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 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 comforter, encouragment, God, orphans, spirit

We are not orphans

I was thinking of how wonderful God is. The Trinity, Three-In-One, Father, Son, Spirit are intimately involved in our lives. The Father’s Providence, bringing all things to pass at the good will and pleasure of Himself. The Spirit, dwelling inside us as a deposit of the guarantee to come. The Son, Priest, interceding for us on our behalf in heaven. Each Person of the Godhead intimately knowledgeable of each one of us and loving us and leading us and providing for us. It is amazing.

The Bible’s treasures are limitless. Each time we open it to read more of what God will reveal to us about Himself is a journey into love, wonder, and awe. I was reading and listening to a sermon on Saturday. John MacArthur’s “What the Cross Meant to Christ.” It was a terrific sermon as usual. In my reading and thinking about that section of John there is this verse:

I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you.” (John 14:18).

The word orphan here means fatherless, bereft, desolate. In the context of the entire passage, Jesus is comforting the disciples, because He is going to leave them. They are lost, confused, heartbroken. They don’t quite understand but they sense something bad is about to happen and they are upset. Jesus is reassuring them. He is explaining that He is going to prepare a place for them and will return. He says He will not leave them as orphans, He will come to them.

Alexander McLaren’s commentary is excellent in explaining this beautiful moment. Imagine, the God of the Universe, softly and reassuringly comforting His little children. That was how Jesus began the conversation in chapter 13:33- “Little children.” he IS our Father, and He will not leave us Fatherless as orphans. See McLaren on the unification of the Christ and the Spirit. One says He is leaving, but One is actually present.

Then, note, further, that this coming of our Lord is identified with that of His divine Spirit. He has been speaking of sending that ‘other Comforter,’ but though He be Another, He is yet so indissolubly united with Him who sends as that the coming of the Spirit is the coming of Jesus. He is no gift wafted to us as from the other side of a gulf, but by reason of the unity of the Godhead and the divinity of the sent Spirit, Jesus Christ and the Spirit whom He sends are inseparable though separate, and so indissolubly united that where the Spirit is, there is Christ, and where Christ is, there is the Spirit. These are amongst the deep things which the disciples were ‘not able to carry’ at that stage of their development, and which waited for a further explanation. Enough for them and enough for us, to know that we have Christ in the Spirit and the Spirit in Christ; and to remember ‘that if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of His.’

“Christ is the only Remedy for the orphanhood of the world” ~McLaren

What a mystery the Trinity is! How tremendous His care of us in sending the Spirit! I can hardly contain myself. McLaren again-

Then, note, further, that this present Christ is the only Remedy for the orphanhood of the world. The words had a tender and pathetic reference to that little, bewildered group of followers, deprived of their Guide, their Teacher, and their Companion. He who had been as eyes to their weak vision, and Counsellor and Inspirer and everything for three blessed years, was going away to leave them unsheltered to the storm, and we can understand how forlorn and terrified they were, when they looked forward to fronting the things that must come to them, without His presence. Therefore He cheers them with the assurance that they will not be left without Him, but that, present still, just because He is absent, He will be all that He ever had been to them.

Wonder of wonders! He is good. He is so good!

And the promise was fulfilled. How did that dis-spirited group of cowardly men ever pluck up courage to hold together at all after the Crucifixion? Why was it that they did not follow the example of John’s disciples, and dissolve and disappear; and say, ‘The game is up. It is no use holding together any longer’? The process of separation began on the very day of the Crucifixion. Only one thing could have stopped it, and that is the Resurrection and the presence with His Church of the risen Christ in His power and in all the fullness of His gifts. If it had not been that He came to them, they would have disappeared, and Christianity would have been one more of the abortive sects forgotten in Judaism. But, as it is, the whole of the New Testament after Pentecost is aflame with the consciousness of a present Christ, working amongst His people. And although it be true that, in one aspect, we are absent from the Lord when we are present with the body, in another aspect, and an infinitely higher one, it is true that the strength of the Christian life of Apostles and martyrs was this, the assurance that Christ Himself-no mere rhetorical metaphor for His influence or His example, or His memory lingering in their imaginations, but the veritable Christ Himself-was present with them, to strengthen and to bless.

Please know dear brethren, no matter what you are going through, no matter how trying the hardship, no matter how difficult the circumstances, your Comforter is here. He has not left us as orphans.

Posted in discernment, false teachers, God, joel osteen, spirit

Joel Osteen talked about Jesus how many times?

In a recent blog essay I’d mused,

I used to wonder why it is that so many of the false teachers tend to speak freely of God but not so much of Jesus. They rarely say the name of Jesus when they are teaching but instead they often say “God.

Joel Osteen

You’ve seen it too, I’m sure. So many pastors, teachers, lay-people will freely say God but not Jesus. Well, someone else was wondering that too, and he quantified it. Here are his results:

Joel Osteen Likes God…He just doesn’t like Jesus [A Twitter Survey of @JoelOsteen]

I often talk about the Christ-less Gospel of Joel Osteen. Whenever people ask me what I mean by that, I always tell them this; Joel Osteen does not talk about the Christian Gospel.

That being said, there is something very important to understand about Joel Osteen: He does talk about God. A lot. You cannot accuse the man of not mentioning him because he’s all over that. Here’s the thing though- Its never really in a personal sense. Joel talk about God, but its always in a vague amorphous sense. There is certainly nothing distinctly Christian or Biblical about it. There’s nothing doctrinal or theological about the way he talks about God. Rather is an ethereal, shapeless, formless, customizable, singular being thing that is out there called God that functions like a cosmic vending machine whose sole purpose is seemingly to bless you and make your life better. Even when he mentions God, it’s not ABOUT God, but it’s about what God can do for YOU.

Why do I say “singular being”? Simple. While mention of a “God” may be plastered all over his twitter feed, Jesus is Not. Joel Osteen rarely, if ever, mentioned Jesus. He rarely, if ever, mentions Christ. This is true when you listen to his sermons, read his tweets, and listen to him on whatever talk show he’s touring. Let me give you some basic numbers

Just for kicks I did a quick survey of all Joel Osteen tweets in the last year. I can’t go further back, so we’ll stick with going back to July 8, 2013, which is a little more than a year ago. Out of Joel Osteens 806 tweets, not including any of his replies to other people, he mentions “God”…

Go to the link to read the numerical results. In my essay, I’d proposed a reason why so many of the false teachers speak of God but not of Jesus when they are teaching,

Therefore I want you to understand that no one speaking in the Spirit of God ever says “Jesus is accursed!” and no one can say “Jesus is Lord” except in the Holy Spirit. (1 Corinthians 12:3)

If they don’t have the Holy Spirit they can’t teach Jesus is Lord because they can’t say it. Like when Jesus said at the Last Supper that one of them will betray Him, all 11 of the Disciples said Is it I, Lord? but Judas could not say that because he was apostate and he said “Is it I, Rabbi?” (Matthew 26:21-25)”

Here is John MacArthur explaining part b in the 1 Corinthians 12:3 verse I’d put above,

Now let’s go to the positive in verse 3. I was going to get through verse 11. Can you believe that? Verse 3… yes, you can believe that. Verse 3, And the other side…here’s the positive test…”That no man can say that Jesus is the Lord, but by the Holy Spirit.” This is the positive. When somebody comes into your midst with all of his faculties, and with all of his mind, and with all of his heart, and with all of his being, says, “Jesus is Lord,” you know that’s of the Holy Spirit. Now it isn’t simply the words, it’s the commitment. No man can say…and the word say here doesn’t just mean to pair. A skeptic can say, “Jesus is Lord.” You can pay a guy ten dollars and say, “Would you say Jesus is Lord, Jesus is Lord. Here’s your ten dollars.” That isn’t the point. It’s not quite that simplistic. No man can truly say, no man can truly confess, no man can truly acknowledge, “Jesus is the Lord,” except by the Holy Spirit. When that deep conviction of genuine understanding about who He is comes forth it is of the Spirit. … So the Spirit prompted confession is distinguished from the counterfeit, by the acknowledgement that Jesus, the Man, is, in fact, God.

Just food for thought. As a person who loves to quantify things I appreciated the Twitter survey! In discernment it is not only what a person says, but what he doesn’t say. And noticing an absence takes time and skill. Listen for what a person fails to speak of as much as you’re listening to what they do say.

Posted in blogging, spirit, writing

My top posts of the year

I’m preparing my annual earthquake update chart, comparing the number of quakes in the 5, 6, 7, and 8+ magnitude range to USGS annual benchmark, from 2001 onward. I publish that annually on Dec 31. Meanwhile, I’m looking over the past year or two in terms of what interested people and what brought them to the blog. I don’t tailor my writing to keyword entries or search engine optimization, I just write what I’m burdened to write, but I am curious to see where the Spirit leads people and what blog entries are read. What is on people’s minds?

The posts which receive the most views always surprise me. They’re never the ones where I’d shed the most tears in prayer and anguish writing them. They are never the ones I felt were spiritually necessary. They’re never the ones I think will be the most edifying. They are always a surprise.

Blogger gives you the option for seeing statistics for the month, day, week, or all time. Not the year. So in looking at all-time posts here is the skinny.

ChurchChannel TV

The top posts of all time come from 2013 and 2011. I write in three categories; encouragement, discernment, and prophecy. Regarding discernment, I write about many famous individuals, comparing their doctrine to the bible’s to see if they are presenting orthodoxy, heterodoxy, or heresy. To that end, I’ve looked at famous Rick Warren, Mark Driscoll, Beth Moore, Christine Caine, Sarah Young, Rachel Held Evans, and Billy Graham. The post in which I wrote about a person which received the most views are none of those. In 2011 I wrote about Jentezen Franklin and it is the post about him which still lingers near the top for most hits ever. Surprise!

Remember the Daniel Plan? Not Rick Warren’s Daniel Plan, Jentezen Franklin’s. It was a heavy fad in 2011. I wrote about the Plan and about Mr Franklin’s book in November 2011 and we were off and running.

Jentezen Franklin and his false teachings about fasting.
I started it this way:
There are many churches today participating in the current fad known as The Daniel Fast. This is a man-made so-called spiritual activity that is supposed to automatically draw you closer to God by eating things that are on a list and not eating things that are not on a list.

My church at the time was one of those participating in the ‘fast’ and flogging the book from the pulpit too. Heavily. I thought the only book that should be promoted from the pulpit should be the bible, and was concerned that the leadership was falling into false doctrines put out there by a known word-faith, liberal preacher by having us sign legalistic contracts committing to the fast and other things which were of concern. I shared these concerns with the leadership and learned first-hand about Mark Driscoll’s method of dealing with members who ask questions: either you get on board unquestioningly or you are thrown under the bus with the other dead bodies that had been thrown there. This was Bevere’s ‘Covering Theology‘ on steroids. I was summarily fired from all the ministries I’d been involved in for years, told I was a critical troublemaker led by the devil, and disfellowshipped the same day. No one ever sought reconciliation, or even told me what my sin was.

So the Jentezen Franklin blog entry’s high number of hits shows me that others are concerned, also. The Lord is gracious and wise, and I’m forever grateful for the experience I learned at that time. He gave me an opportunity to speak Holy Truth to carnal power, to learn many things doctrinal and heretical, caused me to search out the truth about this flavor of false doctrine, and help other people who struggled with the devastating effects of spiritual abuse.

In 2011 I also wrote about the people who spent all their savings ahead of the Doomsday date that the now-deceased Harold Camping predicted (May 21, 2011).
Facepalm: man spends all his savings in advance of (false) May 21 rapture date

This is still the second most looked at blog entry. People are inordinately curious about dates, looking for clues as to “when”, and constantly seek after people who claim to “know.” (1 John 2:20). Many sought after Mr Camping when he said that he had unlocked the secret date from the bible, that the rapture would be May 21, 2011. His heart was in the right place, he sincerely wanted people to repent before it was too late, but his methods got tangled up. Later Mr Camping repented and apologized.

However, some sold all they had and waited, in vain of course. That was what the blog entry was about, that we all have the same Spirit and no one knows the date of His coming. No one has different knowledge than another who can also appeal to Him for illumination of His eternal truths. (1 John 2:20, John 14:26).

The top blog entry this year and also tops all others in terms of hits, by a lot, is the Sideways Necklace entry. I’m astounded at this. Of all things I’ve written about, prophetic, discernment, or encouraging, that this should remain the most looked at blog entry of all. I wrote it in March of this year, and despite its newcomer status, quickly outstripped the Ghost Horse of Tarhir Square, The Harold Camping rapture date debacle, and the Jentezen Franklin Daniel Fast, all of which were written several years ago and are also near the top in views.

When Egypt erupted in a violent overthrow
and its government fell in Spring of 2011 (Arab Spring)
some say they saw on video a Pale Horse ride
in Tarhir Square. No one debunked it, ever, and you know
how they love to do that

The latest Christian fad- Is wearing a sideways (horizontal) cross good, or bad?

I wondered, is it because it is about jewelry and probably mostly women read this blog? Is it because (one may hope) that Christians don’t want to bring shame onto the name of Jesus or His symbol by doing something wrong with it? Is it a cultural fad that goes deeper than I thought? Is it spiritual warfare on a scale I don’t understand? All the answers to these questions I ask about this blog entry escape me. All I know is the blog entry caused and is still causing a stir. It sparked a forum war on the women’s scrapbooking discussion page Two Peas. Twice. It was linked to on a Yahoo discussion page. Every day if I look at the stats page, there it is, topping the list. There is no doubt, a LOT of people want to know what the sideways cross means.

All this teaches me that there is no essay I can write about Jesus in His name or for His name that I can take for granted. NO! It teaches me caution, humility, and carefulness to a higher degree.

I was listening to a John MacArthur Q&A recently. Someone remarked to Dr MacArthur that all his sermons are online, the sermons he’s preached since 1969, as well as commentaries, essays, and other writings. It is a massive volume of material that is accessible to the public, for our edification. He praised the Lord for the ability to reach people in this way, but then said with a seriousness to his voice, “It’s a lot to be responsible for.”

He sets a good example. We will be called to account for every idle word we speak (Matthew 12:36) so please let none of these words be idle. I should be just as careful to represent truth as best as I know and in grace and humility (but firmly) as I did when I started this blog 5 years ago. Let not familiarity with writing about Him ever breed contempt! Each and every word I write, no matter what the subject, which aims to edify, encourage, or rebuke should be done consciously and carefully.

Ultimately it’s not a lesson in hits or views but a lesson in the road the Spirit takes. Some entries edify only a few people but in a deep way. That is satisfying. Some entries seem more superficial to me but affect many more people for longer periods. That is satisfying too. In the end it doesn’t matter, because the Spirit is in charge and all He does, and all I hope to do through Him, is point to Christ. Jesus is the only subject that matters. Every subject is about Him. If anything I write, from jewelry to the Resurrection, points to His glory, justice, beauty, mercy, grace or any other attribute, then it is well with my soul.

Top posts of 2013

The latest Christian fad- Is wearing a sideways (horizontal) cross good, or bad?

Pope Benedict resigned

Why are there so many false prophets?

Part 1- Discerning a Gnostic conference called “Passion 2013,” Jesus Culture and Kim Walker-Smith

Famous for being famous, some live unreal life on reality tv

Rachel Held Evans asks “What if my son or daughter were gay…” and gets a response from Dr Joel McDurmon

The rapidity with which the world is descending into chaos is amazing

Top number of comments

The Sideways Necklace and Jentezen Franklin posts received many comments, which I enjoy as an opportunity to point people back to Jesus and/or the scriptures, to correct misconceptions about the scriptures, or to learn something from readers. After 70 or 80 or 90 comments, though, I employ my old newspaper standard on whether to allow any more. If everything has been said, if the Gospel has been shared, if a wide range of questions has been asked, representing the likely range of future questions and comments, I turn comments off. I’ve done that for only a handful of posts, though. Including the Sideways Necklace and J. Franklin posts, the most commented posts were:

Pope Benedict Resigns, garnered the most buzz this year. No doubt because I’d stated that Catholicism is a false religion, AND I mentioned the Malachy thing. I wish I hadn’t.

Rachel Held Evans asks “What if my son or daughter were gay…” and gets a response from Dr Joel McDurmon

People were really concerned about Comet Elenin. Many people commented.

Thank you brethren, mockers, atheists, and friends who read this blog. Thank you for commenting and most especially for praying for me! I’ll be here at this blogspot for as long as the Holy Spirit can use me or wants me to write. Happy New Year and may 2014 be the year of the Rapture.

Posted in death, sin, spirit

One sin feels lonely

Sin always brings destruction and death. Even if you are a Christian, especially if you are a Christian, you are not immune to sin’s temptations nor its effects. Satan will tempt you and tempt you. Jesus paid the price for the penalty of our sin on the cross. After His resurrection, He sent the Holy Spirit to dwell in us to help us resist sin. But we still battle it.

The bible tells us to kill sin. Romans 8:13 says, “For if you live according to the flesh you will die, but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live.” In other words,

“If ye do not kill sin, it will kill you.”

As believers, we cannot lose our place in heaven due to sin, because Jesus took them unto Himself, but we lose our rewards. 1 Corinthians 3:15 says, “If anyone’s work is burned up, he will suffer loss, though he himself will be saved, but only as through fire.”

Due to the nature of sin, I like to say ‘one sin feels lonely.’ In his book “Surviving in an Angry World”, Charles Stanley writes about anger’s link to other emotions. He takes the one sin of anger, and shows how it has a way with linking to other emotions, which become actions. He wrote for example, anger + hatred = rage. Yet the bible says be angry and do not sin, not letting the sun go down on your anger. (Ephesians 4:26-27). The reason is that this gives the devil a foothold. Another example is anger + resentment = retribution. Yet the bible says ‘vengeance is Mine sayeth the LORD. ‘(Romans 12:9).

Sin is a snare that captures evildoers (Proverbs 29:6). It can happen before you know it. Jesus said that anger in your heart is like murdering in fact, both are sins. What He was saying is that sins begin in the heart, then land on the mouth and once a person gives voice to it, it becomes action. In Good News Club we always used to say that we hope the Lord will be pleased with everything we “think, say, and do.” Because that is the progression of sweet aromatic actions that please the Lord, and that is the same trajectory of sinful actions that displease the Lord.

Let’s say a man is daydreaming salacious thoughts about a female co-worker. His wife sees his pleased, daydreamy look and says, “What are you thinking about?” The man of course can’t say “Another woman” so he says “My golf score last week.” So he adds lying to lust and two sins are born. Then let’s say he does not stop those thoughts and they turn to action. He says to his wife that he is running to the store for milk, and he takes the long way so he can drive by her house. His wife says “What took you so long?” and he says that he stopped to chat with a friend he ran into. Now he has added collusion + deception to his cadre of the sins of lust and lying. They are piling up fast. The final stage is when he flirts with the woman, taking his thoughts and words to action. We have a messy pile of ugly sins now, and one sin doesn’t feel lonely any more.

In the Garden, in Genesis 3, we see that disobedience was born and then right after, blame, shame, and arguing. It did not take long to open the door to a nasty pile of sins in Adam and Eve.

By the time you see a pattern of sin emerge in  a person, you can bet that there are other sins alongside it. Like this iceberg.

Though the sins one sees in a person outside themselves may seem small, the heart is holding a huge pile of sins under the surface.

The Lord gave us the Holy Spirit to help us kill sin. Would you rather deal with a mountain, or a molehill? Molehill of course. Nobody likes to climb Everest when you can simply step over an anthill. Or trap a little fox as opposed to shooting big bad wolf. (Song of Solomon 2:15). No pile of sins are too big for our gracious Lord to handle. He already forgave them at the cross. But please do not let them grow in you. The bigger the mountain of sins in you, the more people are hurt when your sin is finally revealed. Sin has effects on you and on those around you, too.

If you repent, the Spirit will help you in the Lord’s power to resist the sinful inclinations of man. Pray to Him for help in repenting and resisting sin, as soon as it comes to mind.

And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them. 
(Ephesians 5:11)

And always remember, it was an iceberg that sank the Titanic.

Posted in clarity, holy ghost, spirit

The Ghost is clear

A funny kid thing. At recess last week, the kindergarten boys were playing. Two hid behind a tree and gestured across the expanse of grass to two other boys. One boy instructed the other, “You can’t go until you say “THE GHOST IS CLEAR”.

I and the other teacher on duty laughed at this, even asking the boy to repeat the message again. The Ghost is clear. So cute!

I thought about that all day. The phrase kept ringing in my head, and not just because the innocent malapropism was sweet, but for its spiritual application. There is always a spiritual application. I hope you know me well enough by now to know that I always apply everything to the spiritual , lol!

Now, spiritually, the Ghost IS clear. His functions as a communicator of joy to the saints. (Romans 14:17; Galatians 5:22; 1 Thessalonians 1:6). He teaches us. (John 14:26).  He guides us. (John 16:13). He reveals the deep things of God and searches them out. (1 Corinthians 2:10-11). He is Light in our darkness. To that end, the Ghost is clear. Without Him, we can see nothing, we can know nothing, we can do nothing.

As Paul noted in the famous love chapter of 1 Corinthians 13, even with the Spirit we can only know in part, and we see through a glass darkly. It’s pause for thought that man’s depravity is so dark that even with the clarity of God’s Spirit we still only see through a glass, and darkly at that. But He is clear! His clarity brings us joy, guidance, edification, and illumination of the Word. Often forgotten as the third member of the Trinity, praise the Holy Ghost for His ministry of bringing God’s standards to us clearly!