9-11 Twenty Years Later

I was up this morning at 6 AM with coffee pondering the fact that it’s been twenty years since the fateful events of 9/11, 2001 impacted New York City and shocked the world. I rode our four wheeler to the end of our mountain to watch the sunrise and to continue to ponder these things.

It seems even twenty years later there are more questions than answers? But plenty of answers for those who can see, whose eyes are open, spiritually open to the puzzle before us and around us.

A prayer just came to my mind, and I jotted it down in my journal. “Help us Jesus to see, and deliver us from evil. Rescue us, and have mercy on us. Amen.” “Rescue” was the central theme of the theatrical production “Jesus” that we saw in Branson with Freda and Geral Thursday afternoon. We need his rescue like never before. And we need his power for living in this day and hour.

“The walls are broken down, the gates are burned with fire, and the people are in great distress.” Those words are recorded in the book of Nehemiah after Nehemiah, cup bearer to the king of Persia, inquired of his relative who had just come from Jerusalem about the status of his home city and country. Twenty years later, this seems like an accurate description of the church in America, and of America itself, since 9/11/2001.

But to those who fear His name, these are only harbingers and signs that the Holy, the Almighty, is on the move. These are signs that his grace abounds more and we can expect it, because sin is abounding more. These are calls to paths of power, calls to light and living, calls to rebuild, while facing spiritual enemies all around, and very near.

Do you see it? Do you hear it? I hope you do, and are preparing to act in obedience to whatever he tells you to do. Godspeed! And enjoy the adventure of the times He has given you to live, with Him.

An eclectic group of books laying beside me as I journal this morning…

“They said to me, “Those who survived the exile and are back in the province are in great trouble and disgrace. The wall of Jerusalem is broken down, and its gates have been burned with fire.” Nehemiah 1:3 NIV

“God’s law was given so that all people could see how sinful they were. But as people sinned more and more, God’s wonderful grace became more abundant.” Romans 5:20 NLT

“But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” Acts 1:8 NIV

Happy New Year!

Sundown this evening begins Rosh Hashanah 2021 or 5782 on the Hebrew calendar, the new year. It also begins the Feast of Trumpets, ten days called “The Days of Awe,” “Days of Repentance,” days of restoration of relationships.

According to Wikipedia, traditionally Rosh Hashanah is the “anniversary of the creation of Adam and Eve, the first man and woman according to the Hebrew Bible, and the inauguration of humanity’s role in God’s world.”

There is only one commandment regarding Rosh Hashanah, “Blow the shofar.” “The sound of the trumpet lets us know something is happening — something wonderful. It is an invitation to once again give our attention to the Lord and usher in His presence.” (268chruch.org)

Also the year 5782 is right on the threshold of the 6000 year mark the ancient Jewish sages and early church fathers thought would end man’s rule in the earth and usher in the 1000 year reign of the Messiah, King of the Jews. “Lactanius wrote: As there has been 2000 years from Adam to Abraham, and 2000 years from Abraham to Christ, so there will be 2000 years for the Christian Era and then would come the Millennium (the remaining 1000 year reign of Christ on earth)!” 2 Peter 3:8 CEV (thenational.com)

If the date of Jesus crucifixion was April 3, 33 AD, as I’ve come to believe after researching the matter,(some hold to an earlier date), then add 2000 years and you get 2033 as a possible starting time frame for the Millennium, probably in the fall, if the Feasts of Israel are God’s prophetic time piece as many suppose, around the Feast of Trumpets. Subtract 7 years for the seventieth week of Daniel or the great tribulation and you get 2026. Thus the rapture of the church could come at anytime prior or during these years according to many prophecy and eschatology scholars of the Bible. At any rate, 2000 years since Christ appearing is coming quickly!

Take up your trumpet! And blow it. Sound out the message of truth. Sound out the alarm.

When you hear the trumpet, react, awaken, repent, draw near, and welcome your King! He is coming. He is near…

“Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory for ever and ever. Amen.” I Tim 1:17 NIV

The LORD Loves Justice

Some dear young friends of ours recently had a new baby boy and named him Justice Malachi. On an instagram post the mom quoted Ps 37:28.

“The LORD loves Justice…”

Lovely, and true!

It’s a strong name isn’t it? Malachi is the last book in the Old Testament, you might say the last prophet before the 400 years of silence before the first advent of the King, the Messiah, Jesus of Nazareth, King of the Jews, and His forerunner prophet, John the Baptist, and the New Testament of the Bible. Malachi in Hebrew means “Messenger,” or “Messenger of Yahweh.”

The name “Justice” is powerful and telling too, especially in our country, church, and day. Many people are confused about real justice, what it is, and just who is responsible for establishing or maintaining it.

If you are an agnostic or a secular humanist, who doesn’t believe God matters, then you are responsible for deciding the definition of justice and how to establish and maintain justice yourself. You’re acting as your own god. Or you will say that human government or consensus is responsible for this determination, definition, and execution.

If you are a Bible believing Christian, you will have a high view of God, and an experiential relationship with Him, and realize that He defines, establishes, and maintains justice from on high, just as He says in the Bible, and history demonstrates.

I think all humans have an innate understanding of what justice is, perhaps because we’re created in His image. But if you haven’t looked at the definition lately, with all the hubbub about social justice, maybe a definition is in order. Then let’s reflect on a few things the Bible says about justice.

jus·tice/noun (from Oxford Languages)

  1.  just behavior or treatment.”a concern for justice, peace, and genuine respect for people”
  2.  a judge or magistrate, in particular a judge of the Supreme Court of a country or state.

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“Clouds and darkness surround Him; Righteousness and justice are the foundation of His throne.” Ps 97:2

“The LORD is in His holy temple; the LORD’S throne is in heaven; His eyes behold, His eyelids test the sons of men.” Ps 11:4

“For the LORD loves justice And does not forsake His godly ones; They are preserved forever, But the descendants of the wicked will be cut off.” Ps 37:28

“Vengeance is Mine, and retribution, In due time their foot will slip; For the day of their calamity is near, And the impending things are hastening upon them.” Deut 32:35

“for these are days of vengeance [of rendering full justice or satisfaction], so that all things which are written will be fulfilled.” Luke 21:22 AMP

“For we know Him who said, “VENGEANCE IS MINE, I WILL REPAY.” And again, “THE LORD WILL JUDGE HIS PEOPLE.”” Heb 10:30

“He has told you, O man, what is good; And what does the LORD require of you But to do justice, to love kindness, And to walk humbly with your God?” Micah 6:8

BLM is a Crock

This line came to me in the early morning as I was lying in bed and contemplating all that I had been reading in Voddie Bacuham Jr.’s “Fault Lines.” But it sounded sort of harsh and judgmental so I didn’t want to use it, until I looked up the meaning of the word “crock.”

crock

NOUN 1. an earthenware pot or jar. a broken piece of earthenware 2. (informal) something considered to be compete nonsense.

VERB cause an injury to (a person or part of the body)

It fits what I thought when I first heard the phrase “black lives matter,” in light of Scripture and a world view informed by Scripture. It’s nonsense and nothing that should be attractive to a Christian with a Biblical world view. So it’s shocking to me that many well-meaning Christians have fallen for the deception, including a few well known Christian leaders. It’s another gospel, such as Paul warned the early church against, and a very inferior one.

I know I’m not going to convince anyone who believes the Black Lives Matter deception on a blog with a few paragraphs, nor do I wish to try. I’ve done you the biggest favor I can by recommending to you the best book that could possibly be written on the subject, with the best research, outline, and clarity; treated with the most honor, respect, and kindness. The search for truth is up to you. You’ve probably heard the Proverb, “One side sounds right until another comes and presents his case.”

I’ll just leave you with two thoughts from Voddie Baucham and his book. “So when Zambians began to ask me questions about the murderous and corrupt American police hunting down black men, I could not remain silent. I began to tell the stories and raise the issues that I will share with you…”

He goes on to say that the United States is the least racially prejudiced country he’s ever known or visited. After a twenty-five year career as an airline pilot, and the last fifteen of it flying internationally, I would whole heartedly agree. So who came up with this narrative (lies unfounded in fact or by evidence)? Who? What? When? Where? Why? And what are the facts?

You should ask these questions, and then decide what you believe. It’s important for you personally, for your church, for your culture, for your country. Ask God in prayer to show you truth, and the truth of this matter.

Oh, one last thing! Be kind and loving when you discuss this. You usually don’t fight fire with fire, but with water. You fight lies with truth, simple truth, spoken in love. And you trust God to do the heavy lifting. He’s the only One Who can fix this deception. Pray that He will be willing and do so.

Continue to enjoy your life of adventure and love with Him and in Him. The world changer, Paul the Apostle, said his mission was this, “To [preach] Jesus Christ and Him crucified.” [I Cor 2:2] He said his passion was this, “To know Him, the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His suffering….”[Phil 3:10] It would seem profitable and wise to do the same.

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Get to know Voddie Baucham

Hear a black theologian speak about this subject

Hear a white theologian speak about this subject

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“But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed.” Galatians 1:8

“The first one to plead his cause seems right, until his neighbor comes and examines him.” Proverbs 18:17

Fault Lines of Social Justice

“I am not an African. I am not an African American. I am an American, and I wouldn’t want to be anything else. America doesn’t owe me anything. American has blessed me beyond measure. If anything, I owe America.” These words are quoted fromFault Lines written by Voddie Baucham Jr., a man’s man, raised as a boy by a single mom in Watts. They are printed along with a complete look at the current social and church issues of “social justice,” “Black Lives Matter,” “critical race theory,” “intersectionality,” etc. which are part and parcel of the same world view. He has read their background material carefully and quotes it accurately to show how it distorts truth, history, and
the Bible. He does all this with a very kind, but prophet-like, child-like honesty.

This is the most important book I’ve read this year. I’ll probably blog about it and these issues a couple more times then move on to more productive things. But it’s a deception that needs to be exposed and addressed, so you can take a stand, or understand what’s being said, why it’s being said, and what’s at stake. Do your own research, but this book is a good place to start and end. The 20/20 men’s reading and friendship group that meets in my home recently spent four sessions discussing it and we all feel the same way.

Warning, there are parts of it that are a bit academic, but that’s because he’s a college president and an academic himself. Also, the terms and their meanings have to be defined and understood before they can be discussed. But his story telling, personal history, and Spirit-led sharpness shines throughout and certainly in the end.

It’s hard hitting, factual, informative, and he addresses the things you’ve wondered about, as the media have promoted the worldview of the radical dissidents in reporting the violence and looting of the
protesters.

In the end it’s going to be a good jumping off place or segue to several blogs on lies and deception, world wide delusion really, which has been an interest and study of mine for some time, and something the Spirit continually points out to me as the main answer to, “How can these things be happening?” In the church of Jesus Christ, no less!

It you’ve been puzzled by this topic, and these events of the last year, along with the pandemic, this is a good read, and a good place to start, in your search for the truth of the matter, and what to do about it. Godspeed as you journey, and shalom.

Happy Father’s Day Abba (אבא)

“The Incredible Father & Delusional Sons”

I had the thought this morning that I should tell “Our Father,” Happy Father’s Day! So I did, using the Aramaic term for intimacy that Jesus and Paul often used when addressing our Heavenly Father, Abba, rendered in English as “Daddy.”

I was pondering the parable of the prodigal son early this Father’s Day too. It seems proximity didn’t protend relationship. It was something more that broke through to the sons in the end — seeing their Father’s heart. Experiencing His grace and love.

What caused the deception? I don’t know. We aren’t told. Being human I suppose, in a world of lies, and influenced by satan, the father of lies. But even those circumstances exist by His gracious decision and decree.

Whether you are more like the younger son or the older son, this appears to be a setup of sorts. One that forces you to come to grips with what you know about the Father and what you don’t. What is true and what isn’t true about Him.

This setup is so we may come to really know Our Father, how He is and was all along. That He may know us. That we may know ourselves. That we may know the beauty of His majesty and His grace anew. How amazing it is! And how necessary!

Godspeed on your journey, toward Him, and with Him.

Oh by the way, it’s immensely helpful if He dwells in you and with you. And if you dwell or abide with Him. (John 15:5) It was His plan all along, and His promise.

“For this reason I bow my knees before the Father,  from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name,  that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with power through His Spirit in the inner man, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; and that you, being rooted and grounded in love,  may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth,  and to know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled up to all the fullness of God. Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us, to Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations forever and ever. Amen.” Ephesians 3:14-21

Happy Father’s Day!

A good friend of mine named Art from Atlanta who I had the joy of meeting on a mission trip to Cuba a few years back sent this email out to family and friends this week with the invitation to share it. He makes many valuable, insightful, and instructive points, so I wanted to share it (slightly shortened for space) with fellow fathers, along with a prayer that our Father in Heaven give us grace to know Him and be like Him, with our children. Blessings on this special day!

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Atlanta is celebrating the life and works of Vincent Van Gogh, the noted but tragic painter, in a show called Van Gogh – The Immersive Experience. The show is an awe-inspiring journey into the universe of Van Gogh using an array of hi-tech resources.

A friend, senior like me, took his family to the Van Gogh show to celebrate his granddaughter’s birthday. He was amazed at the magnitude of Van Gogh’s work in art forms and writings, and the technology that produced such an experience. He shared his experience with our Friday morning group and mentioned one of Van Goph’s quotes that struck him: “What would life be if we hadn’t courage to attempt anything?”

In searching the source of this quote, I discovered a letter – long letter – written to Van Gogh’s brother, Theo. Van Gogh shared with his brother how he and his dad on Christmas day had a violent scene escalating to the point where dad told his son to leave the home, which Van Gogh did, never to return. Van Gogh was 28 at the time.

The argument was – you guessed it – over [ … ] church. How many fathers have lost their kids over religion. (Note: Van Gogh had turned to religion earlier in life, even serving as a missionary in Belgium.)

Referring back to the Van Gogh quote on courage, Van Gogh was himself a courageous person. What if Van Gogh’s dad had not made church such an issue? Van Gogh and his dad [perhaps] could have had an amicable relationship, where Van Gogh could have found himself in relationship with Jesus. The world would be benefiting from the work of a sound man who knew Jesus instead of the product of a deranged madman who at one time cut off an ear and eventually took his own life.

I have frequently written on the most severe condition of our nation that manifests in the craziness of our culture today: fatherlessness.

Here are a few thoughts after considering the father-son impasse in Van Gogh’s life that I hope you can appreciate –

  1. Saint Paul wrote: “And, you fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord” (Ephesians 6:4).
  2. After about age 12, trying to get your kid to follow you in your religious track can be like pushing on a wet noodle. Pray (Jesus is your kid’s savior, not you), lead by example, speak the truth in love. “Preach at all times; use words occasionally” (Quote attributed to St. Francis of Assisi).
  3. Be there physically and emotionally. Let your kids know how much you delight in them. (Jesus delights in us as Jesus’ Father delights in Jesus.)
  4. Don’t lie to your kids – about anything. This is especially true about trying to cover up your own life. Be honest, quick to ask forgiveness when you have wronged them, quick to forgive them,
  5. Make sure you understand and fight against the craziness of our culture to which our kids are exposed today. Speak the truth in love against it all. It’s crazy and it’s all false: more than two genders, decide your own gender, America is all bad, our founders were evil, whites are bad, our economic system is evil. If you are allowing your kid to be exposed to this cultural trash without you defending the truth, it’s as bad as lying to them, and the end is ruin for your kids and you.

Pray with me: Dads, be there, come home, make amends with your kids, and be the dads our kids deserve and need.

It’s what God expects from every dad. Responsible dads in the home who love and respect their kids make the family run like God designed it to run. And if the home runs like it should, then the country will run like it should, to the glory of God.

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Thanks Art, and Blessings to you fathers, and grace from the Father of us all! Ephesians 3 :):)

“The Mighty One, God, the Lord, has spoken, and summoned the earth from the rising of the sun to its setting.”

“He who offers a sacrifice of thanksgiving honors Me; and to him who orders his way aright I shall show the salvation of God.” Psalm 50: 1 & 23

He is Risen!

HAPPY EASTER! For centuries or perhaps most of two millennia actually, that has been the traditional greeting of one Christ follower to another Christ follower on Easter, “He is risen!” With the greeted person responding, “He is risen indeed!” It’s the hinge of history and the linchpin of God’s plan of redemption for mankind – for those who would see this amazing sacrifice followed by power over death, and believe.

I sat atop this crag this morning and watched the sunrise, thinking of His grace, His goodness, His mercy, His power, His humility, His beauty … with a full and grateful heart. I also thought of many of you. Friends with a heart connection with Him, and with me. So I started texting this photo, along with the simple text, “He is Risen!”

I received a goodly number of replies, “He is risen indeed!” That is all that need be said, and really all that can be said in light of His plan and His power — His life and light and love… in an understated, worshipful, meditative way. But I also received a few additional comments that I’ll share with you from hearts that were full, like mine.

“Yes sir, He has been good to us, that can’t duplicated by man, amazing.” Arkansas

“You just figuring that out?” Arkansas

“He has indeed and I’m glad he has done so because he is the only thing on this earth that presently makes any sense whatsoever.” Virginia

“He is not here; for He is risen, as He said. Come see the place where the Lord lay.” Matthew 28:6 Arkansas

“Amen.” Texas

“For us all, great reminder view you have daily!” Arkansas

“Amen and Amen. So has [my brother] [who almost died with COVID but had a supernatural recovery after much prayer] talked to him yesterday. Doin Great! Thank you for sharing that pic- I’m sharing it with many – will strike a cord in many lives – beautiful pic and essential message.” Tennessee

“And so shall we rise! Happy resurrection Sunday!” Missouri

“Amen! And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins.” (1 Cor 15:7) Louisiana

“Thank you Yeshua!” Oklahoma

I hope your Easter was beautiful, meaningful, and reflective. That it caused your heart to swell with hope and the assurance of the Holy One being your guide, guard, and king. The Friend Who will never leave you or forsake you. That you are His! Amen. Easter Shalom to all…

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Speaking of mediation, my wife just reminded me of what we watched last Easter along with over a million other humans via YouTube. If you’d care to remember you can click here.

Tonight if we can figure it out, we’re going to watch the highly anticipated first episode of “The Chosen,” season two!

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“…let it be known to you all, and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified, whom God raised from the dead, by Him this man stands here before you whole.” Acts 4:10

Good Friday

Have you ever watched the “Chosen” film/TV series? Oddly it aired (first season/8 episodes, I think) as the pandemic was beginning a year ago…
We’re not movie people, but some brothers recommended it to me last week and my wife and I are watching it on the mountain in a few settings. It started slowly and a bit dark, hidden, and out of joint for me – mysterious.

But it has gotten very, very good. Something that seems to have supernatural help in being revelational, and bringing your spirit to a different place and reality, like the Word does. I would recommend it to you for healing and warmth, hope and joy. Easter Shalom… to all of you. :):)

Epiphany 2021

January 6, 2021 was Epiphany in the Christian Church around the globe, and in the USA. It’s the day celebrated for centuries, if not millennia, as the day gentiles, Magi from the East, first saw Jesus, knowing and acknowledging Him to be God, the Messiah, the promised King of Kings — an epiphany.

I thought it ironic and telling, a synchronicity of sorts, that it was also the appointed day for the next king or president of the United States to be declared by law after the votes were counted and confirmed valid by Congress. Votes were cast in record numbers despite the pandemic with it’s confusing uncertainty. According to the US Census Bureau, seventeen million more votes were cast than in the 2016 election. 73% of the eligible population was registered to vote, and 67% did vote. It was a highly contested and emotionally charged election, with the media doing its part to portray the choices. The choices in candidates were not all that different according to many, yet the many were polarized and galvanized. The choices in platforms could not have been more clear, different, or stark.

I don’t think it too strong to say if you voted conservatively you voted for the platform that more closely resembled God’s Word and God’s rule in the affairs of man. If you voted liberally you voted for secular humanism, man being his own god and making his own rules, trusting government to take care of the people, and ignoring or rebuffing God’s law and rule.

During and after the large turnout of voters, there were accusations of election fraud in several places, many of them key states in determining the outcome of the election. The evidence was handled in predictable ways by the media and by politicians. But IF there was sufficient evidence of fraud and IF politicians had the back bone to stand up, investigate, and say so, legally the election results could have yet been altered by law to favor a platform more conforming to God’s Word and not opposing God’s Word. That did not happen. So perhaps that was not the case? Or maybe it was? At any rate, the people, and their leaders, stated their preferences loudly and clearly by votes and action, or inaction. Let the record show, and let the people know, their choice was clear. It has been shouted from the roof tops by the media, who apparently couldn’t be more pleased with the result.

I believe while many were celebrating Epiphany quietly, worshipfully, acknowledging and giving thanks to God for Jesus the Savior and soon-coming King; that the USA was having their own epiphany. It was an epiphany of rejecting this King and acknowledging another. It seems as if God was saying, ” I want to make it clear to you what you are asking for, so you will know it was by your choice My judgement begins.”

And so it was. And so it will be.

I felt then what many are feeling and saying now, that the USA has gone over a waterfall of sorts, into a cascading decline and sequence of events that will look like judgment, or God removing His favor or turning away His face from the USA due to our apostasy and unfaithfulness to Him, or what the prophets called “whoring after idols.”

Once I saw this was the peoples decision in the matter, and that God was going to let it go this way, I had a deep peace about it. Oh there was sadness for the church who by and large helped it happen, and for my country and the world who has long looked up to her. I knew the darkness would increase and the blessings we have known would decrease and be given to others and taken away by dark foreign powers, according to the will and word of the Lord — the just rewards for sin, rebellion, and injustice.

But I also know God to be full of mercy and grace. I saw in times of gross sin, rebellion, and apostasy in ancient Israel and Judah, the prophets who saw it coming simply prayed to God, “In wrath remember mercy,” knowing that a spanking or discipling was needed and necessary for the people to wake up and have the opportunity to change their hearts and their ways. These prophets, like the Israeli Priest Eli, on a day when he received some very bad news about the Lord’s judgment coming on his family for sin and neglect of duty, but knowing the goodness of God, His justice, and His mercy, said, “Let the LORD do what seems good to Him.” [1 Samuel 3:18]

I also saw the LORD saying through His servants the prophets during these dark times that He would take note of those who feared Him, protect them, and care for them. This He would do even as He was chastising those who were doing wrong and in open rebellion to Him and His ways. Malachi would write, “But for those who fear My name, the sun of righteousness will arise with healing in its wings.” [4:2] Zechariah would write about God’s own, “I will be a wall of fire around her, and I will be the glory in her midst.” [2:5]

This judgment or correction will be painful to watch. In fact I feel the Lord has impressed me not to watch it that much but instead dwell on the good things in life, the gifts of God, experience Him more and more intimately, and watch for His grace to be on the move, letting it and desiring it to move through me. He says in His Word, “Where sin abounds, grace much more abounds.” [Romans 5:20]

That’s my tact and world view given the situation and circumstances. I believe it to be Biblical and what the Spirit is saying to the churches, and therefore worthy of your consideration. Godspeed on your journey! Stay awake. Stay in the battle. Rest in Him. His shalom to you and yours.