at the ease with which the false group had come in and polluted the Galatian church. He said that in Galatians 1:6- “I am astonished that you are so quickly…” the Greek word the Spirit used in Paul for ‘astonished’ is thaumazó, wonder at, be amazed (marvel), i.e. awestruck, “wondering very greatly,” astonished out of one’s senses;.

You get that feeling of Paul’s tone in the book. The tone is fervent, long sentences a bit jumbled and hurried, wanting badly to get the words out. Paul was astonished out of his senses. (“See what large letters I am writing with my own hand…”)

Note: I’m not talking about satan being more powerful than Jesus. He isn’t. I’m talking about Christians who don’t comprehend the depth of satan’s darkness and weaken themselves with lax battle preparation. You know how John 1:4-5 says in the KJV

“In him was life; and the life was the light of men. And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not.”

Well we “lights” don’t comprehend the darkness as deeply as we should. Add to that we are weak in battle because we don’t access the power that is given to us. More on that next.

Satan is like a Godzilla rampage, trampling city after city, stepping on puny humans and leaving carnage behind. That is the battle. It isn’t cozy and it isn’t clean. Satan fights dirty and he has massive power. For Pete’s sake he is god of the earth! (2 Corinthians 4:4). And here are the foolish American Charismatics marching up and down streets in prayer walks, thinking that they are binding satan with their stupid words, and deliverance ministers casting out satan with their tiny actions. It is not so!!

Most Christians in America have a wrong perception at the back of their minds, that somehow we’re saf(er) here in the US. That because our nation was founded on biblical principles, somehow we won’t get the brunt of what is coming. They think, ‘We’re in the Bible belt…” or ‘We’re protected by religious freedom…’ or simply ‘It won’t happen here.’

Well it will. It has started.

State of the Church 2015, part 2 State of the Church 2015, part 3

 

Posted in america, mark of the beast, repentance, salvation, tribulation

US company wants to bring free wi-fi to 100% of world: mark of the beast technology?

I enjoyed Rapture Ready editor Terry James’s essay this week called Tribulation Technologies Tightening. The title is evocative, isn’t it? Mr James said, “Things are progressing so quickly in the area of people-control technologies that I must admit I simply can’t keep up.

What he is referring to is the fact that during the prophesied 7-year tribulation period at the end of the end of days, certain technologies will have been developed which will aid certain events to come to pass. For example, this verse:

“He required everyone—small and great, rich and poor, free and slave—to be given a mark on the right hand or on the forehead. And no one could buy or sell anything without that mark, which was either the name of the beast or the number representing his name.” (Revelation 13:16-17)

For it to come to fruition, first, there must exist some sort of tracking and identification technology that the antichrist and false prophet can even begin to catch up to and track each person, “everyone”, in order to force them to take the mark. Second, there must be some sort of technology in place that tracks financial purchases at every point of sale so that people without the mark will be banned at that point of sale from buying anything.

Here is another verse where some sort of technology will exist that will become part of the verse’s fulfillment:

“For three and a half days some from the peoples and tribes and languages and nations will gaze at their dead bodies and refuse to let them be placed in a tomb. and those who dwell on the earth will rejoice over them and make merry and exchange presents, because these two prophets had been a torment to those who dwell on the earth.” (Revelation 11:9-10)

This was an ancient way of saying ‘the whole world.’

And how will the whole world gaze at their bodies for three and a half days, the mews getting around so fast that people have time to go out and buy and exchange gifts? Television. Satellite. Cell phones. But even then, there are many places in the world where people don’t have electricity, or tv’s or cell phones or cell phone coverage. Additionally, countries like China and North Korea have censored online activity, denying their citizenry the opportunity to view and participate in world news.

But now there’s the following interesting news:
“There’s really nothing that is technically impossible to this.”
Company plans to beam free Wi-fi to every person on Earth from space
[O]ne ambitious organisation called the Media Development Investment Fund (MDIF) is planning to turn the age of online computing on its head by giving free web access to every person on Earth. Known as Outernet, MDIF plans to launch hundreds of satellites into orbit by 2015. And they say the project could provide unrestricted Internet access to countries where their web access is censored, including China and North Korea. Using something known as datacasting technology, which involves sending data over wide radio waves, the New York-based company says they’ll be able to broadcast the Internet around the world. The Outernet team claim that only 60% of the world’s population currently have access to the wealth of knowledge that can be found on the Internet. This is because, despite a wide spread of Wi-FI devices across the globe, many countries are unable or unwilling to provide people with the infrastructure needed to access the web.

Well, the so-called outernet would certainly take care of the problem of 40% of the world not having access to instantaneous news, wouldn’t it.

In other news I’ve been amazed at the speed with which America has declined. I was born in 1960, at a time when there was the gold standard, US astronauts zooming to the moon and back, winning the cold war, beating the Russians at Olympic Hockey, and being the world’s sole superpower. Nothing was impossible and it seemed like the US could and would go on forever.

That was an illusion, as the 2007-2008 economic crash showed us. The National Review has a good article on the US decline.

The United States of Decline
America unravels at an increasingly dizzying pace. America is unraveling at a stunning speed and to a staggering degree. This decline is breathtaking, and the prognosis is dim. For starters, Obama now rules by decree. Reportedly for the 27th time, he has changed the rules of Obamacare singlehandedly, with neither congressional approval nor even ceremonial resolutions to limit his actions. Obama needs no such frivolities. “That’s the good thing about being president,” Obama joked on February 10. “I can do whatever I want.” In an especially bitter irony, Obama uttered these despicable words while guiding French president François Hollande through Monticello, the home of Thomas Jefferson — a key architect of America’s foundation of limited government.

Earth’s sole superpower is sagging where it should be No. 1. America has slouched to No. 12 on the 2014 Heritage Foundation/Wall Street Journal Index of Economic Freedom. “Now considered only a ‘mostly free’ economy, the U.S. has earned the dubious distinction of having recorded one of the longest sustained declines in economic freedom, second only to Argentina, of any country in the [20-year] history of the Index,” the report states. “The U.S. is the only country to have recorded a loss of economic freedom each of the past seven years.”

In my personal opinion, having been an active and acute observer of American life and cultural mores for 50 years, the end is near. I am daily amazed at the implosion of just about every aspect of both American and global life. The decline of morals, the persecution of the Christian religion (higher now than ever in history), declining economy, craven entertainment, unscrupulous personal and governmental finances, rising lack of conscience, the emergence of technologies, church tares over-running the pews, extreme weather, geo-political collapses (Kiev anyone?), natural disasters, all occurring at once and so constantly, and with ever increasing extremity, all serve to show me and perhaps you too that truly the end is near.

The Lord has given his world 2000 years to heed the words of Messiah. What a gracious and long-suffering Savior we have. He said that He would build His church and that when it is complete the rapture would come and He would then turn His attention to finish the transgression of Israel. (Matthew 16:18, Romans 11:25, Daniel 9:24).

I believe the time is short to repent and become folded in to the beauty and certainty of the Lord’s church. He will whisk His bride home and then unleash the worst wrath and times upon the earth that ever was or will be. (Matthew 24:21). Please heed these things. Please, please repent.

What is repentance and is it necessary for salvation?

Is repentance required for salvation?

Repentance

The Doctrine of Repentance

Posted in 4th of july, america, bicentennial, celebration, tall ships

Tall Ships Bicentennial memory, 1976

I’ve been reminiscing this morning about the 4th of July in 1976. It was our nation’s 200th anniversary, and I lived in Rhode Island then. I was 15 1/2 and massively excited about the Tall Ships.

My grandparents had bought a beach house in 1938. The thing to do back then was buy a seasonal cottage by the bay or ocean, and the family goes to the cottage all summer while the men commuted to work. The state’s nickname is The Ocean State because of so much ocean coastline everywhere.

So in 1938 my grandparents bought a cottage on a small hill overlooking Narragansett Bay, which led to the Atlantic Ocean. It was unfortunate/fortunate…the 1938 hurricane wiped out RI as far inland as Providence, and destroyed huge swathes of coastline and many hundreds died. It wrecked the cottage pretty bad. It was unfortunate that they had the beach house only a few months before the state’s worst hurricane hit, but fortunate because they could rebuild it to their liking. Over the years they added on and enlarged it, slowly.

The Bay was great. It was a giant playground for us kids and cousins. Back in the 60s and 70s kids did stuff and we didn’t die, lol. Every kid had a ramshackle boat of some kind or another. My dad used to tell us when he was a kid they’d come to the beach house for the summer and he’d find a boat with holes in it abandoned on some mudflat, and he and the cousins would fix it, and they scraped up a motor from somewhere and fix that, and then they’d go out onto the Bay and get quahogs and fish for bass. (Quahogs are a clam you dig out of the mud flats at low tide, but way out far and low tide only).

In my day we had a new Boston Whaler to go around in. Can you imagine sending your ten and twelve year old kids out onto the bay in a boat for the afternoon and say ‘come back for dinner,’ LOL! But that’s what we did, mess around in boats, and mess around in the water and jump off the dock all day until our hands were pruny and our lips were blue.

On the 4th of July it was great because you could see all the towns’ fireworks from across the bay. Us kids would be running up and down the beach in the dark holding sparklers and whooping with joy as kids do. We were barefoot of course and I remember stepping on a sparkler that had just gone out and someone had thrown to the sand. It really hurt and the shock of the fiery pain was too much for old sensitive me, so forever after that I was not such a huge fan of sparklers. But I do think they are pretty.

The grownups had all sorts of amazing and highly dangerous fireworks. Before they were banned by the US government in 1966, they set off cherry bombs, and there were bottle rockets and lots of other things they spent hundreds of dollars on to have a blast creating their own fireworks show. Then we’d watch everybody else’s show.

In 1976, for the first time in history all the Tall Ships from around the world were going to gather at Newport RI. It was a huge, huge event. We’d eagerly read the paper every day for months before the time, watching to see which new Tall Ship was responding to the invitation. The list was growing longer and longer. Tall Ships from Russia, Argentina, England, all over, were going to sail up Narragansett Bay from Newport in a parade. The Newport Bridge was lined with people, thousands upon thousands lined the shorelines, and the Forts on all the islands dotting the bay. We piled in boat, and got into the mix of the thousands of boats crowding the bay to see this historical event.

Part of the event was a tall ships race from Bermuda to Newport. Wow, that must have been something to be in Bermuda’s Hamilton Harbor and hear the cannon and see them unfurl sail and take off across the bounding main!

There is something so elegant and majestic about a Tall Ship under full sail. The Secretary of the Navy came to RI for the ceremonies, and after the ships parade they docked at Newport and you could tour them. Prince Harold of Norway came over on one of them and also attended the ceremonies. It was so much fun. Eighteen tall ships from 14 nations came to RI for the 1976 4th of July. The boats were actually heading to NYC for the actual 4th where there would be a massive fireworks celebration and another parade up the Hudson River.

From Newport RI Archives. See the men on the spars?!

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This is a picture of Operation Sail Bicentennial 1976 in NYC from the South’s Grit Magazine! The ship is the Coast Guard Tall Ship USS Eagle. What a great ship!

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Here is a write up,

“Operation Sail 1976 provided a centerpiece for the U.S. Bicentennial celebration. The event took five years to plan, featured more tall ships … including the Soviet Union’s czarina of the sea, the Kruzenshtern, which Frank Braynard had won over against all political odds on a trip to Moscow. … They proceeded “in company” to New York, where they were met by a vast spectator fleet. In partnership with the Navy, Operation Sail 1976 also resurrected the tradition of holding an International Naval Review, which brought together a peacetime armada of 50 warships under as many flags. From the deck of the USS Forrestal, President Gerald Ford reviewed the parade of sail, complete with a 21-gun salute. In Frank Braynard’s estimation, it was “the biggest assemblage of ships since the Battle of Navarino in 1827.”

That was a day you just never forget, the elegance of the ships and the pride in our nation and the celebrations all over. It felt great to be a part of it and just to be alive and young in America.

So cut to 1994 or so. My husband and I were living aboard our 37 foot yacht and had sailed far up the James River in VA and anchored at a kid of watery cul de sac. Not many cruising sailboats went up this far, it was a long way up and a long way back. But the high green hills and the peace were what we sought, and even better was knowing the William and Mary College was a short distance away and adjoining that, a park. It would be quiet and far from the cruising hubbub that sometime got to us as we cruised south to the Bahamas with a fleet of other like-minded live-aboard cruisers. It was the equivalent of taking a turn onto a dirt road as you drove south on the highway from GA to FL.

We got settled, anchoring the boat and buttoning up the sails etc. We were thinking about what to make for dinner when we heard a ‘whoosh’ and turned to look at the river entrance. It was a tall ship! The HMS Rose (right) was making a slicing sound in the river and the whoosh was the wind in their sails. Our boat was the only boat in the river and immediately the Rose aimed for us. They lowered the US flag and put up the Jolly Roger, lol, a bunch of sailors being trained were now having a bit of marine fun. They circled around us under full, billowing sail. It was thrilling to see a tall ship this close, just 50 feet away. As they tacked around us and sailed a bit further away, they let off the cannon! A boom and a puff of smoke and cheers from the sailors broke the stillness of the quiet waters and woke the sleeping geese along the shore.

We laughed in joy and just like that, the ship swapped the Jolly Roger for the US Flag again and sailed out of the cul de sac and back down the James River. We felt honored to have been given this treat. If we hadn’t seen it ourselves we would not have believed it. It all happened so fast!

The collegiality of the sailors on the ocean is universal, irrespective of nationality or type of ship or anything. It hits us hard when a ship sinks and even worse a stalwart old workhorse is lost to us. In Hurricane Sandy last October, the replica of the HMS Bounty sank off NC. This Bounty was the very same used in the 1960 s film Mutiny on the Bounty and the same ship what was used in the Pirates of the Caribbean movie.

Still from coast guard helicopter video

This was a shocking photo to many people-and a sad one. Not only the majestic ship of the sea is gone but two people lost their lives, including the captain- who was never found. The crew says he said he’d go down with the ship. The Coast Guard concluded that he did. He had snatched a photo of his wife from his captain’s desk first and clung to that as he went down. He died with honor. Captain, I salute you.

For us mariners, when a ship goes down it’s like losing one of our own.

Growing up in Rhode Island we were on the water constantly, it was part of us. The wind, the tides, the fog, the lighthouses, the buoys…all part of our language. Boston’s harbor, Narragansett Bay in RI, Nantucket’s whalers, Gloucester’s fishermen, Plymouth’s Mayflower which we would go see on school field trips. The sea is in my blood. I’ve lived aboard my own boat, sailing almost 12,000 nautical miles. I’ve been on ferries, skiffs, cruise ships, ice breakers, barges and schooners, and my knees instinctively know how to bend and blend with the waves and the motion of the boat.

I have been through mighty storms and anchored in quiet waters. I’ve seen the rainbow over the harbor and the moon rising above the phosphorescent waters. I have lived this verse from Psalms, and it made me see the greatness of my Lord and the smallness of myself, a human not worth even His notice as an unsaved sailor, but later saved by His grace. Looking back I see how tremendous is the earth and the seas and all their secrets. He brought us safely to our desired havens of safe ports again and again, and later, as a soul lost in the sea of sin, He brought me out of the miry ocean to the haven of His bosom, justified and righteous, dry and warm, forever.

“They that go down to the sea in ships, that do business in great waters; These see the works of the LORD, and his wonders in the deep. For he commands, and raises the stormy wind, which lifts up the waves thereof. They mount up to the heaven, they go down again to the depths: their soul is melted because of trouble. They reel to and fro, and stagger like a drunken man, and are at their wit’s end. Then they cry to the LORD in their trouble, and he brings them out of their distresses. He makes the storm a calm, so that the waves thereof are still. Then are they glad because they be quiet; so he brings them to their desired haven.” ~Psalm 107:23-30

Rainbow over Marsh Harbour, Abacos, Bahamas